Happenings By Chris J. Walker

September 2018
the word contemporary

Anyone who has ever attended an Earth, Wind & Fire concert has witnessed Verdine White, the bassist and co-Founder of the group in action. Besides being an extraordinary musician who’s garnered eight Grammys, four American Music Awards, an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and Lifetime Achievement Awards from ASCAP, NAACP, and BET, he has been vividly photographed in motion, jumping around and literally flying in the air by Bruce W. Talamon. The photographer’s work from his book Soul, R&B, and Funk Photographs 1972-1982: A Love Letter to the Music that included other EW&F band members, especially Maurice White the group’s legendary composer, arranger and producer, along with other artists of that ilk were showcased as an exhibit at the Grammy Museum (closed July 28) and soon to be a coffee table book.

For the event (the bassist’s birthday) select pictures were displayed, with White, Talamon and Scott Goldman, Artistic Director of the venue discussed their conceptional aspects, including costumes, unique significances and behind the scenes shots. White recalled the vibe of the ‘70s, his brother Maurice’s influences and work ethic and other prevalent bands like Sly and The Family Stone, who he credits breaking out “crossover” funk/R&B, along with Parliament/Funkadelic. The bassist described the photographer’s relationship with E, W&F as being like the “5th Beatle,” who captured the essence of the band and had their trust. Talamon who officially shot for Soul Magazine and seemed to be ubiquitous, due to having access to all the hot groups and artists of “the day.” He agreed that trust was a big factor and led to establishing a great relationship that enabled him to go on many world tours with the band. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a performance for the event.

Gap Band Founder and former member, funk/R&B singer Charlie Wilson embodied the title of his latest recording In It to Win It at the Hollywood Bowl and was backed by a large ensemble with four dancers and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra with Conductor, Thomas Wilkins. Wilson’s larger than life persona held the audience’s attention as he began with his signature song “Party Train” that included a live boarding announcement similar to one at a train station. It was further bolstered by irrepressible R&B and hot gyrations that included Wilson alongside the dance troupe. From there he was in full gear exuding energy and personality, while also fluctuating between his solo career and Gap Band songs.

Some of them were “Early In the Morning,” “Good Times,” “There Goes My Baby” featuring Wilson on an exercise bike while the band and orchestra worked out, “Burn Rubber (Why You Wanna Hurt Me),” and silky ballad “Charlie, Last Name Wilson” that included him shaming all the men with their ladies to get the audience going. The singer also reached out to all the women in the audience and had them singing along with him.
“Chills” and “I Wanna Be Your Man” stayed in the same mode and were more integrated with the orchestra.

Further energizing the audience was the backup singer/dancers and Wilson shaking their booties for a brief segment. Interestingly, the headliner also took the crowd to church during “I’m Blessed” and celebrated being sober for 23 years after being a crack addict and nearly losing everything. Taking the rejoicing to an even higher-level, Wilson closed the show with “Outstanding,” which inspired the audience to sing along and dance. For an encore he briefly sang a capella “Nobody to Love” with the audience whooping it up and hoping for more. The venerable (59 years) O’jays large ensemble fronted by Eddie Levert Sr., Walter Williams Sr. and Eric Nolan Grant opened the show. They served up appealing classic R&B tunes “Ship Ahoy,” “Time to Get Down,” “Livin’ For The Weekend” and “I Love Music,” with blockbuster hits “Back Stabbers” and “Money, Money, Money.”

San Jose Jazz Summer Fest besides being heavily laden with jazz included crowd-pleasing sets by popular soul and funk performers. They were also R&B crooner Johnny Gil, funk ensembles Confunkshun and Kool & Gang. From a somewhat historic standpoint Booker T.’s Stax Revue: A Journey Through Soul, Blues and R&B highlighted classic soul songs from ‘50s and ‘60s that included some of the Grammy-winning and Rock And Roll Hall of Famer’s hits. New Orleans and Houston-based The Soul Rebels rocked the house with scorching brass band jamming that occasionally ventured into hip-hop. Lalah Hathaway was totally in the modern soul camp, provided sultry grooves and ballads. Local favorites Lydia Pense & Cold Blood With Fred Ross revisited the halcyon late ‘60s and early ‘70s when they were as popular as fellow Bay Area neighbors Santana, Tower of Power, Elvin Bishop and Boz Scaggs.

Husband and wife multi-Grammy Winners, trumpeter Herb Alpert and vocalist Lani Hall provided a lighter, cheery and relaxed funk alternative to virtuoso and hard-driven jazz sets. The pair backed by Bill Cantus on keyboards, Hussain Jiffry on bass and Michael Shapiro on drums chronicled their 50+ years careers. Intermingled in the large body of work that included Alpert’s legendary Tijuana Brass, Sergio Mendes‘ Brasil ’66 and top-selling solo careers were supporting videos that sometimes were circa mid ‘60s. Latin and jazz standards “Besame Mucho” and “Body And Soul” were adeptly inserted with Hall singing sweetly, along with Alpert’s light funk grooves “Rise’ and “Human Nature” cover. For good measure and to the crowd’s delight Tijuana Brass hits “A Taste of Honey,” “The Lonely Bull,” “Spanish Flea,” “Whipped Cream” and the “Casino Royale Theme” were also included.

Many regions of America are interesting and different. But none are like the island culture of South and North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Within their dotted boundaries is the African-American Gullah, which has preserved the traditions of Western Africa originally through the efforts of isolated slave communities and free Black People that continued after the Civil War. Included are religion, a Creole language, farming, cuisine, poetry and music. Fast emerging, chart-topping Ranky Tanky based in Charleston, South Carolina performed at the Skirball Center and incorporated jazz, blues, folk and gospel with the Gullah language. Overall, their sound is unique and very appealing. The group made up of singer Quiana Parler, singer/guitarist Clay Ross, trumpeter/singer Charlton Singleton, bassist Kevin Hamilton, and drummer Quentin Baxter showcased songs from their debut self-titled release.

“Freedom” not on their CD got things going with a stewing reggae-like rhythm, jazzy trumpet and robust singing that quickly got the audience’s attention. Later in the show “Let Me Be” had similar characteristics and instead featured guitar and drums. Contrarily, “You Better Mind,” “Sink ‘Em Low” and “Join The Band” were a mixture of New Orleans trad and gospel, with trumpet soloing and spirited singing. In the blues and gospel vein was slow drawn “You Gotta Move” garnered with a bass solo, soulful vocal choruses and fervent trumpet soloing, along with “Standby Me” and “O Death.”

For some variety the group did “Turtle Dove” a traditional lullaby showcasing Parler with trumpet sweetly accenting, and “Watch That Star” with the singer and backup vocals. Additionally, their title track that was more upbeat, Caribbean sounding and laden with solos was showcased to get the audience dancing and singing along. Furthermore, the musicians got into an energetic African-like instrumental abounding with hot solos before the singer joined in for its close. The show ended with “Green Sally Up” a traditional Gullah song with the audience getting involved.

The 2018 installment of Smooth Summer Jazz at the Hollywood Bowl brought out Pieces of a Dream, Avery Sunshine, Third World, Norman Brown & Bobby Caldwell—Love and Soul and Boney James for a high-spirited celebration with many tributes to recently departed soul icon Aretha Franklin included. James, the headliner and four-time Grammy nominee spotlighted tunes from his latest release Honestly. Working with a spry quintet who supplied sizzling rhythms the saxophonist served up new tunes such as “We Came to Party,” “Tick Tock,” and sultry “On The Prowl.” Classic “Ain’t No Sunshine” featured a long buildup to get in the crowd grooving along and James topped it off with tantalizing playing from him and band. He ended the set and concert with his funky rendition of Hugh Masakela’s immortal hit “Grazing in The Grass.”

Reggae and pop grooving 45-year-old Third World started with their best-known song “Now That We Found Love.” They kept things going with “Reggae Ambassador” and “Forbidden Love.” Yet, singer AJ Brown blew the crowd away with his operatic singing of “Time to Say Goodbye” popularized by Andrea Bocelli. New team, vocalist Bobby Caldwell and guitarist “Storming” Norman Brown’s septet assailed the listener with a barrage of music. It included Caldwell singing Hall & Oats “I Can’t Go For That,” original “All or Nothing at All” (for Al Jarreau) and his blockbuster hit “Do For Love.” Brown contrarily showcased his guitar dexterity doing the styles of George Benson, Wes Montgomery and Jimi Hendrix, along with his own rocking funk version of Janet Jackson’s “That’s The Way Love Goes” that included the audience scatting along.

Avery Sunshine the only female singer on the concert’s roster was a pleasant contrast with her quintet that included her husband Dana Johnson-guitar and stirred up the audience with “old school” veracity and disarming charm. Straight out of the gate she divided the crowd into basses, tenors and altos like her for “I Got Sunshine on My Mind.” Afterwards, she slow things down, but continued to sing strongly for romantic “I Wish You Were Next to Me” and “Love is The Only Way,” with James Brown-like “Sho’ Feels Good to Me” finishing the set. Opening group, Pieces of a Dream who were discovered by saxophone legend Grover Washington, Jr. played jazz funk grooves that sometimes sounded like Jeff Lorber. Their set included the Beatles’ “Come Together,” Prince’s “Purple Rain” and of course’s Washington’s “Mr. Magic.”

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The Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival, held at the beautiful Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club is the first of its kind in California. The festival combines polo, local wine, and music for a one-day experience that will be enjoyed by all who attend. This is a true celebration of Santa Barbara and Southern California living, whether one likes all the activities or only one or two of them. Additionally, attendees are encouraged to dress up in the style of the Richard Gere and Julia Roberts’ movie “Pretty Woman.”


ZZ Ward

Booker T. Jones

The California Honeydrops

Quinn DeVeaux

DJ Sets Presented By
Soul Dust Productions


Standing Sun
Old Ranch Creek

Saturday September 8th, 2018
Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club
3300 Via RealCarpinteria, CA 93013

Home Main – 2018

Notes for Notes is a non-profit organization that designs, equips, and staffs after-school recording studios inside Boys. $1.00 of every ticket sold to go to Notes For Notes.





image of the word fusion with person playing sax

Bay Area-based guitarist, Bulgarian native and Venezuelan raised, Hristo Vitchev, performed at the Blue Whale, part of his CD Release Tour for his newest release, Of Light and Shadows. “Partial Darkness” a lengthy selection opened the set and melodically slightly resembled Ellington’s immortal “Caravan” with breezy solos and band interplay from Jasnam Daya Singh–piano, Dan Robbins–bass and Mike Shannon–drums. Texturally Vitchev’s style immediately recalled early Pat Metheny playing, but also had touches of Hungarian legend Gabor Szabo and Englishman Allan Holdsworth. Continuing the set was soothing “It is Here Somewhere” a composition from one of Vitchev’s earlier recordings that also showcased his pianist and bassist much to the audience’s delight.

As homage to his homeland that he left when seven was “Almost Home.” It entailed Bulgarian harmonic and melodic qualities, melded with lush and also ripping fusion runs that included a palatable piano solo. For a respite Vitchev and band played easy flowing and equally tasteful ballad “Fuchsia Brown Eyes” filled with stirring playing and solos. The set closed with new piece “Prismic Dance” that opened with solo piano and then with full band shifted to a lively mix of fusion and chamber jazz. Additionally, the bandleader wailed intensely on it and was solidly backed by his cohorts. For more info go to: http://hristovitchev.com/en/music and www.bluewhalemusic.com.

The word world in blue colors and green colers

In less than 20 years, actually more like 10 years, Mexico-based Rodrigo (Sánchez) and Gabriela (Quintero) became the premiere acoustic, flamenco, world-music and rock duo. In truth, there aren’t any other coed groups of their type around. But it wasn’t a fluke that made them successful. Instead it was their adventurous spirit, musical acumen and more than else a sheer love of playing, especially live. The pair, presently not a couple, appeared at the Hollywood Bowl for the sixth time and fourth time with the LA Philharmonic and the first time with its renowned conductor Gustavo Dudamel. He beforehand rendered a short classical program that included Astor Piazzolla’s “Oblivion.”

The duo, Dudamel and orchestra sprung into action with fast-paced “Hanuman” filled with fiery guitar tradeoffs and percussion, and stirring strings that prompted the audience to clap along. Following the great opening Rodrigo stated that they would showcase new songs without titles they’ve been composing and working on for the last couple of years. The first was semi-relaxed and thematic with fast runs mixed in. While, the second was fast strumming with a B-section variation and included the orchestra following suit. After that Gabriela further commented about their work methods and overall objectives before they played three more songs. They were a mix of hard driving rock and flamenco, with wailing rhythmic strumming and picking complimented by the orchestra.

Returning to older selections with Dudamel and orchestra, the youthful duo played the searing movie theme-like title track from their 2009 album 11:11 dedicated to the musicians’ influences. Alternately, “Tamacun” had their signature gypsy rhythms and textures; Gabriela said it was inspired by nature, urging the audience to separate and recycle more. Without the orchestra and Dudamel, Rodrigo y Gabriela played another segment sitting plaintively on a stage riser, while wailing away. “Cumbe” was fast-paced and aggressive, while their cover of Pink Floyd’s epic song “Echoes” was ambitious and fill with thematic variations. For the encore they played “Diablo Rojo” and mixed in Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” featuring rapid firing playing and guitar banging percussion with the audience enthusiastically clapping along.

Always major attractions for San Jose Jazz Summer Fest are Latin jazz and salsa. Grammy Winner (2006) and 2018 Grammy Nominee Doug Beavers’ Titanes del Trombón: Tribute to Cheo Feliciano was a major force. A large crowd danced in front of the stage as his nonet energetically sang and played riveting salsa classics and new pieces. Beavers with fellow trombonists Mike Rinta and Greg Saul also soloed intensely, and along with Carlos Rosario’s vocals blew the audience away.

Los Angeles-based Orquesta Son Mayor, a larger 11-person band was more diversified with two trumpets, baritone sax, trombone and four vocalists, with a couple of them also doubling on percussion. Combined with the other band members they were a juggernaut heavily influenced by Cuba’s Pérez Prado and Orchestra Aragón, and Oscar de León from Venezuelan. From the Afro-Latin and Caribbean perspective John Santos Quartet + Orestes Vilató, Bobi Céspedes and Jose Roberto Hernandez were scintillating. They held the audience spellbound as Céspedes and Hernandez sang passionately, while Santos’ percussion playing and septet arrangements were overwrought with unbelievable rhythms and sophisticated interactions.

Also integrated into the SJJSF’s program were somewhat related Brazilian styling of Bay Area-based singer/percussionist Sandy Cressman and Homenagem Brasileira. Her supporting band that included husband/trombonist Jeff Cressman, keyboardist Murray Low, bassist David Belove and drummer Phil Hawkins showcased breezy selections from new CD Entre Amigos and works by Oscar Castro-Neves, Hermeto Pascoal and Antonio Carlos Jobim.

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Bhakti Fest-Joshua Tree

In 2009 forty years after Woodstock Sridhar actualized his mission, and in 2018 10 years of Bhakti Fest are being celebrated. Attendees will be treated to a keynote speech from the world-renowned mindfulness leader, Dr. Deepak Chopra M.D., co-founder JIYO.com, in his yoga festival debut. Dr. Chopra will also lead a workshop on The Radiance Sutras, in conjunction with Dr. Lorin Roche; take part in the Spiritual Superstar panel featuring Jai Uttal, Shiva Rea and Prem Baba; and lead a Global Meditation with Grammy winning artist Krishna Das.

While long known as a Kirtan (chanting) music festival, Bhakti Fest has branched out into Sacred Music in recent years, and for the 10th edition will host the festival debut of Radnor & Lee. This new duo features television superstar Josh Radnor, the titular “I” in the Emmy winning nine season hit show “How I Met Your Mother,” along with noted Australian singer/songwriter Ben Lee. They have amassed a growing and passionate fanbase globally. Other new artists on the various Bhakti Fest stages will include Sri Kala’s sacred hip hop; Andre Thierry’s big band Creole of folk, blues, jazz, zydeco, and soul; and global folkie Mikey Pauker leading a Shabad performance Friday at Sunset.

Unique to Bhakti Fest, in addition to the music stages, the event’s 10th Anniversary will add a Mantra Dome, a dedicated 360° dome space where attendees can join their favorite artists in for an intimate gathering to chant sacred mantras; a visionary art exhibition; and a Kirtan Camp offering a unique and blessed learning journey of two-hour classes to expand singers’ and musicians’ knowledge of how to utilize instruments and chanting for a deeper Bhav experience.

Bhakti Fest also offers wellness and wisdom classes. As always, the annual festival will deliver an exclusive taped interview with Bhakti Fest elder, and spiritual icon, Ram Dass, whose book “Be Here Now” helped bring Eastern philosophy to the West in the ‘60s.

In recent years the festival has added sacred spaces for gender specific workshops. Bhakti Kid’s Land, sponsored by Sun Warrior, will feature the Peace Guardians who are taking the children’s program to a whole new level with a packed line up of classes and performances every day from 10am-6pm.

The festival also features a Healing Sanctuary offering a multitude of bodywork options, and the best raw, vegetarian and vegan food options. The Artisan Marketplace offers a treasure trove of jewelry, clothing, art, yoga gear, crystals, incense, furnishings and books from all over the world. Bhakti Fest’s own Bhakti Shoppe will feature highly sought-after items from the bazaars of India.

The Sound Temple has become a new favorite at Bhakti Fest, with a variety of sound baths and sound healing experiences taking place in the evening in the center’s unique, Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Sanctuary. The Joshua Tree Retreat Center plays its own role in the fest, with a sublime high desert setting on 420 acres of sacred ground which includes a pool for aqua-yoga, a walking labyrinth, and traditional medicine wheel.

Bhakti Fest offers a family friendly, drug and alcohol-free environment. These elements combine to create an unprecedented high vibration heart opening experience for all who attend. Bhakti Fest is a non-profit that donates to a variety of charities in India and the US. Discounts offered to local residents, veterans, military, seniors and students,

Bhakti Fest

September 12-17
Joshua Tree Retreat Center
Joshua Tree, CA

the word blues

TajMo, respectively blues men Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’ returned to the Hollywood Bowl after triumphantly appearing there and enthralling the audience for the 2017 Playboy Jazz Festival. It also coincided with the release of their eponymous debut CD. For their latest Bowl performance the pair started doing Mahal’s vocalese interpretation of Horace Silver’s classic “Senor Blues” with the supporting nonet turning in dynamic jazz and blues solos. Not missing a beat the band shifted to new tunes “Don’t Leave Me Here” featuring Mahal’s vocals and harmonica, along with Mo’s guitar playing, with rambling Delta styled “That’s Who I am” bolstered by the artists singing together.

Getting even more into Delta blues was acoustic guitar played new song “Diving Duck Blues” and Mahal’s vintage “Giant Steps” also accented by him on mandolin and backup singer Alicia Michilli soaring to thoroughly delight the audience. Mo’ carried on with his funky and amusing “Gov’t Cheese” and R&B flavored “The Worst is Yet to Come” accented by Mahal’s banjo playing and his own ripping guitar playing. The senior blues man inserted his New Orleans tinged “Cape Walk Into Town” and wailed on harp for his classic “She Caught the Katy (And Left Me a Mule to Ride).” Balancing Mahal and Mo’s enjoyable set was ballad “You Don’t Miss Your Water Until Your Well Gone Dry” and universal appealing “All Around The World.”

Prior to the blues men, classic rocker and smoky voiced guitarist Melissa Etheridge made her Hollywood Bowl debut and showcased her Memphis Rock and Soul CD with horns and backup singers. She started with Sam & Dave’s immortal “Hold On, I’m Comin’,” then later did Otis Redding’s “I Got Dreams to Remember” and “I’ve Been Loving You” and the Staples Singers soulful anthem “Respect Yourself.” Additionally, Albert King’s “Born Under a Bad Sign” was featured with a raw guitar solo. Intermixed in the set were some of her hard-driving hits such as “I Want to Come Over,” “Come to My Window” and “I’m The Only One.” Also making her Bowl debut was Deva Mahal (Taj’s daughter), who impressed the audience with riveting vocals for “Can’t Call it Love,” explosive title track Run Deep and was joined by Ledisi for emotionally sung ballad “It’s Down to You.” She concluded muscularly playing electric guitar and singing for “Optimist.”

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Twenty-two guitarists go head-to-head at the “6 String Showdown.” Four semi-finalists face off on the Golden Groove Stage at New Blues Festival V, Saturday, September 1. Two finalists go head-to-head on the NBF Main Stage, Sunday, September 2.
6 String Showdown is a Summer-long series of regional blues guitar competitions to crown Southern California’s best blues guitar player, the winner getting to perform on the Main Stage of this year’s New Blues Festival V. Each entrant gets personalized PR throughout the competition, including a web page on the 6 String Showdown website, publicity headshots by Rebecca Bogdanoff, and performance video for promotional use by MusicUCanSee.com.

Finalists and Semi-Finalists will play before thousands and receive a Meet-And-Greet with bookers, club owners, A&R execs, record label owners and radio personalities. One winner receives over $5,000 in cash and prizes, including a guaranteed, Main Stage paid slot at the 2019 New Blues Festival. 6 String Showdown has partnered with Sweet Relief Musicians Cancer Fund and will donate a portion of the registration fees, making this truly an event by musicians for musicians.

San Diego Blues Festival

Since its inaugural event in 2011, the San Diego Blues Festival has become a must-attend event for blues fans from across the country each September. Past performers include Mavis Staples, Los Lobos, Eric Burdon & the Animals, Booker T. Jones and numerous members of the Blues Hall of Fame as well as up-and-coming bands – all who have teamed up to raise much needed food and funds for the vital hunger-relief programs of the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank and its North County Food Bank chapter.

Schedule and Artists

10:30 a.m. | Front Gate
Fred Heath

12 Noon | Baker Electric Home Energy Stage
Chickenbone Slim & the Biscuits

12:45 p.m. | BCS Stage
Sarah Rogo

1:30 p.m. | Baker Electric Home Energy Stage
Lightnin Malcolm

2:30 p.m. | BCS Stage
John Nemeth & the Blue Dreamers

3:30 p.m. | Baker Electric Home Energy Stage
The Sons of the Soul Revivers

4:30 p.m. | BCS Stage
Kenny Neal

5:30 p.m. | Baker Electric Home Energy Stage
Tommy Castro & the Painkillers

6:30 p.m. | BCS Stage
Billy Gibbons and Friends

San Diego Blues Festival

Sept. 8, 2018
12 noon to 8 p.m
Marina Embarcadero North
San Diego, CA

The KJazz Hollywood Blues Bash is back at the Ford Theatres, featuring the GRAMMY®-award winning Mavis Staples, James Harman Band, and Alex Nester, hosted by KJazz’s Gary “Wagman” Wagner.

September 22, 2018
John Anson Ford Theatre
2580 Cahuenga Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90068

Text Special Mention

Senri Oe is a former superstar of Japan’s J-Pop scene, winning a Japanese Grammy and topping Billboard’s Japanese pop charts. Oe, a pianist and arranger always had an interest in jazz and ten years ago he moved to New York to explore jazz more seriously that has included working and recording with Sheila Jordan, Theo Bleckmann, Becca Stevens, and Lauren Kinhan of the New York Voices. BOYS & GIRLS his new recording is the result of the efforts and his first solo piano collection. At Vitello’s Oe performed solely, showcaseing selections from the project to a sold-out house of fans both from the U.S. and Japan. “Wallabee Shoes” was lightly jaunting with touches of lyricism and swing. Displaying touches of Fats Waller without singing, the pianist launched into a highflying piece that fascinated the audience.

Oe also exhibited his interest and knowledge of films by playing thematic “Just a Little Wine” and Hitchcock inspired “Murder in The Vineyard” both from previous CDs. From a whimsical standpoint the pianist played “Without Any Moon or Rain” and “The Adventures of Uncle Senri” that were his take on some standards done in light ragtime and stride styles resembling scores for silent films. From a more modern orientation was sophisticated piece “Akiuta,” along with energetic “YOU” and ballad “Rain” both from the new CD to garner a standing ovation. Equally as interesting as the music were the amusing anecdotes the pianist told about first being in Los Angeles, making commercials and Italian food. For more info go to: http://peaceneverdie.com/index.html and https://vitellosrestaurant.com


Cuban born saxophonist Yosvany Terry who’s been in the U.S. since the late ‘90s and is Harvard University’s Director of Jazz Ensembles and Senior Lecturer on Music made a special appearance at the Moss Theatre. His sizzling quintet was part of Jazz Bakery’s Movable Feast series and included Yunior Terry-bass, Manuel Valera-piano, Michael Rodriguez-trumpet and Obed Calvaire-drums. Collectively they were a vigorous force who spent little time talking and instead let the music speak for them.

Compositions from Terry’s latest CD New Thronged King were mostly the focus and were overwrought with post-bop and Latin jazz virtuosity, while also enthralling all in attendance. “Heart Within” was a new premiered piece premiered featuring rapid interaction between the brass players, who also soloed intelligently, while the rhythm players provided a driving foundation. Contrasting it was timely “Wind of Sorrow” that began with a solo bass intro before the remaining musicians tastefully joined the solemn and slow developing ballad. To end the set the quintet rendered a soulful mix of hard bop and Latin jazz. For more info go to: http://yosvanyterry.com.

now in its 29th year presented a mixture of discovery for newbies and reaffirmation for long time fans and friends. Unquestionably, the most vibrant and daring segment of SJJSF, also the last, was Marcus Roberts and the Modern Jazz Generation, which the acclaimed blind virtuoso pianist, currently on faculty at Florida State University, founded in 2012. The tenet was also anchored by longtime associates, drummer Jason Marsalis and bassist Rodney Jordan. The remaining members all brass players are either alumnae or current students in the University’s music program.

Under Roberts, Marsalis and Jordan’s guidance the ensemble ambitiously played a nearly two-hour long suite (even dropping a movement) that profoundly showcased all the players. Similar to Wynton Marsalis’ Lincoln Center Orchestra, but in a modern context, Roberts and cohorts swung hard through complex arrangements and entertained the audience by focusing on themes of romance, swing and blues. Additionally, the suite was based on an imaginary couple going through the four stages of love: attraction, projection, conflict, and resolution, beginning with the dramatic and thematic “The Mystery of Romance.”

Correspondingly, alto saxophonist Vincent Herring’s Story of Jazz: 100 Years was powerful, spanning ragtime to contemporary jazz eras with high caliber sidemen such as saxophonists James Carter and Eric Alexander, trumpeters Jon Faddis and Brian Lynch, trombonist Steve Turre, pianist Mike LeDonne, drummer Carl Allen, bassist Kenny Davis, and Nicolas Bearde handling vocals and narration. The accomplished musicians impressed attendees during stretches of Dixieland with “St. Louis Blues” and “When You’re Smiling,” blues through “Summertime, ” Ellington big band, stride “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and Chick Corea/Return to Forever’s “Spain” representing an international influence on jazz. Closing out the set were contemporary grooves “Mr. Magic,” “Birdland” and “Street Life” featuring Bearde’s soulful singing.

From a traditional standpoint, the 10th installment of SJJSF’ Jazz Organ Fellowship, part of Hammond B-3 evangelist Pete Fallico’s world-renowned dedication to the instrument, featured 17-year old wunderkind Matthew Whitaker and veteran Brian Charette. Whitaker was a force to be reckoned with. Supported by his trio of Edward (Ted) Morcaldi lll on guitar and bass, and drummer Sipho Kunene the fast emerging organist was funky straight out the gate. Whitaker adroitly intermixed jazz standards and R&B tunes, such as “Play it Back,” “More Than Yesterday,” “I’ll be Around,” an homage to Jimmy Smith “I Remember Jimmy” and a medley of Earth, Wind and Fire songs to garner an enthusiastic standing ovation. Charette who opened the Organ Fellowship also grooved mightily with his trio and showcased tunes from his latest CD Groovin with Big G George Coleman. The organist was especially remarkable and hard-grooving doing Jimmy Smith’s bumping classic “The Champ.”

Los Angeles-based artists represented were newly migrated singer Jane Monheit, with Barbara Morrison’s Quintet and Katie Thiroux’s Trio. Monheit was regal and lush while concentrating mostly on songs from her latest CD The Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald. Supple players Andy Langham on piano, Dave Robaire on bass and Ricky Montalbano on drums supported the Long Island native for standouts “All Too Soon” and “Something’s Gotta Give,” along with “Quiet Nights” sung in Portuguese and English, and “It’s The Wrong Time” that were not on the new CD. Veteran Morrison charmed the attendees with personal stories and standards such as “On The Street Where You Live,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Lullaby of Birdland” and “We’re in This Love Together” dedicated to Al Jarreau. Thiroux melodiously sang and scatted while playing bass for “Together,” “Willow Weep For Me” and ‘Let’s Fall in Love” with Clark Terry protégé blind pianist Justin Kauflin and drummer Matt Witek.

SJJSF also showcased some of its own extensive homegrown talent. Eddie Gale

a distinguished trumpeter proclaimed as City of San Jose Official Ambassador of Jazz in 1974 took command of the stage with his American Spiritual Jazz Unit tenet. It was a mixture of Alice Coltrane, Sun Ra and Ali Farka Touré for numbers “African Sunshine,” “Meditation on World Peace” and “The Jazz Rapp.” The latter tune became a jam for the crowd to play percussion instruments with Gale and band that they were dispensed at the beginning of the set. Jeff Denson additionally a member of the San Francisco String Trio displayed his bass and vocal prowess with his quartet consisting of Paul Hanson playing bassoon/electronics, Dahveed Behroozi on piano and fender Rhodes, and Alan Hall on drums. Denson latest CD Outside My Window spotlighted his elastic vocals for “When I Get it Right” the slow jazz waltz title track, Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes,” and Abbey Lincoln’s poetic ballad “Bird Alone,” along with older metronome-like instrumental workout “City Life on Trains.”

Vocalist Paula West with pianist Adam Shulman’s Trio, which included John Wiitala on bass and on drums Greg Wyser-Pratte, superbly highlighted American Songbook staples such as Leonard Feather’s “Man Wanted,” “I’m Glad There is You” and samba interpreted “I Love Paris in The Springtime.” She additionally inserted a few departures by way of Jobim’s “Waters of March,” Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” and Randy Newman’s “Short People.”

Undisputedly, Gregory Porter as a vocalist is firmly established and very popular worldwide presently. However, last year he caused a bit of an uproar with a segment of his fans when he recorded Nat King Cole & Me. Many who loved his soul/jazz originals were turned off by the CD and thought he had sold-out. For Porter though, Cole was an important influence and his mother’s favorite artist. Essentially, the project was a “no brainer” when he was presented with the opportunity. At the Hollywood Bowl songs from the Cole album were performed with its orchestra and conducted by Vince Mendoza, who did the same with the London Studio Orchestra on Nat King Cole & Me.

Opening “Mona Lisa” immediately casted a spell on the crowd and many sighed in approval, while the orchestra grandly swelled under Mendoza’s guidance. Unquestionably, Porter felt the glowing approval and deftly glided through Cole’s classics “But Beautiful” (not on the Cole CD), “Nature Boy,” “L-O-V-E” featuring Bob Sheppard’s saxophone solo, and “Quizas, Quizas, Quizas” coolly sung in Spanish. Picking up the tempo, singing and expanding the orchestration was “Pick Yourself Up” and original “When Love Was King.” For pure emotionality it was “I Wonder Who My Daddy is” and “Smile” that were beautifully sung with a lush arrangements. Porter wrapped up the show with his modern gems “Hey Laura” and “No Love Dying” to receive a very enthusiastic standing ovation.

Master tap dancer Savion Glover started the show with a backing quartet and dancing associates to amaze the audience during his 45 minute set that ended with him drenched in perspiration.

text previews

Jazz Muse Concert Series

The Janis Mann Organ Quintet
Jerry Vivino – saxRed Ticket
Joe Bagg – organ
John Storie – guitar
Clayton Cameron – drums

September 15, 2018
San Fernando Valley Arts and Cultural Center
18312 Oxnard Street
Tarzana, CA 91356
Doors open at 7 pm / Show starts at 8 pm

Denise Donatelli & Paulette McWilliams: Vocal Mania Series

Tierney Sutton, Alan Bergman

Denise Donatelli & Paulette McWilliams: Vocal Mania Series
September 28, 2018
Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pm
818 769 0905

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

September 5 Kamau Daaood
September 12 Jeff Parker
September 19 Nicole Mitchell
September 26 Armen Nalbandian

Other upcoming artists include Marquis Hill and more…

Mr Musichead Gallery
7420 W. Sunset Blvd (across from Guitar Center)
Los Angeles, CA 90046


Jazz Bakery’s Moveable Feasts

September 15
Alfredo Rodriguez Trio
Moss Theatre


September 22
Benn Clatworthy’s System 6 —+— San Miguel Septet
La Plaza de Cultura y Artes

September 23
Fred Hersch Trio
Moss Theater

September 29
JB Fundraiser: Dave Grusin solo concert + film preview
and post-concert Artist Reception.
Moss Theater

Moss Theatre
Jazz Bakery’s Moveable Feasts
(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.

CAP UCLA’s 2018-19 season highlights

Sept. 22
Vijay Iyer & Teju Cole: Blind Spot
The Theatre at Ace Hotel

Sept. 29
Jason Moran & The Bandwagon: Finding a Line: Skateboarding, Music & Media
John Anson Ford Theatre

Oct. 14
Tigran Hamasyan
UCLA’s Royce Hall

Oct. 26
An Evening with Pat Metheny
with Antonio Sanchez, Linda May Han Oh & Gwilym Simcock

UCLA’s Royce Hall

Nov. 9
Terri Lyne Carrington
UCLA’s Royce Hall

Dec. 1
Luciana Souza: The Book of Longing
UCLA’s Royce Hall

March 23
Roberto Fonseca & Fatoumata Diawara
The Theatre at Ace Hotel

Subscriptions and individual tickets on sale at: cap.ucla.edu 310.825.2101

Performances à la Carte Presents Jazz ‘n Paz
Fall 2018 Concert Series
Curated by Performances à la Carte, Jazz ‘n Paz is back with its’ fall intimate jazz series of three concerts with some of Los Angeles’ finest jazz musicians. Taking place on early Sunday evenings, this season’s series opens September 16

2 + 1: September 16, 2018
2 + 1 features Jamie Perez, vocals, Lyman Medeiros on bass, and joined by legendary jazz trumpeter Nolan Shaheed. Rounding out the ensemble will be familiar sax and piano favorites, Martin Mathews on saxophone and flute, and pianist Chad Edwards. As a fixture with Steve Tyrell’s band, Medeiros is one of the most sought-after bass players and Perez is an award-winning versatile vocalist and songwriter. Together 2 + 1 creates a mix of textural improv and interpretation of jazz standards and originals that is highly evocative and a sure delight.

Lolly Allen & Friends: October 7, 2018
Award-winning vibraphonist and composer Lolly Allen with special guest, superstar Rickey Woodard on saxophone; Mike Alvidrez on bass; and Gary Fukushima on piano. Allen has performed with top jazz musicians including Terry Gibbs, Bob Mintzer, Rodney Whitaker, Maria Schneider, and The Jazz Composers Alliance. In 2016 she was the first woman to be awarded the L.A Jazz Society’s Vibe Summit XXIII Honoree Award, and in 2017 was invited to present legendary vibraphonist Terry Gibbs with his Hall of Fame Induction at the World Vibes Congress. She has performed at venues such as the Knitting Factory, Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill Jazz, Boston Globe Jazz Festival, Newport Beach Jazz Party, WGBH FM’s “Eric in the Evening,” and Ron DellaChiesa’s Jazz Songbook. Allen is recording her second album as bandleader, and performs internationally as a soloist and with her quintet.

Will Brahm & Homenaje: November 4, 2018
Having always loved music from different cultures around the world, guitarist Will Brahm formed his world music group Homenaje, which means “Tribute” in Spanish, and release their debut album “La Mariposa y el Mentiroso” in 2017, featuring all original compositions. Brahm tours extensively with his music and also plays with the critically acclaimed New West Guitar Group and has worked with artists including The Gordon Goodwin Phat Band, Kim Richmond, Jimmy Branly, Otmaro Ruiz, Gretchen Parlato, Sara Gazarek, and Jane Monheit. Led by Brahm, the group pays tribute to the support and unity of different types of music and cultures from all around the world. Homenaje consists of Will Brahm on guitar, Ahmet Turkmenoglu on bass, and Latin Grammy Winner and LP Artist Diego Alvarez on percussion and cajon.

Jazz ‘n Paz
Fall 2018 Concert Series
Neighborhood UU Church
301 North Orange Grove Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91103
email jazznpaz@performancesalacarte.com
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/performancesalacarte.org/

Now in its 61st year the Monterey Jazz Festival will consist of over 120 artists and shows on eight different stages for three night and two days. Full Weekend Arena Packages include tickets for the same reserved seat in the Arena for all 5 shows on the Jimmy Lyons Stage over the Festival weekend, and access to all 7 Grounds Stages. There is 1 Arena concert on Friday Night, and 2 Arena concerts on both Saturday and Sunday. The 7 Grounds Stages (3 outdoor and 4 indoor) of the Monterey Jazz Festival are scattered over the 20-acre Monterey County Fairgrounds. All Grounds Stage performances on Friday Night, Saturday and Sunday are general admission.

This year, 2018 Artists-in-Residence: Tia Fuller and Ingrid Jensen

2018 Showcase Artist: Dianne Reeves

2018 Commission Artist: Oscar Hernández & the Spanish Harlem Orchestra

Monterey Jazz Festival
September 21-23, 2018
Monterey County Fairgrounds
2000 Fairground Rd
Monterey, CA 93940

Award-winning actor, writer and director Roger Guenveur Smith has intensely portrayed numerous figures during monumental Black History periods, including The Civil Rights Movement for films, TV and theater productions. Some of them are Malcom X, Panther, A Huey P. Newton Story (one-man theatre performance), Get on The Bus, The Birth of The Nation (about Nat Turner), The Rosa Parks Story and even Rodney King, along many other dramatic, comedic and non-historic roles. For Grand Performances Smith presented his latest work Frederick Douglass Now. It was also a riveting solo performance that was a field of consciousness time warp, intermixing contemporary and historic themes and language. Maintaining his reputation for high caliber performances, Smith barefooted and donning a tie-less suit, transformed himself into a surviving homeless person, Douglass the eloquent abolitionist orator, a punchy rapper and others with keen insight and graceful humanity to electrify the audience.

Somewhat related was innovative dancer/choreographer Lula Washington’s opening program. Her son-in-law, Marcus Miller-percussion/keyboards, and her Lula Washington Dance Troup consisting of daughter Tamica Washington-Miller, Michael Tomlin, Saidiya Imari, Bernard Brown and Christopher Frazier, supported her. Miller began by launching into stimulating drumming and percussion work focusing on humans’ origins with the audience clapping along. Afterwards Washington danced while speaking out about 100 years ago black people were terrorized and tired of all the lynching. Presently, it’s shootings of black people, the 45th President’s lies and the harshness of Black History that frustrate her. Those subjects and more were dramatized through dance, music and poetry.

image of the word radio with a mic in frount of the word

Prior to the SJJSF, the two-day JAZZWEEK Summit brought many of the leading jazz radio programmers and “on air” personalities from around the U.S., Canada and the U.K. together to discuss industry topics and strategies. This year Betto Arcos from KPCC-Pasadena/NPR and Ken Poston from KSDS-San Diego represented Southern California. Additionally, artists such as singers Denise Donatelli, Mark Winkler, Judy Wexler, Carol Bach-Y-Rita and E.J. Decker, along with trumpeter Ray Zepeda were in attendance.

There was more of a “take charge” aura to the Summit this year and the key themes for presentations and panels were Jazz By the Numbers – A Look at Our Core Indicators, The Digital Divide and the Culture of Change in Jazz Radio, Creating Jazz Radio Success in the Digital Era, Bridging the Gap – Creating a Unified Communications Structure, The Digital Advantage – Building a Healthy Ecosystem for Jazz, Keynote: Beyond the Tipping Point – A Clash of Cultures In the Digital Era, Music or Muzak? – Presenting Jazz in the Digital Era and Walking the Talk and Where Do We Go From Here? Additionally, the Summit discussed Dollars and Sense – The Effect of Disruption on the Economy of Jazz, The Digital Advantage – Building a Healthy Ecosystem for Jazz, Envisioning a Path Forward, Walking the Talk – Where Do We Go From Here? and Keynote: Beyond the Tipping Point – A Clash of Cultures In the Digital Era.

The conference also took a break from the “deep in weeds” topics to award The Station of The Year, Syndicator of The Year, Presenter of The Year, Programmer of The Year, Bobby Jackson Award, Programmer of The Year-Terrestrial, Programmer of The Year-Internet and Non-Terrestrial and Promoter or Promotion Company of the Year, Dick La Palm Award.” For more info go to: www.jazzweek.com

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