In the past couple of years LA has been able to bring major and historic jazz talent to town through its university based performing arts centers and programming.
This includes UCLA CAP, Cal State Northridge (Valley Performing Arts Center), CSLA (Luckman Performing Arts Center). There are usually one or two world-class jazz concerts in LA every month at this time. Of course San Francisco is the dominant jazz and historic jazz presenter in California, and will be even moreso when its $35 million SFJAZZ showcase debuts on Martin Luther King’s birthday in January of 2013.
As a visual artist and writer I feel it is part of my ongoing action as an artist to experience every one of the major art forms as much as possible. Greatness in any art form can lead to a new development in another. With that said, we are looking forward to the opening of the Wallis Annenberg Performing Arts Center in Beverly Hills, which should add even more depth and options to the serious music scene in LA.
the american firm studio pali fekete architects (SPF) have been chosen to design
the wallis annenberg center for the performing arts, incorporating the beverly hills post office. the historic building will be restored and adapted, and…will be redesigned to become a theater school,
a flexible studio theater, sculpture garden, café, gift shop and more. complimenting
the historic building will be the 500-seat contemporary goldsmith theater.the skin of the new goldsmith theater is an abstraction of the millions of letters
and envelopes that once defined this historic site – formed in copper-colored concrete panels.
Vincent Johnson in Los Angeles
Ron Carter Quartet plus special guests Robert Glasper Trio at Royce Hall, UCLA 10.27.12
“Highly influential double-bass player and composer Ron Carter leads another thrilling night of live exploration with his acclaimed quartet. Now in his sixth decade of a jaw-dropping career, Carter rose to prominence as part of Miles Davis second quintet in the early 60s. Jazz trailblazer Robert Glasper returns to the Royce stage for a second performance on the season, opening the evening with straight-ahead jazz from his slick traditional trio.”
“81-year-old guitar innovator Kenny Burrell weighs in on Ron Carter Quartet plus special guests the Robert Glasper Trio. “When I was starting out in Detroit, we made sure to learn everything we could. Detroit has produced some pretty great players, like Ron Carter. I played with him a number of times. He’s one of the most important bassists in the history of jazz, and the great part is that he’s still out there, still active, still performing and experimenting to this day. He’s one of the living legends.”
ROBERT GLASPER TRIO
- Robert Glasper – piano
Alan Hampton – bass
Mark Colenburg – drums
“Robert Glasper is an incredibly versatile pianist. His latest Blue Note Records release, the 2–CD Double Booked, showcased both his acoustic trio and the expanded Robert Glasper Experiment. His credits include recordings and live performances with hip–hop kings Mos Def and Jay–Z, premier jazz artists Terence Blanchard and Roy Hargrove, and even Carly Simon. Washington City Paper, in its review of the Glasper group’s sold–out April 2011 stand at D.C.’s Bohemian Caverns, declared: “Unless we’re willing to accept that jazz is music for bluenoses and ‘authenticity’ worshippers, its future lies where the future of any art form always lies: in addressing the present. Along with a few others…Glasper is revitalizing jazz for youthful audiences by giving them something for their generation. We’re in good hands.” http://www.jazzstandard.net/red/calendar/calendar-september2011.html
Sat, Oct 27
Ron Carter Quartet w/ Robert Glasper
UCLA’s Royce Hall
“Upright bassist Ron Carter held down the low-end for Miles Davis’ quintet in the mid-’60s. A man of taste and sturdiness, Carter has since brought his bass (and his beard) to over 2000 recording sessions including a lion’s share of famed 1970s label CTI’s output. He doesn’t make the trip out west all that often and Royce Hall has paired his band with young phenom Robert Glasper’s trio. It’s a great double-bill that bookends a month of intriguing, generation-hopping double-bills.” http://blogs.laweekly.com/westcoastsound/2012/10/the_best_jazz_concerts_to_see.php?page=2
Chick Corea, Gary Burton and the Harlem String Quartet at Valley Performing Arts, Northridge, CA,
Chick Corea, Gary Burton and the Harlem String Quartet
“National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master and 16-time Grammy-winning pianist Chick Corea joins forces with award-winning vibraphonist Gary Burton for their Hot House Tour with the Harlem String Quartet. Since 1972 the duo has been one of the jazz world’s most celebrated collaborations, performing improvisation-laced programs uncommon in their popularity, innovation and creativity. Corea and Burton will perform material from their new album Hot House, exploring their unique takes on standards by composers from Kurt Weill and Antonio Carlos Jobim to Thelonious Monk and Lennon & McCartney. Tonight’s performance is an extraordinary opportunity for audiences to observe witty, playful and artistically-engaged musicians as they explore the boundaries of jazz.” http://www.valleyperformingartscenter.org/calendar/hot-house-tour/
Harlem Quartet (photo by Christian Steiner/courtesy Music Mountain)
“The addition of The Harlem String Quartet–with violinists Ilmar Gavilan and Melissa White, cellist Paul Wiancko and Juan-Miguel Hernandez on viola–contributed a lush sound to the mix. The rich orchestral sound was particularly in evidence in the Orchestra and Waltz segments of Lyric Suite for Sextet and the fifth movement of Adventures of Hippocrates. It added yet another dimension to Corea’s music. Taking full advantage of the talented quartet, Corea’s adaptation of Round Midnight built on the opening sounds of their strings.” http://northridge.patch.com/articles/corea-s-fusion-burton-s-good-vibes-make-beautiful-music-at-csun-c8f19d8b
Chick Corea (left) and Gary Burton at Anthology in San Diego
Chick Corea & Gary Burton, featuring the Harlem String Quartet
1. Can’t We Be Friends
2. Eleanor Rigby
3. Chega de Saudade
4. Time Remembered
5. Hot House
6. Strange Meadow Lark
7. Light Blue
8. Once I Loved
9. My Ship
10. Mozart Goes Dancing
Ramsay Lewis at Valley Performing Arts Center, Northridge, CA, 2/11/12
Ramsey Lewis with Nnenna Freelon
Great Hall (Directions & Parking)
$70 / $55 / $40 / $25
Sat., February 11 – 8:00 PM
Composer, pianist and jazz legend Ramsey Lewis has been referred to as “the great performer,” a title reflecting his performance style and musical selections, which display his early gospel playing and classical training along with his love of jazz and other musical forms. “What keeps me enthusiastic and energizes me is the realization that the more I learn, the more I find there is to know,” Lewis says.
“Nnenna Freelon is hot. … Freelon converts are on their feet, ready, indeed eager, to embrace her. … Freelon is a rare blend of estimable qualities — smart as Oprah, sassy as Sarah Vaughan. …” — Jazz Times
“Freelon makes each song … such a personal statement that they all seem fresh and new.” — USA Today
Ramsey Lewis Remains Part of the ‘In Crowd’
The enthusiasm of the 76-year-old jazz artist is contagious during his performance at CSUN.
- By Barry Garron
- February 12, 2012
“The first time I saw Ramsey Lewis perform, it was in late June 1966. Right after my senior prom, my date and another couple headed for a restaurant on Chicago’s near north side where he was performing.
His group was known as the Ramsey Lewis Trio and his big hit was The In Crowd, a number that simultaneously made him a star and exposed a new generation to the marvels of jazz. This was jazz with rhythm, infused a little by Lewis’ classical training and a lot with the bouncy drive of pop rock.
The baby boomers who made up the lion’s share of the audience Saturday night at CSUN’s Valley Performing Arts Center were rewarded with another rendition of that jazz classic, though they had to wait until Lewis’ second encore to hear it. In this case, though, the wait was every bit as enjoyable as the reward.
Lewis is 45 years older than when I first saw him but the joy that was evident on that balmy night in June was equally evident on this nippy Saturday night in Northridge. Dapper and fit, he continues to relish every note he plays and every sound that comes from the other members of his five-man electric band. At one point, during a drum solo by Charles Heath, Lewis actually rose from the piano bench and joined bass player Joshua Ramos and guitarist Henry Johnson as they stood to the side, looking on approvingly.
There is a timeless quality about Lewis, whether he is playing a mellow John Coltrane medley or dedicating another medley to pop star Whitney Houston, who died just hours earlier in a Beverly Hills hotel.
Lewis opened his 80-minute set by accompanying Nnenna Freelon, who had already charmed the audience with her stylized interpretations of such standards as You and the Night and the Music and Smile. Justly praised for her gift for interpreting lyrics, Freelon gave fresh meaning to songs as varied as Carol King’s Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow and the bluesy You’ve Changed, a much-covered number often associated with Billie Holiday.
Clad in a burgundy-colored velvet gown, Freelon accented her smooth sound with swaying motions and gentle arm waving reminiscent of a hula dancer. Her voice, silky and almost sultry, would have been at home in an intimate night club but lost none of its appeal in the larger and more formal main theater.
She concluded her set by introducing Lewis and singing Please Don’t Talk About Me When I’m Gone to his accompaniment on piano. That led to Lewis’ opening number, a longtime favorite, Brazilica. That, in turn, served notice that the time for irresistible toe-tapping jazz by this three-time Grammy winner had arrived.
Through heavy applause and two standing ovations, Lewis felt the love of an audience that was in no rush for his performance to end. And that, as I recall, was just the way it was 45 years ago.” http://northridge.patch.com/articles/ramsey-lewis-remains-part-of-the-in-crowd
$85 / $70 / $55
Sat., April 20, 2013 – 8:00 PM
Sonny Rollins burst onto the jazz scene in the 1950s under the mentorship of masters such as Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker. Since then he has been a master in his own right. A Kennedy Center National Medal of Arts recipient, Grammy Award-winner, jazz educator and winner of countless other awards—even as he moves into his 80s—Sonny Rollins continues to push the boundaries of jazz, using his trademark saxophone to carve new trails. Bebop still swings when Sonny Rollins performs!
The Bad Plus with special guest Joshua Redman
$20 – $55 ($15 UCLA Students)