Taking Schwarzenegger To The Cleaners
The other fill-ins were impressive as well, especially percussionists Anthony Rosa and Jaime Delgado, and there were strong turns by trumpeters Kevin Seeley, Seneca Black and Daryl Shaw, as well as trombonists Arturo Velasco, Gary Valente and Reynaldo Jorge. The band paid tribute to a number of legendary Latin composers including Tito Puente, Machito, Mario Bauza, Astor Piazzolla and of course, Arturo O'Farrill's illustrious father, the late Chico O'Farrill, from whom Arturo inherited the baton several years ago. Alas, I can't name any of the individual numbers (I've gotta get one of those pens that writes in the dark).
Although we were seated in the balcony, which didn't enhance the acoustics, it was an enjoyable evening of energetic Latin Jazz, and I'm looking forward to reviewing the A-LJO's new album, Noche Inolvidable (An Unforgettable Night).
Speaking of Festivals...
Betty and I will be in Prescott, Arizona, near the end of this month for our second visit to the Prescott Jazz Summit, organized by trumpeter Mike Vax (a part-time Prescott resident) and showcasing the talents of pianist Bob Florence, trumpeter Marvin Stamm, trombonist Scott Whitfield, saxophonist Tony Vacca, guitarist Jack Petersen, drummer Gary Hobbs and others.
The sixth annual three-day event will include concerts, workshop / clinics, a fund-raising dinner and Sunday morning Jazz brunch at which many of the musicians will perform. It's a laid-back and pleasurable three days, and if you've been thinking about it, there's always room for one more!
With one of the world's last remaining 24-hour-a-day jazz radio stations, KKJZ-FM (formerly KLON) in Long Beach, California, ready to choose a new group to manage the station, the Los Angeles Jazz Institute has stepped in and is mounting a fund-raising campaign to help keep jazz on the air in the area. To make this happen, the Institute needs to raise funds for its new Broadcast Division, directed by Ken Borgers, who formerly worked at KLON.
Ken Poston, the LAJI's indefatigable director, has organized a fund-raising concert on August 13 at the Astor Events Center in Anaheim. Among the artists and groups who have agreed to appear (with more acceptances arriving by the hour, Poston says) are Bud Shank, Terry Gibbs, Bob Florence, Barbara Morrison, Jack Nimitz, Bob Summers, Roger Neumann, Jack Sheldon, Herman Riley, Buddy Collette, Tom Ranier, Dale Fielder, Andy Martin, Howard Rumsey, Pinky Winters, Dave MacKay, the Lanny Morgan Quartet, Dave Pell Octet, Phil Norman Tentet, and big bands led by Poncho Sanchez, Med Flory, Steve Huffsteter, Carl Saunders, Bill Holman and Frank Capp. Holy superstars, Batman! I wish I could be there for that! (I'll be in Palo Alto that weekend helping Betty celebrate her birthday).
The concert is to take place from noon to midnight, with lunch and dinner provided. There are two donation levels for those who attend: platinum (at $1000), with special reserved seating at tables in front of the bandstand; and gold circle (at $250), with open-style theatre seating. Scant notice, it's true, but one thing must be said for Ken Poston and the L.A. Jazz Institutethey really know how to throw a party.
Betty and I were back at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on July 29, this time for a non-jazz event. We'd been to our first zarzuela (Spanish operetta) in April, and had to come back for more, this time presented cabaret-style (with some patrons actually seated at candlelit tables onstage).
As before, the voices and the presentation were absolutely marvelous (as I learned to say later, "magnifico ), and the performance was educational as well, covering the history of zarzuela from 1874 to 1936 through twenty-two songs from fourteen operettas. Even though the composers are unknown to most American theatre-goers (Cuban Ernesto Lecuona, who wrote "The Breeze and I, among other popular hits, is an exception), the music they produced is as persuasive as it is charming, easily able to hold its ground against songs written for Europe's (and America's) better known and more widely celebrated operettas.
Enlightening commentary was provided by the show's co-creator, Uruguayan-born Pablo Zinger, who doubled as pianist. There were eight singers in all (including the director, Salomé Martinez-Lutz), each of whom was given at least one chance to perform a show-stopping number, and each of whom did so brilliantly. Individually and collectively, they were outstanding. Besides soprano Martinez-Lutz they included tenor André Garcia-Nuthmann, baritones Armando Mora and José Daniel Apodaca, bass-baritone Paul Barrientos, soprano Ramona Mary Schneider and mezzo-sopranos Nelly Maria Kirmer and Mabel Ledo.