Trumpeter/fluegelhornist Paul Mazzio of North Hollywood has been awarded a 1989 Jazz Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts--a $3,000 grant to support the costs of making a demo recording.
The trumpeter was one of 18 applicants from the arts endowment's Western Region, which includes California as well some of the Northwestern and Southwestern states, and the only one from California to win a fellowship. In all, 74 jazz musicians nationwide received fellowships, which totaled $450,000 and are given only to individuals.
In contrast to California, in the greater New York City region there were 42 musicians (out of 127 applicants) who received grants. One of these was pianist Keith Saunders, former San Fernando Valley resident who currently lives in Manhattan. Asked about this disparity, the arts endowment's acting director Antoinette Handy said that "an insufficient number (of musicians) seem to be applying" from the Western Region. "New York has more recipients since there's a larger pool of applicants to draw from."
The applicants compete by tape in a blind judging, Handy noted.
This year's panel of judges included pianists Valerie Capers, Anthony Davis, Roberta Davis and Judy Carmichal, reedmen Richie Cole and Paul Jeffery and bassist Bill Lee. "In designing the panel, we're very careful about region, gender, race and ethnicity," Handy said. "And," she emphasized, "We're most careful about expertise."
For detailed information on applying, write NEA, 1100 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W., Washington, D.C. 20506, or call (202) 682-5522.
AIDING CHILDRENS HOSPITAL: When Bill Berry leads his Ellington All-Stars in one of four "Concerts for a Sunday Afternoon" this Sunday at the Joslyn Community Center in Manhattan Beach--all of which benefit Childrens Hospital of Los Angeles--he'll be talking, as well as playing, his way through the show.
"I wanted to do an intimate concert series (the Joslyn seats 350 people) in which the audience got to hear some varied music (coming shows feature music from India and the Los Angeles Cello Quartet) and also heard the performers explain what they're doing or tell anecdotes," said musician Brad Dechter, one of the series' producers.
"I've been at concerts at the Music Center where performers talked to the audience and these explanations and demonstrations really enhanced the performance, making it much more enjoyable," said Dechter, a saxophonist and composer who co-wrote and orchestrated the recent Nick Castle film, "Taps" and has scored episodes of "Moonlighting."
Dechter--who is producing the series along with his wife, Maureen Smith Dechter and Robin Smith--chose Childrens Hospital as the beneficiary of the concerts for personal reasons. "The staff there diagnosed a major disease in our son, Graham, and eventually cured him," he said. "My wife and I are forever grateful and were looking for a way to give something back to the hospital," he said.
Tickets for the Berry concert, which begins at 3 p.m., are $20, or two for $30. Information: (213) 376-6170.
*** 1/2 Joe Sample's "Spellbound" (Warner Bros.) sits atop the contemporary jazz charts for good reason. The pianist's style is a listenable mix of earthiness and sweetness and here he provides a balanced program, from the dancing title track to the bluesy "All God's Children." Vocals from Al Jarreau, Michael Franks and Take 6 spice things up; the latter group shines on "U Turn," which, while philosophical in nature, happily eschews the group's usual gospel slant.
Records are rated from one to five stars. ***** means a swinging must-have for the jazz lover, * means save your pennies, Benny.