It was April 28, 2019 and with low clouds, mixed with subtle layers of mother earth’s own glorious scent the weather was as my grandmother would say, “fair to middlin”. Pasadena aka the Dena was full of life and promise of a warmer summers air as it closed the doors to its final Spring 2019 concert Jazz n’ Paz series presented by Performances A La Carte.
Performances A La Carte is dedicated to a thorough and comprehensive community based collaboration by producing concerts, productions, and events that are aligned with drama, music, theatre, fine art, visual arts, dance, culinary arts and literature in order to showcase and support local artists that reside with Los Angeles County including the San Gabriel and Crescenta Valleys.
The evening’s entertainment was The Nick Mancini Collective featuring vocalist founder and artistic director of Jazz ‘n Paz Carla Jamie Perez. Carla is remindful of the, Quincy Jones discovered, Patty Austin and one could clearly hear a set of finely developed pipes, saavy delivery and style impressed upon her by some of the world’s finest Jazz greats, who we know as Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, Sarah Vaughn and the one and only, Frank Sinatra back when music was heard on Vinyl. The event started at 5PM and was ticketed in advance online at $25,00 and $28.00 at the door.
Nick a native of New York is an authentic expression and his approach to music as a composer, arranger, and bandleader highlights this quality. His choice of mastering a Vibraphone and transporting it from one location to another can be trying at times although once Mancini taps the top of his vibes made ready with two colorful long mallets tightly woven with bobbed heads it’s off to other worlds of music and sound that is nothing short of ear-resistable.
With a well-rounded history of music education beginning in the early stages of drumming at age 15 and graduating from the Manhattan School of Music Master’s degree program in Jazz performance Mancini soon made his way to LA where he quickly found home and a group of cohorts who were not just eager to make good music but to have fans love it so much that they would willingly buy it. Thus, it was this desire to make good music that caught the attention of established venues like Jazz at LACMA. Catalina Jazz Club, Jazz Bakery, the Troubadour, NYC Birdland and the Aspen Music Festival. And it was these very same venues that presented him with the opportunity to share the stage with many notable jazz musicians and performers such as, Arturo Sandoval. Kenny Werner, Jennifer Holliday, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, New York Voices, John Beasley, Leon and Julian Fleisher and many others too numerous to list. Mancini’s progressive thinking and obviously high intuition has served him well during times and given the onslaught of social media apps like Spotify and Itunes wherein musicians can have difficulty staying lucrative, he continues to create opportunities not just for self but for others as well. The magic lies in his knowing how to time his connecting to people and places. Mancini’s ability to savor the moment helps him to stretch his mind and spirit so that he can continue playing and performing. Mancini’s high quality in home studio CD’s usually run out because of his not pressing enough and to date he has produced and promoted all of his own records. His ninth, “Frames”, gives all a glimpse of his inner genius and professional experience in quality music making .
Nick’s collective includes Nick Mancini (Vibraphone), Danny Janklow a saxophonist, producer composer and multi-instrumentalist and educator. A quick attention grabber he is on the rise and has performed from Japan to Poland. John Tegmeyer, (Clarinet), Michael Ragonese, (Piano), Cooper Appelt. (Bass), James Yoshizawa (Drums), Scott Breadman (Percussion), Adam Ratner (Guitar) and (Pete Korpela (Percussion).
Social injustices are one of the very causes that can help to create a kind of many in body yet one in mind wherein diversity and the banning together of community goals are the same. Located at 301 North Orange Grove Drive sits the Neighborhood UU Church a perfect choice as a venue because of its commitment to history and development of a universal approach that seems to give the feeling of all being welcome. To bond humanly is always quite universal. We were greeted with smiles and led to a luscious bed of greenery that contained and highlighted an outside exterior of the area’s natural wonder.
The driving force of collaborations and communities that live to serve each other is a great cause to get behind and Performances a la Carte is doing a great job at keeping talent that is well-bred and home made right here in LA County.
For more information on Performances a la Carte and Jazz n’ Paz check out