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 →