Tuesday, March 24, 2015


[photo courtesy of Mark Weber]

Sometime in mid- or late-April, the Paris-based indie jazz label Dark Tree Records will a drop No U-Turn, a previously unpublished live performance from L.A. avant-garde godfathers Bobby Bradford and John Carter. The 5-song, 72-minute set features Carter's son Stanley Carter along with Roberto Miranda on double basses and William Jeffrey on drums. It was recorded on a 4-track reel-to-reel at Baxter Hall on Pasadena's Cal-Tech campus on November 17, 1975.

According to D.T. label head Bertrand Gastaut, "No U-Turn is the first and only recording by this quintet and the earliest extant recording of Bobby and John live in performance. Also, this shows that window of about five years when John was using soprano and clarinet equally. And most importantly, for historians this recording fills a void in Bobby Bradford and John Carter’s discography. If you were not in Los Angeles throughout the 70s, this is the first time you'll hear what they were doing during those years!"

This release will include a 16-page booklet with liner notes by photographer/journalist Mark Weber, who also donated rare and previously unpublished photos from his voluminous archives alongside contributions from Jak Kilby and Gérard Rouy. (Go here for a 4-minute sample of Bradford's "Love's Dream" from No U-Turn.)

Even better, tonight at the blue whale in Little Tokyo, you can congratulate Bob in person when he plays with his quartet (pictured below, from left of Mr. B): bassist Zephry Avalon, drummer Tina Raymond, woodwind poo-bah Vinny Golia. Golia will follow with his sextet: alto saxophonist Gavin Templeton, trumpeter Daniel Rosenboom, guitarist Alex Noice, bassist Jon Armstrong and drummer Andrew Lessman. These are good days, peeps! XO, the Beast

Thursday, March 12, 2015

REST IN TEMPO: Tom Williamson, 1937-2015

Tom Williamson was born on October 29, 1937 in Montgomery, Alabama. His family moved to Detroit in the early forties, where he was exposed to jazz music as a youngster and began playing the trumpet. Williamson attended an all-black high school but at sixteen left to enlist in the United States Air Force, and ended up stationed in Kansas. In 1958 his left the military, then moved to Los Angeles in 1961, where he took up the bass, studying with teachers Richard Taylor, John Dule and Ray Siegel. He began playing at the It Club and Adams West Theatre in Mid-City Los Angeles. During the seventies he studied business at Pasadena City College and later in 1992 obtained a B.S. in Marketing from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. His career includes working and recording with Los Angeles Jazz Quintet, the John Carter-Bobby Bradford Quartet (where he was the principal bassist), Horace Tapscott's Pan-Afrikan People's Arkestra and Curtis Peagler. He passed away on March 2, 2015.

Some examples of Tom's basswork:

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Live Music in March [UPDATED]

3/1 Onaje Murray @ Hal's (Venice)....3/1 Michael Vlatkovich Quartet + Anadis Music @ Eagle Rock Center for the Arts....3/1 Pete Christlieb Big Band @ The Lighthouse (Hermosa Beach)....3/3 Zach Brock, Sam Barsh + Mark Ferber @ the blue whale (Little Tokyo)....3/3-3/7 Roy Hargrove Quintet @ Catalina's (Hollywood)....3/3 OHM @ The Baked Potato (Studio City)....3/3 Charles Owens Big Band @ Typhoon (Santa Monica)....3/4 Peter Erskine New Trio @ the blue whale....3/5 Industrial Jazz Group @ Cafe NELA (Cypress Park)....3/5 Brad Dutz 4tet @ REDCAT (Downtown)....3/5 Bill Frisell's Big Sur Quintet @ Valley PAC (Northridge)....3/5 Toy Shop Ghost / Julian Velard @ The Piano Kitchen (Santa Barbara)....3/6 Jean-Michel Pilc, Francois Moutin + Ari Hoening @ UCLA Schoenberg Hall....3/6 The Neptunas @ Cafe NELA....3/6 Toy Shop Ghost w/ Miguelito Leon + Grupo Maferefun @ The Piano Kitchen....3/6-3/7 Robert Hurst Group @ the blue whale....3/7 Carl Saunders Quartet @ Vibrato (Bel-Air)....3/7 Donny McCaslin, Jeff Babko, Tim Lefebvre + Nate Wood @ Zipper Hall (Downtown)....3/8 Nedra Wheeler Ensemble @ Clayton Library (Culver City)....3/8 CalJAS presents Mundell Lowe, Ron Eschete + Luther Hughes (Westminster)....3/9 Emil Richards Big Band @ Typhoon....3/10 Andrea Centazzo, Jeff Schwartz + Charles Sharp / Maksim Velichkin @ Track 16 (Culver City)....3/13 Dubowsky Ensemble presents The Golem (1920 horror film w/ live score) @ HM157 (Lincoln Heights)....3/13 B Free Quintet @ Industry Cafe + Jazz (Culver City)....3/13 JUST ADDED! Premiere Screening of The Wrecking Crew (Q&A w/ director Danny Tedesco + WC members Hal Blaine, Joe Osborn, Don Randi + Bill Pitman) @ NUART Theater (West L.A.)....3/13 Joe Potts, Rick Potts + Joseph Hammer @ Jancar Gallery (7pm, Chinatown)....3/14 20 Years of Freedom w/ Hugh Masekela, Vusi Mahlasela + Ladysmith Black Mambazo @ Disney Hall (Downtown)....3/17 Arturo Sandoval Salutes Zane Musa @ Catalina's....3/17 The Decisive Instant @ Cal State-Dominguez Hills (Carson)....3/19 Majick Bullet Theory @ Cafe NELA....3/19 Nadia Shpachenko-Gottesman @ Cal State-Dominguez Hills....3/20 SASSAS presents AD HOC #12: Coppice, Mathieu Ruhlmann & Joda Clément, Casey Anderson (West Hollywood)....3/20 Black Violin @ The Broad Stage (Santa Monica)....3/21 Dale Fielder Quartet 20th Anniversary Show @ Alva's Showroom (San Pedro)....3/21 Tribute to J.S. Bach's Tricentennial w/ Miguel Atwood-Ferguson @ Union Station (Downtown)....3/22 Max Richter @ El Rey Theatre (Mid-City)....3/22 Herbie Hancock + Chick Corea @ Disney Hall....3/22 Carl Stone, Tom Recchion + Joseph Hammer @ the blue whale....3/23 Onaje Murray @ Hal's....3/24 JUST ADDED! Bobby Bradford Quartet + Vinny Golia Sextet @ the blue whale....3/7 JUST ADDED! NotQuiteFree + B Free Quartet @ CALB (Long Beach)....3/28 Emil Richards Quartet @ Vibrato....3/28 Tomasz Stanko New York Quartet @ Kirk Douglas Theatre (Culver City)....3/28 Azar Lawrence, Juini Booth, Henry Franklin + Alphonse Mouzon @ Seabird Jazz Lounge (Long Beach)....3/29 JUST ADDED! Dwight Trible Birthday Concert @ the blue whale

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Putter Smith's 6 Levels of Getting Music Gigs

[photo courtesy of Dailey Pike]

Veteran bassist Patrick "Putter" Smith is one of the Beast's fave interviews. (The guy has literally saved every gig datebook he's had since 1958, so he is a fountain of jazz history in which one can literally frolic like Anita Ekberg.) After his heartfelt and humorous comments at the Charlie Haden Memorial last month, the Beast decided to reprint Smith's advice on how to get music gigs out of being a substitute for another musician -- a sticky wicket to be sure.


"Man, you guys sure sound good. If you ever, like, need a sub on, uh, a rehearsal or anything, you know, let me know."


"Man, it sure is great to play with you guys! I just love it. I really, really appreciate so-and-so sending me in, man. It's really nice!"


"Gee, I feel really bad about so-and-so. I'd like to -- you know, I'm really -- but I really love playing with you guys, but I feel really bad about so-and-so."


"Well, you know, I think the gig should pay just a little more than that."


"Well, I think my name also should be on that poster."


"Fuck you, asshole."

Sunday, February 15, 2015

David Carr, 1956-2015

It’s almost [as if] music is right next to smell in its ability to trigger memory, to put us in that place. How many times have you been riding along in the car, happy as a clam, wrong song will come on, and, baby, you are sad. You’ve got the blues.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Clayton Library Announces New Double M Jazz Salon

Word has come down the pike that the next salon after the one above, which will be sometime in July, might feature the mighty nu-jazz caravan of Kamasi Washington + The Next Step.
Confirmation awaits!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015


I have been mostly unable to talk to anyone since Monday night when one of my four best friends of recent years, Mr. Zane Musa, transitioned. This is a GARGANTUAN and horrific loss to the entire world. it particularly hits home for me. I prayed so hard as it was unfolding that it was not actually happening. I still had a glimmer of hope that perhaps people were misinformed.

Zane Musa was one of my first jazz heroes in Los Angeles ever since I first heard him some 18 years ago. I was 16. John Coltrane and Wayne Shorter have been my two biggest inspirations as performers, and Zane is one of maybe two or three other people on the saxophone that I have ever witnessed live touch upon some of the same depths of transcendent mastery and joyous exploration.

Over the last 18 years, we would see one another, play 1-4 gigs a year, have some great laughs and very soulful and sincere interactions. He would always say, 'Miguel, you are a baddddd motherfucker.' He was probably just being kind, because he was sensitive enough to know how much I was struggling but not giving up.

The turning point in our relationship was almost exactly two years ago when I ran into Zane late night at the Dresden Room in Los Feliz. This was around the time that I mentioned to some of his closer friends that I was really concerned about Zane and his overall well-being. This was not properly conveyed to him and it caused him to think that I was talking shit about him. I don't talk shit. I have never said a negative word about him in my life. Zane has always been a hero to me and I have never wanted anything but the absolute best for him. That night, zane proceeded to get less than inch away from my face and yell and cuss at me. Ferociously. I managed to take the conversation outside, where we ended up talking for easily another 4-5 hours.

He started realizing to the depth that not only was I not talking shit about him, but that I was a brother to him, loved him to his core, have been adoring him all of these years, and actually cared about him wayyyyyyyyyy beyond the world of music. We talked about Austin Peralta that night, we talked about Zane's brother, who recently passed, and we talked about some of my issues, like extreme heartbreak for one.

From then on, we were serious homies. He would play in my large ensemble when he could and we would have long conversations on the phone and enjoy sushi together. we counseled one another and talked about serious issues. It was always optimistic, constructive, well-informed, healing, humorous and joyous. never a pity party. I feel very loved by many, many people around the world, but Zane is one of the only people that would dig deep into me and really ask me what was going on and offer profound insights and constructive and mature perspectives. He made the effort with me. It touched my heart so deeply. Some people just happen to relate to one another, and Zane and I have this.

Even though we were trying to get sushi only a couple days ago, the last time I saw him was less than 6 weeks ago. He severely blessed us all with his presence in my large ensemble at the Blue Whale late December 2014. Luckily it is all filmed and recorded, although the emphasis musically did not include a bunch of soloing, so there are not as many Zane features as I would have appreciated, especially after this week's events.

Life is so precious. It is an amazing gift so far beyond what we can possibly fully comprehend. Zane has been one of the brightest lights in my life, for which I am eternally grateful for. Luckily, I know that because of the depth and sincerity of our connection he will continue to live inside my heart for eternity. This is something that will be fueled on a daily basis. People like Zane are well beyond extremely rare. At least I know he felt loved and knew that he holds a fundamental place in the lives of those that he touched. He isn't just an insanely awesome artisan -- he is a healer, a truly great friend and someone that I think cares about people and holds a torch for everyone.

I can only imagine how Zane's family and other close friends must be feeling. Please shower them all with the most profound love, light, and appreciation that you can. They are all such super beautiful and wonderful people. I feel very strong and healthy, but I am sure there are others that really need some support.

I love you forever, Zane, and appreciate you for caring about me so much, for being such a good friend to my bud Austin and for playing your ass off in such a way that we only need to think of you and we eternally light up. Hero status for sure.

Zane, you have my promise to fully live out my life in the healthiest, most authentic, respectful and joyful way that I possibly can. You are forever a fixture in my everyday life and heart. Thank you for touching me that deeply to make me feel that way.

Wishing you eternal freedom bro and may whatever is deepest in your heart fully and completely manifest.

I love you Zane.

Miguel Atwood-Ferguson
Los Angeles
February 5, 2015
[reprinted with permission by the author]