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 →
Artists pictured above (clockwise, from top left): Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, The Hot Sardines, Kenny Burrell, Hot Club of Detroit, Davina and the Vagabonds, Charles Walker and the Dynamites, Pete Escovedo, Kamasi Washington, Barbara Morrison)
“Forgive me if I don’t have the words. Maybe I can sing it and you’ll understand.”
These words were spoken by the late, great, singing soulstress, Ella Fitzgerald, who would have turned 98 on April 25th. This simple quote speaks to the depth, creativity and freedom of expression that we celebrate this month during Jazz Appreciation Month. Over the years this dynamic genre—born out of the African American spirituals and call-and-response work songs heard throughout the south during the late 19th century—has grown into one of the pillars of American music. Continue reading →
Artists pictured above (clockwise, from top left): Barbara Morrison, Black Violin, Tia Fuller, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Gedeon Luke & the People, The Soul Rebels, Chubby Carrier, Ruthie Foster, Booker T. Jones and The Drifters)
African Americans have shaped many of the most iconic American music styles—gospel, jazz, rock and roll, funk, hip-hop…the list goes on and on. As we wrap up Black History Month, we’d like to celebrate the musical contributions of some of the many talented African American artists who’ve graced Levitt stages across the country. Continue reading →
While you can certainly say it with flowers, chocolates, home cooked meals and more, we often find ourselves turning to one of the most romantic forms of expression of all: music. And to celebrate Valentine’s Day, we’ve put together a playlist of songs about love by artists who have performed at Levitt stages across the country over the last couple of years! Continue reading →
It’s a sure sign of warmer evenings to come when the free concert season at the Levitt is announced!
Every year, the six Levitt venues across the country each present 50+ free shows featuring acclaimed artists in a variety of genres. New this summer is the inaugural Levitt National Tour with World music group Playing For Change—they’ll be stopping at five Levitt venues along with the future Levitt site in Denver.
While we still have more big names and big news to come, here’s a quick peek at season dates and concert highlights. We’ll be updating the list as details are announced!
It’s an early midsummer evening, just cool enough for a light sweater or jacket. You might not bring one at all. After all, the sun doesn’t set until after nine these nights.
There’s a light breeze as you walk over to the park in the center of town. When you arrive, you find the perfect spot for your folding chairs, snacks and good conversation. There’s jazz on tonight—it might be legendary jazz vocalist Barbara Morrison, pianist Yuko Mabuchi or GRAMMY-winning Ernie Watts Quartet. Whatever it is, it’s always great, and it’s always free, the way it has been for the past eleven years.