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Midnight Mission Jazz Concert

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On this sunny afternoon in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, around eighty-five of us enjoyed a jazz concert at the Midnight Mission.  The tunes coaxed out of the instruments knew few bounds, wafting through the building and into the nearby courtyard as many in the audience hummed, sang, and smiled throughout the generous set lasting more than an hour.

 

Midnight Mission Los Angeles Street Symphony Jazz Concert 1 wide

The audience and the quartet

 

This jazz quartet performed on behalf of Street Symphony, a non-profit which organizes concerts for those in halfway homes, mental institutions, jails and organizations geared toward helping the homeless.  Vijay Gupta founded the organization which has produced more than 125 concerts since 2011.  This concert began like many others, with the band introducing themselves:

 

Midnight Mission Los Angeles Street Symphony Jazz Concert 3 Brandon Bernstein, Kendall Kay, Chuck Manning and Putter Smith

Brandon Bernstein, at left with guitar, welcomes the audience and introduces Kendall Kay on drums, Chuck Manning on saxophone and Putter Smith on bass

 

The quartet played mostly standards which delighted the audience with recognized and remembered tunes.  Between selections there was a chance for audience members to chat amongst themselves and occasionally share a laugh with one of the players:

 

Midnight Mission Los Angeles Street Symphony Jazz Concert 9 Chuck Manning laughing with audience member

 

Midnight Mission Los Angeles Street Symphony Jazz Concert 27Brandon Bernstein

Brandon Bernstein synchronizes with the quartet

 

 

To the delight of everyone in the room, the quartet played a heart-warming “Georgia On My Mind” for Community Relations Manager, Georgia Berkovich:

 

Midnight Mission Los Angeles Street Symphony Jazz Concert 13 Georgia Berkovich

Georgia Berkovich enjoying “Georgia On My Mind”

 

After a few more tunes, the floor was opened up to questions for the band.  Here, bassist Putter Smith tells a story of playing with jazz great Thelonius Monk:

 

Midnight Mission Los Angeles Street Symphony Jazz Concert 11 Putter Smith

Putter Smith recalls his time performing with Thelonius Monk

 

Throughout the concert, the audience was very enthusiastic:

 

Midnight Mission Los Angeles Street Symphony Jazz Concert 18

Excited applause filled the room after each selection

 

 

When the group finished playing their last song, the audience rushed to the stage area to thank the performers.  It was a genuine outpouring of appreciation:

 

Midnight Mission Los Angeles Street Symphony Jazz Concert 30 Chuck Manning Putter Smith greet the audience

 

 

After this successful show, the band got together for a group photo:

 

 

Midnight Mission Los Angeles Street Symphony Jazz Concert 35 Brandon Bernstein Kendall Kay Harris Johnson Georgia Berkovich Chuck Manning Putter Smith

Left to right: Brandon Bernstein, Kendall Kay, Harris Johnson, Georgia Berkovich, Chuck Manning and Putter Smith

 

Everyone in the room agreed that the Midnight Mission and Street Symphony make a winning combination for the community.

 

Midnight Mission Los Angeles Street Symphony Jazz Concert 17 number one silhouette

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