Henrietta Robinson, musician/performer and faithful supporter of LMMF, took time to interview advisor Del Atkins. Click here for interview or copy and paste link in your browser: https://youtu.be/i-XjmAOBDBs
Del Atkins is a bassist and composer. He brings a hearty and soulful dynamic to music that makes his compositions easily recognizable. He has 30+ years experience as a professional musician. He is experienced as a recording engineer, music director, bandleader, educator and BMI writer and publisher. He has performed with musicians such as Willie Bobo, Lou Rawls, Dr. Dre, Les McCann, Leslie Drayton, Gerald Albright, Ricky Jones, and Patrice Rushen to name a few.
Del has found success as a composer for feature films such as Another 48 Hours, Panther, and Fear of the Black Hat. Several artists have recorded his compositions. Norman Connors recorded “Easy Living” on Motown Records, and Ron Brown recorded “From My Eyes Only,” on Sire Records. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in digital media arts and music technology from California State University in Dominguez Hills. He earned a master’s degree in music industry administration from California State University in Northridge. Del has been an advisor to LMMF since inception in 2011.
Henrietta Robinson has a performance background in both sacred and secular settings, and she has performed in various venues, most notably music, theatre, and radio. Henrietta minored in music during undergraduate studies and later honed her jazz chops while living on the east coast (Boston, MA) where she also served a radio host of WGBH’s Friday night edition of the Jazz Gallery.
She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Huston-Tillotson University, Austin, TX and Master of Science degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. Currently, Henrietta serves as organist/music director for two local congregations in Houston.
Click here to watch the complete interview.
Southern Tour – Houston Stop
May 29, 2021 5:00 pm Houston Piano Company
Jalen Baker, recipient of the Jazz Road touring grant, and his quartet will make a stop in Houston on May 29, 2021. The grant is “designed for emerging and mid-career artists around the entire country. Jazz Road Tours supports small, three- to six-site tours at an array of venue types, often in rural communities and other areas traditionally underserved by the genre.”
In addition to the exciting tour, vibraphonist, composer and bandleader Jalen will release his debut album This Is Me, This Is Us on June 4, 2021. Fans and supporters of LMMF will get to enjoy the music right before the release date. We had the pleasure of working with Jalen in January 2020 (click here for details) and we look forward to the performance in May. Cds will be available for sale.
This exciting performance will be held at the Houston Piano Company, 1600 W. 13th St., Houston, TX 77008. Start time is 5:00 p.m. We encourage you to get your tickets soon as there will be limited access and no purchases at the door. Face masks will be required.
Purchase your tickets here at eventbrite.
2020 was a chaotic year fraught with rapid change and uncertainty. It was also a time of stillness and reflection. The pandemic forced many people to slow down. Some chose to take a much-needed break. Some chose to focus on family life. Others, like Weldon Scott, chose to dig in and push the bounds of their creativity.
Then he realized that all the tunes had a similar direction, and felt it was important to document what he was feeling. The time he had to reflect put him in a different space artistically. It was like he had a creative mantra to “write, think, visualize” that resulted in his debut EP album that was recorded in just one day. Weldon credits an army of talented musicians who helped bring the album together. He is thankful for mentor and producer Leslie Drayton and engineer Andy Bradley. “They helped make this process of recording music very clear to me,” he recalled. Weldon was the first recipient of Live Music Movement Foundation’s inaugural New Music Grant 2020. It helped make the EP possible.
Weldon’s inspiration for the album were experiences he had in college. He described some of the compositions as having:
A very earthy, relaxing vibe, while some others may be more “intense”, emphasizing the ups and downs I’ve faced the past couple of years. Even though it is a “jazz” album, it’s not the type of music that you have to wear a suit and tie to listen to. I always try to make social music that can involve the whole community. This is music that your gray-haired jazz snob grandfather and your friend from down the street can enjoy together.
Sometimes he would go for a walk on the beach or at the park and take in all the environment around him had to offer. “There’s so many rhythms from the way people speak, (especially the different languages), car horns, footsteps, even the pace of the waves.” Sometimes he would get a musical motif and start recording “himself humming out an idea.” He described his process as, “I’ll transcribe it out on my bass or piano and see how I want the texture and harmony to sound. Afterward, I’ll put it into a program like Logic and play with it from there.”
While Weldon’s creative process was fervent and steady, he did have some challenges to overcome. He had to assume the role of a bandleader and make several decisions about the album’s direction. It’s not a position he’s familiar with as a bass player. He prepared charts and invested much time deciding how he wanted the music to sound. He said, “That goes right down to how I recorded, the personnel that I selected, and the songs I decided to put on the EP. It was a lot of pressure at first, because this is my first big artistic “statement”, and I’m a firm believer that first impressions matter.”
However, he is grateful for the perspective he gained from playing gigs and recording as a bandleader:
His experience recording this album will prove invaluable. And it’s strikingly poetic that his favorite tune on the album is “Equanimity.” There are some very delicate moments within that song that just absolutely brings it to life. The interplay between the melody, bassline, and drums and how it climaxes to a resolution really does bring out the meaning to that tune. Mental calmness and composure, especially in a difficult situation such as a global pandemic are essential. It’s the perfect title for a composition borne due to a chaotic time. Weldon has turned the disorder and stillness of 2020 into an artistic expression that speaks to how 2020 influenced him. And just maybe those who experience his music will be moved to reflect and create expressions of their own.
Weldon’s debut EP will be available on various platforms this spring. Please stay tuned for more announcements about his upcoming release.
The year 2020 has ended. We are well on our way into 2021. Looking back to March 2020, we never could have imagined that the whole world would come to a screeching halt, but it did. 2020 is a year that will be talked about and studied for generations to come. There is hope that the world will get back to some sense of normalcy, and it may take some time before we return to our regular routines, but we will get there.
LMMF was off to a good start with the “New Artist Series” in 2020. We kicked off the series with Jalen Baker, jazz vibraphonist/percussionist, in January. We also featured vocalist Daria Savannah in February. These exciting presentations were just a taste of what LMMF had planned.
How we stayed connected
As the performances stopped, we relied heavily on social media, text messages, and email to stay connected with our supporters. LMMF partnered with Joe Langford of Art Official Intelligence to host Instagram training for our supporters and as a way to share information and promote the organization to new supporters.
Through this effort, we made connections with over 150 people on Instagram. Our goal is to continue the outreach to generate more support when we begin to host in-person activities. We were able to share musical video clips, trivia, and quotes from favorite artists. We also held two fundraising campaigns and were able to raise needed funds for the organization. If you haven’t been following us, take a look at @livemusicmovement.
New Music Grant
Our most exciting event of 2020 was the initiation of the New Music Grant that was awarded to Bassist Weldon Scott. Weldon, a student at California State University, Los Angeles, has been involved with LMMF since 2017 and is currently recording his first CD.
We are proud to support Weldon’s project. It allows LMMF to fulfill its mission to present, promote and preserve jazz, blues, and soul music through performances, education, and commission of new works. We’ll share more information on Weldon’s educational and musical journey in future posts and emails.
Moving into 2021, we will continue to support new artists with our New Artist Series and present new music with CD release performances with exciting young performers. We will continue to host collaborative performances featuring professional and emerging artists. Be on the lookout for more information about what LMMF will be doing in 2021.
We wish you a happy and fruitful new year filled with all things good and musical.