Did you know that a complete orbit of the earth around the sun takes exactly 365.2422 days? This means our earth lags just a tiny fraction behind its position in orbit around the Sun from where it was a year ago, approximately six hours behind, to be precise. After four years this adds up to being about a day behind, and left unchecked, after 120 years we’d be a month behind. After 720 years, it would be winter in July. The Romans, being in charge of the known universe at one point, knew this and devised a 355 day calendar with an extra 22-day month every two years to compensate for the astronomical discrepancy.
Because that was complicated and stupid, Roman Emperor Julius Caesar commissioned his astronomer Sosigenes to devise a calendar that would be more regular yet still account for the anomaly, which is why we now have the modern (Julian) calendar with an extra day every four years in the short month of February. This is perhaps way to much irrelevant info for the show we are about to put on, but don’t you feel like you know more than you did thirty seconds ago?
Our last Monday of the month series at Bluewhale happens to be on Leap Day, and we have two artists that are abounding with talent:
Vibraphonist Nick Mancini has ascended to the lofty regions of the elite among jazz malleters. Born in upstate New York and developing his undeniable natural talent for a decade in the jazz incubator that is New York City, Nick set his sights westward, moving to Los Angeles and very quickly integrated himself into the jazz community here. In fact, Nick has always been one to reach out and engage other players from across the spectrum of jazz and other types of music, making him one of the best community activators we have for jazz in Los Angeles. He is a man of great passion for music and life, and an incredibly gregarious and witty personality, all of which have ushered Nick into a vital and irreplaceable role as one of our city’s great local jazz ambassadors. Nick Mancini has recorded countless albums with various artists and put out five albums under his own name, including the excellent 2013 release Storyteller, the music of which he’ll be performing for this event. Jumping on stage with Nick will be pianist Vardan Ovsepian (who also played on Storyteller), clarinetist John Tegmeyer, bassist Jordan Richards, and percussionist Brad Dutz. Afton Hefley will also caper up to sing on a few pieces.
He is not a well-known name to most, but ask any jazz musician about pianist Matt Politano and all would jump to universally acknowledge his sheer mastery of his instrument and of jazz. Matt is without a doubt one of the busiest and hardest working sidemen in Southern California. Originally a trumpeter going to music school in New York, Matt made the decision to switch to piano and has become one of the best out here on the West Coast. Having an endless stream of gigs backing up other musicians is admirable and a testament to his ability, but the downside is it has kept Matt from fully exploring his potential as a creative artist in his own right, which is a travesty for such a transcendental improviser. Here’s hoping this set of music will be a catalyst for more original music from an incredible pianist, and if it is it will have been long overdue. Matt will have drummer Brian Carmody and bassist Alex Boneham in his trio.
Also springing into action to assist us is the great visual motion artist Travis Flournoy. Travis has been a key figure in providing accompanying video for many musicians in LA, including Daedelus, Josh Nelson, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, and Nick Mancini. Travis recently did some video for one of Nick’s shows, and he has graciously volunteered to do the same again on our show for both Nick and Matt. The video below shows some of Travis work with the enigmatic Translucent Ham Sandwich Band, led by drummer Evan Stone:
All in all, it should be a saltation of great musical moments that leap off the stage. Please hop on by!