Another dream concert under the auspices of the Los Angeles Jazz Institute! Last year (for me) it was Helen Merrill singing the Gil Evans charts from her nearly half-century young Emarcy album, Dream of You. Last night it was Johnny Mandel leading seventeen of L.A.'s finest through a fifteen-song program of some of his most famous compositions and/or arrangements. A highlight for me was Mandel summoning up singer Pinky Winters to sing,---sans rehearsal and accompanying her on piano---Mandel and Frishberg's "You Are There." Winters proved once again why she is the undisputed champion and once-and-future Queen of "You Are There."
For the record, the program also consisted of, in no particular order, San Diego Party, Barbara's Theme and Black Nightgown (all from the film I Want to Live), Georgia on My Mind (from Hoagy Carmichael's World-Pacific album that Mandel arranged), Krazy Kat (from JM's tenure with the Artie Shaw bop band), Low Life, Not Really the Blues (Woody Herman era Mandel), Emily, M*A*S*H, A Time for Love, The Shadow of Your Smile, Groover Wailin', Keester Parade, Seascape.
The usual suspects on the bandstand included: Bill Mays, Carl Saunders, Kim Richmond, Chris Conner, John Pisano, Bobby Shew, the great young drummer Kevin Kanner, Andy Martin, et al
The evening, officially titled "The Compositions and Arrangements of Johnny Mandel," was a bright beacon shining out from the heart of the recording industry beast, i.e. Los Angeles, aka the city where the future comes to die.