The Jazzcat

Archive for March, 2017

Nels Cline: Music from Lovers Live West Coast Debut April 8th @ Royce Hall!

by on Mar.28, 2017, under Events, News

Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA is proud to present guitar explorer Nels Cline, best known as the lead guitarist in the rock band Wilco, in the live West Coast debut of Music from Lovers, plus instrumental trio Big Lazy at Royce Hall. Tickets ($29–$59) for Saturday, April 8 at 8 p.m. are currently on sale at, via Ticketmaster and at the UCLA Central Ticket Office at 310.825.2101.

Cline will perform wide-ranging material from his expansive new Blue Note double-album, Lovers, backed by a 17-piece band comprised of some of his most gifted collaborators, including conductor-trumpeter Michael Leonhart, guitarist Julian Lage and trumpeter Steven Bernstein.

NELS CLINE – electric guitar GLEN BERGER – C, alto & bass flutes, oboe, English horn, alto sax, Bb clarinet STEVEN BERNSTEIN – trumpet ALEX CLINE – drums DAN CLUCAS – trumpet MICHAEL DESSEN – trombone BRAD DUTZ – vibraphone, marimba, percussion JEFF GAUTHIER – violin BEN GOLDBERG – contra-alto clarinet, Bb clarinet VINNY GOLIA – woodwinds DEVIN HOFF – bass  YUKA C HONDA – celeste, synth JULIAN LAGE – electric & acoustic guitar, Dobro MICHAEL LEONHART – conductor, trumpet, flugelhorn ZEENA PARKINS – harp MAGGIE PARKINS – cello SARA SCHOENBECK – bassoon GAVIN TEMPLETON – Bb clarinet

Inspired by the likes of Bill Evans, Jim Hall, Gil Evans, Johnny Mandel, Henry Mancini and others, Lovers features Cline performing originals, standards and covering Sonic Youth, Arto Lindsay and others with a large ensemble. “I have been dreaming about, planning, and re-working my rather obsessive idea of this record for well over 25 years, and it was always going to be called Lovers,” says Cline. “It is meant to be as personal in its sound and in its song selection as it is universal in its endeavor to assay or map the parameters of ‘mood’ as it once pertained, and currently pertains, to the peculiar and powerful connection between sound/song and intimacy/romance. In this, I hope Lovers offers something of an update of the ‘mood music’ idea and ideal, while celebrating and challenging our iconic notion of romance.”

Cline was named by Rolling Stone as one of 20 “new guitar gods” and among the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.” His recording and performing career — spanning jazz, rock, punk and experimental genres — is well into its fourth decade. Cline has led various groups of his own, most consistently the avant-garde ensemble the Nels Cline Singers, and appeared as a guest or feature player on more than 200 albums. In addition, for the last dozen years, he’s been a full-time member of the acclaimed rock band Wilco.

The evening opens with Big Lazy, hailed by the New Yorker as “the elegantly gritty instrumental trio led by the extraordinary guitarist Stephen Ulrich.” Simultaneously noir and pastoral, gothic and modern, Big Lazy conjures images of everything from big sky country to seedy back rooms. With sparse instrumentation — electric guitar, acoustic bass and drums — the trio creates richly evocative soundscapes with a distinctly narrative quality and an undeniable sense of place. The band is back supporting a new album, Don’t Cross Myrtle, after a hiatus of several years while leader Stephen Ulrich spent time as the composer for the HBO series Bored to Death and most recently the film Art and Craft.


Tickets for Saturday, April 8 at 8 p.m. are currently on sale at, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 310.825.2101 or in person at the UCLA Central Ticket Office on campus. $15 UCLA Student tickets and $25 UCLA Faculty and Staff tickets are available while supplies last.


Tickets: Admission ranges from $29-$59; UCLA Students $15; UCLA Faculty & Staff $25.  Tickets can be purchased online at, via Ticketmaster, by phone at 310.825.2101 or in person at the UCLA Central Ticket Office. On the day of the show, the box office at Royce Hall opens one hour prior to the event start time.

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Kendrick Scott at the Jazz Bakery

by on Mar.27, 2017, under Events, News

Our man Kendrick Scott. I call him ours because we embrace this brother so tight and hold him in the highest esteem when it comes to moving our emotions with the integrity of his compositions! As part of the Jazz Bakery’s Movable Feast, Kendrick performed at the Moss Theater with his band of young purveyors of sound Taylor Eighsti, Joshua Crumbly, Mike Moreno and John Ellis.

Kendrick started out the evening with a tune written just two days ago, so fresh it does not even have a name yet; a new born beauty. With seamless modality to Auduban speed, we transcend into weightless gravity experiencing not G-force, but the gentleness of effortless mastery as we arrive in new dimensions of time. Kendrick has always been a drummer of choice and always concerned with the real truth of emoting composition. His sound speaks and reflects upon intellect multiplied by feeling divided by complex groove to the fifth power.
Synchrony was a piece from an earlier album, “Conviction” and “Apollo” was written by good friend and our very own Walter Smith III, John Ellis also contributes with a piece called Milton.

Mike Moreno on guitar warm and encompassing while John Ellis delivers precious alluring melodies gracefully massaged by rhythm. Taylor Eigsti is one of the best on piano and keys, team player and fearless leader crafting landscapes of gentle color then dancing on them. Brother Crumbly, resonating with drive, compassion and an honest truth whose vibration has and ever present solid connection with the waves of our bodies.

A drum solo with definite triggers, Sun house and all defining serious subjects not for the faint at heart but, messages for us all. Leader of the free world, a man whose soul, symbiotic with the common man cannot dismissed what is happening in the world. The voice of President Obama speaking facts about the color of our skin and acknowledging the truth that lies beneath the consciousness of evil beings. The revolution may not be televised but you can watch the last breathe of our people at the hands of fearful authority on live and in living color by pressing like on your favorite social platform; reality rim shots of death and human destruction. Kendrick stripped away all of our layers, opened up our feelings, fused our consciousness into one source, and the had Mike Moreno heal us with the beauty of the “Lotus”.
Music doing its part to heal the world! Brother you are the Oracle!

LeRoy Downs


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The Silverscreen Sextet at the Los Angeles Center Studios

by on Mar.26, 2017, under Events, News

Straight outta Oakland, meets the most extraordinary sounds in Los Angeles to form the Silverscreen Sextet! Vijay Anderson and Hafez Modirzadeh join William Roper, Roberto Miranda, Bobby Bradford and Vinny Golia. These elements form an organic compound whose sonic equation, derived by the sum of its unique parts, can only be vetted in the actual moments where the cross section of visual, audible, emotion, integrity and truth create temporary portals of unequivocal consciousness.

This is a very different environment for music and extremely cool! We are at the Los Angeles Center Studios, a full service television and film facility near downtown Los Angeles.  On the grounds outside is the Vortex Immersion Dome,  an immersive audio-visual experience, constructed like an igloo is where tonight’s planetary experience takes place. Visual artist Tim Hix has allowed us inside his colorful world, pomp and circumstance pressing the re-play button on life,  just in case you missed it!

Imagine a circle and at the center is you, the pendulum upon which all things will swing from and around. Look up, to the side and everywhere is your brain filled with vivid color, dimensions, scenes, plots and stories that will unfold and paint truths as you live and inhale the music.

A three hundred and sixty degree cinematic experience and in front of us are the cats, the musicians; on the ceiling and all around us are projections of earth, sea, sky, space and other mystical magical imagery. The music is the magic of a secret world indeed! Art and music enrapt us as the space and time take us back to a space in time, shedding light on the fact that, in the decades of our existence along a continuum of time and knowledge, the facade has changed but, movements in philosophy of human love have been unwavering.

Flashing pictures of truth trigger thoughts within us of the polar opposites of privilege and bitter fruit. The slow motion movement has a gravitational sensation that allows you to float in a world of sound and see beyond solo perspectives and experience the opaque pleasures of few and the colorful pains of the many. Rita Graciela Werner produced the images, the Silver Screen Sextet produced the sound and there you have it, the red pill matrix elixir of truth.


The rabbit hole indeed. The next thing you know the music is playing and the imagery starts to change. Surrounded by moving video scenes of Los Angeles crafted together beautifully with photos to tell its story. The crafting is beautiful, the story is yours to imagine but, with pictures of privilege on the one hand and degrading poverty on the other, it is not hard to distinguish the harsh reality of America’s past and its present. Now with a four  year regime of ignorance, arrogance and Red, WHITE and Blue wall building, health care slayers in the house of white, 2017 and 1917 might not be one hundred years apart at all. 

The Silverscreen Sextet makes so much sense as the images are melted to the sonics. Rhythm, no, Melody, no, but harmony galore, thought provoking and invoking! Usually with music as sensational as this, you are left to use your imagination to create the narrative. Hear the music and your inner voice tell the stories like Mingus’ “Scenes in the City”; Brass black and white images, over sensory perception, Rodney King and white picket fences. Imagine the definition of “swing” and how you would define it, a musician would define it, young protected children playing in posh backyards would define it. What about the Rodney’s, Gray’s, Trevon’s, and Garner’s of the world. Yeah, a much different kind of beat.

I am not dreaming but, I hear Martin speaking in my mind with abundant passion and words silenced by the speed of sound. The rhythm is the beat of a different drum with riots, fires and homeless tents to the left; privilege, swanky cribs and images of Skipper from Gilligan’s Island to the right. One city and 180 degree perspectives on life. Multiply this times 52 weeks and repeat it 3 times and you have the latest US reality show, only the “so called” boss is not undercover, and “You’re Fired” happens to any and every body who does not concur.

An evening of provocative thought, sound and imagery. The lessons are there and experience has taught us that acceptance of the status quo does not yield any colorful results. And once the picture has been painted with the truth revealed, knowledge can no longer be avoided, the question remains…Stand, Sit, Sink or Swim!


LeRoy Downs


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MCLM Presents Azar Lawrence At The Double M Jazz Salon March 26th

by on Mar.26, 2017, under Events, News

On Sunday, March 26th at 2 p.m., The Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum, located at 4130 Overland Avenue in Culver City, will present another of the late Mimi Melnick’s Double M Jazz Salons. The much-anticipated concert will feature prolific saxophonist, composer and bandleader, Azar Lawrence.

An edgy, risk-taking, world world-class ensemble, The Azar Lawrence Quartet includes, pianist Theo Saunders; Henry Franklin, bass and Tony Austin, drums. During unencumbered, spontaneous forays, the artists will showcase original compositions that challenge the imagination while offering unique renditions of classic standards.

From downbeat to cadenza, unsuspecting listeners are ushered on a spiritual odyssey. Azar reveals, “As we cross the bridge into the New Age, the music of the spheres guides us.” Steeped in timeless traditions, Azar will blend the brew while praising the ancestors. Delving deeply into his vast repertoire, the titan of the tenor will stoke the fire and serenade lovers as he abruptly turns balladeer. His horn of plenty remains poised for either occasion.

A native Angeleno, Mr. Lawrence has toured extensively throughout the U.S. and abroad, performing with McCoy Tyner, Alphonse Mouzon, Horace Tapscott, Nolan Shaheed, Harold Land, Jr., Roy McCurdy, Kevin Toney, William Henderson, Nate Morgan, Tootie Heath, James Leary, Bobby West, Phil Ranelin, Dwight Trible, Fritz Wise, Michael Hunter, Rashied Ali, Larry Gales, Miles Davis, Albert Dailey, Onaje Murray, Sunship Theus, Ron Carter, Gene Harris, Woody Shaw, George Cables,

Elvin Jones, Herbie Baker, Earth, Wind & Fire, Richard Grant, and scores of others.

Sunday, March 26th at 2 p.m

Azar Lawrence

The Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum

4130 Overland Avenue

Doors open at 12:30 p.m. At 1:00 p.m., Azar will briefly reflect on his stellar career, in an informal discussion with jazz historian, Jeffrey Winston. The first of two sizzling sets, will begin at 2:00 p.m. The Double M Jazz Salon will continue its unique program series at the Mayme A. Clayton Library & Museum in Culver City. In 1996, Jazz Baroness Mimi Melnick launched her first salon at her Encino home on Strawberry Drive. Mimi loved jazz. She organized the intimate salons to support L.A.’s jazz community. Producer Steve Isoardi notes, “We are now celebrating the 22nd year of Mimi’s unique series!”

“We are very proud and extremely honored to carry the torch”, said Executive

Director Lloyd Clayton. The MCLM, collects, preserves, exhibits and celebrates, the vast history and cultural heritage of Americans of African descent. Seating is limited. Salon tickets are $20.00 and may be purchased online at

or call, (310) 202-1647.

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Celebrate Ella Fitzgerald’s Centennial with Jane Monheit and the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra!!

by on Mar.08, 2017, under Events, Jazzcat Hosting, News

On Sunday, May 7, the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra will celebrate its 15th Anniversary with a special tribute to Ella Fitzgerald’s centennial birthday. This 7pm concert will feature guest vocalist Jane Monheit performing with the SJO’s 67-member jazz orchestra, the only ensemble of its kind in the United States.

With support from the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, the SJO will perform a number of Ella’s beloved jazz orchestral arrangements by Nelson Riddle, including “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “I Won’t Dance,” and “Our Love is Here to Stay.”

This one-of-a-kind celebration, which will take place at the Richard and Karen Carpenter Performing Arts Center at 6200 Atherton Street in Long Beach, will open with a work remembering SJO co-music director, the late George Duke, and feature two exciting world premiere works by Alan Chan and Gordon Goodwin, featuring saxophone soloist Eric Marienthal. The Carpenter Center is home for the SJO as they present a series of free educational and community concerts there called “Arts for Life.” An Arts for Life event will also take place the afternoon of May 7 with hundreds of students from across LA country in attendance.

Photo of Ella Fitzgerald; Agency: Redferns (Photo by Gilles Petard/Redferns)

Photo of George Duke EsperanzaSpaldingSchenectady080308

The 67-member Symphonic Jazz Orchestra is uniquely dedicated to the blend of jazz and classical, as exemplified by George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue.” The orchestra, led by music director Mitch Glickman, has performed across Southern California at such venues as the Carpenter Performing Arts Center, Royce Hall, the Ford Amphitheater, and more. The SJO has received peer review grant awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, Irvine Foundation, Music Performance Fund, Meet the Composer, the ASCAP Foundation and others. Soloists who have joined the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra include George Duke, Christian McBride, Dave Grusin, Raul Midon, Lee Ritenour, Justo Almario, John Clayton, Bill Cunliffe, Peter Erskine, Robert Hurst, Phil Perry, Ernie Watts, and The Yellowjackets.

Since its debut in 2002, the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra has commissioned ten new works, and performed fifteen world premieres. Previous commissioned composers have included George Duke, Lee Ritenour, Lesa Terry, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, and Darcy James Argue. Each year, the SJO selects a composer to write a new piece through its ASCAP Foundation/ Symphonic Jazz Orchestra Commissioning Prize.

In addition to performing and commissioning, the SJO has become an integral piece of music education in Los Angeles County, bringing their “Music in the Schools” program to 170 classrooms totaling almost 4,000 students each week, with a focus on schools in underserved neighborhoods. This year-long program integrates with and enhances students’ understanding of math, reading, science, history, and creative writing. In some of the neighborhoods served by the SJO, like Compton and Watts, the program is in schools that have had no arts education in decades. This program is supported by national and local educational partnerships with Turnaround Arts, the Herb Alpert Foundation, LA County Arts for All, and the Arts Community Network in underserved elementary schools across LA County.

SundayMay 7 

Celebrate Ella Fitzgerald’s Centennial

with Jane Monheit

at the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra’s 15th Anniversary Concert

at the Carpenter Center in Long Beach


Symphonic Jazz Orchestra founder and music director Mitch Glickman notes, “For 15 years we’ve given composers the world’s greatest Crayola box of sounds – the 67-member Symphonic Jazz Orchestra comprised of Hollywood’s finest studio musicians, adept at jazz, classical and so much more. By perpetuating this uniquely American form of music that began with Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue,” we continue to move the genre forward and feature some of the world’s finest soloists. And for the past 9 years, we have developed a unique K – 5th grade music curriculum that is now in 12 schools in Watts, Compton, Long Beach, Culver City and Los Angeles. I am continually amazed watching the students compose and perform their own blues songs, improvise on the keyboard, analyze the music of Bach, and sing the music of Duke Ellington.”

Tickets for the event are $35 and $55 and are available. Additionally, there are a limited number $100 of VIP tickets that include a pre-concert reception at 6 pm, followed by preferred seats for the 7 pm concert. Sponsors for the event include the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation, Turkish Airlines, and KJAZZ Radio.



For more information please see




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