Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Night Shift - The District
From the District Weekly - (4/8/2009)
It will become a lot harder to find a serious jazz room in Southern California when the Jazz Bakery closes at the end of May. The Chimay and gruyére crowd may have driven out one of the purest jazz venues in the state, but down south there is a room that, every now and then, hosts great music without fretting over drink minimums or obliviously chatty crowds.
Alva’s Showroom has been booking an intriguing collection of jazzbos since 2005. During the day, Alva’s provides an open space and ballet barres for the more flexible members of the community on a quaint commercial strip in western San Pedro. But every Saturday night, it is divided and transformed into a 60-seat jazz club complete with a mammoth Steinway and state-of-the-art sound system for the not necessarily physically flexible but certainly mentally so. (Witness the impressive time-lapse video on the venue’s Web site transitioning from twinkled toes to tickled ivories.)
This week, the showroom will feature keyboard-tamer Mitch Forman—a man who has found himself sharing stages with the undisputed saxophone legend Wayne Shorter and impossible dance band the Mahavishnu Orchestra. His sound can veer dramatically from synth-drenched sandal-jazz to hunch-shouldered impressionism, but based on the listed sidemen (Darek Oles, bass; Peter Erskine, drums), the calendar implies Forman will go the acoustic route using two of the most sought after rhythm men in town. Forman’s subdued early ’90s tribute to Bill Evans, Now and Then, secured his place as a master beyond the electro-gimmickry of his young-blood years. His quick attack flutters a thousand well-crafted ideas with his fingers splayed across the keyboard like a rake. In the span of a phone call, he can render an audience winded, leaving them to catch up on their own time with the lines he has dispensed.
In the past few months, Alva’s has hosted a boatload of solid performers: the Littleton Brothers, Elliott Caine, Azar Lawrence. San Pedro, for all its cultural claims to fame, has never been much of a jazz town, but, with a little luck and maybe a few more dedicated nights, Alva’s could change all that.
THE MITCH FORMAN TRIO ALVA’S SHOWROOM 1417 W EIGHTH ST SAN PEDRO 90732 310.519.1314 ALVASSHOWROOM.COM SAT 8PM $20 SUGGESTED DONATION RESERVATIONS RECOMMENDED
Alva's Showroom - The District