by A. Scott Galloway
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, LA’s Angel City Jazz Festival is known for focusing on the future of jazz, while nurturing a deep respect for its history. This year, Angel City has a special evening planned for the Ford, with singer/multi-instrumentalist Xenia Rubinos and composer/band leader Lauren Baba’s theBABAorchestra.
For Rocco Somazzi, Angel City’s artistic director, the festival’s mission is “to present the highest level of innovative, creative and cutting-edge jazz in all its current evolutions. For this year's concert at the Ford, we are showcasing two women who have taken jazz in new directions by combining their highly individual voices with fluent and fluid musical influences from all over the world.”
Xenia (pronounced sen-ee-uh) Rubinos will be performing material from her latest album Black Terry Cat, songs that defy categorization and express singular perspectives on life and love. “I’m building various performance modes on keyboards and bass and using my voice as an instrument, as well as developing parts of my set where I experiment with movement,” she shares. “I do love jazz and spent a lot of time in my youth listening to artists such as Betty Carter and Charles Mingus. That music is part of me, how I hear music and how I make it, as is the salsa and pop radio I grew up on.”
Delving deeper into the instruments and applications of how she expresses herself though music, Rubinos concludes, “My voice is my main ax but I started on piano and keys to get by as a writer. As for the bass, it just so happened I was working on a song and the bassist couldn’t come. So I bought a bass from Guitar Center intending to return it right after…but I had so much fun playing it, I kept the bass and started writing. It was very liberating...”
Lauren Baba, a 2018 Los Angeles Jazz Society New Note-commissioned artist, will be exploring realms of composition and improvisation with theBABAorchestra via what she describes as a 45-minute continuous suite - different movements but one sonic piece.
The Lake Forest-native Baba says, “LA has shaped me…no matter what happens, I’m always looking forward, building a strong community. The CalArts community has also been instrumental in teaching me to be creative with positivity…and no fear.”
The Angel City Jazz Festival takes place at the Ford on Saturday, October 6 at 8:00 PM. Tickets and info can be found here.