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February 2010 Archives

February 2, 2010

Go: Organic Orchestra Returns to Venice



Unique in the realm of approaches to improvisational conducting, Go: Organic Orchestra utilizes a composed non-linear score consisting of sound and motion elements. These include tone rows, synthetic scales, melodies, linguistic shapes, intervallic patterns, textural gestures, modes, ragas, maqams, and plainchant. The score serves to provide material for both the improvisations and the orchestrations. Motion and forms and are generated through the application of the composer's rhythm concept Cyclic Verticalism whereby polymeters are combined with additive rhythm cycles.

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February 5, 2010

This Weekend: Tom McNalley, Motoko Honda, Ken Rosser

Cryptonight & MONA Present
Friday, February 5th - 8PM
Museum of Neon Art
136 W. 4th St., LA 90013
Tel. (213) 489-9918
Tickets are $10 at the Door; Free parking is available on the street, and cheap parking in a lot right behind the Museum


Tom McNalley - guitars
Michael Vlatkovich - trombones
Rich West - drums, percussion

Cryptonight and MONA present Tom McNalley's Trio featuring longstanding cohorts Michael Vlatkovich on trombone and Rich West on drums performing all new music. The past year saw Tom playing with Ornette Coleman and studying music in Haiti. Recently relocated to Los Angeles, guitarist Tom McNalley has been recognized as a major force on the creative music scene, working as a sideman and a leader. He has performed with a wide variety of musicians, including Rob Blakeslee, Rich Halley, Nels Cline, Bert Turetzky, Mark Dresser, Jeff Kaiser, Alex Cline, Bert Wilson, Adam Diller, Tad Weed, John Stowell, John Gross, Jason Mears and John Zorn.

Open Gate Theatre Presents
Sunday February 7 - 7PM
Eagle Rock Center for the Arts
2225 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock, CA 90041
$10 General / Students, Seniors, and Series Performers $5
For more info contact Artistic Director Will Salmon
at ogtwills@hotmail.com or 626.795.4989


Motoko Honda - Keyboards
Jeff Gauthier - violin
Maggie Parkins - cello

Originally from Yokohama, Japan, keyboardist Motoko Honda has emerged as one of the most distinctive voices on the Los Angeles area’s new music scene. After graduating from CalArts after studying extensively with such notables as Wadada Leo Smith, Honda immediately made her presence known, bringing a refined classical touch, a broad and sophisticated musical vocabulary (which often includes prepared piano and electronics), and a sensitive and collaborative sensibility to a decidedly improvisatory approach to music-making. Along with Smith, Honda has been involved in notable collaborations with such artists as Vinny Golia, Nels Cline, Oguri, Emily Hay, Kris Tiner, Steuart Liebig, Carole Kim, Sara Schoenbeck, and many others. For this concert, Honda will appear with a frequent collaborator, violinist Jeff Gauthier (who at this point needs no introduction), and cellist Maggie Parkins (an outstandingly gifted musician heard with the likes of the Eclipse Quartet, the Zeena Parkins Group, Guy Klusevsek, Alex Cline’s Continuation Quintet, Elliott Sharp, and countless major figures in the classical music world) for a set of adventurous, multidirectional chamber-prov. (Please note that due to schedule conflicts the originally stated billing of Honda with Steuart Liebig and Joseph Berardi will not appear.)


Ken Rosser - electric guitar
Ken Lasaine - electric guitar
Andre LaFosse - electric guitar
Kevin Tieman - electric guitar

Opening the evening will be the debut performance by Ken Rosser’s Shadow Language Guitar Quartet. Rosser himself, a supremely accomplished guitarist best known for his involvement with such artists as Bobby Bradford, Wayne Peet, Brad Dutz, and the Grandmothers, assembled, leads, and plays with this unique ensemble comprised of four electric guitars, the other guitarists being Ken Lasaine, Andre LaFosse, and Kevin Tieman. Drawing on a wide and varied repertoire of modern compositions Rosser selected and arranged for the group, the sound alone is sure to be spectacular. It’s another first in Eagle Rock!

Don Heckman's Live Picks of the Week (Feb. 2-7)
Brick Wahl's Live Picks of the Week (Feb. 3-10)
L.A. New Music Events (Feb. 5-June 3)

February 8, 2010

Nels Remembers Stacy Rowles

It was quite a shock when I heard late last year of trumpet player Stacy Rowles' death from complications of a car accident. Stacy played on my first record as a leader, Angelica, in 1987. In the mid-80s, I was playing with Charlie Haden's Liberation Music Orchestra (West Coast). Initially, Bobby Bradford (along with Oscar Brashear) was in the band's trumpet section, but when Bobby chose to depart, Charlie - wisely, to my mind - chose Stacy to replace him. Why wisely? Because, like Bobby, Stacy had a more intimate, melodic approach which eschewed loud, brassy histrionics. Anyway, she and I instantly became friendly from the first gig she did, which was in San Francisco, as I recall. It didn't hurt that her father, Jimmy Rowles, was and is one of my musical heroes. His piano playing and composing inspire me to this day.


Not long after that first LMO gig, my friends Eric Von Essen and Jeff Gauthier went with me to hear Jimmy and Stacy play in some Hollywood hotel lounge (actually, it was practically the lobby). Eric sat in on chromatic harmonica, and it wasn't long after that that Eric became Jimmy's first call bassist. Jeff and I even worked together to produce a CD for the Delos label by Jimmy and Stacy called Looking Back, with Eric on bass. Collaborations with these three continued for years, until Eric and Jimmy departed this Earth. Now Stacy is gone, too.


Stacy's trumpet sound was always understated and warm, melodic and relaxed. In this way, she was never going to be "cutting edge" or "intense". Her aesthetic was of the purest jazz sort, informed by the likes of Art Farmer and Thad Jones. I always thought of her as being the trumpet/flugelhorn version of someone like Paul Desmond, all inviting and logical melodic invention infused with alluring tone. As such, I am certain that survival was a struggle for her, as our society does not readily reward such subtlety. Like "Dad", Stacy also sang on occasion, her voice an uncanny counterpart to her horn. Stacy Rowles was a fine human and a remarkable, mostly unheralded musician. Seek out her voice in the lexicon of jazz music. It is a voice of timeless warmth and clarity.

February 16, 2010

Hunters, Gatherers, Warriors All

Jesse Sharps (center, on soprano sax) leads The Gathering at the Angel City Jazz Festival (9/05/09)

Anyone who has been reading Da Beast for the past couple of years is familiar with our friend Jesse Sharps, Horace Tapscott's former right-hand and current shaman in charge of The Gathering ensemble who released the critically acclaimed CD Leimert Park: The Roots and Branches of L.A. Jazz back in 2008.

In honor of President Barack Obama and Black History Month, Jesse and Gathering producer Tom Paige contacted me recently to let me know they are digitally releasing two new Gathering songs: a version of Abdu Salim's "Justice" recorded live at the old Jazz Bakery space back in November '08 and featuring a spoken-word intro by J.J. Kabasa and vocals by Dwight Trible.

The other song, "Warriors All," is a shout-out of sorts to Haiti. it was the final tune recorded at the original Gathering sessions back in 2005 but never released till now. Originally titled “Funeral,” it's from a musical based on the play La Tragédie du Roi Christophe by poet Aimé Césare about the life of Haitian revolutionary Henri Christophe and, according to Mimi Melnick's liner notes, "Horace [Tapscott] composed with Linda Hill and dedicated to all members of the community who struggle for civil rights and fight oppression." All proceeds from the sale of this song will go to UGMAA (Union of God's Musicians and Artists Ascension) and the Tapscott Family.

The Gathering blows the roof off the mutha at the Jazz Bakery (2 parts)

According to Tom, "The correct mixes are up and the best link to the music is actually www.cdbaby.com/Artist/TheGathering1 where all of the singles and albums can be viewed. We have the original Leimert Park album up there for digital download now too!"


In fact, Ms. Melnick's next installment of her gold-standard Double M Jazz Salon is this Sunday, February 21 and will be a tribute to Horace Tapscott with Jesse Sharps (woodwinds), Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (viola), Kenneth Crouch (piano), Nick Rosen (bass) and Zach Harmon (drums). Admission is $20 for two sets, and 100% of the door goes to the musicians -- now THAT'S justice!

Greg Burk’s Live Picks of the Week (Feb. 12-18)
Don Heckman’s Live Picks of the Week (Feb 16-21)
Brick Wahl’s Live Picks of the Week (Feb. 18-24)
Los Angeles New Music Schedule

Ian Burgess
Larry Cassidy
Gene Chenault
Robert "Chilly B" Crafton
Sir John Dankworth
Richard Delvy
Bobby Espinosa
Doug Fieger
Lee Freeman
Jake Hanna
Dale Hawkins
John Mayer’s career
Territory BBQ + Records
Tom "T-Bone" Wolk
Yabby You

February 24, 2010

Accordion Crimes

Mark your March calendar, peeps: Famed new music accordionist Guy Klucevsek will perform a solo concert of his own compositions in his first L.A. appearance in 7 years.


Guy has created a unique repertoire for accordion through his own composing and by commissioning over 50 works from composers including John Zorn, Fred Frith, Lois V. Vierk, Alvin Lucier and many others. Solo performances include Serious Fun! at Lincoln Center, Bang on a Can, Spoleto Festival/USA, and children's TV show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Guy Klucevsek & Alan Bern: Live in Philadelphia, PA (2/22/08)

He has performed at festivals throughout Europe, and has worked with such artists as Laurie Anderson, Anthony Braxton, Anthony Coleman, Bill Frisell, Fred Frith, Robin Holcomb, the Kronos Quartet, Natalie Merchant, Pauline Oliveros, Present Music, Bobby Previte, Relâche, Jubilant Sykes and John Zorn. He was an original member of Dave Douglas’s band, Charms of the Night Sky, with whom he recorded three albums and toured throughout North America and Europe. You can also hear him on John Williams's scores for the Steven Spielberg films The Terminal, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and Munich. He has performed on Broadway in Fiddler on the Roof, Victor/Victoria and Piaf.

Guy Klucevsek & Carl Finch: Live in Fort Worth, TX (11/08/08)

The concert will take place at 8pm (doors open at 7:30pm) on Thursday, March 18, 2010 at the Royal T Cafe in Culver City. Admission is $12 at the door ($8 for students).
For more info call (310) 559-6300.

Greg Burk's Live Picks of the Week (Feb. 26-28)
Don Heckman's Live Picks of the Week (Feb. 23-28)
Los Angeles New Music Live Events (Feb. 26-June 3)
Brick Wahl's Live Picks of the Week (Feb. 25-Mar. 3)

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