Jimmy Webb performing at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles in 2013
After five decades of writing some of pop’s most iconic songs, Jimmy Webb is not showing signs of slowing down. The songwriter has become a book author, currently touring America to promote his just-released memoir, The Cake and The Rain, a title inspired by lyrics from the hit 1968 song he penned (and was first recorded by Richard Harris), “MacArthur Park.” We at Levitt know the song well—Webb has performed it twice (in 2013 and 2016) at Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles, which sits in the very park that inspired the ballad!
Webb’s prolific career writing storytelling lyrics about the American experience has earned him the apt nickname of “America’s Songwriter,” with songs including the hits “Galveston” (1969) and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” (1967). You’ve likely heard one of the thousands of records that feature his songs, from some of the country’s biggest acts of the 20th century like Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Glen Campbell, Nina Simone, Barbra Streisand and Donna Summer.
To celebrate Webb’s legacy as he tours the country, here are five fun facts you might not have known about the living legend. Continue reading →
Barbara Morrison performing at Levitt Pavilion Pasadena in 2014
This month, we’re listening to wailing saxophones, mesmerizing piano arpeggios and groovy drum rhythms. That’s right—we’ve got jazz on our minds and in our ears as Jazz Appreciation Month kicks off! Influenced by blues music and other musical styles originating in African American communities, the jazz genre started permeating dance clubs and bars in the early 20th century, and with the venues’ increased popularity during the prohibition era, the Jazz Age of the 1920s was born. Since then, the original swinging form of jazz has expanded into numerous subgenres, from bebop to Latin Jazz, tapping into the improvisational talents of musicians of all kinds.
Levitt venues have seen many a jazz artist grace their stages, each with a unique take on this rich genre. Some of these acts have even performed alongside jazz’s most influential musicians and are major players in their own right, having made significant contributions to the genre. While it’s impossible to choose our favorite jazz acts, here are four to start with—all of whom played Levitt stages over the years! Continue reading →
Last week, we watched Vanessa Ferguson impress judges on NBC’s “The Voice” with her powerful rendition of “Don’t Let Me Down” by the Chainsmokers. The singing competition show is all about discovering new talent in America, but some Levitteers from Ferguson’s hometown of Greensboro, N.C., may recognize her voice from last year’s Levitt AMP Greensboro Music Series, where she performed with the Larry Draughn Music Group.
Ferguson—who is now on R&B singer-songwriter Alicia Keys’ team—reminds us of the many Levitt performers who have previously competed on widely popular reality talent shows. In past blog posts, we’ve featured “America’s Got Talent” contestants Benton Blount (Levitt AMP Jacksonville 2016) and Jimmy Rose (Levitt AMP Middlesboro 2015), as well as “American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks (Levitt AMP Midvale 2016) as part of our Spotlight Series on artists playing upcoming Levitt concerts. Today, we look back on a few of the countless televised performances by other artists who have performed on Levitt stages and dared to sing in front of millions of viewers across America. Continue reading →
Last week we celebrated International Women’s Day by spotlighting a few of our favorite female artists, including several who’ve performed on Levitt stages. With Women’s History Month still in full swing, today we’re turning our attention to four more talented ladies. Blame Sally—an all-female collaboration of San Francisco-based singer-songwriters—is no stranger to Levitt stages. Since forming in 2000, the group has moved audiences across the globe with their rich harmonies, eclectic folk/pop/Americana instrumentation (from stompboxes to fiddles) and heartfelt performances—including at Levitt pavilions in Arlington, Texas (2011, 2009) and Pasadena Calif. (2014, 2010). Continue reading →
Over the past eight years, Chicano Batman has gained a loyal following of Los Angeles fans through performing across their home region of Southern California—including at Levitt Pavilion Pasadena (2013). With the their latest album Freedom Is Free released just last Friday, however, music critics anticipate that the band and their SoCal-born-and-bred sound are ready to break out on a national scale. Continue reading →
Artists pictured above (from left to right, top to bottom): Aretha Franklin, Madonna, Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea, La Santa Cecilia, Thao & The Get Down Stay Down, Carla Bruni, Abigail Washburn, Sierra Full, Helen Reddy and Chaka Khan.
Today is International Women’s Day—a day created in the early 1900s that calls upon us to honor the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the globe. It is a day of reflection and celebration of past, present and future progress in the area of women’s rights. Continue reading →
We’ve got plenty of reasons to be excited about this Sunday’s GRAMMY Award Ceremony—25, to be exact! That’s right, 25 Levitt artists were nominated for a 2017 GRAMMY Award, and taking a closer look at the categories, you may notice that four of these artists share nominations for Best Children’s Album. That’s four out of five of that category’s nominees! Continue reading →
Playing for Change performing at Levitt Pavilion Pasadena as part of the 2014 Levitt National Tour.
Whether it’s blues, samba or hip hop, much of the music that reverberates from Levitt stages is made possible because artists from around the world are able to come together, inspire each other and collaborate creatively. The Levitt Foundation is proud to support platforms for international artists to express themselves and bring community members together through music. As Syrian musician Kinan Azmeh, who has lived in the United States for the past 16 years, recently told NPR, “I continue to believe that making music is an act of freedom.”
Embracing all Levitt artists and Levitteers—no matter their country of origin—is a big part of our mission to strengthen the social fabric of America, which has been immeasurably shaped by immigrants. Take a look at a few of the many artists from around the world who have graced Levitt venues! Continue reading →