Earlier this year, Studio City's Vitello's started offering jazz as April Williams unleashed her Red Carpet Jazz series. The stellar talent and its elegant upstairs space has earned a good reputation among musicians and fans. It started out on Thursday nights and now is spilling over to additional days it has become so popular.
There's no ice-blending machines, there's no cash register, there's no phone," said drummer Peter Erskine, who's played Vitello's a number of times. It sounded more like Donte's did than any other room I've been in since."
Past visions of the late Studio City club aside, Vitello's and its Red Carpet Jazz Series reach out to fixtures on the local scene such as Peter Erskine, Darek Oles and Bob Sheppard, Larry Koonse and Alex Acuna to name a few. But the space also has opened its doors to less familiar faces.
On a recent Saturday, young saxophonist Mark Zaleski kept a small cluster of tables bobbing with his driving take on jazz, which includes touches of groove-heavy post-rock. Zaleski, a regular on the Boston and New York circuits with a variety of ensembles, booked his own tour from the other side of the country.
Zaleski said in an e-mail. Having access to the Internet can help me figure out where other musicians like us perform, and I can evaluate whether we would be a good fit for the club."
Deciding where a musician might fit with a venue or its vision of jazz is a common challenge, and one that frequently inspires artists to go their own way.
April Williams, creator and producer of the series explained We are creating musical communities that join the working Pro's with the upcoming and young professionals". Williams is presenting a JAZZ MASTER CLASS SERIES as well with Bob Sheppard, Bill Reichenbach, Larry Koonse, Peter Erskine and Alex Acuna this Saturday August 29, 2009 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.