Some Soulful L.A. Jazz Needs Your Help

KamauFinal2With only a few days left, the Kickstarter for the film The Gathering: Roots and Branches of Los Angeles Jazz is still well short of its goal.

That would be a tough blow for a group of musicians who’ve had their share of them. The liner notes of The Nimbus Collective’s Live in Lotusland CD say it well:

The social consequences of trying to play serious music in an area as shallow and fad-driven as Los Angeles and its environs were too much to deal with, and the band broke up after playing less than a dozen times.

Since discovering this project — which would fund post-production of a documentary film of a 2005 concert (more info here) —  I’ve been sampling bits of the L.A. jazz scene. Not cheesy smooth jazz or Hollywood big-band stuff, mind you, but a soulful, post-post-bop style that had Horace Tapscott as a captain and John Carter and Bobby Bradford as champions.

Vinny Golia helps lead the L.A. charge these days — and of course, this region nurtured Nels Cline and Alex Cline, too. But I hadn’t heard the terrific music of Jesse Sharps (above) or the late Nate Morgan. Both were part of the Nimbus Collective; Live in Lotusland documents a 1987 concert with energetic music rooted in that mid-late Coltrane era, spiced with ear-opening solos. You’ll find their work, and much of Tapscott’s, documented on the Nimbus West record label.

It’s a lively corner of the jazz world that doesn’t deserve to be overlooked. Check out The Gathering’s Kickstarter page.

Here’s one of The Gathering’s more avant-garde tracks: “Agony in the Garden,” by Roberto Miranda. I’d also recommend the epic 26-minute version of “Desert Fairy Princess,” a Jesse Sharps composition with a catchy mellow-funk bassline.