Category Archives: Blog

NuTropic DJ Set

Check out my recent DJ set at the new LA party called NuTropic¬†located at the Short Stop (brought to you by DJ’s Seano, Mano, & Maple Syrup.

This was a special night sharing the decks with my homies Ohmega Watts¬†(who’s NuTropic mix can be found here) and Chico Mann. Word on the street is the three of us will connect again for this. Looking forward to it!

Bandcamp’s BC Weekly feat. Dexter Story & Kid Gusto

Dexter Story_Wondem

 

This week’s BC Weekly over at Bandcamp¬†features some excellent new music from many artists I’ve never heard before.

I’m excited that the mix features some new music that I worked on. Two projects that are dear to my heart: Dexter Story’s Wondem¬†and Kid Gusto’s¬†Right Place EP.¬†Two special doses of music therapy for you soul.

In an interview with Andrew Jervis, Dexter Story recalls stories explaining how the trumpet began his first instrument and the current state of LA’s thriving music scene.

Also in the mix is some new Contact Field Orchestra (my Ethio Cali brother, Damon Aaron) and the recently new Hailu Mergia produced by Max Whitefield of the Poets Of Rhythm.

Enjoy! ~ Todd

 

 

#JazzOn45 DJ Mixes

jazz on 45

Over the summer, I began compiling some of my favorite 45’s to share out with the world. I ended up spinning all-45 sets at LeMellotron in Paris, Danny Halloway’s Blazing 45’s in LA and over at Joey Altruda’s new Shanghai Noir night at General Lee’s in Chinatown (LA).

In case you are in the need of some solid mixes on vinyl, here’s a batch of recent DJ mixes that have surfaced online…

I hope you enjoy these selections as much as I do…

 

DUBLAB MIX

at dublab

http://dublab.com/danny-holloway-wguest-todd-simon-heads-up-11-11-15/

 

JAZZ ON 45 Vol. 2 – JAZZ AROUND THE WORLD

(compete explanation of tracks over at Wax Poetics)

JAZZ ON 45 Vol. 1

(compete explanation of tracks over at Wax Poetics)

 

PARIS DJs TAKEOVER @ LE MELLOTRON

NOVEMBER!!!

Thank you for visiting my site.

I’ve been blessed with a musically-rich life! The past few years have been unreal: working with the likes of Kelis, Blur, Quantic, my Ethiopian-Jazz ensemble Ethio Cali, and so much more.

This month I’m celebrating two musician friends who are very dear to me. The first is the young arranger/woodwind master, Sly 5th Ave. I’m fortunate to co-produce an exciting tribute to Dr. Dre, assembling a 30-piece orchestra for Sly.

LA has been proud of a recent release from our brother, Dexter Story, called Wondem on Soundway Records. We have an exciting intimate performance of music from this incredible record.

Here are some special events coming up:

Saturday, Nov. 21, 7:30pm-11pm
CALIFORNIA LOVE- A 30-Piece Orchestral Tribute
Celebrating the music DR. DRE @EbellTheatre
Wilshire Ebell Theatre 4401 W 8th St, Los Angeles, CA 90005
#CalifoniaLoveLA #CaliLove
Tickets: californialove.brownpapertickets.com
Link to Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1217518684931743/CaliLove

 

 

Tuesday, Nov. 24, 10pm

Radio Afrique returns with a special live performance by Dexter Story & Wondem. Presenting new music from the recent Soundway Records release.

Happening upstairs at General Lee’s in Chinatown.

Yene Konjo.

Percussion: Carlos Ni√Īo
Drums: Te’Amir Sweeney
Bass: Patrick Bailey
Guitar: Michael McTaggart
Keys: Mark de Clive-Lowe
Tenor Saxophone: Randal Fisher
Trumpet: Todd Simon
Keys / Guitar: Dexter Story
Vocals: Dustin Warren (Godfrey at Large)
_______________________
TUESDAY, November 24

DJ’s: RANI D & SON ZOO

FREE / 10pm-2am

General Lee’s
475 Gin Ling Way
Los Angeles, CA 90012

www.wondem.bandcamp.com
www.rafrique.com
_______________________
Radio Afrique hosts sublime gatherings celebrating the diversity and richness of music found in the various regions of Africa. desert blues, angola soul, ethio jazz, and nigerian disco are some of the genres amplified on these special nights.

dial in.

https://www.facebook.com/events/179959985679314/
wondem

ethio cali blue whale residency dec 7

Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy, Spiritual/Political Jazz & Ethio Cali

Greetings!

It’s been quite some time since I’ve last posted on my website.

As usual, life has been busy and filled with so much incredible music happenings. Immense, uplifting, magical and fun times with Ethio Cali, Quantic, Solange Knowles, Dave Sitek, and so much more.

Ethio Cali is finishing up the last installment of a residency at the Blue Whale (Little Tokyo/DTLA) on December 7th. We are changing up the scene and focusing on more music from the US. We’ll be playing some Spiritual Jazz gems by Horace Silver, Chico Hamilton, Sun Ra, Pharaoh Sanders, Eric Dolphy and Charles Mingus. This will be an event not to miss. The musicality within Ethio Cali is a force not to be messed with. Our saxophonists, Kamasi Washington and Randal Fisher, are freakishly destroying things and will blow everyone away on this hit.

I’ve been deep in the arrangements for the December 7th show. The music of Charles Mingus is mighty dear to me, especially the material he prepared for his mighty 1964 sextet featuring:
Jakie Byard – piano
Charles Mingus – bass/direction
Dannie Richmond – drums
Johnny Coles – trumpet
Eric Dolphy – alto sax/bass clarinet/flute
Clifford Jordan – tenor sax
Although the mainstream jazz world likes to focus on the eccentric side of Mingus, I like to focus on his virtuosic approach towards the bass, his HIGHLY-artistic composition and arranging sensibilities which evoke spirituality and politics via the means of music and improvisation. Mingus had a deep adoration for Duke Ellington and although the ’64 ensemble consists of only six musicians, it feels like a jazz orchestra.

Luckily, many of the ’64 sextet concerts were recorded and filmed. My favorite concert featuring this ensemble is the Town Hall Concert that features a composition titled “Praying With Eric” which is also known as “Meditations on Integration (Or For a Pair of Wire-Cutters)”. Mingus composed “Meditations…” to raise awareness of the internment of Japanese-Americans From 1942 to 1946, the US government confined over 100,000 Japanese-Americans into concentration camps in response to Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. “Meditations…” is a dense piece of art, music, protest and love all jammed together. “Meditations…” was a difficult song of the sextet to perform correctly (to Mingus’ standards). The Town Hall version is the most complete (according to Mingus and many jazz scholars). Please check the link above to hear it. I’ve included the best filmed version here:

Go directly to 1:35:00 (two other concerts featuring the sextet are included in the youtube link as well. all amazing. Oslo, Norway is out of this world) to get to the beginning of “Meditations…” You will catch some banter between Mingus and Dolphy. Mingus and Dolphy grew up together in Watts, California and you can hear their string connection throughout all of these recordings. During the 1964 Europe tour, Eric Dolphy told Mingus that he would not be returning to the US with the band and will stay in Europe for an extended amount of time to focus on his solo career. Mingus did not appreciate this news and became very upset and gave Dolphy a very rough time about even going to the extent to talk trash about Dolphy publicly at some concerts. (little did Mingus know that these would be his last moments with Dolphy. Dolphy died later that year in Europe due to a supposedly coma induced by undiagnosed diabetic problems) Once the banter ends, watch Mingus as he counts off the sextet with his bow. The band explodes with passion! Enjoy the many sections, solos and dialogue going on between the musicians.

Ethio Cali will perform “Meditations on Integration (Or For a Pair of Wire-Cutters)” on December 7th featuring the unsung LA jazz hero Tracy Wannomae on bass clarinet. The fervor found in the Charles Mingus Sextet is one of the core feelings you will hear from Ethio Cali. I hope to see you there.

ethio cali blue whale residency dec 7

ethio cali blue whale residency dec 7

FREE Summer Concerts in LA

FREE SUMMER CONCERTS in LA

FREE Summer Concerts in LA

FREE Summer Concerts in LA

Once again, Los Angeles is blessed with a slew of amazing FREE concerts. I’m proud to be a part of many. Here’s what’s on the books. I hope to see you there:

June 12 – Angel City All-Star Brass Band/Zoom B @ Levitt Pavilion MacArthur Park | 8:00pm FREE
http://www.levittla.org/2014-concert-calendar/

July 9 – ETHIO CALI @ Wells Fargo Center |12:00 – 1:15 PM FREE
http://artsbrookfield.com/event/ethio-cali/#.U3pLLl7jKNs

July 12 – The Decoders: Minnie Riperton Tribute Concert @ Grand Performances |8:00pm FREE
http://www.grandperformances.org/events/adventures-from-paradise-a-tribute-to-minnie-riperton-2/

July 18 – Chop and Quench (FELA! Band) performing Fela Kuti‚Äôs influential ‚Äú69 Los Angeles Sessions‚ÄĚ in its entirety @
Grand Performances |2 shows: 12:00pm & 8:00pm FREE
http://www.grandperformances.org/events/chop-and-quench-2/
http://www.grandperformances.org/events/chop-and-quench-3/

August 7 РWondem (Dexter Story’s modern-east african project) @ Levitt Pavilion MacArthur Park | 8:00pm FREE
http://www.levittla.org/myron-e-and-wondem-band/