The Jazzcat

Mike Melvoin and his Trio at the LAX Westin!

by on Oct.24, 2004, under News


Mike Melvoin plays so beautifully! I had a great time hangin with him,

Tony Dumas and Ralph Penland at the gig that I MC at the Westin. I got to spend some nice time hangin’ with these cats before

and after the show. Mike is a super guy and plays some wonderfully intriguing

melodies. We talked about jazz music, jazz radio and one of my old cohorts,

“The King of Jazz Radio”, Mr. Chuck Niles. Chuck had a local television show on

Channel 36 here in Los Angeles

and that is where I first saw Mike Melvoin perform. You could tell that he and

Chuck had been good buddies for a long time.


Mike’s playing was just as superb as on the show with Chuck.

He came up playing piano in the television industry for various television

shows but, has always remained a great jazz pianist. Tonight he employs some of

the more outstanding talents that this town has to offer. Ralph Penland, leader

of his own group, the Penland Polygon Quintet, has such supple qualities to his

playing. He is right there in a dynamic way making confident statements without

overpowering the beauty of the trio. A quality the Mike appreciates very much.


On bass is Mr. Tony Dumas who has played with everyone from

Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson, Billy Childs, Cedar Walton, George Cables, Art

Pepper and more. Before the show, Tony was warming up and playing a bass line

that I was quite familiar with. It was from one of my favorite tunes by Joe

Henderson called, “Y Todavia la Quiero” from an album called “Relaxin’ in Camarillo”. I was so

excited because this particular tune was one I played quite often on my

overnight program at KKJZ. The bass line is so strong and is such a powerful

signature for that tune; I did not even realize that Tony was the bass player

on that date. It was like finding a long lost cousin!


Tony told me he got interested in jazz by going to the

dentist. His dentist always played the “Miles Smiles” album and Tony was always

intrigued because he did not like it at first but, eventually opened his ears

and started loving the music. Good thing, because certainly brings a solid

foundation to the quality of sound, especially in this trio setting.


These players play some lush melodies that are so beautiful

on some standards and a few Mike Melvoin compositions as well. Creating a mood

that emanates soft and tender love and happiness. There is so much space,

warmth and gentleness in the music and the solos are taken with such grace. The

resolution is always wonderfully content.


I had a conversation with Mike’s lovely wife Sandy. She said

that she has been enjoying jazz music for quite some time but, the last 28

years have been especially sweet! It is so great to be around great music and

always have it resonate so close to home. Great love is such an inspiration for

lovely music. If you ask me, I think this has been a key ingredient to Mike’s

secret for success! A great husband, a great grandfather, a great musician and

a great soul, Mike Melvoin! 

Click here for pictures


Click Picture for video of Tony Dumas!!!


LeRoy Downs

Leave a Reply

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

Visit our friends!

A few highly recommended friends...