The Latin Jazz in the Park, Saturday August 11 was headlined by Jose Rizo’s Latin Band, “MONGORAMA”
Pots and Pans were being “cooked-on” and at a high temperature in my opinion. The mood was set just right as the Weather was low 80’s degrees. Sponsored by LACMA Programs and KKJZ FM 88.1FM. I have seen this wonderful band many times over the years, in various city-wide festivals. But somehow this particular day was special. I was still celebrating my birthday from August 7th which fell on a Tuesday. I was ready with my light snacks and beverages . Jose Rizo hosted the afternoon sets by introducing the band and tunes that were being played , most of which were from the new CD , Baila Que Baila! Featuring young violinist, Dayren Santamaria, and Justo Almario tenor sax Vocalists & Conguero Alfredo Ortiz & James Zavaleta lead vocalist.. They were the jet fuel of this band for two hours of Latin soul and pyrotechnics. the X factor all afternoon were the dancers who were relentless, never stopped, never gave in an inch . as long as the band played , dancers had A-game moves on the dance floor. At one time the floor was so pack , They just started dances in aisles and pathways. Beautiful people of Southern California (Los Angeles) were out in droves with babies, Pets and, even the eclectic and bazaar! All of this added up to a wonderful day of fun and eye candy.
Jose Rizo’s Mongorama
photos taken from Jose Rizo’s MongoRama Page- https://www.facebook.com/JOSE-RIZOS-MONGORAMA-122415531112929/
Journalist,Actor/Poet, Robert J. Carmack sits down for a chat with the powerful Jazz painter, SAM PACE.
COMING IN AUGUST 2018 @ Hipster Sanctuary…
“Fiddler Blue” Not the official title, Just what I call it” -RJ Carmack
The Charles Owens Quintet Live at The “MERC! “~ Temecula California.
In a recent concert in Temecula, California at the famous “Merc” performance venue, veteran Jazz artist and saxophonist, Charles Owens appeared with his Quintet.
Owens, a Los Angeles based musician performed two very stellar sets for a jazz hungry audience. Being familiar with that music space, I was able to get there early before the first set to grab a quick chat with the quite humble saxophonist. He shared with me many anecdotes and road stories along with who played a major role in influencing his play,style and approach. “As far as influences, Charlie Yardbird Parker and Wardell Gray for sax. The Modern Jazz Quartet and Art Blakey Jazz messengers in how I approach the music as a player or bandleader.” said a relaxed Owens. “But, I enjoy leading my own bands,however, I really loved my experiences playing with two iconic big bands. Duke Ellington’s Orchestra under the direction of his son, Mercer Ellington and the great Count Basie band.”
This particular evening’s affair was very special to him as he’s performing with some old friends and solid jazz musicians. On the bandstand with Charlie were bassist, Henry Franklin,friends for over 40 years, Pianist Theo Saunders,whom he met in L.A. in 1977, veteran drummer Don Littleton, over 30 year relationship and his old bandmate from the Basie band, trumpeter Scotty Barnhardt, current Director of the Count Basie Orchestra.
The SRO crowd were treated to a plethora of popular compositions, all performed with Charles Owens unique touch. First set opened with a Owens original entitled Wild Fire , a fiery piece with a great melodic line and solid enriched harmonies. Charlie and Scotty took some blistering solos, especially Barnhardt who weaved webs of delightful, above the line flurries of notes on his custom built trumpet. That was followed up by a lovely version of the perennial fave, Embraceable You. Barnhardt offered great artistry and sublime technique on this classic ballad. The Quintet quickly moved on the moment by playing a Sonny Rollins tune, Airegin (Nigeria spelled backwards) In my opinion, Scotty conjured up memories of icon, Woody Shaw as he peppered a white-hot solo. That song’s conclusion morphed into Ellington’s Take the A-Train! which ended the first set.
Highlights of the second set included equally great compositions by legends like Freddie Hubbard, Billy Strayhorn,Dizzy Gillespie with a surprise finale of the rarely heard cut, Don’t Get Around Much Anymore. This was quite the treat for me and the audience as Barnhardt reached into his magic bag of techniques and growled at the audience with his “Plunger” mute and choked notes..
Charlie Owens reputation as one of the most gifted and versatile musician in Los Angeles since 1972. Part of the attention had to do with his craftsmanship with drummer Buddy Rich Big Band and latin great, Mongo Santamaria. In addition he added stints with English Blues King , John Mayall . Owens told me he was whisked-away from Mayall by music iconoclast, Frank Zappa. Whether he’s asked to appear in a Oscar-winning film LA LA Land or staying fresh and current by working with young musicians on various bandstands, or teaching a weekly class at UCLA’s Herb Alpert School of Music. “During the break of the second set, he told me the reason he chose Frank Zappa. “I found Frank’s music more challenging than Mayall’s,.. I could have easily made more dough, but the challenge was calling me, as Zappa’s music was unique and quite eclectic.
Charles Owens was born in Phoenix, Arizona, grew up in San Diego California. One of his closest friends growing up was ,the late saxophonist Arthur Blythe or AKA, Black Arthur.”
Throughout the course of the evening’s performances I witnessed what most people always conclude, this is a very passionate player and humble almost to a fault. at one point in the second set, Owens and Barnhardt engaged in old-fashioned BeBop playing, to a song by Dizzy entitled the same, BeBop. the tune showcases long arpeggios and multi-note phrasing on top of mercurial-chord changes, played at break-neck speed by the entire band. At times, the rhythm unit of Franklin, Littleton and Saunders were like a giant bellows machine, stoking the coals to unheard of Fahrenheit-levels to the soloists.
Today’s young players can learn a lot from Uncle Charlie Owens. Even saxophone sensation, Kamasi Washington took a class or two at UCLA with Charles while eventually tweaking his already big sound and approach on his horn. Whether you experience Charles Owens in a Big Band setting or a small combo, one thing for sure is, You will never forget that moment in time.
posted by Robert J. Carmack ~ @blues2jazzguy -You know its very hard to find a word that describes a person perfectly, but I just may have. what I mean is, I googled the word Destiny and it read, ” the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future. Also, “the hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate. HOWEVER. Sometimes if you’re lucky and say your prayers, you just might meet a talented, sublime musician who happens to play a very unique instrument in a small community of players within a special genre..the original art form of America, JAZZ.
Dorothy Ashby was Destiny’s big influence early on long before Alice Coltrane’s huge shadow loomed large in her life. But what was really a “head-scratcher” for me was when she mentioned in an interview I held with her recently. While as a child watching TV, a man with wild hair and zany behavior. He abruptly stopped and stared at a Harp momentarily, then sat down and begun to play a beautiful solo. She was watching a famous scene from a “Marx Brothers” film. That was just the spark needed in her little head. She went wow! I would like to play that. As a little girl growing up in the Compton community and going to Tibby elementary school. Destiny could only dream, as her mom had very little money and instruments were not in the cards. Even later as she grew up and tried to learn the violin, it did not “cut it for her.” Things were changing at home and her mom moved to San Pedro area projects for low-income, about the time for her to go to high school, she joined a vocal choir and wanted to take piano lessons but again was told they could not afford lesson. Frustrated but not deterred from her dream, Destiny became a barber, a good one too, which gave her independence and decision making power to pursue whatever she wanted. But before she knew it, she was approaching 30 years old and needed to sink or swim.making up her mind to go for it musically she began her journey as a harp player by beginning with the rudimentary method of mastering an instrument late in life. A very challenging endeavor, but none the less not impossible. She moved to Oakland East Bay area and sought out help, advice, direction. After a tad bit of finding her niche’, she found people like trumpeter Khalid Shaheed, pianist Tammy Hall and the legendary trumpeter Eddie Gale among many others. Now over 25 years later, she is being blessed beyond words. Not worrying about how long it took, but what she is doing now that she has arrived.
Destiny has opened for The Oakland East Bay Symphony and Smooth Jazz Artist Gerald Albright, shared the stage with Jazz Masters Marcus Shelby, Omar Sosa, Blue Note Artist Ambrose Akisemuire, and Azar Lawrence to name a few. She has headlined for ‘Women in Jazz’ Concert series, the Afro Solo/ Yerba Buena Gardens Concert Festival, Sunday’s in the Redwoods Concert, Fest Sundiata, and SFJAZZ Tribute to Alice Coltrane’s epic album Impulse Release ‘Journey in Satchidananda .
Destiny is the Principal Harpist for the Eddie Gale Inner Peace Orchestra, the Oakland Community Orchestra and performs with The AWESOME Orchestra.
The Destiny Muhammad JAZZ Trio~Following in the footsteps of jazz harp master Dorothy Ashby (who recorded with everyone from Freddie Hubbard and Frank Wess to Bill Withers and Stevie Wonder), the Destiny Muhammad Jazz Trio is a sleek and soulful ensemble designed to showcase Muhammad’s soaring vocals and transporting string work.
That second and most highly touted Jazz musician, pianist, composer and master harpist, the late Alice Coltrane. A profound influence on Destiny as a musician, composer but, also as a woman in a male-dominated genre. She has been given high praises by her peers and fellow bay area jazz musicians, as well as prestigious arts organization and music societies.
Whether interpreting jazz standards or her original tunes, Muhammad turns every piece into a soulful adventure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hora0U6vvDw
A plethora of achievements and awards received in a little over 25 years after not even starting until she was 30 years old on her instrument. Governor Emeritus and Educational Chair Emeritus of the Recording Academy, Jazz Heritage Center of San Francisco Jazz Ambassador, ASCAP Songwriter Awardee, and Judge for The West Coast Songwriters Contest and Northern California Entertainers Music Awards Female Jazz Artist of the Year.
I asked Destiny what was her greatest joy in music? she said with glee, “That I’m still playing after starting late at 30 and taking that leap of faith. You can follow Destiny’s career and keep up with her gigs by going to her website:http://destinymuhammad.com
If you missed her moving tribute to the great Alice Coltrane the first time, see information below for tickets and or general information regarding the Concert, Alice Coltrane~Sonic Legacy August 26, 2018 – two shows only!
Coming JULY 4 2018- a Musical Chat with the Harpist from the Hood, Destiny Muhammad follow us @ http://www.hipstersanctuary.com
IT was announced recently by producer Robert J. Carmack that the show, Street Life: Magic & music of The Jazz Crusaders is cancelled until further notice. Carmack sited health issues as reason for postponement . no other announcements will be forthcoming. all parties regarding tickets sales online have been contacted and remedied. those that were purchased from direct sources have been contacted also. again, we apologize for the abrupt cancellation, but it could not be avoided. We will contact those groups and individuals when we are able to direct them to a new date or venue. Thank you for your understanding and support. #@blues2jazzguy
Producer/ Host- Robert J. Carmack