Los Angeles Concert Feature: MUSE/IQUE: RICKIE ROCKS (with Rickie Lee Jones at Caltech in Pasadena)

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by Tony Frankel on August 14, 2012

in Theater-Los Angeles


I sincerely hope that you don’t have plans yet for Saturday, August 18. Conductor Rachael Worby will lead a celebration of the American Songbook in an alfresco concert on the Caltech grounds in Pasadena. To call this evening “unique” is an understatement, as it features Rickie Lee Jones accompanied by full orchestra, a dramatic reading from Amy Madigan, a performance from keyboardist/vocalist/actress Jacqueline Emerson (from the recent blockbuster Hunger Games), performances of the U.S. and South Africa national anthems with the MUSE/IQUE orchestra and members of the Los Angeles Children’s Chorus—and more, if you can believe it.

Tony Frankel's Stage and Cinema Feature of MUSE/IQUE Rickie Lee JonesUnder the banner of MUSE/IQUE, artistic director, conductor, curator, and skilled communicator Worby has presented some of the most distinctive entertainments that I have ever seen in Los Angeles. The themed evenings are an eclectic potpourri which celebrate all things artistic, from music to literature (but mainly music). For an in-depth examination of what you’re in for, see my piece on MUSE/IQUE’s piano concert. Even if you know what you’re in for, I assure you that Ms. Worby’s spontaneous nature culminates in a few surprises as well.

Tony Frankel's Stage and Cinema Feature of MUSE/IQUE Rickie Lee JonesRickie Rocks will mark Rickie Lee Jones’ first public performance with a full orchestra. Chicago native Jones came to L.A. in the 1970’s where her early club gigs caught the attention of music legends like Dr. John, Little Feat’s Lowell George and Tom Waits. Since her first album, 1979’s Rickie Lee Jones, featuring the hit song “Chuck E’s in Love,” Jones has recorded multiple albums and performed on tour around the world. I have always been a fan of Jones for her jazz-influenced vocal style, inimitable phrasing, and highly personal standard interpretations; her “Pop Pop” album reinforces Time’s dubbing of Jones as “The Duchess of Coolville.” I was lucky enough to catch Jones in an intimate concert at EchoPlex a few years ago, and found myself returning three more times for her soothing and inspiring singing and songwriting—not to mention her talents at the keyboard, strumming a guitar, or knocking out a beat on the drums.

On Saturday, Jones will lend her unique vocal styling to such Broadway favorites as “On the Street Where You Live” (My Fair Lady), Kurt Weill’s “September Song” (Knickerbocker Holiday), and “Jet Song” (West Side Story); she will also perform her signature rendition of “My Funny Valentine” (Babes in Arms).

Tony Frankel's Stage and Cinema Feature of MUSE/IQUE Rickie Lee JonesThe concert will also highlight works by three Los Angeles composers: “Overture to a Comic Book Hero” by Daniel Chan; “Best Unsaid” by Michael Brooks; and “Different Lanes” by Laura Karpman, which is inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s films North by Northwest and Psycho. Other works from artists, arrangers and composers (including Gil Evans, Scott Joplin, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, and John Williams) will also be featured. The concert will culminate with a tribute to the late Astronaut Sally Ride in a performance of “The Moon is Made of Gold,” written by Rickie Lee Jones’ father.

“The mix-and-mashing of performers and song styles is common in today’s music with artists crossing genres in innovative ways like never before,” notes Worby regarding the curating of the evening’s program. “I thought it would be interesting and fun for the performers and audience to apply that thinking and rediscover some of this country’s classic music while introducing new music still retaining their traditional essence.”

Tony Frankel's Stage and Cinema Feature of MUSE/IQUE Rickie Lee JonesMUSE/IQUE events are casual, whimsical, cultural, and unpredictable; they definitely shake the cobwebs off of traditional classical concert going. Worby is a musical visionary, re-creating a concert experience for 21st century audiences. The nonprofit outfit also partners with organizations in Los Angeles to transform interesting places and outdoor areas into welcoming destinations where the power of live music invigorates community—the spirited conversations I have had with my tablemates give me hope that social media will become a thing of the past.

Beckman Mall opens at 5:30 p.m. for picnicking atop linen covered tables; patrons are free to invent their own picnic experiences or you may pre-order your brasserie dinners from Perfect Equation Catering and pick-up your dinners on-site (a concessions booth with pre-made sandwiches, beverages and snacks will be available, but it’s best to pre-order for meals). Bring a bottle of wine and goodies to share with your neighbors. Let MUSE/IQUE do the rest.

Tony Frankel's Stage and Cinema Feature of MUSE/IQUE Rickie Lee Jones

MUSE/IQUE: Rickie Rocks with Rickie Lee Jones
Caltech’s Beckman Mall (332 South Michigan Ave) in Pasadena
for one night only: August 18, 2012 at 7:30; Tickets: $35-$86
doors open for picnicking at 5:30 p.m.
for tickets, call 626.539.7085 or visit http://www.muse-ique.com

{ 1 comment }

Dori M. August 20, 2012 at 12:12 pm


I don’t know about the rest of you, but I bought tickets to see a Rickie Lee Jones concert!!! Instead, I got to listen to a lot of childern singing and some lady (the conductor) pulling Caltec staff members out of the audiance to come on stage and talk about ramdom stuff! Yes there was music, a lot of it, but I didn’t pay to listen to a orchestra all night! Rickie Lee Jones did come on stage and sang only 4 songs, none of which were her own. The short time she was on stage was of course AMAZING! But again, none of the songs she sang were her own. This was clearly not her own concert, she was simply a guest performer, and this was a ruse. Excuse me, but I paid for expensive tickets to see a Rickie Lee Jones CONCERT!!!! I have seen this amazing singer in concert several times before, so I knew what to expect, this was … I don’t even know what this was. Yes I do, a GREAT DISAPPOINTMENT!

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