Weekend in the City of Angels

Oh, boy, L.A. is the place, believe it or not. Los Angeles is just a drama on its own, and a whole lot seems to be making the City of Angels the craziest of all metropolis, especially when one becomes a target of who you are, "where you from," your lifestyle (drug addicts, alcoholics, blogaddicts, armchair quarterbacks, basketball fanatics, barebodied hotdog eating football fanatics, aloofed Hollywood wannabes and what have you) you must have done something wrong why someone is for no reason saying something about you (good or bad) for the fact it is a tradition that life goes on, no matter what.

As it happened the past weekend in Los Angeles was something I think I should talk about for many reasons. I had trooped to many places and it's just a whole lot happening the coming months before the Summer jams. I mean, the line up is so huge I'm beginning to wonder if President Barack Obama is just simply a magician. The guy is loved and the press has adored him. Every 'damn' thing is going on well now one begins to wonder why in heavens places George W. Bush and his White House gangsters deliberately decided to destroy the finest place on Earth. But that's over with and definitely "change has come to America." It is a "New Dawn," and without a doubt America is back.

But anyways, it's all good and the pop-ups is a sign of good feelings. The Playboy Jazz Festival announced last week the line-ups for this year's Summer jams at the Hollywood Bowl, and being my kind of hang out, I spoke to many of what should be expected and how "change has come America." Just hanging out as usual, the 31st Annual Playboy Jazz Festival marking its 50th anniversary salute to Miles Davis' class album "Kind of Blue" by Jimmy Cobbs So What Band scheduled for June 13-14 at the Hollywood Bowl became an interesting topic with regards to the "New Dawn." The festival will feature one of my all time favorites and friend Wayne Shorter whom I have watched uncountable times, Kenny G., the Neville Brothers, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Norman Brown, the John Faddis Quartet, the Jack Sheldon Orchestra, the New Birth Brass Band, the Pete Escovedo Orchestra, Cos of Good Music, Patty Austin, the Dave Holland Big Band, Oscar Hernandez and the Conga Room All-Stars, the Anat Cohen Quartet, Alfredo Rodriguez and the North Hollywood Jazz Essemble, and the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Jazz Ensemble.

What a line-up!

That's not all. It's weekend in Los Angeles and I had dabbled into Tayo Okulaja and the talk was, again, "change has come to America," and it is a "New Dawn." Yep, a "New Dawn." The Playboy Jazz Festival was part of our gist and the Owambe, Juju music King Sunny Ade is in the list, too. He will be slamming his "Synchro Systems" vibes at the Hollywood Bowl and I'm quite sure he will deliver. As Okulaja and I began to see what is making news in Naija, it came out "Naija still get long way to go" and not in our generation will change come to "Nigeria." Unfortunately so, and who cares, though?

Okulaja, another crazy dude, knows a whole lot about music, too. The legendary saxophonist Wayne Shorter popped up. "So you know about my man Wayne Shorter?"

"Ah ah, which one you dey now? Abi you think say man no know what's up?"

"That's not what I mean."

"Wetin you mean?"

"I meant The Playboy Jazz Festival which I have not skipped for the last 15 years and it's becoming better and groovier each year notably as Bill Cosby always serves as master of ceremony."

Interestingly, Okulaja knew much about my man, Shorter who is still looking good at 75. Still energetic and jiving. Shorter, like we all know had started with ace drummer Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, then with Miles Davis' 60's Quintet and Tony Williams, Ron Carter and another of my favorites, Herbie Hancock. When cultural/jazz fussion popped up in the 70's as Modern Jazz Quartet and Creed Taylor's Crew at Kudu Studios began changing the theme of Jazz in what critics called crossover, Shorter connected with Austrian keyboardist Joe Zawinul in what would be an amazing journey in Jazz music. I love the man and his music is like baked in my genes. The tracks "Speak no Evil," "Juju," "Native Dancer" and "Jungle Stuff" from the days of Weather Report are all masterpieces.

Okulaja kept me talking and jazz had been the theme and I never stopped talking about jazz greats from Satchimo to Shorty Rogers. I'm still not sure who is the greatest sax player. I'll give it to John Coltrane and "African Brass" unquestionably remains my best.

The weekend did not end without Obama being on top. The bailout and all his packages has taken over in every nook and cranny of Los Angeles and people are beginning to wonder why. It's just simple. The guy has vision and "change has come to America." It is a "New Dawn."

And as always, L.A. is the place!


Anonymous said…
As a young jazz performer, I consider Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis my biggest inspirations. You hit the right note!
Anonymous said…
Playboy Jazz Festival is always a class act. Love it.
Anonymous said…
Hell, yes, the Playboy Jazz Festival is everything I always look forward to and the Cosby fun never phases away.
Anonymous said…
Shorty Rogers,where did yo get that from? I know the eminent J.J. Johnson and the jazz era of the 50s. So who is Shorty Rogers?
Anonymous said…
Hell will get loose on that day and I know so. What's up L.A.?
Anonymous said…
Thank you so much for this information. You have taken blogosphere to another level and I will be seeing you, hopefully.
Anonymous said…
Sunny Ade de land. I can't wait6!
Anonymous said…
Sunny Ade is the talk of town for LA. Na real agbalagba show and Fumi Sunny Ade pikin go dey jam.
Anonymous said…
Sorry, I was in a wrong post. What happened to Igbo highlife music and why is it disappearing? Ambrose help us now.
Anonymous said…
If you are into the swing/be-bop/big band era of the jazz age and haven't spinned Shorty Rogers I guess you should be heading to the record stores. Shorty was an arranger, composer and trumpeter and played alongside Stan Kenton and many jazz greats of his era.

In the early 80s he formed the Lighthouse All Stars Group in the bubbling beach city of Hermosa Beach, California. That group included Bud Shank, Bill Perkins and Bob Cooper.

Highlife needs to be rejuvenated and the masters knows why it is disappearing. They need to be organized.
Anonymous said…
I like Sunny Ade. I watched him perform at Coach House, San Juan Capistrano many years ago.
Anonymous said…
Sunny Ade is a great performer.