The evening was perfect on Friday night, August 24 when members of the Arrowhead Arts Association gathered at the magnificent home of Lorna Polley. Entitled “Concert on the Green” while the concert wasn’t on the golf course the soaring living room windows certainly provided a breathtaking view of the green grass outside. The soaring ceiling and the decor to the magnificent sounds of three talented jazz musicians from the University of Southern California. The group, entitled “1923” had the invited audience in the palm of their hands and the cool jazz sounds that came from the three USC graduate students was as cool and smooth as fine silk. The delightful evening also featured the most delicious desserts this side of Paris so thank you to Pat Jongerius for organizing this portion of the event.
The Thornton School of Music students met at the university and they became friends and associates who frequently play jazz around southern California. It’s easy to tell because they just seemed to “mesh” quite well. Although their program was all jazz it was interesting to listen and realize that many songs can be “jazzed up” such as “All of Me,” Roger Williams’ famous “Autumn Leaves,” “Caravan” and many others. They even played a little Duke Ellington. It was a cavalcade of interesting songs put to jazz that may not have started out that way. During one of the selections I closed my eyes and thought it would have made a great dance piece for the late, great dancer Gene Kelly. Another selection reminded me of a smoky bar someplace where two dancers were slowly, ever so slowly, dancing toward one another.
The music school was founded in 1884 and it is on the leading edge of professional training in an unparalleled range of music genres and disciplines. Football is not the only thing the southern California university is famous for because many of the USC Thornton School of Music graduates are internationally renowned. The facility is the longest-standing cultural institution in Los Angeles and it consistently ranks among the nation’s leading music schools and conservatories. The music students often find collaboration to be a key part of their experiences and this trio is no exception. The band, called 1923, includes musicians Brandon Cordoba on piano, Greg Webster on drums and Anessa al-Musawwir on bass. It was certainly easy to see that they collaborate frequently because there was an easy-going musical familiarity between the trio.
It was, to put it mildly, a great night. The audience definitely didn’t want the musicians to leave and they relented and played for about 20 minutes more.
It was “just another” fabulous Arrowhead Arts evening. Between the magnificent setting next to the golf course, delicious food and drink, a room filled with music enthusiasts and friends and local philanthropists it was “just another perfect Arrowhead Arts evening.” This organization has been bringing music to the mountains since the mid-1980s so they definitely know what they’re doing.
As George Gershwin would say……. “Who Could Ask for Anything More?”