Afterbeat #12 - Charles Owens

Charles Owens settled in Los Angeles in 1971, got involved in the studio scene and kept playing jazz as well. That's a hard dual life to keep up, but he's done it with style while keeping his integrity and his chops intact.  Composer, educator (at UCLA and UC Irvine), current conductor of the Luckman Jazz Orchestra, veteran of the bands of Buddy Rich and Mongo Santamaria, Charles is one of the most admired guys on the L.A. scene, (although he just wants a little time to play some "greasy stuff" with his organ group).   We had fun getting acquainted.


Afterbeat 12


and...we're back!

The thing is, I don't just talk about music. I write music, play and produce and teach others to do so.  This is how I make my living, and I count myself lucky for it.  Sometimes I do a lot of this in a small bit of time and I get overloaded, like the last few weeks.  But I'm back to my usual schedule now, so Afterbeat #11 will feature the great Charles Owens, sax palyer and composer of long standing on the L.A. scene.  We'll record on Friday 3/30 for posting on Sunday 4/1.  More on this impoertant artist in the next post, and some great guests coming up on the Afterbeat podcast, so come back soon and subscribe on iTunes as well.


Afterbeat #11 - Doug MacDonald

Really had a great time with Doug.  Born in Philadelphia, but raised mostly in Hawaii, he talks about meeting Stan Kenton as a kid, playing jazz in the islands - yes, there is jazz in Hawaii - coming to los Angeles to hang out with Howard Roberts, and his brief stay in New York.  Doug and I are old pals and we get a little guitar-geeky too.


Good talk.  Enjoy.



Doug MacDonald...

Back after a busy couple of weeks.  Gigs sometimes get in the way; not that I'm complaining...

Great guitarist, nice guy, and old pal Doug MacDonald is coming in Friday to record a show that I'll post on Sunday March 4th.  Doug is well-respected and well-traveled - born in Hawaii, and a veteran of gigs with Stan Getz, Ray Charles and Rosemary Clooney, among many others.  Active as an educator and composer as well, Doug brings a lot to the table.  I'm looking forward to a great talk.


Afterbeat #10 - Bill Holman

Of the three great Los Angelest jazz arrangers - Clare Fischer, Bob Florence, and Willis (Bill) Holman - only Holman remains and he's still going strong.  He wrote for all the classic jazz bands: Kenton, Rich, Basie, Herman, as well as for Doc Severinson's Tonight Show band.  He wrote for the Liberty and Pacific Jazz recording sessions that defined mid-century modern jazz on the west coast.  Singers like Natalie Cole, Peggy Lee and the Fifth Dimension sought him out, as did the Norwegian and German radio orchestras.   He wrote all the charts for the recent debut CD of Pete Christleib and Linda Small's Tall And Small Band. (Pete spent a good bit of Afterbeat #4 talking about these charts; that's high praise indeed.) His charts are in the books of every rehearsal band in Los Angeles.  He's also got one of the best bands currently working, an all-star group that defines hard-swinging good taste.  

Willis discusses all of this and more on Afterbeat #10, including his approach to arranging: he wants his charts to sound like "improvised music" and he certainly hits that mark.  Holman's music may be challenging, but it's also rewarding with a constant  sense of swing and surprise.  Although he says he's not much of a teacher, listening to or playing one of his arrangements is a lesson in voicing, rhythmic organization and pure musical joy (and quite a bit of envy for those of us who also try to write).  He was generous with his time and remains one of the great gentlemen on the L.A. scene. 


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