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Comping at the Jazz Sunday Scene - Review By Kim Vinson

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Close your eyes, open your soul, and listen as your heart is lifted into another galaxy beyond your greatest jazz dreams. No, you're not in New York City, a metropolis known for Jazz.

The atmosphere was brilliantly spellbound as the Nick Mancini Quartet performed Jazz pieces that included urgent call and unanimous response from not only the quartet members, but his ardent congregation of jazz participants as well. This event took place at Jazz at the A Frame tucked away in the Hollywood Hills.

Sunday attendees were presented with a new sermon on that beautiful afternoon Sunday, January 20, 2008.

This Los Angeles experience is no ordinary excursion through a few standard selections. Instead, a straight ahead Sunday go to meeting at a service you'd never want to end.

Mr. Mancini is a thoughtful and artistic musician who wooed his audience chapter by chapter through his most wonderful story of jazz selections often humming, singing, serenading the melody while playing vibes.

The “Work Song" started us off on our journey with fervor and tantalizing, enjoyable toil. I don't think anyone has ever had that much spiritual connection and ecstasy - working as pianist, Otmaro Ruiz comping, grooving, and moving through most of the 88 keys of his instrument. Some of us attendees nearly fainted totally floored by his musicality and connection with each moment.

Bassist Edwin Livingstone - added his own loving and luring comments to each measure of music on the beautiful standard, “Whisper Not". He charmed us all afternoon with chord choices that called for frequent applause.

The sensitivity and magic felt from the tender and teasing pulse of brush work by Jimmy Branly on Drums was nothing short of infectious. As I was seated close to the drummer, it all I could do to contain myself from emphatically hugging him in elation.

The vibrant quartet continued taking us on a musical love affair with a suite by Nick that included “Juicy Lucy", Summer in Central Park", and Swing in Samba". And swing we did...right to our feet in approval. The Vibraphonist from New York, put his stamp on his own composition “Phoenix" as each member of the audience congregation expressed joy that Mr. Mancini had made “L.A." his home here on the west coast.

The Jazz-crazed audience was embodied in a cloak of love by a Gershwin favorite, and Nick's solo performance of “I Loves You Porgy" took us into beautiful melodic and glorious terrain.

Incredible is the only way to describe the moment as we were engulfed and falling in love ourselves. The quartet's ability to communicate, compliment, caress their heart-felt message was prolific, personal and full of joy. They led us to a splendid altitude of Jazz euphoria.

Jazz at the A Frame, one of the most exciting Jazz havens in Los Angeles, perhaps on the west coast stands in a class all its own. Betty Hoover is founder of this unique venue.

A hidden gem in the midst smog, fog, breath-taking panoramic views, traumatic transportation routes, freeways and winding paths, diversity, segregated populations, rich, middle class, poor, allied, disenfranchised, sensitive, alluring, aloof and all embracing.

“The A Frame" as it is affectionately called makes one forget the brown haze that hovers over our skyline and see the inner beauty that bursts forth like needed rain on a winter day. The glorious venue shows Los Angeles' uniqueness and authenticity.

It is a multi-faceted link in the city. This sanctuary has completed another jazz episode that was phenomenal and exquisitely satisfying to the Jazz Palette. What a debt of gratitude we give to Ms. Betty Hoover, the wonderfully intuitive and musically innovative host of Jazz at the A Frame.

A Los Angeles experience of music, creativity, connection, freedom, joy, art, and sharing that should not be missed. This is just one more reason to embrace our surreal yet stupendous city.

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