Los Angeles may be far from the first, second, or even third choice as America’s current jazz capital, but the “City of Angels” is no slouch in that department, either. From piano bars across the Hollywoods from West to East, to jazz clubs in Studio City, Culver City, Beverly Glen, or even Little Tokyo, there are plenty of places to catch “America’s classical music” on any given night.
That was especially true on Wednesday evening at the Lodge Room in Highland Park, where TAUK and Jazz Is PHSH put their respective talents on full display during a dynamic double-header to kickstart the weekend.
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The two bands had originally planned to play at 1720, a warehouse-style venue just southeast of downtown L.A., but a last-minute change brought them both to the northeast part of town and prompted the show’s organizers to dispense free tickets as a draw to fans. Those who showed up were treated to a pair of spectacular performances—and, in TAUK’s case, a familiar one from the group’s last go-round in Southern California.
Jazz Is PHSH kicked off the night with a splendid set of Phish tunes infused with the machinations of other artists, both in homage and in cameo. The ensemble dropped into a rendition of “Divided Sky” with a trumpet solo and proceeded to mash up the Phish standard with bits from songs by the legendary John Coltrane.
Given the setting—and Jazz Is PHSH’s own endemic LA ties—Adam Chase took the opportunity to invite a couple of other local musicians to partake in that night’s tribute. After including TAUK’s A.C. Carter to contribute on the keyboard during “46 Days”, the group introduced Adam Ledbetter from Adam & Kizzie, who proceeded to spend some time on the keys and sprinkle in a hip-hop freestyle to “Brother”. Following a fun take on “Snatch”, Jazz Is PHSH brought out Alex Wasily from Dumpstapunk to funkify a Herbie Hancock-infused version of “Gumbo” to close out the set.
Thereafter, TAUK shifted the tone from flattering imitation to straight-up jazz fusion. With A.C. back on keys, Isaac Teel clad in his “Tune Squad” jersey on drums, Matt Jalbert on guitar, and Charlie Dolan on bass, the band from Oyster Bay, New York drew just one track—”Pitter Pattern”—from its latest album, Shapeshifter II: Outbreak, while indulging in the rest of their catalogue and paying tribute to Nirvana with an instrumental cover of “All Apologies”.
Along the way, the Lodge Room saw its open space dwindle as jazz fans and live music lovers filed into the 500-capacity venue over the course of the evening. By the time the members of TAUK took their final bow, the place was practically brimming with ebullient observers who had happily taken up the offer of a free show.
Los Angeles is quickly becoming a destination the genre and its many offshoots, thanks in large part to the patronage and prowess of performers like Jazz Is PHSH and TAUK.
Scroll down for a full gallery from Wednesday’s show, courtesy of photographer Josh Martin.