Thursday, February 7th 2019 – 8:00pm
“At Last…my love has come along”

At the beautiful
Irvine Barclay Theatre
4242 Campus Drive, Irvine, CA



Southern California’s Finest Musicians

Extraordinary Guest Vocalist

**(Click below to listen to Barbara singing “At Last” )



MIKE PEAK – Bass & Leader
2018 California Jazz & Blues Hall of Fame Inductee
Performances with Joe Pass, John Chiodini, Llew Mathews – plus




Founder/President of CA Jazz & Blues Museum and Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center
Performances with The Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orch. Count Basie, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie – plus

Performances with Mel Torme, Margaret Whiting, Peter Frampton, Kenny Burrell – plus

ANN PATTERSON – Alto, Tenor, Soprano, Baritone Saxes, Oboe & Flute
LA Jazz Society Jazz Educator Award –  Leader Maiden Voyage 17 piece all-femail big band,
Performances with Ray Charles, Etta James, Lou Rawles, Melissa Manchester – plus

Performances with Diana Krall, Glady’s Knight, Michael Buble, BB King, Horace Silver – plus

Performances with Stan Kenton, John Williams, Ella Fitzgerald – plus

Performances with Kenny Burrell, Alan Broadbent, Phil Upchurch, Jack Jones


The Barclay Theater

“AT LAST…my love has come along”


The Barclay Theater – Reservations  949-854-4646
Or go to:






“Brace yourselves folks, these men are quickly solidifying themselves amongst NOLA’s proud big brass elite…and seem intent to sublimate the homogenous tones of the contemporary urban music landscape with the lush instrumentation of our culture’s root.” — OKAYPLAYER

Creating a fusion of funk, soul, hip hop, jazz, and rock, The Soul Rebels’ seemingly always packed calendar will bring them to Los Angeles with special guest Big Freedia adding an extra bounce to their LA engagement.

As the only Los Angeles stop on The Soul Rebels’ THE WAY UP TOUR!, the eight-piece brass ensemble looks forward to the kick-off performance of their highly anticipated, seven-year awaited, album release this summer 2019. Reflecting the flavor of the new album, audiences of The Theatre at Ace Hotel will have the first listen.

Known for their distinctive style, their work with artists like Nas, G-Eazy, GZA, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, and Metallica keeps the group ever relevant. After a landmark year of live collaborations with Marilyn Manson, Portugal the Man, DMX and Matisyahu, they are truly on the way up, the given name of their tour. Following debut national TV appearances on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and NPR’S Tiny Desk with hip hop legend GZA, The Soul Rebels are foreseeing a national revolution of brass bands.

The Soul Rebels are riding high in 2019, receiving national attention with a performance on NPR’s Tiny Desk series, a debut late night TV appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, a headlining set at the 2018 global TED Conference, and an appearance and official soundtrack feature for Universal Pictures’ hit comedy Girls Trip. The band continues to expand its international reach touring four continents including Europe, Australia, China, South Korea and Japan. Their explosive stage presence has led to live collaborations with the likes of: Nas, G-Eazy, Portugal. The Man, Robert Glasper, Pretty Lights, DMX, Marilyn Manson, Joey Bada$$, Talib Kweli, GZA, Macklemore, and Big Freedia among many others, and opening for Lauryn Hill and Nile Rodgers.

The Soul Rebels started with an idea – to expand upon the pop music they loved on the radio and the New Orleans brass tradition they grew up on. They took that tradition and blended funk and soul with elements of hip hop, jazz and rock all within a brass band context. The band has built a career around an eclectic live show that harnesses the power of horns and drums in a deep pocket funk party-like atmosphere. The Soul Rebels continue to chart new territory as they feature in major films, tour globally, and combine topnotch musicianship with songs that celebrate dancing, life, funk and soul.

Big Freedia, known as the Queen of Bounce, is a New Orleans-based rapper and ambassador of Bounce music. A vibrant twist on hip-hop, Bounce music is characterized by call-and-response lyrics over rapid-fire beats and booty-shaking.

After running the New Orleans club scene for over two decades, Big Freedia is now bringing the Bounce movement to a worldwide stage with her hit reality show, Big Freedia Bounces Back on Fuse. The weekly docu-series, now in its sixth season, follows the life of a gay choirboy turned Bounce rapper and remains the highest-rated original series on the network.





February 16 at The Theatre at Ace Hotel DTLA
Single tickets: $29–$59
Phone: 310-825-2101
Available now at and, &
The Theatre at Ace Hotel box office: Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; day of the show, 90 minutes prior to the event start time.





The day of this concert would be full of surprises for me. It would be my first visit to the Segerstrom Center in Costa Mesa. On the way there I saw a lot of Southern California and it was dark when we arrived. We parked and made our way to the theater. It was so busy with patrons entering different locations. The Nutcracker signage was a beautiful flash of colors, with a lot of children entering with their parents. I knew that Segerstrom was a big campus but was really impressed with the bustling crowds, the excitement of just being there.

The driver this evening was Preston Duncan, the webmaster of our LA. Jazz Scene website accompanied by his lovely wife, Hilda. We were escorted into the Samueli Theater, which was set up with tables and chairs. It was already packed as though a classy jazz club. However, it was dark and I had a difficult time writing my notes. It was a very special evening and I enjoyed it all. The music was reverent, stimulating and Elling is a truly superb singer. From the first time I ever heard him, he defined how a jazz singer is able to capture emotions and ideas through his distinctive voice. Over the years he’s gotten stronger and direct with his approach. I’ve heard him in club settings and at the big Playboy Jazz Festival in Hollywood Bowl, where the crowds can get very noisy.

Elling is always relaxed and totally present as he sings, scats and tells his stories. He truly has grown as an artist as he accepts more and more accolades from fans and jazz writers. I remember exactly when I first heard him. I got a call from a publicist that a new singer would be working in L.A. and he asked if we wanted to hear him. I said sure and so we went a small restaurant near the campus of Northridge State College. Elling had been given a list of jazz venues in Southern California and a car and told to go! I couldn’t imagine how he would be able to do that but he did. I was amazed at how good he was, how genuine he was. This was a true jazz singer I remember writing. His song choices were perfect, his voice was strong and sturdy, his scatting was fantastic. By this time he has performed all over the world to audiences who immediately recognize his singular talent.

Segerstrom Center for the Arts is a destination for everyone who is looking for the classics, the new, the exciting surprises that come when you venture out to discover all that is available. As we drove back to our homes we all agreed that the trip had been eye popping terrific!

–Myrna Daniels






Jacques Schwarz-Bart –saxophone; Gregory Privat – piano; Stephane Kericki – bass; Arnaud Dolmen – drums; David Linx – vocal on Track 1&4
Jacques Schwarz-Bart has been at the center of several musical revolutions: neo soul next to D’Angelo and Erika Badu, New Jazz as a founding member of Roy Hargrove RH Factor. He outright created two surging new styles: Gwoka Jazz, and Voodoo jazz, reuniting jazz music with its Afro-Caribbean and spiritual origins. Jacques’ impressionistic writing, powerful tone, and wide-ranging language – both lyrical and angular – have fueled a growing presence on the world stage.
Hazzan is a Jazz creation embracing Jewish liturgical music, improvisational sequences and infectious rhythms. The name Hazzan means cantor in the Jewish tradition. It came to me from a Rabbi commenting on my performance of Adon Olam as a jazz duet for the Jewish French Foundation (FJF) in 2008. He said: “when you played, your notes sounded like a prayer. You are a hazzan on your saxophone”. This was 3 years after my father passed away, and since then I have decided to pay tribute to his memory by creating a project revolving around jazz music and hazzanout (the art of chanting Jewish prayers).
As soon as I started working on the arrangements, it became clear that these powerful ancient melodies lent themselves to impressionist harmonization, and could be enhanced with rhythms from the African diaspora (USA, Afro Caribbean, Gnawa).
Armed with these founding elements, I researched Jewish traditions from Europe, the middle East and North Africa, selecting songs of contrasting colors to paint a mystical and uplifting fresque.
In The Morning Star, my father describes a character who – just like me – is a jazz musician from Jewish and Black descent. He refuses to be labeled half Jewish and half black, and claims to be 200%: 100% Jewish and 100% black. I hope Hazzan will do justice to this conception of my Jewish identity as the blossoming fruit of universal cross pollination.”
Jacques Schwarz-Bart was born in Guadeloupe. His parents are both widely acclaimed writers. His father André won the Goncourt award and his mother wrote several jewels of Caribbean literature. After graduating from the French School of Government (Sciences Po Paris), Jacques has been working for the French Senate. He was seemingly destined to a career as a statesman. But another path had been shaping up in the same time: a path of music and mysticism. Jacques discovered African mysticism through Gwoka Music. The ceremonies called Lewoz took place at night in the darkness of the country side in sugar cane fields, where rhythms and chants emote a spiritual call.
After playing alongside such luminaries as Roy Hargrove, Danilo Perez, Ari Hoenig, Meshell n’Degeocello, D’angelo or Chucho Valdes, Jacques finally decides to follow his own vision as a band leader. He then leaves Roy Hargrove’s band in 2005 and finalizes his Gwoka Jazz Project, gathering some faithful and talented musicians such as Sonny Troupé, Olivier Juste or Milan Milanovic. Jacques and his Gwoka Project recorded two albums for Universal, Soné Ka La and Abyss, which have built his current career as an internationally acclaimed jazz band leader. In 2010, he releases Rise Above, which revives his long-lasting collaboration with singer – and spouse – Stephanie McKay and blends NY urban mood and Caribbean feelings.
In 2012 Jacques Schwarz-Bart has created a project that synergizes modern jazz and ritual voodoo music from Haiti. It features two Voodoo priests: the great singer Errol Josué, and percussionist Gaston Bonga, as well as some of the finest Jazz musicians: Etienne Charles, Obed Calvaire, Luqies Cutis, and Milan Milanovic. While remaining a jazz project, the music is lifted by the powerful spirituality of voodoo music. Band members and audience seem to be sailing together on a sea of light. The music has been presented as the headliner for the opening day of the famous Banlieues Blues festival in Paris, early 2011. Jacques then has extensively been touring with this project. The Jazz Racine Haiti project has finally been recorded and released by Motema Music in January 2014, and inspired raving reviews from journalists all around the world.
It has been years since Jacques and Omar Sosa discussed the creation of a common project, a symbiotic meeting of Haitian and Cuban spiritual traditions, enmeshed in the language of modern jazz. They finally gathered on the same stage late 2014 with an immediate complicity, almost frighteningly energetic and luminous. A residence in Guadeloupe followed early 2015, where both leaders brought their respective trios. The Creole Spirits project is now on the rails, with concerts, a new CD to come, and a high-quality documentary for TV or film festivals.

Since the release of Jazz Racine Haiti, Jacques Schwarz-Bart has become an ambassador for a school of modern Jazz rooted in Voodoo music.  Jacques’ impressionistic writing, powerful tone, and wide-ranging language – both lyrical and angular – have fueled a growing presence on the world stage. His vision has inspired an entire generation of young Jazzmen infusing their jazz expression with their native influences. Late 2016, Jacques became associate professor @ Berklee College of Music, where he is teaching mainly ensembles over different styles: jazz music, neo-soul… And he is also planning to let in Caribbean jazz into this prestigious institution.
Since 2016, Jacques has worked on Hazzan which is the jazz recording and interpretation of Jewish liturgical chants, many of which carried the spirit of a people through 5775 years of history. These songs are emotionally charged historically, and on a personal level, since this project is a tribute to his late father, the writer, André Schwarz-Bart.




As I drove along Cahuenga Boulevard looking for Theatre West, I thought I had possibly passed it. Then I spotted a huge painting of Judy Garland on the side of a building. That must be it! I found it so I turned around and parked across the street. I hurried and found a seat inside the medium (but perfect) sized theatre which was filled with Kiki Ebsen fans.

The staging was immediately interesting. Two very tall screens were on both sides of the stage. The musicians were at the back, center stage, Kiki Ebsen was sitting on a chair looking through a large trunk, She takes something out of the trunk and goes to the weathered looking piano on stage. She sings “Missing You.” The two extra large screens show her Dad, looking young, movie star handsome as she sings so tenderly. She goes back to the chair and continues to look in the trunk. “I liked pop/rock, Dad liked the Classics. Dad was a song and dance man.” She continues to look in the trunk, finds the songbook to “The Wizard of Oz.” She vowed to record those songs some day.

Dad was born in 1908, and he was 12 when his family relocated to Florida and his father opened a dance studio. He had a hankering for New York so he wentthere and lived in a cold-water flat while he looked for work. He and his sister Vilma got a few roles. The large screen shows Eleanor Powell singing “Easy to Love” as Buddy dances on the screen. Then Kiki sings “Easy to Love” as the band backs her.  The audience is enjoying  it all.

Time moves on and Buddy and his family are on their way to Hollywood. Buddy worked at the Hollywood Center Studio where “The Beverly Hillbillies” was filmed. I probably saw every single episode on TV. It was one of my favorites.  Kiki sang “Comes Love” with a Latin feel for a fine rendition. Kiki told the story about her Dad’s experience with The Wizard of Oz film. Buddy had been hired to play The Tin Man. He had been dusted with aluminum powder, real aluminum and it affected him severely.

When he said, “I can’t breathe,” he was rushed to a hospital. It took a long time for him to heal, so Ray Bolger was given the role. Finally Buddy was able to get back to work. Kiki then sang a nifty version of “If I Only Had a Brain.” I’m absolutely bewitched by all the activity on stage and so is the rest of the audience. This multi-media creation is working perfectly!

The Ebsen family moved from Balboa Island to a ranch nestled in the Santa Monica mountain range. There were 6 girls in the family and one boy, Dustin, who is also responsible for this production. Buddy Ebsen starred in the movie, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” playing husband to Audrey Hepburn. Pianist Jeff Colella backs Kiki on a gorgeous version of “Moon River.”  That was surely a magical film. The other musicians were so good all evening, they made the evening complete: Kendall Kay-drums, Kim Richmond-woodwinds, Granville “Danny” Young-bass.  Ebsen was moving around the stage, singing and talking  as the scenes changed on the tall screens. Buddy Ebsen also starred in “Barnaby Jones” and “The Legend of Davy Crockett” on TV.  “St. Louis Blues”  was another highlight as Kiki got into a very Bluesy, jazzy mood.  The band jumped in and they all produced a hearty, funky music for a rendition that was powerful! The audience whooped with delight.

Another great clip was shown of Buddy dancing with Shirley Temple to “At The Codfish Ball.” The tall lanky Buddy tap dancing with the little girl, both nailing the complicated choreography. They made it look like easy fun. This show was so interesting because it was nostalgic, historic, totally  entertaining. The audience was whooping and applauding  all the magic that was happening on stage. With exquisite, soft accompaniment  Kiki sang a heartbreaking, beautiful “Over The Rainbow.”   It moved me so much, I was reminded of my own father and how he helped me every day he was alive.

Kiki Ebsen created something so memorable, so powerful with all kinds of life lessons. She took the audience on an unforgettable journey. The musicians were wonderful, the stage setting itself was excellent. After the show Kiki came back on stage and answered questions from the audience. It was almost like we couldn’t get enough.  We wanted to hear more about Kiki’s dad and her life as well. She has a CD out that includes most of the material she sang on stage. Find out more at

Finally, this theatre worked great for this show. I looked at the material I picked up on my way out and there are some productions that I’m interested in seeing. Theater West is just off the Hollywood freeway, the parking is easy and it’s only $5.oo.  There are people who are working hard to bring new talent in, to explore all facets of life. They’re also going to have some shows that would interest jazz fans too. Plus comedians who will teach us a thing or two about life! We encourage everyone to check out Theatre West soon.…..3333 Cahuenga Blvd.West  Los Angeles 90068  (323) 851-7977

Thank you to Garry Kluger for the photographs.

By Myrna Daniels










New York based pianist, Emmet Cohen brought his trio to Sunset Jazz at Newport, Wed. August 15, 2018.  His rhythm section is also New York based musicians, bassist, Russell Hall and drummer, Evan Sherman.

All three have a huge base of accomplishments.  Tony Guerrero joined the Cohen Trio as guest trumpet and flugelhornist.

These concerts are very comfortable in the Rose Gardens at Newport Beach’s Marriott Hotel.  Concerts are 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. and are in the ninth year of this series, Wednesday evenings, for eleven weeks.

Their trio began with a suave gem, “The Second Time Around.”  The audience was well settled and full to capacity.  The trio’s sound was very well balanced, bringing a definite shine to each of the three trio performers.

The next two tunes were both jazz classics: Dizzy Gillespie’s “Tin, Tin Deo,” and “Poiniciana,” made famous, jazz-wise, by the great Ahmad Jamal.

In “Tin, Tin Deo,” Cohen provided some sparkling chordal voicings, melodic lines and had special rhythmic patterns from both Hall and Sherman.  “Poinciana” had a standard introduction that moved right into the number with full strength backing from the trio.

Tony Guerrero joined the trio on muted trumpet for a well-known song, “Smile.”  This number was done in moderately fast tempo and the audience gave appreciative applause along the way.  Very good tune picks in this set.  They continued with “Mahana De Carnival,” Guerrero added in on flugelhorn setting up some beautiful solos for both Cohen’s brilliant piano work and a big bass solo by Russell.  “You Don’t Know What Love Is” had a lot of rhythmic interludes and the group ended the first set with Dizzy Gillespie’s the great classic “Manteca,” also giving way for a huge drum solo from Sherman extremely well received.

The second set began with the trio doing “Billy Boy,” a tune from long ago.  Everything played on this one with the trio exemplified modern swing, but again, with spectacular voicings and rhythmical movements and a dynamic ending.  Next, making a meaningful tribute to Oscar Peterson, they played a Dance titled number I did not get the name of.  Their drummer, Evan Sherman played lots of drumming (a vibrant excursion), adding much to this number.

A beautiful and gorgeous ballad “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” followed, making this song a standout and highlight of the evening, in my opinion, with Guerrero playing muted trumpet.  This was a very suave setting for the audience, giving much more appreciative applause.  Adding to this already excellent set, the group played the famous “Perdido.”   Tony Guerrero made the number sound so good with his flugel horn on this one.  Bassist Hall provided another fantastic big bass solo.

A surprise was also given by Hall for all of us, doing a vocal, “I’m in the Mood for Love,” with just piano and bass only.  His voice was distinctive and radiant.   He played a lovely bowing solo on his bass as well.

The audience gave a good amount of applause for this one.

An interesting number, “Symphonic Wraps,” by the late, great Cedar Walton played next, making a nice arrangement by Cohen and a good tribute to Walton.

Guerrero gave all of us a surprise by doing a vocal number, “When You’re Smiling” and playing trumpet in alternating choruses.   He did his voice perfectly as in the original version many years back, also playing some groovy lines on his trumpet for the closing number to this eloquent concert.

See Emmet Cohen’s website: , also check out .   There are two more concerts before this series finishes.  For reservations, call 1(949) 759-5003.

Glenn A. Mitchell




As a promoter, producer, jazz historian and journalist, I’ve been fortunate to witness first-hand, many of the evolving trends in a genre that is never stagnant. But clearly, the most gratifying aspect in all of this, are the opportunities to witness emerging talent. One such artist is Marlon Martinez, a prolific bassist, composer, arranger and bandleader. He’s steeped in both jazz and classical traditions, yet versatile enough to fuse funk, rock, blues, r&b and other styles into his music.

An L.A. native, Marlon Martinez is an accomplished virtuoso who is mature beyond his years. He garnered a Master’s degree at the prestigious Colburn Conservatory of Music, in Los Angeles. Mr. Martinez has performed for world-class conductors such as James Conlon, Nicholas McGegan, David Newman, Sir Neville Marriner, Gerard Schwarz, Bramwell Tovey, Giancarlo Guerrero and Gustavo Dudamel, among others. In addition, Marlon has studied with Dennis Trembly, Co-Principal Bass of the L.A. Philharmonic and Leigh Mesh, Associate Principal Bass of the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, in New York.

In 2010, and again the following year, Marlon was named to the critically-acclaimed Verbier Festival Orchestra in Switzerland. He performed with stellar soloists such as Mischa Maisky, Charles Dutoit, Valery Gergiev and Yuja Wang, among others.

A protégé of mentor Stanley Clarke, Marlon also studies with Ron Carter. Mr. Martinez played for Burt Bacharach at the San Diego Pops and for Ellis Marsalis in New Orleans. He has appeared with Mike Garson, David Bowie’s pianist, and was a sideman with various jazz legends and Quatuor Ebéne, a popular, French string quartet. It’s classical and jazz renditions are equally masterful, worldwide. Bob Sheppard, Jim Walker, Fred Moyer and Bernard Fowler, are also among this elite group. Marlon’s mother, Josie James, sang with George Duke, Stevie Wonder, Al Jarreau, Burt Bacharach and the Jazz Crusaders. Marlon’s pedigree is firmly rooted.

Marlon has launched his own ensembles, the Jazz Marlonius Quartet and the Marlonius Jazz Orchestra (MJO). Each eclectic gathering is easily adaptable. Martinez reveals, “My debut album, Yours Truly, showcases how I express myself as a composer. It’s an exploration of both sides of my bass playing — the improvisational and the written elements. I sought to approach jazz and the bass in different ways, through personal collaborations”. He met pianist Isaac Wilson, saxophonist Jacob Scesney and Aaron Blumenthal, as well as drummer Cam Johnson, during his undergrad days at Colburn.

Like teammates who pursue success during heated competition or troops tested by combat, musicians also develop peer chemistry in the studio, on the bandstand and often, away from the spotlight. In 2009, after forming such a genuine bond with Isaac, Marlon was introduced to the local jazz scene. Soon, the same camaraderie quickly occurred with the entire band. They ultimately became a cohesive unit, sharing a single vision without foregoing their own identities. “I developed such personal friendships with them that the music feels organic and conversational”, says Martinez. While sharing these exact sentiments, Stewart Copeland and Judd Miller, embellish the ensemble, both individually and collectively.

Pianist Patrice Rushen explains, “I’ve known Marlon most of his life. I’ve watched him mature into an expressive, passionate musician who is also reliable, dedicated, diligent and an open young man. Marlon’s sense of composition, increasing awareness about ensemble sound and feel as a player, are in part, what he brings to the group setting. He’s also developing into an inventive soloist.”

On his maiden voyage, Marlon ushers the unsuspecting listener on a mystical odyssey. The journey descends to the depths of our souls and soars to lofty plateaus. Although Martinez is steeped in rich traditions, his unique approach is always fresh.

The first track, Jazz Marlonius, depicts an intimate venue in contrast with a bustling, urban backdrop. Due to its chord structure, inherent grove and playful interaction, Marlon has dubbed it a “feel-good vibe.”

The melodic chord structures of Fay, are based on the 12-note chromatic scale. This was actually Marlon’s first experience writing on the piano. Prior to that, he used his trusty bass to compose. As the tune gradually became more familiar, Marlon deployed it as a learning tool to pass his piano class. This is why Marlon always feels a special connection to Fay. The soprano player sets the tone for the rest throughout this offering.

Saint-Pierre-de-Maillé, features a compelling duet as Isaac Wilson’s piano intro, creates a haunting refrain, while Marlon’s solo is peppered with contrasting intervals. For Martinez, this composition is particularly significant. As he trekked through the French countryside, Marlon observed local graveyards, quaint, sleepy hamlets and ancient churches. His journey inspired him to ponder the true meaning of life, death, joy, anguish and the human condition.

Some enduring standards like Invitation have been recorded and performed thousands of times, for decades, by a multitude of artists. Marlon’s jagged bassline underscores this shrewd treatment. The alternating Latin-swing groove, precedes Cam Johnson’s crisp cymbal work and a salvo of bombs. Meanwhile, Marlon’s brisk pizzicato, clearly displays his complete command of the instrument. Finally, the guys flip the time to 6/8, before abruptly closing, without a cadenza.

HD was recorded at Stewart Copeland’s home studio and Judd Miller sat-in for some added flair. A synthesized foray is accented by the drummer’s syncopated hi-hat. This joint venture resulted exactly in the risk-taking, energetic approach that Martinez had hoped for

Marlon opens I Hear a Rhapsody, with a brilliant, intriguing solo that immediately indulges the unsuspecting listener. He masterfully weaves an intricate tapestry, making a poignant statement. This is simply Martinez, at his very best.

Inspired by his first summer in Paris, Marlon composed the title track, Yours Truly. It’s a romantic melody that includes an adventurous Coltrane vamp, rhythmic textures, strategic comping and some conceptual input from producer Nigel Martinez. Cam Johnson’s brushwork should also be noted as he lends solid support to the ensemble.

Paying homage to Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry and Paul Chambers, Martinez penned a contrasting, playful piece. Isaac Wilson’s soulful, blues-infused solo, is evident. In unison, like starving diners at a Southern eatery, the band emphatically asked, “Where dem biscuits at?”

La Cancion de Sofia, is Marlon’s heart-felt tribute to his mentor, and close friend, Stanley Clarke. Martinez began studying with Clarke at age 15. Under Stanley’s watchful tutelage, Marlon was encouraged to develop an advanced arco technique that adds sophistication and boundless possibilities to his vast repertoire. In Marlon’s masterful hand, the bow ultimately becomes an extension of himself.

Open Gate, is a reflective interlude that speaks to one’s faith and spiritual path. The framework is anchored by bass harmonics that have gradually evolved from spontaneous improvisation.

Remotely grounded in 70’s fusion, Sensation opens with a bass riff. Aaron Blumenthal adds texture on soprano saxophone while Jacob Scesney chimes in on alto. Mirroring that nostalgic era, this selection finds Isaac Wilson on a vintage Fender Rhodes piano. Cam Johnson’s rousing backbeat drives the band as the scat-singing is actually done by a device, called a Vocoder. An unconventional groove, keeps things edgy with a hip-hop feel.

On the verge of stardom, Marlon Martinez is poised on destiny’s doorstep. His tireless work ethic, meticulous preparation and relentless pursuit of excellence, will propel him to stardom. Marlon’s initial outing, not only celebrates his technique and robust tone, but each phrase will remind you, why he’s — Yours Truly! For more information, visit

By Jeffrey Winston  an L.A.-based journalist, jazz historian and producer.





Stellar vocalist and trumpeter, Bria Skonberg, hails from Chilliwack, British Columbia. She started music at an early age, making decision to perform even before growing up into adulthood. She left right out of high school and went to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada and earned a degree in Jazz Trumpet Performance. Her studies allowed her gain many awards along the way to her prosperous career. She has already toured over a great part of the world. Bria is “poised to be one of the versatile and imposing musicians of her generation,” (Wall Street Journal). Her quintet plays several styles, blues, fusion, and cabaret, all rooted under the umbrella of jazz.

This was her second year playing at Newport Beach Jazz Party and now at Sunset Jazz at Newport. Her quintet contains some marvelous musicians: Patrick Bartley (Reeds), Mathis Picard (piano), Devin Starks (bass) and Darrian Douglas (drums).

They opened with a Louie Armstrong number I didn’t get the title of, but definitely some good swinging Dixieland. Everyone contributed with great rhythm with Bartley (clarinet) and Bria’s trumpet work made this an ideal, impressive opener. She sang a fine standard of Cole Porter’s, “Just One of Those Things.” All her quintet gave excellent solos, just the right backing for Bria, who also played trumpet. Her voice is clear and easily understandable.

Continuing, they played a groovy jazz classic, “Limehouse Blues,” starting with everyone soloing, tenor sax, trumpet, piano, drums (a big solo), more trumpet and clarinet trading measured bars and a great ending as well. . The audience was into this music and gave a lot of applause. This concert was filled to capacity with an enthusiastic audience.

A pretty ballad followed, “Trust in Me,” with a slow peaceful beginning. Bria’s vocalizing and her trumpet playing was backed by her cohesive quartet members. These musicians play extremely well together and listen well to each other’s performing to a tee!

Bria composed an original piece, “Some Kind of Crazy,” which started off with slow rhythm with Bria’s vocal work along with Bartley’s smooth tenor sax playing. The lyrics were expressive and meaningful. The rhythm section laid down some nice holding grooves making this one an impressive composition. The standard, “What Is This Thing Called Love,” played well and was an excellent arrangement. The group delivered outstanding solos, especially vibrant from Bartley (tenor sax), then Picard (piano) and Starks (bass). They finished the set with another Bria original, “How Can It Be.”

The second show set got really better with more stellar performing. They began a third original song from Bria Skonberg, “Down in The Deep.” This song sounded well and had nice definitive lyrics. A good type show tune came next, “I Have My High Hat, My Trumpet and Rhythm,” another very moving number musically and rhythmically. Bria’s trumpet work shinned very impressively with the quartet’s great backing.

Probably the absolute best highlight number of the evening was the beautiful ballad, “But Beautiful.” The quintet plays so cohesively that they delivered perfection musically for this terrific ballad classic.

Tenor sax man, Patrick Bartley, gave an introduction to a song he has loved for many years. He named one of two influences in his career, Ben Webster, who also played it years earlier, (1918) “Rose Room.” Bartley stated ,“He usually plays alto sax, but in this time is playing both tenor and a lot of clarinet.” Bartley played very strong and stretched out into some excellent avant-garde jazz lines, receiving some big applause. Picard played some beautiful piano backing. Starks gave a gorgeous bass solo for this number as well.

Towards finalizing the second set and near to closing out this well-received concert was “I Remember April,” a classic gem. It began as a calypso styled rhythm and progressed from there. The entire quintet all contributed their best artistic playing cohesively. More of last numbers of the second set were: “Watch What Happens” and “Malaguena,” very well played and received. This audience showed their enjoyment of the Bria Skonberg Quintet. They are busy with more upcoming touring throughout the U.S.A. See Bria Skonberg’s website: . Also please visit: for several excellent concerts upcoming Wednesday evenings in Newport Beach’s Marriott Rose Gardens through Wednesday, September 19, 2018. For reservations, call 1(949) 759-5003.

Glenn A. Mitchell