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June 1, 2012 Walter Smith III + Ambrose Akinmusire + Adam Benjamin + Harish Raghavan + Kendrick Scott


Friday, June 1, 2012 at 9:00 PM - Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 12:00 AM (PDT)

Los Angeles, CA

June 1, 2012  Walter Smith III + Ambrose Akinmusire + Adam...

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6.1.12 Walter Smith III + Ambrose Akinmusire + Adam Benjamin + Harish Raghavan + Kendrick Scott   more info Ended $15.00 $1.82

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Walter Smith III + Ambrose Akinmusire + Adam Benjamin + Harish Raghavan + Kendrick Scott exclusive performance @ BlueWhale

$15 cover for both sets , 21+   No Refunds


photo by Michel Vasset

From a young age, Walter began taking music very seriously. “My first gig was playing at a McDonalds in Houston with another saxophone player. I took a solo on "Blue Bossa." It was terrible. People clapped, and I figured if I could get away with that and get applause, how could I fail?”

Walter Smith III began playing the saxophone at the age of 7 in his hometown of Houston, TX. At Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, in 1998, Smith received a Clifford Brown/Stan Getz Fellowship from IAJE and NFAA; the NFAA Young Talent Award; a full tuition scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music; and a United States Presidential Scholar in the Arts medal. Walter Graduated from Berklee in 2003 with a degree in Music Education.

Walter has performed all over the world participating in numerous national and international festivals as well as famed stages in the U.S. such as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. Smith has shared the stage and/or appeared on recordings with many jazz notables including Terence Blanchard, Roy Haynes, Christian McBride, Eric Reed, Mulgrew Miller, Joe Sample, Bob Hurst, Myron Walden, Walter Beasley, Lewis Nash, Terri Lynne-Carrington, and a host of others.  To date, Walter has appeared on over 75 recordings that are released worldwide.

Walter's debut recording as a leader was released in March of 2006 on the Fresh Sound New Talent label and features many of the brightest young jazz talents. His sophomore release, titled "Live in France", was released in October of 2009 to critical acclaim. His most recent album, “III”, was released in September of 2010 and was the #3 best seller on itunes in the U.S. for it’s first week. It features Ambrose Akinmusire, Jason Moran, Joe Sanders, and Eric Harland.

Over the past few years, besides leading a quintet, Walter is/has been a member of several amazing groups (recording and touring) including the Terence Blanchard group, Eric Harland's quintet, Ambrose Akinmusire's band, Christian Scott's group, the Sean Jones sextet, Jason Moran’s Big Bandwagon (In My Mind:Monk at Town Hall), and the Christian McBride situation band.

Walter Smith III website

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Ambrose's conceptual extension into a new musical language is never to the exclusion of beauty. As one who listens intently, he values the fertility of a pause, of communication, of tension. Ambrose began conceptualizing early as a musician, theorizing and experimenting as a catalyst for development.  He seeks other genres of music to analyze and expose, drawing inspiration from such musicians as Bjork and Chopin.

Ambrose’s music restructures accepted notions of jazz in a way that reflects his ability to recognize nuances, multiplicities, and patterns.  First playing piano at the age of three, his familiarity with music began long before putting his mouth to a trumpet.  He is relentlessly opposed to stagnation, seeking movement in both his music and his life.

Before he was eighteen, Ambrose had already performed with such famed musicians as Joe Henderson, Joshua Redman, Steve Coleman, and Billy Higgins. After graduating Berkeley High School, he moved to New York to begin a scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music, studying with Vincent Pinzerella from the New York Philharmonic, Dick Oatts, Lew Soloff, and Laurie Frink.

Throughout his studies, Ambrose continued to tether audiences to his concepts and his sound, performing publicly with Lonnie Plaxico, Stefon Harris, Josh Roseman, Vijay Iyer, Charlie Persip, the Mingus Big Band, and the San Francisco Jazz Collective, to name only a few.  His exposure to dynamic modes of playing and to musicians with accumulated experiences only promoted the development of his own distinct musical style.

Ambrose is a recent graduate of the Masters program at USC, and also the Monk Institute, Ambrose’s instructors include Terence Blanchard, Billy Childs and Gary Grant.  In the past year, he has worked with such artists as Jimmy Heath, Jason Moran, Hal Crook, Bob Hurst, Terri Lynne Carrington, Ron Carter, and Wallace Roney, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. Most recently Ambrose is the winner of both the 2007 Carmine Caruso International Jazz Trumpet Solo Competition and 2007 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition.

As for a conclusion, there is none. Ambrose’s musical trajectory continues to grow in more than one direction, drawing from the most unconventional sources, unraveling the most comfortable conceptions of limitation. His persistent reevaluations and his aspirations to evolution and beauty carry it to an entirely new space within itself.

Ambrose Akinmusire website

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Adam Benjamin is a Grammy-nominated and critically acclaimed pianist, keyboardist, composer and writer based out of Los Angeles, who is recognized as a Rising Star in Jazz in Downbeat magazine’s critic’s and reader’s polls for two years running. While his unmistakeable sound crosses stylistic boundaries and challenges traditional notions of jazz, he maintains a humble and humorous approach that connects him with his audiences worldwide.
He is a founding member of Kneebody, a electric quintet widely recognized as one of the most unique ensebles in jazz. Their 2009 Grammy-nominated release is a radical reinvention of the songs of Charles Ives in collaboration with singer Theo Bleckmann (Winter and Winter, 2009). Their upcoming release You Can Have Your Moment (Winter and Winter, 2010) is the fourth full-length album from the “spontaneous and exciting” (Downbeat) “freakishly talented quintet” (All About Jazz).

His latest solo piano album, Alphabets and Consequences (f.Boo Records, 2010) is a unique series of improvised miniatures that transform familiar jazz and folk melodies into quirky impressionist etudes bursting with both humor and gravity. This follows Long Gone (Kind of Blue, 2008) and his notorious 2007 self-release It's a Standard, Standard, Standard, Standard World, which captures 37 jazz standards through the lens of Garageband 1.0 technology. This hilarious yet strangely expressive release quickly became a underground favorite, and was hailed as “a majestic tour de force” by Dave Douglas.

He has also toured and recorded extensively with Dave Douglas' electric band, Keystone, including 2010 world tours debuting Spark of Being, a collaborative work with filmmaker Bill Morrison. Adam’s contribution is central to the Keystone albums Live in Sweden (Greenleaf, 2006) and Moonshine (Greenleaf, 2008).

Adam has also performed, collaborated and toured with artists as varied as Jimmy Chamberlin Complex, So Percussion, Joshua Redman, and Beck, and has contributed to many film scores, including co-writing the score to John Krasinski’s 2009 adaptation of David Foster Wallace’s Brief Interviews With Hideous Men. He has performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Hollywood Bowl, and North Sea Jazz Festival, and has been a guest lecturer and faculty at Stanford University, the Banff International Jazz Workshop, CalArts, University of Southern California, and the School for Improvisational Music.

Adam Benjamin website

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Harish Raghavan was born May 19th, 1982. He began his study of the double bass at the age of 17. After studying for a brief period he was accepted to study with John Clayton at the University of Southern California. While in Los Angeles he had the opportunity to also study with Robert Hurst among many others. In 2007 he made the move to New York and has quickly become a rising star on his instrument.

Since moving to New York he has the opportunity to record and play with some of the most forward thinking musicians of his generation: Ambrose Akinmusire, Eric Harland, Mark Turner, Aaron Parks, Taylor Eigsti, Greg Osby, Vijay Iyer, Billy Childs, Kurt Elling, Benny Green, Terrell Stafford, Mike Moreno, Rodney Green, Willie Jones III, Scott Kinsey, Logan Richardson, Fabian Almazan, Justin Brown, Dayna Stephens, Gerald Clayton, Marcus Gilmore, Walter Smith III, along with many others.

Harish Raghavan website

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"Kendrick Scott is a jazz drummer conversant in an ultramodern sense of propulsion."The New York Times

Kendrick ‘KADS’ Scott, born July 8, 1980, and raised in Houston, Texas, is an artist of incredible depth, talent, and determination. He has been featured in Terence Blanchard’s band for the last six years and has appeared on the Grammy Award-winning and nominated recordings, A Tale of God’s Will, and Flow, on which he contributed original compositions and orchestrations. Since arriving in New York City in 2003, Scott has appeared on numerous records as a sideman, and on the soundtracks to seven feature films. He is recognized as an endorser by Yamaha Corporation, Remo, Vater, Puresound, Zildjian Cymbals, Protechtor, Craviotto Snare Drums and Danmar Percussion.

However, touring the world and recording with the likes of Blanchard, as well as Herbie Hancock, John Scofield, Maria Schneider, Wayne Shorter, Musiq Soulchild, Christian McBride, David Sanborn, Dianne Reeves, John Patitucci, The Crusaders, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Robert Glasper, Stefon Harris, Kenny Garrett, Pat Metheny, Nicholas Payton, Patti Austin, Angelique Kidjo, Lionel Loueke, Roy Hargrove, Raul Midon, Gretchen Parlato plus playing on numerous film soundtracks by Spike Lee and other filmmakers, is not nearly enough for the uber-talented 29-year old.

While excelling in the business of playing music, Scott decided to plunge head first into the business of running a record label. In preparation for his debut recording as a leader, the drummer discovered the need for himself and other artists to have a new platform from which they could release their music. Scott also had no desire to place the destiny of his first recording in the hands of a traditional record label. In 2007, he launched World Culture Music with the release of Kendrick Scott Oracle – The Source.

Kendrick Scott grew up in a household of musicians. He first encountered the drums in church where his parents and older brother were involved in the music ministry. By age six, Scott’s parents (Stepheny and Kenneth) could see that the young man’s interest in the drums was not a passing fancy, so they set him up with sticks, a pad and lessons. “As a kid, I remember listening to the music at church and feeling chills in my body. I knew then, that music was my calling.” Years later his hard work, and the great support of his family, enabled Scott to attend Houston’s renowned High School for the Performing and Visual Arts (other graduates include Mike Moreno, Robert Glasper, Jason Moran, Eric Harland, Beyonce and many others). While a student, he won Downbeat Magazine student awards, plus the Clifford Brown/Stan Getz award, presented by the IAJE and the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts. He was later awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music where he majored in Music Education. “Going to Berklee was pivotal for my growth as a musician. I met so many great amazing musicians and friends,” he exclaims. As an undergrad, Scott gigged with Pat Metheny, Gary Burton, and Kenny Garrett. Upon graduation, he already had offers from Joe Sample and Terence Blanchard.

The title track of his debut CD, The Source, was originally recorded on Terence Blanchard's 2005 record, Flow, for Blue Note Records. Flow features Scott as well as pianist and producer Herbie Hancock who plays on Scott's composition. "Being a part of Terence's group for three years has been a godsend. He has given the members of the band freedom to grow and cultivate our voices. When we went in to record ‘The Source’ Herbie said he would play on it; one can only imagine how I felt." If that weren't enough, Scott's composition was the Grammy nominated track (for Hancock's solo). "I knew when I went in to record my record that 'The Source' would be the title track. It's is an homage to humanity. While the world is at unrest, I believe compassion will prevail."

Kendrick Scott is one of the bright stars in an amazingly talented group of young drummers on the scene today. He remains a first call player for major artists because his humanity and compassion extends into the notes and phrases he chooses to play, which makes his playing consistently ring true as it springs forth from an ego-less, honest place. These deep roots, connected to his mentors, inspirations, peers, his parents and to the church, enable Scott to be present and in the moment, bringing to the table the wisdom of a veteran musician and the adventurousness of a perpetually curious young artist.

In the words of Terence Blanchard, "Kendrick is a true artist of the highest order. He is not bound by the conventional wisdom of the music world. I've noticed that he never says why, but rather why not. He is exactly what the music world needs: someone with the vision and courage to press forward and expand the world of music. I am blessed to have him around and look forward to seeing what he does every time we play.”

Kendrick Scott website

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When & Where

123 Astronaut E S Onizuka Street #301
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Friday, June 1, 2012 at 9:00 PM - Saturday, June 2, 2012 at 12:00 AM (PDT)

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