Jay Leno, Gustavo Dudamel & Queen Latifah talk music, hair on ‘Tonight’ show


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No one is calling Gustavo Dudamel the ‘King of All Media’ yet, a la Howard Stern. But on Tuesday night the telegenic young L.A. maestro demonstrated his growing celebrity wattage while sitting opposite Jay Leno and alongside a certain member of pop culture’s certified royalty.

The Dude had proven he was ready for prime time even before he became music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and moved his family to the Hollywood Hills. He first made a splash on U.S. television with his kinetic appearances on CBS’ ‘60 Minutes,’ which profiled the hirsute, dynamic young Venezuelan conductor.


On Tuesday, Dudamel stepped into the even brighter lights of ‘The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,’ his first appearance on the late-night NBC chat-variety program.

Joined on-stage by Leno’s other principal guest, Queen Latifah, a formidable multi-media property in her own right, Dudamel praised his lately adopted part-time home of L.A., joked about his signature hair style, and put in a plug for this Sunday’s premiere of the Phil’s new initiative that will bring live simulcasts of some of its concerts to specially equipped movie theaters across the U.S. and Canada. Looking relaxed and sounding confident -- he is accustomed to performing in front of thousands of people, after all -- Dudamel related some familiar tales with enthusiasm: of how he learned music at the knee of his father, a professional brass player; and how, as a boy, he used to line up his toys and pretend to conduct them.

Responding to Leno’s query about his wild and woolly tresses, Dudamel said that growing his hair had occurred more or less accidentally, albeit with his wife Eloisa’s encouragement. Asked by Leno how he managed to fire up his orchestra mates, Dudamel modestly replied it was the music that deserved the credit.

Later, the Queen and the Dude watched the show’s musical attraction, Alter Bridge, rock out with an intensity that even the Phil’s leader would be hard-pressed to match.

-- Reed Johnson