It was the week before Christmas when Mike Stern came to Hollywood; the occasion was a five-night engagement at Catalina Bar and Grill, and for the area's countless guitar enthusiasts it was as if the holiday arrived early. Supporting his star packed current release Who Let the Cats Out on Heads Up, the electric guitarist led a streamlined but commensurately stellar quartet featuring saxophonist Bob Franceschini, bassist Victor Wooten and drummer Dennis Chambers.
The Long Beach Jazz Festival, always a highlight of Southern California's summer music calendar, convened for the 19th time over the weekend of August 18th. For three days, the ocean adjacent Rainbow Lagoon park was taken over by thousands of jazz fans who were treated to a diverse line up of artists. While the festival is mainly on smooth jazz and R&B, participants and highlights came from all across the spectrum of jazz. These included a funky and f
The concert pairing of the Wayne Shorter Quartet and the Los Angeles Philharmonic was an inspired match, amounting to a summit between two of the leading ensembles in their respective musical fields. Shorter is one of the most accomplished saxophonists in history, and his current quartet (rounded out by drummer Brian Blade, bassist John Patitucci, and pianist Danilo Perez) has established itself as one of this century's leading jazz units. The Philharmonic is another longstanding
The concept of the Supergroup experienced its rise and fall in rock music somewhere between the end of the flower-power sixties and the post-punk eighties. In jazz, however, the proposition seems as viable and prevalent as ever, with the star-laden groups of Wayne Shorter and Keith Jarrett coming to mind as recent and highly visible examples of this trend. Another entrant, a good deal less-hyped but no less worthy, is the stellar trio of Ahmad Jamal, Idris Muhammad and James Cammack; their ni
George Benson is one of the most successful performers in contemporary jazz, a fine singer and exceptional guitarist. In over forty years of professional playing, Benson has enjoyed all but unprecedented popular success for such an accomplished jazz performer. So much so that seeing him live in person and hearing him play his hits, you can't help but be impressed by just how many of them there are.
Opening for Benson at the Long Beach Terrace Theatre was local legend Al Will