As many of you who get my emails and read this blog already know, I’ve been a pretty strong advocate for Blue Whale, a new club that quietly opened up in Downtown LA about a year ago. Tucked away in a corner on the 3rd floor of a modest shopping center plaza, this little club has quickly become a focal point for creative music, providing a safe haven for jazz artists and true jazz fans alike.
Slowly, this place is starting to become known to the greater general public. Blue Whale has gotten some very nice reviews recently, from downtown-focusing Bunker Hill Magazine to the hallowed Los Angeles Times and their excellent music critic, Chris Barton. But Barton himself acknowledges that the club faces challenges in getting recognition, as he writes in his review that the club is “a cozy and unconventional jazz club that in just 10 months has blossomed into one of the top spots for jazz in the city — although it can be nearly as hard to find in the open seas of downtown L.A. as its namesake.”
So as the club approaches its first year in existence many of the artists who have frequented Joon Lee’s club have decided to do something nice for him. Feed The Blue Whale is an all-day-and-night festival that will hopefully bring dollars and attention to this little place. No less than 12 groups will be performing that day, from longtime Los Angeles stalwarts such as John Beasley and Kim Richmond to the more progressive, aggressive sounds of bands like Slumgum and Sigmund Fudge, and even some younger brilliant musicians like Richard Sears and Sam Gendel. Of course, Kevin Kanner and the Blue Whale Monday Jam Band will play a set. The evening concludes with what is to be for sure a lights out performance from John Zorn disciples Jim Black on drums, Chris Speed on woodwinds, and Trevor Dunn on bass in the group Endangered Blood, on tour from NYC.
GF3 will also make an appearance, and I am delighted that the organizers of this festival have asked me to perform. I’ve had several shows there that have been instrumental in the development of our trio and I imagine this next show will continue to help push us along.
It’s pretty rare to find a club where the owner is universally loved by all those who work for him, staff and musicians alike. If you come by on Saturday you will see what that looks like, as elusive as a Blue Whale sighting.