Jazz at LACMA: Meet the Musicians

This year would have marked Jazz at LACMA's 29th season of celebrating L.A.'s finest jazz musicians. While the concert series is currently on hold, you can listen to interviews and music hosted by LACMA's Mitch Glickman, featuring performers planned for the 2020 season.

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Episode 01 – Yellowjackets

For the first episode in the series, Mitch Glickman talks with members of the Yellowjackets, discussing the genesis of the group, getting to know the current members, and contemplating whether music is essential in these hard times.

The Los Angeles based Yellowjackets have been a creative force on the jazz scene since 1981. The band has recorded 30 albums, been nominated for 17 GRAMMY® Awards, and has adventurously amplified the eclectic, electro-acoustic soundscape, creating a unique jazz sound since its fusion beginnings.



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Episode 02 – Mark Winkler & Cheryl Bentyne

In this episode of Jazz at LACMA: Meet the Musicians, Mitch Glickman speaks with award-winning and critically acclaimed jazz vocalist/lyricist Mark Winkler and multi-Grammy Award-winning vocalist Cheryl Bentyne, a member of the Manhattan Transfer.

The duo’s repertoire includes their recent chart-topping “Eastern Standard Time” recording with songs by Lou Reed, Peggy Lee, and Mark Winkler. This is a follow-up to their highly successful recording “West Coast Cool" with songs by Dave Brubeck, Chet Baker, Julie London and Bobby Troup (to name a few).



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Episode 03 – Bob Sheppard

In this episode of Jazz at LACMA: Meet the Musicians, Mitch Glickman speaks with multi-instrumentalist Bob Sheppard.

For more than four decades, Bob Sheppard has played in countless sessions with an astounding group of A-list jazz giants – among them Chick Corea, Freddie Hubbard, Michael and Randy Brecker, Herbie Hancock, Kurt Elling and Dianne Reeves – and artists within several other genres. He’s also recorded and toured as a leader, contributed to hundreds of movie and TV soundtracks and serves as an educator and clinician.

Bob Sheppard speaks of his early career, his mentor Freddie Hubbard, and his musical abilities. He also expresses how the pandemic has affected the ability to focus on projects and how it has produced a need for social interaction that is usually taken for granted.



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Episode 04 – Greg Porée

Mitch Glickman speaks with guitarist, composer, music director, and producer Greg Porée in the fourth episode of Jazz at LACMA: Meet the Musicians.

Greg Porée has made significant contributions to the music of dozens of show-business legends. Recently the guitarist has stepped out into the limelight, recording three impressive CDs of his own. A small sampling of his credits include music director for Sonny & Cher, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Diana Ross, and Thelma Houston, and recordings for such legends as Herbie Hancock, Vinx, James Brown, Stanley Turrentine, and Michael Jackson.

Greg talks about the start of his career as a music director, the eventual need to create his own music, and musicians in his family. They also discuss how the pandemic has caused a forced reflection.



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Episode 05 – Melissa Morgan

Mitch Glickman speaks with jazz vocalist Melissa Morgan in the fifth episode of Jazz at LACMA: Meet the Musicians.

Brought up in the jazz clubs of New York City, Melissa Morgan has a voice that is unexpected. While belting a blues or tenderly massaging a ballad, she has come a long way from her appearance at the 2004 Thelonious Monk Competition. In 2009, Melissa released her debut album on Telarc Records, "Until I Met You" to enthusiastic reviews and was embraced by the jazz community as "the one we've been waiting for." Downbeat Magazine included her on their Rising Star List and JazzTimes has named her "audacious and decidedly salty".

Melissa talks about her early influences, discovering jazz, and tells stories of travelling abroad and some significant moments with her mentors.



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Episode 06 – Eric Reed

Through more than a quarter-century as a first-caller on the jazz scene, pianist Eric Reed has been a leader of numerous ensembles, solo performer, composer, producer, educator, and sideman with artists including Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, Buster Williams, and Wynton Marsalis. Whatever the context, whatever the style, he consistently animates the flow with fresh ideas, virtuosic chops, intellectual clarity and an unwavering will to groove.

Eric talks about taking advantage of the time during quarantine as a musician and an introvert, upcoming projects, growing up in West Philadelphia, and discusses West Coast Jazz and his connection to many great jazz musicians.


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Episode 07 – Roy Gaines and the Tuxedo Blues Orchestra

For this special episode of Meet the Musicians, Mitch Glickman interviews the talented and versatile guitarist Roy Gaines and the Tuxedo Blues Orchestra in celebration of Betye Saar: Call and Response and African American Music Appreciation Month. Roy Gaines talks about purchasing his first guitar and tells stories of mentor T-Bone Walker. The group talks about how the blues are a way of life and speak about their time with Roy.

Roy Gaines is known as the last of the Texas T-Bone Guitar Slingers. He has worked on a wide array of projects including film soundtracks, taken a side trip into calypso, session work for Motown, and waxed a Bob Dylan cover.

This interview is made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.


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Episode 08 – Robert Rodriguez Ropside

In this episode, Mitch Glickman speaks with American composer, pianist and actor Robert Rodriguez Rospide.

The son of Cuban-Jazz drummer Roberto Rodriguez, Robert began to tour the world at the age of 22 as an instrumentalist with virtuoso trumpeter Arturo Sandoval. He then continued to NYC to perform for many legends including Ray Barretto, Roy Haynes, Paquito D’Rivera, Christian McBride, and the Caribbean Jazz Project. In 2015, he was nominated for a Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album alongside his brother Mike Rodriguez for their album Impromptu, The Rodriguez Brothers.

Robert talks about his early years with Arturo Sandoval, working with his brother Michael Rodriguez, staying busy with the resources at hand, and discusses why music is essential in our lives.


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Episode 09 – Phil Ranelin

In this episode of Jazz at LACMA: Meet the Musicians, Mitch Glickman speaks with trombonist and bandleader Phil Ranelin.

Phil made his name in Detroit, where he started out as a session man for Motown artists. In 1971, he co-founded a band, magazine, and record label conglomeration known as The Tribe, which used experimental jazz as a vehicle to raise African-American political consciousness. Ranelin’s 55+ year career includes notable collaborations and recordings with Freddie Hubbard, Wendell Harrison, Wes Montgomery and Henry Franklin. At 80 years young, Ranelin is still actively touring, performing at jazz festivals around the world.

Phil talks about reworking his jazz ensemble, music becoming an important role in his life, and he speaks about racism in this day and age.


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Episode 10 – Sara Gazarek

In this episode of Jazz at LACMA: Meet the Musicians, Mitch Glickman speaks with jazz vocalist Sara Gazarek.

Graced with an “impeccable” voice (Winnipeg Free Press) and hailed as an artist that “may well turn out to be the next important jazz singer” by the LA Times, Sara Gazarek has been one of the leading lights of an impressive generation of jazz vocalists since her brilliant emergence at age 20. On her latest GRAMMY® nominated album, Thirsty Ghost, Gazarek finally brings her musical expression stunningly into phase with her emotional maturity. Gazarek has headlined around the world and worked with such modern jazz greats as Billy Childs, Fred Hersch, and Helen Sung.

Sara talks about producing her latest release, new collaborations with musicians, and forming the vocal group säje.


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Episode 11 – Katisse

In this episode of Jazz at LACMA: Meet the Musicians, Mitch Glickman speaks with woodwind specialist Katisse Buckingham.

Katisse blends the worlds of jazz, hip-hop, pop and world music. He has toured the world with such artists as Herbie Hancock, The Yellowjackets, Prince, Dr. Dre, Airto & Flora Purim, John Patitucci, Ricky Lawson, and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet. Katisse has played on numerous films including the jazz flute scene in the Will Ferrell film, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.

Katisse talks about his start on the flute and his interest in music, poetry, and theater. He also talks about how the arts have the power to expose and educate about racial inequality.


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Episode 11 – Azar Lawrence

In this episode of Jazz at LACMA: Meet the Musicians, Mitch Glickman speaks with legendary saxophonist and recording artist Azar Lawrence.

Azar Lawrence is best known for his work with Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Elvin Jones, and McCoy Tyner. He has composed, produced and performed with acclaimed jazz luminaries McCoy Tyner and Elvin Jones. Lawrence started his career when he was seventeen playing with Clark Terry and Muddy Waters on overseas tours. He joined Tyner's band as tenor saxophonist following John Coltrane’s death.

Azar talks about performing throughout the years, how Los Angeles shaped him as a musician, and comments a bit about dealing with racism at this moment in time.


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Episode 12 – Carey Frank

In this episode of Jazz at LACMA: Meet the Musicians, Mitch Glickman speaks with organist Carey Frank.

Carey Frank’s diverse career has included collaborations with Susan Tedeschi, Ndugu Chancler, Marshall Tucker Band, Eric Marienthal, Dan Aykroyd, and Bruce Springsteen. He has released two solo albums and has toured the world over. You can see him performing solo piano, Hammond organ, keyboards, and ukulele, as well as performing with his bands Strangers on a Saturday Night and the Rumproller Organ Quartet.

Carey talks about all the musicians he has had the opportunity to work with, his appreciation for the organ, coming to Los Angeles, and finding ways to continue working during the pandemic.


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Episode 12 – Lynne Fiddmont

In this episode of Jazz at LACMA: Meet the Musicians, Mitch Glickman speaks with vocalist Lynne Fiddmont.

Over a career that has seen her glide gracefully from sharing her vocal gifts with world class artists such as Stevie Wonder, Natalie Cole, Bill Withers, Barbra Streisand, George Duke, and Joe Zawinul, to recording her own lovingly crafted projects, Flow and Lady: A Tribute to Billie Holiday. Fiddmont recently released her fourth album, Power of Love, which speaks to the many hues and dimensions of matters of the heart.

Lynne talks about her musical family and background, her mentors, moving from background singer to producing and distributing her own recordings, and mentions some upcoming projects.


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