1950s: Hollywood & Vine: Jazz Goes West

  • Spiegeltent at Bard College 60 Manor Avenue Annandale-on-Hudson, NY United States

A retrospective of 1950's West Coast jazz, where the frenetic sounds of bebop met the laid-back cool of sun and surf in the Golden Age of Hollywood.

Commissioned by the Catskill Jazz Factory, Hollywood & Vine features Aaron Johnson (performing on saxophone, clarinet and flute) and rising vocalist Veronica Swift, backed by an ensemble comprised of a "who's who" of rising players on the New York jazz scene.

At a time when the union of jazz and popular music created new commercial and cinematic possibilities, Los Angeles was a hotbed for these new sounds with releases from the likes of Capitol, Pacific Jazz, and Contemporary Records.

Johnson leads this night with a fresh look at time-tested favorites as well as less recognized gems, drawing from the repertoire of legendary figures such as June Christy and Bob Cooper, Stan Kenton, Julie London, Buddy Collette, Shorty Rogers, and the Lighthouse All-Stars.


About Aaron Johnson: Aaron Johnson is a Saxophonist and Scholar of Jazz History and Culture whose music and unrelenting energy have captivated listeners and musicians in a short period of time. A disciple of Charlie Parker and the Bebop era, Johnson is an artist possessing a wild musical imagination, a fearless heart and a probing intellect.

He has lectured, given talks and moderated panels regarding the state of Jazz, it's history, identity, culture and function at notable institutions such as New York University, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The National Jazz Museum of Harlem  and the College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, Virginia).  

Aaron has appeared in concerts and jazz club settings as a sideman to notable Jazz artists and rising stars such as Jonathan Batiste, Connie Crothers, Bruce Harris, Michael Mwenso, James Langton's NY All Star Big Band and The Jimmy Halperin Quartet as well as leading his Quintet with Trumpeter  Benny Benack III at Dizzy's Club Coca Cola, Jazz at Lincoln Center. In 2009 and 2014, Aaron produced historically accurate recreations of Benny Goodman's Orchestra (2009, Oregon) and Charlie Parker with Strings (2014, NYC). 

About Veronica Swift: Veronica Swift, age 22, is now being recognized around the country as one of the top young jazz singers on the scene.

In the fall of 2015, she won second place at the prestigious Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition.  Following that she was asked to do a concert of her own at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in New York City in March of 2016. In April of 2016, she was a guest artist with Michael Feinstein at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York with the Tedd Firth Big Band and Marilyn Maye and Freda Payne.   Veronica’s first appearance at Jazz at Lincoln Center was at age 11 for “Women in Jazz” series at Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. In the summer of 2016 she headlined at the Telluride Jazz Festival in Colorado – her 10th appearance there – but first as a headliner.  She first appeared there at age 10 with Dave Adams’ Young Razzcals Jazz Project with Richie Cole and then in 3 other years with that group – one as a co-director. 

Veronica has been on tour with her parents, renowned jazz pianist Hod O’Brien and celebrated jazz singer and educator/author Stephanie Nakasian.  She has appeared on stage with Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross, Esperanza Spalding, Joe Lovano, Bob Dorough, Kim Nazarian, Danilo Perez, and others.  With her family she has appeared atThe Great Waters Music Festival in NH, Blues Alley Jazz Club in DC, the Jazz Standard in NYC, the jazz cruise, and for the NJ and Hilton Head Jazz Societies. 

Veronica recorded two CDs as a child – one at age 9 with Richie Cole and her dad’s rhythm section and mom, and one at age 13 with Harry AllenHer latest recording project “Lonely Woman” out this year features some of the hottest young jazz players on the scene including Emmet Cohen, Benny Bennack III, Daryl Johns (with whom she shared the Grammy Choir/Band experience), Matt Wigler, and Scott Lowrie.

In addition to performing the Great American Songbook and Bebop and Vocalese classics, Veronica is also a passionate devotee of 20s and 30s music and has sung with Vince Giordano, Terry Waldo, and Drew Nugent. Veronica is a composer and arranger as well and plays trumpet and piano and will even be featured as a dancer in upcoming jazz performances.