Archive for April, 2011
1st Annual KPFK Hero Awards and Tribute: Billy Higgins@Catalina’s 05.01.11
By George W. Harris
I’m not sure which was more crowded at Catalina’s, the floor filled
with tables of well-heeled jazz devotees, or the stage with musicians
whose lives were touched by the musicianship and friendship of the late
Billy Higgins, the subject of KPFK’s tribute. Hosted by the indefatigable
team of LeRoy Downs and Mark Maxwell, and directed by pianist John
Beasley, the 3+ hour musical extravaganza included auctions, video,
taped and written tributes by fellow musicians, and a rotating concert
that appealed to every musical taste.
Presentations included a video tribute by Cedar Walton, a call in by
Bobby Hutcherson and an email from Ornette Coleman, while the music
focused on the friendship and inspirational encouragement provided by
the respected drummer. John Beasley commented how Higgins told him,
“you’ve got to smile more often,” while pianist Eric Reed reflected that
he was taught that “It’s your job to make everyone else sound good.”
Musically, it’s pretty hard to beat having Charles Llloyd delivering
an a cappella reading, or delivering a duet with drummer/vocalist John
Densmore. Vocalist Kamau Daaood delivered an inspiring poem about
Higgins, mixing names of drummers with quotes from the Bible, while
Smitty Smith laid down some serious stick work. It was definitely a
night for drummers, as Clayton Cameron elicited some astonishing
brushwork supporting Kenny Burrell, Reed and Trevor Ware on a pair of
scintillating tunes dedicated to Higgins. Reed’s piano work got the
crowd into a Pentecostal mood with some spirit filled chords.
The front line of Charles Owens/ts, Phil Ranelin/tb and Richard
Grant/tp delivered some classic hard bopping in front of Smith’s shuffle
rhythms, preceding Will Calhoun, who mixed his synthesized djembe an d
synthesized flute with an avalanche of drumwork behind the traps.
Beasley and Daaood joined into the excitement, with some of the
adventurous spirit creating some of the most outside music of the
George Duke teamed up with Stanley Clarke and drummer Ronald Bruner
Jr for some catchy fireworks, particularly on a dreamy take of “Autumn
Leaves,”while vocalist Dwight Trible followed by joining with Beasley,
Ware, Dextor Story and Leon Mobley for some musical exuberance. Mobley’s
riveting solo spot lead into a collective jam with just about everyone
from the preceding hours, making a perfect cherry on the top for a
delicious Sundae performance. If this is the portend of events to come
from KPFK, count me in!
Jazz legends Charles Lloyd, George Duke and Stanley Clarke headline
this all-star line-up of performances celebrating Billy Higgins and
benefiting Pacifica Radio KPFK.
Including performances by
Clayton Cameron, John Densmore, Poncho
Sanchez, Leon Mobley,
Kamau Da’ood, Dwight Trible, Will Calhoun, Phil
and featuring John Beasley, Musical Director.
April 5, 2011 – North Hollywood, CA. KPFK
90.7 is Pacifica Radio for Southern California, known for its mission to
further peace and social justice and to uplift the community and
celebrate excellence through music and the performing arts. This
commitment is further realized through the launching of the 1st Annual
KPFK Hero Awards and Tribute Concert on May 1, 2011 at Catalina Bar and
Grill, 6725 West Sunset Blvd., Hollywood California 90028. The event
will begin with a VIP reception at 5:30pm followed by a Musical Tribute
that starts at 7:00pm. This groundbreaking and long overdue celebration
of the life and work of Billy Higgins has prompted an outpour from other
legendary Jazz icons who will come together on stage and perform to
celebrate Higgins’ legacy. The concert line-up includes such greats as
Charles Lloyd, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Clayton Cameron, Poncho
Sanchez, John Beasley, Leon Mobley, Kamau Da’ood, Dwight Trible, Will
Calhoun, Phil Ranelin, Charlie Haden and many other special invited
guests. John Densmore, one of the founding members of the Doors, will
also be on hand to dedicate a poem to Billy.
The entire night will be
hosted by KPFK’s own Mark Maxwell and TheJazzcat.net personality LeRoy Downs.
KPFK DJ Carlos Niño, host of Spaceways Radio, will spin during the VIP
The KPFK Hero Awards and Tribute is the result of a heartfelt on-air
discussion between Charles Lloyd and KPFK Music Director Maggie LePique
about Billy Higgins. During this conversation, LePique realized that we
were nearing the 10th anniversary of his death and thought how relevant
it would be to celebrate his life and body of work. She enrolled Kasey
Lovelace, Music Consultant and friend of the Higgins family to develop
the idea into a full-scale event. Catalina Popescu, owner of Catalina’s
Bar and Grill, honored her long-term friendship by donating her world
renowned venue for the salute from Higgins’ esteemed contemporaries. All
instruments donated for the performance will be given to The World
Stage as a gift in honor of Billy Higgins.
Higgins, from Los Angeles, played on Ornette Coleman's first records,
beginning in 1958. He then freelanced extensively with hard bop and
other post-bop players, including Donald Byrd, Dexter Gordon, Joe
Henderson, Milt Jackson, Jackie McLean, Pat Metheny, Hank Mobley,
Thelonious Monk, Lee Morgan, David Murray, Art Pepper, Sonny Rollins,
Mal Waldron, and Cedar Walton. He was one of the house drummers for Blue
Note Records and played on dozens of Blue Note albums of the 60s. On a
whole, he played on over 700 recordings, including recordings of rock
and funk. In 1989, Higgins co-founded a cultural center, The World
Stage, in Los Angeles to encourage and promote younger jazz musicians.
The center provides workshops in performance and writing, as well as
concerts and recordings. Higgins also taught in the Jazz Studies program
at the University of California, Los Angeles.
KPFK 90.7 FM is a member station of the Pacifica Radio network,
established in 1949 by peace activist Lew Hill in Berkeley, California.
The Pacifica network consists of five radio stations throughout the
country: KPFA in Berkeley, CA; KPFK in Los Angeles, CA; WBAI in New
York, NY; WPFW in Washington D.C; and KPFT in Houston, TX. In addition
to the active radio stations, there are over 100 affiliate stations
around the country and abroad and the Pacifica Radio Archives,
preserving the voices of artists, activists and progressive journalists
opening performance for
April 28th 2011
at the Fabulous Fourm
Click on your favorite picture of Cassandra to hear an interview with
LeRoy Downs where we talk about Prince!
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Saturday, May 14, 2011
The Getty Center
Showtime: 7:30 PM
1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles
Showtime: 7:30 PM
Tickets: $20, $15 students/seniors
For tickets, please visit www.getty.edu, or call 310-440-7300
Five-time GRAMMY-nominated Cuban composer and pianist Omar Sosa brings his unique style of Afro-
Cuban jazz to The Getty Center on Saturday, May 14. Omar Sosa continues to explore the African roots
of traditional music throughout the Diaspora, using modern jazz harmonies and the latest audio technology.
Sosa’s new Afreecanos ensemble features noted percussionist and educator, John Santos, drum-&-bass
pioneer, Marque Gilmore, Mozambican electric bassist and vocalist, Childo Tomas, and New York-based
saxophonist and flute player, Peter Apfelbaum. The ensemble fuses the folkloric with the contemporary, the
ancestral with the urban – all with a Latin jazz heart.
featuring percussionist John Santos and saxophonist Peter Apfelbaum
Omar Sosa’s musical trajectory has taken him from Camagüey and Havana to touring in Angola, the
Congo, Ethiopia, and Nicaragua in the 1980s; to a sojourn in the African-descent communities of Ecuador
in the early 1990s; to an extended presence on the San Francisco Bay Area Latin jazz scene; to his current
engagement with artists from Spain, France, Brazil, Cuba, the United States, and several North, West, and
East African nations. His career embodies the expansive outlook of a visionary artist who has taken Monk’s
uncompromising spirit to heart, while working ceaselessly to craft and project a unique cosmopolitan voice.
Howard Reich of the Chicago Tribune has commented that “Cuban pianists often tower over their peers.
But within this elite class of pianists, few have been more stylistically adventurous than Omar Sosa.
Though deeply schooled in jazz improvisation techniques, Sosa always has pushed beyond jazz orthodoxy.
At his best, his art encompasses a remarkable range of influences: European symphonic repertoire,
religious music of Gnawa, traditional sounds of Senegal and other far-flung idioms have coursed through
his work. All of which piques one’s interest in his newest ensemble, Afreecanos.”
Four-time GRAMMY nominee, John Santos, is one of the foremost exponents of Afro-Latin music in the
world today. He is known for his innovative use of traditional forms and instruments in combination with
contemporary music, and has earned much respect and recognition as a record and event producer. He
has performed, recorded and studied with acknowledged masters of the Afro-Latin and Jazz idioms such
as Cachao, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Lazaro Ros, Armando Peraza, Eddie Palmieri, Patato Valdés,
Francisco Aguabella, Orestes Vilató, Rene López, Max Roach, Batacumbele, Steve Turre, John Faddis and
Chocolate Armenteros. This experience has provided a solid foundation for Mr. Santos' current ground-
breaking work in bringing together styles, rhythms, concepts and artists from different generations.
Originally from Berkeley, CA, multi-instrumentalist Peter Apfelbaum has been an influential figure in
new jazz for over two decades. While still in high school in 1977 he formed the Hieroglyphics Ensemble, a
14-piece big band which helped launch the careers of Joshua Redman, Benny Green, and Steven Bernstein,
and often featured legendary trumpeter Don Cherry, whose Multikulti group Apfelbaum toured with
extensively in the late '80's and early '90's. Now living in Brooklyn, NY, Apfelbaum formed the New York
Hieroglyphics in 2003. He has also worked with Cecil Taylor, Harry Belafonte, Nana Vasconcelos, Phish,
Dafnis Prieto, Josh Roseman, and the Kronos Quartet.
Drummer Marque Gilmore is a founding member of New York City’s Black Rock Coalition, and pioneer of the
New York and London live drum-&-bass scenes. He has worked with an international array of artists, including
Joe Zawinul, Steve Coleman, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, and innovative musician-historian Cheick Tidiane Seck.
Marque is acclaimed for his multimedia performance project, DRUM-FM, and his recent remixes of tracks from
Omar Sosa’s CD Mulatos are featured on the new Mulatos Remix CD.
In addition to the electric bass, Childo Tomas sings in his native Mozambican language of Ronga, and
New Omar Sosa solo piano CD, Calma:
Released in March 2011, Calma is Omar Sosa’s fifth solo piano recording, a work of singular artistry,
featuring Omar’s unique and original approach to the genre. The CD is comprised of 13 solo piano
improvisations, fusing stylistic elements of jazz, classical new music, ambient, and electronica. As the title
implies, the overall feeling is relaxed and introspective, without any attempt to impress technically. Rather,
the intent is to evoke a mood of reflection and contemplation.
As Omar describes: “Each song is an inspiration for the next, and improvisation is the basis of the musical
expression. I wanted to play from beginning to end without thinking – just feeling where each note would
take me, following the voice of my soul. It’s possible that silence, yearning, hope, optimism, and sadness
all travel hand-in-hand in many of the songs”.
Omar’s unorthodox harmonic sensibilities are evident throughout Calma. We hear surprising harmonic
turns, with sonorities blending and resolving in unpredictable ways. And Omar’s subtle and integral use of
the electronic elements lends a layer of sonic richness and depth to many of the tracks.
Rhythmically, the feeling of the CD is unhurried and meditative. Sensations of floating and suspension of
time prevail. And melodically, the thematic material on Calma is quiet and restrained. We can imagine the
melodic sensibilities of Erik Satie meeting those of Pierre Boulez.
To schedule an interview with Omar Sosa, or for CDs, photos, press package,
posters, or additional information, please call Scott Price at 510-339-3389, or email
email@example.com, or visit www.melodia.com.
by jazzcat on Apr.10, 2011, under UncategorizedLeave a Comment more...
:::L.A. Musical Artists Uniting to HELP JAPAN:::
“Creative Music & Energy to Japan from Los Angeles“
The urgency of the situation in Japan brought twenty seasoned and
well-respected local, national, and international musicians to
participate in this event which was put together in three days. We
would like to thank you all for coming together by joining us at our L.A. Musical Artists
Uniting to HELP JAPAN event/fundraiser that took place at the Blue Whale
in Los Angeles on Saturday, March 19, 2011.
Goh Kurosawa (Organizer)
Short Documentary & Official Poster by Kai Kurosawa
Photos by Felix Salazar
I am sharing the following information with
those of us who want to help Japan but do not live in Japan. There are
many organizations who are taking action, however the three mentioned
below seem to be fairly good options for the time being. To be safe,
always investigate and find out if the organization is legitimate (…call them for example);
currently and more than ever, we want to help Japan now. Let us be sure we know where our money is going.
So here are the three that I would recommend for now (…new options are likely to be added as time moves on):
:::Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles:::
first, JEN, is a new organization I just came across with the help from
my friend who is constantly studying the options for donating. JEN has a
nice website; one thing I like about them is that they seem to
focus not only on what the news cover, but also on people living in
locations and areas that are sometimes overlooked, or not easily
accessible. The website offers both English and Japanese (…the
information is fairly balanced), and
they are doing a fine job of monitoring; they do well by keeping
information up to date so that they know what is needed for each given
moment in time.
money (both checks and/or cash are currently being accepted… this
info is not stated on their website; I had to call in and ask to find
out) to the
Consulate General of Japan in Los Angeles, is a way to donate directly
to the Japanese Red Cross Society. The American Red Cross and the
Japanese Red Cross Society are connected but are different entities
(…info could be obtained by doing a little research on the web). Both
are helping Japan of course, however if one wishes for close to every
contributed to help Japan, the Japanese Red Cross Society is the way to
go. One thing to keep in mind is that the Japanese Red Cross
Society will not be coming around knocking on our doors to ask for money
however; the current condition does not allow them to be going
overseas from Japan to collect.
The website for GlobalGiving describes where and how much of the money they
collect is being sent to various organizations in Japan. The website is written in English,
and for those of us who would like to have some insight and/or options,
it is a place to visit.
Obviously, the above are not the only
options; there are also options to make a donation by texting for
example. Whatever we decide on, let us check
to be sure that the source is a reliable one.
In addition, if you read Japanese, check out the following:
Given the current condition, the
best way for us to contribute is by sending money. It is definitely necessary to send
supplies (can foods, blankets, toilet paper, etc.), but for
the time being, sending money is the best way to support as individuals.
everyone is able to donate money, however everyone could also
coming together by celebrating life (…this was a big motive for our
benefit event to happen on March 19, 2011 as seen in the video). Keep
this in mind; for those who are
in Japan and from Japan, it is such a challenging time. We are able to
participate by living life, staying positive, and by reminding ourselves
what makes us
human… watch a sunrise, have some sushi, drink a little sake, enjoy
cherry blossoms, say hi (or, “O'su!” in Japanese) to a friend, and spend
time with the family.
Please remember……. rebuilding Japan is a very long term project.
We will need all the help we can get and give, no matter how big or small.
Goh Kurosawa (Musician from Japan now living in Los Angeles)