The Jazzcat

Archive for April, 2011

KPFK 90.7 RECOGNIZES A HERO: A TRIBUTE TO BILLY HIGGINS Hosted by LeRoy Downs and Mark Maxwell

by on Apr.27, 2011, under Events

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.

Billy Higgins

Click either picture above to purchase tickets

$75 General Admission:
$125 Admission and VIP Reception:

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  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

since 1949.<>;<>

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Cassandra Wilson joins Prince at the the Fourm on April 28th!

by on Apr.26, 2011, under News

Cassandra Wilson
opening performance for

April 28th 2011

at the Fabulous Fourm

The soulful, earthy and sensational Cassandra Wilson will be opening up for the Almighty Prince!

Get you tickets for This Thursday at the Fourm Box office, online at Ticket Master or other ticket outlets

Click on your favorite picture of Cassandra to hear an interview with
LeRoy Downs where we talk about Prince!

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A Tribute to Jazz Legend Billy HIggins

by on Apr.12, 2011, under Uncategorized

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Afreecanos Quintet at the Getty Museum on May 14th 2011

by on Apr.10, 2011, under Events, News

Afreecanos Quintet

Omar Sosa

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, 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
plays m’bira.

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, or visit

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Omar Sosa in Concert!

by on Apr.10, 2011, under Uncategorized

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LA Musical Artists Uniting to Help Japan Benefit Concert

by on Apr.08, 2011, under News

:::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)
Mon David
Barbara Collin
Aki Tabei
Kai Kurosawa


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

penny being

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

contribute by

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)

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