Clazzical Notes was founded by Jerri Price-Gaines to illustrate through music and discussion “how seemingly dissimilar ethnic groups share a common humanity.”
Clazzical Notes’ inaugural performance is Sunday, March 12.
“Gumbo y Sopa: There and Back Again/Ida y Vuelta” is a diverse and all-embracing program of Latin American and African-American music.
Performers include the Munyungo Jackson Ensemble:
Though Munyungo Jackson began his musical career as a classical pianist, he began to play timbales at age 17 with his high school classmates in a Latin jazz band. It wasn’t long before Jackson was hooked on Latin styles of percussion, moving on to congas, bongos, bells and triangles. His collection now amounts to more than 400 instruments.
Throughout his career he has worked with traditional drummers from Africa, Latin America, China and Japan…. Jackson also experiments with the non-traditional percussion equipment of drum machines, sequencers and samplers to create his music. Jackson has also performed with artists like Willie Bobo, The Supremes, Miles Davis and Anita Baker, …. (He) can perform in any musical setting, from funk to pop to jazz to Latin.
Joining the Ensemble is guest vocalist Kudisan Kai, as well as the Luis Villegas Trio with guest vocalist José García.
Vocalist Kudisan Kai is a classically trained singer—and winner of Downbeat magazine’s “Best New Jazz Vocalist” award—who went on to perform with such artists as Sting, Elton John, Chaka Khan, Anita Baker, Natalie Cole, Bette Midler, and Mary J. Blige, among many others. She has made an incredible journey from opera to alternative metal.
Luis Villegas was born in East Los Angeles, a first-generation son of Mexican immigrants. As a boy, he listened to traditional Mexican boleros and even got to sing with the legendary Mexican ranchero singer, Vicente Fernandez. But… it was rock ‘n roll that got him hooked on the guitar.
“The first instrument that I wanted to play was an electric guitar,” says Luis. “I wanted to learn the guitar solo from Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker” and “Eruption” by Eddie Van Halen.” A self-taught guitarist, Luis played in rock bands all through high school and into college. Then in his early twenties, something happened. “I think I hit a wall in my appreciation for rock music. I needed a little more stimulus,” he says.
He picked up an acoustic guitar and started experimenting with classical music, jazz, blues and even flamenco. “My dad had some classical music and flamenco LPs that he’d listen to at home. My mom listened to latin music on the radio. I had friends that introduced me to jazz.”
Luis Villegas debut CD Cafe Olé was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Age Album in 1998.
“A native of Mexico, José García emerges as an almost flawless vocalist,” wrote C. Michael Bailey in 2012 for All About Jazz. He also calls García’s voice powerful, precise, and expansive. Yet García began as a self-taught guitarist. It was only when his Spanish duet wanted to add a vocalist, and were hard put to find the right voice, that he began to work on his own vocal skills. In 2011, he performed at an intimate fundraising dinner in Beverly Hills. One of the sixty guests in attendance? President Obama.
The afternoon event will be hosted by Bubba Jackson whose jazz program on KLON (now KKJZ 88.1) was described by the LA Times as “one of the best things about drive-time in LA.”
“Gumbo y Sopa: There and Back Again/Ida y Vuelta”
Sunday, March 12th at 4 p.m.
Metropolitan Baptist Church
2283 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Altadena 91001
Tickets: $10 in advance; $12 at the door
Purchase tickets at Eventbrite