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Saban Capital Group launches new venture with music executive David Renzer

David Renzer

Veteran music publishing executive David Renzer has joined forces with Saban Capital Group in Los Angeles (SCG) as president of Music Ventures. The company will be investing substantial equity in the acquisition and exploitation of music publishing rights, taking advantage of the consolidation in the industry by offering song writers, artists and important catalogues a forward thinking boutique emphasizing film and television and synchronization opportunities. Saban is already in advanced discussions on a number of potential music rights acquisitions.
Saban has over 40 years of activity in the acquisition and growth of music and media copyrights. Included in the activities of the new music publishing venture will be music publishing rights created as part of Saban Brands television production activities including children’s television programming (“Power Rangers” and others).
Renzer was formerly chairman/chief executive officer of Universal Music Publishing Group, where over the past 15 years, he was responsible for overseeing the company’s more than 50 offices around the globe and had involvement in over 100 music publishing acquisitions including; Polygram, Rondor, Zomba, and one of the industry’s largest acquisitions, BMG Music Publishing. Signings to Universal under Renzer’s leadership included such names as Paul Simon, 50 Cent, Danny Elfman, the catalogues of Jimi Hendrix, Bee Gees, Mariah Carey, Eminem, Justin Bieber, Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), as well as deals with Warner Bros Pictures/Warner Bros Television, Dreamworks, HBO and many others.
Renzer began his career at Zomba Music Publishing, where he rose to senior vice president and general manager. During his decade-long career there, Renzer helped Zomba achieve ASCAP’s R&B Publisher of the Year and Pop Publisher of the Year awards. While at MCA, the company was ASCAP Country Music Publisher of the Year.
Renzer’s civic and industry commitments have included sitting on the Boards of ASCAP, NMPA, the International Music Publishers Association, and the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. He has also served as the Chairman of the Music and Entertainment Division of the City of Hope, and founded Songs of Hope, raising over $1,750,000 for the City of Hope Hospital. Renzer received his bachelor of arts degree from New York University.
 “The formation of our Music Venture enables us to utilize our extensive experience in music and media rights as well as leverage our increasing activity in the creation of broadcast properties,” said Haim Saban, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Saban Capital Group in a news release. “As the music industry continues its consolidation, we feel it is an opportune time to commit significant investment capital to music rights and we have great confidence that David, with his vast experience, will help us create an exciting new music publishing company together.”
Adam Chesnoff, president and chief operating officer of Saban Capital, says  “Media and music rights have long been at the core of investment activity at Saban Capital Group. By partnering with an experienced and talented executive such as David, we believe we can take an entrepreneurial and opportunistic approach to building a great music publishing company together.”
David Renzer comments: “I’m thrilled to partner with Haim Saban, Adam Chesnoff and the team at SCG in the launch of what I hope will be an exciting, forward thinking, creatively driven home for songwriters, their copyrights and important catalogues. Haim Saban has been one of the most successful entrepreneurs in media with a long activity in and love for music and I could not ask for a better partner.”

Saban Capital Group (“SCG”) is a leading private investment firm based in Los Angeles specializing in the media, entertainment, and communication industries.
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Pianist/composer Donald Vega blends jazz, classical and Latin influences on “Spiritual Nature”

While pianist Donald Vega is beginning to draw attention in jazz circles as Mulgrew Miller’s successor in the Ron Carter Trio, he makes a bold statement as a composer and bandleader on Spiritual Nature. Joined by the regal rhythm tandem of bassist Christian McBride and drummer Lewis Nash, Vega explores the marriage of jazz, Latin and classical music on his auspicious Resonance Records debut. 

“It’s a dream come true,” says the 37-year-old pianist in a news release regarding the opportunity to record with McBride and Nash. “Spiritually, this is my dream trio.”

 The core trio is augmented by guitarist Anthony Wilson, violinist and label mate Christian Howes, tenor saxophonist Bob Sheppard, trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos and trombonist Bob McChesney on Vega’s sophomore outing (following 2008’s self-producedTomorrows, which also featured drummer Nash).
Classically-trained in his native Nicaragua, Vega emigrated to Los Angeles at age 14 and began learning the language of jazz from mentor Billy Higgins at The World Stage and later with bassist John Clayton at the University of Southern California. Bassist Al McKibbon, a member of Dizzy Gillespie’s band of the late 1940s, subsequently took the young pianist under his wing and schooled him on the bandstand on the finer points of bebop. Vega met drummer Nash while working in McKibbon’s trio in Los Angeles. For Spiritual Nature, Vega imagined pairing Nash with bassist McBride, whom he had met in 2007 while attending The Juilliard School in New York. 

“The idea of having this tasty drummer with this killing bass player was so interesting,” he says. “But for them to get together in one place, it’s very rare because they’re both so busy. And when we finally got together, the music just played itself, like magic.”
Throughout Spiritual Nature, Vega shifts the configuration from trio to quartet to quintet, providing plenty of scintillating moments along the way. He kicks it off with the aggressively swinging, hard boppish “Scorpion,” which showcases his voicings for trumpet and sax on the frontline and also features an outstanding drum solo from Nash.

 “I love writing harmonies,” says Vega, “but most important to me is the melody. I always want it to be singable.”

 Ron Carter’s “First Trip,” which originally appeared on Herbie Hancock’s 1968 Blue Note classic, Speak Like a Child, is rendered here as a jaunty swinger underscored by Nash’s brushwork, McBride’s walking bass lines and featuring Wilson on guitar. “My attitude here was, ‘OK, Herbie’s version was so incredible, nobody’s going to do it better than that. So let’s just have some fun with it.'”
The album concludes with a loose, highly interactive trio rendition of Benny Golson’s classic ballad “I Remember Clifford” that is underscored by Nash’s signature brushwork and McBride’s contrapuntal approach to the bass. “All the other tunes on the album were heavily arranged,” says Vega, “so we wanted just one tune where we don’t have to read, we don’t have any arrangement, we just play. Benny Golson’s writing is great and we all knew this tune, so the idea was, ‘Let’s just go in and play.’ And you can hear that kind of looseness on this track.”
Backed by such a formidable lineup, Vega makes a giant leap as a composer-arranger and bandleader in his own right on Spiritual Nature.

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Drummer/pianist Jack DeJohnette launches aggressive international schedule

Jack DeJohnette

Following the launch of his latest critically acclaimed album, Sound Travels (released January 17 on Golden Beams/eOne), as well as being named a 2012 NEA Jazz Master in January, drummer/pianist Jack DeJohnette will continue to celebrate his landmark 70th birthday year with high profile performances, festival appearances, among other activities. 

DeJohnette recently participated in the International Jazz Day inauguration at the United Nations in New York City on April 30 with Herbie Hancock (in his role as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador), UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova, among other internationally recognized artists



“It was a great honor to be part of this extraordinary event. An amazing feeling to play in the UN General Assembly with my friends Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Ron Carter honoring Miles Davis, and also playing with some of my other friends,” reflects DeJohnette in a news release. “As UNESCO ambassador, Herbie has created a historic event here and is expanding the awareness of  this great art form.”

On May 9, DeJohnette will begin a West Coast tour at The Shedd in Eugene, Ore., with a trio consisting of Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke. Billed as DeJohnette’s 70th Birthday Tour, the tour serves as this trio’s debut and will also headline Jazz Alley in Seattle (May 10-13) and Catalina’s in Los Angeles (May 15-20). The same trio will return to the West Coast in September, with performances at Yoshi’s San Francisco (September 5-8), The Opera House in Napa Valley, Calif. (September 9), and The Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz, Calif. (September 10).

DeJohnette has scheduled performances at several renowned festivals in North America this summer and fall, including appearances at two of the most prominent U.S. jazz festivals. On June 28, The Jack DeJohnette Group (featuring saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, guitarist Dave “Fuze” Fiuczynski, pianist George Colligan and bassist Jerome Harris) – his working ensemble – will headline the Ottawa International Jazz Festival. On August 4, DeJohnette will headline the 2012 Newport Jazz Festival presented by Natixis Global Asset Management, performing in three different settings: with his working ensemble, his All-Star group (featuring guitarist Lionel Loueke, pianist George Colligan, bassist Christian McBride, saxophonist Tim Ries, percussionist Luisito Quintero, and trumpeter Jason Palmer) as well as a duo performance with Jason Moran. In September, DeJohnette will serve as the 55th annual Monterey Jazz Festival’s 2012 showcase artist, and will perform three times throughout the weekend (September 21-23), with his working ensemble, his Special Trio (with Pat Metheny and Christian McBride), and in duo with Bill Frisell.

Other notable appearances for DeJohnette throughout the year include participation in Pat Metheny’s five-day Summer Music Workshop beginning on August 20 as well as two European tours (in July with The Keith Jarrett Trio and in late September with his own group).

DeJohnette’s 2012 festivities will culminate with two performances: the long-awaited reunion of “The Gateway Trio,” featuring John Abercrombie and Dave Holland, at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall (a hometown performance for DeJohnette) on November 2, and a Keith Jarrett Trio performance at NJPAC in Newark, NJ on December 1.

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Mitch’s Spotlight: GreenRoom Tickets provides online ticketing sales, event management solutions for events.

Tired of ticketing hassles with your special events? With GreenRoom Tickets, tracking your RSVPs and measuring real-time success has never been easier.

GreenRoom Tickets provides online ticketing sales and event management solutions for concerts, fundraisers and other promotions. No more wasting time with multiple vendors, data entry, credit card payment processing or making spreadsheets – we are your one-stop shop, single point of contact. GreenRoom Tickets manages the entire process for customers – from online sales platform setup to payment to check-in the night of the event.

Our point-of-sale (POS) iPad box office tools allow you to accurately track sales reports and gain valuable marketing information, all at the touch of a screen. GreenRoom Tickets handles it all, and deposits revenues straight into your account. And, ticket orders can be streamlined with social media for added promotional potential.

To learn more about how GreenRoom Tickets can help you maximize your event marketing experience, visit www.greenroomtickets.com or call Don Jackson at (310) 779-9588 today. Our pricing is competitive and tailored to fit your needs.
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Mitch’s Travel: Patrons can book two nights and get a third night free at Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa

Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa

Just in time for one last summer getaway, the AAA Four Diamond Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa in Dana Point, Calif., is offering all two-night reservations that book and actualize between now and August 31, 2011, a complimentary third night stay.
The epitome of oceanside elegance, the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa features the award-winning VUE restaurant, OverVue outdoor lounge and deck, and family-friendly activities including movie nights, the Kahuna Laguna Kids Club activity center and onsite Splash Zone.
This summer getaway package is valid for mid-week and weekend stays, with no blackout periods. For more information, or to book an oceanside getaway, those interested may visit www.LagunaCliffs.com or call (949) 661-5000 and use promotional code “BGS.”


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Renowned Singer-Songwriter-Musician Kenny Rankin has died


Kenny Rankin, the renowned singer, songwriter and musician, died from complications of lung cancer at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles on June 7. He was 69.

Rankin’s music career spanned 50 years beginning with a handful of singles for Decca Records in the late 1950s. A few years late,r he signed with Columbia Records and found himself playing guitar on Bob Dylan’s landmark 1965 album “Bringing It All Back Home.” Soon after, The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson became such a fan that Rankin was invited to appear on the show more than 20 times. Carson also contributed liner notes to Rankin’s 1967 debut LP “Mind Dusters,” which included his much covered pop standard “Peaceful.”

Growing up in the multicultural hotbed of New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood, he absorbed a broad array of musical influences, from Afro-Cuban to Top 40 to Jazz to Brazilian.
Rankin was recently signed to the Sly Dog imprint of Mack Avenue Records, and was scheduled to record a few weeks ago with the famed producer Phil Ramone when the label learned of his illness, which led to the cancellation of those sessions.

Rankin is survived by his son, two daughters and granddaughter. Funeral arrangements are pending, and a memorial service in Los Angeles is being planned.

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california festivals Hollywood jazz John Anson Ford Amphitheatre labor day weekend music

Angel City Jazz announces 2009 artist lineup


The Angel City Jazz Festival announces its 2009 artist lineup for concerts taking place Labor Day weekend September 6-7, at the intimate and affordable John Anson Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood, CA. Headlining this year’s festival will be veteran woodwind player/composer Bennie Maupin and Dolphyana, with an all-star band performing west coast premiers of newly discovered compositions by the great Eric Dolphy. Also headlining will be world renowned trumpeter Dave Douglas and Brass Ecstasy, a recently formed band with the unique instrumentation of trumpet, french horn, trombone, tuba, and drums. Other artists appearing at the festival are Grammy award-winning pianist Billy Childs’ Jazz-Chamber Ensemble, The Nels Cline Singers with Jeff Parker of Tortoise, The Larry Goldings Organ Trio with Peter Bernstein on guitar & Bill Stewart on drums, The Satoko Fujii Four
with Natsuki Tamura on trumpet, and Mark Dresser on bass, Seattle based pianist Wayne Horvitz’s Gravitas Quartet, pianist Motoko Honda & Butoh master Oguri, Jesse Sharps’ The Gathering featuring vocalist Dwight Trible, and many others.
The Angel City Jazz Festival is a two-day outdoor event featuring innovative and original jazz musicians from the west coast and around the world. The 2009 festival presents established jazz artists as well as lesser known emerging talent, with a focus on west coast creative jazz. The Angel City Jazz Festival was founded in 2007 by jazz promoter Rocco Somazzi, and the first event was held at Barnsdall Art Park in Hollywood. Co-Producing the festival this year is Los Angeles based Cryptogramophone Records.
For tickets, log-on to http://www.fordtheatres.org, or call the Ford Box Office at (323) 461-3673.