An unfortunate reality — no less real for being kind of a cliché — is that the world of L.A. musicgoers is divided between a majority who won't attend jazz concerts and a very dedicated minority who will go mostly to jazz concerts. There's a small group of open-minded people who will cross between these two camps, but by and large separate (and unequal) they remain, even if many of the former claim that they would love to go see a good jazz show every once in a while.
Well, rock/indie/hip-hop people, here's your chance to expand your horizons and have a blast: Graham Reynolds is coming to town to present his Duke! Three Portraits of Ellington. The spiel is that a young, longhaired, friends-with-DJs jazz composer decided to take a break from his brainy conceptual projects (see his recent The Difference Engine) by having fun with some Duke Ellington standards and deep cuts. The result, honed on the road, is a vibrant triple set (small band, string quartet, DJ remixes) that injects some much-needed 21st-century blood into the still astonishing music by the — these days — more-revered-than-heard jazz great. Though Ellington spent a lifetime trying to bring his work to museums and concert halls, it might be time to take it back to the hipper joints for a couple of drinks. Reynolds pulls it off and then some.
Graham Reynolds and the Golden Arm Trio, with the Watts Ensemble, perform Sat., June 18, 10 p.m., at the Bootleg Theater.