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.
Attendance is an unfortunate concern for many “alternative” jazz venues. Driven by the frustration of commuting to L.A. for live music, Orange County saxophonist Ken Kawamura started his own self-sufficient incubator, the OC Creative Music Collective, and began staging monthly shows in the rent-free basement of a Santa Ana Episcopal church. See also this article about Jonathan Kreisberg at the LA Blue Whale.
Kawamura is at times discouraged by the small crowds for his monthly concerts, which draw performers from San Diego, Long Beach, and even Europe and Australia. In order to more effectively compete in an area that in his experience seems more attuned to smooth jazz or the more straightforward fare at the Fullerton club Steamers, he and the OCCMC eventually stopped charging admission.
“The whole thing operates on a loss, which is fine,” Kawamura admits. “We’re just promoting something, and we’re promoting something that’s not financially viable, really. In Orange County, at least.”
Thanks for doing this, Ken, though I don’t think it’s fine that you’ve been operating at a loss. Help him out by, featuring renown composer/percussionist Andrea Centazzo, with an opener by the fabulous duo of Emily Hay (flute, vocals) and Motoko Honda (keys). See also this Chronicle of the Blues.