Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sponsor Showcase for CKMDP Anniversary Party: Ryan Luevano and Crown City Combo

Let me start off by saying this guy, Ryan Luevano, is one of the most passionate musicians I know. I have known him since high school, and I remember how he used to listen to the former station KMotzart and all the jazz stations when everyone else was listening to hip hop, pop, and rock music. We used to tease him about this all the time when we would go over to his house during summer for pool parties and he would play his music instead of the mainstream "Top 40" everyone else was into. Now that I am older, I have found a new appreciation for his musical tastes. His music reminds me of what I want my life to look like: sophisticated, clam, and comfortable. You can always find me working away to jazz music to keep me calm and sane even when I'm under a pile of paper - literally. I have fallen in love with jazz and absolutely could not live without it anymore.

In 2010, we were lucky enough to have his band, Crown City keep us entertained at our launch party for Maison du Papier. This year, now that his music is spreading faster than ever, we were so lucky that he agreed to play our soiree on September 12th! =) We are so excited to have them there to serenade our afternoon garden gala.

Pasadena's Go-To Jazz band, Crown City Combo

photos done by Leila C. Photohraphy

We scored an interview with him this week and here is how it went...

1) How did you get into the business of playing music?
Well I've been a performer for years - as a student and throughout college. About 3 or 4 years ago, when I was still in college, I brought together other musicians that had some trouble finding work and created the jazz band, Crown City Combo. This was my way of earning a living doing what I love to do as well as helping my fellow friends out to find work. Later on, I teamed up with a magician, Jeff Black, to create a side company called Maestro and Magic. Maestro and Magic is unique in that it fuses live music with live magic shows. I was able to do this with the help of Crown City Combo, which is the go-to band for Maestro and Magic.

2) Out of all the instruments, why did you choose to play the trumpet?
Ha ha, I get asked this question all the time. When I was in middle school, before I played any instrument, all the instruments demonstrated for us. I was drawn to the trumpet because it was very loud - for one, which I love - and because it only had three keys, I thought that it would be the easiest to play. Little did I know that you had to actually make the rest of the notes with your mouth and breath. I stuck with it in the end because the trumpet is very versatile and performs jazz and classical equally as well.

3) What is your favorite aspect of playing music?

My favorite aspect of playing music is the immediacy of it. You are creating art on the spot which is different from other art forms such as painting and sculpting which is done in private and then brought out to the public. And I love performing because I feel like I'm in a different world of just making music that I get to share with everyone. The immediacy and instantaneousness of it all is what is so great about playing music for people.

4) What would be your dream venue to perform at?

That's a really good question, hrmm... I would have to say that the Walt Disney Concert Hall would be amazing. It has great sound and is great for live music. It's such a beautiful venue, I would love to be able to perform there one day whether it's with Crown City Combo, as a solo performance, or in an orchestra.

photos done by Leila C. Photohraphy

5) How do you see yourself in 5 years?

I would definitely want to be in a position where I am constantly working and on call to the point of doing multiple gigs in the same day. I would like to be well regarded in all aspects of music that I am working in such as: a musicologist professor, a performer, and in music composition - since I also compose original pieces. As for Crown City Combo, I would love for our band to be the number one choice when it comes to weddings and events of any kind in the LA area. I just really wanted to be established and stable overall.

6) Everyone in your band is quite young, does that have any advantages when it comes to arranging your music?

There are both advantages and disadvantages because of this. Although, I'd have to say that I do enjoy the advantages far more than the disadvantages. One of the great things about us is that we're always ready and willing to try new things. We also all come from different backgrounds and experiences in music which allows us to expand our variety and talent. As a manager, I make sure that everyone is able to voice their opinions of how and where we play. We make a great collaborating team, which I'm proud of. Because of this, we also add extra players from time to time and enjoy trying new tunes and new styles when requested. And maybe it's because we're young, or maybe it's just because of our stylistic approach, but we're a high energy group which is great for performances. Unfortunately, because we are all young, there can be some tension between potential clients because we have to prove to them that we are good enough to hire. Fortunately, once we have a chance to play for them, they are pleasantly surprised and we are able to grab another gig.

7) Is there anything that you would like to add? Any final words?
I think as a ensemble and as individual musicians we are the happiest people alive since we are doing what we are passionate about - playing music. And if we can get paid for it, it makes it just that much better!

photos done by Leila C. Photohraphy

Ryan's band, Crown City Combo:
Crown City Combo's Facebook page:
Maestro and Magic Productions website:
Ryan Luevano's LinkedIn:

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