Herb Alpert’s jazz club Vibrato Grill, located in a cozy corner of a mall in the Hollywood hills, was the site of a coronation on Sunday for not one but three musical intellectuals. This Jazz Foundation of America 10-time Grammy Award-winning composer and pianist Dave Grusinsaxophonist Charles Lloyd and groundbreaking music manager Clarence Avante for the benefit of increasing the income of jazz, blues and R&B musicians who are in financial distress due to unemployment, illness or old age. Although the owner Quincy Jones Unable to attend due to unclear health issues, he and the JFA assembled a program of speakers and performers for a night of celebration and song where the phrase “star-studded” barely does justice.
In the evening, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Following an introduction by Daveed Frazier, charity auctioneer Vinny Zapien and music reporter Rona Elliot led the first of many auction tours in which they presented framed photographs of artists such as Joni Mitchell and the late Tina Turner. . Zapien later sold original Japanese ink washes by artist Jim Watt, whose process of creating them during the pandemic was documented in the short film “1000 Watts” by director Danny Clinch.
A short video bio details just a few of Avant’s life and achievements, the first awards of the night, before Davell Crawford and Kori Withers paid tribute to the executive. Withers, the daughter of soul singer Bill Withers, with whom Avant took her first steps in the music industry, sang two of her father’s songs, “Ain’t No Sunshine” and “Grandma’s Hands”. Avant was unable to accept the award in person, so James Harris III, better known as Jimmy Jam, took the award on his behalf. Jam recalled that early in their 50-year partnership with Terry Lewis, Avant made the duo unusually fair even before they became the proven hit producers they are considered today.
“’What does your manager want your pay?’ said. We said, ‘Oh, Clarence, we can take it down, man. We can do less,’” Jam recalled. “Did he say less? You don’t want enough. … No one would know who we are without Clarence and the path he has given us and the things he has taught us and continues to teach us to this day.”
Former Doors drummer John Densmore introduced performances by saxophonist Joshua Redman, pianist Patrice Rushen, bassist Alex Al and drummer Steve Jordan to celebrate Charles Lloyd. Declared to be very influential in the jazz world with the appointment of drummer Chico Hamilton to his band in 1960, Lloyd almost completely withdrew from the music scene until 1981, but revived his career and even today maintains an active schedule, releasing five albums for the jazz company Blue. note since 2020.
Awarded by singer-songwriter Jackson Browne, the 85-year-old Lloyd continued to be as sharp and playful as on his 1967 breakthrough album “Forest Flower.” “I still have a fledgling mind,” Lloyd said. “I was never well enough to quit.”
Guitarist Lee Ritenour paid tribute to Grusin, the composer of the Oscar-winning soundtrack for “The Miracle Beanfield War” and dozens of other films, including “The Graduate”, “Tootsie” and “The Goonies.” “Dave and I just finished a brand new album we recorded in Brazil,” Ritenour said. “My engineer, Don Murray, who has worked with Dave on almost all of our work, said, ‘You know, the guy with the best sound on this album is the goddamn Dave Grusin?’ He’s been very consistent throughout his career, whether it’s jazz, soundtrack or classical. And he’s my best friend.”
Jordan, the event’s music director, is the theme of Grusin’s “The Firm” and “It Might Be You,” “Tootsie.” Tom Scott, another longtime collaborator of Ritenour and Grusin, took the stage to sing “Condor!”, the central theme of “Three Days of the Condor.” Then, 97-year-old songwriter Alan Bergman followed up with a surprise appearance for Grusin, performing an original song that pays homage to his friend and creative partner.
Finally, Grusin took the stage himself, performing a short medley of his songs and then a soulful rendition of “Happy Birthday” for David Paich, Toto’s co-founder. Shortly after his own version of the standard was followed by a videotape by keyboardist Greg Phillanganes performing for Grusin, who turned 89 on June 26. Despite all his successes, many of which have been recreated on the Vibrato stage, Grusin objected to this. worthy of the honour.
“I had a sinking feeling for part of the evening when I thought that some of the things I was doing had nothing to do with jazz after all,” Grusin said. “But we do what we do, and whatever we call it, it’s fine with me. This is the Jazz Foundation, and we can rest easy knowing that as music producers, we don’t necessarily have to be classical musicians to survive. So thank you guys for supporting anyone who asks.”