The Miles Davis Experience: 1949-1959, a Collaboration with Blue Note Records

The Miles Davis Experience: 1949-1959 at The Valley Performing Arts Northridge, California (CSUN Campus). This was far and away the jazz concert of the year in LA. To get to experience such an elegant and supremely rewarding with jazz history in the brand new Valley Performing Arts Center during its inaugural season has set the bar for jazz shows in LA. There was a huge turnout for this event, not of CSUN students, but mostly mature and well dressed jazz lovers who realized the specialness of this event.

The Miles Davis Experience is a brilliantly constructed project by Blue Note. It stages a historically accurate walk through a decade of jazz history, using currently hot young new jazz phenoms, some of whom are not African-American, and some who are, to both illuminate and educate. The young artists get to personally relive some of Miles Davis' most astonishing performances live and onstage. The tour is university circuit - to bring in the next wave of jazz fans as well as to teach us who are older some jazz history that we hardly knew.

Images of Miles Davis were projected during moments when a narrative account of a specific breakthrough in Miles career happened was part of the rewarding and exhilarating 2 hours with jazz history. Intermittently images and footage of jazz giants such as John Coltrane were played on the suspended screens, with questions to the jazz giants about the impact of Miles being answered in absolute adoration.

Young jazz star trumpeter and leader of his Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet proved a worthy of the task of showcasing Miles Davis' breakthrough mastery of jazz trumpet. Justin Brown's astounding drum solo was one of the greatest hits of the stellar musical evening.

“Led by Blue Note Records artist and trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, the performance will follow Miles’ musical development in linear chronology, telling of the challenges and optimism in post-war America, civil rights struggle, historical milestones and the creative cauldron of new music that Miles pioneered and nurtured. According to a press release, “The show will be an immersive experience–more than a concert, less narrow then a scripted play or media presentation. The goal is to leave the audience member with a feeling of what it was like to live in America during this important period.”

“Suspended panels with changing stills showed pictures of Davis and his contemporaries as well as historical photos of civil rights struggles and even newspaper clips reporting a New York policeman’s assault of Davis in 1959.

Between each number, narrator Donald E. Lacy Jr. introduced taped remarks by Davis and others, recited relevant poetry by Langston Hughes or simply described the historical context that influenced the music. The words and visuals made for an effective backdrop to music that communicates through its impact on emotion and the senses.” (Text by Barry Gannon)

“The show will feature iconic era images brought together by beat poet-style narrator and actor Donald Lacy. Akinmusire will be joined by the Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet, featuring Walter Smith III (tenor sax), Sam Harris (piano), Harish Raghavan (bass) and Justin Brown (drums.) The U.S. tour will run from September 28-November 20, 2011.” Jazz Times, 9.12.2011″

““Miles Davis played a crucial and inevitably controversial role in every major development in jazz since the mid-’40s, and no other jazz musician has had so profound an effect on rock. Miles Davis was the most widely recognized jazz musician of his era, an outspoken social critic and an arbiter of style-in attitude and fashion-as well as music.”– The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll

“I’m not going to be acting like I’m Miles Davis or anything like that,” said the 29-year-old Akinmusire, on the phone from New York. “I’ll be playing like it is 2011, though I am playing all those Miles Davis’ songs with respect, as if he is sitting out there in the audience.”

“Each show on this tour will be different,” Akinmusire continued. “We have about 25 or 30 tunes from that era that we can pull up. Nobody knows what we’re going to play until I call it.

“What I’m always about is the music. I’m not about selling tickets. I’m lots more concerned about the future of jazz than the past.” (from Chuck Graham, Arizona Daily Star article 10.13.2011)

Miles Davis Experience: 1949-1959 Tour Dates

September 28 Englert Theatre Iowa City, IA
September 30 Yardley Hall-Carlsen Center Overland Park, KS
October 1 Tryon Festival Theatre Urbana, IL
October 2 Mcaninch Arts Center /College Of Du Page Glen Ellyn, IL
October 4 Stem Concert Hall New Albany, IN
October 5 Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Aud. Athens, OH
October 6 Midland Theatre Newark, OH
October 7 Emens Auditorium Muncie, IN
October 8 Kuttemperoor Auditorium Brookfield, WI
October 9 Stephens Auditorium Ames, IA
October 11 Capitol Theater Madison, WI
October 14 Mesa Arts Center Repertory Theater Mesa, AZ
October 16 Poway Center For The Performing Arts Poway, CA
October 17 Centennial Hall Tucson, AZ
October 18 Folsom Lake College Performing Arts Center Theater Folsom, CA
October 19 Uptown Theatre Napa, CA
October 20 Lancaster Performing Arts Center Lancaster, CA
October 21 Samueli Theater Costa Mesa, CA
October 23 Valley Performing Arts Center-Great Hall Northridge, CA
October 25 Sunset Theatre Carmel, CA
October 26 Craterian Theater Medford, OR
October 27 Tower Theatre Bend, OR
October 28 Washington Center For The Performing Arts Olympia, WA
October 29 Mount Baker Theatre Bellingham, WA
October 30 Columbia Theater Longview, WA
November 1 Bass Concert Hall-University Of Texas @Austin Austin, TX
November 3 Miller Outdoor Theatre Houston, TX
November 4 Hammerson Hall Mississauga, ON
November 5 Community Theatre Morristown, NJ
November 6 Strand Theatre York, PA
November 8 American Theatre Hampton, VA
November 10 Grand Opera House Wilmington, DE
November 11 Fairfield University’s Quick Center for the Arts Fairfield, CT
November 12 Pollak Theatre West Long Branch,NJ
November 13 Center For The Arts Concert Hall Fairfax, VA
November 15 Western Carolina University Pac-Concert Hall Cullowhee, NC
November 16 MSU Riley Center Grand Opera House Meridian, MS
November 17 Hodgson Hall – University Of Georgia Athens, GA
November 18 Curtis M. Phillips Performing Arts Center Gainesville, FL
November 19 Ferguson Hall Tampa, FL
November 20 Lyric Theatre Stuart, FL

Vincent Johnson is an artist and writer in Los Angeles

Wedding dress store (San Fernando Valley), one of seven photographs shown during Pulse Los Angeles from my Strange Los Angeles Pictures project that started in 2001.

Los Angeles based artist Vincent Johnson at the Spice Table in Little Tokyo, downtown Los Angeles
Vincent Johnson Biography  as of October 2011
Vincent Johnson lives and works in Los Angeles. His work has been exhibited at Soho House, Los Angeles, Palihouse, West Los Angeles, Las Cienegas Projects, LAXART, the P.S. 1. Museum, the SK Stiftung, Cologne, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Adamski Gallery of Contemporary Art, Aachen, Locust Projects, Miami, the Sacramento Center for Contemporary Art, 18th Street Arts, Santa Monica and the Boston University Art Gallery. His photographic works engage both significant and neglected historical and contemporary cultural artifacts and is based on intensive research of his subjects. Upcoming are projects in Europe and Los Angeles. His most recent work, a series of nine grayscale paintings, was shown at the Beacon Arts Center in Los Angeles in the group show entitled The Optimist’s Parking Lot. He will have a new cutout collage work in the upcoming The Bearden Project at the Studio Museum in Harlem, opening in New York on November 10, 2011. He also participated in the inaugural edition of Pulse Fair Los Angeles with Las Cienegas Projects. He is also participating in Locust Projects Miami’s annual benefit exhibition in the late fall of 2011.

Johnson received his MFA from Art Center College of Design in 1997 and his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1986.  He studied with Mike Kelly, Jack Goldstein, Stephen Prina, Liz Larner, Chris Williams, Mayo Thompson (formerly of Art&Language), and Liz Larner. He is a 2005 Creative Capital Grantee, and was nominated for the Baum: An Emerging American Photographer’s Award in 2004 and for the New Museum of Contemporary Arts Aldrich Art Award in 2007 and for the Art Matters grant in 2008, and in 2009 nominated for Foundation for Contemporary Art Fellowship, Los Angeles. In 2010 he was named a United States Artists project artist. His work has been reviewed in ArtForum, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, Art in America, Art Slant and many other publications.

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