16th Annual Angel City Jazz Festival Finalizes 2023 Lineup


​Appearing at this year’s Angel City Jazz Festival are (from top, L-R) Linda Oh, Billy Harper, Tim Berne, Nicole Mitchell, Mat Maneri and Harriet Tubman.

(Photo: Angel City Arts)

Angel City Arts will present the Angel City Jazz Festival Oct. 13–29 at diverse venues such as REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater), 2220 Arts & Archives, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), The Moss Theatre, Zebulon, Zipper Hall and The World Stage.

This year’s event will host 17 concerts featuring live performances by the Mark Masters Ensemble featuring Billy Harper, the Destiny Muhammad Trio with Teodross Avery, Crump/Laubrock/Smythe, Jeong Lim Yang’s Zodiac Trio, Gloria Cheng, Linda May Han Oh & Fabian Almazan, Jon Jang & Hitomi Oba, Kirk Knuffke Trio, Todd Sickafoose’s Bear Proof, Tim Berne, Aurora Nealand and Hank Roberts, Harriet Tubman, Mat Maneri Quartet, Ennis Harris, NJL Awardees, Nicole Mitchell, Billy Mohler, Todd Cochran and Hubert Laws.

While some festivals focus with a nostalgic lens, Angel City looks forward to encouraging and embracing metamorphosis of the genre. While providing a cradle to 1960s innovators Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy and Charles Lloyd, Los Angeles never consistently hosted a festival dedicated to post-traditional improvisation until Rocco Somazzi founded the Angel City Jazz Festival in 2008. The festival has helped establish L.A. as a jazz destination through 16 years of affordable and accessible live concerts throughout the city featuring artists such as Bill Frisell, Archie Shepp, Bennie Maupin, Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, Vijay Iyer, Ravi Coltrane, Nels Cline, Tigran Hamasyan and Rudresh Mahanthappa.

The festival kicks off on Friday, Oct. 13, at LACMA with a special 100th anniversary tribute to the musical legacy of Sam Rivers featuring a 13-piece ensemble with special guest saxophone legend Billy Harper led by arranger/composer Mark Masters.

The festival continues Saturday, Oct. 14, with Bay Area-based jazz harpist Destiny Muhammad leading a trio and featuring local sax man Teodross Avery at the World Stage in Leimert Park. On Sunday, Oct. 15, two highly original and adventurous New York-based trios will perform back-to-back sets at 2220 Arts. First up is bassist Jeong Lim Yang’s Zodiac Trio, followed by seasoned improvisers Stephan Crump, Ingrid Laubrock and Cory Smythe. The festivities continue into Monday, Oct. 16, with a special six-hour long performance featuring 20 L.A.-based improvisers from three generations in duo and trio formats at the Oracle Tavern. Among the participants are Vinny Golia, William Rope, Dylan Fujioka and Motoko Honda.

The following weekend, on Saturday, Oct. 21, Gloria Cheng will premiere six compositions for solo piano by prominent jazz composers: James Newton, Arturo O’Farrill, Anthony Davis, Linda May Han Oh, Jon Jang and Gernot Wolfgang. Many of these composers will be in attendance, and Linda May Han Oh and Jon Jang will also perform with their respective duos.

The weekend will conclude on Oct. 22 with a double bill featuring trumpeter Kirk Knuffke in a trio with Santiago Leibson and Micheal Bisio followed by Todd Sickafoose’s all-star octet featuring Allison Miller, Jenny Scheinman, Adam Levy and Ben Goldberg, among others.

The festival continues on Wednesday, Oct. 25, with another double bill featuring two highly creative New York-based trios. Opening the night is OCEANS AND, a new trio led by saxophonist Tim Berne with vocalist/clarinetist Aurora Nealand and Hank Roberts on cello. Next up is Harriet Tubman, an avant-rock trio with Brandon Ross on guitar, Melvin Gibbs on bass and TJ Lewis on drums.

The festival’s closing weekend begins on Friday, Oct. 27, with a double bill at 2220 Arts + Archives. L.A.-based composer Ennis Harris will premiere “Images & Silhouettes” a commissioned composition for a 17-piece band. The Mat Maneri Quartet will perform material from his latest release Dust to close out the night. On Saturday, Oct. 28, Nicole Mitchell will premiere a multimedia piece dedicated to her late mother entitled JBM: Images & Beyond. Opening the night there will be a showcase coordinated by New Music USA featuring grants from The Next Jazz Legacy program, which is devoted to increasing opportunities for female or gender non-conforming musicians and is a partnership between New Music USA and the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice with support from the Mellon Foundation and Joe & Nancy Walker.

The festival will conclude on Sunday, Oct. 29, with a rare appearance by NEA Jazz Master Hubert Laws featured as a special guest of pianist Todd Cochran’s TC3 trio with John Leftwich on bass and Lyndon Rochelle on drums. L.A.-based bassist Billy Mohler will also perform with an all-star quartet featuring Mark Turner on saxophone, Shane Endsley on trumpet and Jonathan Pinson on drums.

For a full schedule, ticket information and other details, visit angelcityjazz.com. DB

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