I recently guested with Angela O’Neill and her band the Outrageous8 for their Big Band Brunch at Vitello’s Jazz Club in Studio City, Los Angeles.

Chris J. Walker from LA Jazz Scene published a very positive review of the show to follow. Happy to say we’ll be returning to Vitello’s August 29 for another big band brunch and next week at Catalina’s Jazz Club August 15 at 7.30pm for our Sunday Funday show.

It truly is wonderful to be able to do live music in Los Angeles again and connect and play with all the amazing musicians in and around the LA area.

These iconic Los Angeles Jazz Clubs struggled during 2020 and it’s a pleasure to see them open again and hosting live music events.

Angela O’Neill and The Outrageou8 performing both live and live-stream for HOPE FLOATS Big Band Brunch at Feinstein’s at Vitello’s was perfect for shifting a newly reopened weekend into high gear. Jazz orchestra innovators Duke Ellington and Stan Kenton, along with incomparable vocal icons Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Ray Charles, along with the American Songbook influence the octet, formed in 2017 and based in Burbank.

Those are high standards to aim for, but vocalist/bandleader O’Neill with Paul Litteral-trumpet/flugelhorn, Harry Smallenburg-trombone/arranger, Ron Cyger-alto sax, Sam Morgan-tenor-saxophone, Richard Walker-baritone sax/flute, Rocky Davis-pianist/arranger, Phil Romo-bass and Tony Pia-drums, along with singers Al (The Duke of Smooth) Timms, Jackie Gibson and Kathryn Hopkins didn’t languish on technical aspects a lot. They instead focused on presenting an entertaining and lively show, and were ecstatic to be back performing for their fans and friends.

The bandleader vibrantly sang “Summertime” bolstered by a soaring trumpet solo and melodramatic brass choruses. Ballad “Come Rain or Come Shine” had the band down low and featured emotive singing for the interpretation. Additionally, the band showcased their cohesiveness and swung hard as O’Neill belted out “L-O-V-E,” “Hallelujah I Love (Him) So” with Hopkins and the band also doing the vocal chorus, and “Almost Like Being in Love.”

O’Neill and Hopkins sweetly fronted the group for easy-flowing classic “Sentimental Journey.” Later Hopkins returned on her own to pleasingly sing “Skylark” with the combo flourishing. Gibson cheerfully spiced up “It Might As Well Be Spring” with light Latin band flavoring. Timms hit the stage and rollicked with the musicians for “I’m Going to Live Till I Die,” claiming it was his new theme song, and also coolly sang “Come Fly With Me.”

Wrapping up the fast-paced show was non-standard, yet very fitting and superbly arranged “In a New York Minute” by Don Henley of the popular Eagles rock band. O’Neill introduced the song as a moment to honor all people who passed away from COVID-19 and tearfully mentioned a friend of the band. Angela O’Neill and The Outrageou8 will return to Feinstein’s at Vittello’s on August 29th. For more info and ticket links to shows, visit https://www.angelamaeoneill.com