Broadway in Leimert Park Opens with 'Express Yourself' Singer Charles Wright
The Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center will celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month in April with Broadway in Leimert Park, 27 performances beginning Saturday with Charles Wright, the writer and vocalist of the iconic "Express Yourself" with the Watts 103rd Street Band, joining Emmy-nominated jazz and blues singer Morrison for a concert that begins at 7 p.m.
"Express Yourself" was a crossover hit in 1970, hitting two Billboard charts: No. 3 on the rhythm and blues and No. 12 on pop. The American soul and funk band formed in the early 1960s in Los Angeles had nine singles on Billboard's pop and/or rhythm and blues charts.
Wright, who also plays the guitar and piano, also has written a book, "UP" From where we came, an autobiography about his early life in the 1940s as the son of a cotton farm sharecropper in Clarksdale, Miss., before moving to Los Angeles in the early 1950s. He will conduct a book signing starting at 3 p.m. at the BMPAC.
Broadway in Leimert Park will feature two performances on Saturday and Sunday each weekend in April with the exception of April 30 when the International Jazz Day Festival, a free concert Big Band Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald with Morrison, Darren Dean and Cathy Segal Garcia is held in the Vision Parking Lot in Leimert Park across from the BMPAC, which Morrison founded in 2008. There are also single performances every Friday and other days during the week.
The Morrison-founded California Jazz and Blues Museum, a neighbor to Morrison's performing arts center in Leimert Park, will hold its Grand Opening beginning at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Stix Hooper, a founding member of Grammy Award-winning Jazz Crusaders, will be in attendance along with an exhibit that includes his famous drums. Famed pianist and photographer Larry Farrow's portrait series "A Musician on Musicians: The Photgraphic Rif" will be on display along with additional music memorabilia.
Singer Barbara Morrison will join "Express Yourself" singer-songwriter Charles Wright for the opening night of Broadway in Leimert Park on Saturday.
The Broadway in Leimert Park schedule for April's Jazz Appreciation Month at the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center, 4305 Degnan Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 9008:
April 1-Lucky Lloyd, Tribute to B.B. King, 8 p.m.
April 2-Fernando Pullum and The Students from The Pullum Center Band, 3 p.m.
April 2-Wali Ali, The Biggest Little Band in Town, 6 p.m.
April 6-Charles Small, Tribute to Wes Montgomery, 8 p.m.
April 7-Perry Brown, Tribute to Joe Williams, 8 p.m.
April 8-Suzanne Nichols, Tribute to Eartha Kitt, 3 p.m.
April 8-Shawn L. Brinkley, Tribute to Hattie McDaniel, 7 p.m.
April 9-Chester Whitmore Big Band, Sound of Blackness, 4 p.m.
April 10-Kamasi Washington, Ernie Andrews, 7:30 p.m.
April 12-Peter Buck, Tribute to Max Roach, 7 p.m.
April 14-Daryl Darden, Tribute to George Benson, 8 p.m.
April 15-Almita Delone, Tribute to Ernestine Anderson, 3 p.m.
April 15-Mari Nobre, Tribute to Ellis Regina, Queen of Brazilian jazz, 7 p.m.
April 16-B'ANCA, Tribute to Mahalia Jackson, 3 p.m.
April 16-Charles Owens Big Band Jazz, 6 p.m.
April 21-Pat Sligh, Tribute to Sarah Vaughan, 8 p.m.
April 22-Dawn Lett, jazz vocalist, 3 p.m.
April 22-Sweet Baby J'ai, Tribute to Billie Holiday, 8 p.m.
April 23-Garrison Jones starring with Jacob Mann in "Upright and Grand" celebrating the jazz piano, 4 p.m.
April 23-Lena Marie, Broadway/jazz vocalist, 6 p.m.
April 28-Brenda Lee Eager, Soul Review, 8 p.m.
April 29-Aaron Price, Tribute to Johnny Hartman, 8 p.m.
April 30-International Jazz Day Festival, a free concert Big Band Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald with Barbara Morrison, Darren Dean, Cathy Segal Garcia, 1 p.m. in the Vision Parking Lot in Leimert Park across from the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center.