The Jazzcat


Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith at Occidental College!

by on Apr.16, 2016, under Events

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 11.46.56 PM It is always a special time when the world gets to experience music through the many vast combinations that the world puts together. Tonight at Occidental College near Highland Park in Los Angeles was one of those times indeed!
Occidental_Thorne_HallThorne Hall at the end of the campus at Occidental College game me the impression that I have arrived after the beautiful stroll through the campus.  Our moderator this evening tells a story of G William Hume, a young man who attended Occidental College or Oxy in the early 50’s. He actually worked as director of Throne Hall for many years and was an avid stamp collector. Turns out that he left his estate to Oxy and his massive collection of stamps curated the G William Hume Fellowship of the Performance for the Arts. The existence of this  endowment has traveled through time and has transcended to art. From crazy stamp collections to pristine sound waves that connect directly to our core, Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith shape and mold vibrations of beauty into a kingdom of self discovery.

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 11.51.44 PMIn the beginning silence, until there was sound. Two gentlemen walk on the stage, approach their instruments and proceed to engage with the atoms in the universe. Space is the trio as the three dance, play and communicate with our inner beings. The sound is a textile made for Royalty and we get to wear the crown.

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 11.52.08 PMThe notes drift, float, hover and illuminate vibrations of light. If you come to to music with open arms, you receive and abundance of love in return. This is not song or melody or sections in a composition, it is life in a story of sonic expression. Reaching, fleeting, pulsing are the extensions of your being. Velocity, speed and its nemesis in the helix dance of the soul, with the adduction of each drop formulating our entire being bringing us back to the one.

Landscapes and silent winds swirl across colored pastels to infinate horizons that see beyond planes, that exist and connect to many dimensions. If you are thinking, you have missed the communication. You can only be, there is no other existence. One with the creators. If it were not for this then who would we be?

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 11.52.30 PMAll roads lead here to peace, to silence, to tension, perplexing curiosity, to resolve or not. What matters is that there is a gift that is graciously given and graciously received.


Wadada floats like a Monarch spreading wings and flying in cepia tone. Vijay is ballet on ivory and the two create a slow motion snow globe vacuum of transparency where you can see and hear your past and present while looking back from your future. Discovery aboard the vessel of your being.


From the skies to the depths of the ocean, your search for awareness slips into the realization of the sequence of moments that has lead you here. Your journey ends where it has began and you realize you have already answerd your questions.

Breathe deep, inhale sound and spread love!


LeRoy Downs

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Win Tickets to see “The Gathering” Sun NOV 8th at the Mayme Clayton Library!

by on Nov.05, 2015, under Events

The Gathering Logo

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“The Gathering Kick Starter Campaign”

Hello Friends!
After several years and through many challenges Tom Paige and Emily Koonse their small team are close to completing one of the documentaries he has been working on…

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The Gathering: Roots & Branches of Los Angeles Jazz.

The Gathering film Kickstarter video from Tom Paige on Vimeo.
Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 8.15.18 PMMany of you know Tom and Emily have been working with some amazing musicians in the Los Angeles area for years. Many of these players share deep connections to the Leimert Park cultural region of Los Angeles and the local jazz and improvised music scene of LA. The name of the group, The Gathering, was inspired by a cultural center not far from Leimert Park. On Nov. 5th we launch our Kickstarter campaign, which is do or die as to whether the funding succeeds, and they really need all the help they can get to succeed. There are several ways to help. This is a virtual event that anyone can attend by joining and helping in the following ways:

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– On Nov. 5th, visit the Kickstarter campaign and pitch in.
– Like and Share the FB page:
Sign up for the mailing list:

The Kickstarter link will be live on November 5th on this page and the website. There are many great perks for those that contribute, including copies of the completed film when done, digital downloads and CDs of the orignal album release from 2008, and several other packages.

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Please visit the website at to learn more about the historic event captured on camera when Jesse Sharps bought together a stellar group of established and emerging musicians from the LA scene, including core members of Horace Tapscott’s Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, for an incredible day of music, performance, and collaboration.

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 8.07.38 PMThank you! -Tom Paige

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Angel City Jazz Festival presents Lisa Mezzacappa’s Glorious Ravage and Mark Dresser at The Redcat

by on Sep.15, 2015, under Events

LisaMezzacappa_ZakShelbySzyszko_REDCAT2015 Lisa Mezzacappa’s Glorious Ravage, a panoramic song cycle for improvisors includes 15 musicians onstage as the scene begins. Sound, visuals Victor and vocals; shifting, changing, flashing, swirling; a voyage into an abyss of saturation. “This is the life, Glorious Ravage”, what does it all mean, how do these sounds effect my existence on this plane, in this space in time, on this planet with dwindling resources.


Thinking of life, it’s meaning and my place in it. The music allows us to search and discover our inner beings while resonating with the extraordinary pulsation that showers our bodies with emphatic joy. Body fornication, I open my eyes and feel like I just got caught. But no, the orchestration continues and we are all anonymous in the intrigue of avant, cacophonous serenity.
Spoken words, mixed with fruit, rainbows, strange birds and exotic dancing flowers, one can only imagine what seems impossible, can make artistic and creative sense when you come with arms and minds open to the music.


Bruce Lee said “Be Water My Friend”; fluid, permeable, translucent and adaptable to all elements. Notes and formulas, telling stories of blooming vegetation, plants  and flowers fertilized with the growth of sound vibrations. Phats and sharps, shards of movement, essential nutrients and the mores of the Motherland, danger among the beauty of life’s evolution, one foot deep in the groove while hands and spirits soar to the heavens.


backwards_Question_mark_(RTL).svgWhat? The question and the answer where up is relative in this open letter to lessons in agriculture, archeology and sound. It’s not “Rhyme or” its “Rhyme and”!  The water is wide, the landscapes are vast, and when you explore the entire instrument, the sound is abundant! San Francisco and Los Angeles come together creating the city of wonders!


The numbers of musicians have decreased for the Mark Dresser Quintet but ,the vibration is still as vibrant and bright! On drums, Kjell Nordesen from Sweden lights up his kit with a solo of great diversity while Joshua White is  percussion on strings with intensity and rhythmic dimension; a supporting a cast of the only best. Mark Dresser is one of our premier creatives on bass”Not Withstanding” . Compositions composed with intrigue, space and a freedom that dances in, around and through all signatures.  This particiular title written in conjunction with the great Rudresh Mahanthapa.


“Hobby Lobby Horse” is a new piece which sounds fantastic featuring Michael Dessen and Nicole Mitchell out front on trombone and flute respectively. Lots of room in this configuration for everyone to express themselves throughly and completely in statements that are their own characters in short stories well crafted by Mark. From the light into the darkness and back, Nicole’s mesmerizingly haunting sound is a captivating force all its own. These are Masters of music and sound who play on emotion and have us existing in multiple paradigms. “Parawaltz” is sheer beauty and laments in euphoric amore’.

Michael Dessen Nicole Mitchell

Time for “Digestivo”, the sweet and tasty treat after every good meal. Pick a high or piccolo, either way Nicole is dropping soul over rich rhythms combined with Dessen’s “singing the blues” trombone, makes the music a perfect delight!

Joshua WhiteJoshua is ballet on 88! Dancing, diving, pushing and caressing the melody; the E-ticket ride weaving through the fabric of sound ingenuity! Music for those who dare!

The whistle blows, the Union calls and the show is done, but there is so much more!!!!

The Angel City Jazz Festival has only just begun! More incredible shows for all who are open and ready to receive the blessings that beautiful intriguing music can bring!

angel city Jazz 2015

  • Lucian Ban and Matt Maneri



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by on Aug.29, 2015, under Events

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Come and celebrate the Birth of the Really Cool, Bennie Maupin! For 75 years our world has been given the gift of music through the perception of this extraordinary gentleman!

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at The Blue Whale

Saturday night August 29th


Two new players in the game… Chitown in the house!!!!

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Jeff Parker and Josh Johnson

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Of course featuring the brilliance of ..

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Patrice Rushen, Darek Oles, Munyungo Jackson and Gene Coye

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LeRoy Downs honored and privileged to be your host!

A joyous occasion and great opportunity to see and here our very own Bennie Maupin and explore the enchantment of his adventurous sound; present and future with a giant footprint in the past!

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Please be respectful…..

                No photographyNo VideoNo Cell Phones




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Sunday August 30th Come celebrate The World Stage!

by on Aug.26, 2015, under Events

World Stage shotROLL CALL

Sunday, August 30, 2015

A FREE gathering of Leimert Park artists sharing, shining and performing…

The World Stage is in danger of losing their home in Leimert Park. This Sunday we will be holding a Roll Call of Artists and Performers to celebrate the unique beauty of the community, its artists, and the spaces in which their work is created.

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Some of the many performers appearing are: Dwight Tribble, Michael Sessions, Jerry Quickley, Phil Ranelin, Billy McCoy Trio and more more more. We want anyone who cares about Leimert Park and the World Stage, or is at least curious, to share in the artistry and the love so many community artists have for the space created by the founders, Kamau Daáood and Billy Higgins in 1989.


The artists will share their reflections on Leimert Park Village, and select compositions that represent important and resonant connections between the music and the community of Leimert.

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We want you to come celebrate this cultural gem with us to support our common cause and enjoy beautiful music.

Organized by: Dwight Tribble, Leila Hamidi, Jerry Quickley, Carlos Niño and Corazón del Sol
Attached is a link to a LA Weekly article on the situation with The World Stage.

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Dee Dee Bridgewater: Dee Dee’s Feathers Featuring Irvin Mayfield Aug 25th at The Grammy Museum

by on Aug.25, 2015, under Events


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August 25th at the Grammy Museum

 grammy museum logoOver the course of a four-decade career, GRAMMY-winning jazz artist Dee Dee Bridgewater has ascended to the upper echelon of vocalists, putting her unique spin on standards while re-envisioning jazz classics. Dee Dee photoShe’s performed with such jazz notables as Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon, and Dizzy Gillespie, and has released a series of critically acclaimed albums, including Dear Ella, her tribute to Ella Fitzgerald that received a GRAMMY for Best Jazz Vocal Performance. Bridgewater also won a Tony Award for her role as Glinda in 1975’s The Wiz, and received a British Laurence Olivier nomination for Best Actress in a Musical for her role in Lady Day. As a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, Bridgewater continues to appeal for international solidarity to finance global grassroots projects in the fight against world hunger.Feathers Set for release on August 11, Bridgewater’s latest album, Dee Dee’s Feathers, is a journey through the history of New Orleans as told through song collaborations with Irvin Mayfield and The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra. The album is an homage to the people and culture of New Orleans in honor of the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. The GRAMMY Museum welcomes Bridgewater and Mayfield to the Clive Davis Theater for an intimate discussion surrounding their career and new album, followed by a special performance featuring Bridgewater, Mayfield and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance Ensemble, hosted by Scott Goldman, Vice President of the GRAMMY Foundation.

Dee Dee’s Feathers, a journey through the history of New Orleans as told through song and the collaboration of Dee Dee Bridgewater, Irvin Mayfield & The New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (NOJO), is set for release August llth, 2015, via OKeh/Sony Music/DDB Records. studioRecorded at New Orleans’ Esplanade Studios, a studio in a reconverted historical church in the heart of the city that was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina, the release of “Dee Dee’s Feathers” will be accompanied by tour dates worldwide including stops at The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, the Barbican in London and New York City’s famed Apollo Theatre on Halloween, “It was at the groundbreaking ceremony of the future site of the Jazz Market where I had the idea of a collaborative recording,” said Bridgewater.DeeDeeIrvin“I thought that Irvin Mayfield, NOJO, and I needed a musical ‘calling card’ so to speak, a product that epitomized the joys of our accumulative collaborations. When I shared the idea with Irvin, the seed was planted. After several emails, Irvin’s song suggestions, song keys picked out over the phone, we found ourselves at Esplanade Studio exactly one month later. Under Irvin Mayfield’s skillful leadership, band members had done the arrangements, and over the course of three days we recorded, filmed, bonded, laughed our way through the most extraordinary recording experience I’ve had. dee dee and Irwin smileThe music turned out so good, with my dear friend Dr. John blessing us on a day’s notice, Bill Summers’ magical percussive layers, and a host of well- known NOLA characters. I knew Irvin and his band- mates had bathed me, immersed me, baptized me in the waters of the Mississippi, and exposed me to the roots of New Orleans. For me this album is a celebration of life itself.” Added Mayfield, “This album is a testament to the continued relevance of New Orleans not only as a thriving city but also as a muse for communicating truth, love and beauty. Dee Dee Bridgewater leads us through a new artistic moment while answering a mandate created over a century ago by Jazz geniuses like Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet and Louis Armstrong.  DeeDeeDeeShe proves through her art that New Orleans is not just a city but more importantly an idea that can make your heart and soul feel better. “Although steeped in history, Dee Dee’s Feathers is at the same time a modern exploration of the music and culture that makes New Orleans a city and place unlike any other. Screen Shot 2015-08-18 at 11.07.42 PMTraditional songs such as “Big Chief” (featuring guest artist Dr. John), “Saint James Infirmary” and “What A Wonderful World” – all songs indicative to and steeped in the culture of the Big Easy – co-mingle with new compositions such as “Congo Square” and “C’est Ici Que Je T’aime,” transporting the listener on a sensory voyage through the city, whether dancing in a Second Line or frequenting a storied bordello in the heart of the city’s French Quarter. The launch of the CD and tour will also be tied-into the opening of NOJO’s New Orleans Jazz Market later in 2015. The first solely-dedicated space for Jazz and Education in New Orleans, Bridgewater will serve on the Board of Directors for the facility and has made a commitment to furthering music and education in the city in tandem with the facility.


Also being released in tandem with Dee Dee’s Feathers is Mayfield’s new book,New Orleans Jazz Playhouse, a 304-page coffee table book that includes seven CDs of live music recorded at his Bourbon Street Jazz club, Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse. The book reflects on Irvin’s unique experiences as a New Orleans native, a Jazz musician, and the many influences in his life including countless musicians, artists, photographers, chefs, teachers, and other mentors. Unifying and grounding the various stories, poems, and essays are two central concepts that permeate the book: jazz & love. Illustrating Mayfield’s well-crafted words is a collection of some of the most culturally significant photography and artwork by master craftspeople such as John Scott, Gordon Parks, George Rodrigue, Herman Leonard, Greg Miles, and Erika Goldring, and the book features an introduction by biographer Walter Isaacson, a foreword by novelist Ernest Gaines, and an afterword by trumpeter and jazz-master Wynton Marsalis


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