SFJAZZ My first experience in what I call the “new building”, although there have been quite a few years of performances prior to my arrival. It feels so good to be back in “The City”! Arrived in The Haight, grabbed some quick Thai food and now here to explore the vast dynamic sounds of the many sides of Vijay Iyer.
A quick intro of Vijay and Wadada and we are off.
Space is the place where we begin. Floating in silence amongst the stars and as we move past the planets discovering, witnessing and feeling the love as evolution takes place. Improvisations take form like new creations exploding into existence. Life begins like a flower growing ever so slightly in the morning dew of each day. From seed to full blossom, we feel the velocity, mystery and wonder as we slowly spin into evolution. From keyboard to piano to synthesizer, Vijay paints the canvas while Wadada’s horn reaches inside for us to see the path of our own individual life; one that has brought us “hear” to this moment. His color expresses our pain, our pleasure, our human story.
Photo by Rick Swig
It’s a dance, a conversation, an ebb as we flow and breathe. We are described as the music, by the music. Turmoil, obstacles and challenges as we face giants. Our spirits are joined together and together we become giant. People, Cultures, Religions, sounds and colors hearing a call to stop, come out of our individual existence and touch each other, love each other, learn together and discover our strengths.
This music is the best tapestry to dig deep within and not only discover ourselves, but our relation to one another. Moments of retrospect and immersion, resonating notes ground us as fleeting ones set the tone for our freedom!
Photos by Rick Swig
Words are merely sounds shaped and molded by wind distinguishable by tone. If you listen closely you hear the words of Brother Malcom speaking on experiences and describing the nature and structure of things that are. And we wonder why those echos, those words of wisdom and truth still reach out from the rings of past vibrations and speak in this 360 degree parallel universe. We are moving forth on the timeline yet coincidentally, or not, experincing deja vu and discovering that the past of your ancestors is your future.
These winds blow change and we are the flowers that bend and sway. But once all the petals have detached, once the pollen disenegrates and green turns to brown; we have the chance to do it all again and hopefully and through red clay, love prevails. “Life is worth living, and when it gets dark, you possess the power to turn on the light!!!
A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke.
Encore is a piece Wadada wrote I honor of Marian Anderson, a woman with a rich and beautiful voice singing to entertain and struggling to over come mid century prejudice. The first black woman to sing and perform at the Metropolitan Opera and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Rudresh joins Vijay for part 2 of an already extraordinary night of sound and this is only night one! With a similar vibration we begin. This time the pulse beats from a different atmosphere. A caressing yearning that breezes into existence; a calm and peace lay the foundation. Bursts of brightness splash the canvas as an image of Chiraag Bhakta appears. There is a slogan, “from now on it’s not the dying we must fear but the living.
People are looking at life and expressing their love for all humanity more than ever! Love Trumps hate! “Land of the Free crossed out, home of the brave. Their are many ways to approach some of our age old philosophies. Sound is unifying and an extraordinary way to shower our conscious minds with the powerful fortification and nutrients that we need to form a force field of impenetrable love.
Chiraag Bhakta is an American artist and designer currently living in San Francisco and a good friend of Vijay. Like many of us living here in this country growing up as an innocent and suddenly looking at the ways and means of differences. But artists speak and create thought, new ways of seeing the world through perspectives brought on by lifes personal experiences! And simply by expressing those thoughts and ideas through art, there is power to move and be moved! He expresses the commercialization of a Culture and how either we stand up and recognize or be slowly eroded from the pages of his story as color and truth turns opaque with rhetoric.
Mantras are codes, beliefs in positive repetition will heal and protect. Our musicians get it! Rudresh, Vijay and Wadada are protecting our souls. The culmination of thought, intent and sonic positivity are the keys the unlock the secrets of love and strength within us. A force for good! “Trident” a tune that Vijay and Rudresh performed together some 20 years ago here in the Bay Area. A few chuckles of memories from Rudresh as he proceeds to lay down the rhythm over one of Vijays dynamically strong melodies. I personally remember banging this one hard on past radio shows down in Los Angeles; the frequency radiates just as powerful as ever. A Timeless Classic!White Supremacy crossed out.There are many colors on the pallet wheel and white is certainly one of them. No pigment, no dominance, but equal in its ability to voice a sound and therefore just as relevant as all of the colors with a sound to voice. Politics will now play, and really always has, a major roll in everything we do and as we go forth, it is our beautiful musicians who will paint the landscapes in true and vivid colors.
This is indeed a great deal of information to decode but, whether you listen actively or simply come and accept the sound, your presence signifies that you now know or seek the knowledge. So the message has been transferred to you for you to go forth and be a force for good!!!
The second night into another part of the brilliant mind of Vijay Iyer. It’s always poetry but tonight another reunion Teju Cole; author, poet and caring brilliant human being . The two met on the subway and no not by chance because all things are for purpose. Teju has a brand new book coming out this summer and if his penetrating narrative is any indication, then there is opportunity for you to be the collective drop of water for change.
Blind spot. Breath from the opening note and the strings set the tone. Speech, words powerfully simple and plane set the channel for the imagery. This is more than just a reading, or a story, this is a live docudrama and we are living it. In vivid, descriptive, detailed analysis a story, told with space, time and music. Teju is the director and has us all, molding and shaping the future of our conscious. Death and dreams of falling. The death toll is always one plus one plus one plus one.
Pictures and words that slowly seep into our beings. As the stories are told I am mesmerized. Not by the pictures but by how the sound of Teju’s voice, and the strings of Steven Krump’s bass and Okkyung Lee on cello sear the messages and imagery into my soul. Photographs so simple an undetected yet so rich with story. Like the small whispers in your mind that you ignore everyday but, if you stop and listen, an abundance of meaning lies in its simplicity. These signs may say nothing and may hide in plain sight as just ordinary signs but are or can be an homage to greater things. Let this be a sign! These stories and more blend together only to show us that history connects our humanity.
After intermission, a larger casts graces the stage. This is truly one of the most incredible ensembles; but of course, that’s how Vijay does it! Horns of plenty with Ambrose Akinmusire, Graham Haynes, Mark Shim, Steven Lehman; Sun Ra said it best, “My Brothers the Wind”. Air is everything. These musicians have discovered many more uses on their instruments that were originally intended for singular sound.
Teju mixing it up with larger sonics. The narrative is just as impressive creatively turning the kaleidoscope of our minds. Brass and smash! Tyson Sorey with a menagerie of beats and fills driving the tempo while individually and collectively the horn section radiates in four part brilliance. Guitarist Rafiq Bhatia with riffs of energetic elevation and Patricia Brennan twisting thought on peculiar ponders. Vijay and vibes cutting colors with a tremendous full flavored sound! The audience hears and the message is clear. Each of the solos tonight are so intensely beautiful; sonically fierce on the edge. Driving forces head on together is not to be a collision, but a uniting of divinity. The platform for tonight’s sound is on high and below the earth that has acquired its color by the blood dripped down from trees. Creators be advised, the grade on the curve has changed.
Night three turns out to be one of the largest audiences. I guess the word is out!
A mellow and lovely beginning is always quite the journey. What is so great about Vijay is that all compositions are a unique journey unto themselves. A masterful dance of three tonight. Usually Brother Marcus Gilmore is on drums but tonight, just as ambitious and incredibly wise in complexity is Tyshawn Sorey; Master improvisor and dynamic pulse creator. Always tremendous in every Vijay Iyer formation, as well as a few on his own, Stephen Crump. And Vijay, man brilliance recognizes brilliance as the ménage à trois of saturated colors and textures enwrap us in swirling melodies and graceful Ravel-lations! The sound is lifting and bright filling the room with an even layer of anticipated juvelation.
The trio has been at the base of all of the sound for this series and tonight the prominence is full throttle front and center. A rolling thunderous sound that we are blessed enough to live right in the eye of its existence; a welcome storm. Laying out new compositions as well as bringing new life to original music. So much spontaneity in the crux of the sound continuum. Paying tributes and Monkering without mocking. I am hearing the sound and imagining holographic images of a spherical break dance; the spinning Monk! Sorey bringing the continent into the equation as the sound communicates through the lush. The heartbeat tics and skips on point; arrhythmic aneurysms of the very best kind. From Monk to MJ! And I ask why, why, must they do me this way! Deconstruction and rebuilding a better tomorrow today! Our world needs to follow suit. The time is NOW. Pointnant thoughts followed by a powerful tributes to Eric Garner; a life, full of life, his life, our lives, your life matters, Black and otherwise.
And the there were 5! Straight Ahead “Out of the Tunnel; A road less traveled but a welcomed sound! Swinging that foot the tappin’ pendulum all the way around the meter! Both Ambrose and Shim sound even more dynamic tonight! Ore freedom, more space, more time to dig deeper into their roles asintegral as they always are. There is no doubt that everyone Turley understands how marvelous and necessary these vibrations are; it to be taken for granted.
Tribal Wisdom Indeed! Prasana displays an mystic groove with modern day Cultural twists. Nite Mitta tunes his instrument which is not an easy task, but once it’s right, the flavor grounds us in a percussive rue of ancient times. Prasana uses his guitar and finds the most exciting peculiar ways of creating expression and his voice synchronizing with chords and crossing rhythms is mystifying . If it is possible, then the Universe will make it so. He writes about the differences between Classical Physics and Quantum Physics.
This is like a ten year debut and both Vijay and Prusana have not been back in San Francisco performing for quite some time which make the occasion that much more special. The range of sounds produced by Nitten is quite extraordinary. The bass on the drums is resonating and the power and speed of deliver in his fingertips is stunning. Vijay wrote a song for his grandparents which eventually took on a larger meaning particularly referring to transitions that are currently taking place in our country. Maybe this will give us all something to collectively meditate on!
I have been here meditating for four nights and I am exhausted listening, re-coding and hanging on to each and every note. Active listening takes physical work. I realize that most people do not look at their entertainment as work but, you have been welcomed and invited at the request of the artist so, your presence and participation required. Giving back your energy completes the circle. I can imagine how Vijay must be. This is no simple task to balance mental preparation, practice, rehearsal with seven completly different versions of your music, travel, rest and oh yeah food. Things that most people don’t think about when they come to see a performance. But watching every night, I can see that all of this has no bearing on the intensity of music. When they walk out on stage there is a new energy fueled partly by the excitement of performing and partly by the presence of the ever anticipated energy of the audience. There is a comfort in the trust of creativity, spontaneity and freedom that the spirt of the music requires. Of course there is a great deal of joy that comes from doing what you love but, there is also a great deal of sacrifice and all in order to give the absolute best back to Mother Earth that has fed, nourished and provided. Three hundred and sixty degrees, just like the gravitational pull that keeps it all in balance. At the core is life, love and giving back, never taking away. Seek it, appreciate it, enjoy it and return it! An all encompassing win win!
LeRoy Downs “The Jazzcat”
Chiraag Bhakti provided the artwork and performance photos for the collage
Photos of Vijay with Wadada and Rudresh on the night one by Rick Swig
A Double Bill featuring the music of Steve Lehman and Georgia Anne Muldrow
Steve Lehman – alto saxophonist, composer, musical scholar and newest member of the CalArts music faculty, opens with his stunning composition Manifold, for solo saxophone, interactive electronics and a trio of “virtual instrumentalists.” Developed, in part, during a research residency at IRCAM, these works incorporate detailed programming, live processing, and computer-driven improvisation, and call for an instrumental soloist and a trio of virtual instrumentalists to navigate a series of highly structured compositional grids. The recipient of a 2015 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award, Lehman is an alto saxophonist who has performed and recorded nationally and internationally with his own ensembles and with those led by Anthony Braxton, Vijay Iyer, Jason Moran, Meshell Ndegeocello, and High Priest of Anti-Pop Consortium, among many others. Lehman’s 2014 release Mise en Abime was cited as the #1 Jazz Album of the Year by the Los Angeles Times. His 2016 album Selebeyone was selected as a Top 10 CD of 2016 by NPR, The Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times Popcast, among others
Saturday February 4 at 8:30 pm.
Visionary Afrofuturist singer-songwriter and producer Georgia Anne Muldrow, who fronts a five-piece band. A prodigy of soul, R&B and hip-hop sought after for her distinctive vocal style, rhythmic production and complex songwriting, she has collaborated with artists such asMadlib, Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Dudley Perkins and Rickie Byars Beckwith. As the LA label Stones Throw’s first female signee, Georgia released her critically acclaimed debut solo EP Worthnothings, followed by Olesi, Ocotea (2010), Seeds (2012) and A Thoughtiverse Unmarred (2015).
Saturday February 4 at 8:30 pm.
REDCAT, CalArts’ downtown center for contemporary arts, presents a double bill bringing together two of today’s most bracingly original voices in jazz and urban experimentalism. Steve Lehman and Georgia Anne Muldrow will perform!!
Lehman’s recent electro-acoustic music has focused on the development of computer-driven models for improvisation, based in the Max/MSP programming environment. Lehman’s work has been favorably reviewed in Artforum, Downbeat magazine, The New York Times, Newsweek, and The Wire, and on National Public Radio, the BBC, and SWR.
As a Fulbright scholar in France, Lehman began researching the reception of African-American experimental composers working in France during the 1970s. His article in the journal Critical Studies in Improvisation, “I Love You with an Asterisk: African-American Experimental Composers and the French Jazz Press, 1970–1980,” is based on his Fulbright research. More recently, Lehman has published writings and presented lectures on a wide range of topics, including jazz pedagogy, rhythm cognition, and European notions of American experimentalism. His current scholarship, including a forthcoming contribution to the Oxford Handbook of Spectral Music, examines the overlapping histories of spectral composition and jazz improvisation.
Lehman received his B.A. (2000) and M.A. in Composition (2002) from Wesleyan University where he studied under Anthony Braxton, Jay Hoggard, and Alvin Lucier, while concurrently working with Jackie McLean at the Hartt School of Music. He received his doctorate with distinction in Music Composition from Columbia University (2012), where his principal teachers included Tristan Murail and George Lewis. Lehman has taught undergraduate courses at Wesleyan University, the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, New School University, and Columbia University, and has presented lectures at Amherst College, UC Berkeley, The Berklee School of Music, The Banff Centre, The Royal Academy of Music in London, and IRCAM in Paris, where he was a 2011 research fellow.
“If this is the direction jazz is heading, Lehman, as usual, is miles ahead.” —Downbeat
“Lehman is a dazzling saxophonist… A state-of-the-art musical thinker.” – The New York Times
Born in Los Angeles to acclaimed jazz musician Ronald Muldrow, known as an instrumentalist with Eddie Harris, and Rickie Byars-Beckwith, leader of the famed Agape Choir and a noted spiritual teacher with the New Thought movement, Georgia was exposed to music at an early age. Upon graduating, Georgia moved to New York for The New School’s jazz program and met fellow students Robert Glasper and Bilal. Connecting with the likes of Wajeed led to her works on the critically acclaimed Platinum Pied Pipers’ Triple P album, but being on the NYC subway underneath the World Trade Center during the mayhem of that tragic event led her to abandon New York for Los Angeles. Working with local producers such as Ras G, Dibiase and Sa-Ra grew her buzz, which attracted major artists Erykah Badu and Mos Def.
Currently residing in Las Vegas, Muldrow and rapper, poet and producer Dudley Perkins a.k.a. Declaime, unite under the alias of G&D. Besides handling production, the two are co-owners of their independent label SomeOthaShip Connect. The duo live, record, and raise their family, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, strong family unit and connection to their Afrocentric roots, all of which is reflected in their music. Fed up with labels, the two decided to start their own and in 2009 inked a deal with leading independent distributor eOne Entertainment. Their first release, compilation Ms. One Presents…, was followed by Perkin’s Holy Smokes and Muldrow’s solo Umsindo which included the hit “Roses” included on Mos Def’s Grammy-nominated The Ecstatic. In 2011, Muldrow released experimental jazz instrumental album Ocotea under the alias Jyoti, a name given to her by spiritual mentor Alice Coltrane. The record was chosen by UK tastemaker Gilles Peterson as the Jazz Album of the year at his 2011 Worldwide Awards. In 2012, Muldrow released Seeds with Madlib handling production.
Georgia Anne Muldrow:
“Georgia Anne Muldrow is one of the most daring and important (albeit underappreciated) artists of her time” —Allmusic Guide
“Georgia Anne sounds like Alice Coltrane and J Dilla rolled into one.” – Erykah Badu
THE THEATER | Tickets for programs held in the theater are available through the REDCAT Box Office, by phone 213-237-2800 or online at www.redcat.org. Group, member, student and CalArts faculty/staff discounts available.
Box Office Hours: Tuesdays–Saturday from noon until 6 pm or two hour prior to curtain.
THE GALLERY | REDCAT’s Gallery presents five major exhibitions each year, and publishes artist books and catalogues. Admission to the Gallery is FREE.
Gallery Hours: Tuesdays–Sundays from noon until 6 pm and through intermission.
THE LOUNGE | Open to the public six days a week, the Lounge is a great place to spend an afternoon or grab a drink pre- and post-performance.
Lounge Hours: Tuesdays–Fridays: 9am until 8 pm or post-show; Saturdays: noon until 8 pm or post-show; Sundays: noon until 6pm or post-show.
Location/Parking: 631 West 2nd Street, Los Angeles CA 90012
REDCAT is located in downtown Los Angeles inside the Walt Disney Concert Hall complex with a separate entrance at the corner of West 2nd and Hope Streets. Parking is available in the Walt Disney Concert Hall parking structure. $9 event rate or $5 for vehicles entering after 8:00 pm on weekdays.
Hello Beautiful Jazz People!
New Years Eve was a BLAST!
Saturday Morning December 31st from 3AM to 6AM
On the edge of the music, balancing between the “was” and the “will be” of sound is where you can always find me doing my absolute best to provide you with an intelligent, thought provoking, artistic, creative endeavor in sound. Jazz is the most confusing word in music and therefore it’s hard to explain in mere words. All we ask, as the purveyors of this music called Jazz is that you…
Click for Video
- Come to the music openly
- Hear all the notes
- Allow yourself to feel the vibration
- Do NOT allow mediocre mainstream media to dictate you taste
- Seek, explore and settle on nothing less than extraordinary
- Let love and intent of the sound guide you to new destinations within yourself
- And most of all Enjoy!
Also live in Studio TONIGHT Artist Sam Pace will let the music inspire art from blank canvas to jazz brilliance! Sam created this piece called, ” The Street of Dreams” and if you look close, guess who is hosting the Thelonious Monk Sextet!!!!
So as you can see, the music will be on, the art will be on, and a whole lot of creativity will be spiritually and nocturnally seeping in to your subconscious as we approach 2017. With as much love, inspiration and positivity as we can bring forth, this energy is our gift to help keep us healthy, strong and SAFE as we face uncertainty ahead.
Saturday Morning December 31st from 3AM to 6AM
It is not often that you have an opportunity to hear and enjoy pure, unadulterated JAZZ creativity coming through the airwaves here in Los Angeles.
There are but a few heroes that grace the airwaves on a consistent basis. Bo Leibowitz with “Strictly Jazz” and Mark Maxwell with “Rise” are the only two truly providing a great service for Los Angeles. I am honored to work with and sub for both of them whenever the occasion permits.
Friday Night / Saturday New Years Eve Morning Dec 31st
Judah Man did all the social media! Check out on Instagram
3am – 6am KCRW.ORG
The Jazzcat sitting in for Bo Leibowitz spinning a menagerie of sonic brilliance and whippin’ up magic with lot of great music by the cats you know and some you don’t!
Bring your enthusiasm for sound and your blank canvas to listen to the colors of jazz unfold, blossom and enlighten! Come on you nocturnals, weather its wine or a cup of java, stay up and let’s jam together!
Dec 31st, 2016
Friday Night /Saturday New Years Eve Morning
3AM to 6am Pacific Standard Time
3 Hours of Progressive, Eclectic Jazz for you dome!
The Light is ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Merry Christmas to you all; All lovers of music, all lovers of JAZZ!!!
This year once again we give to you as our gift 30 minutes of great Jazz Music for the Holidays! It’s a great show to watch on Christmas morning so please watch, enjoy and PLEASE share with your family and friends!!
Happy Holidays from All Music Television
LeRoy Downs “The Jazzcat” in association with All Music Television has produced a special holiday gift for you, Jazz on TELEVISION!!!
This holiday season, we present to you once again “Christmas Jazz with LeRoy Downs”. Christmas Jazz is JAZZ for Christmas, original music by some extraordinary musicians who have come together to share their talents with you!
Photographs on set by Bob Barry Photography
The show will feature performances by …
Theo Croker, Nicole Mitchell, Danny Janklow, Dontae Winslow and the Winslow Dynasty, The Cameron Graves Trio and Introducing 2015 Thelonious Monk Vocal Competition Winner Jazzmeia Horn! Special appearances by Terence Blanchard, Jason Moran, Don Was, Christian McBride and Peter Erskine. WOW!!!!
Enjoy Christmas Jazz with LeRoy Downs!!
Have a Very Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year!!
Warren Benbow’s new book ‘A Drummer’s Story’ chronicles the life of a young musician just out of The High School of Performing Arts in New York City. His story recounts the changing world of jazz in the 1970s amongst the racial and political shift in America. Warren’s coming of age memoir features his adventures with legendary musicians such as Whitney Houston, Nina Simone, Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Betty Carter, James ‘Blood’ Ulmer and how they influenced his musicianship.
Rob Wallis- Hudson Music – Pres. Drum Guru App – Founder
“A Drummer’s Story is a walk through Bed Stuy., and Brooklyn in the 60’s and 70’s, and on to the High School of Music & Arts in NYC. Through his gigs with Nina Simone, Betty Carter and Sonny Sharrock, Warren covers the NYC music scene from The Apollo, The Fillmore East and Hendrix’s Electric Ladyland and everything in between. Warren has touched on a huge variety of the music from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s – from the civil rights movement, the assignations of JFK, Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King into john Lennon, the summer of love and Jimi Hendrix playing the Star Spangled banner at Woodstock. A lover of music from James Brown and Aretha to Miles Davis, The Beatles and Ringo to drummers Art Blakey and John Bonham. Warren covers his life thru the streets and thru the music….”
An American jazz fusiondrummer best known for being the drummer of Chick Corea’s Return to Forever. White has been described as “one of the founding fathers of jazz fusion” ” Warren Benbow’s words give you a literary landscape of the most influential musical periods of the style of Jazz in the last century. He’s lived in it and continues to live an eventful life”.
Warren Smith- Jazz, and classical percussionist, and educator.
“I was privileged to read Warren Benbow’s book. I have known Warren, it seems, for most of his professional career. His narrative is quite interesting, especially to another musician, as well as a fellow percussionist. Seeing similar or shared experiences thru the eyes of another musician is always an interesting adventure. Warren’s story is reminiscent of my own early years in New York City. This book chronicles the constant evolution of the music world thru the last few decades. Warren tells of the influence of technology upon the music, as well as the ever-changing styles and developments of the innovators, musicians and composers who most influenced the direction of African-American Music during the 20th and early 21st centuries. His breadth of experiences, and the way he uses them to navigate a successful career, is a must read for young musicians. I am sure that anyone who starts this book will find it hard to put down, from cover to cover. Great job Warren. We need more active musicians to tell this story from the inside…”
Saturday December 10th
3am – 6am Los Angeles
If you love to dig deep inside the music from all angles and directions, dimensions and extensions, vibrations and sensations then, come and join us @ 3AM Friday Night / Saturday Morning on December 10th. And if you love popular music, then good for you!
Bo Leibowitz and LeRoy Downs trading sets of the finest jazz!!!
Saturday December 10th
3am – 6am Los Angeles
Progressive Jazz Music Lovers from all over the world UNITE!
To Listen Click KCRW Above
It will be cognitive jazz science as usual as Bo and I trade sets to create an experience in the music. A Pre-eminent, Progressive, Sonic Experience in Jazz!!!! Don’t Sleep !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Los Angeles!!!! Drummer some! That’s right, Rhythm times 3 as we open the space for the mighty Los Angeles drummers that have covered the gammot in music! Come listen, eat celebrate and enjoy a part of your history!!
Located inside Au Lac Restaurant
710 W 1st St Los Angeles, CA 90012
I’ll be your host along with Ms Cathy Segal Garcia and we guarantee the you will have a splendid night of music! I hear the food is fantastic so come on down, parking is easy and the music will be on high!
Look forward to seeing you tonight and we will be swinging’ the thing!
Click any picture for Tonight’s Details!!!!!!!!!!!!