Big band, cumbia and jazz: Rhythm Planet's July concert picks

Written by

Marimba supergroup Río Mira Photo by Miguel Alvear

Saturday, July 6 | Grand Performances Presents Audacity of Sound – Joy.Art.Music | 300 Block of South Grand Ave. (Downtown)

This free and all-ages street festival will feature 7 hours of concerts by local and international artists that push boundaries and open minds. The eclectic lineup includes the Afro-Cuban rhythms of Cimafunk, a collab between Gaby Moreno and La Marisoul (of La Santa Cecilia), the Dexter Story-produced celebration of Pan-African culture called “The Gospel of Madame Biddy Mason,” plus Iranian artists Masoud Rezaei and Sara Naeni, and Canadian indigenous First Nation operatic tenor Jeremy Dutcher. Talk about inclusive?! This big show has something for everybody, and it’s free! Click HERE for the full lineup and more information.

Saturday, July 13 | Bill Holman Big Band | Kirk Douglas Theater (Culver City)

Bill Holman is widely renowned as one of the best arrangers in jazz, and this is a great opportunity to catch his big band in a concert setting. Hearing a big band live is a thrilling and unique experience—the brass, the woodwinds, the big sound. Active and in-demand since he started working with the Charlie Barnet orchestra in 1950, Holman’s now 92! Click HERE for tickets and more information. Presented by the Jazz Bakery.

A classic Capitol LP by the Holman Big Band:

Saturday, July 13 | Viver Brasil Dance Company | Ford Theatres (Hollywood)

A local treasure, Viver Brasil is a high-energy dance troupe that celebrates Afro-Brazilian history and Bahian culture. They honor the Afro-Brazilian orishas and electrify audiences with their authenticity and joyful performances. This hour-long Saturday morning celebration of samba caters to families, with free admission for children 12 and under and a low $5 admission for adults. Click HERE for advance reservations and more information.

Wednesday and Thursday, July 17-18 | Graham Dechter & Friends | Sam First Bar (LAX)

Graham Dechter is a jazz guitar virtuoso and an alum of the famous Clayton Hamilton Big Band. I like Dechter’s playing style and this two-night stand at this cool new jazz nightspot should make for a great time. Click HERE for tickets and more information. 

Check out his performance of Ellington’s “In a Mellow Tone” with pianist Tamir Hendelman, bassist John Clayton, and drummer Jeff Hamilton:

Saturday, July 20 | Caliente: Cumbia Night | Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach)

The tasty, soulful musical style called cumbia always sways hips and create smiles. It’s sexy, Pan-Latin music that you find in Mexico, Colombia, and other Latin countries. This evening includes DJ sets by La Onda—spinning vinyl norteñas, corridos, rancheras, cumbia, and banda classics. Plus live sets by urban style cumbia trio Viento Callejero, El Conjunto Nueva Ola from Mexico City, and L.A.’s own La Chamba Chica. Whether dancing or just watching the crowd, this will be a fun night. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Here is Viento Callejero with a tasty carnival song called “Trocha”:

Saturday, July 20 | Anthony Wilson | Sam First Bar (LAX)

Anthony Wilson grew up with the top names in jazz as the son of the late great bandleader Gerald Wilson. He’s a fantastic guitar player who’s normally on the road with Diana Krall. His trio for this evening’s performance includes Joshua Crumbly on bass and Jay Bellerose on drums, both from Wilson’s latest record Songs and Photographs. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Wilson performs an original called “Geranium”:

Thursday, July 25 | Río Mira | Skirball Cultural Center (Sepulveda Pass)

The marimba ensemble Río Mira is named after the river that separates Ecuador and Colombia. Ecuadorian singer Karla Kanora fronts the group, which also features marimba masters Esteban Copete and Larry Preciado plus other talented Afro-Latin folkloric musicians from both countries. The ensemble’s cultural identity is rooted in the Pacific coast of Ecuador and Colombia, with East African diaspora traditions. This music was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 2015. A DJ set from Reyes starts the evening at 6:30. Event is FREE; click HERE for more information.

Sunday, July 28 | Peruvian Fest Los Angeles | La Plaza de la Raza (Lincoln Park)

Guido Herrera-Yance, the superb Alma del Barrio DJ, knows Latin music like the back of his hand. He’s also Peruvian and an expert on Afro-Peruvian musical culture. His Yambu Productions put together this night celebrating Peruvian Independence Day with food, drink, dance and music. This all-day festival promises to be muy sabroso and to help people muevete las cinturas (shake your hips). This is a 21+ only event. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Sunday, July 28 | Kinky with special guest Mexican Institute of Sound (MIS) | Ford Theatres (Hollywood)

KCRW’s former music director Nic Harcourt has done a lot to promote Latin Alternative bands from Mexico, and he curated this evening with Kinky and MIS (aka DJ/Producer Camilo Lara). Both Kinky and MIS fuse traditional music with modern sounds in their electronic soundscapes. They are sure to ignite the crowd in this contemporary Mexican music celebration. Click HERE for tickets and more information.