Thursday, October 05, 2006

It's Not My Breath After All: Listeners' Series, Vol. VII

I have a very active fantasy life. It's part of the reason I enjoy jazz so much; when I listen to some modern interpretations of classic tunes all I have to do is close my eyes and let my imagination transport me to another time and place, where I'm sitting in a smoky club wearing a fabulous dress, a cute little hat and white gloves. Every once in awhile someone nudges me to remind me that it's 2006 and I really have on jeans and a tank top and I have an odd, goofy grin on my face.

My imagination got the best of me preparing for the most recent Listeners' Series show, the
Dave Ameele Sextet at Cafe 322 in Sierra Madre on Thursday, September 21. Until just before the show, I was afraid that no one would join me and my Listeners' Series would become defunct. I imagined myself writing the recap entitled "It's My Breath, Isn't It?" and displaying a photo of me, sitting alone at a table for 4. It was going to be witty and sad at the same time.

But guess what? The fates are not only not that unkind, they are very supportive of jazz. This Listeners' Series had the best turnout of any, save for the
Tramp House series (which doesn't really count since there was no live music there). Seven of us made it out to support Dave's ensemble, which consisted of an all-star lineup of local musicians: Dave Ameele (drums / bandleader) - Kye Palmer (trumpet) - Bruce Babad (alto sax) - Rob Lockart (tenor sax) - Larry Koonse (guitar) - Ken Wild (bass). They featured a combination of standards and original tunes arranged and/or written by Dave. My personal fave was their version of "Surrey With the Fringe on Top" which alternately reminds me of Ahmad Jamal and When Harry Met Sally. I told you, I have a vivid imagination....

L-R: Brian Farrah, Daivd Reinhold, Lee Ann Fishback & Mike Fishback

L-R: Flip Manne, Pam Howell & Allan Spring

My heartfelt thanks to all of you who made it out last month. The verdict is in and everyone was thrilled with the show and had good stuff to say about the venue too. I'll keep my eye on the Cafe 322 calendar and as always extend an open invitation to anyone who'd like to join me!
P.S. In other jazz updates, recently I was lucky enough to join Flip Manne and some other LA Jazz Society Board members and volunteers at a jazz house party hosted by Gillis and Giselle, jazz fans extraordinare, for a Bill Henderson show. This photo was too cute not to share.

Bill Henderson & Flip Manne

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

October Shows: Holy Mackerel!

Ladies and Gentlemen, just when I thought Los Angeles' jazz scene couldn't top itself, the October calendars have come out. I am going to cry myself to sleep every night because I'm not around for most of these shows, but I just had to point them out for you all. I only checked a few venue calendars and had to stop, so if you know of other shows that might be of broader interest please comment and point them out. Also, if you'd like to go to a show and want company, please call, email or comment here and I will do my level best to join you. Enjoy!

Friday, October 6: Bill Cunliffe Trio at Spazio, Sherman Oaks. Love Bill's style and having heard him with Edwin and Matt before I can say it's worth making the trip. Be sure to stick around for the later sets; the music heats up the later the evening gets.

Friday and Saturday, October 6-7: Jeff Hamilton Trio at Steamers, Fullerton. You all know this is my favorite group playing right now. Fantastic arrangements and intensely inviting execution. Although I have Steamers issues I would normally try to make it down for this gig. Definitely worth seeing.

Wednesday, October 11: **LISTENERS' SERIES MARATHON** Confirmed Bachelor at Tangier Restaurant, Los Feliz AND Joe LaBarbera Quintet at Charlie O's, Van Nuys. Check this out, kids. We'll go to support Fred Almanza, a former co-worker of mine as he performs with his jazz band (I hear complete with vibes). That show will end around 9:00, at which time we'll head to Van Nuys to catch the latter part of Joe LaBarbera's show (with an all-star lineup including Bob Sheppard and Alan Pasqua - wow). **CONTACT ME** if you'd like to join for one or both events!!

Thursday, October 12: Another night worth a marathon: Scott Whitfield Quintet at Charlie O's, Van Nuys AND Chuck Berghofer & the Midnight Jazz Band at Spazio, Sherman Oaks. Scott Whitfield is an amazing trombone player who has great vocal skills as well - and is being joined by Kristin Korb, one of my favorite local bassists who also is a swingin' singer. And you all know that The Midnight Jazz Band is an absolute must see from my perspective....

Wednesday, October 18: Tony Inzalaco Quintet CD Release Party at Charlie O's, Van Nuys. I was fortunate enough to get a preview copy of this disc and can I just say - HELLO!!! Great live performance of original tunes with driving bebop drumming. I'm heartbroken that I can't make this event but hope you jazz fans will get out there to support.

Sunday, October 22: Los Angeles Jazz Society Annual Tribute Dinner and Concert, Los Angeles Marriott, Downtown LA. This event honors some of the most significant local jazz musicians and supporters, raises funds for education programs, and boasts a phenomenal music lineup. Please contact me if you'd like additional details - the more, the merrier!

Monday, October 23: John Beasley Trio, Charlie O's, Van Nuys. I heard John play at The Vic and really loved the venue and totally got into the performance. I'm not sure what's on deck this time, but it might make sense to expect brilliant musicianship and compelling original music. I'll be there if I can!

Wednesday, October 25: Dick Hafer Quartet at Spazio, Sherman Oaks. Veteran tenor player with the legendary Jake Hanna on drums. This will probably be my last local jazz foray before the jazz cruise so hope to see some folks out there!

That's all for now. As always, feel free to contact me or post additional shows and commentary!