Chris Walker

Chris’s Contributions


04/16/13    Concerts

Review: Palm Springs Women’s Jazz Festival

A new event that could become a perennial


06/28/12    Concerts

Review: Playboy Jazz Festival 2012

From soul to fusion to smooth: all things and then some


06/19/11    Concerts

Maria Schneider at Ojai Music Festival

Composer and big band leader presents new work at southern California music festival


06/18/11    Concerts

2011 Playboy Jazz Festival

Chris Walker reviews performances from the festival sponsored by Hugh Hefner and his brand

12/12/08    Concerts

Riviera Maya Jazz Festival

Free jazz on the beach, in Cancun, Mexico, is pretty far removed from the traditional way of celebrating Thanksgiving. For anyone wanting to get away from belly-swelling turkey dinners, “shop-till-you-drop” Black Friday, and college/professional football...


06/27/08    Concerts

Playboy Jazz Festival

In another locale, a 30th anniversary would have at least warranted a commemorative speech from its founder or main organizer, or even a special all-star band jam/segment. But at the Playboy Jazz Festival, held at Los Angeles’ landmark Hollywood Bowl, the...

04/17/08    Concerts

The Langston Hughes Project - Ask Your Mama: Twelve Moods for Jazz

Recorded words recited dramatically by Langston Hughes, the poet/writer laureate of the Harlem Renaissance, filled the stately Huntington Library’s auditorium in Pasadena resoundingly. Then in rapid succession a pre-taped oratory by Ronald McCurdy, chair...


March 2008    Gearhead

Yamaha Allen Vizzutti Artist Model Trumpet

I don’t play like Allen Vizzutti. Chances are you don’t either. With the recent introduction of the new Yamaha YTR-9335VS Allen Vizzutti Signature Artist Model trumpet, the rest of us mere mortals can play Allen’s trumpet, if not play trumpet like Allen...


11/19/07    Concerts

Blue Bay Jazz Festival

Frederiksted, on St. Croix, largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands, with a population under 55,000, was boldly shaken out its tranquility for the first Blue Bay Jazz Festival. Exuberant and freewheeling musicians from New Orleans, which the islanders feel embodies...

10/08/06    Concerts

City Ballet of Los Angeles Presents "Behind the Red Door"

Dance—especially jazz ballet—seems an unlikely conduit for John Coltrane’s innovative and affecting music. Nevertheless, Coltrane came alive beneath a glowing full moon at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Los Angeles. Through City Ballet of Angeles and...


June 2006    Artist Profiles

Lisa Thorson's JazzArtSigns: Unbound

Vocalist and bandleader Lisa Thorson is wheelchair bound, but when she performs with her quintet many people won’t even notice. Instead they’ll focus on the animated motions of improvisational painter Nancy Ostrovsky. Working prominently behind the musicians...


January/February 2006    Books

How to Grow as a Musician
Sheila E. Anderson

A common perception is that, in the past, all a jazz musician needed to know in order to succeed was how to play extraordinarily well, create appealing compositions and lead an intriguing band. But the truth is, then and especially now, a performer also...


January/February 2006    Books

Understanding Jazz: Ways to Listen
Tom Piazza

To the uninitiated (and sometimes even to those who are), jazz is mysterious, complex and difficult to comprehend. Unquestionably, this is one of the main reasons it barely represents a sliver of the popular musical pie. Author Tom Piazza makes "America...


January/February 2006    DVDs

Brazilian Beats
Various Artists

This DVD is divided into three documentaries depicting unique aspects of Brazilian culture. The first one concentrates on the roots of the rock-and-samba movement, the second continues with an emphasis on the second wave of performers and the last is nonmusical...


January/February 2006    DVDs

Chicago Blues Reunion: Buried Alive in the Blues
Various Artists

Organist Barry Goldberg, guitarist-vocalist Nick Gravenites, guitarist Harvey Mandel, vocalist Tracy Nelson, drummer Sam Lay and harmonica player Corky Siegel all survived the 1960s Chicago blues-rock scene. They reunited for a special performance taping...

06/14/05    Concerts

Playboy Jazz Festival 2005

During a press conference, Playboy Magazine publisher Hugh Hefner said Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Count Basie all played the company’s first jazz festival in Chicago. The 27th installment, spearheaded by producers George Wein and Darlene Chang...

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About Chris Walker