Jazz at the Warehouse. Of course.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 | 6:58 am

It was so perfect and symbiotic. In an evening that celebrated and helped chronicle the struggles of women into the world of jazz music, the setting was an emblem of women’s empowerment. Muse/Ique presented “Girl/Band,” the latest installment of Uncorked, its offbeat series of music performances, last night at Pasadena’s Avon Distribution Center, with live jazz and a screening of the indie film, The Girls in the Band. The film, by producer/filmmakers Judy Chaikin and Nancy Kissock, detailed the efforts of American women from the 30s and 40s, up to today, who’ve made painful and significant inroads in to the American jazz world.

The Avon Distribution Center Warehouse’s open floor, ramps, scaffolding and catwalks served as the perfect ambiance for the show. Avon is one of the largest cosmetic companies in the world, and made its name creating over 6.4 million independent sales representatives from all over the globe. It’s also the largest corporate philanthropic organization dedicated women’s causes from domestic violence to breast cancer research.

The film, a painstakingly researched examination of the difficulties women faced in getting the opportunity, was at once inspirational and disheartening. Think of it as A League of their Own, but about jazz, (though the film makers might hate that description).

The evening opened with droning experimental jazz/noise from the band Watch for Sleeping Children—Charlotte Kwong, vocalist/Guitars; Sheridan Marsh on drums, and Maggie Fritz on drums. The group filled the room with a cool but beat-driven electric ambience, with exuberance tipping the scales over talent. But what is music if not exuberance?

Following the film, Ann Patterson led her Maiden Voyage All Stars band through a inspiring set of tunes both original, and from the film itself. Assisted ably by Karen Hammack on the piano, Jennifer Leitham on the standup bass, Tina Raymond on drums, Anne King on trumpet, and Kari Harris on trombone, the band was pinpoint, dramatic and illuminating all at once, reminding everyone in the scaffolding and in the bleachers, how far women had come in playing America’s own sound.

Muse/Ique is a non-profit group which presents unconventional live themed productions in unusual locations (Last month’s show was the Beatles White Album, presented at a warehouse space dedicated to building Rose Parade floats. Aaron Copland is up next in February.), According to the program, the group, led by Artistic Director and professional conductor Rachael Worby, “inhabits improvised venues–the warehouses, public spaces, and iconic locales that animate our community—and within their confines we invent performances that are just as surprising.”

Jazz at the Avon Warehouse? Makes perfect sense.

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