Monthly Archives: October 2023

FFJN 11/3: The Roswell Sisters

Kristi Callan and I know each other through the indie pop music scene and Harry Nilsson fandom. I love close vocal harmonies and at the last Nilsson birthday tribute we got to talking and she told me she was part of a group called the Roswell Sisters. I thought they’d be great addition to our eclectic First Fridays Jazz Night.

Check out this résumé!

A captivating close-harmony group from Los Angeles, modeled loosely on the legendary jazzy New Orleans 30s band the Boswell Sisters, but bringing unexpected, eccentric, and occasionally even glam rock touches to that vintage vocal style. Group leader Justin Tanner has a special gift for arranging songs from the 20s and 30s straight through to originals by Roswells pianist Kristian Hoffman in classic “old tyme” tight, dense harmonies, dazzling in their complexity. Justin (tenor) is a noted Los Angeles playwright (“Zombie Attack,” “Pot Mom,” “Day Drinkers”) and a classically trained pianist. Lisa Jenio (alto), lead singer and songwriter for L.A. pop band Candypants, has also collaborated with the Negro Problem and Ronnie Spector. Kristi Callan uses her varied experience working with a wide range of artists from David Gray to Dave Davies to her own alt-country band, Dime Box and 80s girl group Wednesday Week, to inform her role as the emotive soprano in the group. 

The Roswell Sisters are backed by Kristian Hoffman (Ann Magnuson, Prince Poppycock, Rufus Wainwright, Mumps, Klaus Nomi) on piano and Pierre Smith (El Vez, Ann Magnuson, New Marines, Human Hands) on guitar. The response to this young combo has been wildly enthusiastic, and audiences have been transfixed by the gorgeous harmonies the Roswells bring to classic 30s songs like “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” and modern pop gems like the Mumps’ “Just Look, Don’t Touch.”

From their show-stopping version of “42nd Street” to their spectacular original “Imaginary Friend,” the group delivers a mesmerizing performance every time. The Roswells have played eclectic venues all over the greater Los Angeles area and are currently in the studio recording their debut.

And on 11/3 they’ll be with us!

JASON LUCKETT  

Date City Venue
Short Appearance / Guest Artist
Sunday, 06/02/24 Burbank, CA The Victory Theatre Center
Time: 7:30pm. Admission: $10. Age restrictions: All Ages. Box office: 818.841.4404.

The Victory Theatre Center presents
BACKSTORY: THE COLOR PURPLE
June 2nd, 7:30pm PST
3326 West Victory Blvd. Burbank, CA 91505

FEATURING:
Bridgette Bianca
Alani ILongwe
Jason Luckett
Sakae Manning
Jonathan Tipton Meyers
Lorinda Hawkins Smith
Ashton C. Clark, host

Related post. Buy Tickets
Jason Luckett Pasadena Residency: First Fridays Jazz Night w/ JL & Friends
Friday, 06/07/24 Pasadena, CA Lyd & Mo Photography
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: $20 suggested donation. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 27 N Mentor Ave.

Featured Artists:
Alison Lewis
Tiffany Lantello
Jason Luckett

Related post. Buy Tickets
Short Appearance / Guest Artist
Thursday, 06/20/24 Los Angeles, CA (Strong Words at) St. Francis Center
Time: 7:30pm. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 3621 Brunswick Ave. 3621 Brunswick Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90039 Related post.
Jason Luckett Pasadena Residency: First Fridays Jazz Night w/ JL & Friends
Friday, 07/05/24 Pasadena, CA Lyd & Mo Photography
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: $20 suggested donation. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 27 N Mentor Ave.

Featured Artists:
Katie Ferrara
TBA
Jason Luckett

Related post. Buy Tickets
Short Appearance / Guest Artist
Tuesday, 07/09/24 Los Angeles Molly Malone’s
Time: 7:30pm. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 575 S. Fairfax Ave. Venue phone: (323) 935-1577.

Nilsson Tribute

Jazz Vespers
Sunday, 07/14/24 Pasadena, CA All Saints Episcopal Church
Time: 5:00pm. Admission: Free. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 132 North Euclid Avenue. Jazz Vespers at All Saints Church in Pasadena. Related post.

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FFJN 11/3: Jennifer Leigh Warren

Photo of Jennifer Leigh Warren

Jennifer Leigh Warren is a new friend of mine whom I met celebrating the 25th anniversary of Nana-Ama Danquah’s memoir, Willow Weep for Me. (Nana-Ama included an essay of mine in the anthology, The Black Body.) We started talking and laughing and I thought she’d be a great addition to our series. I asked her. And I’m so glad she said yes!

Her resume is rich with Broadway, touring and TV experience. For FFJN, she’s trying something new with just guitar accompaniment, from me. And we’ll duet on a couple things. It’s been so much fun seeing what we can do together.

Here’s her bio:

Jennifer Leigh Warren has been lauded for her theatrical work, from her show-stopping performance as “Alice’s Daughter” in the original Broadway cast of Big River (singing a song written for her by Roger Miller), to originating the role of “Crystal” in the Alan Menken/Howard Ashman Off-Broadway hit Little Shop of Horrors, to her performance in the original Broadway cast of Marie Christine at Lincoln Center. In the television musical event RENT: LIVE, she showcased her versatility as Mrs. Jefferson, Mrs. Cohen, Support Sue and the infamous bag lady. With the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, in the Disney Concert Hall, she performed as the narrator/vocalist in the “Rock my Soul” festival and performed her “Diamonds Are Forever: The Songs of Shirley Bassey” concert directed by Richard Jay Alexander in the Renberg Theater in Los Angeles. She starred as “The Blues Singer” in all four national tours of A Night with Janis Joplin (USA, Canada) streaming now on Broadway HD.com. For REPRISE! she was Lalume in Kismet, Cleo in The Most happy Fella and stopped the show as Shelia in Hair (with a vocal arrangement made for her by the great Peter Matz). On The Tonight Show, CONAN and Jimmy Kimmel, she performed with Broken Bells, The Kills, Trombone Shorty, Lisa Loeb and OK GO. In Japan, she re-created her Big River role (in Japanese) and in Denmark sang with Al Jarreau (televised LIVE throughout Europe). Film: Garry Marshall’s Valentine’s Day, The Other Sister and Dear God, Allison Anders & Martin Scorsese’s Grace of My Heart, Sean Penn’s The Crossing Guard, Larry David’s Sour Grapes. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College and a proud SAG-AFTRA AEA member. 

JenniferLeighWarren.com

JASON LUCKETT  

Date City Venue
Short Appearance / Guest Artist
Sunday, 06/02/24 Burbank, CA The Victory Theatre Center
Time: 7:30pm. Admission: $10. Age restrictions: All Ages. Box office: 818.841.4404.

The Victory Theatre Center presents
BACKSTORY: THE COLOR PURPLE
June 2nd, 7:30pm PST
3326 West Victory Blvd. Burbank, CA 91505

FEATURING:
Bridgette Bianca
Alani ILongwe
Jason Luckett
Sakae Manning
Jonathan Tipton Meyers
Lorinda Hawkins Smith
Ashton C. Clark, host

Related post. Buy Tickets
Jason Luckett Pasadena Residency: First Fridays Jazz Night w/ JL & Friends
Friday, 06/07/24 Pasadena, CA Lyd & Mo Photography
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: $20 suggested donation. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 27 N Mentor Ave.

Featured Artists:
Alison Lewis
Tiffany Lantello
Jason Luckett

Related post. Buy Tickets
Short Appearance / Guest Artist
Thursday, 06/20/24 Los Angeles, CA (Strong Words at) St. Francis Center
Time: 7:30pm. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 3621 Brunswick Ave. 3621 Brunswick Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90039 Related post.
Jason Luckett Pasadena Residency: First Fridays Jazz Night w/ JL & Friends
Friday, 07/05/24 Pasadena, CA Lyd & Mo Photography
Time: 8:00pm. Admission: $20 suggested donation. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 27 N Mentor Ave.

Featured Artists:
Katie Ferrara
TBA
Jason Luckett

Related post. Buy Tickets
Short Appearance / Guest Artist
Tuesday, 07/09/24 Los Angeles Molly Malone’s
Time: 7:30pm. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 575 S. Fairfax Ave. Venue phone: (323) 935-1577.

Nilsson Tribute

Jazz Vespers
Sunday, 07/14/24 Pasadena, CA All Saints Episcopal Church
Time: 5:00pm. Admission: Free. Age restrictions: All Ages. Address: 132 North Euclid Avenue. Jazz Vespers at All Saints Church in Pasadena. Related post.

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Choosing Joy — First Anniversary

Choosing joy ….creates so much room for love, growth, and experience.

10/21/23

I didn’t want to let this day pass without acknowledging the anniversary of Document: Freedom: Spring and the life saving surgery that happened the same day, 10/21/22. It was a little bit like two births. And what’s come from it has been so life affirming. Thanks to the sweet people who wrote testimonials for the record, Todd Lawrence, Dee Madden, Imani Tolliver, Steve Hochman, and Mark Davis. Thanks to Simko for taking pictures when I realized that I didn’t have any photos from the concert! Thanks to Ray Moore for helping to make it sound like a record.

Then Anne Dixon introduced me to Raspin Stuwart who brought me to Lyd & Mo’s, where Mo tried to convince me that I was playing jazz and asked me to curate a monthly jazz night — and I’d be the featured artist. It seemed a little outrageous to me, but it pushed me to reach out to amazing musicians like Russell Ferrante, Edwin Livingston, Reggie Quinerly and Nailah Porter who joined me to do a Jazz Vespers at All Saints Church where I did my best to channel Mahalia Jackson and Sam Cooke. I felt so bolstered by that experience.

And the gift Mo gave me, I’ve been able to share with my friends, giving other artists a chance to do something different or re-energize what they’ve always done before this incredible loyal audience of deep listeners at our First Fridays Jazz Nights.

Somewhere along the way this has also re-energized my recording studio and I’m starting to record more people there, holding a safe space for creativity.

This is only a snippet of the good that’s come in the past year or so when I decided to put something positive into the world on surgery day. Choosing joy and letting go of what’s toxic in one’s life creates so much room for love, growth, and experience. I feel high and so grateful.

Thank you to my family. Thank you to the good people at Kaiser. Thanks to Bandcamp. Thanks to the Warner Grand Annex. Thanks to you for being such loving supporters of what I try to do with music and building – and supporting – community. 

You are a gift to me.

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First Fridays Jazz Night w/Jason Luckett & Friends: The Roswell Sisters, and Jennifer Leigh Warren, Friday, 11/3, Pasadena

Posted in Shows Past

All Souls Are Free

"All Souls Are Free" Video Still

I started the year by posting this on Facebook, 2 Jan 2023. It feels even more important now. This is a collaboration with Todd Lawrence. 

Here’s what I wrote then:

_____

Hey Friends! My friend, Todd Lawrence, brought a line to our first ever writing session (after knowing each other for decades!) and we came up with this. I miffed a few words in recording this draft last night, but I like what we did. I’d love to hear people singing along to this! It was Todd’s idea to ride the “we…’ll” Stack those harmonies! Most of all I hope it could be used inspirationally to free some souls.

Here are the correct lyrics:

“When All Souls Are Free”

Words & music by Todd Lawrence & Jason Luckett

In this broken world
Your get used to the thought
That our prayers go unanswered
That our dreams are for naught

And all that is now
Shall always be
And it’s only in a child’s dream
That all souls are free

For a child see the world
Through innocent eyes
No false complication
Or logic that lies

And I have no answers
When they ask me
When will the time come
When all souls are free?

Till all are free
Till all are free
Till all souls are free
We’ll never be

With this broken heart
I walk out of time
Looking for traces
Of reason and rhyme

I struggle for answers
There’s none I can see
When will the time come
When all souls are free?

Till all are free
Till all are free
Till all souls are free
We’ll never be

And we’ll never feel real
And we’ll never feel right
And we’ll never have peace
Lie with us at night
We’ll be locked in a cage that we can’t even see
Till all are unshackled
Till all souls are free…

© 2023 Todd Lawrence & Jason Luckett

_____

“This is a time for resolve, and not revenge. For purpose, and not panic. And for security, and not surrender,” said soldier Lloyd Austin (US Secretary of Defense). 

Let’s resolve to free souls, to create peace, so that we all may be free. 

Here’s a link to the chord chart.

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