“The loose theme of the evening is ‘Bronzeville, 2013,” said band member Scott Nagatani. “The music LosAKAtombros plays is headed in a direction of more original compositions and jazz arrangements of Japanese folk songs. But our roots are Coltrane, Monk, and other jazz giants. Friday we will also pay homage to Bronzeville — what J-Ttown L.A. became during the World War II evacuation of our families and community.
“Many nightclubs and all-night ‘breakfast’ clubs flourished in the abandoned buildings of J-Town. These clubs became a hotspot for black musicians from the Central Avenue music scene as well as jazz musicians (i.e. Charlie Parker) looking for an all-night jam.
“It is now an almost forgotten chapter of JA history in L.A. for many reasons, many related to the Nisei reluctance to talk about the World War II internment as well as the contradictions and struggles of being Japanese in American/Americans of Japanese ancestry afterwards.
“Understandably, tension did exist when the JA business owners and residents returned from camp, laying claim to their properties, signaling the end of Bronzeville and signaling the rebirth of the community we now call Little Tokyo. The band’s goal is not to give a history lesson, but to honor our family roots in Little Tokyo as well as the musical influence that the jazz musicians, many who lived and played in Bronzeville (their roots), had on us personally.”
LosAKAtombros features Nagatani on piano, Tracy Wannomae on saxophone, Taiji Miyagawa on bass, and David Cheung on drums, with guest vocalists Marisa Kosugi, Kimiko Gelman, and Erika Mariko Olsen. Vocal set is at 10 p.m. Darrell Kunitomi will serve as emcee.
Cover charge is $10. Street parking is limited; the Aiso Parking Lot is located on the northwest corner of Judge John Aiso Street (San Pedro Street) and First Street with the entrance across the street from Union Center for the Arts/East West Players. The cost is $3 after 5 p.m. and the lot is open until 2 a.m.