With August comes Jazz on the Lawn.
The free concert series presented on the City Hall lawn offers residents a chance to kick back in their favorite beach chairs for a picnic with cool breezes and the smoothest jazz, with a lineup that features Tony Award nominee Valarie Pettiford and composer and saxophonist Geoff “Double G” Gallegos of the fusion favorite DAKAH hip-hop orchestra.
The fourth annual Jazz on the Lawn series kicks off Aug. 9 at 5 p.m. Concerts will be held every Sunday. Free parking is provided at the Civic Auditorium free of charge after 4 p.m.
Pettiford will kick off the series Aug. 9, a guest performer with the Upright Cabaret, an eclectic mix of artists from stage, record and screen inspired by the Golden Age of entertainment — think Coconut Grove. Pettiford was last seen on Broadway in “Fosse,” for which she was nominated for a Tony. Her other Broadway and national tour credits include “Sophisticated Ladies” and the 30th anniversary tour of “West Side Story.” On television she has had recurring roles on “House,” “CSI Miami,” “Bones,” and “The West Wing.” She is currently performing “Guys and Dolls” at the Hollywood Bowl with Jessica Beil, Beau Bridges and Brian Stokes Mitchell.
On Aug. 16, Grupo Falso Baiano will lead the way. The hot, young ensemble from San Francisco performs “choro,” a musical form created by blending African rhythms with the structures of classical music, representing the diverse culture of Brazil. Dating from the 19th century, choro has evolved into many forms including “samba,” while retaining its daring improvisation, highly sophisticated counterpoint, and syncopated Afro-Brazilian rhythms.
On Aug. 23, Double G will bring his fusion to the forefront. This cat has played to capacity crowds at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, The House of Blue, the Playboy Jazz Festival and the New Orleans Jazzfest. Come help “shape the evolution of a new sonic consciousness” with Gallegos as he continues to challenge musical conventions.
To round out the series on Aug. 30, the city’s Cultural Affairs Division presents John West, a Louisiana native who is fresh from selling out the Roxy. The up-and-coming singer/songwriter combines soul, R&B and pop for a smooth style that is anything but commercial drivel. His musical influences range from Otis Redding and Cat Stevens to Jill Scott and Jack Johnson.
For more information, go to www.arts.santa-monica.org, or call (310) 458-8350.