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February is for music lovers Jonathan Weiss | Fri, Feb 04 2011 04:00 PM


The return of the Jazz Bakery to Culver City is likely more than a year away, but that doesn't mean that exciting, new forms of America's native art form is far away from our local environs. Royal T Cafe in Culver City has made a reputation for not only putting on inspiring art openings and parties, but has established itself as a venue that showcases forward-thinking and genre-bending contemporary jazz acts.

One such act is Daniel Rosenboom’s Plotz! band, which will perform at Royal T on Wednesday, Feb. 9, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Rosenboom is a gifted and highly educated trumpeter, composer and producer, with degrees from the Eastman School of Music, as well as a Master of Music degree from UCLA, where he studied with international trumpet virtuoso Jens Lindemann.

One of many projects that Rosenboom participates in, Plotz! is an inventive group that mixes jazz and rock with Eastern European and gypsy sensibilities. This is not the typical Klezmer-inspired group playing standards from generations past, but master musicians blending many different genres at once, with a highly developed jazz and improvisational vocabulary. Along with Rosenboom on trumpet, will be Gavin Templeton on saxophones, Brian Walsh playing clarinets and saxophones, Jake Vossler on guitars, Orest Balaban on bass and Austin Wrinkle, holding down the drum chair. The cover is $10 general admission and $5 for students.

This self-described “electro-Balkan jam-rock” is not being played in this capacity anywhere in the United States, so we should consider ourselves lucky that we live in such an art-enriched environment.

In another Wednesday night offering, Royal T is also featuring the Pablo Motta Trio on Feb. 16 from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. This trio features original music and fresh arrangements of standards that will have Motta leading the group from his double bass, Dan West on piano and Derek Syverud playing drums. Raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Motta moved to Los Angeles at the age of 12, and is the first-call bassist for soundtrack recordings that feature the Tango. Royal T is at 8910 Washington Blvd., in Culver City. More info can be found at royal-t.org.

One of the perks of being a billionaire is being able to donate money for arts enrichment and fulfillment, as philanthropist and entrepreneur Eli Broad, a native Detroiter who made his fortune in real estate, has done in a big way in Southern California. The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation has given money for a state-of-the-art music and performing arts center at Santa Monica College that opened in 2008.

The Broad Stage will be the site for a concert by The Living Sisters on Saturday, Feb. 19. The Living Sisters is a group of three Los Angeles-based singer-songwriters who come together for a smattering of dates throughout the year. This Southern California super group consists of Inara George (The Bird and the Bee), Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond) and Eleni Mandell. All three performers have had success on their own, but will occasionally put together this lineup to perform their take on standards and original material. The troupe weaves together dream-like three-part harmonies with jazz, folk and rock stylings as part of their eclectic stew. There are two shows – one at 7:30 p.m. and another at 9:30 p.m. Ticket information can be found at thebroadstage.com.

For those who haven’t had enough of the Journey revival courtesy of the singers on Fox’s hit show Glee, then perhaps the Tony Award-nominated musical Rock of Ages should be on the list of shows to see. The show comes to the Pantages Theater Feb. 15 for a two-week run. Rock of Ages, tells the story of a Michigan-born busboy working at a Sunset Strip rock club, who has dreams of hitting the stage as a rock star. When the club’s future is threatened by a developer, he gets his chance to form a band and save the day. Actors advance the action with familiar 1980s’ hits by Journey, Night Ranger, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Pat Benatar and more.

The lead actor is played by Tony Award-nominated actor and American Idol runner-up Constantine Maroulis, who previously performed in a national touring company of Rent. There were some solid and compelling hooks and melodies being written in the 1980s that has obviously stood the test of time. More information about the show can be found at broadwayla.org.

Last, Detroit-born alto sax jazz master Kenny Garrett makes his way to the Southland, and will perform at the Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood with a four-night engagement beginning tonight. Garrett is currently promoting his latest effort, a live recording featuring the music of Miles Davis (with whom he played) called Sketches of MD: Live at the Iridium, featuring Pharoah Sanders. Garrett is one of the fieriest players on the jazz scene today, and anyone who has seen him live can attest to his passionate, inventive and melodic improvisational skills. More information about the shows can be found at catalinajazzclub.com.

Jonathan Weiss is a Los Angeles-based music supervisor for film, TV and advertising. Email him at jonjaz@aol.com.


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