Category Archives: People to Watch


posted by Robert J.  Carmack   twitter:@blues2jazzguy
michael white
Premiere: Inspirations for “Orbit”
Video combining examples of Michael White’s past musical work with photographs by Leisei Chen and various artists that have inspired the new work Orbit, created by Leisei Chen. 32 minutes. Sponsored by 2013 DCA COLA Individual Artists Fellowship Award, premiered at Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery.Michael White & Leisei Chen Duo
Michael White & Leisei Chen of MWQ will perform a small intimate DUO set of Violin & Voice-Vocals-Qigong Movements for the

Gallery Opening Reception of ROAD play: a fine art exhibition, featuring featuring the works of Airom Bleicher, Jim Holyoak, Echo Lew, Warren Long, Paulo Solano and special guests.  
All Ages Welcomed Thursday April 10. 2014 
door open at 6pm 
premiere Inspirations for “Orbit” at 8:30pm
performance at 9:PM

At Play – collaborative arts venue
1018 S. Santa Fe Ave.
Los Angeles CA 90021!installation/ci8s
Contact: Brian Esquivel – tel/txt 214.808.9032

Award-Winning Playwright Set to Direct Hit Musical Revue Club Alabam

Award-winning Playwright and Poet, Tu’Nook has been tapped to direct the Theatre Perception Consortium’s production, The Club Alabam. It was announced recently by Robert J. Carmack, company Marketing and Media Consultant.
Tu’Nook is an educator,performance poet,playwright and actress. She has been published in Guild Press Anthology,  “Full Circle Eight”, UCLA’s Black English Student Association Journal “TAZ” and, in the anthology, “Butterflies” on the Wind from Hunan/Guild Press Publishing House in China. Tu’Nook also has performed in various poetry venues and theatrical projects in Southern California.
TuNook  Alabam! 007
She is a co-author of the stage play, “Sweetwater Blues”, “DaRoot”, “Return”, and “North On South Central”. a 1940s jazz musical that was a 2004 NAACP Theater Award winner, Howlin’ Blues and Dirty Dogs(the life of Big Mama Thornton) a 2010 NAACP Theater Award winner, and the “Fiancée of Voo Doo. (an African Folktale)
While she takes her work in theater very serious, she still have fun along with her partners  in the TPC, developing performing arts programs for kids  and adults in the City of Inglewood , all with the aid or funding from government.  “After many years of toiling as an educator in the inner-city schools, I’ve learned to work with what I have  and not worry about what I don’t have” said a smiling Tu’Nook ,as she called rehearsal to begin on the current project,The  Club Alabam.
Dates of the music revue  are April 27, May 4 and May 11  Sundays at 4:PM and the venue is, The Performers Corner 214 Hardy Street Inglewood,Calif. 90301  RSVP Tickets preferred  Limited Seating
More info :323-552-8283   or  press/publicity  951-840-7120




Lachaux  Nathan Hare 80th party









above:With   Artists,Singers ,Poets, Writers & musicians (l-r) Marvin X JackmonToReadah MikellMechelle LaChauxJoan Tarika- Lewis and Ayodele Nzinga.

Michelle  color  with Blond short




Breaking Out in Song



Mechelle LaChaux  4 BALD

Elegantly starring as her stylish self


1989 head SHot  Lachaux






NOW DIG THIS, Inc. is a non-profit organization established by Jacques & Kimberly Lesure that seeks to nurture and preserve an appreciation of the arts, especially Jazz music. Throughout the school year Jacques Lesure will be helping to continue the legacy as he offers free concerts and lectures to schools and community events. Special presentations happened for Black History Month 2014  and now ,upcoming events are planned for Black Music Month in June  2014. Support the arts in schools and communities.

Log onto to the NOW DIG THIS website and make a donation. We thank you for your contribution! GET MORE INFORMATION at

I would like to offer a few words of encouragement and also dispel a couple of myths.

Myth 1: “The Music”, “Jazz”, BAM or whatever you are inclined to call it, is in a critical stage.
TRUTH: There is NOTHING WRONG WITH THE MUSIC. The problem lies in the hands of MANY of those responsible for the proliferation of the music. This goes for musicians, presenters, venue owners,writers and educators. The PROFESSIONAL world of this music feeds on itself. Its two favorite appetizers are “OVER EXPOSURE” and “UNDER EXPOSURE”. These two techniques are just part of several in which the hidden agendas of the ‘Professionals” are executed.

Myth 2: The Hidden agendas are ALL malicious and sinister.
TRUTH: Some of the agendas are deeply rooted in political and socio-economic beliefs systems. However, I would venture to say the majority of these agendas are EGO MANIACAL and SELF AGGRANDIZING. Its not REALLY about MUSIC as it is “LOOK AT ME” and being in control.

Myth 3:Swinging is old and unmarketable.
Its time out for the “reaction formations”.

MYTH 4:Young people are not interested in the music and don’t understand it unless you mix THEIR music with it.

TRUTH: Children are TAUGHT. They don’t understand algebra or the ABC’S until they are EXPLAINED and reinforced. One assembly a year during Jazz Appreciation Month is NOT ENOUGH.We need more ARTIST in Residence(NOT ACADEMICIANS)and more JAZZ MOBILE models.

So in closing,those of us who play and love this music,lets stop the whining and realize how powerful WE really are. Stand up to the agendas. Stop playing yourself cheap(LITERALLY). Don’t be ashamed of the hard work you put in to play and understand the music. Also it is time for US to be the writers,presenters,and venue owners. Its time to put some money on the table and sign some leases and open some recording studios. We have some who have,but we need more.

SWING ON!!!    Jacque Lesure in Brick club

JAZZ GUITARIST, Jacque Lesure… Now on WJ3 Records featuring Willie Jones lll, Eric Reed, and Mike Gurrola!

Now Available where ever  Music is Sold

New Year’s Eve Gig: Raw Sugar Quintet with Dale Fielder

dale new Years 2013 b

Posted by Robert J. Carmack   Happy New Year 2014!!!  Veteran jazz  saxophonist  Dale Fielder, shown on stage with “Doc,” Trumpeter Dr. Richard Allen Williams. Featuring  RAW SUGAR QUINTET for a private New Year’s Eve gig at the Double Tree-Hilton Hotel in Culver City,California. Bassist, Jeff Littleton with Giovanni D. Nickens on drums. Rounding  out the quintet , though  not show in picture are  pianist, Harold Land Jr. and vocalist  Rita Edmond. What a great way to kick off 2014! Follow robert carmack on twitter@blues2jazzguy


Don 1 (1)

In the early 90s, There was a section in Los Angeles, that evolved out of the ashes of the riots in South Central L.A., an arts community came together to heal. Part of that Arts Renaissance was the Leimert Park  Village, which housed clusters of performing arts venues,artist lofts, craft makers, poets and dance troupes. Two of the more popular venues were 5th Street Dick’s  Coffee House & Billy Higgins’s World Stage.. This was a spawning grounds for some of today’s most eclectic & innovative jazz musicians. Donald Vega was part of that movement, along with, trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos,  saxophonist Dale Fielder, Drummer Willie Jones III, Composer / bassist   Marcus Shelby, Dwight Trible, and the Pan Afrikan Arkestra, founded by Horace Tapscott . Many nights as I sat in the coffee-house or the listening galleries checking out Donald and a bunch of under-25 years old jazz musicians,playing with such superb and intense virtuosity, with a NO FEAR attitude on the bandstand. It was always easy pick him out of the slew of piano players who helped to keep the jam sessions going long.. He always stood out, his solos were fluid, and none complicated, they just flowed,  He doesn’t lean that heavy on his technical prowess,but his improvisational composing offers up  florets of melodies that linger long after the song has finished. Donald Vega’s performing, composing, and arranging pays tribute to the giants on whose shoulders he stands, while stretching his own expression into uncharted realms.  His ballads touch the heart without employing sentimentality; while his velocity of swing reminds us that dance is at the heart of jazz.  Donald’s spiritual clarity provides a healing balm of grace while teaching us that life is more than what the eye can see.  The music of Donald Vega exemplifies the importance of affirmative culture in providing each of us with the resources of the mind and soul. Ron Carter isn’t known to  waste adjectives on musicians. The legendary bass master has incredibly high standards and a reputation for telling it like it is, so, an endorsement from Carter really means something. The fact that he hails Donald Vega as, “the next piano voice” in jazz, and selected him to be Mulgrew Miller’s successor in his own trio.

Donald Vega came to the United States from Nicaragua at the age of fifteen without speaking a word of English and suffering health problems that threatened his hearing and his musical future.  Poverty-stricken, Vega practiced on a makeshift cardboard piano and within a year won the prestigious Los Angeles Spotlight Awards competition capturing the attention of Henry Mancini and the renowned jazz critic, Leonard Feather.  David Abel of Fine Pianos, at the request of Walter Grumman and Barbara Haig, donated a piano to replace the now legendary piece of cardboard.

Mastering English as quickly as the keyboard, Vega began studying at The Colburn School of Performing Arts (where he now teaches part-time),  graduated from high school, and went on to earn a B.A. degree in Jazz Studies from the University of Southern California in 1999.   Along the way, he won the LA Jazz Society’s New Talent Award and was runner-up in the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, a national competition. In addition, Donald went through a number of critical surgeries to restore his health and save his hearing.   


Vega has performed with a long-list of jazz legends including: Al McKibbon, Poncho Sanchez, Milt Jackson, John Clayton, Jeff Hamilton, Bennie Wallace, Billy Higgins, Reggie Workman, Luis Conte, Alex Acua, Anthony Wilson, Francisco Aguabella and countless others. 

Vega has recorded with Aguabella (“Ochimini”, 2004; “Agua de Cuba”, 1999; and “Cubacan”, 2002).  Donald has also recorded with Al McKibbon, (“Black Orchid”, 2003), Poncho Sanchez, (“Ochimini”, 2004), Anthony Wilson (“Adult Themes”, 1999) and Jazz on the Latin Side All-Stars (“The Last Bullfighter” 2004).  

Vega while living in Los Angeles,he played all the top jazz night clubs in the Los Angeles area including the Catalina Bar and Grill, LaVe Lee, Sapazios, Steamers Cafe,Vibrato Grill & Jazz, Hollywood Park Casino and Ciudad.  He also appeared at larger venues like the Hollywood Bowl, Kodak Theater, Universal Amphitheater, Music Center, Grand Performances at the California Plaza, Getty Museum, Shrine Auditorium, Wiltern Theatre and the Greek Theatre.

Donald Vega has toured throughout Europe, Latin America and the United States; including major jazz festivals such as the Playboy Jazz Festival, Berlin Jazz Festival, Watts Towers Jazz Festival and the Central Avenue Jazz Festival.

In short – his music matters.