Two generations of sharp-dressed L.A. jazz broadcasters:
Chet Hanley (L) and Leroy Downs
The Beast gives mad respect to The Jazzcat! Since the late-1990s, radio DJ/promoter Leroy Downs has acted almost as a one-man Energizer Bunny of L.A. jazz. Best known as the master of ceremonies for the Monterey Jazz Festival, Downs now can add "TV host" to his mind-boggling resume. From the press release: "The premiere episode of The Jazz Creative celebrates African American History Month, the Grammys and the Academy Awards as we peek inside the creative process of composing Music for Film with trumpeter Terence Blanchard (Chi-raq) and pianist Jason Moran (Selma), a visit with Philadelphia-born bassist Christian McBride, who talks Gamble & Huff, the Sound Of Philadelphia, Grover Washington Jr. and the 76er’s and two sets of great new music from The Planetary Prince, pianist Cameron Graves and the Afrophysicist, trumpeter Theo Croker."
For more info on the show, check out this new interview with Downs about over at Urban Music Scene. For a clip of Downs chatting with Kamasi Washington, go here. There are also a number of cool interviews on the All Music Television YT channel. Go here to find the Aspire Channel on your TV.
Not surprisingly, Downs is also a Jazz Curator of the Steven James Buchanan Jazz Collection at the Mayme A. Clayton Jazz Library and Museum in Culver City, where two new events have just been announced:
On Sunday, 3/6/16, 2pm, a closing reception for Touch Bass, a unique exhibit by photographer Sammy Davis that focuses on portraiture of several of SoCal's world-class bassists, including Henry Franklin, James Leary, Jennifer Leitham, Roberto Miguel Miranda, Richard Simon, Trevor Ware, Nedra Wheeler, John B. Williams, Mike Alvidrez, Luther Hughes and John Heard. Admission is free.
A month after that on Sunday, 4/3/16, another of the late Mimi Melnick's Double M Jazz Salons will feature the Phil Ranelin Jazz Ensemble, with trombonist/leader Ranelin, reedsmen Pablo Calogero and Keith Fiddmont, trumpeter Curtis Taylor, pianist Aaron Provisor, bassist Ian Martin and drummer Don Littleton. April 3rd, also marks the one-time Horace Tapscott Young Musician’s Heritage Award. A deserving recipient, who has already made early contributions to the art form and continues to display great promise, will be honored during a brief ceremony. (Doors open at 12:30 p.m. At 1:00 p.m., Phil will briefly reflect on his life and career, in an informal discussion with jazz historian Jeffrey Winston. The first of two stellar sets with a 40-minute intermission begins at 2pm.)