In collaboration with the A Call 2Peace Foundation
MARK TOWNS TRIO
MARK TOWNS is one of the world’s leading purveyors of guitar-based instrumental Afro-Caribbean Jazz, composing and performing music which blurs the lines between Latin Jazz, Flamenco Jazz, Salsa, Funk, and Fusion. With grooves inspired by traditional Latin Jazz masters, Towns guitar work and arrangements combine the technical sophistication of Jazz and Flamenco with the down-to-earth feel of the Blues and Rock from his Texas upbringing to create something brand new. Jazz critic Paul MacArthur (Downbeat magazine) says, “Mark Towns isn't just playing Latin Jazz, he’s making sure it continues to evolve.”
In addition to leading his own top-notch bands, Mark has found time to perform with a diverse array of major artists, including Airto Moreira, Arturo Sandoval, Rickie Lee Jones, Poncho Sanchez, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Arnette Cobb, Stanley Clarke, Pharaoh Sanders, Clay Aiken, Augie Meyers, Pete Barbuti, Chucho Valdes, Roy Hargrove, Hubert Laws, Kirk Whalum, Yomo Toro, Rick Braun, Larry Coryell, Michael White, Artie Webb, and Dave Valentin, to name a few.
"Mark Towns' music has the piquancy and surprise of the best Latin-inflected jazz, with a sense of space unique to his Southwestern roots meeting the sophistication of his residency in Los Angeles. Mark is a deft, lyrical guitarist, rewarding my repeated listening with growing pleasure." ~Howard Mandel, President, Jazz Journalists Association
LIEL AVILA is one of LA's premier jazz vocalists whose sultry tone and phrasing evokes her many influences which include Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James. A native of Los Angeles, Liela grew up in a very musical family (her father is Oingo Boingo bassist John Avila) and began singing at the tender age of 6. Since then, her music career has taken her all over the world. Her recent performances included singing at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Liela has also performed as a background vocalist for many prominent artists, including Josh Groban, Stevie Wonder, and Natalie Cole.
OTMARO RUIZ is a Multi Grammy Nominated pianist, keyboardist and arranger born in Venezuela and a resident of LA for the last 30 years. Otmaro has toured most recently with Randy Brecker & Bill Evans’ SoulBop, with Simon Phillips’ Protocol 4 and with Billy Cobham. Keeping versatility as his biggest asset, Mr, Ruiz has performed from Latin Jazz with Arturo Sandoval, Tito Puente to Rock Pop with Robbie Robertson and Gino Vannelli; from Straight Ahead Jazz as Dianne Reeves' Musical director, Frank Morgan and Billy Higgins' Quartet to the most exciting Electric Fusion with John McLaughlin, Frank Gambale and the band Protocol. Otmaro has 6 Solo CD releases and, in the local LA scene, has participated in many recordings and film soundtracks. Otmaro was an adjunct jazz piano faculty at USC, Shepherd University and earned an Honorary Doctorate in Music in 2012.