February 16, 2011 |
At almost 92 years old, Fred Katz is about as easy to sum up as the contents of the Smithsonian. Growing up a classical cello and piano prodigy before falling in love with jazz in the Manhattan clubs, Katz went on to help define the sound of West Coast jazz with the Chico Hamilton Quintet, where he was the first to introduce a bowed cello into the jazz vernacular. He also worked with Lena Horne and Tony Bennett, composed film scores for Roger Corman, backed Beat poet Ken Nordine on his "Word Jazz" albums and taught courses in anthropology, shamanic magic and religion at Cal State Fullerton for almost 30 years ?
September 30, 2010 |
Thinking about the upcoming Angel City Jazz Festival feels like a logical paradox. Is it possible to grow both bigger and smaller at the same time? After stretching to two days at the John Anson Ford Amphitheater last year with a lineup offering nods to West Coast jazz past and present, the festival has this year scaled back its multi-act "festival" component to one night at the Ford. But in a move that points to the eclectic nature of L.A. jazz, the festival in its third year spans six nights that encompass a range of artists and merge boundary-pushing jazz with elements from the worlds of art, film, dance and even dining.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 14, 2010 |
Paul Bryant, a South Los Angeles jazz master whose infectious smile and precocious skills in the arts earned him the nickname "The Central Avenue Kid," has died. He was 76. Bryant died Dec. 4 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a lengthy hospitalization, said his daughter, Angela Bryant Lott of Inglewood. He had been suffering complications following recent surgeries, and had most recently been living in Good Shepherd Manor near Leimert Park. A child actor, Bryant appeared in 22 films in the 1940s.
September 8, 2009 |
In the wake of another summer of hand-wringing among fans and critics about the future of jazz, Labor Day weekend in Southern California marked a face-off of sorts between festivals celebrating two sides of the genre. One, the West Coast Jazz Party, celebrated its 15th year in Irvine while the other, the second annual Angel City Jazz Festival, expanded to two days at a high-profile new location, the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood. Spread out over four days and culminating with a Sunday brunch cruise, the West Coast Jazz Party offers a full menu of traditional jazz that falls under the swing and standards-rich category often called "straightahead."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 1, 2009 |
Chris Connor, a smoky-voiced jazz vocalist who gained renown for her recording of "All About Ronnie" and other singles with the Stan Kenton Orchestra before going solo in 1953 and having success with songs such as "Trust in Me" and "About the Blues," has died. She was 81. Connor died of cancer Saturday at Community Medical Center in Toms River, N.J., said her longtime companion and manager, Lori Muscarelle. In a more than 50-year singing career that began in the late 1940s with the Claude Thornhill Orchestra, Connor recorded with bandleader Herbie Fields and sang with Jerry Wald's big band before joining Kenton in early 1953.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 6, 2009 |
Bud Shank, the alto saxophonist who was a key figure in the West Coast jazz scene of the 1950s, has died. He was 82. Shank died Thursday night at his home in Tucson of pulmonary failure, friends said. A versatile musician with an adventurous nature, Shank also played flute and -- during a productive period of studio work -- had pivotal solos on the popular 1960s pop tunes "California Dreamin' " by the Mamas and the Papas and "Windy" by the Association.