The Jazzcat

Archive for December, 2008

Wayne and the Winds

by on Dec.28, 2008, under Uncategorized

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Wayne’s World and Winds at the Walt Disney Concert Hall

by on Dec.28, 2008, under News

The Walt Disney Concert Hall is a pretty special place to behold. There is beauty in sound and architecture but to see genius music performed takes the occasion to the apex of experiences. Tonight composer Wayne Shorter will perform with his band and the Imani Winds, which has got to be one of the most premier sights to witness.

The Winds approach the stage visually colorful in anticipation of the brilliant combination of sounds that we are about to experience. Shades of accentuating curvy satin sustain the tonal breeze behind clarinets, oboe and flute along with the brotha in the suit with the French horn.

These are the Imani Winds and as usual their sound tells the stories; playful, fleeting, long toned and staccato in character as each individual instrument speaks in the play that is the music. It is unusual to see such a spectacular array of diverse instrumentation creating, blending and acting together. The visions of music actually force your mind to travel to new islands as appose to relying on familiar images to resonate with. Like a good drama, inquisitions and perplexions are answered as more of the music is revealed. I love when new partnerships create new possibilities, new flavors and insight new emotions. The music is like different cultures coming together in a classical setting to musically discuss how we all can contribute our talents to the healing of the universe; the ‘Superfriends” of the music.

When you are witness to music in this type of environment, you actually have a opportunity to hear and better appreciate the crisp clarity of each of the sound distinctions and how their calls illicit responses that connect and intermingle with each other. The Imani Winds reside in NYC and this is their first time here at the Walt Disney Concert hall here in Los Angeles and how apropos to be able to celebrate 75 years of wonderful compositions from “The All Seeing Eye”, Wayne Shorter.

The Winds perform Wayne’s  “Tera Incognito”, as a birthday dedication taking liberties to explore the windows of adventure while dynamically altering the precision and outcome of the piece. The harmony of these particular instruments allows the individuality to have such a strong voice. The clashes between the registers are distinct and the stated notes come off shining with brilliant classical intention. They perform two pieces before gracious bows and a stage reconfiguration where quartet imagination meets the “Winds” of imagination!

In much the same manner, the great Wayne Shorter approaches the music from four individual points of power, Danilo Perez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade, using the intense dynamic artistic integrity of each pole to sonically create an intersection cerebral wave magnitude. Musically these waves translate into artificial soprano intelligence, dancing lines, breathing rhythms and warm resonations!

This is a band of leaders, each sharing a common bond and pursuing sound into the stratosphere and “Beyond the Sound Barrier”. The space exploration discovery encounters jewels, notes and all kinds of treasure excavations that are brought in to the mix, analyzed and used for their positive energetic outcome on the music. Each member of the quartet surfs on space and has the best time sailing across the galaxies splashing us with uncharted complex carbohydrates that breakdown in our atmosphere as cerebral nutrients positively and organically stimulating the senses.

Time is Wayne’s signature and his forage into new and expansive universes is always wrapped in the theory that sound is knowledge and knowledge is infinite so there are no limits to what one can do with the music. How does it all seem to make so much sense? Wayne has been delivering gifts to the world for the last six decades and not just in the form of extraordinary talent. The sound, the melody, the use of space, the articulation and the foresight to make us think and figure out the equation all while sparking brain cells and stimulating emotions actually contributes to our health as human beings.

When you listen to the music, the transition between compositions sometimes are done so gingerly that you don’t even detect that you have been delivered to another place. They are sheets of suites tucking us into cozy consciousness!

Patitucci sets up some intense bass interludes that optimistically open the pathways to this plane of peace. It is layers deep and most folks have a hard time getting there but listening to this band slowly emerges you into a cerebral solitude. As you are suspended there in contemplation, spinning in revolutions by Wayne’s soft breezes, dancing with Danilo’s delights and resonating of Patitucci’s bow, you are awakened by Blades’ thunder! Encapsulated and focused entirely on self, the music helps you with your individual meaning, refocuses you purpose and builds you back to your original state. Cleansed after you were so bogged down with the downloaded software of the world.

The Imani Winds join the stage and they are all seated along with Wayne in a row for what will certainly continue to be a beautiful experience. Wayne starts to joke with the horn sitting next to him and the silent laughter sparks smiles among the all of the Winds. It changes the atmosphere from this silent intenseness of the audience starring at the stage to a warm comfortable confidence that say’s, “Wait until they hear this!”

This collective is much more free and more dynamic in sound but with an undertow of solid rhythm taking it and pushing the music to the do or die edge. Blade and Patitucci’s energy fuel Wayne’s creations all over a bed of melodic Danilo gardens! This is a rocket charted for the unknown and taking us there fast. The exercise in solitude was to clear our minds of all pre-conceived rhythms, melodies and harmonies; space training for mystical journeys.

The trio is so super solid. The play, the joy and the dance around the meters are just as much of a pleasure to watch as they are to hear and feel. The sonic is so pristine and the Walt Disney Concert Hall was the launching pad.

Each word, note and phrase by Wayne is a quote in life and in music. Wayne creates lines between lines squeezing in the cracks and crevices not searching, but, following his own breadcrumbs back from Destiny. Mentally he has already been there and this is our opportunity to get a ticket to ride. The Imani Winds and Wayne blow some combinations that touch of the sweet spot of sound. Creative complex prime musical integers that all add up to one musically unique experience!

LeRoy Downs

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"2008 Grammy Award Winner" Maria Schneider and LeRoy Downs on "Live with the Jazzcat"

by on Dec.24, 2008, under News, Radio

Click Picture to hear an interview with “2008 Grammy Award Winner” Maria Schneider 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!

     
  LeRoy

Downs 

Click here for

all archived

Interviews

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James Spaulding and LeRoy Downs on "Live with the Jazzcat"

by on Dec.10, 2008, under News, Radio

Click Picture to hear an interview with James Spaulding 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!

     
  LeRoy

Downs 

Click here for

all archived

Interviews

Leave a Comment : more...

John Beasley at the Jazz Bakery!

by on Dec.06, 2008, under News, Radio

For those of you who indulge in alcoholic beverages, the letters J & B may mean some form of pleasure but in order to get your organic jazz intoxication on,  all you need is a dose of John Beasley to alter your state!

It is John’s first time headlining the Bakery and he brings with him professors of the music who are guaranteed to turn the session in to a living, learning, loving musical experience. John along with Buster Williams on bass, the Tainish One Jeff “Tain” Watts on Drums and the always peaceful purveyor of sonic sound himself, Bennie Maupin on a variety of wind instruments have been traveling and spending time honing their melodic concepts. The quartet just got back from Ronnie Scotts in London where on a Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday they played to packed audiences. So much so, the waitresses were looking for extra seats for the customers.

I am privileged enough to hang and have dinner with some folks who are on the inside track so I know that in addition to some great music from the new album, there will be some new compositions performed as well.
Click the pic to cop the music!

Perhaps this might be the time to tell you how bad the new disc is! “Letter to Herbie” is a musical tribute to our great living legend Herbie Hancock and features the playing of Christian McBride, Roy Hargrove and ‘Tain” who will be bangin’ tonight! The idea for the project was actually conceived by producer George Klabin of Resonance Records who suggested that John do an album in Herbie’s honor. Well, we all know that it does not get much better the Herbie when listening to Hancock compositions but, John found some synchronicity between Herbie’s “Tell Me a Bedtime Story” and “Maiden Voyage” that worked out so well that it convinced the young man to go forth and venture deep into land of Hancock Jazz!


Is there and actual letter? Click the picture below and watch an interview with John and I as we talk about his musical life and “Letter to Herbie”

Tonight we get a chance to experience a different configuration from the album but, the melody and quality of the sound is just a pristine.  Clusters of daunting melodic interludes dance like silhouettes pirouetting in mid air beautifully transcending into green Hancock pastures but with John, it Beas that way most of the time!

Bennie takes liberties on the tenor and soprano driving the line way past the boundary but always blowing in the key of lovely logic and splendor. Buster is as solid as a rock and his fluid imagination along with his calm comforting manner lay the foundation for his in the pocket resonation as he sets the mood: the Atlas who holds the world in place.

Tain is locked into position and always on point. A young girl asked “why does he look the other way while he was playing? That is how the brotha access the music by opening up his ears and listening intently so he can splash the right Pollock on the canvas!

“Message to Prez” is one of the new compositions that I mentioned and Bennie brought this to the table. I have heard him play this tune with his own band and it is just as wonderful here in this setting. He pulls out my favorite instrument, the bass clarinet, and works a miracle of stories as the calm winds blow in the lower register of love.

John and this extraordinary quartet turn Herbie’s music into kaleidoscopes of sound; twisting and painting the prisms of color and light into shapes, images and figures of nonlinear language felt musically and understood by all. 

The Bakery is packed making the first night of the trilogy a smashing success. Most don’t’ know it since there was no mention of it but, the evening of music is being recorded and I am certain that when they press the button on the playback, sparkling jewels and gems will appear.  The pendulum swings hard as these cats work the equation of possibilities through their various derivatives always arriving at the right answer. Science of sound!

John digs deep into the depths of some edgy grove laced hypnotic, straight ahead, “Black Thunder” on Twenty First Century smack! This one in homage to the great Elvin Jones. There is much thought that goes into Johns arranging and compositions. He uses fragments to trigger that cerebral tip of your tongue feeling and slowly feeds you certain notes until your memory card kicks in and provides the answer to why you body is experiencing so much joy!

The mystical, exotic, eastern, spiritual vibe of “Galaha” was the most enchanting for me. Tain with his single strike mantras of circular silence, Buster bowing, John’s synthesized simulation of strings craft the space, clear out the noise and let the bud blossom into Bennie’s bass clarinet bliss. This was the one to peace you out from the rest of the world and allow you to respect and reflect on your true playa. I starts and end with you! This beautiful tune goes out with prayers to Freddie Hubbard who is recovering from a heart attack and Aaron Waugh the artist who did the art work for “Letter to Herbie”.

LeRoy Downs

 

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Elvin!

by on Dec.06, 2008, under Uncategorized

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