There is a fresh surge of talent in the jazz world and it is happening in the City of Angels. Great clubs like The Blue Whale in Little Tokyo feature artists who heartily embrace the genre and go with it as fans gather to groove to the sass and soul of this sort of musical offering. Following are four of the best jazz bands formed for the personal pleasure of Southlanders and often playing in and around Los Angeles.
Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra
Bassist Clayton and saxophone player Jeff Clayton came together to form the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra three decades ago. After employing ace Los Angeles-based musicians, their big band was born and soon had throngs of fans following their sound. It also wasn’t long before this stellar group came up with a number of CDs, including “Groove Shop” which earned a Grammy nomination. Jazz Journal International’s David Badham called the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra “one of the finest modern big band issues” he ever heard. Talk about a huge compliment worth bragging rights for years to come.
Steve McCann Jazz
If a vintage big band sound is what you yearn to hear, look to Steve McCann and his sharply dressed musicians to deliver big time. Capitol Artists said Steve McCann and his talented band had a “hip blend of vocals and instrumentals [that] delivers the great jazz standards with impeccable perfection, with broad appeal for all ages!” Catch this smooth jazz in Los Angeles for a live performance.
The Eric Byak Project
Jazz standards infused with modern interpretations more romantic than most are the metier of The Eric Bayak Project. His musical mates allow smooth Brazilian jazz, funk and rock fusion to come into the mix as this master guitarist and synthesis leads the way. Indeed, drummer Frank Briggs, keyboard player Hans Zhermuhlen, bassist Baba Elefante, saxophone player George Shelby and percussionists M.B. Gordy and Gabriel Falcon join Eric Bayak to play to all kinds of crowds gathered in the Southland ready to be moved by this special jazz outfit.
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Talk about versatile. Rob Kyle is able to command all kinds of sounds via any number of woodwinds, be that smooth jazz, Brazilian, blues or any other genre for that matter. Styles and songs are in the hands of the organizer of the events at which this Los Angeles-based band leader brings his music. Although drums were his musical weapon of choice while in high school, he changed things up by taking on the sax. Rob Kyle is a mainstay at Southland festivals and clubs. He has been part of the Playboy Jazz Festival as well as Jazz on the Green Festival and the Whittier Uptown Festival.
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