I’ve begun to notice just how many small clubs and restaurants all around the greater Los Angeles area feature local jazz. Cavallino (Huntington Beach), Spaghettini (Seal Beach), Bellavino (Westlake Village), Brussel’s Bistro (Laguna Beach), Phlight (Whittier), and a new one, Cafe 322 (Siera Madre), right in my own backyard.
Jazz is also popping up all over in small and unexpected places, including church, libraries, and museums. Actualy, these venues may no longer be considered new or unusual, but they seem to be gaining in popularity, and that is good news.
On April 30th John and I visited All Saints Church in Pasadena for Jazz Vespers: A Celebration of Life, Spirit & Music featuring John, Jeff and Gerald Clayton with Kevin Kenner on drums. The “service” included a meditation by parish administrator Christina Honchell and a reading of a Langston Hughes piece with flute and bass accompaniment by Jeff and John. The church is lovely, though its high ceiling is not conducive to the best in musical sound. But that didn’t matter; it was about community, and joy, and sharing the music. Happily, the event was well-attended.
The following Sunday, May 7, we headed for the valley to hear Gerald Wiggins. Giannelli Square (19451 Londelius Street, Northridge) is a building devoted to the twin passions of John Giannelli – music and carpentry. One side of the building is is G’s cabinetry shop; the other side a combination recital hall geared for recording, plus three small rehearsal or teaching rooms each with upright piano. Seating is limited but very comfortable (nice upholstered chairs), and reservations are recommended. The $25 cover charge included two sets with an intermission during which free refreshments and snacks were provided. Upcoming next Sunday, May 28th, is Bill Henderson. For reservations call 818-772-1722 or email Giannellisquare@sbcglobal.net.
This past Friday we went to hear Monty Alexander at Mandaloun, a very nice Lebanese restaurant in Glendale that now features jazz. Actually this is not a small room; the dining room is spacious and the stage a decent size for a small group, with attention paid to sound and lights. Upcoming bookings include Harvey Mason. Visit their website to see the music schedule and menu.
Who said libraries were only for reading? Not trombonist Phil Ranelin, whose 8-part series of Jazz Appreciation Workshops funded by a Cultural Affairs grant began a few weeks ago after delays caused by an automobile accident. The remaining four events are as follows:
Saturday, May 27, 2006, 2PM-5PM – WHO IS FREDDIE HUBBARD? — Sylmar Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, 14561 Polk Street, Sylmar, CA 91342, (818) 367-6102
Wednesday, May 31, 2006, 4PM-7PM – WHO IS DEXTER GORDON? — Pacoima Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, 13605 Van Nuys Blvd., Pacoima, CA 91331, (818) 899-5203
Saturday, June 3, 2006, 2PM-5PM- WHO IS HORACE TAPSCOTT? — Sylmar Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, 14561 Polk Street, Sylmar, CA 91342, (818) 367-6102
Saturday, June 10, 2006, 2PM-5PM – WHO IS ERIC DOLPHY? — Sylmar Branch of the Los Angeles Public Library, 14561 Polk Street, Sylmar, CA 91342, (818) 367-6102
In the museum world, Friday Night Jazz (5:30 to 8:30 p.m. — April through December) at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (5905 Wilshire Boulevard) is nothing new. Admission is free. Upcoming:
June 2 — Rickey Woodard Quartet
June 9 — KKJZ High School Jazz Band Winner
June 16 — Ron Eschete Trio
June 23 — SLAMMIN vocal ensemble
June 30 — Grant Geissman Quintet
July 7 — Nedra Wheeler Quartet
And coming full circle, back to Pasadena, there is Paul Lines and the Pasadena Jazz Institute’s series of concerts at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. In addition to Jazz on the Terrace, a series of theme-based concerts beginning this season with Ellingtonia (Ernie Andrews and Houston Person — three days beginning June 29th), the Solo Sketches piano series is already underway.