LAJC Summer Festival – Part 1 (Sat 8/23)

LAJC Summer Festival (Part 1)
Saturday, August 23 9pm

Leonard Thompson Trio
Darek Oles Tribute to Charlie Haden
Matt Otto Group
Daniel Rosenboom Quintet

Yes, we have four sets.  Can you handle it?  Keep reading for more info on all these wonderful performers.


Leonard Thompson Trio
Thompson, piano
Darek Oles, bass
Mark Ferber, drums

We are happy to welcome Leonard back to perform one one of our events.  Originally from Capistrano Beach CA, Leonard has spent the last twenty years as an active performer in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles, working with artists all over the jazz spectrum from Eddie Marshall to Cleo Laine.  Leonard is an exquisite pianist and an insightful composer, and he has a new album out, entitled Wayfarer, with bassist Ryan McGillicuddy and the incomparable Mark Ferber on drums.  We’re also thrilled to have Mark play with Leonard and Matt Otto this evening.  Ryan McGillicuddy was having an increasingly great career here in LA before he moved to Korea with his family, and so he’s unable to join us for this show.  In his stead we are glad to welcome Darek Oles to complete Leonard’s trio.

Click here to listen to a sampling of Wayfare.


Darek Oles Tribute to Charlie Haden
Oles, solo bass

Speaking of Darek, it’s always an honor to have in our lineup perhaps the best acoustic jazz bassist on the West Coast.  Darius Oleszkiewicz has been a mainstay in the jazz scene in Los Angeles since 1992, when he became perhaps the only music student at California Institute of the Arts to be offered a teaching position immediately upon graduation.  Darek would go on to play for a who’s who list of jazz, including Billy Higgins, Charles Lloyd, Pat Metheny, Peter Erskine, Bennie Maupin, and Brad Mehldau, just to name a few.  CalArts obviously knew what a treasure they had in Darek, a sentiment confirmed when he inevitably became the bass instructor of choice for many LA-area colleges, including USC, UC Irvine, and CalState Northridge.  The word that most players use to describe Darek is perfect, perfect intonation, perfect time, perfect bass sound, perfect note choices, and perfect melodic construction.  Many of those things were also used to describe Darek’s own teacher at CalArts, the legendary and now immortal Charlie Haden, who tragically passed away last month after a heroic struggle with late-stage polio.  There might not be another bass player who has gleaned the essence of what made Charlie so great and incorporated the best things about him so completely and beautifully.  If there is one reason to attend this night of the festival, it would be to witness this solo bass set by Darek for Charlie.

Ralph Alessi, Ravi Coltrane, Charlie Haden, Darek Oles, circa 1992



Matt Otto Group
Otto, tenor saxophone
Michael Mull, alto saxophone
Steve Cotter, guitar
Gary Fukushima, piano
Darek Oles, bass
Mark Ferber, drums

It was a sad day in Los Angeles for the Collective and the jazz community when Matt Otto left for greener and more wide-open pastures in Kansas City.  Matt was the visionary behind the creation of the Los Angeles Jazz Collective, as a way to create and foster a community of musicians who cared foremost about art and creativity.  In Hollywood, the music capital of the world, it can be hard sometimes to maintain such a high standard of artistic integrity, but Matt has done so throughout his life, and carried his vision on to Kansas City, where he continues to inspire and influence musicians.  Matt seemingly has no limit to his creative output, and he has a number of new projects, most notably a new trio album with longtime musical soulmates Jamie Rosenn on guitar and Jason Harnell on drums, altogether known as JoE-LeSs shOe.  (You can hear them the day before our festival on Friday night, also at bluewhale.)

Matt has also enlisted the services of Darek Oles and Mark Ferber, and added to that immaculate tandem guitarist Steve Cotter, Matt’s longtime friend and colleague, who recently has been touring the world with organist Joey DeFrancesco.  I’ll be playing piano, and joining Matt’s band for the first time will be alto saxophonist Michael Mull, a thoughtful and dynamic improviser, and a masterful composer/arranger in his own right, as you can see on night two of our festival when Michael performs with his own octet.

Here’s a video of Matt’s group:



Daniel Rosenboom Quintet
Rosenboom, trumpet
Gavin Templeton, alto saxophone
Alex Noice, guitar
Kai Kurosawa, Bear Trax
Dan Schnelle, drums

It’s very exciting to have this last group on board for our festival.  Daniel Rosenboom has taken some extraordinary steps towards realizing a key goal shared by the LAJC, that is, to provide a forum for creative musical artists to showcase their unique works.  Dan is the founder of Orenda Records, a homegrown label that finds deserving artists and strives to “immortalize their deepest expressions in high fidelity”.  Sounds good to me.  In the span of less than a year, Dan has managed to create a significant amount of buzz regarding his pet project, enough to draw the attention of music impresario Rocco Somazzi, who swiftly and shrewdly made Orenda a presenting partner in the upcoming Angel City Jazz Festival.

Even before Orenda, Dan was an artistic dynamo, churning out no less than eleven of albums as a leader or co-leader, each of them radically unique, but all of them unified in freedom of structure and focused intensity.  His latest project is called Fire Keeper, an homage to the music of his coming of age, where the music viscerally projects its undeniable rock sensibilities, yet delves into some incredibly tricky conceptual issues beneath the surface.

Dan is joined by all the original members of his quintet; the fiery alto saxophonist Gavin Templeton; guitarist Alex Noice, who has the brain of a jazz musician and the balls of a glam-rock shredder; Kai Kurosawa, who wields a custom-built twelve stringed Klingon-ish looking weapon called Bear Trax; and drummer Dan Schnelle, who is one of the premier modern jazz drummers in this city.  Collectively they have the potential to make the stage burst into fireworks, which is what is expected at the end of a long day of festivities.

Here’s a video of the incendiaries:


This makes for an exciting day one, doesn’t it?

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