The Gathering: Leimert Park – Roots & Branches of Los Angeles Jazz was a historic musical event that took place in 2005 while Jesse Sharps was in Los Angeles helping to preserve the music of Horace Tapscott’s Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra. While in town from Germany he connected with friends and fellow players that he grew up with in Los Angeles, as well as new and familiar members from his time in PAPA during the 1960s and 70s. The event was organized as a collaboration based gathering where the musicians could get together to perform and record music of their peers.
Kamau Daaood and Roberto Miranda each brought in a piece of their own to record. Dwight Trible wrote lyrics for Jesse Sharps popular piece Desert Fairy Princess. Several well established local players such as Ndugu Chancler, Richard Grant, Azar Lawrence, Phil Ranelin, Michael Session and Taumbu joined the event as well as members of PAPA and younger up and coming players on the scene like Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Brandon Coleman, Joey Dosik, Randal Fisher, Nick Rosen, and Kamasi Washington.
Miguel Atwood-Ferguson brought in Peter Jacobson from his group Supernova along with friends Myka Miller, Sara Schoenbeck, and Tracy Wannomae to help round out the woodwinds and strings. He also played a significant role in mixing the album that was released in 2008. A complete line up from the event can be found on the musicians page.
The name for the event, The Gathering, was inspired from a community center and performance space that Kamau Daaood help to organize back in the 1970s. For this Gathering Kamau Daaood led a select group to improvise live with him on his signature spoken word piece Language of Saxophones. Jesse Sharps brought in his epic composition Peyote Song III to pair with his other song Desert Fairy Princess. And Roberto Miranda led the group as an improvising conductor for his experimental piece, Agony in the Garden. Two PAPA standards were recorded that day as well, Warriors All by Horace Tapscott and Lately’s Solo.
All of the songs were recorded live to 16 track Pro Tools and shot live on two digital cameras. On camera interviews with the participants were provided by Leimart Park artist and musician Bongo Rastaar. Some excerpts can be seen on the video page.
In 2008 a CD was released called Leimert Park – Roots & Branches of Los Angeles Jazz that is available at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/TheGathering1. The name for the CD was inspired by Jesse’s time connecting with many of the musicians from the event while in Leimert Park where he would hang out and play. It also references the connection that Leimert Park has represented for years as a hub for African American culture in Los Angeles. A digital release of Warrior’s All and a single of Desert Fairy Princess were released the following year and are both available through CDBaby.
From 2009-2010 The Gathering showcased as a select group, featuring Jesse Sharps, Dwight Trible, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, Thomas Stones, Nick Rosen, and several others, The group performed at several festivals and venues around the Los Angeles area, including headlining the opening day of the 2009 Angel City Jazz Festival. In 2010 The Gathering performed and recorded Justice, a song by Abdul Salim, in celebration of the election of Barack Obama. A digital release of the recording can be found here.
Work is currently underway to release a documentary in celebration of the 10 year anniversary of The Gathering: Leimert Park – Roots and Branches of Los Angeles Jazz. We have launched a Kickstarter campaign to help complete the film.
Please click the link here: http://kck.st/1KZyTIZ
Together we can bring a documentary film about these amazing musicians, the music, roots, and history of The Gathering to the world!