A new Monday night music policy has been launched at Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood. Previously dark on Mondays, the club now features an extended engagement by George Stone and Diajobu, an 18-piece big band composed of some of the Southland’s top young jazz talent.
“This is a nice young band, the music is good, it’s acoustic, and so I wanted to give them a chance,” said club owner Catalina Popescu, explaining why she decided to stop taking a day off. “I think it will fine.”
Diajobu, which is Japanese for “no problem,” was started about two years ago by saxophonist-contractor Joe Lopes, who auditioned musicians from local colleges with the idea of having them play Basie- and Ellington-type material. “All the old stuff,” Lopes said.
“But after one rehearsal, where they played those charts, and played them well--they went through it like grease--I was afraid I’d be boring them. I realized something new would better suit these musicians, so I brought in a lot of original material,” Lopes said.
Among those contributing compositions and arrangements to the band’s book--in what Lopes jokingly calls a “heavy metal be-bop style that is up-to-date, modern big band material in the mainstream jazz tradition"--are pianist Tom Garvin and Stone. The latter, who also plays piano and trumpet, is a Cal State Northridge graduate whose charts have been played by “The Tonight Show” orchestra and the CSUN “A” Band.
Originally Lopes had planned to lead the group, but when he discovered “what a natural leader (Stone) was, he writes so well, he seems to be one of those people who have charisma, I let him take over,” he said. “I realized I could do more just pushing the band.”
Lopes’ duties include booking the band, suggesting material, and hiring the musicians, who include trombonist Luis Bonilla, saxophonists Sharon Hirata and Gene Burkert and trumpeter Jonathan Bane.
Diajobu plays from 8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m., and there’s a $7 cover charge.
Information: (213) 466-2210.
PROMO DISC: To give its readers a chance to hear what they’re reading about, Jazziz magazine is tucking a four-track promo CD into its June/July issue, which hits stores and newsstands this week. The poly-bagged disc will feature performances by saxman Kirk Whalum, guitarist Ricardo Silveira, keyboardist Richard Souther and trumpeter Don Cherry, each track culled from the artists’ most recent releases.
The 3-inch CD, which comes with an adapter so it can be played on standard CD machines, will be included in issues sent to Jazziz subscribers and will be available to those who purchase the issue at selected retail outlets nationwide, including Wherehouse stores in the Southland. Those who purchase the issue at a newsstand must send in a coupon (enclosed in the magazine), plus a $3 shipping/handling charge, to the Gainesville, Fla., magazine, to receive the CD.
NEW AGREEMENT: Locally based Delos International, Inc., an audiophile record line that specializes in classical music but also has eight jazz titles in its catalogue, has recently signed a distribution agreement with A&M; Records. The arrangement will allow Delos “to expand the jazz side of things, and that includes signing new artists,” said Rudi Simpson, the label’s promotion director.
“Before, even though our jazz releases by Joe Williams, Art Blakey, Cedar Walton and others were critically well-received (the Williams disc--"Nothin’ But The Blues” won a Grammy in 1987) sales-wise, we had no networking for getting it out to proper channels,” Simpson said. But A&M;, which has its own jazz label, does.
Delos plans two new jazz releases this summer: “Summer Night” from that eclectic Westside foursome, Quartet Music, and “Looking Back,” with pianist Jimmy Rowles, and his talented daughter, trumpeter-fluegelhornist Stacy Rowles. Simpson also added that the Delos jazz release will have its own unique packaging when distributed by A&M.; “We’ll have a new look just for jazz, giving it its own identification,” said Simpson. Simpson said that several new artists have been approached, but no contracts have been signed.
****1/2 Herbie Hancock’s “Inventions and Dimensions” (Blue Note) is a quietly stunning 1963 effort. Backed succinctly by bassist Paul Chambers, drummer Willie Bobo and “Chihuahua” Valdez on congas and bongos, the pianist delivers five crisp, mostly modal pieces at varied tempos, all distinguished by his remarkable line and chordal improvisations. The plum track is the soft and exotic “Mimosa,” which refreshes like a sudden cool breeze on a burning-hot day. . . .
**** “Take Me to Brazil” (Discovery) from the sextet of pianist Dave Mackay and flutist Lori Bell, is a vivacious Brazilian-based collection of six originals and three works by Brazilian writers. Alex Mahlieros’ “Cascade of the Seven Waterfalls” spotlights Mackay’s wistful piano, while Bell’s buoyant flute shines on her “Zara,” among others. Mackay adds a whisper-ish vocal on Luis Bonfa’s “The Gentle Rain,” and is joined by his wife, Melissa, for the jaunty closer, “Now.”