The Jazzcat

Archive for August, 2005

The Nolan Shaheed Quartet, will be performing at Borders Booksellers in Simi Valley

by on Aug.23, 2005, under News

Simi Valley, September 10th 2005- Write 4 Hope, a (501c) non-profit

corporation based in Simi Valley, will be hosting an evening of Jazz on

September 10th 2005 to promote the Write 4 Hope Charity Event taking

place on October 8th 2005.

The Nolan Shaheed Quartet, will be performing at Borders Booksellers in

Simi Valley, from 7:30pm to 8:30 pm. Later that same night, the Nolan

Shaheed Quartet will be performing at Dakota's 2525 Stow St. Simi

Valley, California from 9:30 pm to Midnight. Nolan Shaheed is not a

newcomer to the Jazz scene. Some of his extensive credits include,

being the Musical Director for Marvin Gaye, he was also the lead

trumpet with Count Bassie, and played with such greats as: Natalie

Cole, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Phil Collins and Anita Baker. Nolan

has been one of LA's top studio musicians since 1974 and is in great

demand in the Jazz scene. He currently owns a recording studio and is a

music producer.

Write 4 Hope is very proud to present one of LA’s Finest Jazz bands!

Dakota's has graciously agreed to donate a percentage of their proceeds to Write 4 Hope on September 10th 2005.

During the evening, Write 4 Hope, will be selling tickets to the

Charity Breakfast portion of the October event for $25.00. General

admission tickets will be sold for $10.00 each. The public will also be

given the option of preordering books, which can then be purchased on

the day of the event. For those attending the Charity Breakfast in

October, the Nolan Shaheed Quintet will be performing during the

breakfast and will then be signing cd's during the Book Signing portion

of the event.

The Write 4 Hope Charity Event will be taking place on Saturday October

8th 2005. The event will be held at the Posada Royale Hotel &

Suites in Simi Valley, California. Featuring over 50 authors from all

genres for a Book Signing, a Charity Breakfast with some fantastic jazz

from the Nolan Shaheed, a Poetry Slam, a variety of author

presentations and a live auction, this event should appeal to all ages.

Special guests include, Sci/Fi Grandmaster Larry Niven, The Simi Valley

Historical Society, Aspen Comics, creators of the very popular Fathom

and Soulfire comic books series, the Simi Valley Samaritan Center and

LA Family Housing.

The proceeds of the Write 4 Hope Charity Event will be donated to

two local charities which benefit the disadvantaged. .Both charities

will be present for the October event. The charities are: The Simi

Valley Samaritan Center and LA Family Housing.

Detailed information regarding the October event can be found on the Write 4 Hope website

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Michael Franks at the Long Beach Jazz Festival!

by on Aug.23, 2005, under News


Slide Show

In all the years that I have listened to, appreciated and

grown in my musical taste, Michael Franks has been one that has remained

on my good music radar. Yes, I am the Jazzcat and yes I live my life in the

straight ahead vain however, Duke said it best and I follow his philosophy when

it comes to music.


It is interesting because my musical taste have grown in

an extremely different direction than when I first began listening to music.

Here is my dirty little secret:


I started out listening to hip-hop on KDAY, a radio station

that has come back and made a serious rebound after all of these years. I broke

away from that and started listening to other music, which they now have a name

for that I am sure that you know quite well: Artist like Jeff Lorber, Earl

Klugh, Spyro Gyra, George Howard, and even a few I dare not mention. However,

this type of music helped put me on the path to the core of straight ahead

music, real jazz – the essence of life which I hold dear and which molds my

character and determines my destiny.



I have pretty much closed the door on anything that remotely represents

the touch of silk, a tsunami of the smallest magnitude or weather that causes

thunder and lightning when it comes to music. I probably should not be so

harsh. I am just fond of music that makes a statement with simplicity and not

just for simplicity's sake. If they called it adult contemporary music, I would

be fine with that because that is what it is.















Now, having said all of that, any music that has

stayed with

me over the years and has not fallen by the wayside must have something

to say.

I believe that about Michael Franks and his music. I believe that there

are two

sides to his music. This could probably be said about many artists but,


is one side of Michael that is contemporary (the record label side) and

another side which exudes an extremely profound and creative lyricist.

I have had

most of his records over the years and I am amazed by them. Amazed that

on the

same record there could be something so intriguing and also something

so very

contemporary. To me, it is like oil and water, but what this tells me

is that

Michael's imprint is present on all of his work, regardless of the way

the studio

would like to present him as an artist.


Times have unfortunately changed since the old days. Artists

were given record deals because of their sheer talent and once proven, allowed

to freely express their art and creativity through their music. Jazz musicians

who speak and play the truth do this every day and are not financially rewarded

nearly as abundantly as others. Michael is a wonderful storyteller who has

created beauty from the heart. He has captured some very poignant aspects of

the love between humans and expressed the joy, pain, and sorrow with things

that make you laugh, feel and think. But as the years progress, the avenue for

these types of expressions change and that change sometimes leaves artists on

an island of creative prowess with no market. Television is not about the

programs you watch and radio is not about what you are listening to.

imageimage image image


I took the Blue Line train down to the Long Beach Jazz Festival

in Long Beach because it is always an easy ride and it pretty much drops you

off right at the back door of the festival. I met two women on my way back home

that had just been at the festival. They both saw Michael’s performance and one

thought his lyrics were corny and the other said that she just liked his voice.

I have been listening to these lyrics for over 20 years and I have always

looked upon them as fun, humorous and yes, sometimes a little silly. But, I get

it. I felt like I was a fly on the wall when he composed some of these songs

and I understood where he was coming from. I think you have to look, feel, hear

and live between the lines to understand the song’s true meaning. I am not sure

that the world hears Michael’s messages correctly.


This is the same approach I take with jazz music. I like to

hear between the lines and experience the possibility of notes not played. I

know that those who love adult contemporary music only listen to and want to

hear what is coming out of the speakers. There is so much more to life and

there is so much more to music and so much more to art. I relish in those

lyrics because, like most of us, they take us back to a time to remember. Only,

I heard the music in its entirety back then, when it was presented in a free

form and not a part of a radio formula that works financially.


During his performance at the very successful Long Beach

Jazz Festival, Michael covered some of his popular tunes like, “Eggplant”,

“Monk’s New Tune”, “Rainy Night in Tokyo” and of course everyone’s all-time

favorite “Popsicle Toes”. On vocals, backup vocals and percussion, a friend

that I have for only known a short time (though it seems like we go back many years)

was Veronica Nunn, adding the flavor of “A Love Duet”. That’s what Michael

Franks's lyrics do– make you seem like you have known him for quite some time. Through

time, Michael has remained the same all of these years. I have seen him at

performances for many years here in Los

Angeles and he has a certain approach and relationship

with his microphone that is hard to explain in words. My guess is that he respects

its power and wants its recipients to hear and get his message.


Of course all of his songs are great, but what is even more

dynamic is when you spend time with the albums in a serene environment in their

entirety. You can’t always get your music through the radio. When was the last

time you got together with some friends, made some dinner at your house and

spent some intimate time listening to music? This can be more rewarding than

“War of the Worlds”, “Star Wars” or “Deuce Bigalow”. Believe me, take your

discs or MP3’s of some of your favorite tunes over to a friend’s house and

spend some time getting into the music. You play two tunes and let your friend

play two tunes. You really get to know your friends and you really get to know

the music. Do me a favor, take some Michael Franks. If you really want to

impress them, play “Still Life”!


LeRoy Downs

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Angela Carol Brown at the LAX Westin!

by on Aug.23, 2005, under News


Slide Show

When you think of love and music, you imagine a ballad that

sings your song perfectly. Lyrics that tell the story of your life as you love

or suffer the pain of it. It is truly the emotion that rotates this planet and

when someone can deliver a thought, feeling or scenario that describes how you

feel, it penetrates your exterior and pierces your soul.


Angela Carole Brown sounds good, looks good and synchronizes

with the rhythm that lies within. Standards have been sung since the beginning

of time. They act as a barometer that determines style, tone, pitch, creativity

or lack there of, personality and many other factors to base your impressions upon.

If the piece is an exact replica of the original, boring. If it is sung

pleasantly, that’s just okay. But, when you take life’s experiences, reality,

the creative power within yourself, wrap it all up and pull sound from your

lower diaphragm, the music soars.


Angela has a quality trio backing her which, of course,

always contributes to a magnificent sound. Ed Czach flowing with waltzing

melodies of love on piano, Don Kasper plucking full and rich tones on bass and

Craig Pilo providing just the right touch of timely percussive precision on the



Angela has two disc out which I have not heard yet but, I am

sure that they aim to please. From originals to standards, Burt Bacharach to

Miles, you are going to like what you hear!


LeRoy Downs

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Sonya Maddox and Phil Upchurch CD Release Party, Radio and Television interview!

by on Aug.22, 2005, under News



Maddox and Phil Upchurch will be on KMIR TV channel 6 in Palm

Springs. The show will air with Phil and Sonya throughout

the segment, from 6am – 7:30 am Monday, August 22, 2005.

Sonya Maddox & Phil Upchurch
New CD Release!

* Available Now! Not available in stores, proceeds also

help benefit
“The Jimmy Smith Memorial Scholarship Fund”

To purchase

$20.00 to
PO Box

Los Angeles, CA 90038


Friday, August 26th
CD Release

LaVe' Lee
Fine Food &

Live Music
12514 Ventura Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
Showtime: 8:30

& 10:30
Reservations suggested 818-980-8158

Interview with Vivian

KWVE- 94.7 FM

WONDERVISION Entertainment Public Relations

Legendary Guitarist Phil Upchurch and

Vocalist Sonya Maddox

Release New CD “Truly” at La Ve’ Lee

Jazz Club in LA

Proceeds From CD Will Help Benefit

”The Jimmy Smith Memorial Scholarship




(Los Angeles,

CA July 14, 2005) WONDERVISION Entertainment & Music announce the

release of legendary guitarist, Phil Upchurch and vocalist Sonya Maddox New CD

“Truly.”  The refreshing originality of

this duo is sure to satisfy most music lover’s palate.  This performance will take place Friday,

August 26, 2005 at La Ve’ Lee Jazz Club 12514 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, CA 91604

Showtime: 8:30 & 10:30 Reservations suggested 818-980-8158


Jazz enthusiasts love Phil

Upchurch for his music. In developing his own sound, Phil demonstrates no

allegiance to his contemporaries.  He

goes from classical to jazz to contemporary funk as easy as walking from room

to room in your home.  A prolific

guitarist, with over 1,000 recordings, Phil Upchurch is comfortable playing

blues, soul, R&B and jazz.  He has

been a prominent figure in music circles for more than 50 years.  In addition to his work with Jimmy Smith,

this self-taught musician has performed and recorded with some of the music

industry's biggest names.  His talents

have teamed him with musical legends such as Quincy Jones, Michael Jackson, Ramsey

Lewis, George Benson, Carmen McRae, Marlena Shaw, Jack McDuff, Joe Williams,

Stan Getz, Cannonball Adderly, Herbie Hancock, Grover Washington, Jr., Chaka

Kahn, Donny Hathaway, Wynton Kelly and Eddie Harris, to name a few.  He has performed extensively throughout the United States

and internationally.


His credits also include 23

albums, movie soundtracks and television commercials too numerous to count.

Today, Mr. Upchurch still enjoys a very active performing career.


Sonya Maddox, CEO of

WONDERVISION Music and Entertainment, has the grace and charm of a Southern

belle coupled with the confidence and allure of a Hollywood

diva.  This Atlanta-born, television,

screen, and stage actor/songs tress has become one of the most sought after,

respected performers in the  commercial arena. 

 With over 200 commercials to her credit,

corporate America

loves the essence she brings to their projects. Her most recent commercials

include Listerine, Home Depot, and South Beach Diet.  In addition to her acting, Sonya's musical

career is on the fast track, performing both on screen and to live



Her first starring screen

role was in the award-winning Hanelle Culpepper Film A Single Rose,

which made it to the 12th cut for the 2005 Oscar Awards.  Maddox received national acclaim for her

portrayal of the character Rose.   In

addition, Sonya performed three songs for the film.  Maddox also wrote and starred in Wonder,

an autobiographical one-woman show.  She

wrote and sang all the lyrics for the productions score. Sonya continues to

perform her music with a renewed sense of purpose.  Sonya joined forces with music legends Phil

Upchurch and Howard McCrary.  “Truly, CD”

is produced independently by WONDERVISION Music and Entertainment. All of the

songs are by far, original.



Jimmy Smith memorial Scholarship fund in which Sonya and Phil are founders.

Focus on the awareness and importance of true jazz in today's music. Says

Upchurch, “The Jimmy Smith Memorial Scholarship Foundation was founded as a way

to honor my friend, one of the world’s greatest jazz pioneers.”  Both Upchurch and Maddox (who have teamed on

numerous projects around Los Angeles)

are excited and honored to pay homage to one of the worlds most influential

jazz organists of all time.  The

scholarships provide financial assistance to talented high school-aged

musicians who may not otherwise have the resources to further their musical




will be for sale at the performance and proceeds will help benefit the Jimmy

Smith memorial Scholarship Fund. Your support helps

to keep the memory and musical contributions of such a great jazz legend alive,

and at the same time, provides financial assistance to talented high

school-aged musicians who may not otherwise have the resources to further their

musical studies.


 About Jimmy Smith


Jimmy Smith, who began his

career in the early 1950’s, is known for his clean, volcanic executions, in the

tradition of Charlie Parker.  Smith

single-handedly, in 1956, brought to prominence the Hammond B-3 organ, as a

solo voice in the jazz world.  He

revolutionized the jazz organ, turning what was for the most part, an

overlooked instrument into one of the most inclusive, dynamic jazz instruments

of all time. 

Being credited with

creating the distinctive sound of “soul jazz,” Smith  was also the recipient of

the prestigious Jazz Masters Lifetime Achievement Award from the National

Endowment for the Arts, the nation’s highest honor in jazz.  Smith died at age 79 at his home in Scottsdale, AZ,

in February of this year.  He has over

100 albums to his credit. 


donations are welcome and can be made out to The Jimmy Smith Memorial

Scholarship Foundation, and mailed to P.O.  Box

38821, Los Angeles, CA  90038. 



For more information or to

schedule and interview, please contact a Foundation representative at








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Sonya Maddox and Phil Upchurch

by on Aug.21, 2005, under Uncategorized

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