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 →
Whether your local Levitt’s season is well underway or you’re waiting for the concert season to start up again, check out some highlights from 2014 with this summer playlist of Levitt performers! From Latin fusion to Celtic, Big Band Jazz to rock and blues, Levitt has something for everyone!
Summer 2014 playlist artists include: Casey Abrams (pop); John Fullbright (Americana/folk/rock); Young Dubliners (Celtic Rock); Rosanne Cash (country/folk/rock); Alo Brasil (Brazilian); Black Violin (classic); The Damn Quails (folk); Janiva Magness (Blues); Ceci Bastida (Latin); Telegraph Canyon (country); Cas Haley (reggae/rock); The Hot Sardines (jazz); Rick Trevino (country); Jose Feliciano (soft latin/bolero/acoustic); The Cowsills (bubblegum pop); Carolyn Wonderland (blues); Marcia Ball (blues); Tab Benoit (swamp blues); Baskery (alt. country); Incendio (world guitar); Black 47 (Celtic punk); Ruthie Foster (blues/folk); Old Crow Medicine Show (bluegrass); Vaud and the Villians (cabaret/jazz); Very Be Careful (cumbia); Carlton & The Shoes (reggae); Playing For Change (World); Loudon Wainwright III (Americana); Richard Thompson (folk rock); Kiddle Karoo (Children’s).
Marking a new chapter in the history of a treasured music venue that sparked a movement across America, the original Levitt Pavilion for the Performing Arts in Westport, Conn., will re-open this Sunday as a brand new, state-of-the art complex. The new pavilion was made possible in part by a lead capital gift of $4.5 million from the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation—the largest single gift in the foundation’s history.
“We are extremely proud of Levitt Westport’s 40 year history and its beloved reputation as a community treasure, open to all,” said Liz Levitt Hirsch, president of the Levitt Foundation and board chair of Levitt Pavilions. “The new facility is a beautiful reflection of its special place in our hearts, and we’re thrilled that the Levitt Foundation’s lead gift is helping to ensure the joy of free, live music for the people of Westport and surrounding communities for decades to come.” Continue reading →