By Don Heckman
KKJZ, the Southland’s primary jazz radio station, is dependent – like all public radio stations – upon fund-raising events. Most commonly, they consist of the on-air pledge drives that are necessary, but not always the most appealing, programming.
On Sunday, however, KKJZ’s popular deejay personality, Bubba Jackson, hosted a different kind of fund-raiser – a musically alive jazz program in the unusual Sunset Blvd. location of the Mr Musichead Gallery. At first glance, the Gallery could easily pass for nothing more than a store front, surrounded by other small businesses. But the Mr Musichead Gallery, which was founded by Sam Milgrom, a dedicated jazz fan, is a unique art gallery, primarily focused on the intimate relationship between music and visual art.
One step inside the Gallery on Sunday night immediately illuminated the vivid visual linkages of that relationship. Almost every wall offered fascinating examples. On one, an array of illustrations of Miles Davis’ art work. On another, some compelling reproductions of the jazz album art of David Stone Martin.
Further underscoring the Gallery’s connection with KKJZ, the evening also included a live performance featuring the rapidly emerging jazz vocal star, Lyn Stanley. Backed by a stellar trio of pianist Steve Rawlins, bassist Luther Hughes and drummer John Ferraro, Stanley highlighted selections from her recently released album, Lost In Romance.
The result was a fund-raising event at its best, financially aiding KKJZ while providing a great opportunity to hear Stanley in action. Jackson has been one of her early media fans, applauding Stanley for “bringing the Songstress back to jazz,” and adding that “her voice brings life to lyrics that defined the American Songbook.”
And Jackson was right on target. Whether Stanley was romping through a dynamic version of “Fever” or displaying her musical story-telling skills with one gorgeous ballad after another, she drew waves of applause from an overflow audience of jazz fans. Although she is transitioning from a career as an amateur competitive ballroom dancer to jazz vocalizing, music is the creative expression she has been drawn to since she was raised in a musical, jazz-oriented family.
Would that all fund-raising events for public radio and TV could be as entertaining as this one. In addition to memorable music from Stanley and her players there was also the opportunity to meet Sam Milgrom and his Mr Musichead Gallery’s music-dedicated walls of intriguing art. After the performance, Milgrom promised to consider more live music performances at the Gallery. We can all look forward to that.
To learn more about Mr Musichead Gallery, click HERE.
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Lyn Stanley photo by Faith Frenz.