Terence Blanchard’s jazz message, in cabaret seating, at The Soraya

Trumpeter Terence Blanchard has been visiting this part of the country for years. Starting in the ’80s, he shared the valedictory frontline of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers with alto saxophonist Donald Harrison. Leaving the venerable drummer (“Our father, who art Blakey” quipped trumpeter Valery Ponomarev), Blanchard and Harrison co-led a good mainstream jazz band. They ...

Electric Miles Davis in the new millennium, at The Soraya

Miles Davis (1926-1991) was out of the public eye in the late 1970s. The legendary trumpeter and bandleader had changed the course of music—not just jazz—several times, and was half a decade into his electric period, inaugurated by 1969’s Bitches Brew. That epoch rewrote the rules of ensemble interaction, as Miles turned eager young soloists ...

Must see, must hear: Maria Schneider big band at VPAC 2

Maria Schneider’s ascendance is a Cinderella jazz story of sorts, albeit a long one. It surprises no one when she’s on the cover of Downbeat these days. But she first appeared as Best Original Composition award winner in the magazine’s 1984 student competition. Subsequently she’s become one of the most distinctive and evocative contemporary composers. ...

“Dreamgirls”‘s Moya Angela to sing national anthem at Dodger Stadium 2

It’s Oh say can you see & And I am telling you — all in one fell swoop. We’re all looking forward to four performances of the Tony Award-laden “Dreamgirls” at the Valley Performing Arts Center in early May. And now all the more so — having learned that the production’s star, Moya Angela, will ...

Infectious holiday fun: “Salsa Navidad” at VPAC

Dance · Music
Oscar Hernandez came of age in the burgeoning New York Latin music scene of the 1970s and ‘80s, when the Fania label recorded many of the greats canonized today: Willie Colón, Bobby Valentín, Pete Rodriquez, Johnny Pacheco, Cheo Feliciano, Larry Harlow, Hector Lavóe, Ray Barretto, Luis ‘Perico’ Ortíz, and Papo Lucca among others. It was ...

Review: Diavolo’s “L’Espace du Temps” @ VPAC

Architecture & Design · Dance · Music · Reviews
Calling Diavolo: Architecture in Motion a dance company is like calling a monster truck a nice vehicle. It’s big. It’s brash. It’s loud. Sometimes it’s brilliant. The LA-based company performed its three-part “L’Espace du Temps” at the Valley Performing Arts Center (VPAC) September 19 and 20. Presented in partnership with the Ford Signature Series, it ...

Hold onto your hats ~ here comes VPAC’s new season!

Dance · Music · Theater
A new season at a performing arts center arrives as a list, perhaps just like any list. But if you pause to peruse the rich offerings on tap at Valley Performing Arts Center in the coming season, 2015-16, you’ll feel the fun. Arts energy that is fun, youthful, excellent and diverse will emanate from Cal ...

Martha Graham emblazoned by Barbara Morgan photo @ VPAC

Dance · Visual arts
Fascinating words that may have resonance today, excerpted from “Martha Graham, A Biography,” by Don McDonagh, page 148: “We must win back our audiences,” [Graham said, in an interview prior to the Company appearance at the Mansfield Theater in Letter to the World]. “We have alienated them through grimness of theme and a nontheatrical approach ...

Catch it! David Parsons’ “Caught” @ Valley Performing Arts Center

Roll with Parsons Dance Company, one night only, at the Valley Performing Arts Center, as the contemporary dance troupe — 13 movement frolickers, they’re nearly dance punsters translating tongue-tanglers into clever body licks — parades forth David Parsons’ uber-physical dance creations. It’s happening this Saturday night at the chic and lovely theater that sits at ...

How green is Thor’s Valley

Architecture & Design · Dance · Music · Theater
Thor Steingraber, former vice president for programming for The Music Center in downtown Los Angeles, has been named the new executive director of the Valley Performing Arts Center at California State University, Northridge. CSUN’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Harry Hellenbrand heralded the occasion: “Thor is credited with the vision to blend classical ...