Ariadne’s Notes: The World Poetry Café Radio Show was honoured to welcome the wonderful team of George and Elena Gillian on November 16at 1:35 PM, PST Highlights of the show included the beautiful voice of Elena and the great work of George with specially abled people, two of which wrote a powerful poem which George on the radio show. Elena also works with youth and performance. Recent award winners of Living Legend awards, they embody the best in humanitarian caring and help. You can contact them at http://gilliamjazz.com/
Thanks to publicist Osiris Munir, tech Victor Swartzman and Special volunteer Sharon Rowe.
Honored as a Living Legend of Jazz by Living Legends Inc. in Los Angeles, California, Elena Gilliam is an astonishing jazz vocalist with a rare depth of natural talent. Her level of performance is widely applauded as analogous with such jazz greats as Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington and the like. Her unique rich, eloquent tones and brilliant phrasing take you on a musical journey of jazz, swing, standards, latin and blues. Elena charms you with her animated that exemplifies her musical versatility, while she cleverly connects you to song lyrics. Her confidence, enthusiasm and love for music shine through every performance. Her extraordinary sound is indeed a treat for anyone who appreciates a true songstress.
Elena has been featured at countless events (both public and private) at venues such as; the Hyatt Newporter Jazz Festival, the KKJZ 88.1 Jazz and Blues Sunday Brunch at the Hollywood Lowes, Spaghettini Grill & Jazz Club in Seal Beach, The Lighthouse Cafe in Hermosa Beach, the Festival of the Arts Laguna Beach Tivoli Terrace summer jazz, at Jazz at Bayside Restaurant in Newport Beach. Â Currently, you can find Elena at various local Jazz venues; the Port Restaurant in Corona del Mar, the Black Marlin in Tustin and Brix at the Shore in Long Beach, Malarkey’s in Long Beach and others!
“Elena is a true Jazz Vocalist!.” Quotes renowned pianist/band leader Ron Kobayashi (credits; Mel Torme, Kenny Burrell). Elena strives for the best sound and surrounds herself with amazing musicians like Ron, George Gilliam (phenomenal guitarist), Llew Matthews (credits; Nancy Wilson,musical arranger and director, Kenny Burrell), Henry Skipper Franklin, LA Living Legend of Jazz (credits; Joe Williams, Sonny Rollins), Donald Dean, LA Living Legend of Jazz (Les McCann and Eddie Harris), Brad Bobo (Eddie Harris, Linda Hopkins), Jane Getz (Dale Fielder Quartet, Charles Mingus), and countless others!
Elena’s love of music and comfort with the stage are qualities she shares with young artists in the community. She has a strong commitment to foster personal growth through art and music. As a recipient of the 2014 Kenneth A. Picerne Foundation Artist Outreach Project, Elena developed workshops for at risk teens. She continues her work encouraging young adults to build personal strength through performance.
Her journey continues with natural style, versatility and enthusiasm relished by her following. Elena’s sound will enrapture and delight your heart!
George J. Gilliam began his musical journey at only 13 years of age, in Gary, Indiana. Since then he’s developed into a seasoned musical director, producer and extremely talented jazz guitarist. With little experience, Wilson Crump hired this enthusiastic young player to perform with the Mellow Tones. He later moved to Chicago with his family and formed his own groups. â€œThe Rocking Soul Brothersâ€ became a Chicago success when he teamed up with Hashan Khan, Darnel Hagen and a little unknown vocalist named Chaka Khan. Jerry and the Chantells was next, using his nick name for this group. His talents quickly became known at the famous Regal Theatre Talent shows, television appearances and shows throughout Chicago. George worked with many talents like Rom Lee and Jerry Wilson. George’s father Ira H. Gilliam, was a successful saxophonist and encouraged him to stretch his skills. He formed a Big Band featuring Jimmy Ellis, Bill Yancey, and Willie Pickins. They debuted at the Saber Room in Hickory Hills and became another Chicago favorite.
George carried his instinctive talent to Xavier University in New Orleans. At Xavier, George played guitar for the Xavier University Jazz Band, where a young Wynton Marsalis was just beginning his career. Under the direction of Dr. John E. Fernandez, George sees this as one of the most memorable times of his life. He performed with some of New Orleans biggest talents such as, the Nevelle Brothers, Luther Kent and Trick Bag. He made regular appearances at The New Orleans Jazz Heritage Festivals every year. While earning his bachelors degree in music, he found a steady niche with the renowned James Rivers Band, more recently featured in Clint Eastwood’s film, The Bridges of Madison County. James bragged of George natural skills to play the blues. It’s no wonder he asked him to tour with the group to South America. After graduating George headed for California to pursue his true love jazz.
He strove to build on his talent in the jazz vein and once again formed his own bands. His style became smooth, distinctive and uniquely classic. It was in California that he discovered an aspiring vocalist and soulmate, Elena, who he later married. Her style is inspired by Shirley Bassie, Sarah Vaughn and Ella Fitzgerald, making Elena and George a perfect pair, who have performed together ever since. George has been a regular at jazz festivals over the years. George Gilliam subtly changes dynamics and adds fills with sweet, well-timed chording. Commented Bill Kohlhaase from the LA Times, about the Hyatt Newporter Jazz Festival. With the Count Basie All-Stars at the Marriott Resort, George showed effortless chord progressions said Rydznski from World News. George insists on surrounding himself with great musicians. Among the many talents have been Kevin Toney, Albert Heath, Harold Land Jr., Richard Reed, Donald Dean, Louis Spears, Larry Van Nash, Henry Franklin and more! All the while, his talent and style have evolved into an outstanding guitarist who appeals to any audience. Weather he excites you with an energetic modern jazz feel or mellows your soul with rich relaxing tones; you’ll love his special touch on the guitar. Most recently George performs with his own jazz trio. This smooth guitar trio takes you on a journey with his new CD, Stepping Lightly, featuring Donald Dean on Drums and Donnell Lambert on upright bass. You’ll surely enjoy the ride.
George’s talent is only matched by his sense of community. After earning another degree as a music therapist, he dedicated himself to working with developmentally disabled adults. Through his clinical studies at Metropolitan State Hospital in Norwalk, Huntington School in Long Beach, and the Betty Clooney Center for Brain Injured in Long Beach California, he developed skills to work with a wide variety of special needs adults. His talents were so keen, that immediately after becoming a therapist, he was hired as the Director of Hope University in Anaheim, California by its founder, Mrs. Doris Walker. Working with Mrs. Walker as an intern, she grew to see that George could become her replacement at Hope. An expert and known author in her field, she knew he was the right choice even with very little experience. George soon became determined to develop his own program and founded Creative Identity, where he utilizes the arts to enrich the lives of those who have been forgotten. George has an intuitive ability to sense individual needs and desires of special needs individuals and believes that everyone can contribute to society and have a fulfilling life. He strives to keep his students involved through the arts.
George’s gift is apparent whether working with special needs clients or entertaining his audience through music. George is truly a talented guitarist with a genuine love for music, expressed sincerely in his performances. He promises to deliver a passionate creative style tantamount to a true seasoned professional.
World Poetry Café Radio Show, a fascinating show October 9,1-2 pm, CFRO 100.5 FM with Lazlo Gordony http://www.lgjazz.com/ calling in at 1:10 pm and Award Winners Elena and George Gilliam calling in at 1:35 pm.
Powerful Jazz greats! Due to the stature of the guests , I will do separate features. Peace e-poems from Bam Sharma, Nepal and Davynouich Fidel plus a special poem by Mamta Agarwal from India, a Big Bessie story by Sharon Rowe. (people look forward to her stories) Suburb piano solo music from his new CD “Serious Play” by Lazlo Gordony and live singing with the amazing voice of Gillian Williams made the show a special one. Many thanks to Ann Braithwaite and Katherine Growdon for presenting Lazlo and Osiris Munir for presenting George and Elena.http://gilliamjazz.com
Thanks to Victor Swartzman , super tech and reader and Sharon Rowe , special volunteer.
***Next Thursday, on November 16, a celebration of African Voices with Michael Kwaku Kesse Somuah from Ghana and e-poet Olajuwon Timileyin from Nigeria will make a must hear show!
Laszlo Gardony is a critically acclaimed artist who has brought his soulful improvisations and compositions to audiences in 26 countries. Winner of the Great American Jazz Piano Competition, Gardony has been called a pianist worthy of praise within the highest pantheon of performers by Jazz Review and a great pianist by Dave Brubeck.
He has released twelve albums, leading groups that included Dave Holland, Miroslav Vitous, Mick Goodrick, Yoron Israel, John Lockwood, Jamey Haddad, Bill Pierce, Don Braden and Stan Strickland among others.
Laszlo Gardony’s new solo piano CD, Serious Play, released in July 2017, received a 4-star review in All About Jazz. His previous CD, Life In Real Time – featuring Bill Pierce (saxophone), Don Braden (saxophone), Stan Strickland (sax, bass clarinet, vocals), John Lockwood (bass), Yoron Israel (drums) and Laszlo Gardony (piano, composer, arranger) – received a four-star review in Down Beat and was named by the Boston Globe as one the ten best jazz albums of 2015.
Gardony has been praised for his fluid piano by The New York Times and for his uniformly high quality of compositions by All About Jazz Magazine. Jazz Times has called him one of contemporary music truly original voices and a formidable soloist who lives in the moment.
As a sideman, Gardony recorded and toured extensively with Yoron Israel’s High Standards Quartet and with Matt Glaser’s Wayfaring Strangers. He has performed with the David Fathead Newman Quintet at numerous jazz festivals. Randy Brecker, Dave Liebman and John Blake appeared as guest soloists with his group.
Gardony has been featured with the Boston Pops, the Utah Symphony and The Smithsonian Institute Beyond Category Traveling Duke Ellington Exhibit.
Additionally, he appeared live and on record with vocalist, Shelley Neill’s group and with guitarist, Garrison Fewell’s quartet. He has performed with the Eddie Gomez Quintet, Victor Lewis and the Marco Pignataro Jazzet. Gardony was also commissioned to arrange his original compositions for The Danish Radio Big Band.
Laszlo has been living in Boston for the past twenty five years, where he is a Professor of Piano at Berklee College of Music.
Born in Hungary, Gardony showed an early aptitude on the piano. He wasn’t much older when he started improvising, devising little tunes inspired by the blues, pop and classical music he heard around the house. Immersed in the European classical tradition while growing up, he was drawn to progressive rock as a teenager, and spent countless hours improvising blues-based music at the piano. He investigated gospel and studied jazz, a passion that soon overshadowed his classical pursuits. We had jazz and African music classes at the Conservatory, Gardony recalls. There were some very knowledgeable people and a lot of records. When it came to jazz it was a tiny community, but very inspiring.
After graduating from the Bela Bartok Conservatory and the Science University of Budapest, he became one of Europe’s most sought after accompanists, and released his first albums as a leader. Possessing a powerful sense of swing, a strong feel for the blues and a firm command of post-bop vocabulary, he gained invaluable insight by sharing festival stages with acts like Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and Abdullah Ibrahim. After several years on the road, Gardony decided he needed to deepen his knowledge of jazz.
A full scholarship to Berklee brought him to America in 1983, and a faculty position at the school upon graduation kept him stateside. He made his US recording debut with the acclaimed 1988 album The Secret (Antilles) featuring Czech bass great Miroslav Vitous and drummer Ian Froman, but it was his 1st place win the following year at the Great American Jazz Piano Competition that catapulted him into the national spotlight.
His primary vehicle for the past decade has been his state-of-the-art trio with bassist John Lockwood and drummer Yoron Israel, an ensemble first documented on the 2003 Sunnyside release Ever Before Ever After. One of the finest working bands in jazz, the group performs and records regularly, exploring Gardony’s extensive book of original pieces as well as the occasional standard and jazz classics by the likes of Horace Silver and Billy Strayhorn. Gardony augments the trio’s latest release, 2011’s beautifully textured tribute to jazz’s African roots Signature Time’s (Sunnyside), with Stan Strickland on saxophone.
Laszlo continues to tour and record, attracting new fans and earning critical acclaim for his synthesis of many musical sources and for creating a joyous, powerful, insightful, and open spirited music.
Laszlo Gardony is a New England Foundation for the Arts Touring Roster artist. NEFA provides up to 50% of musician fees when his trio is presented by a non-profit organization in five New England states (not in MA) . For more information please visit Laszlo Gardony’s page at NEFA’s CreativeGround.org (formerly Matchbook.org)
Ariadne’s Notes: The World Poetry Café Radio Show, September 7, 1-2 pm, CFRO, 100.5, had a short but important interview with the amazing Alan Santana who gave us insights into the world of boxing and how it helped him at 8 years old to overcome extreme bullying. Also the idea that boxing is like a chess match. My dad liked boxing and said it was “a pure art form” , a quote which I never understood until the interview with Alan. He also helps youth and has written a book which focuses on them to be the best they can be and not to get mixed up with shady characters.
Also on the show were e-poems from Mamta Agarwal, Poetic News and a story from Sharon Rowe, read by Victor Swartzman. Music by Pancho and Sal.
Alan Santana ,resounding, gregarious personality is an immediate characteristic that exudes Alan Santana. The fanatical ringside commentator extols an arsenal of burlesque, intelligence and accuracy that is adored by his many fans. A mutli- talented commentator, speaker and serial entrepreneur presiding as the North American Coordinator and Supervisor for the American Boxing Organisation and on the Board of Directors. , the California native is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable experts of our time. He has held the position of Executive Board Member with the World Boxing Hall of Fame, International Boxing Judge and his appointment to these positions has led to an array of opportunities in the boxing world. He has just recently joined the ABO (Adaptive Boxing Organization) as an International Ambassador and Spokesperson to help gain recognition for wheelchair athletes worldwide.
Santana began boxing at the age of 8 years old and it grew into a 20 year career. He earned a spot as a member of the California/USA Boxing Team from 1982 â€“ 1985. During his amateur stint he won many state and local titles and recorded well over 100 plus fights. Shortly after starting his professional run, his career was unexpectedly hampered due to sustaining a career ending injury from an automobile accident. Santana continues his support of the coveted sport of boxing through national and international travel supervising title bouts as a champion of the sport and a passionate mentor to youth.
He currently presides as the CEO, President and Founder of No Teen Riders, INC., a non-profit organization created to educate teen drivers and their families by providing practical information, preventive measures, and compliance standards to reduce and eliminate teen vehicular deaths. Adding the title of author to his repertoire, Santana is also anticipating the release of his forthcoming book entitled UNPROTECTED: A Tactical Approach to Boxing, Business and Life, slated for release in the second quarter of 2017. Alan resides in Orange County, California and is married to wife Annamarie for over 31 years. They have four children, Victoria; twins Austin and Andrew; and Aaron.