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Angeles National Forest Restoration Project
As I have been working on an underwriting spot for the Tree People, it was obvious to me I was going to be getting involved with this project. I survived the Station Fire ordeal last year living just minutes from the Angeles National Forest.
The Angeles Forest Station Fire burned more than 160,000 acres, making it the largest fire in modern Los Angeles County history. 11,000 of those acres will not recover on their own without human assistance. Those 11,000 acres were burned too deep in the soil and too wide-spread for natural seed regeneration.
For the next several years, the U.S. Forest Service will oversee the planting of 4,000 (out of those 11,000) acres per year. Those trees will be planted by volunteers and paid contractors. The majority of land in dangerous, steep sloped areas will be planted by paid contractors.
The Manhattan Transfer Christmas Show
Some marriages don’t last as long as this musical group. The Manhattan Transfer has been together for almost 40 years. They've played clubs and concert halls. They've done commercials. And they've won eight Grammy Awards.
Their first was for 1980's "Birdland" which remains their most popular song and one of my personal favorites. But whatever they do, wherever they do it, it's always with that signature sound: four-part harmony, tight and precise.
Tim Hauser, Janis Siegel and Alan Paul have been around from the start. Cheryl Bentyne is the newbie - she signed on in 1978.
Once Janis Siegel said, "People see in us something that they wish there was more of in the world, which is harmony. "And no matter how technologically advanced the music business becomes, I think people will always still want to hear the sound of the human voice, especially raised in harmony." I agree as I am producing this underwriting spot here in Studio E. Digging this music and makin' my day an awesome one.
They've harmonized with gospel and all kinds of jazz, including vocalese where they improvise to instruments like trombones and saxophones and add new lyrics.
I saw them in Vegas years ago and fell in love with this awesome group. They will be performing at Disney Hall on Tuesday, December 21. http://www.laphil.com/tickets/performance-detail.cfm?id=4496
Shakespeare Center Celebrates 25th Anniversary
As there are many grains of sand on the beach, it could not equal the variety of music that comes my way in Studio G at the Mohn Broadcast Center. This week one of my favs to produce was for the upcoming “Much Ado About Nothing” for The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles. Celebrating its 25th Anniversary, the production will star Helen Hunt, Tom Irwin, Stephen Root, Dakin Matthews, and David Ogden Stiers in a world-class company of 17 American actors and musicians. Director Ben Donenberg has set the production in a grape-stomping California vineyard, ripe with Lyle Lovett’s music. One of Lovett’s most famous songs, “She’s No Lady, She’s My Wife,” will be performed live in the show by Sara and Sean Watkins. For ticket information, http://www.centertheatregroup.org
Remembering back in 1989, Sara Watkins, barely out of her childhood, started playing in Nickel Creek in Carlsbad, California, along with her guitarist brother Sean and mandolinist, friend Chris Thile. The young trio built a reputation in bluegrass, folk, and country circles, then catapulted to mainstream prominence in 2000 after releasing an album produced by Alison Krauss. When not on the road or in the studio with Nickel Creek, Watkins guest-starred as fiddler and/or harmony vocalist on albums by Bela Fleck, the Chieftains, Ben Lee, Dan Wilson, Richard Thompson, and Ray La Montagne, among others. Although Nickel Creek is currently on an indefinite hiatus, Sara and Sean tour with their own separate bands. For more information about their music, http://www.nickelcreek.com/. The "Smoothie Song" was always one of my personal favorites. It landed as the musical bed for this spot.
Pearson Foundation Live Talks Los Angeles with Roger McGuinn
Each day is a new musical trip here in Studio G at the Mohn Broadcast Center. Currently working on spots for the Pearson Foundation and their series of Live Talks Los Angeles conversations including Lewis Black, Simon Winchester and Roger McGuinn to mention just a few of the interesting people on the slate.
I always appreciated the guitar work of Roger McGuinn of The Byrds fame back in the 1960s. He had the special 12-string guitar sound that nobody else could duplicate. McGuinn developed two innovative and very influential styles of electric guitar playing: “jingle-jangle” where he could generate a ringing arpeggio like a banjo-picking style; and secondly he had a sort of droning style similar to a sitar.
McGuinn was known for his stylings on the Rickenbacker guitar, which he referred to as “The Rick.” In itself, it’s sort of a thuddy sound, but McGuinn added a compressor to the mix to get a cool, long sustain. I loved that effect.
Ornette Coleman at UCLA Live Royce Hall
It’s been an international musical ride here in Studio G at the Mohn Broadcast Center. Working on several underwriting spots for UCLA Live at Royce Hall including Gamelan Cudamani from Bali, Indonesia; composer and lyricist, Stephen Sondheim will be featured in conversation and jazz saxophonist, Ornette Coleman will be in concert.
Musically speaking it is a stellar day! What caught my ear and attention today was this video discussing Coleman’s instinct and vision of jazz. I appreciate his freedom to let music flow to an awesome space. It reminds me how fortunate I am to have music, dance and art in my life — without it, how empty I would be.
Free jazz pioneer, Pulitzer Prize winner and peerless saxophonist Ornette Coleman has played a major role in the evolution of American music for more than five decades.