Sat, Apr

Friday evening jazz at LACMA

The two-hour free event starts at 6 p.m. and features world renowned jazz musicians.
By Jason Lewis

The City of Los Angeles has an embarrassment of riches, with great jazz music being one of them.  Great weather is another, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) is capitalizing on both of those with their Friday evening jazz concerts.

The two-hour event starts at 6 p.m. and features world renowned jazz musicians.  The concert series also captures what this city is about.

“The caveat is that the musicians must be from L.A.,” said Mitch Glickman, the LACMA director of music programs.  “All I do is present L.A.  My argument is that the greatest musicians in the world are from L.A.  It is the best jazz community bar none.  So we present it here, we celebrate L.A.”

This outdoor event has been going on for the last 25 years, and it’s  pretty easy for the museum to attract people.

“You have some of the greatest musicians in the world, who just happen to be from Los Angeles, and it happens to be free,” Glickman said.  “You can go to the Hollywood Bowl and hear the same people.  It’s a little bit more expensive to go to the Bowl than it is to come to LACMA.  But it’s that caliber of musician that we bring here.”

Many of the serious jazz fans take the seats up front, close to the musicians so that they can soak up every note.  Many people bring their lawn chairs or blankets and have a picnic in the grass areas.  And many people find a spot to hang out in the sun, where many families are with their children.  While people can purchase food at the event, or drinks from the full bar, many people bring their own snacks. 

This event is a true representation of Los Angeles, which is known as a melting pot of races.

“It’s old, young, black, white, yellow, green,” Glickman said.  “Every demographic is here.  That’s one of the beauties of L.A. is that it’s so diverse.  And this is one of the great centers that brings people together.”

Friday evening is a great time for this event, as it ends the workweek.

“This is the perfect way to unwind,” Glickman said.  “And you look around and you’ll see all the business people in their suits, just chillin’, they’re grabbing a wine from the bar.”

Los Angeles residents are encouraged to take a look around the museum.  Monday through Friday after 3 p.m., the museum is free for people who live in the county.  So many people will take in some fine art before the concert begins.

Glickman also points out that this event is great for dates.

“It’s been written up in magazines, ‘Best first dates,’” Glickman said.  “You go and you see culture, but it’s free.  You get some wine and you see some art and hear some music.” 

The concert series is made possible in part by the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs.  To see the lineup of artists, visit www.lacma.org.  The concerts are also broadcast on KJAZZ 88.1 FM.