Jazzman Billy Mitchell Sets Out to Prove Earth is Really a Groovy Place
By John Sollenberger, Pasadena Weekly, July 23, 2009
The summer music series at Levitt Pavilion continues Sunday night with an international flair when Billy Mitchell presents “A Tribute to World Music.”
Keyboardist Mitchell boasts a decades-long career as a jazz musician, but Sunday’s show marks something of a departure from the smooth jazz and be-bop that he’s known for. Traditional music from Mexico, Brazil, Lebanon, Japan, Taiwan, China, Greece, France, Israel, Kenya and South Africa will be fused with the contemporary American style of the Billy Mitchell Group. Mitchell has brought together some musical masters — members of the Billy Mitchell Group and his band, Minority Report. On stage will be Nori Iji (bass), Yu Ooka (guitar), Hagai Izreli (trumpet), Muyungo Jackson (percussion), Quentin Dennard (drums) and an international cast of vocalists including Inindo Marshall, Jay Lee, Marisa Kosugi, Cui Cui Rangel and Nadine El-Khoury.
Besides his long career as a performer, recording artist and author, Mitchell is an advocate for music education in the public schools. In 2002, he founded the Scholarship Audition Performance Preparatory Academy, designed to increase participation of inner-city students in music and arts scholarship competitions.
Mitchell said of Sunday’s show, “Our purpose is to show that the groove exists all over the world. We’re inviting everybody to join the dance party.”