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American Jazz Societies to Meet in Culver City; Crescent City to Host New Orleans Festival

“Jazz: One Music” is the theme of the fourth annual American Federation of Jazz Societies convention, to be held Friday through Sunday at the Pacifica Hotel in Culver City. About 200 delegates from 115 affiliated jazz societies in the United States and Canada--in addition to a scattering of musicians and jazz aficionados--are expected to attend the three-day event, which includes panel discussions, workshops, music presentations, photo and art exhibitions and screening of archival film footage.

The convention’s theme is also the underlying concept of the federation, which was formed in 1984. “There’s always been a schism between jazz fans, like modernists and traditionalists, and this organization was formed, and this theme was chosen, in an effort to bring (these factions) together,” said Floyd Levin, who founded the Southern California Hot Jazz Society, the second oldest society in the United States, in 1949. (The first, the New Orleans Jazz Society, was founded in 1948.)

The prime purpose of the convention is “to perpetuate jazz and retain a grasp of the historical elements that make our music so important,” said Levin, who has written on jazz for such publications as Jazz Journal, Jazz Forum, Metronome, down beat and Coda.

The panel discussions and workshops, whose topics range from “The Making of ‘Bird’ ” to “Raising Money for Jazz,” are basically open only to convention delegates, says Levin, “though if someone is interested in attending a program on a seat-availability basis, there would be no problem,” nor a charge. The public may pay a $75 convention registration fee, which includes tickets for all events, plus four meals, Levin added.

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Separate tickets are available for the musical presentations--by such jazz players as clarinetist Abe Most’s quintet, altoist Charles McPherson’s quartet and the Jazzin’ Babies Jazz Band--and for “Jazz From Harlem to Hollywood,” an evening of jazz films from the library of Mark Cantor. The concerts are priced at $10, the films at $5. Information: (213) 654-1610.

FESTIVAL CELEBRATES ITS 20TH YEAR IN NEW ORLEANS: Tickets are now on sale for the 20th Annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, to be held in several venues in Crescent City, April 28-May 7. Such artists as Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, the Neville Brothers, Al Green, Dr. John, Etta James, Art Blakey and Pete Fountain are among the hundreds of jazz, blues, R&B;, pop and New Orleans-based performers scheduled to appear. For a complete lineup, call (504) 568-0251.

**** James Williams’ “Magical Trio 2" (EmArcy) finds the youthful pianist plying his formidable wares in the company of two aces--drummer Elvin Jones and bassist Ray Brown. Williams, who bears a strong McCoy Tyner influence, smokes two burning versions of “Bohemia After Dark,” offers a nice modern shuffle on his own “Road Life” and exhibits a powerful blues presence on “Lullabye of the Leaves.” His partners never falter.


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