The 2019 installment of Smooth Summer Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl was highlighted by the appearance of Dave Koz & Friends-Summer Horns. Saxophonist and impresario Dave Koz orchestrated a fast-paced set of blazing horn oriented tunes with saxophonist Gerald Albright, trumpeter Rick Braun and trombonist/vocalist Aubrey Logan. Backing the headlining players was a hard jamming backing quartet made up of Adam Hawley-guitar, Jay Williams-drums, Nathaniel Kearney Jr.-bass and Carnell Harrell-keyboards.
The high revving assembly started with a quick and tight medley of funky brass styled tunes to get themselves warmed up and included Bill Withers “Use Me” and “Hold On” by Sam & Dave. Once past the celebratory introduction the band shifted to KC and The Sunshine Band’s “That’s The Way” and Earth, Wind and Fire’s version of the Beatles’ “Got to Get You Into My Life” featuring vocalist Kenny Lattimore and the band soloing away. For a change up the musicians paid tribute to recently passed away Natalie Cole through a duet of “This Will Be” with Lattimore and Logan, which bolstered by the band’s accentuation thrilled the audience.
Keeping the energy going, Albright segued into a funky Maze tune to intensely solo and interact with the other main players. Koz returned to forefront with new song “And Then” that was melodic and relaxed, comparatively speaking. Braun maintained the same mode with more soulfulness to highlight the title song of his new album Crossroads, with touches of “Wade in The Water,” accented by the crowd singing the chorus mixed in. Taking things in a organic soul direction was Logan playing trombone and singing “A Natural Woman” to strongly connect with the audience.
Not to be left out, Lattimore returned with R&B classic “Higher And Higher” propelled mightily by the band, along with his soaring hit ballad “For You” that blew the ladies in the audience away. In the waning moments of the concert Koz showcased a medley of his songs with the band that were dynamic. The also went into Stevie Wonder’s “You Haven’t Done Nothing” and “Living For The City” with previous band member, saxophonist Mindy Abair joining in. For the grand finale saxophonist Candy Dulfer joined in for a high-spirited mélange of hot grooving Wonder, Kool & Gang and Tower of Power songs to generate an enthusiastic standing ovation.
Prior to Koz & company was The Commodores who after being together for over 50 years and surviving many personnel changes, including the departure of Lionel Ritchie in 1982, are a true legacy band. Understandably, the octet had a plethora of songs to choose from and mostly stuck to their hits. Among them were “Easy,” “Just to Be Close to You,” “Lady (You Bring Me Up),” “Still,” “Three Times a Lady,” “Nightshift” and of course “Brick House.” It’s probably their best-known tune and never fails to excite audiences.
Hiroshima, another legacy group celebrated their 40th Anniversary with once married original members Dan Kuramoto-keyboard/woodwinds/ shakuhachi and June Kuramoto-koto leading. James “Kimo” Cornwell-keyboards, Danny Yamamoto-taiko/percussion/keyboards, Dean Cortez-bass and Land Richards-drums rounded out the group. Their enduring sound that mixes traditional Japanese instruments was highlighted by Kuramoto’s stellar koto playing that interweaved with elements of jazz, funk, R&B and world music. They opened with a Japanese drumming intro and shifted to their signature funk/jazz grooving for “Kokoro.” Later, traditional tinged ballad “Turning Point” and a funk/jazz jam additionally displayed Kuramoto’s koto mastery. Concluding their interesting set was thematic groove “One World,” garnished with strong funk bass and drum playing.
Opening the festivities was Adam Hawley, guitarist for Koz, who led an energetic combo consisting of Kat Finley-vocals/wife, Keith McKelley-sax, Greg Manning-keyboards, Darryl Williams-bass and Eric Valentine-drums. They did mostly originals from Hawley’s latest CD Double Vision.
Original organic hip-hop band, The Roots have been together since the late ‘80s and more or less have become an institution, especially since becoming the house band for NBC’s Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in 2014. The seminal group recently had a blowout concert at the Hollywood Bowl and unofficially spotlighted their 1999 breakout album Things Fall Apart, named after acclaimed African writer Chinua Achebe’s well-known book. Several tracks from the group’s subsequent project The Roots Come Alive were included afterwards. Needless to say, the concert was a monumental occasion and the amount of musicians utilized by the group swelled to 13, roughly twice as many as normal, with added keyboard and brass players. Additionally, the Hollywood Bowl’s LED side screens pulsated with supporting videos and graphics relating to the group.
Included in the opening activities was a spoken word reading of “The Return to Innocence Lost,” also on the spotlighted album that depicted an unsympathetic and dismal accounting of struggling black urban life. Afterwards, Roots co-founding member, MC Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter took over with an onslaught of rapid-fire rapping well synchronized with the other co-founder, drummer/Musical Director Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson. The drummer coordinated with the other musicians for barrages of funk, R&B grooves and vocal choruses to accentuate the hard-hitting words that mistily dissipated over the legions of fans and stalwart supporters, who shouted along with Trotter and the other MCs. Although, twenty years old, the topics covered such as lack of opportunity, hip-hop philosophy/styling, partying, competition, hustling and survival haven’t changed much. Injected into the partying, posturing and soulful interactions was guitarist Kirk “Captain Kirk” Douglass. He incredibly scatted and wailed away through a gambit of moods and styles spanning modern soul, jazz and rock/Hendrix that included “My Favorite Things” soulfully done to gloriously conclude the show.
Sayed Sabrina is a powerhouse singer/songwriter/keyboardist reminiscent of hard-rocking women like Genya Ravan, Janis Joplin and early Bette Midler, with a very idiosyncratic singing style that was a mix of Rickie Lee Jones and Alanis Morissette. Whether it’s in a large ensemble or intimate setting, Sabrina comes off with power and authority. For a long time Sabrina did session work and shared stages with B.B. King, Los Lobos, Jimmy Cliff, Dr. John, Leon Russell, Tower of Power and others. Now she’s making moves to transition into being a solo performer and just released Thou Art That a full CD. Backing her for the enterprise were Bobby Watson-bass (Rufus, Michael Jackson), Sarah Morrow-trombone (Dr. John, Ray Charles), Gary Herbig-reeds (Elvis, Tower of Power), Carlos De La Paz-lead guitar (Cid, Mandrels), Bryan Head-drums (Dick Dale, Roger Hodgson) and Mitch Manker-trumpet (Ray Charles), along with Dave Mason-cello and Cosima Luther-violin.
The album release party for the newly completed project with many of the same players was at the Canyon Club in Agoura and included fans and friends out supporting her. Sabrina began with “What’s Happening Here?” and commandingly sang while also playing keyboards. “Star Shines” was a shuffling ballad comprised of tinges of rock, blues and jazz, with strings accenting and guitars soloing as Sabrina reflectively sang about surviving in Hollywood. “The Devil and The Good Lord” showcased the singer’s soulful side as she took control of the stage, while brass chorus echoed in the background. Contrarily, “Into The Mouth of The Serpent” was easy flowing and country flavored, garnished by both guitar and violin solos. Additionally, bluesy “Everybody Knows” spotlighted Sabrina’s soulfulness with minimal band backing. Without question, she’s has a voice and songs that demand to be heard. For more info go to: www.sayedsabrina.com
Gladys Knight may not be the Queen of Soul, but she’s definitely a high-ranking member of its court, with a long succession of hits that go back to the early ‘60s with the Pips. At the Hollywood Bowl she gleefully sang for her fans with a large band that included three backup singers. Knight was super-attentive and responded quickly to every comment and iota of affection coming from the audience. She and crew launched into high revving classic R&B songs “My Imagination,” “On And On” written by Curtis Mayfield for the 1974 movie Claudine starring recently passed actress Diahann Carroll, and James Earl Jones, along with ballad “The Making of You” also composed by Mayfield. From there the popular singer shined with “Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” and “Stay With Me” to really get the crowd going.
Down home funk came through “The Nitty Gritty” and “I Heard it Through The Grapevine” featuring Knight doing both her and Marvin Gaye’s versions, while telling the story behind it and working out with her band. In sharp contrast, more modern soul surfaced through upbeat “Save The Overtime (For Me)” and “Love Overboard” adorned by the backup singers. Ballads though are a big part of Knight’s repertoire and identity to prompt “I Hope You Dance” accented by Spanish flavored acoustic guitar, “I Found Love,” “Neither One of Us,” “One Hundred Ways” as a tribute to James Ingram and “Natural Woman” for Aretha Franklin. For the final moments of her show the highly respected singer went into an emotional rendition of “Midnight Train to Georgia” to bring down the house.
The Kingdom Choir a 16-person gospel assembly from England and led by Musical Director Christopher Morris with Keith Bazari-keyboards opened the concert. They wowed the audience with over-the-top renditions of “The Star Spangled Banner,” Jill Scott’s “Golden,” and an Aretha Franklin tribute with “Say a Little Prayer For You,” “Natural Woman,” “Respect and “Think.” Also included in the choir’s program were traditional and modern gospel songs.
Vocalist Neneh Cherry opened for Ben Harper at the Hollywood Bowl doing a mixture of electronic, avant-garde, modern soul and trip-hop grooves spanning the late ‘80s to present with an interesting and visually striking septet. They were Cameron McVey-ableton/vocals, Preetesh Hirji-ableton, Samsun Srinuan-bass/guitar/synthesizer. John Tonks-Music Director-ableton/guitar/percussion, Iona Thomas-vocals/harp/piano/bass and Rosie Biergonzi-vocals/percussion/piano. Brother, David Cherry did a spoken word intro before the music began. Once started the musicians provided atmospheric backdrops for Cherry’s poetic and sometimes abstract lyrics to songs such as “Shot Gun Shack,” “Deep Vein Thrombosis,” “Woman’s (World)” “Kong,” “Blank Project” and others. Noticeably missing from the set was “7 Seconds” a hit song Cherry recorded with Youssou N’Dour’ during the mid ‘90s.
Earth, Wind & Fire have performed at the Hollywood Bowl many times before, and miraculously the 45+ year-old-group always keep their shows fresh and exciting. One of the ways to do that is to play with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, conducted by Thomas Wilkins. The conductor led the orchestra through a quick 10-minute Ellington program beforehand that was highlighted by classics “Take The A Train” and “Caravan.” Afterwards, Wilkins and 12-piece EW&F joined forces for a rhapsodic overture that segued into soul-grooving servings of “Sing a Song,” “Shining Star,” “Getaway” and similar sounding “Jupiter.”
For a changeup with more emphasis on vocals was “Serpentine Fire” with the audience excitedly singing the chorus and the band’s comparatively easy-flowing version of the Beatle’s “Got to Get You Into My Life.” Longstanding bassist Verdine White’s wildman presence is impossible to ignore and to the crowd’s delight he soloed passionately for a segment prior to the Beatle song. Closing out the first half of the concert was monumental instrumental “Sun Goddess” boosted by the band stretching out and the audience helping out during the wordless chorus.
The orchestra resumed after the respite with an invigorating sequence that shifted to lead singer Phillip Bailey being featured on “Kalimba Story.” He skillfully played the African instrument as the band generated a funky groove and soulful chorus. “Devotion” bolstered by lush singing and choruses kept the vibe going that additionally showcased the audience joining in with band down low. For a short moment guitars and orchestra seemed like they were doing another Beatles’ song. But it transformed into vocally soaring ballad “I’ll Write a Song For You” greatly garnished by Bailey’s renowned high-pitched falsetto to thrill the audience. The other singers joined the brass and rhythm section for sumptuous “Heart of Fire” to inject more excitement.
Bailey wasn’t done though and returned to shine with the legendary group on the David Foster cover of “After the Love Has Gone” that included a sax solo, and heart-stopping “Reasons,” which could have easily been the show closer. It continued, nonetheless, with a powerful symphonic section leading to soul-scorching “Fantasy,” with brass and Bailey again wailing away. For extra exhilaration high-energy danceable gems “Boogie Wonderland” “Let’s Groove” and “September” with fireworks shooting overhead (the other way to keep shows fresh) were thrown in. “In The Stone” concluded an amazing and very memorable concert.
Santa Barbara Acoustic Music Association presents SBAcoustic, the highly anticipated celebratory series began September 14 with the opening weekend of live international acoustic music concerts, guitar workshops, and artisanal guitar show at the New Vic Theatre. SBAcoustic continues with musically diverse live music concerts through December 14 at downtown Santa Barbara venues: The Wooden Hall Concerts at the Alhecama Theatre, the Lobero Theatre and SOhO Restaurant & Music Club.
Oct 1: Jim Messina; 8p.m.; Lobero Theatre
Oct 8: An Evening with Leo Kottke; 8p.m.; Lobero Theatre
Oct 12: Folksinger Willie Watson; 7:30 p.m.; The Wooden Hall Concerts at Alhecama Theatre
Oct 14: Slackers in Paradise with Ken Emerson & Kimo West; 7:30 p.m.; SOhO Music Club
Oct 18: Luis Munoz “The Infinite Dream” with Lois Mahalia & Teka; 8 p.m.; Lobero Theatre
Oct 22: Taimane, Ukulele Virtuoso; 8 p.m.; SOhO Music Club
Oct 26: Tom Ball & Kenny Sultan, 40th Anniversary Celebration; 8 p.m.; Lobero Theatre
Oct 27: Guitar Duets with Teja Gerken & Doug Young; 7:30 p.m.; SOhO Music Club
Oct 30: Solo Fingerstyle with Kinloch Nelson; 7:30 p.m.; SOhO Music Club
4 Times Entertainment in association with The Montalbán is pleased to announce the World Premiere of The Soul of Broadway – Impossible Dreams starring Terron Brooks with musical direction by Mark Vogel on Sunday, November 3, 2019, with an album coming out on November 8, 2019. This special one-night-only concert experience, produced by 4 Times Entertainment (creators of The Company Men), will bring a fresh perspective to Broadway songs—including classic and contemporary favorites —as Brooks reinterprets them all. The two-time NAACP Award nominee for supporting actor and Emmy award-winning for portraying Eddie Kendricks in NBC’s miniseries The Temptations, has starred on Broadway in The Lion King as Simba and Hairspray as Seaweed.
Brooks states, “I conceived The Soul of Broadway to take the stories of the songs outside of the Broadway musical and make them relevant to everybody, no matter where they are in life. I thought if I had a blank canvas to create I could come up with something unique and special, putting my SOUL into it. The messages and themes take a universal human form beyond genre. The show allows me to tell my story in my style woven through the iconic songs people love.”
The Soul of Broadway concert will boast an array of newly arranged Broadway favorites by Mark Vogel such as a 90’s R&B take on “Not While I’m Around” from Sweeney Todd, “Something’s Coming” from Westside Story, sonically inspired by a mix of Michael Jackson and Bruno Mars and a stripped-down anthemic rendition of “Tomorrow” from Annie, to name a few. Vogel a BMI award-winning TV and film composer who has worked with John Stamos, The Beach Boys, Natalie Cole, Queen Latifah, Joan Rivers and Megan Hilty, is the Musical Director for The Soul of Broadway.
Helping to set the stage for the evening will be a four-piece band (featuring Gustin Flaig on drums,Zach Fenske on guitar, Simba Scott on bass and Vogel on piano), backing vocalists (Fredericka Meek, Rhett George and Natalie Machen) and international/Broadway lighting designer Jared Sayeg (Ovation and Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award Winner).
The Soul of Broadway
November 3, 2019
1615 Vine Street
Hollywood CA 90028
Trumpeter Josef Leimberg performed at the Skirball Cultural Center with his octet, Anand Bennett-guitar, Bubby Lewis-bass, Carlos Niño-percussion, Matt Little-keyboards, Tracy Wannomae-sax/bass clarinet, Will Logan-drums and Georgia Anne Muldrow-vocals to conclude the venue’s Sunset Concert Series. Leimberg’s music is hard to categorize and has been labeled cosmic and Afro-futuristic, with elements of fusion, jazz, world music, R&B and hip-hop. In fact, the trumpeter has worked together with an extensive list of artists from that genre and modern soul, such as Dr. Dre, Shafiq Husayn, Erykah Badu, Robin Thicke, George Clinton and Kendrick Lamar on his breakout Grammy-Winning recording To Pimp a Butterfly.
In concert, the trumpeter and his group showcasing compositions from Astral Progressions and forthcoming project The Archer, generated atmospheric and ambient textures and moods that were reminiscent of Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew and Herbie Hancock’s Mwandishi periods, with some Sun Ra and Weather Report thrown in. However, unlike them Leimberg’s work was more of a continuum from the beginning to the end of the concert. His players interacted and soloed regularly throughout the concert in spaces that flowed through unannounced soundscapes with miniscule breaks in-between. The audience impressed by the superb musicianship and cool airiness surprisingly hung in there for until the end. For more info go to: https://alphapuprecords.com/
Vera’s Heartbeat presented two icons of Brazilian music: singer Mônica Salamaso and master composer, guitarist Guinga in concert atGuinga. Guinga is widely considered Brazil’s greatest and most important living composer. Over the last 20 years Salmaso has emerged as one of the top singers and interpreters of Brazilian music. Additionally, she considers Guinga’s compositions to be essential, beautiful and challenging. Furthermore, Guinga considers Salmaso one of the most perfect singers he knows. To a nearly sold-out house, the famous and popular duo began with heartfelt ballad “Choro Pro Zé” that overflowed with touching singing and tasteful guitar. Salmaso expressed delight in being part of the moment and continued with equally emotional “Noturna,” which included Guinga lightly soloing.
Spawned from Nat King Cole’s “Mona Lisa” “Obalisca” portrays an alluring woman who is an uncaring and prolific heartbreaker. “Sete Estrelas” shifted things uptempo and was accented by Salmaso’s light percussion playing. “Baclero De Sata,” though returned to a more relaxed pace and was adorned by stirring singing. The inception of the song “Jangada” with bits of “Stormy Weather” mixed in involved four fishermen on a fishing raft (Jangada) collecting rice for poverty stricken inhabitants in Northern Brazil.
Renowned filmmaker Orson Welles just happened to be in Brazil at the time and made a movie about the men’s mission that resulted in one of them tragically dying at the end. The song with a complex story, with easy flowing singing and guitar playing was noticeably well received. More variation came with “Passarinhadeira” that featured Guinga and Salmaso sweetly singing together. The guitarist also sang “Você, Voce” solely and singer Anna Paes joined the guitarist for “Caco Velho” toward the end of the concert to garner enthusiastic applause.
Two-time Latin Grammy and Spanish Independent Music Award winning guitarist, vocalist and composer Diego Garcia (TWANGUERO) from Spain (now living in LA) performed solo at the Corazon Performing Arts Center in Topanga Canyon. There, he shared his musical odyssey with the audience, showcasing discoveries from his homeland, U.S. cities, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. Everywhere Garcia traveled he absorbed the region’s unique styles and peculiarities, musically speaking. In concert, he took the audience on trip that covered some of his major influences such as Chet Atkins and Andrés Segovia, while also including flamenco, tango and Pachuco from Mexico.
Most amazingly, Garcia is able to intertwine all the guitar styles and even injected Ray Charles’ “Hit The Road Jack,” with the audience singing along. Country style shuffles are something that resonates strongly with the guitarist and he often connected with them and then would go into something else such as “Mystery Train,” Mexican/classical boleros and a flamenco styled ballad about an Argentinean gaucho. Also included in the guitarist’s travel guide was country, bluegrass and a guitar concerto he recorded with Enrique Bunbury. Garcia is unquestionably a musical genius who can easily go in any direction he desires. For more info go to: https://twanguero.com.
Brazil’s 2019 Latin Grammy-winner and multi-platinum selling artist, Daniela Mercury, Queen of Axé (mix of marcha, reggae, calypso, samba and rock from the Salvador, Bahia region) performed at DTLA’s Regent Theatre. There, the tantalizing songstress kept the standing audience dancing and partying. Her supporting combo and backup singers/dancers never let up on the energy and Mercurym unbelievably never rested, except during a couple of costume changes. During the over two hour show pulsating songs such as “Caminho / Pantera Negra Deusa,” “Swing da cor,” “A Rainha do Axé,” “Meu Pai Oxalá,” “Toda Menina Baiana,” “Oyá Por Nós” and “Baianidade Nagô / Prefixo De Verão” kept the audience enthralled.
Amidst the Portuguese sung selections were opportunities for brave and talented attendees to dance on stage with the band. A select few actually whirled about with Mercury. Also included in the driving set were “Banzeiro” (2018 Best Carnival song in Bahia) and newly released “Proibido o Carnaval.” For more info go to: www.BrazilianNites.com, www.danielamercury.com.br, www.instagram.com/danielamercury, www.facebook.com/DanielaMercury and www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPmptMmQFQE.
Café Tacvba-based in Mexico City was one of the leading proponents of the Rock Espanol Movement erupting in the late ‘80s, and appeared at the Hollywood Bowl to celebrate 30 years together. Now, long since its formative years the core quartet has developed into a creative, multi-dimensional and highly appealing force that draws listeners from Mexico and Central America, but also South American, North America and Europe. The root of CT sound is independent and alternative rock akin to Massive Attack, The Cure and The Clash with dashes of Mexican mariachi, norteña, cumbia and ranchera mixed in. At the Bowl the band consisting of Emmanuel del Real-keyboards, Enrique Rangel-bass/acoustic guitar/jarana, Joselo Alfredo Rangel-guitar/jarana and Rubén Albarrán-guitar/vocals, with Ramiro Del Real-guitar/drum pads/jarana showcased their 11-CD catalogue for easily over two hours. Additionally, the band employed a massive display and lighting system that rivaled their music and totally captivated the audience.
Opening songs “Seguir Siendo / Tengo Todo” began gently with Albarrán’s unpolished singing and shifted to mildly aggressive modern day rocking. “Cero y Uno” maintained the band and singers energy, without getting too edgy. Contrarily, “Debajo Del Mar” and “Labios Jaguar” were a revisiting of the party sound from the ’80s and ‘90s. Alternately, “La Zonaja” spotlighted the band’s ranchera influences and was immersed in keyboard produced accordion sounds, while “Ixtepec” was mostly acoustic guitar and vocally driven.
“Volver a Comenzar” noticeably shifted to a fuller, symphonic simulated sound with Albarrán and other band member vocally trading off as the band jammed away. “La 11 / La 2 / Revés” were also more current sounding and presented trance-like guitar sections. “Futuro” had organ sounds at the forefront for a retro ‘60s sound. Throughout all the songs Albarrán expressed universal good feeling and emphasized being environmentally conscious. The concert attendees seemed to be in agreement with the singer and cheered him on, resulting in a sing a long encore. Los Angeles’ own power-pop trio Cherry Glazzerr led things off, with Clementine Creevy-guitar/vocals, Tabor Allen-drums and Sami Perez-bass rocking away on original songs.
Two-time Latin GRAMMY winner Adriana Calcanhotto announces her US debut tour that includes Los Angeles’ Moss Theater. Adriana Calcanhotto is one of the most acclaimed and award-winning singer-songwriters in Brazilian music today. She began her career in the mid 80’s and has released over 20 albums, achieving multiplatinum sales. Over the past three decades her songs have become the soundtrack for millions of fans through radio airplay, mesmerizing music videos, and as themes for major TV shows. With astonishing versatility and poetry, Calcanhotto is able to compose popular ballads as well as conceptual pieces inspired by the literary greats.
Her brand new album Margem, the third installment of a trilogy inspired by the sea, which began with Maritimo (1998), then followed by Maré (2008), features her trademark enchanting melodies and artistic music videos with songs like the newest title track and “Ogunté.” In this rare visit to the US, Calcanhotto will also perform her classics like “Fico Assim Sem Você”, “Esquadros”, “Mais Feliz”, “Cariocas” and many others, which have made her a universally adored artist.
This is a rare opportunity to see her performing in the United States. In 2009 she performed two sold out shows in New York and Miami. Now in 2019 Brazilian Nites is honored to present a full US tour with performances in Miami, Orlando, Boston, New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Accompanying Calcanhotto will be Bem Gil-guitar, Bruno Di Lullo-bass, and Rafael Rocha-drums.
New Roads School at The Herb Alpert Educational Village
3131 Olympic Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
For a special performance at the East Downtown Los Angeles Warner Studios, Beth Hart test drove new songs from her newly released CD War in My Mind. Accompanying herself on piano, the usually hard-rocking singer was introspective and confessional as the audience quietly listened. “Sister Dear” was poetic and vividly displayed Hart’s emotional singing. “Love Me For Love” however, was turbulent and chilling as she told of her respect and admiration for musical colleague guitarist John Bonamassa, who she’s worked with on four different projects. Not on the new recording was “My California” dedicated to her ever-dependable husband, who’s been by her side for 20 years. For more info go to: www.bethhart.com.
Ben Harper’s music is not easy to define from a characterizing standpoint, but clearly has stints of blues, along with rock, R&B and even world and folk in his catalogue. At the Hollywood Bowl, Harper touched on his various avenues of expression with his Young Criminals Band, Leon Mobley-percussion/vocals, Juan Nelson-bass/vocals (original member) and Oliver Charles-drums/vocals that he formed over 20 years. In some respects, the concert was a bit of a homecoming for the guitar/singer, who was born and raised in Claremont, roughly 40 miles east of the venue. Early on in the show, Harper almost giddily said, “Playing at the Hollywood Bowl changes your life” and talked about all the gigs he did coming up that resulted in him getting a record contract. He claimed that he was “dumb lucky” and the audience who appreciatively and affectionately shouted at him seemed to feel the same way, in regards to being there too.
The listeners were richly rewarded with Harper playing delectable acoustic slide guitar sitting down and occasionally going full bore on electric standing up. Songs such as “Gold to Me” and “Steal My Kisses” featured cajon and conga playing from Charles, along with deep bass from Nelson. “The Woman in You” spotlighted the bandleader ripping away electrically, and alternately singing syrupy falsetto and brawny tenor to blow the crowd away.
The were also mesmerized with “Burn One Down” featuring the percussionist wailing, Hendrix’s “Machine Gun” with wicked slide guitar, Stevie Wonder’s funk classic “Superstition” and Buddy Mile’s soul rocking hit “Them Changes” featuring the bassist singing. Harper still had plenty in the tank and captivated listeners with haunting new and upcoming slide guitar solo instrumental “Winter is For Lovers Opus D#.” In vein of rock was “Fight For Your Mind” augmented by all the band soloing, “Diamonds on The Inside” that included Harper singing off-mic for a section, and “Better Way,” with fiery slide guitar and band singing. For the encore wrangling and bluesy Welcome to The Cruel World the band’s debut album title track was coolly rendered.
The 2019 KJAZ Blues Bash at the historic Wilshire Ebell Theatre presented an interesting cross-section of blues with guitarist/singer Robben Ford, singer/songwriter Sugaray Rayford and vocalist Deb Ryder. Handling the emcee duties, band selection and revving up the audience was Gary “Wagman” Wagner, DJ for the station’s popular Nothin’ But The Blues weekend programs.
Rayford was the middle act and the singer, winner of the Blues Music Award’s 2019 Soul Blues Male Artist of the Year, came to party. He urged the crowd to get up and dance as he got down with his powerhouse band. It consisted of Alastair Greene-guitar, Drake “Munkihaid” Shining-keyboards, Allen Markel-bass, Lavell Jones-drums, and Al Walker and Malt-sax, along with Juju Davis and Gary Provoka-trumpet. A scorching version of Bill Wither’s “Who is He And What is He to You?” got things popping, with singer and band reeling away. From there, Raeford, an East Texas native, who resembles an NFL lineman and has consistently been on top of the blues charts in recent years, focused on material, mostly from his latest CD The Revelator.
“I’d Kill For You Honey” was his soul-rocking declaration of love to the 10th degree, with sizzling slide guitar accenting, while “Blind Alley” was old school R&B featuring him and band getting down. Related to that, he sang urban blues ballad “I Don’t Regret a Mile” out in the aisles as his horn players accented and soloed. Rayford had much more in the tank, continuing with funky “Take Me Back.” Snippets of classic soul/bluesmen Tyrone Davis, Bobby Blue Bland and Little Milton and reggae were thrown in as well. He intended to do the same with Chicago blues, but the “Wagman” and audience were so into it that “Scoot Down” was played instead. Mid-tempo soul-styled “You And I” finished the set.
First out of the gate was blues-rocking diva Ryder, who sang hard driving originals fueled by a smoking band. It included Billy Hayes-bass, Johnny Lee Shell-guitar, Tony Branico-drums, Joey Del Gado-guitar, Lon Price-sax, Lester Lovett-trumpet and Mike Finnegan-keyboards. “You Won’t be True” showed her not taking any nonsense from her man as guitarists and organ soled. “Panic Mode” and “Temporary Insanity” featured Ryder’s powerful whiskey soaked singing, with horns roaring away. But, torchy ballad “For The Last Time,” the front woman and Finnegan sang rawly to move the audience.
Returning to full band mode was upbeat Chicago-styled “Money Monsoon” with the band stretching out and gospel formatted “It’ll be a Cold Day in Hell (When I Cry My Tears Over You).” The set ended far too quickly and closed with Ryder bringing out Rayford to do R&B flavored “Get a Little Steam Up,” dedicated to the “Wagman.” In between Ryder’s and Rayford’s sets the DJ and Stephanie Levine, General Manager of KKJZ were acknowledged and honored by the City of Los Angeles for their contributions to the city’s culture.
Robben Ford’s group, essentially a power trio was vastly different from the first two groups. With bassist Renee Comacho and drummer Tas Carlos the versatile and renowned guitarist jammed away and also sang on rangy “Down The Road I go” and “What I Haven’t Done.” Ford also took a moment to pay tribute to blues legends “B.B. King and Freddie King. “Indianola (MS)” was a rocking homage for where B.B. was raised, in addition to “Everybody Knows His Name.” For Freddie it was somewhat laidback and also blistering at times “Why Don’t You Come on Home” and jumping “Cannonball Shuffle.” Ford also sang and played elongated ballad “Earthquake” featuring him and the supporting players stretching out, along with funk rocking “Can Somebody Else be Loving You Better Than Me.” For more info go to: www.robbenford.com, www.debryder.com, www.sugarayrayford.com and kkjz.org
The Christian McBride Big Band opened the for the Roots’ epic concert at the Hollywood Bowl with Cedric The Entertainer acting as the emcee. The pairing initially seemed incongruous until the bassist/bandleader revealed that he and founder/leaders of the Roots graduated from the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts 30 years ago. So the concert in essence was a class reunion for all of them, however the two groups never intermingled.
McBride and his cohorts stayed on course with hard swinging original “Shake ‘n Blake” featuring tenor saxophonist Ron Blake, trombonist Michael Dease, Brandon Lee on trumpeter and the bandleader. In recognition of recently passed musicians the ensemble played trumpeter Roy Hargrove’s “Roy Allen” written for his father, and “The Shade of The Cedar Tree,” McBride’s homage to pianist Cedar Walton. As a bonus vocalist José James joined the band to expressively sing and scat on hard-bop classic “Moanin’” that included strong trumpet and saxophone solos. Additionally performed by James and the big band was his original “Trouble” with a slight hip-hop edge and “Just The Two of Us” from his Bill Wither’s tribute Lean On Me.
For the last four years singer/songwriter Jennifer Saran-educated in Egypt and based in China, and multi-Grammy-winning mega producer/drummer Narada Michael Walden who resides in the San Francisco Bay Area have been working together behind the scenes. With Walden producing they have recorded four CDs together. The projects include two Christmas albums, R&B oriented Walk With Me and conscious-raising Wake Up featuring guitar icon Carlos Santana and South African Grammy-winning male choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo on the title song. Saran and Walden appeared at the famed Village Recording Studio in Santa Monica to launch their new EP Smokey Nights. Prior to performing, they were casually interviewed about how they connected and their vision by former Music Industry Executive and current Professor of Music at Cerritos College, Ricky Schultz.
After that, the somewhat shy vocalist revealed some of the new tracks with a band made up of Joe Rozum-piano, Robert Kyle-sax, Dave Hill-Musical Director/guitar, Larry Antonino-bass and Jonathan Dresel-drums. The title track was breezy and easy flowing featuring Saran gently serenading the audience with sax coolly soloing. “Let The Waves Wash Over” kept the same mode musically, but the lyrics had a political perspective as the China-based artist smoothly sang about voting for change. Of course, everyone in attendance eagerly awaited Walden playing and he eventually took over on drums for hypnotic ballad “Don’t Forget My Name.” The showcase ended with Saran shifting to being hip for cool swinging “Get Over Yourself,” which should be strongly considered as a single for jazz radio. For more info go to: jennifersaran.com.
Over the years there have been concerns and questions about how to bridge the generation gap in jazz. Remarkably, one artist has done that, whether it be intentional or not, and not water down his music in the least. In fact, no would ever accuse him of being lightweight. That would be tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington who recently played with his large ensemble at the Theatre at The Ace Hotel. Uniquely, Washington since the release of his 2015 breakout three-disc recording The Epic has surrounded himself with mostly friends he either grew up or went to school with. That includes his father Rickey Washington who mostly plays flute and alto sax in the band. Dwight Trible, also about his father’s age was helping out on backing vocals and choruses. Other wise the band is comprised of young lions for what is called The West Coast Get Down or The Next Step.
To a cheering crowd Washington launched a dense high-energy assault encompassing all the band members intensely jamming away. In the midst of the fray the ensemble leader countered with a slow bebop oriented solo and crescendo to eventually catch up to the band’s overall energy. Following the saxophonist’s lead the other musicians showcased their skills similarly throughout the show, beginning with the drummer Ron Bruner Jr. For a change of pace, Washington’s played mildly funky jazz waltz-like ballad “No Matter What Happens I’m Me,” featuring vocalist Patrice Quinn.
That vibe continued with a slightly up-tempo thematic composition and continued spotlighting players including DJ Battlecat blowing the audience away with his hot turntable skills. Not to be overlooked bassist Miles Mosley employed over the top electronics effects as he bowed frantically, much to the audience’s amazement before settling into a lush and spiritual groove with the band that also featured Donte Winslow-trumpet and Ryan Porter-trombone. Afterwards, the band shifted to celestial jazz funk highlighted by Washington, Bruner and Tony Austin, the other drummer. As a special bonus, Terrance Martin on alto sax joined the ensemble for more spirited jamming with tinges of funk toward the end of the nearly two hour show that included an full blown, nearly symphonic and deeply rooted encore.
Veteran alto saxophonist Charles McPherson, formerly a member of the Charles Mingus Big Band during the ‘60s and presently a longtime San Diego resident performed at the Jazz Bakery’s Moss Theatre location. Joining him for his 80th birthday outing was Mikan Zlatkovich-piano, Jeff Littleton-bass and Tyler Kutel-drums. The bandleader cordially greeted the audience and opened with bebop styled “Star Eyes” featuring him and the other players impressively stretching out. Nat King Cole popularized song “Nature Boy” followed and coolly unfolded with lyrical playing from McPherson and Zlatkovich as the rhythm players flowed along and soloed too. However, for its close the bandleader soared profoundly to draw strong crowd reactions.
For contrast “Marionette” was peppy and modal, influenced by the bandleader’s youngest daughter’s early activities, who’s now a principal ballerina at the San Diego Ballet. Another original composition was sullen saxophone-piano duet ballad “Reflections of The Election” that understandably drew audience reactions before it started. Returning to full band mode was another ballad entitled “Old Folks” mostly featuring the bandleader playing passionately. Restoring energy in the performance was bebop classic “Billie’s Bounce” with the group strongly interacting and showcasing their skills, along with another Parker tune “Cherokee” featuring the saxophonist and drummer wailing away to excite the attendees. For the encore McPherson chose decidedly much more relaxed and subtler “Lover Man.” For more info go to: www.charlesmcpherson.com and www.jazzbakery.org.
Piano prodigy Joey Alexander, born 2003 in Indonesia, is now old enough to drive, but so far it seems like the only driving he does is on the piano. That has been worldwide since he was signed to Motema Records nine years ago. At the Broad Stage Kris Funn-bass and Kendrick Scott-drums backed him, and the audience enthusiastically greeted the young pianist as he came onstage. Getting things underway, Bassist Funn did a solo intro that eventually became “Faithful,” a cascading and long piece that wasn’t overblown, and displayed Alexander’s growth, both as a solo artist and a bandleader. “Bali” also from the bandleader latest project Eclipse was a temperate homage to his birthplace and lightly thematic with drums accenting. From the pianist’s previous CD Countdown, “Soul Dreamer” was a softer and probing piece played intelligently and solely initially, with the trio later adding rhythmic touches and solos.
Joe Henderson’s “Inner Urge” possessed different time signatures melded together to provide both relaxing and turbulent moments in a thematic framework, with bass and drums soloing to overall draw strong audience reactions. From a less hectic standpoint, Alexander’s “Peace” tastefully melded gospel and jazz into an appealing ballad that was also bolstered by a sumptuous bass solo. Unrecorded “Mosaic” and “Valentine” were the most conventionally constructed of all the young pianist’s performed selections, yet still displayed commanding prowess and solid band interplay.
In strong contrast, newly debuted “To Come” translated from Alexander’s Indonesian tongue began with avant-garde cymbal ringing and hand drumming. It mimicked a dragon dance that quickly became to a sweeping piece with propulsive drum accents as the other players joined in, resulting in an exceptionally long standing ovation. For the encore gospel drenched original “Sunday Waltz” was tastefully rendered with easy flowing sophistication from the trio.
Guitar legend Kenny Burrell took a fall two years ago. He is still recovering and on sabbatical from UCLA. Essentially, he is still unable to play and/or teach. Help is needed and welcomed. Here’s the link for donations setup by his wife Katherine:
Singer/lyricist/pianist Dave Frishberg is not doing well at all. If you who have enjoyed the gift of Dave’s music, please feel inspired to help him now that he needs it.
The Angel City Jazz Festival – LA’s most adventurous jazz festival -was founded in 2008 by music promoter Rocco Somazzi. In 2009, Cryptogramophone’s founder Jeff Gauthier became a festival co producer and the festival moved to the Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood. Since then the festival has grown into an essential multi day celebration of cutting edge Jazz at some of the most exciting & prestigious venues in LA, such as LACMA, REDCAT, Zipper Hall, the Bluewhale, the World Stage, the Lodge Room and Mr Musichead Gallery.
The festival is presented by ANGEL CITY ARTS, a non-profit organization committed to cultivating and revitalizing jazz culture in Los Angeles by producing concerts by established and emerging music innovators who have achieved exceptionally high levels of musicianship and brought forward a significant contribution to the evolution of jazz and improvised music.
The Angel City Jazz Festival consistently features the most innovative and original national and international jazz musicians working today, balancing established jazz artists with emerging talent, and focusing on west coast creative jazz, past, present and future.
Pre Festival event: 2019 Young Artist Competition Finals
7:00 PM 9:00 PM
Santa Monica Public Library
Finalists for our 2019 Young Artist Competition will perform live sets in front of a panel of judges. The winner will receive a $1500 cash prize and the opportunity to perform at LACMA on October 4th. Free and open to the public
Iridescent + Artifacts Trio
7:30 PM 10:00 PM
Mr Musichead Gallery
7:30 pm Iridescent with Nicole Mitchell & Christina Wheeler
9:00pm Artifacts Trio with Tomeka Reid, Nicole Mitchell and Mike Reed
Simple Trio + Parlour Game
8:00 PM 10:30 PM
8:00pm Anna Webber’s Simple Trio
9:30pm Jenny Scheinmann and Allison Miller’s Parlour Game
Competition Winners + Jacob Mann
6:00 PM 8:00 PM
6pm Winners of the 2019 Young Artist Competition
7pm Jacob Mann
Katisse + Diatom Ribbons
8:00 PM 10:30 PM
9:30pm Kris Davis’ Diatom Ribbons
Dan Rosenmboom A.I.T.A + JBL Quintet
9:00 PM 11:30 PM
9pm Dan Rosemboon A.I.T.A
10:30pm James Brandon Lewis Quintet
Ego Mondo + Aaron Parks Little Big
7:30 PM 10:00 PM
Mr Musichead Gallery
7:30pm Ego Mondo with special guest Kokayi
9:00pm Aaron Parks Little Big
Darius Jones & Joshua White + Dwight Trible
8:00 PM 10:30 PM
The World Stage
8pm Darius Jones & Joshua White
9:30pm Dwight Trible ‘Mothership’
Terry and Gyan Riley
8:30 PM 10:00 PM
8:30pm Terry and Gyan Riley
Greenlief/Dunn/Amendola + TBA
9:00 PM 11:30 PM
David Binney’s Future Philosophy + Makaya McCraven
8:00 PM 10:30 PM
The Lodge Room
8pm David Binney’s Future Philosophy
9:30pm Makaya McCraven
Angel City Jazz Festival
October 1 to 6 & 9 to 13, 2019
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
Oct 2 Iridescent & The Artifacts Trio
Oct 4 Vijay Iyer Special Solo Performance
Oct 9 Ego Mondo feat. Kokayi & Aaron Parks Little Big
Oct 16 Hearts and Minds
Oct 23 Alex Harding and Lucian Ban
Oct 30 Blue Note Artist Dave McMurray
October 4 Eliane Elias: Love Stories… Album Release Tour
October 5 Joey DeFrancesco Trio
October 6 John Clayton’s Bass Monsters!
October 11 Christian Howes “American Spirit”
October 12 & 13 Pharoah Sanders
October 19 Kendrick Scott Oracle/Marquis Hill Love Tape
Nate Holden Performing Arts Center
October 20 Theo Bleckmann and Endless Field
October 27 Luis Muñoz: “The Infinite Dream” w/ voc. Lois Mahalia
New Roads School at The Herb Alpert Educational Village
3131 Olympic Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Jazz Bakery’s Moveable Feasts
“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.
CAP UCLA’s 2019-20 season highlights
with Christian McBride & Brian Blade
The Ford Theatres in association with CAP UCLA Presents
My Rock Stars Experimental – Live!
Aaron Neville Duo
Joshua Redman Quartet with The Bad Plus
Sergio Mendes & Bebel Gilberto
The Theatre at Ace Hotel
Bill Frisell & Julian Lage Duo
Jan 25, 2020
The Theatre at Ace Hotel
Feb 7, 2020
Feb 20, 2020
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Feb 28, 2020
Omar Sosa & Yilian Cañizares
Featuring Gustavo Ovalles
Mar 7, 2020
Octavia E. Butler’s
Parable Of The Sower
Created By Toshi Reagon and
Bernice Johnson Reagon
Music and Lyrics By Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon
Directed By Eric Ting
Mar 26, 2020
Fly Higher: Charlie Parker At 100
Co-musical Directors: Rudresh Mahanthappa & Terri Lyne Carrington
Apr 18, 2020
The Theatre at Ace Hotel
Apr 25, 2020
Anthony De Mare
Liaisons 2020: Re-imagining Sondheim From The Piano
Subscriptions and individual tickets on sale at:
Jazz ‘n Paz
Fall 2019 Concert Series
Intimate Pasadena early Sunday evening Jazz programs to nourish your soul
Performances à la Carte is a collaborative arts events producer with a mission to create unique, original live performances utilizing multi-arts genres to showcase the diverse artistic community in the greater Los Angeles, San Gabriel and Crescenta Valley area and to connect the arts with social needs and issues that serve the public interest.
Singer, songwriter and artistic director of Performances à la Carte, Carla (Jamie) Perez, is considered a very versatile singer, a performance artist of eclectic tastes and total vocality. Although she studied with some of the world’s most renown classical singers/teachers, she considers her first voice teachers and interpreters of song growing up to be jazz greats Sarah Vaughan, Nancy Wilson and Ella Fitzgerald and admits she frequently gave “Frankie” a spin (all via vinyl).
Though the music of jazz and Broadway were her first loves, her father, a lover of jazz but a devoted operaphile, persuaded her (or else) to pursue a career in classical music, which she did very successfully for 30 years. She is delighted to return to her roots and sing some of the jazz music she “cut her teeth on” (literally – she teethed on jazz album covers as an infant). Through her artistic endeavors with Performances à la Carte, she continues to create collaborative projects that promote artists, serve the public interest and that fuel her passion for beauty, authenticity and social justice.
November 17, 2 + 1 Plus Latin features Lyman Medeiros on bass, vocals by Jamie Perez, Nick Mancini on vibes, and special featured guest, Louis Cruz Beltran on congas with Carlos Vivas on piano and Abelardo Quintaro on drums.
December 22, Carols of the Belles Holiday Jazz ‘n Paz featuring Barbara Morrison, Jamie Perez, and Renee Myara, with Michael Ragonese on piano, James Yoshizawa on drums, Danny Janklow on sax and flute, and Cooper Appelt on bass.
Neighborhood UU Church
301 North Orange Grove Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91103
Series subscriptions are now on sale, offering a discount compared to individual concert tickets.
Mostly Blues Festival
October 12, 2019
Musco Center for the Arts
415 N. Glassell
Orange, CA 92866
Jazz at LACMA | Smidt Welcome Plaza
October 4 Angel City Jazz Festival featuring Jacob Mann
October 11 The 70s Project
October 18 Hiroe Sekine
October 25 Rita Edmond
Smidt Welcome Plaza
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
5905 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Any information to be considered for this column can be sent to: email@example.com