By Reed Johnson
10:06 AM PST, December 24, 2012
The story may be apocryphal, but according to legend (i.e. Wikipedia) the jazz pianist John Beasley put together his first drum kit at age 2, using kitchen pots and pans. History does not record the title of the debut tune that Beasley performed on his DIY percussion set (let's hope, for his parents' sake, that it didn't take place 'round midnight).
But history does record that Beasley went on to write a jazz composition that landed him a scholarship at age 14; record with Miles Davis, Queen Latifah and Steely Dan, among many others; make music for TV's "Fame" and "Cheers"; contribute to film soundtracks including "The Godfather III"; and consistently craft jazz-funk-roots fusion discs that cause critics to use encomiums like, "a groove so deep you could fall right in."
So take note, jazz historians: Next month, Beasley will collaborate on four consecutive Wednesdays during a residency at the Blue Whale in downtown's Little Tokyo. On Jan. 9, he'll pair up with singer Dwight Trible; on Jan. 16, he'll jam with bassist Carlos del Puerto and drummer Gary Novak in a tribute to Brazilian icons such as Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Chico Buarque; and on Jan. 23 and 30, he'll pay homage to Thelonious Monk's genius in league with the 17-piece MONK'estra orchestra. That's a band big enough to shatter windows in every noodle shop in Astronaut E S Onizuka Street.
Beasley and friends will play two sets each night (at 9 and 10:30 p.m.). Looks like 2013 could be a very good year.
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