By Chris J. Walker

the word contemporary

Higher! The Psychedelic Soul & Genius of Sly and The Family Stone (1966-1983) launched Downtown LA’s Grand Performances free and very eclectic summer concert series. Sly Stone the iconic and later erratic leader of the Family Stone with his interracial and multi-gender band broke down barriers through an embodiment of R&B and rock rhythms, poignant lyrics and audacious physical presence that even surpassed Jimi Hendrix. Much like the legendary guitarist, Stone’s music was extremely impactful and inimitable in terms of scope, vision and durability. In fact, the two-part Grand Performance concert with a large entourage of singers and musicians led by Dexter Story revealed a wide-ranging catalogue.

Groundbreaking, 50 year-old “Dance to The Music” awoke the lounging and dining crowd with its hard-driving beat, horns and call to the dance floor chants. Social and political consciousness “Stand” and “Everyday People” had the packed audience singing and grooving along, while “Family Affair” and “If You Want Me to Stay” were funky and focused on interpersonal relationships. Lesser known “Runnin’ Away” and positive affirming “You Can Make it if You Try” fronted by one of the soulful female singers were adorned by jazzy horn choruses and solos, along with coed sung “Everybody is a Star.” Contrarily, mega hits “Hot Fun in The Summertime,” “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin), “Everybody is a Star” and “I Want to Take You Higher” for the show closer were total feel good moments with all the ensemble singing to strongly resonate with the audience. For info and upcoming events go to: www.grandperformances.org

Currently, many artists are celebrating their 50th anniversary performing and recording. Even more impressive, R&B legends, multi-Grammy Winners, top Billboard charting, The Temptations despite numerous personnel changes, several record labels and the ever-changing R&B and pop music climate, have been together for nearly 60-years! At the Grammy Museum with its Founding Executive Director, Bob Santelli the seemingly immortal vocal quintet talked about their individual backgrounds, special moments and new CD All The Time. Original and founding member Otis Williams-baritone introduced the current group, Ron Tyson-first tenor (40 years), Terry Weeks-lead (28 years), Larry Braggs-second tenor (three years), and Willie Greene Jr.-bass (two years).

The Temptations’ new CD, their first new album in eight years produced by Dave Darling, mainly consists of Sam Smith, Bruno Mars, John Mayer, Maxwell, Ed Sheeran, Michael Jackson, and The Weeknd covers with the group’s special spin and three new originals. The singers talked about the excitement of being in the studio again and also the golden era of Motown Records with groups like Gladys Knight and The Pips, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, and Diana Ross and The Supremes. The Temptation members revealed their favorite songs the group has recorded too.

Also there was Q&A from the audience such as Braggs transitioning from being lead singer for Tower of Power to The Temptations, the group’s name, changes in Music Business and collaborations with Diana Ross and The Supremes. When The Temptations performed featuring their signature choreography it was with recorded music tracks for hits such as “Get Ready,” “Just My Imagination” and “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” New record songs “Waitin’ On You” and “Stay With Me” showcased riveting vocals without signature dancing and drew strong audience response. Wrapping up the show, the very popular group finished doing moves and singing their quintessential classic “My Girl” to touch hearts and garner a standing ovation.

 

Constantly promoting universal love and acceptance, with strains of reggae, R&B, hip-hop and yoga, singer/guitarist Michael Franti and his group Spearhead brought his Stay Human tour to the Theater at The Ace Hotel. Franti hit the stage supercharged with life-affirming energy that seemed to affect all the concert attendees as he promoted the notion “Everyone’s Got to Hug (or Kiss) Someone Everyday.” He quickly segued into “The Sound of Sunshine Going Down” with some of the audience, including little kids singing the chorus with him, which delighted everyone. Slowing down some the bandleader offered acoustic reggae flavored “All Night Long Ain’t Long Enough” and “Only Thing Missing Was You.”

Afterwards he returned to being revved up through doo-wop rocking “You’re Number One Baby” that had the audience clapping along and featured his drummer soloing, along with “All I Want is You” while being out in the audience singing and playing. With special guest violinist, HIRIE who was homeless previously Franti rapped and sang “It’s Good to be Alive Today,” with also singer/keyboardist/songwriter Victoria Canal, who was one of the opening performers to ignite the crowd. Franti discovered Canal who has a beautiful voice and only one arm online, He invited her to be on his tour and write a song together, which they performed. “We Can be The Healing” creatively mixed pop, hip-hop and a powerful message to strongly move the audience.

“Hey, Hey, Hey” one of Franti’s regular songs possessed the same rhythm and similar theme to keep the energy going and was bolstered by his drummer singing. Additionally, Franti played “My Lord” somewhat patterned after George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord” but much more up-tempo. The spiritual and political bent singer also took a moment to mention Atlanta Falcon football player Brian Banks who was in the audience and wrongly convicted, then exonerated after five years to turn his life around. He is the subject of an upcoming documentary and Franti dedicated to him “Life is Better With You.” Furthermore, the singer/guitarist talked about his19-year old son who needs desperately needs a kidney transplant and sang “Nobody Cries Alone.” On a positive note Franti finished with his best-known song “Say Hey (I Love You)” with everyone dancing and singing along, including Canal and Dustin Thomas, the other opening performer both on stage as well to receive an enthusiastic standing ovation.

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A funkateer in every sense of the word, beyond funk bassist Bootsy Collins truly is a master of soulful “bottom” expression. His tenures with R&B/funk legends James Brown’s JBs with Fred Wesly and Maceo Parker, along with George Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic consortiums in the late ‘60s to the mid ‘70s laid the groundwork for the bassist’s unique and truly audacious funk revelations. As a solo performer Collins continues to amaze listeners and has influenced generations of aspiring funk bassists. Furthermore, the bass legend has collaborated with rapper Ice Cube and Snoop Dog, in addition to fusion bass masters Stanley Clarke and Victor Wooten. Also appearing at Bootsy CollinsHouse Party at Grand Performances will be guests DJ Lance Rock, DJ Mona Lisa, Money Mark, and The Urban Voices Project.

Bootsy Collins

Grand Performances

8PM

300 & 350 S. Grand Ave

Los Angeles, CA 90071

www.grandperformances.org

MUSE/IQUE ANNOUNCES SUMMER SERIES PROGRAMMING FOR STATES/UNITED: MAPPING MUSICAL AMERICA AT THE HUNTINGTON

Highlights include:

MOVEMENT/ALOUD!

July 28, 2018 at 8pm

Showcasing America’s melting pot and voice of the people, the program opens with special guest Norman Lear reciting the Declaration of Independence. Ballet Hispánico performs a contemporary take on Bizet’s Carmen. Neil Diamond, Paul Simon, and Gloria Estefan are also celebrated.

U.S./ROUTES

August 25, 2018 at 8pm

American Ballet Theatre dancers Herman Cornejo and Sara Lane perform Twyla Tharp’s “Sinatra Suite,” and the works of Duke Ellington, Jackie Wilson, James Brown, Jerry Herman, Lloyd Price, Pearl Bailey and more serve as a guide for this ultimate musical U.S. road trip.

All programs curated By MUSE/IQUE Artistic Director Rachael Worby

MUSE/IQUE

July 28 and August 25, 2018

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

Brown Garden Lawn, adjacent to the Virginia Steele Scott Galleries of American Art

1151 Oxford Road

San Marino, CA 91108

muse-ique.com

626-539-7085.

Band on top if the word Fusion

Grammy winning and five time nominated guitarist Eric Johnson has a low-key and very accessible presence that conceals his dynamic and hard-hitting playing. You can hear strains of Allan Holdsworth, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai and even Stevie Ray Vaughan in Johnson’s music. At the same time, Johnson is very highly individual and unique. Concurrently, his style over a 30 year career is much more fluid and melodic than the other guitar wizards. It also includes blues, soul, folk, new age, classical,

country and acoustic playing. Nonetheless, Johnson is still best known for his hard-driving fusion playing. However, for his show in Pasadena the emphasis will be on his acoustic guitar and piano explorations, all part of his month-long Southwest tour. Essentially, the concert will be an opportunity to hear another side of Johnson and experience a “kinder and gentler” musician this time around. Earplugs will not be needed…

Eric Johnson

Acoustic Guitar And Piano Tour

July1l

Doors 6pm. Headliner 9:00pm

The Rose – Pasadena

245 E. Green St.

Pasadena, CA 91101

wheremusicmeetsthesoul.com/rose-pasadena/

www.ericjohnson.com

888-645-5006

The word world in blue colors and green colers

Blind Malian husband and wife duo, Amadou (guitar-vocals) & Mariam (vocals) performed at the El Rey Theatre as part of a six city American tour promoting their latest recording La Confusion. The popular performers who sing in French and Bambara (Malian language) have been playing together for over 35 years. They were backed by a dynamic quintet, which included a backup singer/dancer. “Ta Promesse” a laid back traditional

choral sounding song, excluding ripping electric guitar, from the new CD was the opening selection. The couple prompted the audience to dance before playing rocking 2006 “Batoma” that featured Mariam singing authoritatively and the band jamming Malian style.

New track “C’est Chaud” was modern sounding and prominently showcased Amadou guitar skills before getting into the body of the tune with the audience helping out on chorus. Also new “Filaou Bessame” was more so on the African blues side with Mariam’s vocals and chants aided by synthesizer soloing in the forefront. Contrarily, “Masiteladi” not on the new CD was even more rocking and Amadou wailed away with effects to amaze the audience. From there the group kept serving up energetic selections from previous recordings such as “Dogon,” “Wily Kataso,” “Yiki Yassa” and thematic “Africa” that included dance, bass and percussion segments to further enthrall the concert attendees.

“La Realite” was equally exciting and turned into a dance party and jam to end the show. The audience though didn’t want to stop, prompting an encore with trad folk choral “Je pense à toi” garnered by violin synth touches picked by the crowd, along with Mariam strongly leading on “Mokou Mokou Blues” from the new CD.

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Native Argentinean singer Karina Corradini recently performed at the Barbara Morrison Performance Center and was supported by Mahesh Balasooriya-piano, Will Lyle-bass, Don Littleton-drums and Rickey Woodard-saxophone. Corradini got started emotively singing original jazz waltz “Too Marvelous For Words” that included flowing flute and piano solos. From a softer standpoint she gently sang “Sometime Ago” written by fellow countryman Sergio Mihanovich with light band accompaniment that included tasteful piano and bass solos. Carradini also honored one of her influences Carmen McCrae with a medley that included ballads “Inside a Silent Tear” garnished with flute and “Fooling Myself” featuring sax, piano and bass.

The singer livened things up with “You Better Love Me While You Can” and “Give Me The Simple Life” that were pleasantly embellished with saxophone soloing and interweaving, along with funky “Someone Exactly Like You” bolstered by electric bass and piano that riled up the audience. Also in that vein special guest Carney Allen effortlessly sang Ellington’s “I’m Beginning to See The Light with the quartet swinging hard and featuring a bass solo. Carradini returned and countered with “Nice Work if You Can it” and Etta James’ ballad “Fool That I am” with sax and bass solos inserted. Additionally, reedist Murray Middleman sat in on clarinet with the vocalist and group for bossa classic “My Little Boat” that was adroitly sung. During the closing moments of the set, Carradini talked about recently departed saxophonist Zane Musa who is on her upcoming CD and in his honor dedicated up-tempo “Sky is Blue” that featured the band working out. For more info go to: facebook.

Always doing something different, the Jazz Bakery as part of its Moveable Feast series presented veteran 7-string guitarist Ron Escheté’s Trio at the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. Supported by Joe Bagg-organ and Kendall Kay-drums the guitarist who has a somewhat offbeat sense of humor began with a flavorful rendering of “Drifting” with organ and himself nimbly soaring nimbly and included trade-offs with drums. Continuing, they played a bossa-styled version of “I Wish I Knew,” which mostly featured the bandleader. Along the same lines, but more upbeat was Blue Mitchell’s “Fuji Mama” that showcased Kay for lively tradeoffs with the other trio members.

How My Heart Sings is the trio’s new CD and they showcased the cool swinging title track with Bagg leading as Escheté and Kay turned in breezy solos to delight the audience. Afterwards, the guitarist played touching ballad “This is All I Ask” that was beautifully complimented by his sidemen. Shifting up-tempo was a jaunting version of Cole Porter’s “So in Love” that was tastefully played. Wrapping up the show was “If Ever I Would Leave You,” a high-spirited number with a strong lyrical aspect and ample room for the players to stretch out and enthrall the audience.

Endearing vocalist Maryanne Reall explored the generally overlooked Lighter Side of Lady Day at the Gardenia Room and enlisted the talents of Rich Eames-piano, Chris Colangelo-bass and Rickey Woodard-saxophone for the engagement. The singer’s first selection was “What a Little Moonlight Can do” and even had the band hooting the chorus to also amuse the audience. Reall revealed that the impetus for the show came from a children’s book Mister And Lady Day about Holiday’s relationships with dogs. She further mentioned that the iconic singer walked her favorite dog, Mister at midnight and he wore a mink coat.

Getting back to music Reall charmingly sang “Sugarpie” that rumor has it, Holiday sang to her dog. The tune was easy flowing with Woodard adding extra syrup. “Old Devil Love” wasn’t cheery and the singer said the only good male in Holiday’s life was her dog. “‘Tain’t Nobody’s Biz-Ness If I Do” showed more of the legend’s free spirit that was echoed by Reall and the musicians’ solos. Sentimentality came through Johnny Mercer’s “P.S. I Love You” and was sweetly sung with embellishment from Woodard.

Definitely not associated with Holiday was “Sunny Side of The Side” that was merrily rendered featuring bass and sax soloing. Going beyond the legend to Madeleine Peyroux, who was strongly influenced by the icon was Serge Gainsbourg’s exquisitely sung “La Javanaise,” dedicated to Reall’s husband. Wrapping up a delight show was Peggy Lee’s “I Love Being Here With You” with all players stretching out. Reall will be doing a Jazz Vocal Residency at the Gardenia Room every 3rd Thursday starting July 19th. For more info go to: www.maryannereall.com and facebook.

Los Angeles is blessed with an incredible variety of venues, large and small. But by far one of the most interesting and historic is the Magic Castle, which actually occasionally hosts jazz concerts. One of them recently showcased Bonnie Bowden who is constantly busy doing big band, classical, jazz and pops. In conjunction with: CalJAS Presents Jazz At The World Famous Magic Castle she worked with Stuart Elster-piano, Luther Hughes-bass and Dave Tull-drums/vocals. A regally sung classical selection dedicated to a friend started the set and gloriously spotlighted Bowden’s amazing coloratura soprano voice with only Elster. Along the same lines with the trio was enchantingly sung “Music of The Night” from the Phantom of The Opera musical that blew the audience away.

Switching things up the singer rendered former boss Sergio Mendes’ enduring “Mas Que Nada” with audience singing along and Tull soloing. Also included in the set was “The Girl From Ipanema” that was lushly sung in Portuguese. Bowden took a breather to tenderly sing ballad “The Nearness of You” with the band down low. Showing more range, the singer delved into Etta James blues classic “At Last” and prompted several couples to dance, while also featuring a piano solo. Going even deeper into her reservoir of songs and styles was Willy Nelson/Patsy Cline’s country gem “Crazy.” Bowden also mixed in standards with “Misty” and also featured a singer from the audience for a couple of bars, along with “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66.”

Wrapping up the show was touching Brazilian ballad “To Say Goodbye” sung in Portuguese and English. Also included in the show was special guest, renowned

flautist Hubert Laws gracing “Quiet Nights” and Tull singing his hip-scatting tune “The Texting Song” from new CD Texting And Driving. Surprisingly, Bowden didn’t sing any songs from her new CD Livin’ The Canary Life. For information about it and upcoming Magic Castle shows go to and/or email: www.bonniebowden.com and Dale Boatman, DALE175@AOL.COM.

In association with New York’s Vocal Mania series at the Zinc Bar, created by Manhattan Transfer’s Janis Siegel and New York Voices’ Lauren Kinhan, Los Angeles songbirds Denise Donatelli and Paulette McWilliams inaugurated their monthly West Coast Vocal Mania series at Vitello’s. For the singers’ showcase, a mixture of established and newly emerging talent, stalwart players, Mitch Forman-piano, Trevor Ware-bass, Larry Koonse-guitar and Roy McCurdy-drums, coolly assisted them. The ladies began together entertainingly singing “Better Than Anything” with customized lyrics for the occasion to get the crowd going.

Afterwards, the pair peeled off for individual songs. McWilliams flourished with “(Incidental Elemental Simple) Social Call,” Carol King’s “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow” and powerfully sang, “Here’s to Life.” Donnatelli sophisticatedly sung and scatted “All or Nothing at All,” “When Lights Are Low” and “It’s You or no One Else” with Forman, Koonse and McCurdy soloing

San Francisco Bay Area-based Kenny Washington was the featured singer for the night and nonchalantly proceeded to light up the club. His interpretations of swinging “I Got The World on a String” and Willie Bobo popularized Jobim ballad “Dingi” were lush and soulful. However, the songs were pale in comparison to Bobby Timmon’s gospel-jazz classic “Moanin,” which literally took the audience to church and they responded with affirming choruses as Washington sung and scatted ever so soulfully. Additionally, Forman turned in a thrilling and expressive solo to further bolster the number.

Following Washington was newbie Sophie Levine, a student of McWilliam’s who powerfully sang “Skylark” and definitely didn’t sound like a student to amaze the crowd. Concluding the incredible series launch Donatelli, McWilliams and Washington came together for “That Old Devil Moon” featuring the singers soaring collectively and individually with solid accompaniment. On the last Friday of every month, Vocal Mania will be presenting the best vocal talent on the West Coast. For more info go to: www.vitellosrestaurant.com/supperclub

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Mr. Musichead, celebrating 20 years as a premier boutique art gallery and its owner Sam Milgrom, teamed up with Los Angeles Jazz Radio Broadcaster and Producer LeRoy

Downs and All Music Television Founder & CEO Frederick Smith, Jr to present Just Jazz featuring a lineup of internationally recognized jazz artists. From 6:30pm to Showtime, before each show, tune into “The Jazzcat” LeRoy Downs as he spins one hour of supreme, eclectic jazz live on SoundsandColorsRadio.net direct from the Mr Musichead Gallery! Downs will play music and interview the weekly artist as jazz patrons are arriving for the performance, enticing listeners to come on out and be a part of the Curated Jazz Experience!! A portion of the proceeds from each show will be donated to a local charity.

Doors Open: 6:00pm

Drinks & Appetizer Reception: 6:30pm

Live Music: 7:30pm

July 11th Bob Reynolds

July 18th Geoffrey Keezer

July 25th Dwight Trible

August 1st Steve Ferrone

Other upcoming artists include Gerald Clayton, Nicole Mitchell, Marquis Hill and more…

Mr Musichead Gallery

7420 W. Sunset Blvd (across from Guitar Center)

Los Angeles, CA 90046

323-876-90046 www.mrmusichead.com

www.SoundsandColorsRadio.net

www.allmusictelevision.net

www.TheJazzcat.net

JAZZ AT THE MAGIC CASTLE

THE CALIFORNIA JAZZ ARTS SOCIETY

And THE ACADEMY OF MAGICAL ARTS PRESENT

JULY 18

7:30-10:30

Grammy winner and five-time nominee

BILL CUNLIFFE with former lead vocalist for Sergio Mendes

FEMI KNIGHT (formerly Dawn Bishop)

AUGUST 22

DALE BOATMAN & THE CalJAS ALL-STARS

Featuring LIA BOOTH

YOU MUST BE INCLUDED ON DALE BOATMAN’S GUEST LIST EMAIL: DALE175@AOL.COM FOR RESERVATIONS

HONORING LEGENDS … PUSHING BOUNDARIES

Jazz Bakery’s Moveable Feasts

Latin Jazz Under the Stars w/ José Rizo’s “Mongorama”

July 7– 10:00 p.m. with one intermission

La Plaza de Cultura y Artes

501 North Main Street

Los Angeles, CA 90012

Jazz Bakery’s Moveable Feasts jazzbakery.org

(800) 838-3006

“Concerts and Conversations with Southern California Jazz Legends” made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. KJAZZ 88.1 – official media sponsor.

 

Enjoy free live jazz concerts at Subaru Summer Jazz Nights. A nominal donation for wine, beer, cheese selection, and seating with 100% of the proceeds benefitting Project Angel Food. Sponsored by Subaru. Produced by KJAZZ 88.1 FM Radio and Rum & Humble.

July 10 Jaimoe’s Jasssz Band

July 17 David Binney

July 24 Dayren Santamaria & Made In Cuba

July 31 Sammy Miller & The Congregation

August 7 Poncho Sanchez

Hollywood & Highland

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Every Tuesday night

July 10 through August 7,

www.kkjz.org

www.hollywoodandhighland.com/

Summer Jazz on the Argyros Plaza

Relax with friends and family at, Summer Jazz on the Argyros Plaza, a thrilling selection of free outdoor jazz concerts every Friday evening through August 10 on the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza featuring acclaimed artists across the genre. From crooners to singers, up and comers to all-stars, our summer lineup is unrivaled and will be hosted by radio personality Bubba Jackson who will keep you in the mood for a new flavor of Jazz every week. Guests are encouraged to bring beach chairs or other easily portable seating items. Food and drinks are available for purchase at the Center 360 café.

July 6 Carol Welsman

July 13 Yolanda Johnson

July 20 Sweet Baby J’ai

July 27 Tierney Sutton Band

August 3 Clifford Lamb Trio

August 10 Brian Bromberg

Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Argyros Plaza

7:00 PM

600 Town Center Drive

Costa Mesa, CA 92626

scfta.org

www.kkjz.org

Any information to be considered for this column can be sent to:  chrisjwalker1@earthlink.net