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Lineup Includes Vashti Bunyan (9/8), The 88 (10/13), and Petra Haden & The Sell Outs (11/10) and Special Presentation "Distributed Memory: Live Music and Projected Images" (10/6 & 10/7)

September 18, 2006

LOS ANGELES—Friday Nights at the Getty, the Getty Museum’s free, contemporary performance series, returns to the Getty Center for the Fall with an exciting lineup of folk, rock, jazz, blues, and experimental music. Now in its tenth year, Friday Nights complements the Getty’s art experience by bringing some of the most compelling  and accomplished performers from the world of music, theater, dance, film, video, and spoken word to the Getty Center. The Fall series began September 8 with a sold out performance by the quietly powerful nu-folk pioneer Vashti Bunyan and continued with another sold out performance by inventive jazz musician David Ornette Cherry on September 15. Performances continue on September 29 rising stars Eleni Mandell and Becky Stark teaming up for “Angels of the East” and conclude November 10 with Petra Haden’s a-capella recreation of the classic rock album The Who Sell Out. Also on the bill for October 6 and 7 is “Distributed Memory: Live Music and Projected Images,” a special two-part program that will bring together experimental media makers, composers, and musicians to explore the recomposition of found materials.

Friday Nights began September 8 with a sold out performance by the crystalline-voiced patron saint of the nu-folk movement, Vashti Bunyan. Quietly released in 1970, Bunyan's debut album Just Another Diamond Day displayed a fragile intimacy decades ahead of its time. When critics dismissed the album, Bunyan "abandoned it and music forever." Nearly 30 years after its initial release, Diamond Day was reissued to wide critical praise, and earned Bunyan a legion of new fans and devotees. Encouraged by the positive response, Bunyan picked up her guitar again and began composing songs. Released in 2005, Bunyan's second album, Lookaftering features the same poetic honesty and breathtaking vocals of her debut album, but also brings the wisdom of a lifetime of experiences to tell her deeply personal stories of love, life, and family. The album title itself is a personalized word that describes the role of "taking care of someone ... or even something that needs to be done, that needs lookaftering."

The series continued on September 15 with an electrifying performance by the imaginative and inventive David Ornette Cherry. Son of legendary trumpeter Don Cherry, David Ornette Cherry infuses his one-of-a-kind jazz with sounds from all over the world to create a sonic collage he calls "multi-kulti" music. "My compositions are a musical fusion of cultures laid firmly down on a foundation of purely garage-style beats," he explains. "It's a union of textures, sounds, lifestyles, surroundings, and messages in a universal language emphasizing a positive state of mind." For his performance at the Getty Center, Cherry and his Ensemble for Improvisors continued their ongoing study of the relationship between sound and silence and nature and technology in his hometown of Los Angeles. The ensemble has performed in several locations throughout the city over the past year, with each performance changing organically to its environment. By continuing to challenge and expand the possibilities of his music, Cherry strives to build a passageway to jazz of the future. "The music never stopped. Jazz is dynamic," says Cherry, "It's about keeping the momentum going like a ball that keeps rolling along."

On September 29, Friday Nights presents "Angels of the East," an evening with rising stars Eleni Mandell and Becky Stark, two fiercely independent singer/songwriters from the Los Angeles music scene. Complementary opposites with angelic voices that are each hot and cold, dark and light, life affirming and self doubting, Mandell and Stark both fine-tuned their songs and styles in the bars and clubs of Silverlake, Los Feliz, and Echo Park. Eleni Mandell's sultry vocals and wandering tunes of love lost and found, have earned her comparisons to Tom Waits and P.J. Harvey, but her eclectic list of musical influences includes Ray Charles, Ella Fitzgerald, and the seminal punk band X. Mandell's confessional lyrics and intoxicating voice combine for songs that range from lighthearted country ditties to torch-singer tales of regret. "People want you to do one thing and sound that way from beginning to end," Mandell says, "It's easily understandable ... but it's not enough for me. I need to go with my gut feelings." With an angelic voice and unflagging conviction, Becky Stark is a master of all genres who developed her voice singing in church but whose style is equally influenced by the spirit of punk rock. In 2003 she created a traveling punk operetta for which she developed the character of Lavender Diamond, a role that grew into the local indie-folk quartet of the same name, whose repertoire includes everything from country ballads, classical arias, tin pan alley tunes, and psychedelic doo-wop. “[I]t doesn’t matter if it’s punk or folk. It’s the energy, it’s the intention,” says Stark when describing what she strives for her in her music. “My intention on stage is to make the most beautiful sound I can possibly make, to make the whole performance exist as a source of joy.”

On October 6 and October 7 Friday Nights at the Getty presents Distributed Memory: Live Music and Projected Images a special two-night program of film, media projections, and musical compositions, curated by Julie Lazar, that explore the creation of art through the recomposition of found and new materials. Artists from different generations and disciplines are collaborating on projects culled from sources as varied as 24-hour cable newscasts, field recordings, photographs, folktales, engravings, and trashed technology. Each evening will present a distinct program, featuring premieres of new collaborative artworks commissioned, in part, by Montalvo Arts Center as well as individual pieces from their existing repertoires. Tickets for this special presentation are $5 and available by calling 310-440-7300.

Premiering on Friday, October 6 at the Getty Center as part of Distributed Memory is News Cycle #2 (Excerpts form a Long Day), a collaborative digital media artwork from filmmaker Anthony Discenza and composer Michael Zbyszynski, consisting of reprocessed, interwoven excerpts from three 24-hour cable news networks. Also premiering that evening is Rotary Wobble, a work-in-progress by prolific filmmaker Pat O’Neill composed of landscape and urban imagery from around the world recorded over a 15-year span, which will be accompanied by a soundtrack performed and digitally mixed live on stage by experimental composer Carl Stone.

Premiering on Saturday, October 7 is the first episode of filmmaker and visual/theater artist Janie Geiser’s Magnetic Sleep, a work that uses performers, collage animation, re-photography, and painted elements to create a narrative that draws on the formal traditions of film melodramas by early experimental filmmakers like Man Ray and Maya Deren, and features a live electronic soundtrack by experimental artist and musician Tom Recchion. Distributed Memory will close with a collaboration between filmmaker, visual artist, and musician Brent Green and the prolific independent band hailing from Chicago and Los Angeles, Califone. Califone will perform the soundtrack for the premiere of Green’s work-in-progress Paulina Hollers, an animated Appalachian folk tale of a grieving mother, created with stop-motion rabbit bones, hand-carved wooden angels, and a hand-drawn hell. Tim Rutili, who formed Califone and serves as the group’s principal songwriter, lyricist, and vocalist, will also premiere Three-Legged Animals, a short film set within the innards of an antique piano and based on a song from Califone’s forthcoming Roots and Crowns album.

On October 13, Friday Nights turns it up to eleven with The 88, an unsigned Los Angeles-based power-pop quintet whose buoyant melodies and general jollity have earned them raves from Rolling Stone, Billboard, and a nod as L.A. Weekly’s Best Pop/Rock outfit in the city. With irrepressible harmonies, hopping pianos, and an up-tempo gusto, The 88 refute the myth that art and the three-and-a-half-minute pop song can’t get along. Tracks from their acclaimed debut album Kind of Light became listener favorites on KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” program, and their appearance on the soundtrack for Fox’s hit series “The O.C.” earned them an even wider audience. Their sophomore release Over and Over displays remarkable versatility and inventiveness, from the high-octane tambourines on the catchy breakup-survival anthem “Battle Scar,” to the scaled-back and quietly affecting “You Belong to Me,” to the languid accordion on the swampy burlesque “Jesus is Good.” The 88 have earned a reputation as first-rate musicians, but are also renowned for their easygoing nature and tireless gigging. For their performance at the Getty, band members Keith Slettedahl (guitar/vocals), Adam Merrin (piano), Brandon Jay (guitar), Todd O’Keefe (bass), and Anthony Zimmitti (drums) will perform songs from both Over and Over and Kind of Light.

Dave Alvin, who rose to fame in the ‘80s as a member of The Blasters, will bring his eclectic blend of blues, country, rock and roll, pop, folk, and R&B to the Getty Center on November 10. Born in California and raised in the blue-collar inner suburb of Downey, Alvin has always favored the California musical accent. Alvin’s unique brand of music has been influenced by his fellow California songwriters—from the West Coast blues of Big Joe Turner and T-Bone Walker; to the Bakersfield sound of Buck Owens and Merle Haggard; to the pop-rock chroniclers of sun-tanned hopes and film noir disappointments, Randy Newman, Brian Wilson, and Tom Waits. “California has that frontier, anything-goes openness and wildness that makes it different,” Alvin explains. “It’s also a place with lots of cultures, and that openness allows musicians from different cultures to trade ideas when they meet.” After leaving The Blasters in the mid-80s, and a brief stint as a band member for both X and The Knitters, Alvin began a solo career with his 1987 album Romeo’s Escape. For his performance at the Getty Center, Grammy Award-winning Alvin will perform songs from his latest album West of the West: Songs from California Songwriters.

Friday Nights draws to a close on November 10 with an a-capella re-imagining of the classic rock album The Who Sell Out by the provocative and unpredictable Petra Haden. One of the triplet daughters of legendary jazz bassist Charlie Haden, Petra Haden grew up in a world of music and developed the remarkable talent to perfectly mimic the sounds of the instruments she was hearing around the house. Her ability to both develop complex arrangements in her head and recreate instrumental sounds with her voice, were fully realized in her first solo album Imaginaryland, which was composed largely of Petra’s a-cappella voice collages. Her most recent album Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out is the latest chapter in her fascinating musical career, a technical tour de force in which Petra reinvents harmonies for all of The Who’s singing and instrumental parts, including drums, and the mock radio commercials so integral to The Who Sell Out experience. For her performance at the Getty, Petra Haden and her choir of six, The Sell Outs, will not only perform covers of The Who, but also the Beach Boys and Bach.

Unless otherwise noted, all concerts are free and take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Harold M. Williams Auditorium at the Getty Center. Reservations are required for all performances, and there is a limit of four seats per reservation. Please note the release dates for each individual performance. Reservations can be obtained by calling 310-440-7300 or visiting The Getty Center is located at 1200 Getty Center Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90049.


Vashti Bunyan: Discovered in the 60's by Rolling Stone guru Andrew Loog Oldham, Vashti Bunyan was touted as the "female Bob Dylan." But the promise of early fame was followed by a series of false-starts and missteps and Bunyan never got the recognition she deserved. Nearly thirty years later, her original material was reissued attracting a legion of nu-folk admirers and Bunyan's latest solo album, Lookaftering, is a breathtakingly beautiful collection of songs that is a testimony to her relevance today.Friday, September 8, 2006; 7:30 p.m. SOLD OUT

David Ornette Cherry:Cherry's Ensemble for Improvisors is an exploration of the relationship between sound and silence, nature and technology.  Appearing in several L.A. locations over the course of the year, this jazz ensemble changes with each performance as the sound and the musicians interact with their environment.Friday, September 15, 2006; 7:30 p.m. SOLD OUT

Angels of the East:Singers Eleni Mandell and Lavender Diamond's Becky Stark are complementary opposites with angelic voices that are each hot and cold, dark and light, life affirming and self doubting.  They've fine tuned their songs and styles in the bars, house parties and clubs of Silverlake, Los Feliz andEcho Park -  neighborhoods that embrace artists who may be a little rough around the edges, yet passionate and and full of surprises.Friday, September 29, 2006; 7:30 p.m. SOLD OUT

SPECIAL PRESENTATION: Distributed Memory: Live Music and Projected Images:Media makers Anthony Discenza, Janie Geiser, Brent Green and Pat O'Neill are joined by composers/musicians Tom Recchion, Califone, Carl Stone and Michael Zbyszynski for a two-part program of projected images and live music by these artists who each have a unique style and method of recomposing found materials--from sources as varied as old field recordings, film noir clips, 24-hour cable newscasts, trashed technology, engravings, drawings and photographs--with original visual and compositional materials.  Each evening is a distinct program featuring premieres of new collaborative artworks commissioned, in part, by Montalvo Arts Center as well as artists’ individual pieces from their existing repertoires.Tickets are $5 and available by calling 310-440-7300. Friday, October 6, and Saturday, October 7, 2006; 7:30 p.m.

The 88:Proof that art and the three-minutes pop song can get along.  This unsigned, Los Angeles-based quintet's blend of buoyant melodies and rollicking spirit, reminiscent of The Kinks and The Beatles, have won rave reviews from Rolling Stone, Billboard, and a nod as L.A. Weekly's Best Rock/Pop Outfit in the City.  The band will perform songs from their sophomore release Over and Over and their acclaimed debut Kind of Light.Friday, October 13, 2006; 7:30 p.m. SOLD OUT

Dave Alvin: Dave Alvin, who rose to fame in the '80s as a member of The Blasters, shares his eclectic blend of blues, country, rock and roll, pop, folk, and R&B.  His hybrid style is inspired by the "anything-goes openness" of California, his home state.Friday, November 3, 2006; 7:30 p.m.Reservations available beginning October 24th at 9:00 a.m.

Petra Haden & The Sell Outs:One of the triplet daughters of legendary jazz bassist Charlie Haden, Petra Haden grew up in a world of music and developed a remarkable talent to perfectly mimick the sounds of instruments she was hearing around the house.  Petra Haden & The Sell Outs recreate her  recent technical tour de force CD release, Petra Haden Sings: The Who Sell Out, a re-imagined a-cappella version of the classic Who record.  Joined with six other vocalists, the group performs covers of The Who, Beach Boys and Bach with angelic timbre, technical precision, and ease to create something that is truly unique.Friday, November 10, 2006; 7:30 p.m. Reservations available beginning October 24th at 9:00 a.m.

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Mike Winder
Getty Communications

About the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

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