THE BLUE WHALE IN LOS ANGELES
by Cathy Segal-Garcia
When music of this quality is being played live, in front of you, the world changes. The realities of life that you support in daily living melt away like another lifetime, and what comes in its place is like a heaven, a connection to the divine….
And so it was Saturday, January 2nd 2010 at the new music venue in downtown Japantown, at The Blue Whale – one of L.A.’s hippest new venues. Owner Joon Lee designed and built the room to support quality modern jazz, and already, after only a month of being open, is doing just that! Joon says, “In a warm, cozy art space environment, I want people to transcend the invisible rules that we are many times forced to work with...and go beyond that, to the life force of the creations!”
This 4th weekend of the venue’s opening, guitarist Tom Rizzo lead an outstanding trio to the “life force of the creations”, made up of himself, Hamilton Price on bass, and Scott Breadman on percussion. Tom’s beautifully fluid lines and harmonic concepts seemed to lead the way, Hamilton’s open style, truthful choices, and great intonation and tone filled in just the right spaces, while Scott’s ability to create wonderful varied rhythms and colors balanced out this very musical trio!
The Blue Whale had a fruitful opening on December 11th. Supported by first a top notch classical quartet with direction and compositions by pianist Bevan Manson. Then the versatile Mr. Manson played a jazz trio with Tom Rizzo and oboist Tom Boyd. The evening’s last set was led by pianist Cho Yoonseung, and featured an electric band which played in the style of late 60’s/early 70’s Miles. The Blue Whale has one comfortable open space for listening and playing, spilling out into a bar area. Seating is low cushioned seats, which move around easily according to the audience’s and performers’ whim, and in fact, are meant to surround and be part of the performers’ space. As we musicians know, the room always reflects the owner’s vibe. These are very cool vibes!
Easy to get to, but a little hard to find the first time…The Blue Whale is on 2nd St., on the northeast corner of 2nd and Los Angeles St, next to the Kyoto Hotel. It’s in a Japanese mini-mall called Weller Court, on the 3rd floor. Underground parking at night for The Blue Whale is free; the parking entrance is just east of the hotel. Phone number (213) 620-0908.
A full bar and light fare are offered. Music is presently on Friday and Saturday nights, but that could change…check on Facebook for more up to date information. There is a mere minimum of $10 cover and no minimum. This is an amazing deal, considering Joon Lee is hiring the best modern jazz musicians Los Angeles has to offer!