Jazz Elephants Stampede in Temecula,California
One of the reasons I love covering jazz artists and groups that last long enough to see growth as a group , not just the individuals. I’ve worked with Don Littleton as a spoken word artist, MC and Promoter.. This group is a can’t miss act.. Right out the gate, Elephants nda Park dug into a Monk classic ,Bye-Ya.. A 32 bar ditty with added afro cuban Clave. Powerful playing by full band, but Pianist Mahesh Balysooria, demonstrated why he is becoming a first call jazz musician in Los Angeles..Mahesh is a USC music major alum and a busy pianist around town.
Great foundation laid-out by Mahesh on piano.. He then busted into,IMHO, a cross between McCoy Tyner and Omar Sosa intense solo, followed by drums and congas trading fours before returning back to the melody. A most improbable tune I didn’t see coming was, Giant Steps by John Coltrane, into massive bullet-trains of ideas moving through those Coltrane “changes” on saxophone by Pablo Cologero, Don’s right hand man in arrangements and directions for the band musically.
Another great tune the band tackled was a doozy by George Coleman, Amsterdam After Dark.
This ditty works its way around a great bassline and simple melody, but the Clave took over and had the electric audience up and on their feet. They were warned in the beginning that a stampede or house on Fire might come over the evening’s activity. This band has started to raise a lot of eyebrows in So. Cal region and is open to going on the road to showcase this great group of musicians. The Bandleader , Don Littleton , a jazz veteran on percussion and traps. He was mentored by Billy Higgins, played with George Coleman, Hank Crawford and a who’s who in music, jazz in particular.
Don dropped his latest group recording last year, Don Littleton and Elephants Nda Park ( see CD baby or your favorite download database under Don Littleton & Elephants Nda Park) https://youtu.be/e5tfvno-29k
Jazz lovers in Temecula California , have been enjoying great straight ahead jazz at the Merc for the last 12 + years, hosted and curated by Ms. Sherry Williams, Vocalist/jazz presenter. Everybody loves to see her smiling face in the house, because you know it’s going to be great.
Sherry and her winning personality and smile, as she goes about the business of curating some of the best musicians jazz has to offer locally. The Merc has Jazz every Thursday evening @7:30pm ..for the rest of 2021. KEY concerts: Sept. 16th. Benn Clatworthy quartet.. Sept 23rd. “SOLD OUT” Al Williams for more info go to The Merc’s Website http://www.temeculatheater.org 866-653-8696