Monday, January 26, 2009

OC's Biggest Little Theater Gets Blue

Most people who know the Orange County Performing Arts Center think about its 3,000 seat hall that imports Broadway touring productions or the gleaming new concert hall that seats under 2,000.

But tucked behind the concert hall is the cozy, wood paneled Samueli Theatre, a "black box" in theatre parlance (meaning there is no fixed seating) that accommodates a few hundred, depending upon its configuration.

The Samueli Theatre is host to OCPAC's jazz and cabaret series, begun several years ago in their Founders Hall--a rehearsal room behind the large Segerstrom Hall that was converted to this use. With the opening of the Samueli, the Center now has a more suitable venue for performances like these.

Saturday night at the Samueli I took in the Blue Note tour that pianist Bill Charlap conceived, assembling jazz notables Ravi Coltraine, tenor sax, (yes, the son of the great John Coltrane) and Nicholas Payton, trumpet, along with four other accomplished musicians in tribute to the 70th anniversary of the Blue Note record label. The 75 minute set I attended showcased classics of jazz innovation--that's to say Joe Henderson, Dexter Gordon, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock with a tip of the hat to Thelonious Monk in the encore. No jazz retreads of Tin Pan Alley on this program--this was for the true jazz aficianado.

Even if you missed it, here's a link to more information, including an article and an NPR interview with Bill Charlap.

Next on the Jazz Series is Stefon Harris on April 3-4.

1 comment:

phodgins said...

OCPAC has one of the best jazz series around, thanks in part to past president Jerry Mandel, who was an ardent lover of jazz and blew a pretty mean sax. You'd have to go all the way up to Yoshi's in Oakland to see the line-up that's offered at OCPAC most seasons.