The Jazzcat

Archive for June, 2007

Freddie Hubbard on "Live with the Jazzcat" July 3 @ 5:15pm PST

by on Jun.28, 2007, under Radio

                  

LeRoy Downs will be live on the air

 with a horn player whose sound, image, style and flair are symbolically synonymous with the instrument itself


Freddie Hubbard

KRMLradio.com

Click picture to listen live online!

“Monterey Bay's Jazz and Blues station in Carmel California”

 Man, myth, legend and one cool ass cat,

Freddie Hubbard

live on KRMLradio.com or on

1410AM KRML radio in Carmel California


Click Picture above for Freddie Hubbard Interview

Click here for all archived Interviews

 

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Click and listen to Oliver Lake and LeRoy Downs on Live with the Jazzcat

by on Jun.27, 2007, under News, Radio

Click Picture to hear an interview with Oliver Lake and LeRoy Downs

Live with the Jazzcat

Hello all, this is LeRoy Downs and each week I will broadcast a live 15 minute segment every Tuesday at 5:15 PM PST on KRMLradio.com and 1410 AM KRML radio in beautiful Carmel California.

 

Gary

Hamada ,who is a director at KRML Jazz and Blues station, has taken me

on to do a weekly segment that I am sure your are going to enjoy! He

has one hour show Monday thru Friday called

For Locals Only.

On each Tuesday of the month @ 5:15 for about 15 to 20 minutes, Gary will turn it over to me for a segment of

 

Live with The Jazzcat

Each week there will be an interview of someone special and wonderful in this beautiful art form we call jazz.

I will see you there!

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JC Widgit

by on Jun.26, 2007, under Uncategorized

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Oliver Lake on "Live with the Jazzcat" Today Tues June 26th @ 5:15pm PST

by on Jun.26, 2007, under Radio

 

LeRoy Downs will be live on the air

With the free multi-talented artistic spirit of music, art dance, poetry and paint


Oliver Lake

KRMLradio.com

Click picture to listen live online!

“Monterey Bay's Jazz and Blues station in Carmel California”

The saxophone titan whose sound is but one aspect to the many dimensions of the man!

Oliver Lake

live on KRMLradio.com or on

1410AM KRML radio in Carmel California


Oliver Lake

Click Picture above for Oliver Lake Interview


Click here for all archived Interviews

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Orrin Keepnews Listening Party for SF Jazz Members only on Thelonious Monk

by on Jun.22, 2007, under News

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The Yerba Buena Center was the first performance space that

I visited for the San Francisco Jazz Festival. It as a number of years ago and

Yusef Lateef was performing there with Adam Rudolph. Who was it that came

onstage to introduce the giant of jazz, non other than my hero producer, Orrin

Keepnews!

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I will 100% guarantee that if you see Orrin’s name on any

recording as a producer, the music is definitely a winner. This fine gentleman

of jazz has been in close proximity of the finest masters of this music and

when he speaks, his words are platinum. His story is history.

 

This is a listening party and this is exactly what is

audience will do is listen while Orrin Keepnews does a one on one with Randall

Klein, the director of the SF Jazz organization. The conversations are casual

but, there is much insight behind the man who produced legendary music. This

conversation will include some lived footage and some pieces of Monks music as

they will be qued-up and ready to play at the drop of a hat.

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This first clip we see is of Monk walkin’ down the streets of

NYC and many people come up to him with warm praise, affection and admiration. It

was a day in the life of a master just starting to be widely recognized for his

genius talents and lovin’ every minute of it. Orrin says that Monk was on stage

even when he wasn’t on stage. They worked on many recordings over a six year

period. There have been a few documentaries done, “Straight No Chaser” being

the best. Clint Eastwood became executive director of the film which came out

after “Bird”, the one done on the great Charlie Parker.

 imageimage

Charlie Parker: A Studio Chronicle

Orrin and Monk were close in age in the mid 50’s early 60’s

and they each had a child about the age of six, one named Peter and the other

named Boo Boo or Thelonious Sphere Monk Jr., whichever you prefer!

 imageimageimage

We get to see a second film clip and this piece takes us to

travels in Europe, with Phil Woods, Johnny

Griffin, Charlie Rouse, Nellie and the rest of the cats Monking around. Johnny

was sharp! He liked going over to Europe to by

the latest styles. You saw the cats in the airport, waiting around for trains,

getting off busses, foreigners wanting autographs but, all having a great time.

Nellie was so sweet. She always managed to take care of her man making sure he

was fed and looking distinguished before performances. They were drinking a lot

of Coca Cola and the luggage kept being over weight because Nellie thought she

had to take the bottles back to return them for their deposit. Those were the

times.

 image

“Monk Plays Ellington” in 1955 was one of the first

recordings that Orrin and Monk had ever worked on together and the last was one

done at the famous Black Hawk which was right here in San Francisco on Turk and Hyde. What is funny

is that Orrin has been around so long that there is no one left to challenge

him about the particulars. As he goes so goes the His-Story! Orrin also told a

story about the first time he had ever met Monk. It was in 1948 after the end

of WWII and he ran into a friend who owned this publication called the Record

Changer. Shortly thereafter, Orrin became the magazines editor. The magazine

featured articles on all types of jazz and got the attention of Alfred Lions,

producer for the classic label Blue Note Records.

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Alfred invited Orrin up the house for a small private party

and introduced him to Thelonious. Orrin quite frankly was not familiar with the

“High Prestice of Bop” and at first, like many, did not think too much of the

music. But, once he heard the self titled tune, “Thelonious”, intrigue set in

and he asked Thelonious if he would like to do an interview which they did.

That was the beginning.

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Orrin went on to start Riverside Records which just happened

to be at a time when Monk was having difficulty with his current recording

company Prestige Records. When Orrin contacted Monk about coming to Riverside, he thought

that Monk would not remember him from their first encounter together but, that

was not true. Monk told Orrin that the article that Orrin wrote which featured

the interview was actually the first time that anything had been written about

him.

 image

 

Monk was the beginning of Riverside Records. Orrin had the

idea of doing a collection of standards so that people could come to know Monk

playing through the sound of these standards and since Thelonious loved The

Duke, “Monk Plays Ellington” was the first release. I would not quite say “It

Don’t Mean a Thing” because it did and after a few of these releases of

standards, Monk began to record with more than just a trio. The sounds of

be-bop horns turned trios into quartets, quintets and so on.

 imageimage

Sonny Rollins came on board and they recorded “Brilliant

Corners”. Lucky enough for Riverside,

Sonny had just released “Saxophone Colossus” which had risen to great fame

prior to the release of “Brilliant Corners” which brought much attention to the

project from critics and the public alike. This was not easy session and proved

to be quite a difficult challenge to record but, after 24 takes in one evening

and many hours of editing, they finally got it beautifully right. Not that

these are not great players, it was just that the music was difficult and Monk

was not a teacher. Everyone who played with him certainly learned their

lessons.

 image
There were those who appreciated Monks

contributions to the

music and those who did not but in the end, the music becomes beautiful

for

everyone. Once people spend their time listening with open ears the

“Evidence” becomes evident. Orrin did a solo album with Monk and

because he thought it was

important for Monk to express himself without any accompaniment. No

matter how

musical you are, no one came close to a complete expression of

thoughts, ideas

and concepts as Monk himself.

 image

The “Town Hall” recording became quite famous. Paul Overton

transcribed Monks work for a larger ensemble and the band was packed with some

really heavy hitters. Donald Byrd, Pepper Adams, Eddie Bert, Sam

Jones, Arthur Taylor and many others took the music to a much higher level.

Orrin was recording the performance on tapes that were not the longest in

length. In order to capture everything, he had one of the cats on stage, I

think it was Charlie Rouse, give him a signal before they started so that they

could start and stop the tape in the recording booth to save space. This worked

for the first couple of tunes but, once the cats got into the music, Charlie

forgot all about the cues and the tape ran out. They had to record “Little Rudy

Tootie” over again and what you hear on the album is a mixture of both takes.

 imageimageimage

Just like everyone, we all have a thing when it comes to the

names of Monk compositions. As clever, thoughtful, genius, spiritual,

insightful and intriguing as you think they may be, if you looked deep inside

to the most simplistic of situations, you might find that perhaps they are just

that. I never knew that “Worry Later” meant worry about the name of the tune

later and that “Think of One” was Monk actually asking Orrin to think of a name

for that tune. As simple as some of the titles may be, there is no denying that

simple and complex occupy the same linear space in the music making it not just

the shortest distance between to points but, in fact the question is already

answered before it is even asked allowing so much to be said the silence. For

instance, think of a fisherman who loves to fish. He makes no money but, he is

happy and he feeds his family. Should he start a company to sell the fish, get

stockholders, make large profits, become a fortune 500 company, sell the

company only to retire and spend the rest of his life doing what he already

loves? You see the dilemma. When a man has already figured this out and just

plays the music, there are no questions to ask. When you get some time off,

take a “San Francisco Holiday” and perhaps you can “Think of One”. 

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Life, love, music, Thelonious Monk!

 image

LeRoy Downs

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Playboy Jazz Festival 2007 at the Hollywood Bowl

by on Jun.20, 2007, under News

image

Playboy, Playboy, what can you say.  Los

Angeles so very much looks forward to the music, the sunshine,

and the sites; it is a bowl full of legs and love. Saturday was quite a

pleasant day but you need to plan properly for parking and transportation. However,

once you have arrived, it is like a musical paradise on a concrete beach.

 imageimage

I missed James Carter and the Cos

of good music, which were two performances that I had planned on enjoying, but

the rest of the afternoon had its fill of pleasant surprises.  Angelique Kudjo was a bundle of African

energy packed in a body filled with explosive vocal and athletic dance ability!  Randy Brecker and saxophonist Bill Evans

excited the crowd with their soul bop band. 

More soul than bop, but they express themselves quite well in this

genre.  Phil Woods and his quintet

featured Bill Charlap, Brian Lynch, and a few other cats who played more in the

vein I am accustomed to.  Phil dedicated

and played a piece by and for the late great Benny Carter, who would have been

celebrating his 100th birthday

 image.

The Count Basie Orchestra directed by Bill Hughes added a

cool temperature to the heat.  They

brought it back to the time when men and women used to dance, celebrate and

make love to the standards.  The music

was calming and brought a peaceful mood over a very excitable audience.

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What would an outdoor music festival will be without a touch

of Latin soul.  Johnny Polanco and Isaac

Delgado respectively had the crowd up and out of their seats; hips swerving to

the clavecian rhythms.  Yes, even I was

seen faking my best Cha Cha.  Chris Botti

was an artist that the audience seemed to be waiting for.  Even though he is an extremely contemporary

artist, he makes sure to higher the best cats from the straight ahead game to

lock in the freshness.

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Now the blues is something else.  I am talking the straight up blues.  I usually take mine with a healthy dose of

jazz, but Buddy Guy doesn't play around with adverbs and adjectives, he gets

down and straight to the point of the matter. 

His sound is a mixture of rock, soul and a heavy dose of the deep blue

C. He took his guitar and microphone for a stroll around the bowl jamming and

singing before he got back on stage and played with his teeth.

 imageimage

Sunday was a day I was certainly looking forward to.  Partially because I have many good friends in

the line up, and I know that the music is guaranteed to be on point!  I unfortunately missed my man Malcolm Jamaal

Warner and his band “Miles Long”, but heard they were the right group to kick

off a great day of music.  Taylor Eigsti’s

band is always an enlightening experience. When you stack a band with the best

players in the game, you can be certain that there will be a check in the win

column at the end of the day.  Eric Harland,

Reuben Rogers, and Julian Lage, round out a killer quartet.

 imageimage

Red Holloway celebrated his 88th birthday on stage with his

band along with singer Kevin Mahogany singing the blues and standards in fine

Holloway fashion.  Nathan and the Zydeco Cha

Chas gave us a splash of world flavor, while Richard Bona visited all of the

genres in music from jazz, to world to funk, and all the while displaying such technical

virtuosity on the bass.  Terrence

Blanchard came out hitting hard.  He has

a pretty incredible band and has told me that this is the tightest musical unit

that he has had so far in his career. 

This was evident from the seamless a set of love derived from

compositions composed by his musicians along with the extended music from the

film by Spike Lee, “When the levees broke”. 

New Orleans

lives forever!

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There are so many great musicians from New Orleans. 

So much so that even our famed announcer Bill Cosby had trouble getting

it right.  So I'll say it right for all

of you who may have been confused, Terrence Blanchard, Terence Blanchard!

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The audience lit up when Marcus Miller hit the stage; jazz

and funk in high fashion.  So far, Marcus

Miller and his band were the highlight in terms of audience elation.  For the last tune my man, Malcolm Jamaal

Warner came back on stage to join the band and played bass as Marcus switched

to bass clarinet.  It was only a few

seconds but it looks like I got to see my man Malcolm play after all!

 image

As the stage rotates, Dianne Reeves followed Marcus Miller

for back to back phenomenal performances. 

Women change hairstyles all the time, and Dianne came on stage lookin’ damn

good with a whole new attitude.  She

brought her whole family out on this trip. 

It was her mothers eighty fourth birthday and she was in the audience to

celebrate. As she says quite often, stories are the fabric of our lives and

Dianne continues to bring the emotion of the truth to the forefront of our

imagination.

 image

The next young lady on stage was sporting a whole new

personality, a whole new body, and a ferocious quest to expose and explore the

sexual side of the music.  Etta James

came to play in more ways than one.  The

race for raunch and good old-fashioned love making was in high demand with the

music.  She lets you know exactly where

she's cuming from and exactly where she's going and the audience was right

there with her.  I left my prior to

Norman Brown, but I heard his performance on the way out; closing out the

Playboy Jazz Festival with the sounds of the groove.  Just another Father's Day weekend in the

sunshine at the Hollywood bowl!  Next time bring your father, your mother,

your girl, the food, along with much love and enjoy the music and festivities for

another great summer weekend at the Playboy Jazz Festival.

 image

LeRoy Downs

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San Francisco Holiday with the Joshua Redman Trio and Plays Monk!

by on Jun.20, 2007, under News

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I am elated to be in “The City” once again. Unlike Los Angeles, San

Francisco has so many neighborhoods that are packed

with character. It is always a treat to walk and to explore the people and

places on the street before taking in another dose of jazz nourishment.

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Tonight’s performance is at the Palace of the Fine Arts and

I would like to thank Mr. Redman himself for my tickets for the evening. I

arrived early and as I picked up my tickets at will call, I happened to see

that Taylor Eigsti looks like he will be attending the performance as well.

Cats supporting cats is what the music is all about.

image

I sat in my seat and as the Palace was filling up, it is

interesting to listen to the conversations in the crowd. I was only eves

dropping a little bit but, the people behind me, who were seniors and seemed to

be subscribers, most of whom did not even know who Joshua Redman was. The

knowledgeable one read the program out loud to the others, stressing all of

Joshua’s achievements and accomplishments and successfully impressing his

peers, giving him instant credibility as the jazz aficionado of the group. What

I am impressed about is that even though these folks did not know the music,

they came out to experience this thing called jazz. That is so important and

crucial to the preservation of this music so please, make it your

responsibility to turn someone on to the music. We have to because even those

who do know the music and the artists aren’t always staunch supporters.

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This summer season is all about the music of Thelonious Monk

as you very well know, and the SF Collective, as they have continued to do,

will travel all over the country sharing their arrangements of the masters

music along with their own compositions. There have been some great seasons of

music honoring Herbie Hancock, Ornette Coleman and the music of John Coltrane

but, for the moment, this will be the last for the artistic director Joshua

Redman. He is to be commended for his fine work not only as an extremely proficient

leader of the worlds finest collective of musicians but, also for taking on the

initiative as artistic director to bring us this music composed and arranged

with the finest quality and standards in mind.

image

He will be replaced by Joe Lovano, who will join in this

last performance of the Spring Season, before the band begins touring over seas

for the summer. Joe also appears on Josh’s latest album for the Nonesuch label

entitled “Back East”.

 image

The opening act for tonight’s performance is a band whose name

makes a strong statement, “Plays Monk”. These are a group of Bay Area locals

that stand up and stand by that name. Scott Amedola on drums, Ben Goldberg on

clarinet and Devin Hoff on bass are favorites amongst music lovers in the city

and it is easy to hear why.

imageimageimage

Monk’s music alone is quiet extraordinary and when you

commit to specializing in playing the compositions, we the audience expect to

hear the foundation and the core expressed with youthful creative ideas and

interpretations of the music. We were not disappointed. These three fine young gentlemen represent such an important

stake in the future of the music one because they are exposing their younger

generation as well as that generation’s parents who may not know the music and

two because they their delivery is in such fine fashion. Piano less Monk is

quite fascinating in this particular situation with clarinet. Ben Goldberg

plays with such inviting melodic Monkisms that anyone would truly fall in love

the music. Each member of the trio has so much space to work; the ideas

expressed are clear, open and not locked into the structure that controls the

music. “Boo Boo’s Birthday”, “Work”, “Four in One”, “Reflections” and “Skippy”

are just a few of the pieces performed. What I find quite interesting is that

you would think that the strong signature of Monk would not allow you to find

such freedom in the framework of the music but, this trio possesses the key to

imagination that let’s freedom ring!

 image

I must admit I like my music complicated; like an unsolved

mathematical algorithm that needs to be dissected many times to find the

solution. Generally, you can lose most of your audience that way but, “Plays

Monk” has taken the simple complexities of Monk’s music and presented it in an

easily digestible way to many a new ear while still pleasing an experienced

one; a noble feat indeed!

 image

After a very lovely opening set of music I know that more

good things are in store. Josh hits the stage and let’s everyone know that the

Cleveland Cavaliers were victorious in their NBA playoff game. His natural

humor is a perfect aphrodisiac for great music. Another trio to set the game in

motion comprised of one of the most sought after bass and drum duo’s in rhythm,

Reuben Rogers and Eric Harland. “Surrey with

the Fringe on Top”, an old classic starts out the set. There is never a dull

moment when these cats are playing because each resides on the apex of the

mountain top in terms of their skills on their respective instruments. One

thing I particularly appreciate is that each time these three come out to play;

they are ready to give it their all and take the music that they play every

night further than the night before. Yes, the music is taken seriously but, you

feel the real essence of their character when they play. These are fun and

exciting individuals and that joviality comes across passionately when they

play.

imageimage

Every concert is not just a gig, it is a chance to

creatively express language, ideas, emotions and push to seek as much

exploration from the music as you can passionately get. You will never see

these cats sit back and ride the wave of popularity as many in this business

seem to do. Their mission is to seek and destroy normal complacency and replace

it with integrity through innovative, natural musical elation and resolution.

Mathematics, a system of numbers, notes and sounds that are multiplied,

fractioned, replicated, accelerated, staggered and laid out in a fashion that

always adds up to a positive solution.

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“Zarafa”, which is a composition on Josh’s new disc “Back East”,

was inspired by his mother who was in the audience celebrating her 75th

birthday today. Many of Joshua’s compositions are created with the love of his

mother in mind. The tune expresses a strong and cerebral journey through worlds

and lands with the proud strength of the lord of the jungle. I gather that it

is the courage, wisdom and strength that a strong mother gives a son as he

carves his own path into the future: gaining knowledge, hurdling obstacles,

seeing the enormity of a new world, experiencing life’s emotions and creating a

beautiful unique story that will live forever with honor, integrity, love and

music.

 image

In a relay race, there is a certain way that you pass the

baton to your teammate as not to waste any energy or lose any speed, keeping

the unit harmoniously in sync at all times. Joshua does this as he gives a

great introduction to a very warm welcomed Joe Lovano. This concert in

particular is a wonderful transition and exchange of musical expressions,

experiences and a symbol of respect and mutual appreciation for each artist as the

baton is passed and they both proceed now as a quartet performing Wayne

Shorter’s “The Indian Song”.

imageimage

Man, these guys’ sound great together, two beautiful

spirits. Joe wrote this tune “Blackwell’s Message” for drummer Ed Blackwell. If

you don’t know the man or his music, you get a great sense of soul, spirit and

of course the message and how he would have delivered it. Joe and Joshua

actually recorded this piece together on a 1992 album of Joe’s called “Tenor

Legacy”. It was almost as if Ed was dancing on stage to his own rhythm. Eric

Harland was killin’ on drums with hints of Monk in his licks.

imageimageimage

The Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt tune “Blues Up and Down”

closes the set much to the chagrin of the audience. They were hungry for more

although they left extremely well nourished. As music imitates real life, Joe

picks up where Joshua leaves off and there is no skip in the record, just

seamless sounds of the “Oneness of Two”!

 imageimageimageimageimage

The encore desert expressed with a standing ovation brought

back Ben Goldberg on stage to improvise Thelonious’s “Epistrophy”. Such a

fitting ending to a superb performance, if I had to I could not “Think of One”

that would have been finer!

 image

LeRoy Downs

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LeRoy Downs (The Jazzcat) interviewed on 1410 AM KRML Jazz and Blues Radio

by on Jun.20, 2007, under News


Click Picture to hear an interview with The Jazzcat LeRoy Downs

Live with the Jazzcat

Hello all, this is LeRoy Downs and each week I will broadcast a live 15 minute segment every Tuesday at 5:15 PM PST on KRMLradio.com and 1410 AM KRML radio in beautiful Carmel California.

Gary

Hamada ,who is a director at KRML Jazz and Blues station, has taken me

on to do a weekly segment that I am sure your are going to enjoy! He

has one hour show Monday thru Friday called

For Locals Only.

On each Tuesday of the month @ 5:15 for about 15 to 20 minutes, Gary will turn it over to me for a segment of

Live with The Jazzcat

Each week there will be an interview of someone special and wonderful in this beautiful art form we call jazz.

I will see you there!

     
  LeRoy Downs
Leave a Comment more...

Listen to an interview with Adonis Rose and LeRoy Downs

by on Jun.13, 2007, under News, Radio


Click Picture to hear an interview with Adonis Rose and LeRoy Downs

Live with the Jazzcat

Hello all, this is LeRoy Downs and each week I will broadcast a live 15 minute segment every Tuesday at 5:15 PM PST on KRMLradio.com and 1410 AM KRML radio in beautiful Carmel California.

Gary

Hamada ,who is a director at KRML Jazz and Blues station, has taken me

on to do a weekly segment that I am sure your are going to enjoy! He

has one hour show Monday thru Friday called

For Locals Only.

On each Tuesday of the month @ 5:15 for about 15 to 20 minutes, Gary will turn it over to me for a segment of

Live with The Jazzcat

Each week there will be an interview of someone special and wonderful in this beautiful art form we call jazz.

I will see you there!

Leave a Comment : more...

Jazz in the Modern Era with Chet Hanley and LeRoy Downs

by on Jun.06, 2007, under News, Radio, Television

I found the archives! Jazz in the Modern Era is a college curriculum course and jazz music television show hosted by Chet Hanley. I was invited on three seperate occasions to join chet as a guest and program the music for the evening. Each Program is 3 hours long and filled with outstanding music, pictures, video, commentary and a few special suprises!

Click Pictures below and enjoy!

Jazz in the Modern Era

 April 13, 2004


October 19, 2004


October 4, 2005

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