New Series: Last Saturdays at Curve Line Space opening April 25, Larry Koonse/Darek Oles Duo, Walter Smith III Trio

The art gallery Curve Line Space in Eagle Rock. Vibraphonist Nick Mancini is seen performing.


We are excited to announce a brand new concert series, at a place which has over the past several years become a vital presence of independent music.  Curve Line Space is an art gallery and frame shop in the Northeast Los Angeles neighborhood of Eagle Rock.  Owner Tim Yalda studied guitar as a student at USC before going on to become a successful businessman and art connoisseur.  He nevertheless remains an ardent music fan and supporter (and musician), and when vibraphonist Nick Mancini approached Tim about doing a concert series, he enthusiastically signed on.  The series, dubbed Elastic Hour by Nick, became a hit, with standing-room only audiences and a real sense of community support for the arts at the shows.  Even though the series has ended, Nick continues to put on shows there, and Tim himself has been curating various events.

The gallery being located in Eagle Rock has significant meaning for the Los Angeles Jazz Collective.  Our very first meetings were informally held at the Coffee Table in Eagle Rock, just a few blocks away from Curve Line Space.  There is a high concentration of musicians in this area, and it felt right to have the LAJC continue to have a home base here in this neighborhood.  Since we approached Tim earlier this year about doing something in his gallery, he has been completely on board with our mission and also become a welcome advisor, and we look forward to working together to produce more events in Eagle Rock.

Our first show is set in just a few weeks days, on Saturday, April 25.  In the name of building a stronger jazz community, we plan on having two different groups perform for every show, for the purpose of bringing together various artists to share both their music and their distinct audiences with each other.  We are excited to have on this first show a few musicians who have been an integral part of the LAJC in the past, and they are representative of the very best of LA’s jazz community:

Guitarist Larry Koonse and bassist Darek “Oles” Oleszkiewicz have been collaborators on countless records, colleagues and dedicated teachers together at California Institute of the Arts, and most importantly, very good friends.  Between the two of them they have played with a who’s who of jazz musicians, including Lee Konitz, Billy Childs, Brad Mehldau, Charlie Haden, Charles Lloyd, Bennie Maupin, Ravi Coltrane, Warne Marsh, Peter Erskine, Chris Potter, Bill Stewart, Billy Higgins, Horace Silver, Bennie Golson, and on and on.  They released an album in 2007, entitled Storybook, which features the two of them in a duo setting, as well as a few tracks with the great Mynyungo Jackson on percussion.  In the years since the album came out they both have only increased their stature as two of LA’s most treasured jazz musicians.

Saxophonist Walter Smith III is a Houston native who made his name in Boston and New York, playing with legendary jazz drummer Roy Haynes and later with bassist Christian McBride and trumpet Terrence Blanchard.  He first came to LA with as a member of the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, and has since settled down here, although if you ask him “settled” is probably a term he wouldn’t use, as he is on tour for most days of the year, with artists like drummers Kendrick Scott and Eric Harland, pianist Jason Moran, and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire.  His own stock is very high now, and his latest album, Still Casual, is the work of a master musician who continues to achieve new heights.  Joining Walter on this evening will be two members of the current class of the Monk Institute – bassist Alex Bonhem and drummer Christian Euman.

This is going to be a fantastic way to kick off our monthly series at Curve Line Space.


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