September, a month of R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

In the Hive Blog  – Sept 8

Tokyo Jazz Festival
To Japan, I admire your resilience.  While I was there over the last weekend, you dealt with a 5+ earthquake and a terrible typhoon. Sigh!  My Japanese friends, you were as generous as ever.

The Freeway Jam Band (Mike Stern, Lee Ritenour, Simon Phillips, John Beasley & Melvin Davis) that I was playing in fed off your energy and strength when we were on stage to launch the band’s LIVE concert DVD featuring music by Jeff Beck, Mike Stern and Lee Ritenour. Thanks for your enthusiasm.

I saw the great Kenny Barron Trio. I’m always amazed at how Kenny plays with such fluidity.  How does he swing so hard with such a light touch?  I was lucky to be able to speak with him.  I had to tell him how I wore down his record “Sunset to Dawn.”  He’s full of humanity and such a very encouraging person.

I also heard the George Duke/Marcus Miller/Dave Sanborn group.  Marcus is always inspiring. Speaking of Duke, if you are in LA Sep 24, I’m playing in this 67-piece orchestra which is going to premiere a new work composed by Duke  for Christian McBride who will be soloing with the orchestra.

And, then I ran into Sergio Mendes, my first mentor.  I was about 20 when I joined his band and went on my first world tour and made my first single “Confetti” with him.  We were overdue for a long catch up – after all, I played with him for 5 years.  We talked about the first task he asked me to do, which was to transcribe Ivan Lins piano voicings, which Sergio had taped on a cassette player when Ivan was visiting him at his house in Brazil.  I didn’t know who Ivan Lins was and was new to Brazilian music. Sergio was clever.  This was his way of introducing me to the harmonies and, of course, I fell in love with Ivan Lins  immediately.

Sunday with the Stars @ Theolonius Monk Institute Gala Concert
Speaking about masters and their gifts, this Sunday, I will be surrounded by incredible talent at the all-star 25th anniversary event, which will honor Aretha Franklin with the Founder’s Award.

As MD, all summer I’ve been working on the music program, which will include an Aretha Franklin medley performed by Dianne Reeves, Chaka Khan, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Kurt Elling.  Aretha will sing some tunes.  Chaka will perform her legendary funky version of A Night in Tunisia. There will be an electrifying duet with Herbie and Wayne.

I still have to finish arranging a 14-min Monk medley of 7 Monk songs with 7 bands performed by previous Monk Institute winners, Joshua Redman, Gretchen Parlato, Jacky Terrasson, Joey De Francesco, Gerald Clayton, Ben Williams, Seamus Blake, Jane Monheit and others.  The rest of the program will feature Terrence Blanchard, Ron Carter and an incredible house rhythm section with John Pattituci, Christian McBride, Kevin Eubanks, Terri Lyne Carrington and me.

As this concert is the day after the 10th anniversary of the gut-wrenching 9/11 tragedy, I am hoping that music will help ease some of the heaviness in our hearts.

Here’s my gig calendar for September/October – see you LIVE:
WHAT’S ON with JOHN BEASLEY – September-October 2011


September 12 (Monday)                                     Washington, DC
Thelonius Monk Institute of Jazz
25th Anniversary Gala Concert @ Kennedy Center
John Beasley – Music Director


All-Star Gala Concert will honor Aretha Franklin with the Founder’s Award. Performers include:

Herbie Hancock,
Ellis Marsalis,
Jason Moran
Danilo Perez,
Marcus Roberts, Jacky Terrasson, Ron Carter, Christian McBride,
John Patitucci,
Carl Allen,
Terri Lyne Carrington,
TS Monk,
Jimmy Heath,
Joe Lovano,
Wayne Shorter,
Ambrose Akinmusire,
Terence Blanchard,
Joshua Redman, Kevin Eubanks,
Lionel Loueke,
Dee Dee Bridgewater,
Kurt Elling,
Roberta Gambarini, Jane Monheit,
Gretchen Parlato,
Dianne Reeves, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin and others.

Co-chaired by Madeleine Albright, Quincy Jones, Debra Lee and Colin Powell.

Full list of musicians and tickets:



September 16 +17 (Friday/Saturday)                                Napa, CA
Lee Ritenour featuring John Beasley, Melvin Davis, Chris Coleman
Sep 16     Bankhead Theater @ 9pm – 2400 First Street, Livermore – 925-373-6800
Sep 17 Napa Valley Opera House @ 8:30pm – 1030 Main Street, Napa 707-226-7372

September 24 (Saturday)                  2-3pm                                        Los Angeles
The 67-member Symphonic Jazz Orchestra, conducted by Christian McBride and Mitch Glickman (John Beasley on piano).  The program features the world premiere of a new work composed by SJO co-music Director George Duke for McBride and the orchestra, along with other specially commissioned works.
Free event – UCLA, Royce Hall Tickets in person – UCLA Ticket Office: M-F 10am-4pm

October 2         (Sunday)                           7-9pm                                      Boise, Idaho
Boise Jazz Society Concert
John Beasley Circle
featuring Bennie Maupin (sax), Kevin Brandon (bass), Marvin (Smitty) Smith (drums)
Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy – 516 S. 9th Street, Boise

October 7         (Saturday)                       6-11pm                           Venice Beach, LA
First Friday’s Music @ Joe’s Restaurant
John Beasley Circle
featuring Kevin Brandon (bass), Marvin (Smitty) Smith (drums)

Make early reservations for jazz and fine dining at 4-star legendary Joe’s Restaurant in my hood or come to the last set and get drinks at the bar and walk in to hear the music.

Joe’s Restaurant – 1023 Abbot Kinney Blvd – 310-399-5811

Freeway Jam Band
Mike Stern, Lee Ritenour, Simon Phillips, John Beasley & Melvin Davis
Live at Blue Note Tokyo (Ward Records)
If you like jazz fusion, check this new LIVE concert DVD with the Freeway Jam Band, featuring music by Jeff Beck, Mike Stern and Lee Ritenour.  DVD includes interviews with each.  YouTube



Extreme Measures:  Simplexity
Re-release by BFM Digital (October 2011)
Simplexity is a hyper-dimensional electronic jazz project recorded over a couple days of jam sessions and overdubs.  John von Seggern brought together some of the most innovative and respected jazz players:  LA sound designer/top studio musician Steve Tavaglione, keys player John Beasley, drummer Gary Novak, trumpeter Walt Fowler, and clarinetist/EVI player Judd Miller, featuring the last recordings of bassist Dave Carpenter. Concert schedule in the works

Dwight Trible sings, John Beasley swings
Release by BFM Digital (November 2011)
Launch CD concert to be announced.



S P R E A D   THE   W O R D!

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