Alluring mix of mid-century jazz & photography comes to Northridge

Music · Visual arts

October 23 is as good a day as any, no better, to trek to the deep San Fernando Valley. On that Sunday, the campus of Cal State University, Northridge, will be super alive in an extraordinary double-bill highlighting the best of African-American art.

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Featured photographers: Roland Charles, Willie Middlebrook, Jack Davis, Calvin Hick

At 2 pm: CSUN’s visual-arts contribution to the Getty’s pan-city event, Pacific Standard Time, “Identify and Affirmation: Post War African-American Photography” opens. Comprised of 125 images produced by Los Angeles African-American photographers during the post-war years 1945-1980, the show offers insight into the era, artistic growth, and development of events shaping African-American identity in Los Angeles.

Then we’ll do an arts-march across campus to the jewel-box Valley Performing Arts Center (designed by a talented female architect, Kara Hill, it’s still in its inaugural season), where a celebration of jazz trumpeter Miles Davis kicks into gear at 6 pm.

Miles was not a son of Los Angeles, rather, of St. Louis, but what can we say? His oeuvre, in all stages and permutations, is central to the spirit marked by Pacific Standard Time. His tough, alienated personal style, lonely existential tone, rejection of musical fillip, or of anything extraneous — all fits so well with the post-war zeitgeist.

Come on, Miles Davis, who died in 1991, was for decades a leading beacon of what is hip. So it should be really interesting to see the young trumpeter, Ambrose Akinmusire, 29, who’s heading up the tribute program, interpret him.

Akinmusire, on his part, won Downbeat Magazine‘s Rising Star Jazz Artist of the Year and Rising Star Trumpet honors this year.

Go see this young man play!

Akinmusire (trumpet), Walter Smith III (tenor sax), Sam Harris (piano), Harish Raghavan (bass), Justin Brown (drums).

Identity and Affirmation | CSUN art galleries | opens Oct 23

The Miles Davis Experience: 1949-1959 A Collaboration with Blue Note Records Featuring the Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet | Valley Performing Arts Center | Oct 23 | 6 pm

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