Pop & Hiss

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Finding L.A. jazz (and more) on a budget

August 21, 2009 |  4:05 pm

One of the greatest blessings (and curses) of being a music addict is the constant search for something new, a feeling that inside the next concert, record bin or blog feed will be a sound that will, even if only for a few minutes, grab your ear and not let go. And for a jazz fan the opportunities for this feeling are especially limitless because the music, by its very nature, is dedicated to exploration.

Except these days it can get expensive to take in a night of jazz, once cover charges and dinner costs are factored in at some of L.A.'s marquee clubs. But the curious, open-minded and the budget-conscious can still find that transformative listening experience on any given night.

In a story running in The Times this Saturday, I talk about some of these spaces, including the classic feel of the upstairs space at Vitello's in Studio City and the basement of a Santa Ana church. But be forewarned, jazz fans whose tastes run more "straightahead" -- many of these spaces are dedicated to exploring the edges of the music. Much like the sound. series at SASSAS and artists sometimes found in galleries like the wulf, these are places where jazz flirts with new music, electronics and the experimental.

Will Salmon, artistic director for the Open Gate Theatre's monthly series in Eagle Rock, stopped short of labeling their concerts as dedicated to one genre. "If we said jazz, people come expecting jazz and they’re going to be disappointed about 2/3 of the time,” he said with a laugh. “It isn’t bebop by any means, though that’s definitely the tradition for a lot of (the performers).”

So keep your ears and mind open -- there's terrific, under-appreciated music out there if you know where to look. Read the full story here.

-- Chris Barton

Photo: Saxophonist Jason Robinson performs at the Eagle Rock Center for the Arts as part of the Open Gate Theatre's music series.