Jazz For The Holidays

Jazz For The Holidays

Kamasi Washington Quintet

Don Littleton Organ Quartet

Scott Martin Latin Soul Band

Special Guest: Branice McKenzie

MC Horace Mansfield Jr

Sat, December 17, 2011

7:30 pm

$0.00 - $100.00

This event is all ages

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Kamasi Washington Quintet
Kamasi Washington Quintet
Life began for Kamasi Washington on February 18, 1981 in Los Angeles, California. In the Washington family music was more of a prerequisite then a privilege. But Kamasi never saw it that way, his love for music began at first sound. His father, Rickey Washington is a professional saxophonist by night and a high school music teacher by day. Kamasi’s mother, Valerie Washington is an accomplished flutist who fell in love with the world of science and became a high school chemistry teacher after her stint as a genetic researcher. By the age of two Kamasi had already began to play the drums and piano, the only thing that kept him away from the wind instruments at that early age was his lack of dental development. He began his exploration into the world of the reeds and brass when he was about seven and his father gave him a clarinet. By the age of twelve Kamasi had found his voice in the form of a tenor saxophone, in fact it was the same saxophone that his father played in high school.

Over the next year Kamasi’s development and devotion to music had out grown his academic environment. So he transferred from The Los Angeles Center of Enriched Studies (one the top academic high schools in the nation) and enrolled into the Hamilton High School Music Academy. It was around this time that Kamasi also joined The Multi School Jazz Band (M.S.J.B.), an assembly of the finest young jazz musicians in Los Angeles County and led by Reginald Andrews the same man that taught Kamasi’s father in high school. Because of the sheer vastness of talent that he was surrounded by it was in The Multi School Jazz Band that inspired Kamasi the most during his high school years. Through M.S.J.B. Kamasi was also able to meet, learn, and create relationships with many of his musical idols such as Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Horse Tapscot, Gerald Wilson, and many others. In Kamasi’s senior year of high school he had the opportunity to compete in the John Coltrane Saxophone competition, in which he received the first place award. As an additional benefit to winning the competition the band of M.S.J.B. members that he assembled to accompany him had such an immediate connection that they decided to stay together and form a group that soon after would be known as “The Young Jazz Giants”.

This fiery group of “Young Giants” wasted no time in spreading their musical wings and flying all over the Los Angeles jazz scene spreading the good news that jazz was still alive and in very good hands. It was during this time that Kamasi became interested in composition and he started writing his own music. Over the next year “The Young Jazz Giants” had really began to develop their own sound and were creating a lot of excitement in their community. After graduating from high school Kamasi began his studies at U.C.L.A. were the facility included some of the finest musicians in the history of Jazz, such as Kenny Burrell, Billy Higgins, Harold Land, Lew Mathews, Garnett Brown, Jeff Clayton, Gerald Wilson, and many others. By the end of his first year at U.C.L.A. Kamasi began performing with many of his professors. In fact he joined Gerald Wilson’s big band and later became the only member of his regular Los Angeles band to be invited to play on his latest album “In My Time” which was recorded in New York. During the summer after Kamasi’s first year at U.C.L.A. the head of a new record label called “Bird Man Records” heard him playing with “The Young Jazz Giants” and became very interested in making an album with the group. So Kamasi recorded his first album it was called The Young Jazz Giants. The completion of the album seemed like the “big break” for “The Young Jazz Giants” but unforeseen delays in the products release ended in the album being released almost two years after it’s completion. Ironically the talent level of the group was far too high for any of the members of the band to stay “ready and waiting” for too long, thus “The Young Jazz Giants” unofficially disbanded. Kamasi began to take interest and became influenced by many other forms of music, from European Classical to Hip Hop. This really opened his mind to the fact that all of the different forms that music takes are equally relevant. From this Kamasi ended up playing with many of the most legendary musicians of the current variety such as Snoop Dog, Raphael Saadiq, and many others. Yet during this time Kamasi despite his newfound respect for all of the forms of music realized that Jazz was still the music that was closest to his heart. So he started a new band that would be able to play the new music that he is creating. The new group is called “The Next Step” and that’s precisely what Kamasi intends on taking.
Don Littleton Organ Quartet
Don Littleton Organ Quartet
Don Littleton began his journey into music in junior and senior high school, where his considerable talent was recognized and nurtured by all of his music instructors. He chose to attend Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he was a member of Multi-Jazz Orchestra and honed his skills under the tutelage of Alvin Batiste. While studying music at Southern University, Don was recruited by the legendary Cannonball Adderley to play with his quartet before the Louisiana Symphony. Don's mentors include such legendary musicians as Billy Higgins and Charles Lewis.

Don has since performed with a number of great musicians, including Pharoah Saunders, Kenny Burrell, Art Davis, Eddie Harris, John Heard, Billy Childs, Ernie Andrews, Billy Higgins, Roberta Flack, Henry Franklin, Phil Wright, LannyMorgan, Herman Riley, Horace Tapscott, Ndugu Chancler, Arthur Adams, Ray Bailey, Roy Gains, Harold Maburn, George Coleman, Betty wright, Millie Jackson and many others. Don has performed at music festivals, concert halls, and clubs all over the continental U.S. and in other countries.

Don has collaborated on the recordings of many other musicians, such as Karl Denson, Freestyle Fellowship, Solomon Burke, Derf Reklaw-Raheem, Rick Zunigar, Harper/Evans Project, David Ornette Cherry, David Dahlstein, Fred Griffin, Phil Ranelin, Scott Martin, and others. Don released his first cd with his group, The Littleton Brothers, featuring Bobby Watson and has other projects in the works.
Scott Martin Latin Soul Band
Scott Martin Latin Soul Band
Not many artists can boast about their Latin Jazz influence and their Soul Jazz leanings like Scott Martin can. Scott Martin has exploded on the scene as a leader of his own band, The Latin Soul Band, after more than fourteen years of playing with the GRAMMY® Award Winning Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band. He was an influential part of the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band and has recorded with Ray Charles, Billy Preston, Sam Moore and many other soul greats. While Scott Martin was traveling the world, performing, recording, composing and arranging with Poncho Sanchez, the band received a GRAMMY® Award for Best Latin Jazz Performance and they were nominated numerous times. They also won 2 Billboard Music Awards, and embarked on countless World and Nationwide tours. Scott’s compositions have been featured on Poncho’s recordings, as well as on TV shows such as “Sex and the City”, “The Jimmy Kimmel Show”, “As The World Turns” and more. The Scott Martin Latin Soul Band has performed at numerous venues and festivals all over in the last couple of years. They performed a tour of Japan, a tour of Canada, they played at the Hawaii International Jazz Festival, Mammoth Mountain Jazz Jubilee, Temecula International Jazz Festival, KSDS ‘Jazz Live’ from the Seville Theatre, Brea Jazz Festival, Oxnard Jazz Festival, San Jose Jazz Festival, and many more concerts, events, and jazz clubs.
Special Guest: Branice McKenzie
Special Guest:  Branice McKenzie
Branice McKenzie's career includes everything from jazz to theater to prolific songwriting. Some of her credits include critically acclaimed performances at The Newport Jazz Festival, The Clifford Brown Jazz Festival and The Umbria Jazz Festival.

On the theatrical stage she has created roles in Shades Of Harlem, Sing Sister Sing and Jazz Alley. As a composer and music director, she has penned music for Shelter, Shades Of Harlem and Blackbirds of Courage, as well as her latest work, This World Is Mine: A Musical Revue for Children. She is a recipient of the Meet The Composer grant from New York State and also made her directorial debut with the World Premier of the family musical Celebrate Kwanzaa at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. Branice has also just completed a song for the film short, Gentelle's Wings entitled, I Fly, which is the title song of her recently released CD.

Branice's incredible four-octave voice and magnificent song stylings have been hailed throughout the world. For almost ten years, she toured with Harry Belafonte, then went on to spend sixteen years with the late great Gregory Hines. She has also performed with Roberta Flack, Hugh Masekela, Carly Simon, BeBe Winans, Dianne Reeves, Peggy Lee and Miriam Makeba to name a few. She has and continues to perform all over the United States, Europe, Africa and Asia.

In 2005, Branice was invited to Russia to perform at Moscow's premier jazz club, Le Club and with Jazz Symphonic Strings at the historic Tchaikovsky Hall. A royal command performance in Morocco colors her performance palette as well as just completing a second successful run as an original cast member of the critically acclaimed I Can't Stop Loving You - the Music of Ray Charles in Lyons, France. She was also the conductor of the Youth Chorale for the West Coast premier of INDABA written by and performed with Sweet Honey In The Rock. Her youth choir garnered stellar praise from all fronts for their performance at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, CA.

Most recently Branice was invited to co-host the premier event of the season, Oprah Celebrates Susan Taylor - 37 Years at Essence Magazine. She was also a guest artist as comedianne, actor, storyteller, vocalist and composer at the Smithsonian's 43rd Folklife Festival.

Branice can be heard on numerous jingles and recordings including Hugh Masekela's Uptownship singing the heralded single, If You Don't Know Me By Now, Grammy- nominated Loves Drum Passion by Olatunji and the single Maybe Next Year with Onaje Allan Gumbs on his latest CD, Remember Their Innocence .

As a composer, Branice spreads her wings across many music genres and sentiments. Her recordings represent her magnificent artistic vista. Branice McKenzie, her self-titled jazz CD, includes Sing Sister Sing which has become an anthem for women everywhere. Music Is is her recording of inspirational compositions.

And Branice's CD, I Am Me : Melodies, Lyrics & Lessons for Children, was released to rave reviews from children of all ages!

Her composition, Sing Sing Sing, was chosen as the second-grade song in McGraw-Hill's music textbook, Spotlight On Music.

And most recently, Branice has just released her brand new CD, I Fly, which is "flying" into the hearts of all who partake. The reviews are coming in that it is transformative, inspiring and life-changing.

Branice earned a B.A. in Psychology from Brown University and an M.A. in Music Education from New York University.
Venue Information:
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069

All lineups and times subject to change