Something's Happening Here: LA's New Music Scene
“As I travel around I see the interest in creative jazz growing, but the economics getting more difficult. I think that in some ways the atmosphere for new music in LA has never been better, and at the same time we must work harder to keep what we’ve got. The audience is here and growing, but we have to work harder to get their attention because there is much more to contend with in terms of how people choose to spend their entertainment time and money. Also, there are many young and up and coming musicians like Noah Phillips, Harris Eisenstadt, Kris Tyner, Sara Schoenbeck, Jeremy Drake and many others revitalizing the scene.”
“If you were to honestly sit down and look at the whole picture you would have to be inspired by the sheer variety of New Music that is taking place,” says Noah Phillips. “We have a laundry list of cats who are doing their own thing and not being shunned by some ultra fundamentalist clique of the establishment who believe their dogma is the only one on earth. Moreover, the scene in LA is home to a group of extremely talented and creative young women musicians consisting of players such as Sara Schoenbeck, Ronit Kirtchman, Alicia Mingin among others. We all play together and all of the older generation of male musicians recognizes the talent in this group of young women and have nothing but respect and encouragement toward their creativity and musicianship. On a personal level, the scene here has given me the opportunity to perform and become friends with my musical heroes and I really don’t see that kind of thing happening for younger heads on this large a scale in other parts of the country. It is an experience that no amount of schooling could ever come close to simulating.”
Finally, Vinny Golia sums it up this way: “There seems to be more of a connection between certain facets of the music community than there was when we (Alex, Nels, myself, James Newton, etc.) were all coming up. I think the CalArts factor is very large at the moment in terms of the musicians performing and organizing events in the New Music, Performance Art, and Contemporary Classical Categories. The Century City Playhouse series was the connecting factor for us but in these days there’s the Internet and more lists to keep everyone informed on the events. Also, there’s more than one place to play in terms of locations which is very important in a city so geographically spread as Los Angeles.
“I like the non competitive aspects of the musicians. I like the positive energy and the will to get things accomplished. I’m enjoying the variety of musics that are being presented and the crossover elements that are being introduced throughout the different forms. All in all it’s a very healthy period, I think.”