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 Robert J. Carmack has created a show paying homage to music’s most celebrated jazz group over the last 5 decades. Carmack hand-picked Los Angeles “best of the best” local jazz musicians , all of whom are stellar musicians in their own right. Plus, Carmack will be adding his poems dedicated to the group, along with a special poem dedicated to the Saxman , Wilton Felder. Crusader Legacy 5 Plus are Teodross Avery tenor saxophone, Alvin Starks trombone, Don Littleton drums, Theo Saunders piano/keyboards, Mike Alvidrez bass/elect. bass and Robert J. Carmack spoken word/poet and a special surprise guest. The evening will be filled with the essential Jazz Crusaders compositions that made them into the iconic and award-winning group they were. one survivor left of band, Nesbert “Stix” Hooper.
WHO are these Musicians and poet that’s stirring up the pot inside the L.A. jazz underground?
Brilliant artists in their own right as band leaders,side-men, producers and actor/writer.. these are the ingredients that make up the performance group,
Elephants Nda’ Park ..L.A. based artists that explore all the areas of the musical spectrum that pushes beyond jazz, or even beyond standards and “roses are red” branded poetry.
They seek to discover and peel back the skin of the genre and expose the meaty-fruits inspired by “improvisational excavation”. It is through this meticulous search for new soil, as once presented by such icons as Jackie McLean, Sun Ra, early Pharoah Sanders, John Coltrane,Yusef Lateef, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and others. the X-factor thats injected into the mix is writer/producer,poet, Robert J. Carmack, whose background presents a smorgasbord of the arts including Jazz saxophone, poetry, drama and promotions/publicity. Carmack’s poetry calls up the spirits of the ancesters and the “pioneers who came before”. inspired and influenced by legendary poets such as Amiri Baraka, Haki R. Madhubuti (Don L. Lee) , Last Poets, Watts Prophets,Jayne Cortez, Sonia Sanchez and, Sun RA.
Don Littleton Drummer – has spent nearly 50 years studying and performing music all over the country and in Los Angeles, playing with iconic figures such as, George Coleman, Hank Crawford, Charles Owens, Curtis Taylor, Saxophonist Justo Almario and bassist/poet John B. Williams. An accomplished, much sought after percussionist, Don Littleton has mastered an enticing array of percussion instruments. Don regularly performs all over metro-Los Angeles.
Pablo Calagero – multi-instrumentalist. specializing on flutes,saxophones and bass clarinet
Multi-instrumentalist, composer,New Yorker has played and recorded with a virtual list of who’s Who. including Mario Bauza,Tito Puente, Bebo Valdez,Carla Bley, Jaki Byard, Chico Ofarrill, James Newton, Dizzy Gillespie, Adam Roudolph, Bennie Maupin,Phil Ranelin,Dave Binny, Adam Rogers,Dennis Mackrel, Yusef Lateef,Jerry Gonzales, Andy Gonzales, Papo Vasquez, Patato Valdez, Jazz at Lincoln Center Afro Latin Orchestra, Oscar Hernandez,David Murray, Count Basie Orchestra, Anthony Braxton,John Linberg, Rashid Ali, Bobby Matos,Kenny Burrell,absorbing a broad range of musical styles and methods.
Michael Alvidrez, a “young veteran” of the “bass wars” bounces between acoustic and electric with the same impact. Michael is a very astute musician, looking to make his mark and create his own path in this genre. Along with bringing his A-game each and every time he steps onto the stage, “He’s a student of improvisation.” He’s a constant face on today’s L.A. Jazz scene. Not afraid to sail in unchartered waters inside the harbor of a “Free Music Sanctuary”.
Robert J. Carmack – poet, journalist, producer, musician and actor
Robert J. Carmack , Began his musical journey in music long before he picked up an instrument. According to his late mother he could not go to sleep unless the music was playing on the radio, “Though she did not play she loved music and encouraged us all to study” stated Robert . He played saxophone professionally throughout his high school and college career, later switched majors to study theater as undergrad picking up BA in TheaterArts/Communications. Masters Fine Arts in Theater-directing and productions. He has worked in journalism, music for the theater and films , bob hope USO tours during Viet Nam era and produced several plays , 2018 wrote and starred in original play Interview with the High Priestess: Nina! a jazz musical about icon Nina Simone. Also in Feb. 2018 He performed the eclectic poems of Sun Ra with jazz bass master, Juini Booth, Eclectic Nativity, Free Music band in Los Angeles. Summer 2017, performed with Azar Lawrence and Juini Booth’s McCoy Tyner Legacy band as spoken word guest poet,. Robert has produced stellar Jazz shows with the likes of Freddie Hubbard, Andy Bey, Sonny Fortune, Calvin Keys, Hilton Ruiz, Vanessa Rubin, Freddie Cole, Doug Carn and worked as MC or journalist on international shows. Mr. Carmack is residing in Southern California these days, enjoying the direction of the Elephants Nda Park is going.
” After all, Ivory is Not Art…Save the Elephants!” posted by Kamaad Tauhid #@blues2jazzguy
Robert J. Carmack – KARL LEE the reporter from Ebony Magazine. Robert is a veteran of the theater, producer, writer, poet and musician. Mr. Carmack has over 5 decades in the entertainment field as musician, show producer, promoter or journalist in the genres of Jazz,classic soul, and pop.
Mr. Carmack has worked for, or, with such jazz luminaries as Freddie Hubbard, Doug Carn, Andy Bey, Sonny Fortune, Freddie Cole, Vanessa Rubin and McCoy Tyner. He founded and co-founded the Atlanta International Jazz Society, and SFBAAAM( San Francisco Bay Area African-American Musicians) a forum of musicians that created their own venues to play in the Bay area. Returning back to Los Angeles after 12 years , Mr. Carmack has organized a Charlie Parker 21 sax salute on Bird’s birthday nationwide salute east & west coast. a tribute to Blue note producer & composer Duke Pearson ,Bobby Hutcherson/Jackie McLean in Los Angeles. Last year He re-created his popular character from The Club Alabam in 2014,(ROBBY ROYALE) to a sell out audience of NAACP Award winning musical, North On South Central Avenue. Carmack grew up in Los Angeles, attended Centennial high school in Compton, Graduated B.A – Theater Arts /Communications at Cal State Dominguez Hills. returning later on in life to grab his MFA-Theater Directing/Production Columbia University,New York. Robert co-founded the awarding-winning Paul Robeson Players while still attending under-grad college classes. The drama group went on to represent the state of California at the FESTAC, World Arts Festival, Lagos, Nigeria.
I wrote “Interview” out of frustration with the film version that came out a few years ago. However, I looked at the presentation, not as a traditional play or musical , More of an avant-garde /experimental theater type with music, spoken word and dramatic dialog. No set changes, or curtains . its driven by the power of the actors on stage, Nina Simone’s great social protest songs and her important role in the civil rights era. The most unsung of all the characters who played a role during that period.
We begin the story in real-time August 11,1965 inside the lounge of a Pasadena Hotel…
Jana Wilson- NINA SIMONE, a Los Angeles native, began her thespian adventures on the runways of Los Angeles, donning designer couture fashions. She modeled through college and sporadically, thereafter. Music has always been in her soul, as both parents were talented musicians, in their own right. Her brother plays bass guitar. Her father played jazz piano and her mother continues singing jazz. It’s only likely that Jana would have a love for music, with such rich influences.
Jana began singing in her church choir, then, sitting in on secular band rehearsals, which led to one song, then years of performing three nights weekly, as the featured vocalist, in the 4 Star Award winning Supper Club,The Sky Room in Long Beach CA . Since then, she’s been professionally performing with various local jazz and R&B groups. Her performance interests led to the theater, where she was cast as Billie Holiday, and additional characters, in the award-winning musical stage play, “North On South Central Avenue.”
“Music, performance arts, television… there are so many interests, gifts and abilities to put to good use. The world is a big stage, and I hope to take a few bows, while I’m here!” – Jana
Bobby Pierce, Music Director/Pianist – the former Columbus, Ohio born musician, now a Los Angeles resident is a musician’s musician. Known for his laid-back demeanor and style in personality. He elects to allow his fingers to do his speaking for him. He spent many years in Chicago and New York, working with virtually a Who’s Who in Jazz and Gospel.
Bobby has graced the stage with some of Jazz’s royal members such as Benny Carter, James Moody, Clark Terry, Frank Foster, Etta James, and Della Reese along with POP & Soul stars too. Four Tops, Walter Jackson, Dionne Warwick, Joe Williams and Esther Phillips just to name a few. While putting in work at Record labels, Muse and Cobblestone, He was able to garner a Five-star ranking on Downbeat magazine. Pierce is also listed in seven jazz history books including Leonard Feather’s Encyclopedia of jazz and Listen for Jazz by Anna Bishop.
Bobby is quite proud of his major work with the late Della Reese , where he co-wrote the musical, “The Message is In the Music.”
While the consummate classically trained , Jazz and gospel singer, arranger and composer, Bobby still finds time to go out on a few road gigs, and hitting a few local jazz gigs too. He spends most of his time working with choir groups and just being of community service whenever possible.
Derf Reklaw – Flute,Percussion, has a very positive reputation around the music industry and especially the Leimert Park Village. Derf has worked with this play’s author three times previously over last 4 years. “Derf is the type of musician you don’t have to say much, just let him do what he do” stated Robert J. Carmack Director/Producer. Now we know why Eddie Harris & Ramsey Lewis loved his playing on their group’s recordings and live.
Reklaw moved to LA from Chicago in 1979. He is an artist in residence at several educational institutions including UCLA, Santa Monica College, L.A. Conservatory and View Park Academy. His career has enabled him to play with artists like Herbie Hancock, Aretha Franklin, Eddie Harris, Minnie Ripperton, Ahmad Jamal, Sting and Lionel Hampton. Also featured guest spots with drummer Billy Higgins, poet Kamau Daaood and original member of the Pharoahs, Lui Lui Satterfield.
An excited L.A. audience at Zebulon Café in Los Angeles was treated to an evening of great music and poetry in Loving tribute to SUN RA, the Interplanetary One.
RA, who left earth decades ago, seems to be enjoying an even bigger audience these days.
Booth who once toured with the great Sun Ra, put together a great evening of FREE MUSIC local and east coast musicians. First of all collaborating with Violinist Kathleen Kim of LA FOG notoriety, created a concept group, ECLECTIC NATIVITY, 12 -15 musicians on stage creating, improvising ,composing on the spot. spawning great new melodies and rich harmonics of sound and rhythms, integrated with spoken word by Robert J. Carmack. spoken word excerpts and haikus from the selected writings of poetry by SUN RA.
This made for a potent mix of fun, spirituality and freedom of speech through music. Exactly what the great Sun Ra was about. “At times, states Carmack, the band seemed to be levitating above the stage allowing the full force of improvisation to take charge.”
LA Fog is an experimental chamber/jazz/improv music ensemble composed of woodwinds and strings. Kathleen Kim,(violinist) led her group with Giles Miller (baritone sax), Jonathan Silberman,Tenor sax, and Kelly Coats (flute)
Others to grace the bandstand were Guillermo E. Brown, Wynne Bennett, Corey Fogel, Jon Leland, Mira Billotte, Helga Fassonaki and more. In addition to a packed audience, Juini Booth turned 70. Wow!