Plans for as many as five Sunday evening jazz concerts this summer at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion are being explored, according to Sandra Kimberling, president of the Music Center Operating Co.
Kimberling said that it's too early to talk about artists for the concerts, which are expected to be staged in July and August, but stressed that the Operating Co. wants to make jazz a regular part of the Pavilion program.
Though the Operating Co. has been weighing a jazz component for some time, she said the current move is in part a reaction to plans of expanded jazz programs at rival Lincoln Center in New York and at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History in Washington.
"As soon as I (heard about) the programs at Lincoln Center (last January), I realized jazz is something that we had been neglecting," she said. "It reminded us of how much we wanted to do it and haven't.
"We don't want to just present bands. We want to be creative in our programming. We'd like to present something classic, meaning 'quality,' not in terms of old. We'd like a well-rounded offering."
The main drawback over the years to presenting jazz at the Music Center--which last sponsored a two-season jazz series from 1979-81--has been lack of available dates.
"Basically, the Pavilion is booked for 416 performances a year," she said, with the time reserved for the resident companies--primarily the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Joffrey Ballet and the Los Angeles Music Center Opera. "And it isn't just finding a one-day period. You have to allow for rehearsal time."
During the summer, the Operating Co. usually offers musical productions at the Pavilion, but dates became available this year when negotiations for a summer production of "Bye Bye Birdie" fell through.
The program at Lincoln Center establishes a jazz department--under the direction of Rob Gibson, director of the Atlanta Jazz Festival--that plans to present concerts year around at the center, as well as offering educational programs, masters classes and seminars. The program is in addition to Classical Jazz, a summer series of concerts that has been presented at Lincoln Center for four years.
The Smithsonian's plans include expansion of its recordings program and the formation of a resident orchestra, called the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, which will perform works written by or associated with such figures as Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Benny Goodman.