Two Studio City residents are about to receive top Jazz award honors.
Vocalist Denise Donatelli and guitarist John Pisano are to receive the prestigious awards. Donatelli is to receive the L.A. Jazz Society's 29th Annual Jazz Tribute Awards and Concert "Jazz Vocalist Award" and Pisano to receive the " Lifetime Achievement Award," on Oct. 21.
John Pisano began his musical career playing the piano, and at age 14, he took up the guitar. Despite his exceptional accomplishments as soloist in his early professional years, Pisano favored and chose the role as supporting player which he says is his “comfort zone.”
Over the years, he recorded and played with such jazz legends as Benny Goodman but his greatest commercial success came with his many years with the Herb Alpert band when he recorded and published some of his own compositions. Pisano has left an indelible mark on the history of jazz guitar and continues to influence the jazz guitar community today and is being awarded for his weekly guitar night that the acclaimed jazz guitar virtuoso hosts with some of the best guitarists in the world at his weekly guitar night event in Southern California.
Described as “a musician’s singer,” jazz singer, Denise Donatelli first revealed a music inclination when she picked out “Silent Night” on the piano at the age of three. At six, she was a winner at the National Music Federation piano competition, and 14 years of classical piano study followed. Today, Denise is critically acclaimed as one of the most interesting and important jazz singers on the scene today. Her 2010 release When Lights are Low, which received Grammy Nominations for Best Jazz Vocal Album, confirms Denise’s status in the upper echelons of talented and engaging jazz artists in the country.
The Los Angeles Jazz Society is also honoring Wayne Shorter, a multiple Grammy Award winner, composer and saxophonist. The honors will be handed out at the Hilton Los Angeles in Universal City.
The Annual Jazz Tribute Awards Dinner & Concert was established to recognize and honor Los Angeles based artists for their contributions in furthering the art form of jazz. This major fund-raising event attracts musicians and jazz lovers from all over Southern California and supports the general operations of the organization and its education programs.
The LAJS was founded in 1985 by a group of musicians and jazz lovers committed to elevating the image of jazz and its artists in the community. The mission of the LAJS is to excite, educate and engage public school students with the vibrant rhythms and sounds of the only indigenous American music – jazz. LAJS presents multi-cultural and interactive in-school and off-campus jazz education programs. We also promote and honor the legacy of jazz and ensure its future by identifying and nurturing the emerging jazz musicians of tomorrow. LAJS presents an ongoing calendar of activities and members are informed about these events and other “jazz news” through its website, email blasts and newsletter, Quarter Notes.
The LAJS offers four outreach programs with wide ranging impact: “Jazz In Schools” provides free jazz concerts for over 22,000 young people in 45 LAUSD elementary schools during the month of February, Black History Month. The program helps fill the educational vacuum left when schools made drastic cutbacks in the arts; “Bill Green Mentorship Program” in which selected public school students receive extensive training in advanced jazz techniques from professional musicians capped by a professional recording session; “Jazz CoolCats” isLAJS’s 10-week after-school jazz education class for elementary school children; and “JazzGiving” is a program created by LAJS that provides donated musical instruments to schools. The youth programs are designed to identify and nurture emerging jazz musicians and help to create future audiences by stimulating an appreciation for jazz.
LAJS is also deeply supportive of professional artists, presenting the highly regarded “Vibe Summit,” a day-long celebration featuring some of the nation’s leading vibraphonists, and the “Jazz Tribute Awards Dinner and Concert,” the annual fundraiser at which legends in the field are recognized. Past honorees include Arturo Sandoval, George Duke, Herbie Hancock, Quincy Jones, Horace Silver, Buddy Collette, Shelly Manne, Louie Bellson, Benny Carter, Ray Brown, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Harold Land, Poncho Sanchez, Dee Dee Bridgewater and John Clayton, among others. These various programs and events have earned LAJS recognition across the country as a leader in preserving and promoting jazz.
Tickets to the 29th Annual Jazz Tribute Awards Dinner & Concert are $200 - $250 per person; individual and corporate sponsorship tables are available from $1,000 - $10,000. Concert only tickets are $75. Substantial ticket discounts for LAJS members. The Awards Dinner and Concert takes place at the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City, 555 Universal Hollywood Drive at Universal City.
For tickets, additional information, to join the Los Angeles Jazz Society, or to make a donation to help support its educational outreach efforts, please visit www.LAJazz.orgor call (818) 994-4661.