A big surprise evening was held at the newer City Club of Los Angeles, Saturday evening, January 4th, 2020 arranged and hosted by Linda Morgan Sam, (Jazz Legacy Preservationist). Linda Sam has been presenting jazz concerts for several years now and has made a unique accomplishment of providing some wonderful jazz concerts at the City Club, located at the top (51st floor) of the City National Bank Building, downtown L.A. They also have an excellent buffet for every concert performance.
After some introductions by Mrs. Linda Sam, which included some very special business supporters, the Karen Hernandez Trio began their musical journey. Linda introduced the trio who had bassist great, Henry “Skipper” Franklin and superb drummer, Donald Dean, Sr. and splendid Icon Karen Hernandez on piano. They began with the well-known standard: “If I Were a Bell,” with some outstanding solos each. These fine musicians have played numerous times together over nearly the last fifty years.
Longtime jazz disc jockey, James Janisse, for KBCA, KLON and KKJZ, now has his own jazz radio production show on www.KJMJ Radio.com and is now becoming quite an excellent jazz vocalist as well. His story is unique by subbing for vocalist Jimmy Spencer, who had to come late to a jazz gig. Janisse had access to Spencer’s songbooks and helped for over an hour sitting in at fine local club in the Valley. He did outstandingly well and has been getting some very good work from this experience. He joined the Hernandez trio for a number of favorite standards throughout both sets of the evening, “I Love Being Here with You,” and “I Remember You,” were his first selections. Janisse’s voice is excellent. He enunciates lyrics extremely well. “Bye, Bye Blackbird,” “Muddy Water Blues,” “Almost Like Being in Love,” “The Very Thought of You,” “Route 66” and “Too Marvelous for Words” were most of the songs Janisse sang to finish the first set.
There was a huge turnout for this jazz presentation this evening. This room on the top, 51st floor of City National Bank Building, is very big, plenty of room to make a very large gathering, generally speaking. The audience was full and very much into this concert and gave many rounds of applause constantly for all of the artists performing. Karen Hernandez is one of the best and most recognized pianists and accompanists for many years now. Late, great pianist, Gene Harris, of the original “Three Sounds Trio,” heard her many years ago in Salt Lake City, Utah and encouraged her to come to
Los Angeles, which she did in 1968. Famed late, great bassist, Andy Simpkins, gave Karen a lot of help when she was here early on. Both rhythm players, bassist Henry Franklin and drummer Donald Dean, Sr. have had long standing careers as jazz performers and are very well known for their illustrious work. These musicians mentioned above are all living legendary jazz performers.
The second set show moved beautifully again with Janisse singing a number of tunes to close out the evening, “Love was Made for You and Me,” “The Girl From Ipanema,” “The Look of Love,” “Every Day I Have the Blues,” “The More I See You,” “I Could Write a Book,” “Lullaby of Birdland,” and “That’s All” to close out the concert. The audience was very happy with this concert. I mentioned to all of them that I would like to see them record in some future time coming up.
Glenn A. Mitchell