Charles Jazz

Where to go in LA to hear creative music

A nice piece in the LA Times outlining the “alternative” jazz venues.  Chris Barton has an overview of the handful of places where you can go to hear more adventurous music, most of the places I would think of, including Metropol, Open Gate, ResBox, MONA, even Vitello’s gets a nod as the new establishment of the “establishment” that still dares to feature more risky acts.

He even goes so far as to highlight a great series being put on by saxophonist (and LAJC member) Ken Kawamura down in Orange County.  Ken poignantly sums up the challenges of programming art music.

Jonathan Kreisberg Quartet at the LA Blue Whale

Los Angeles is a long way to travel for jazz musicians living someplace other than Los Angeles.  Logistically it’s pretty tricky to set up a series of gigs with the price of airfare and lodging, especially if you have a band traveling with you.

Couple that with the current lack of viable jazz venues in L.A. and the thought of trying to do anything out here is daunting, to say the least, and downright impossible for most.  Aside from the advent of a few more jazz festivals, the opportunities for a traveling jazz band in this town are pretty slim.

The Melbourne Jazz Cooperative

The Melbourne Jazz Cooperative has introduced quite a few later top stars at its Bennetts Lane venue.

Let’s highlight a few of the artists that, through the years, have contributes to MJC’s success:

Matt Kirsch

Guitarist/composer (and vocalist) Matt Kirsch has long been highly regarded by his musical peers, but his distinctive instrumental capabilities were finally displayed to a wider audience on his strong selling debut CD Translucent (on NewMarket). Since leaving Melbourne several years ago, he finally settled with his family in Port Douglas, Far North Queensland).

All That Jazz

Music has always been the thing at Ortlieb’s Jazzhaus. Long before Northern Liberties became a haven for the hipsterati — and, later, Old City’s weekend runover — this Philly institution was holding it down night after night, its patrons drawn to the legendary live jazz and the sweet potato fries.

But even institutions like Ortlieb’s have to evolve with the times. For its 20th birthday, the Jazzhaus got itself new ownership and closed down for a makeover. Most notably, they installed a new chef, Michael Suminski, who trained at the Four Seasons in Montecito, Calif., under redheaded wonder Mario Batali before coming to Philly and cooking in Manayunk, Skippack and at NoLibs’ own Azure.