While the Harlem Renaissance was going on in the east, an even more vibrant cultural revolution was happening right here. In the early to mid 20th century, Central Avenue became the center of L.A.’s musical soul. This famous stretch south of DTLA was a hub of bubbling nightlife. Bright sounds burst from every block and brought a community together in magical ways. On Central Avenue, music and identity were intertwined, and art became lived experience for African Americans in Los Angeles. In this performance, MUSE/IQUE honors and celebrates the legacy of Central Avenue with tributes to many of the brilliant visionaries and artists and who made an impact here, including Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Etta James and so many more.
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ABOUT OUR ARTISTS
Sy smith, vocals
This Los Angeles-based Emmy-nominated singer/songwriter has been dubbed by her peers the "queen of underground soul”. A native of Washington, DC and graduate of Howard University, Sy Smith is considered one of the leaders of the indie soul movement , plus she’s recorded and/or toured with some of the biggest names in R&B, hip-hop and jazz (including Whitney Houston and Sheila E.). Since 2015, she’s performed tributes to Ella Fitzgerald and other iconic women of jazz at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Toronto’s Massey Hall and more. Sy currently tours with Grammy-winning trumpeter Chris Botti and is featured in his 2021 PBS special w/ the Dallas Symphony wowing audiences with her range (which effortlessly goes from whimsical/romantic mezzo-soprano, to a soul-stirring whistle-tone). Sy is humbled and thrilled to return to the stage with MUSE/IQUE for this homage to the musical history and legacy of Central Ave.
LAVANCE COLLEY, VOCALS
LaVance Colley has fused the presence, range, and fervor of a Gospel singer with the versatility of Jazz, and the heart of R&B to develop a style all his own. As an accomplished vocalist his credits include working with legends like: Beyonce Knowles, John Legend, Shawn Mendes, Pharrell Williams, Diana Ross, and Lizzo, to name a few. LaVance is also widely recognized as the lead vocalist, and Emcee on tour with international sensation group Postmodern Jukebox. His live performances and studio sessions are truly spectacular and highly sought after by many artists in the industry.
The dc 6 singerS collective, vocals
The DC6 Singers Collective are a Los Angeles-based ensemble of dynamic and energetic a cappella, gospel, and Motown singers. Together, the DC6 Singers Collective have brought their shared passion for music as well as their uplifting and charismatic performances to audiences across the country via film (Jordan Peele’s “Get Out”), national television (The Ellen DeGeneres Show, etc.) and live events across the country. In harmony, the DC6 Singers Collective delivers a unique approach to gospel and Motown standards and breathes new life into classic and current pop standards.
STACY LAMONT SYDNOR, DRUMS
Stacey Lamont Sydnor’s drum talents have afforded him the opportunity to work with Hip Hop artists Missy Elliot, Timbaland, and P. Diddy; R&B and Soul artists Alicia Keys, Keri Hilson, Jamie Foxx, Gladys Knight, and Jill Scott; Motown legends The Temptations; and Funk Legend Sly Stone. He currently holds three GRAMMY Wins for the highly acclaimed "Lalah Hathaway Live"! Lamont is comfortable in any role as he often serves as Music Director (The Jacksons, Deniece Williams) or as a side man in any genre always bringing an insurmountable driving energy, and professionalism.
other musicians include:
Tony Pulizzi, guitarist for Stevie Wonder
Ian Martin, bassist for David Foster
Myron McKinley, music director and keyboardist of the legendary Earth, Wind and Fire
the horn section
Led by Ray Brown
Gary Bias • Alto Sax
Rickey Woodard • Tenor Sax
Keschia Potter • Baritone Sax
Evan Linares • Trumpet
Bobby Rodriguez • Trumpet
Reggie Young • Trombone
Wendell Kelly • Bass Trombone
LULA WASHINGTON DANCE THEATRE
Choreographed by Lula Washington
Friday's dancers: Kozue Kasahara and Danny Guerrero
Sunday's dancers: Quron Clarks and Ongelle Johnson
Thank you to our generous season sponsors:
The Havner Family Foundation, The Jerry and Terri Kohl Family Foundation, Anonymous (2), Alyce de Roulet Williamson, Ellen and Harvey Knell, Andrew and Avery Barth, and Michael Casey.