Yvette Coleman & Kathy Drayton: Patrons of Jazz

Ed Hamilton on two women who have created jazz music salons in Los Angeles

Benjamin Franklin started Salons and Lyceums that were meetings of groups who were patrons of the arts. People gathered to hear invited special guests. Yvette Coleman and Kathy Drayton have followed in Franklin’s footsteps with their own creations of Los Angeles’ first music salons---Jazz in the Garden and Live Music Movement Foundation.

Drayton states that her organization LIVE MUSIC MOVEMENT FOUNDATION started in 2011 intentions are to broaden the enjoyment and appreciation of jazz, blues, and soul music as a powerful American cultural force thru Vision, Mission, Commitment, Musical events,

She says, “Our goal is to promote, present and preserve jazz, blues and soul music through Musical experience salons performances, education and commissions of new works.” Going on she continues, “we present musical events and concerts as a way to socialize around the music. thru Vision, Mission, Commitment, Musical events. Where there is an atmosphere where people can mix and mingle and socialize while enjoying the music and even dance.

The musical experience presented a jazz party with Drayton’s husband Leslie Drayton, trumpeter and former band leader for Marvin Gaye and Bassist-Del Atkins. The first salon’s guest was phenomenal trombonist Garnett Brown, who showcased his vast experience playing with Herbie Hancock, Duke Pearson, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Jackie McLean, Dizzy, Blakey, Hubert Laws, Jazz Crusaders, Thad Jones/Mel Lewis, Oliver Nelson, Jack Wilson, and Gerald Wilson.

Ms. Coleman’s Jazz In the Garden began in 2005 with 5 women who called themselves “Just Us for Jazz”: Jacquiline Williams, Hanne Johnson, Florine Hill, Espanola Obligacion, and Yvette. Spanky Wilson and Wycliffe Gordon were featured.

Describing her reasoning for wanting to host Jazz Salons, Ms. Coleman stated, “I was at a Jazz Salon presented by my friend Mimi Milnick and got inspired. I shared it with my girlfriends and decided we could do something similar, but have it outdoors. We brainstormed about how it should be presented and and what experience we wanted our audience to have and put together a list of potential artists and got started.”

In 2009 went solo with her Jazz in the Garden Salon and through the past 5 years has presented in concert salon atmosphere the following: Winard Harper, Red Holloway, Houston Person, Plas Johnson, Rickey Woodard, Jeff Clayton and Ernie Andrews, Justo Almario, Terrell Stafford, Ndugu Chancler and Patrice Rushen, Javon Jackson, Kenny Burrell, Gilbert Castellanos, David T. Walker, Billy Childs, Willie Jones, 111, Eric Reed, Trevor Ware, and Bobby Floyd.

“It has been my desire to treat the musicians and the fans with great respect so every move I make is predicated on that,” Ms. Coleman says proudly. “I have have the greatest support team of my familly, Jerry Jones my sound man whose been with me from the start, and the greatest volunteer in the world CB and his sidekick Andrew. And the fans are wonderfully supportive of all my musician choices. They encourage me and I love them for that.” And giving kudos to the musicians saying that ”I am tremendously grateful to them for trusting me and my showcasing them in an outdoor picturesque Baldwin Hills setting overlooking beautiful L.A.”

“The future for LMMF” Ms. Drayton unveils, “Plans to produce several concerts and music education events a year. We want to provide an innovative approach to music performance in venues where you’re welcome to do more than sway in your seat---we want you to get up, move, and enjoy the music.”

Collectively, both women have given a renewed breath of Jazz-life to the City of the Angels with their Jazz Salons---Jazz in the Garden and Live Music Movement Foundation. They welcome other Jazz patrons who have been waiting for the reopening of Ruth Price’s Jazz Bakery and overwhelmingly applaud Ms. Coleman and Ms. Drayton’s efforts in maintaining Jazz Music for the ears of the Jazz lovers.

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Ed Hamilton