Concert Celebrates the Afro-Cuban Flavored Bebop of Dizzy Gillespie and Chano Pozo!

And on the drums...Calixto Oviedo
When Afro-Cuban musician Mario Bauzá introduced Dizzy Gillespie to Havana-born percussionist Chano Pozo in 1947, it paved the way for the emergence of Latin Jazz. Gillespie didn't know what a conga drum was called, but the trumpeter sure knew he liked its sounds. The BeBop jazz legend invited Pozo to join his band. That moment broke down barriers between Latino and swing-era bands, a shift in the soundscape that will be celebrated this weekend at Long Beach's Museum of Latin America Art.

"At that time, the jazz public was unaware of music from the Caribbean," says musical director Paul De Castro. "This is the first time the American jazz public started listening to authentic Cuban percussion."

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Nancy Sanchez Has a Seasonal Serenade Ready for Her Performance at the Muck in Fullerton

Categories: jazz bands

Pepe and Cesar Gallo
Sneak peek at Nancy Sanchez's first video shoot
Orange County's own Nancy Sanchez is busy putting the final touches on her full-length album debut, but is taking time to grace the outdoor amphitheater stage of 'The Muck' in Fullerton. The jazzy singer-songwriter's performance is just the latest in the historic hilltop mansion's strong and steady cultural programming.

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Real to Reel Celebrates Jazz Music and Film

Categories: Film, jazz bands

And all that jazz....
This weekend's Jazz: Real to Reel, taking place at Long Beach's Art Theatre, will celebrate jazz's influence in cinema and music through a variety of screenings, music and other activities. The event will also honor Johnny Mandel and Jack Sheldon with lifetime achievement "jazz beret" awards for their contributions to the fields of jazz and cinema.

"Mandel and Sheldon have each contributed more than 50 years of their lives to composing and performing jazz music on stage, recordings and in film," says 88.1 KKJZ's Helen Borgers, who is hosting the weekend's festivities. "Each has left an indelible mark on the history of the music."

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Bettman and Halpin Turn Folk Into Fine Art

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To the high-class culture hounds of OC, the Soka Performing Arts center is typically synonymous with suit-wearing symphonies, renowned jazz giants and cultural dance troupes. But duo Stephanie Bettman and Luke Halpin don't fall under any of those categories. In fact, their folk/Americana sound and spirit already make them an anomaly of the venue's concert schedule when they hit the stage on on April 11. But trust us when we tell you that their show will allow even the stuffiest classical buffs to walk away accepting the fiddle and mandolin as instruments of fine art.

Known by their fans as simply Bettman and Halpin, the two had a  vision to utilize their long list of musical talents to create a solid, historical sound throughout the years. On paper, Battman and Halpin are the quintessential opposites: Stephanie is classically trained in opera, violin and voice, and studied at the Oberlin Conservatory. She's also a former aerialist. Luke is self-taught - at the age of 8, his dad handed him a mandolin and a Mel Bay book and said "learn how to play, you're in my band." Despite their differences, once they met they became inseparable.

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Comedian Alonzo Bodden's Top Five Jazz Songs to Turn up While Stuck on the 405

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I'm just a really big fan of jazz.

When it comes to cracking the jokes, Alonzo Bodden has it covered. He kills on his weekly podcast called, "Who's Paying Attention?," he travels all around bringing the laughs everywhere he lands, he's done cameos on plenty of late night TV shows, and even won Last Comic Standing and later went on to judge the show. Don't get it twisted though, Alonzo isn't a one trick pony. Yeah he's a funny guy but here's a fun fact that you might not know. Alonzo is also wayyy into jazz music. So much so that he hosts a show on and sets sail on jazz cruises entertaining on the high seas.

Before Alonzo goes on another jazztastic adventure, we got the chance to pin him down to get a list of his Top Five Jazz Songs to Turn up While Driving Down the 405. And by the way, he's hitting up the Irvine Improv this Thursday through Sunday (December 20th-23rd) so if you like to laugh (and who doesn't?), do yourself a solid and pick up tickets before he cruises away. Sorry, we couldn't help ourselves.

See Also:

*The Top Five Post-Break-Up Rap Debuts
*Top Five Sexiest Major Harris Songs
*Top Five Songs That Should Have Never Been Remade, According to Comedian Craig Shoemaker

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An Open (Love) Letter to Nancy Sanchez

Hi Nancy,

My name is Ryan Ritchie and I'm pretty sure I'm in love with you. Let me explain.

A few days ago, I was browsing this here blog when I came across Gabriel San Roman's post about how you created a Kickstarter page in hopes of coming up with $15,000 for your full-length debut. One thing I am is honest, so I ain't gonna lie: That picture of you atop that blog was enough to get me to keep reading. Seriously, you are one good looking woman, the kind who makes lame dudes such as myself continue to read blogs they might not have otherwise read.

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Five Questions with Long Beach Symphony Orchestra Singer Tony DeSare

Here's the thing about the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra's POPS! concerts: You might not think you'd want to go, but you'd be wrong. Take me for example.

When I was a wee lad, I thought the music world began at the Germs and ended at Jawbreaker. I guess you could say I've expanded my horizons since then because I've been attending the LBSO's POPS! and classics concerts for about two seasons now and I might say they are my favorite shows to see. 

Now before you get all freaked out about going to a show where a sweaty dude in flannel's crotch isn't pressed into your backside, perhaps you should know that POPS! concerts aren't traditional classical music shows. This season's opener, for example, is on Saturday at the Long Beach Arena and features singer Tony DeSare doing a bunch of tunes from the Great American Songbook. That means songs written by the likes of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and George Gershwin--you'll probably hear "My Funny Valentine," "Just One of Those Things" and even Prince's "Kiss," along with some DeSare originals in the vein of the classic material he performs.

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Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Hugh Masekela Last Night

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and Joe Lovano
Hugh Masekela
June 22, 2011
Hollywood Bowl

If you don't believe that music is a universal language, do yourself a favor and check out Hugh Masekela. The 72-year-old South African played for approximately 45 minutes last night and during his set, the singer sang maybe 20 words in English. Did that stop the crowd from enjoying his emotive voice and suggestive hip thrusts? Of course not.
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Hollywood Bowl Opening Night Friday Night

Hollywood Bowl Opening Night with Harry Connick, Jr., and Gloria Estefan
June 17, 2011
Hollywood Bowl

The Hollywood Bowl opened its 90th season Friday night with its Hall of Fame concert featuring the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Youth Orchestra LA, Cirque du Soilel performers and sets by HOF inductees Harry Connick, Jr., and Gloria Estefan. That might sound like a lot of entertainment for one night, but the Bowl operates in such a smooth manner that the evening moved quickly without feeling rushed.

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Saxophonist Boney James Hit By Drunk Driver on 405 Freeway

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Grammy-nominated smooth jazz saxophonist Boney James was hit by a drunk driver last Saturday after driving home from his performance at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Jazz Festival, his publicist reported.
James was stopped in traffic on the 405 freeway when a drunk driver rear-ended him at 70 miles per hour, "causing a gash in his chin that resulted in 14 stitches, a fractured jaw and two broken teeth."
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