At the classic jazz venue in Hollywood, Beverley Church Hogan celebrated her classic songbook with a talented jazz ensemble, showing how an eighty-nine-year-old Grande Dame lights up a room.
By John Lavitt
Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 12/10/23 – There are classics, and then there are classics that help define the word’s meaning. Beverley Church Hogan is a perfect example of the latter. Eighty-nine-years-old and still going strong, the Grande Dame of Jazz Vocalists played another vibrant show at the Catalina Jazz Club. Still well-known as the Cataline Bar & Grill, the Hollywood fixture has rebranded itself as the Catalina Jazz Club. In 2023, the legendary venue celebrated 36 years of bringing the finest audiences in Los Angeles: “Nothing but the Best in Jazz!”
Given the venue’s sterling history of performances, it is not surprising that it has become the favored musical home of Beverley Church Hogan. Indeed, the singer loves the opportunity to grace the stage with her talent and charismatic presence. Her website says, “Beverley has appeared at the legendary Catalina Bar and Grill in Hollywood, California, numerous times. She says she enjoys performing there because when she appears, the room becomes one big party full of love and smiles.”
As she took the stage with her talented jazz ensemble, Beverley was nothing less than luminescent with a silver dress and a beaded & braided silver cap. Indeed, she looked like she had just stepped out of a novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Returning her fans to the wild innocence of the Jazz Age, Beverley took us on a journey that will not be forgotten. In addition, the years have been generous to this lovely lady and her beautiful voice. With precision and tone, she sang each song with a melodic composition that captured every heart in the room.
Born and raised in Montreal, Beverley lived next door to the legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson as a young woman. As she describes with giddiness on her website, she was “swept away as she listened to his practicing many hours on his magical piano. He gave her a gift without even knowing it.” Indeed, he lit the fire of a deep love of jazz that continues to burn.
However, for a deep love of jazz to be realized on stage, a singer needs a great band, and Beverley Church Hogan has one of the finest jazz ensembles in Los Angeles. With John Proulx on Piano, Lyman Medeiros on Bass, Dean Koba on Drums, John Storie on Guitar, Bob Sheppard on Tenor Sax and Flute, and Luis Conte on Percussion, the Grande Dame of Jazz in Los Angeles is backed by an all-star team of musicians. As the musical director and arranger of the band, pianist John Proulx made sure that everyone was on point on the night of the performance.
However, it does not seem that John Proulx has to work too hard because it is clear that all the musicians love playing with Beverley. She carries them back to a time when jazz standards were fresh and new, and the sounds continued in cities across the country all through the night. The wonder of performers like Beverley Church Hogan is that they remind us of a better world that often seems lost. With a hint of nostalgia and a lovely smile, her voice carries us back to when the American dream was on the verge of being fully realized and celebrated. As the iconic American art form, jazz represents the very best of what this country has given the world.
Photos by Craig Allyn Photography