Monthly Archives: August 2011

AUGUST 17 » AUGUST 27, 2011
東京都港区西麻布1-3-21-1F  |  03.3403.8690  

Organized by Ichiro Irie featuring 9 young artists who reflect distinct facets of
the Japanese diaspora in Los Angeles.
Featuring works by:

Kio Griffith
Aska Irie
Ichiro Irie
Gil Kuno
Ayame Mimi
Shizu Saldamando
Macha Suzuki
Misato Suzuki
Devon Tsuno

gallery hours : Wednesday to Saturday (水〜土)
12:00〜19:00 or by appointment.
tel 03-3403-8690 fax 03-3403-8670

Gallery Lara website

Blue Whale presents
123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St. Suite 301, Los Angeles, CA 90012  |  213.620.0908     

Born in 1980, Gabriel Johnson studied Jazz trumpet and Classical Composition at the New England Conservatory of Music from 2000-2004, and currently lives in Los Angeles. Since moving to Los Angeles, Gabriel has played or recorded with a wide variety of musicians and bands, including Blood Sweat and Tears, Gladys Knight, Jill Scott, Faith Evans, Gerald Albright, Dave Koz, Johnny Mathis, Kyle Eastwood, Chris Botti, Paula Cole, Burt Bacharach, Lyle Lovett, Keb Mo, M83, B.o.B,Tuvan throat singers Huun Huur Tu, and Carmen Rizzo.  He has also appeared as a musician on the TV shows “American Idol” and “The Tyra Banks Show”.

In 2007, Clint Eastwood called upon Gabriel to be the featured soloist on his Golden Globe nominated score to Changeling starring Angelina Jolie.  Eastwood, once a trumpet player himself, said that Johnson “plays like a singer “ and “has a gorgeous tone.” This was a bit of a full circle moment for Johnson, since as a child he grew up less than 10 miles from Clint’s home in Carmel,California. He says “I grew up not too far from where Clint lives and had heard about his love of music while I was  growing up. So to be sitting there playing the trumpet, his favorite instrument, on a movie he directed, with him sitting 5 feet from me in the room was exciting and humbling at the same time.” With the success of the Changeling soundtrack, Eastwood once again called upon Johnson to be the soloist in his Nelson Mandela biopic Invictus which came out in December of 2009.

In February of 2010, Gabriel released his first full length album, Fra_ctured. Legendary music critic Robert Christgau called the album “bigger and hotter than his predecessors’ and said: “‘No Words’ could be an arena-rock fanfare. ‘Be Serious’ has club roots. ‘V.T.F.O’ is mucho ominoso, and ‘Lullabye’ whispers (Miles Davis’)’Someday My Prince Will Come’” and gave it an A- in his  highly respected Consumer Music Guide for March of 2010. Long time Village Voice critic Tom Hull said “what I’m hearing is soundtrack electronica, closer to Morricone than to Miles, darker but with grandiose gestures.” and added the album to his Jazz Consumer Guide for 2010 in the Village Voice. All About Jazz said the album “makes it difficult to compare his style to others” and “Johnson warps the sound of his trumpet with twisted glee.” Fractured entered the CMJ electronic and Jazz charts as the Number 3 most added record on college radio in its first week, and reached number one in several markets in America during its first 2 months of radio on both the Jazz and Electronic charts.

In July of 2010, Gabriel released Ambient Music:Volume 1. 100% of the sales of the album are being donated to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in honor of his late father. Johnson plans to continue with the Ambient Music series in order to raise more money for the cause, which is near and dear to him.

Gabriel is currently writing music for his next album to be released in 2011.

 Gabe Johnson 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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As a child, Gene taught himself to play drums.  Throughout his youth, he was mentored by gospel drumming great, Terry Banks.  By the time he was a teenager, Gene was playing in numerous community choirs and jazz ensembles spanning from Chicago to LA, and even formed a tour schedule as a junior in highschool.  Gene recieved his BFA in Jazz Performance at California Institute of the Arts, where he studied under famed jazz legend, Joe Labarbara (pianist Bill Evans’ drummer).  While in college, Gene toured the world with Carlos Santana, and his son, Salvador.  Upon graduating, he quickly established himself as one of the most sought after drummers in Los Angeles.  Of late, Gene has been touring Europe and the US with famed guitarist, Larry Carlton, in addition to playing with James Torme (son of Mel Torme), and numerous other high profile artists in the LA area.

Gene Coye website

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Louis Cole is one of those young musicians who “get” the potential of the internet as a medium for getting your music out there. In the past, he’s collaborated with such people as Jack Conte of Pomplamoose fame  and drummer for Rick.

Louis Cole website

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Tim Lefebvre (bass) is one of the most skilled and sought after bass players in NY. Tim has made appearances in Saturday Night Live’s house band over the last few years – his work has also been heard on The Apprentice, The Sopranos, Late Show With David Letterman, The Knights of Prosperity (CBS), 30 Rock (NBC), Oceans 12, Ocean ‘s 13, The Departed, Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle, and Analyze That!. Tim was the Musical Director/Leader on The Caroline Rhea Show on ABC and has appeared recently with Chris Potter, Patti Austin, Uri Caine, and Dave Binney. This summer Tim is touring with Chuck Loeb, Dennis Chambers, Till Bronner, Eric Marienthal and Jim Beard. Tim brings his incredible support and huge low sounds to the Rudder vibe.

Tim Lefevbre (Skip Herbertson) website

BlueWhale website

Blue Whale presents
123 Astronaut E S Onizuka St. Suite 301, Los Angeles, CA 90012  |  213.620.0908    

Born in Munich, Germany, Leni started playing piano at the age of six and guitar at eleven. At seventeen, she formed her own acting company, and her radical productions sold out houses across Europe. In 1977, she turned her attention to music and left for the United States to study film scoring at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Scoring gave way to her love for guitar and in 1981, Leni moved to New York to play in a variety of rock and jazz bands. In 1983, she formed a group of her own with Paul Motion on drums and Bill Frisell on guitar. As a recording artist, she originally made a name for herself in jazz circles (her first nine albums were instrumental,) then crossed her talents over into the singer-songwriter realm, garnering consistent praise in the process. Critics have said her music incorporates “intelligent lyrics and beautifully drawn vignettes” (Washington Post), “crystalline, jazz-meets-blues guitar lines” (Guitar Player), and “thoughtful structure, evocative moods, attention to groove” (San Francisco Bay Guardian). A “Fleet and Lyrical guitarist”, (The New Yorker). “A Gifted Singer-Songwriter with a Wide-Ranging Sensibility and Sophisticated Guitar and Harmonic Chops” (The Boston Globe).  Leni runs  her own label, LSR/RED.

Five consecutive wins of Gibson’s Female Jazz Guitarist of the Year might make anyone hunker down and focus on going ‘six for six’.  But Leni Stern has always defied expectations, and her diverse, 20-year career in music is a textbook example of growth under a self-imposed fire. From the expert instrumentalist, a singer-songwriter emerged, with observations to share from her travels throughout the world.   Stern adds: “Why deny the impulse to put words to these experiences?  I couldn’t think of a reason.”

With the 2005 release of ‘When Evening Falls’, Stern evoked recent travels to Kenya, India and New Orleans to deliver a haunting singer-songwriter album.  Mix in her trademark bluesy guitar solos and the jazz-infused “On The Outside” and “Dancin’ With the Devil”, and a burst of creativity is revealed – ten songs which reflect an artist who has seen the world, experienced life, recorded 13 albums, and continues to grow.

Indeed, with the 2006 release of “Love Comes Quietly,” Stern showcases her uncanny ability to paint extraordinary images amid familiar and exotic backdrops alike. The album opens with ‘Cheyenne’, a rumination on Native American culture, and the destruction and disrepair embodied by the Cheyenne River Indian Reservation. Stern sings to an apparition, “all I’d ask for is water, send us water…” amid the haunting violins of Ernesto Villa-Lobos.

Now in 2007, the release of “Alu Maye (Have you heard)” boldly juxtaposes Stern’s trademark inventive guitar and vocal explorations with the indigenous sounds of accomplished African instrumentalists and singers. The result is at once haunting, exuberant, cinematic, personal and resoundingly assured. Stern has discovered her surest artistic footing in the sahel and savanna of Africa. AllMusic’s Thom Jurek has described Stern as “a musician of uncommon caliber and vision” — her new EP is sure to validate such an assertion.

Also in 2007, ‘AFRICA,’ two years in the making, grew out of the ‘Alu Maye (Have You Heard) sessions, integrating African and Western music forms with such authenticity that it may come to be regarded as an ‘Audio Documentary’ of African musical life. Recorded in Africa, playing with local musicians at the pace of life in Africa, Stern invites listeners to immerse themselves in African culture as she experienced it, first-hand.

Leni Stern website

BlueWhale website