Tag Archives: jazz

From the Center: Pilc Moutin Hoenig–Schoenberg Hall–March 6, 2015

Unsigned editorial from the evening’s program notes. 

The incredible musicians we are about to enjoy tonight began their day with a special performance and discussion for 500 Los Angeles middle- and high-school aged students as part of the Center’s Design for Sharing arts-education program.

It’s fitting that part of this trio’s current tour along California’s coast includes a shared moment with a young audience. Each member of this nearly perfect trio is a master player. And each member is also an educator—imparting the real world knowledge of what it takes to be a successful musician (both technically and practically) onto the next generation of jazz players.

By leading ensemble workshops as a group, holding classes on harmony and interpretation as well as taking part in individual tutorials (such as Hoenig’s amazing work with melodic drumming), all while maintaining a rigorous tour schedule and leading their own bands and endeavors—Pilc Moutin Hoenig are the embodiment of what it means to be part of today’s vital jazz community. They are truly ambassadors of the form, sharing an improvisational spirit and exceptional talent with avid learners, with one another, and thankfully, with we eager listeners.

Tonight these three master players take the stage with no set lists, no arrangements, no rules and no expectations other than transportive excellence and a pure love of playing together, about which Pilc once told the Ottowa Citizen:Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

“When I started playing with those guys, from the first moment you feel like you are not on the planet Earth anymore. You feel like suddenly you are carried to another place, and in that other place you do not exist anymore as a human being. Music takes over. Music takes you, Music takes the other guys, Francois and Ari, and does with you what it wants. And the only thing you have to do is obey, obey the music. That to me is an exceptional experience because it doesn’t happen that often. But with those guys, I have to say it happens pretty much every time we play together. Which to me is still quite a thing.”

It is indeed quite a thing to let music take you over. We’re glad you’re here to be part of it with us tonight.

An Evening with Gregory Porter– Royce Hall Jan. 17, 2015

(Unsigned editorial from the evening’s program notes).

Tonight is about soul and passion. The soul and passion of one artist as he transmits it to those of us here to bear witness; the soul and passion inherent in the blues, soul and jazz forms he so deftly inhabits; and the soul and passion that we as listeners, seekers and music lovers simultaneously bring to and extract from this space that has held so much of it over the decades.

We believe music is an essential part of the human experience.

Music perpetuates one of the most accessible rabbit holes in the art of performance. Throughout our lives, we will discover a sound or a song or a voice that resonates with us and dive deeper into it, uncover the influences behind the artist who created it, revel in other artists and forms and vibrations that emanate from it and evolve with it. And through all this we are expanding and enhancing our own experience.

Music is, indeed, essential.

Gregory Porter, over the last several years, has become an essential figure in the art of jazz performance. His third album, Liquid Skin, which you can read more about in the interview/bio enclosed in the program notes, earned him a Grammy, after being nominated for his first two albums. He was quickly recognized by his peers as a force to be reckoned with in jazz and is increasingly beloved by audiences worldwide. He is an imposing figure both literally and metaphorically, with a soul and passion to match his commanding stage presence.

As the New York Times put it in a recent review of a live performance in Porter’s home city: “Working from outer form to inner heart, Mr. Porter’s music is jazz via Oscar Brown Jr. and Nat King Cole; R&B via Ray Charles; thinky and poetic mid-’70s R&B, via
Marvin Gaye and Gil Scott-Heron; and then gospel, not as theology but as emotional policy, as devotion safeguarding against chaos.”

We are extremely proud to present this exceptional performer in Royce Hall.

Thank you for being with us.

From the Center: An Evening with Gregory Porter-Royce Hall Jan. 17

Unsigned editorial from the evening’s program notes. 

Tonight is about soul and passion. The soul and passion of one artist as he transmits it to those of us here to bear witness; the soul and passion inherent in the blues, soul and jazz forms he so deftly inhabits; and the soul and passion that we as listeners, seekers and music lovers simultaneously bring to and extract from this space that has held so much of it over the decades.

We believe music is an essential part of the human experience.

Music perpetuates one of the most accessible rabbit holes in the art of performance. Throughout our lives, we will discover a sound or a song or a voice that resonates with us and dive deeper into it, uncover the influences behind the artist who created it, revel in other artists and forms and vibrations that emanate from it and evolve with it. And through all this we are expanding and enhancing our own experience. Music is, indeed, essential.

Gregory Porter, over the last several years, has become an essential figure in the art of jazz performance. His third album, Liquid Skin, which you can read more about in the interview/bio enclosed in the program notes, earned him a Grammy, after being nominated
for his first two albums. He was quickly recognized by his peers as a force to be reckoned with in jazz and is increasingly beloved by audiences worldwide. He is an imposing figure both literally and metaphorically, with a soul and passion to match his commanding stage presence.

As the New York Times put it in a recent review of a live performance in Porter’s home city: “Working from outer form to inner heart, Mr. Porter’s music is jazz via Oscar Brown Jr. and Nat King Cole; R&B via Ray Charles; thinky and poetic mid-’70s R&B, via Marvin Gaye and Gil Scott-Heron; and then gospel,
not as theology but as emotional policy, as devotion safeguarding against chaos.”

We are extremely proud to present this exceptional performer in Royce Hall.

Thank you for being with us.

Vijay Iyer- ‘Music of Transformation’ ‘RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi’ and ‘Mutations I-X’ Dec. 5, 2014

The unsigned editorial from the performance program notes.

Art is inherently transformative.  The work of artists and the results of the ideas and forms in which they invest their curiosity, their creativity and their talents is imbued with the ability to change the shape of things we thought we once knew, or to wholly create something anew that allows us to reshape, reframe and rethink our own shapes in this world.

Vijay Iyer and Prashant Bhargava, two uniquely transformative artists, have collaborated to bring us a vivid rendering of an entire city embracing a transformative sentiment with RADHE RADHE: Rites of Holi.

Or, as Vijay explains it so eloquently in the notes that follow: “The result is a ballet of sorts: a performative encounter between live music and film, between lived experience and myth, the self and the transformed self, winter and spring.”

The art of contemporary performance revolves around this powerful concept of lived experience, both the experience of the moment, the life and performance experience of the artists on the stage, and the experiences and perceptions we the audience bring into this space as we lean forward to receive the great artistic gifts being offered.

It is a privilege and a gift to do the good work that creates the opportunity for that shared experience to exist. To hold a space and intention for the artists of our time who are committed to shaping and re-shaping our perceptions of art and culture and music.

This is Vijay Iyer’s second appearance at Royce Hall and the second time we have worked closely with him to craft an expansive inquiry into the deep wells of artistry he inhabits. Last time, Vijay performed in several different jazz ensemble configurations, showing his skill as a versatile and intelligent band leader.

We return him to this stage to further showcase the versatility that is making him one of the most important artists in modern music, and one least inclined to sit inside any preconceived notions of genre boundary.

We are incredibly fortunate to be music lovers in a world that Vijay Iyer is dominating. His transformative explorations into the raw potential that lives inside all music continues to take shape, evolve and transform.

We welcome the transformation. And we welcome you to share it with us.

Art Speigelman and Phillip Johnston: WORDLESS! Oct. 15 2014

The unsigned editorial from the evening’s program notes

Very few humans are just one thing. We’re all a multi-hyphenate jumble of ideas, experiences, expectations, possibilities and curiosity. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Most artists exist in that hyphenate space…the place that simultaneously creates a pause and builds a bridge. Or, as Art Spiegelman himself might put it, using a hyphen to de-familiarize us with a pair of words, allowing us to see each one with fresh eyes.

That de-familiarization and re-familiarization is a constant underlying presence in the art of performance, giving us moments that inspire us to look at the world from a different perspective alongside moments that instigate deep and poignant memory of what we know (or thought we knew).

Tonight marks the first in a series of performances on our 2014-2015 season that straddle the medium of visual art, performance art and live music.

We’re very happy you’re here with us to welcome Art Spiegelman and Phillip Johnston, the live embodiment of a hyphenate creative experience, a co-mingling of ideas, experiences, expectations, possibilities and curiosity.

Part of WORDLESS! includes a new work from Art, a piece entitled “Shaping Thought.”

How do thoughts take shape?  What kind of shape do they take? How do we shape the thoughts of those around us? How have artists of the past shaped the thoughts and works of the artists of today? How do we connect to the shape of each other’s thoughts? Where and how do we build our own hyphens?

We are curious beings around here. We like these questions. We hope you like them too.  Feel free to ask them of us, of each other, often.

In the meantime, welcome to WORDLESS!

Notes from Kristy: Come On In, The Water’s Fine

The other night we heard the resulting song cycles and creative framework of a new work by Heidi Rodewald and her collaborators Donna Di Novelli and Kevin Newbury, who just completed their residency here at the Center. While their time in residence was concentrated, they generated some truly remarkable material in pursuit of collaborative ideas.

And if my reaction to what they shared is any gauge of the future life for this work, it is going to strike some very resonant chords. The project is called “The Good Swimmer” and is based in part upon the found text of a lifeguard training manual from the 1940s (when women had to assume traditional male job roles as they were all off to war).

There was a particular conceptual through line in it that I cannot get out of my mind. A central thread from the instruction manual for lifeguard training: “The Lifeguard knows what she must be most alert to, and most concerned over, which is the good swimmer. The good swimmer knows how to take care of themselves when they swim out beyond where most would venture. The danger for the lifeguard is that those less capable will follow. The good swimmer therefore poses the greatest hazard to the lifeguard’s duty of care.”

I love it when an unexpected and pristine clarity knocks me sideways.

We are about to play host to a whole season of pristine clarity coming out of the artists that are soon to arrive as we open the 2013-2014 program. I thought it might be good to mention a few of the firsts – The Moth kicks off the Spoken Word series, LACO returns for their illustrious program at Royce Hall as our Resident Orchestra, Deer Tick sets UCLA’s Welcome Week off with an alt-country twist to our Roots/Folk series, and Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette and Gary Peacock – while marking 30 years of amazing music together – kick off our Jazz offerings.

Crossing over from both the Atlantic and the Pacific we welcome the mega-theater work, “Shun-kin” by Complicite in collaboration with Setagaya Public Theater — putting a momentous start to the Theater season, with a work that is quite simply not to be missed. Our Dance series opens the following week with the North American premiere of Lucy Guerin’s most recent choreography, “Weather.”

To put this into some statistical perspective, that’s about 100 independent artists over three weeks, hailing from cities and countries far and wide converging in Los Angeles this September. We are going to be heaving with the generosity of brilliant artists taking the stage to send up their finest for our ebullient audiences, and I for one am BEYOND READY.

One of the aspects to bringing that much creative mastery into a place like this, is what happens on campus, in Westwood Village, and in the venues themselves when unanticipated and astonishing moments in art between impassioned people come together in unique exchange…well, it makes the fight against the traffic and I-405 closures and daily irritations melt away and we get to be joyously AWAKE together. For the artists– the equivalency is that it makes the airport delays, visa approval processes and all of the rehearsals well and truly worth it.

This is a big and important season for the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA. It marks the deepening presence of our mission and purpose, and a heightened relationship to our supporters and audiences, along with these extraordinary artists. For those of you already reading this, it means that you are interested in the Center sustaining the work of our purpose. Know that I consider one and all of you to be the exact people it will take for us to continue to develop and evolve regardless of the ever-vexing pressures that can work against a great public promise. In short, you are the good swimmers, and here’s hoping that by watching you swim out into the great beyond, others will indeed follow.

–K

Jazz in the City of Angels

Experiencing jazz in Royce Hall is really something special. Sure the acoustics are perfect, it’s a big hall with a small vibe, especially if you’re really into the music , but it’s also jazz lovers and listeners who help make it so special.

They are truly among the coolest audience we see every season. Our jazz events always rank as season highlights and generate powerful memories every year. I’m really not saying that just because I work here. I was only a marginal jazz listener until I began experiencing the jazz artists we bring to the program in this space. My first experience with free jazz was Ornette Coleman’s appearance here and it broadened (and blew) my mind. I (semi-sheepishly) confessed that in an email exchange after the performance with one of the best jazz writers in town. He said: “You picked a great one to start with. Be careful, this is how jazz addictions start…I speak from experience.”


Side note: Jazz writers amaze me. It’s like they know how to use words in exactly the way the artists they write about seemingly effortlessly use the notes surrounding them to create this utterly unique and thought-provoking picture of the world. No one describes music like jazz writers.

I think there’s jazz just steeped into the walls of Royce Hall. All the greats have played here, Thelonius Monk, McCoy Tyner, Alice Coltrane, Duke Ellington, Sonny Rollins, Keith Jarrett…the list goes on and on. It will continue to go on and on.

And there’s definitely plenty of jazz addiction in Los Angeles, you don’t even have to look very hard to find it.

This season we’re incredibly proud that Royce Hall will play host to the grand jazz proselytizers of Angel City Jazz Festival. Our presentation of Bill Frisell and Bill Morrison: The Great Flood Oct. 13 and An Evening with Vijay Iyer Oct. 14, mark the culminating performances of this multi-venue annual celebration of jazz.

These guys really do it right. Every year they thoughtfully curate a seasonal theme and seek to introduce Los Angeles to new talent, or thrill them with legends of the craft. This year, in conjunction with the beloved Jazz Bakery (which is on a “moveable feast” adventure for the present while their new home gets built in Culver City), they’re doing both with the theme “Artists and Legends.” Check out the lineup, shows starts October 5.

Angel City was a natural and welcome partner for CAP UCLA, because like us the organization is committed to bringing jazz to the masses. Angel City is also investing in the future of jazz in L.A. with its annual Young Artists Competition, which invites young jazz performers (often high-schoolers) to showcase their talent and get feedback from working pros.

You can see this year’s finalists tomorrow night in action as they perform short sets at The Blue Whale in front of a panel of judges consisting of legendary jazz performers and educators. (Stick around afterward for the fabulous Christian Scott Quartet). The winners get a gig as the opening ensemble for Angel City Jazz Festival’s opening night at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on October 5, 2012.

And definitely don’t miss Bill Frisell and Vijay Iyer. They’ll most certainly be adding their indelible stamp to Royce Hall this year.