June 25, 2014—Billy Higgins, the most recorded drummer in jazz history. Branford Marsalis, Max Roach, Roy Hargrove, Elvin Jones, Billy Childs, Ron Carter, Kenny Burrell, Pharaoh Sanders. These are just a handful of the jazz greats who have passed through The World Stage, the unassuming but vibrant performance gallery in the heart of Leimert Park Village. In partnership with the Ford Amphitheatres, this historic organization will present an all-star line-up of jazz musicians and poets at The World Stage 25th Anniversary Celebration: Honoring the Legacy of Billy Higgins, held on Sunday, August 24 at 6pm.
Co-founded by Higgins and Kamau Daaood of the Watts Writers Workshop, “The Stage” has remained a cornerstone of this hub of African-American culture in Los Angeles. Through social upheaval and recession, and even as the neighborhood is poised for considerable change with the arrival of a new subway station, this “jazz church” stands tall as maybe the best place in town to soak up the living legacy of the famed Central Avenue jazz scene. Staffed exclusively by volunteers, The Stage offers weekly workshops, jam sessions, and open mikes in drumming, jazz, and poetry for youth and adults. Scores of local musicians remember being mentored by Billy Higgins, the much-loved jazz master who will be honored at the August 24th concert.
Heading the all-star line-up is jazz vocalist Dwight Trible (also Executive Director of The World Stage), hailed by LA Weekly as “our main local conduit for cosmic energy.” Joining him is Carmen Lundy, winner of the 2011 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album as well as Grammy winning composer, multi-instrumentalist, and vocalist Patrice Rushen. Versatile reed-man Bennie Maupin, who has collaborated with the likes of Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock, and renowned flutist Hubert Laws are also featured performers. Keeping it current are Kamasi Washington (who has played with Snoop Dog and Raphael Saadiq) and Miguel Atwood- Ferguson (Big Boi, Rihanna). Rounding out the bill are spoken-word artists Kamau Daaood and Jaha Zainabu, as well as The World Stage’s own resident women’s drum ensemble S.H.I.N.E.
Tickets are available at www.fordtheatres.org, and range from $15 for students and children, to $60 for first tier seats. For more information about The World Stage Art, Education, and Performance Gallery, check out www.theworldstage.org.