Posts by Kirk Silsbee

arts•meme contributor Kirk Silsbee writes about jazz and culture, as he has for nearly 40 years. He can be read in many publications including Downbeat, the Burbank Leader, the Glendale News-Press, Downtown News, and Jewish Journal. He makes a mean plate of pancakes and is known to be a terrific kisser.


‘Rivers of Sound’: From the Euphrates to The Soraya

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ed. note: This story by jazz writer, Kirk Silsbee, was commissioned by The Soraya and first appeared on the theater’s blogsite. Composer Amir ElSaffar, the innovative jazz trumpeter and director of the Rivers of Sound Orchestra, is calling his latest new work “a sonic embrace.” ElSaffar penned the expression to describe Emergence, a sound experience ...

Gifted Cuban pianist López-Nussa to bring Soraya jazz fest to smoking finale

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ed. note: The trio of concerts over a single weekend—Gerald Clayton Sextet (Feb 17), Gretchen Parlato (Feb 18), and the Harold López-Nussa Trio (Feb 19)—are the grand finale of the Soraya’s jazz festival, Jazz at Naz. This interview, conducted by artsmeme jazz writer, Kirk Silsbee, was commissioned by The Soraya and first appeared on the ...

Gerald Clayton, Gretchen Parlato set to open ‘Jazz at Naz’ weekend @ The Soraya

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A trio of cutting-edge Jazz at Naz intimate concerts takes jazz’s temperature and points to the art form’s future. Hungry for the potent experience live music brings, jazz fans (safely distanced and masked) will encounter, over the course of one weekend, a blazing sextet, a sensual vocalist, and a scintillating up-and-coming pianist from Havana. The ...

Jimi Hendrix, Los Angeles, 1969

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(left) Monterey Pop Festival, Nurit Wilde/from “Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child”(right) with Michelle Phillips & Mama Cass Henry Diltz/ from “Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child” ed note: This excerpt from “Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child” by Harvey Kubernik & Kenneth Kubernik, Sterling Books (2021) is published with permission of the authors. In 1960s rock royalty, none wore the ...

REVIEW: Count Basie Orchestra swingin’ at The Soraya 2

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count basie orchestraphoto: luis luque for the soraya When the Count Basie Orchestra concert at the Younes and  Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts was cancelled for the COVID shutdown in March 2020, it was a bitter pill. When the cloud lifted, Soraya director Thor Steingraber declared that the match would no longer be ...

Ella and Basie, reunited by Basie band & Lizz Wright at The Soraya

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Lizz Wright, Basie orchestra ed. note: This story by music writer Kirk Silsbee, commissioned and originally published by the Younes & Soraya Nazarian Center for the Arts, has been excerpted with permission. The Count Basie Orchestra band has not just outlived the big band era, it has thrived. This is no ghost band; its last ...

Call in The Police! Stewart Copeland & Re-Collective Orchestra in ‘derangements’ 2

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stewart copeland, the police deranged ed. note: This story by music writer Kirk Silsbee was commissioned and originally published by the Younes & Soraya Nazarian Center for the Arts. Excerpted with permission. No band electrified audiences in the 1970s and ‘80s like The Police. Omnipresent on the airwaves, they had arenas pulsing across the globe. ...

Highwire jazz interplay: Branford Marsalis Quartet soon at The Soraya

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photo: Branford Marsalis Quartet by Palma Kolansky, courtesy of The Soraya ed. note: This story by jazz writer Kirk Silsbee was commissioned and originally published by the Younes & Soraya Nazarian Center for the Arts. Excerpted with permission. The timeless swing of the Count Basie Orchestra, the pure vocals of Lizz Wright, and the vibrant ...

Ornithology, at Piano Spheres special season-opener

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Red-flanked Bluetail ed. note: We are pleased to re-enter life as we knew it, and feature, in this special post, writing by Kirk Silsbee and photography by Mark Levine As performing-arts presenters take tentative steps toward resuming full programming, the prudent path would mandate familiar fare to reconnect with cautious audiences. Piano Spheres is having ...

Broadbent & Mancio, a musical partnership by intuition & osmosis 2

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One of the most sublime vocal albums of this, or any recent, year was released a few months ago. London-based singer and lyricist Georgia Mancio and pianist Alan Broadbent committed duets of nine of their own songs onto Quiet Is The Star (Roomspin). The collaboration is one of the all-too-rare instances where voice, text, piano ...