Live Jazz: Bill Mays and Marvin Stamm in a Siskiyou Music Project

October 5, 2015
Don Heckman

Don Heckman

By Don Heckman

Medford, Oregon. Jazz in its purest form illuminated the stage in the performance by pianist Bill Mays and trumpeter Marvin Stamm at the Artistic Piano Gallery Sunday night. No drum set, no swinging big band horns, no funky fusion guitars. Only two gifted jazz veterans, applying their remarkable improvisational skills to an interactive display of what Stamm accurately described as a jazz “conversation.”  And that was plenty.

The best jazz, of course – is always a “conversation” between players, as they shape the music, on the run, in a compelling journey of spontaneous musical invention. Which is exactly what Mays and Stamm offered to their receptive audience in another memorable presentation by the Siskiyou Music Project.

Bill Mays and Marvin Stamm

Bill Mays and Marvin Stamm

The duo of piano and trumpet (or, more often, flugelhorn) announced its creative effeciveness from the first note of the first tune – a soaring, rapid-paced excursion through a Lennie Tristano variation on “All the Things You Are.” It was a perfect display of both the technical adroitness of the Mays/Stamm duo and their individual artistry as improvisers. Both those qualities continued on throughout a musically far-ranging program.

Among the many highights: “Skylark,” “The Widow in the Window,”an appealing, melodic tune by trumpeter Kenny Wheeler; Dave Brubeck’s “In Your Own Sweet Way,” Thad Jones’ “Three In One,” Lars Jensen’s “Marionette,” Phil Woods’ “Goodbye Mr. Evans” and more. All of the pieces were honored in a way that recalled the original versions within the shifting jazz conversations between Mays and Stamm.

There were intriguing solo excursions as well:

Bill Mays

Bill Mays

Mays featured his impressive song writing skills by playing and singing his revision of the pop standard “Have You Met Miss Jones” which, in Mays version, was transformed into “Have You Met Hank Jones,” a tribute to jazz pianist Hank Jones.

Mays was also showcased in a hard-driving, rhythmically irresistible stride piano classic, “Carolina Shout.”

Marvin Stamm

Marvin Stamm

Stamm displayed his lyrical way with a ballad in a pair of warm-toned, emotionally gripping interpretations of “You Stepped Out of A Dream” and Willard Robison’s ’30s classic, “Old Folks.”

Altogether, it was a musical experience that could have happily engaged the responsive audience for many more songs. Suffice to say that Mays and Stamm presented a “jazz conversation” that included everyone.

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Photos by Faith Frenz.

Highlights of a Long Weekend: Oct. 1 – 4 in Los Angeles

October 1, 2015

By Don Heckman

Gustavo Dudamel

Gustavo Dudamel

Oct. 1 – 4. (Thurs. – Sun.) IMMORTAL BEETHOVEN. Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a remarkable, four night tour de force program devoted to all nine of the Beethoven symphonies: #1 and #2 on Thursday; #3 and #4 on Friday; #5, #6, #7 and #8 on Saturday; and a climactic #9 on Sunday. Walt Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

– Oct. 1. (Thurs.) Duran Duran. Stars of the ’80s, this high visibility English rock band was among the leaders of the “Second British Invasion.” At the Hollywood Bowl in a lease event.  (323) 850-2000.

Emily Bear


– Oct. 1. (Thurs.) Emily Bear. Only 14, this talented pianist/composer – a Quincy Jones discovery – has already been applauded on stages around the world. And with good reason. Emily’s at the early stage of what will surely be a memorable career. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.



– Oct. 1 – Oct. 3. (Thurs. – Sat.) Roy Hargrove.

Roy Hargrove

Roy Hargrove

Trumpeter Hargrove has every reason to be included at the top echelon of contemporary jazz. But he doesn’t always receive the attention and the accolades that his talents deserve. Don’t miss this chance so see him with his quintet in action. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

Lisa Fischer

Lisa Fischer

– Oct. 2. (Fri.) Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton. Great voices and gripping interpretations don’t always combine in a single singer. But they do with Fischer, who has one of the music world’s most remarkable vocal instruments. And Fischer makes the most of it in programs that also illustrate an equally extraordinary musical versatility. She’s backed intensely by the boldly supportive trio, Grand Baton. Valley Performing Arts Center.  (818) 677-8800.

– Oct. 2. (Fri.) Yosvany Terry and the Ancestral Memories Quartet. Cuban-born saxophonist Terry is in the foreground of leading a new wave of compelling Cuban jazz. A Jazz Bakery event at the Moss Theatre in Santa Monica.

– Oct. 2 & 4. (Fri. &o Sun.) Van Halen. Another revival of the rock ’70s this week. This time it’s the incomparable Van Halen, with singer David Lee Roth leading the way. Holllywood Bowl in a lease event. (323) 850-2000.

Randy Newman

Randy Newman

– Oct. 3. (Sat.) An Evening with Randy Newman. No problem with what to decide about this performance. Basically, every opportunity to hear Randy Newman in performance should be taken. He is, simply, one of a kind, as a songwriter a performing artist and a philosopher. A CAP UCLA event at Royce Hall.

– Oct. 3. (Sat.) Mavis Staples and Joan Osborne. It’s a rare musical booking: Staples, the diva of soul, r&b and gospel music, sharing a stage with Osborne, a singer-songwriting mistress of Americana song. And it should make for a rare musical blending. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 916-8500.

– Oct. 4. (Sun.) Paris Chansons. “From Paris With Love.” Catalina’s is L.A.’s prime jazz destination. But occasionally the spacious but warm room is the host to an unusual but engaging musical evening. Like this one, in which the Paris Chansons will surely transport listeners to a memorable stroll down the Champs d’Elysee. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

Live Music: Snarky Puppy and Kneebody in a CAP UCLA Concert at Royce Hall

September 29, 2015

Mike Finkelstein

By Mike Finkelstein

On Thursday night in a Center for the Art of Performance concert at Royce Hall, Snarky Puppy and Kneebody played a sold out show of what might best be called jazz fusion or simply eclectic music, though trying to label music is probably not a great idea. Still, both units had a similar approach and sound and it made for a good match on the bill. And would you believe, both acts were greeted with the enthusiasm one usually sees for rock ‘ n rollers and pop stars? The audience was clearly familiar with the material and from the moment the lights went down people were pumped up for both sets.

The evening began about half an hour behind schedule with parking traffic outside as thick as molasses, coupled with a similarly long line of ticket holders to enter Royce. But, by the time Kneebody came out to open the show, every one was happily in place, and primed to receive. The anticipation hung in the air for this show.

In the fusion medium one sure thing is that there won’t be much, if any, singing to speak of. The tunes aren’t sung, but in the absence of lyrics and a voice to deliver them, they are advanced by stellar musicianship, and precision changes in tempo and texture. In a musical world that sees most of the focus on guitars, fusion is a place where bands often carve their identities without guitars. That was largely true Thursday.



Kneebody is a 5-piece band with only one stringed instrument, the bass, in their lineup. But they do have Ben Wendel (sax), Shane Endsley (trumpet), and Adam Benjamin (keyboards) to mix things up. They used delay units and a good sense of dynamics to keep the music fresh from moment to moment. In fact, they had a nicely authentic early 70’s sound. This may have been due in part to the prominent voice of Benjamin’s Fender Rhodes. Many of the band’s textures evoked 70’s prog bands like Gentle Giant, early Genesis, and the Soft Machine. While nobody in the band blew the doors off with any one solo, the band instead took us for a nice ride with their dynamics and by regularly changing a tune’s atmosphere.

With the absence of a guitar out front of the mix, the horns had room to experiment and play off one other. In 2015 we are some 40 years past the 70’s. But bassist Kaveh Rastegar took advantage of the advances in bass effects technology, and his bass sound evokes a lot of the mid range of an electric guitar. He also went in and out of guitar mode to let the bass growl and hum as needed. And, Rategar was also a pretty funny guy when filling us in on the band’s background and the program of tunes. He even threw in a Rich Karlis (the Bronco’s barefoot kicker) reference for those in the know.

Drummer Nate Wood also turned in an animated performance in the vein of a light touch jazz drummer. Though he used sticks and not brushes, his accents were subtle and even golden, providing a refreshingly light contrast to some of the heavier changes in the tunes.

Snarky Puppy is on a rising curve. They won a Grammy Award last year for Best R & B Performance and this year has been very busy for them. They played over 200 dates in 2014, and were headed to Japan Friday morning. In LA their path of venues is telling – from the Mint, to the Troubador, to the Hollywood Bowl for the Playboy Jazz Festival, and headlining Royce Hall. They actually have a rotation of players they use to keep up with the demands of their tour schedule.

Snarky Puppy

Snarky Puppy

Their set was a crisper sounding production than that of Kneebody. The horns in particular were remarkably brighter. Same basic instruments, but a different mix through the PA made for much clearer sound. For wind instruments that’s crucial.

Snarky Puppy went with a 3 piece horn section on Thursday. They swelled, muted, and flowed with impressive ease, of course, but could these guys ever solo! … and in the end, that’s what people were waiting for. The Puppies did not disappoint, either. In particular, Jay Jennings, who was just joining the tour and heading to Japan, took several choice intricate and articulate trumpet solos.

The onstage dynamics between drummer Robert “Sput” Searight and both Mike Maher on trumpet and keyboardist Shaun Martin were the highlights of the evening. What we got to see was musical communication on a very high level. Searight had a separate musical dialogue with both players. He would speed up and slow down, get loud and soft, and each nuance and tempo shift of his was heard and responded to. Searight simply drew the best out of the guys in his band, and they drew it out of him. Shaun Martin started the evening subdued at his B-3 organ but by the end of the evening he let it all hang out, and Searight certainly pushed him towards that musical euphoria.

Oddly enough the leader of Snarky Puppy, Michael League, had his bass nearly submerged in the mix. He played interesting lines and accents all night, and he grimaced like a rock n roller might. But it didn’t sound nearly as clear as, say, those horns just to his right did. Because this genre of music is so much about the playing, one has to reflect on where these guys got such amazing chops and the ears to guide them. Of course, they were born with the aptitude and refined it impressively in conservatories, and that is a beautiful thing. The resources for becoming a strong and inspired instrumentalist are there. Being active in music education is a large part of what Snarky Puppy does away from touring and recording. They give back what they got on their way up. But for the night, we left feeling lucky to have caught two rising stars in the field at a perfect venue for this sort of thing. It was an electric couple of hours.

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To read more posts by Mike Finkelstein click HERE.

Picks of the Week: Sept. 21 – 27 in Los Angeles, Oregon, Chicago, New York, London, Copenhagen, Milan and Tokyo.

September 21, 2015

By Don Heckman

 Los Angeles

Laura Dickinson

Laura Dickinson

– Sept. 23. (Wed.) Laura Dickinson. She’s probably your nine year-old daughter’s favorite singer, her voice familiar from the Disney Channel’s animated hits Phineas and Ferb and Sofia The First. But Dickinson’s vocal skills also include far-reaching jazz abilities, as well. She will offer them in an evening that celebrates her birthday with the introduction of her new big band. In addition, the opening set will be provided by the Eliot Deutsch Big Band. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

Denise Donatelli


– Sept. 24. (Thurs.) Denise Donatelli. Grammy-nominated Donatelli – with her warm, embracing voice, her lively sense of swing and her irresistible musical storytelling – celebrates the release of her new CD, Find A Heart, in a performance and party at Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

– Sept. 24. (Thurs.) :Gianni Schicci. LA Opera presents a rare opportunity to experience Placido Domingo in a prime production of Puccini’s one act comic opera based on an incident in Dante’s Divine Comedy. The Music Center. The LA Opera at the Music Center.  (213) 972-0777.

Bob Sheppard

Bob Sheppard

– Sept. 24. (Thurs.) Bob Sheppard. Straight Ahead. The Southland music world’s busiest, most in demand saxophonist steps to the front of the stage in a rare evening as a front man. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear and see Sheppard in the spotlight with keyboardist Otmaro Ruiz, bassist Chris Colangelo and drummer Christian Euman. The Baked Potato. . (818) 980-1615.

– Sept. 25 – Oct. 11. (Fri. – Sun.) The Angel City Jazz Festival. Rapidly establishing itself as one of the jazz world’s most creatively ambitious events. The ACJF justifiably prides itself as the expanding stage for the discovery of new, gifted talent. This year’s program takes place in such varied locations around Los Angeles as Barnsdall Art Parker, Blue Whale, LACMA, REDCAT and more. For more information and a list of artists, click HERE. / (323) 573-2110.

– Sept. 26. (Sat.) The Los Angeles Master Chorale. The gifted vocal artists of the L.A. Master Chorale bring their vocal versatility to a performance titled “The Russian Evolution.” The program encompasses a century of great Russian works from composers such as Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Grechaninov, Ilyashenko and more. Walt Disney Hall.  (877) 689-2356.

– Sept. 26. (Sat.) The Isley Bros. One of the great veteran r&b groups, the Isleys’ stellar career reaches back to the early ’60s. Don’t miss this rare chance to hear the current line up of brothers Ronald and Ernie.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. (562) 916-8500.

Carmen Lundy

Carmen Lundy

– Sept. 26. (Sat.) Carmen Lundy. Carmen is a jazz vocalist who much deserves her frequent rave reviews. But she’s also a gifted songwriter, arranger, actress and painter. Like all imaginative musicians, she’s always a pleasure to hear in a live setting. Blue Whale.  (213) 620-0908.


Sept. 23. (Wed.) Ashland. The Parisian Musette Trio. “Musette Explosion.” French musette music is an irresistible blend of French folk and cabaret, American jazz and Italian instrumentation. The result is utterly compelling. And the Parisian Musette TrioWill Holshouser on accordion, Ron Horton on trumpet and tuba and David Phillips on bass – have made the most of all those elements. “Musette Explosion,” noted Down Beat, “has respectfully reclaimed 1930’s Paris for the 21st century.” The program is another prime entry in the 2015 Siskiyou Music Project series. It takes place in the unlikely elegance of Ashland’s Old Siskiyou Barn. The Parisian Musette Trio at The Skiskiyou Music Project.  (541) 488-3869.

New York City

Steve Kuhn

– Sept. 22 – 26. (Tues. – Sat.) Coltrane Revisited. What would have been Coltrane’s 89th birthday is celebrated by a band led by his former pianist, Steve Kuhn, along with Coltrane-influenced saxophonist Eric Alexander, drummer .Steve Smith, and bassist Lonnie Plaxico. Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.


– Sept. 24 – 27. (Thurs. – Sun.) The Ravi Coltrane Quartet. Tenor saxophonist Coltrane has convincingly taken his impressive skills well beyond the far-reaching shadow of his iconic father. The Jazz Showcase.  (312) 360-0234.


– Sept. 21 & 22. (Mon. & Tues.) The Music of Charlie Parker. Gilad Atzmon. Israeli alto saxophinst Atzmon revives the classic Parker with Strings performances. Ronnie Scott’s. +44 (0)20 7439 0747.


Ronnie Cuber

– Sept. 24 & 25. (Fri. & Sat.) Ronnie Cuber and the Nikolaj Bentzon Trio. American baritone saxophonist Cuber gets together with Danish pianist Bentzon’s Danish/Hungarian trio. Jazzhus Montmartre.  +45 31 72 34 94.



Bebel Gilberto

Bebel Gilberto

– Sept. 23 – 26. (Wed. – Sat.) Bebel Gilberto. The daughter of Brazilian bossa nova master Joao Gilberto, Bebel has built a major career on her own impressive vocal skills. The Blue Note Milano.  +39 02 6901 6888.


– Sept. 23 & 24. (Wed. & Thurs.) Dave Weckl with Makoto Ozone lead a band underscoring the truly international qualities of contemporary jazz. Featuring Tom Kennedy and Gary Meek. Tokyo Blue Note. +81 3-5485-0088.

CD Review: Carol Welsman’s “Alone Together”

September 17, 2015
Brian Arsenalt

Brian Arsenalt

by Brian Arsenault

As a cool September breeze pushes the mists of summer down the bay, ushering in a new season, Carol Welsman’s Alone Together — to be released Friday, Sept. 18 — freshens some old songs you know and some you may not have ever heard. And how good is that?

Good enough that Sammy Cahn is featured twice, opening the album with the classic “Day By Day,” with Wallace Roney’s trumpet floating under and around Carol’s vocal, and later with “You Taught My Heart to Sing,” music by McCoy Tyner. Carol would win on great taste if nothing else.

"Alone Together"But there’s a lot else. Throughout Carol sings lead with both her vocal crystal clarity and her interwoven piano work. On another classic, “It Might as Well by Spring,” her stylish singing and piano share a love affair with a song. Balanced by the delicate strength of Jay Azzolina’s guitar solo.

Then here comes a song I didn’t know, “Sand in My Shoes,” a timely ode to Havana’s lure. Yeah, I don’t like the Castros but I’d sure like to see what’s left of Hemingway’s Boat.

The title song has an a cappella intro which makes me wonder how terrific it would be if she sang the whole song that way but, hey, who could object to her piano here with the terrific rhythm section of Rufus Reid on bass and Lewis Nash on drums. They’re good everywhere on the album.

Everything’s good here. Wallace Roney’s trumpet solo on “Disappointed” is even better than his solo on  “My Ship.”

“My Ship” is my favorite cut on the album, if anyone wants to know. I know. I have a weakness for Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin but we all have our prejudices. Carol’s control of Weill’s so yearning self doubting lyrics is right on point. Pinpoint control in all places is one of the most notable qualities of her singing and piano playing throughout the album.

It’s a great strength but as an old merchant I knew once said: “What makes you strong can be your weakness sometimes.” The whole album seems so controlled, so measured, so skillfully managed, that I sometimes wish for a ragged edge, a few moments of abandon, a little feeling of improvisation.

This is essentially a jazz album after all.

Perhaps it’s Carol’s classical background that requires her to measure each note, each chord, each turn of phrase. European jazz often has that feel and just once in a while wouldn’t you like the conductor to leave the stage and just let the guys play?

But her strength is precise playing, sound arrangements, perfect song selection and, in the end, poignant emotion.

“Killing Time” brings an absolutely aching conclusion to the album. If you could hear tears, you would hear them in the spaces between the notes.

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On Sunday night, September 20, Carol Welsman will celebrate the release of Alone Together  with a gala performance and party at Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood. (323) 466-2210.

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To read more reviews, essays and columns by Brian Arsenault click HERE.

Live Music: Diana Krall, Gregory Porter and The Los Angeles Philharmonic at The Hollywood Bowl

August 30, 2015


Devon “Doc” Wendell


By Devon Wendell

Los Angeles.  It was a night of sheer “crossover” bliss with Gregory Porter and Diana Krall with The L.A. Philharmonic at The Hollywood Bowl on Friday night.

Diana Krall took the Bowl stage with her current touring band (Anthony Wilson, guitar/arranger, Stuart Duncan, violin, Patrick Warren, keyboards, Dennis Crouch, bass and Karriem Riggins on drums) along with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

It’s already well known that Krall is an amazing singer with a subdued and sultry cool contralto voice but what I noticed the most on Friday night was her incredible piano work which was in the style of Duke Ellington, in fact, I felt the presence of Ellington’s ghost throughout Krall’s entire performance. So few jazz- based artists today play piano in that delicately swinging, stride style of Duke Ellington. Krall is a master at it and it accompanies her breathy and dynamic vocal phrasing wonderfully.

Diana Krall

I thought of Duke from the very start of Krall’s set which opened with Johnny Mercer’s “Day In, Day Out”, which Ellington performed frequently throughout his career. It wasn’t just Krall’s piano playing that conjured up Ellington’s spirit; Stuart Duncan’s violin style was very reminiscent of Ray Nance’s violin work in Ellington’s band during the 1930s, especially on the more jazz oriented standards.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s string and brass section fit Krall’s choice of material like a glove. Krall’s set was extremely diverse; from George Gershwin’s “Do It Again”, and Harold Arlen’s classic “Let’s Fall In Love” to Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Quiet Nights”, and Bob Dylan’s “Wallflower” (the title track to Krall’s latest album).  Anthony Wilson’s virtuosic guitar playing was magnificent throughout. He’s easily one of the finest guitarists I’ve heard in a long time.Wilson also arranged Krall’s rendition of Cole Porter’s “From This Moment On” which swung hard. Anthony Wilson is the son of the late great Gerald Wilson and his skill and devotion to jazz is proof that he’s following in his father’s footsteps.

Ellington’s influence on Krall could even be heard on her more pop/rock flavored material from her Wallflower album such as Leon Russell’s “Superstar”, John Phillip’s “California Dreaming”, and Crowder House’s “Don’t Dream It’s Over.” Krall would often alternate between acoustic piano and a Wurlitzer.

Karrien Riggin’s versatile and melodic drumming swung beautifully with Dennis Crouch’s thoughtful and steady bass lines.

Krall’s take on Tom Waitts’ “Temptation” was sexy and funky but went on a little too long with some overindulgent solos by Krall and her band.

A highlight of the entire show was an intimate reading of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case Of You”.  Krall has the uncanny ability to make you truly understand and feel the lyrics to any song she chooses to cover and this was certainly the case here. It felt as if she were addressing a dear friend with love and sincerity. It’s obvious that Krall loves, understands, and respects the material she sings, which is rare these days.

I’ve never heard such a meaningful version of Irving Berlin’s “Isn’t This A Lovely Day” in my life. It was like the sweetest lullaby imaginable.

After a delightful big band arrangement of Jesse Greer and Raymond Klages’ “Just You, Just Me” (with more of Krall’s Ellington-esque piano chops), Krall, her band, and The LA Phil returned for an encore of Nat King Cole’s “I’ll String Along With You.” Duncan played an electric violn. This was Krall’s most powerful vocal performance of the evening. I can’t think of a better cover to fit her laid back and refined style.

For the last 6 years, Gregory Porter has been captivating audiences all over the world with his distinct fusion of jazz, R&B, gospel, and pop. Porter’s sensitive soulful vocals and his poignant lyrics make him one of the greatest “crossover” jazz singers to surface in many years. His set at the Bowl on Friday night was magnificent. Porter and his band (Chip Crawford, piano/musical director, Emanuel Harrold, drums, Jahmal Nichols, bass, and Yosuke Sato on alto saxophone) kicked off their part of the evening’s program with a brief set of some of his most familiar material such as “Painted On Canvas”, “On My Way To Harlem”,  and “No Love Dying”. The band was delicate and supportive. Sato’s alto sax work was brilliant and soaring. Porter’s stage presence was poised and charmingly engaging.

Gregory Porter

Gregory Porter

“Liquid Spirit” is pure gospel. Porter tried to get the mellow crown to engage in some call and response but it kind of fell flat. Porter joked; “It worked when I did it at The Newport Jazz Festival.”

The highlight of Porter’s set was  “Wolf Cry”, which is a sweet and tender ballad. Crawford’s tasteful and thematic piano accompaniment added to the romantic atmosphere of the song’s lyrics. Porter’s vocal range and phrasing reminds me of a great tenor saxophone player. He’s the kind of singer that instrumentalists copy.  Porter ended his set with a quick gospel reading of the Temptation’s “Poppa Was A Rolling Stone” and “Musical Genocide” which is Porter’s protesting response to much of the violent content churned out by the hip-hop industry.

Porter’s set was a reminder of the importance and influence of gospel music in pop, soul, and contemporary jazz. No one does it like Gregory Porter.

This was the perfect night at The Hollywood Bowl. Porter and Krall are both masters of the American song. Their dignified and original approach to “crossover” jazz was enjoyed by everyone present and I’m sure Duke was listening and was very proud.

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To read more posts, reviews and columns by Devon Wendell click HERE.

The 2015-16 Season of Dance and Classical Music at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills

August 28, 2015

The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills opens their 2015-2016 season of dance programming on October 1-3 with:

Twyla Tharp: a 50th Anniversary Celebration, a program of new work by Ms. Tharp, co-commissioned by The Wallis (in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, The Joyce Theatre, Ravina Festival Association & Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and Texas International Theatrical Arts Society).

Twyla Tharp dancers Matthew Dibble and Rika Okamoto in Yowzie costumes

L.A. Dance Project follows on January 29-30, featuring Hearts and Arrows by LADP Founder Benjamin Millepied with music by Philip Glass; the U.S. premiere of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Harbor Me; and Murder Ballades by Justin Peck.

Ezralow Dance Company performs OPEN on April 29-30, marking the “hometown debut” of Daniel Ezralow’s new dance company. Ezralow has created dances for Hubbard Street Dance Company, Batsheva Dance Company, London Contemporary Dance Theatre, the Cirque du Soleil/Beatles show LOVE, Julie Taymor’s film Across the Universe, and the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.


The Wallis’ diverse classical musical programming – encompassing 17 concerts – starts with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, under the esteemed leadership of Zubin Mehta (November 10 and 11) with two different programs. A gala fundraising performance on November 10 will feature the Dvorak New World Symphony and the Vivaldi Concerto for 3 Violins (Semion Gavrikov, Dumitru Pocitari and Asaf Maoz soloists); a second subscription concert will include Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony and Ravel’s La Valse.

Other artists include cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han with The Passionate Cello (January 8), Eagle Rock-based Santa Cecilia Orchestra (January 16) led by Sonia Marie De Leon de Vega, with a program featuring Latino and American composers; the return of Keyboard Conversations® with Jeffrey Siegel performing An American Salute celebrating our country’s most beloved composers (February 27); The Jerusalem Quartet (April 14); and Grammy Award-winning violinist Jennifer Koh and pianist Shai Wosner (March 26).

A new East/West: Merging Music & Cultures music series will include Wu Man & The Shanghai Quartet (January 23); violinist Cho Liang Lin with Jon Kimura Parker (February 13) and Bing Wang and Ben Hong (February 20).

The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and the Jerusalem Quartet also make up The Soul of Israel series, which is completed by David Olowsky Trio’s The Soul of Klezmer, a masterful expansion of the Klezmer folk music tradition (March 25).


Colburn at The Wallis: A Concert Series partners The Wallis with the Colburn School, one of the nation’s highest ranked educators of students pursuing rigorous performance training, for an exciting series of concerts throughout the 2015-2016 Season. Featuring rising stars from the Colburn Conservatory of Music alongside celebrated concert artists and Colburn’s renowned faculty, the concerts include Colburn School artist-in-residence, pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet (October 30), cellist Gary Hoffman (November 7), Music Director and Conductor Yehuda Gilad and Mikyung Soung, double bass (March 6); and the principal brass players of the New York Philharmonic (April 10).


In an expansion of programming to fulfill its mission to support and celebrate young artists, The Wallis will begin Next Generation @ The Wallis, featuring Taiwanese-American pianist Steven Lin (March 11), jazz pianist Justin Kauflin (January 22) and Sean Chen (February 19), recent winner of UPenn’s eminent 2015 Annenberg arts fellowship for artists – all pianists on the verge of breakthrough.


The Jazz Bakery will also be presenting concerts at The Wallis with a new partnership, The Jazz Bakery @ The Wallis. As one of the premiere presenters of jazz in Los Angeles, The Jazz Bakery brings a long history of curating and presenting jazz to this new concert series at The Wallis.

For more information about the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts click HERE.

Photo by Ruven Afanador


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