The Jazzcat

Miguel Atwood Ferguson Residency at The Blue Whale with the Root System!

by on Nov.06, 2011, under News


The Pulse of the planet is always where the music is. The Blue Whale is not only the epicenter of creativity in Los Angeles, it is been put on the map as a place to be, the place to hang, the place to listen and hear music and what many places don’t have, a consistency of youthful consciousness. I say listen and hear because folks think differently about music. Some need atmosphere, some think it’s social time but, if you are one who wants to hear, see, listen and feel the music, the Blue Whale is your spot!

Joon Lee

The support and love among hope this world of on-point humans is astounding. All honor and love goes out to owner Joon Lee for loving and understanding the music, the heart, the struggle, the clause and the solution! Tonight, one of the most beloved and respective players in town has put together an array of super sonics that include his string quartet “Quartetto Fantastico”, with morphing versions of piano, bass and drums as well as horns. Many of the musicians, in fact all of them are leaders in their own right, humbly come together for the greater good of classical, original, challenging and chance taking music at the pinnacle of sound.


Miguel Atwood Ferfuson is a warm positive source of brilliance that shines and thrives with idealistic grandeurs of grace and beauty. Every Wednesday in this month of April, Miguel Atwood Ferguson along with Robbie Marshall and other beautiful musicians strive to present new, exciting and thought provoking music every week.

I can only write about music while listening and being immersed in the richness of the sound. To my left, is a painter who creates visual imagery based on the same frequencies and it will be very interesting to see where the music takes his imagery. Not one note is been played and blue whale is packed. As soon as the bow hits a string, a huge roar of applause fills the entire room followed by a long shhhh of silence as the music begins.

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Miguel starts out with the string Quartet and a piece written by his father Steve Ferguson, sitting to my right. Austin Peralta joins the group for a tune, as will many other fantastic musicians throughout the evening. Piano and strings, gorgeous! The love that is present in the music beams magnificently! They go from a lovely intro into a Robert Shuman composition. All sounds and colors represented and classical vibrations put the audience on point, separating them from the foes and forces of the world outside and allowing their bodies to calm down and hear only the precision of tonality. With Jazz, I am so used to listening for the incredible spontaneity of improvisation. It is quite pleasant to actually listen to a re-interpretation of what the composer intended. A different yet satisfying experience to be in the moment and feel the joy of the musicians focused on the happiness of precision.

Zach HGabe N

To the stage comes Zack Harmon on drums and Gabe Noel on bass to join in. As the pastels of the sky streak into their infinite canvas of glowing florescence, so does the music as it paints its imagery of life.

peter-jacobsonCellist Peter Jacobson has a baby in the house named Kuma who shrieks with joy from the back of the room; he is known as the band’s secret member. Joy and beauty yes, but happiness is also a major element as the pianoless band pass the strings like an excellent Laker fast break on “Cecilia”, a solo by Bud Powell transcribed for strings.

“Isreal”, is always one of my favorite tunes and is a killing hip jazz standard. Miguel is always seeking best in the music as he arranged the Bill Evans solo for strings and violinists Paul Cartwright along with Chris Wood make it sing over a bed of soulful bass and drums.


Robby Marshal joins in and is featured on the last piece. He recently purchased and has been practicing on an A-Clarinet specifically for this Brahms composition. Robbie, also one of our brilliant young thinkers not only plays great saxophone, but quite often blends and arranges several larger brass ensembles for and audible pallet of sheer cacophonic love!

Robby M get

“Root System” is his new band and other than Robbie and Miguel, an entirely new host of beautiful musicians come to the stage to present the new music. The instrumentation is plentiful and blends the sound of Brazil, South America, and Afro Peruvian grooves and rhythms. Only 50 copies of “home grown music” pressed for tonight. You can see how excited and proud Robbie is to bring these creations to the world, especially to an audience that can appreciate the complexities, harmonies and phatness of sound bursts on high!

Rhythm and Soul are usually the adjectives to describe Popular music but make no mistake, this percussion is rich and deeply rooted in the vein of a multitude of cultural diversity. Hand drums, seven horns, sultry rhythms and the beauty of strings makes this music and all encompassing experience.

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Special guest Marcel Camargo adds his gentle Brazilian breezes on a few of the compositions allowing that hint of warm South American love to flow over his lovely sound on guitar; Matt Politano on piano, Dominic Thiroux and the bottom, Mark Ferber, an incarnation of past and present on percussion and Robby as the wind!

The Root System is joined by the entire Quartetto Fantastico String Quartet and the reproduce a lovely Hermeto Pascoal composition. This music is layered with passion and laced with love, a symphony of horns and strings ascend and float down notes like snowflakes dissolving on our tongues.


You get to have everything you want in this music which includes an entire spectrum of sound from solo to the stratosphere! So now you have it, Quartetto Fantstico and Root System, get it under your belt and fuse it into your musical being!

LeRoy Downs



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