There is always room for another musical venue in Long Beach.
f / 8 Studios (Speak Fate) and Cal Heights Music have teamed up to present the Billy Mohler Trio on the third Thursday of each month this summer in the studio’s backyard, 3754 Orange Ave. Performances started last week and the next one is August 19.
âCal Heights Music gave us the idea,â said Marni Farmer, co-owner of f / 8 Studios, with her husband, Michael Farmer. âBilly was looking for a space in Long Beach that felt like an intimate jazz club, because he and his band play in LA all the time and never felt like they had a place in Long Beach to do it.â
Farmer said the companies pulled the details together in just two weeks. And just as quickly, the first two dates sold all 30 seats. There are still a few places available for the September 16 performances. The trio performs two sets, at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
It turns out that Mohler is an upright and upright bass player.
That’s because the Laguna Beach native is the godson of Bill Medley, one of the Righteous Brothers, along with Bobby Hatfield.
“He was my dad’s childhood friend,” Mohler said ahead of his first set last week. âA career in music has always been a normal thing for me. My mom had the biggest influence, musically. She saw Jimi Hendrix, she saw Jefferson Airplane, she saw Neil Young. She had all the vinyl. Music has always been part of my life. It was in my DNA.
Mohler said he did not start his musical career with the double bass; he was more of an electric bass player. But while he was attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, his teacher encouraged him to try the instrument.
âI was pretty intimidated, but I picked it up and started playing it and it was really natural,â he said. âI feel like this is what I’m supposed to do. I guess you can tell that this instrument chose me.
Grammy-nominated writer and producer Mohler has performed with jazz greats Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Clark Terry, as well as pop musicians Macy Gray, Lady Gaga, Pat Benatar and country and western singer and actress Dolly Parton.
âI was 20 when I worked with Macy Gray and it was a dream come true to tour the world with her,â he said. âIt was a life-changing experience. Then working with Dolly Parton. It was surreal working with Dolly. She’s a genius. People don’t know the depth of her talent. They know her as a personality and a icon.
Mohler, according to Bass Magazine, released his debut album, âFocus,â in 2019, and begins work on a second album next month. He has produced and performed on numerous albums. And he and his wife, Becca Mohler, run Cal Heights Music.
Sandwiched between it all, he and his bandmates – Eric Gardner on drums, Chris Speed ââon tenor saxophone – have performed online. And the dates inside are being reserved again, with coronavirus-related collection restrictions lifted. There is nothing, Mohler says, like interacting with the audience.
âI talked about how we can bring live music to Cal Heights,â he said. âIt just worked. I was trying to push for a set, but no, it has to be two sets, and I’m really happy to do two sets because clearly the community wants us to bring the music.
Tickets cost $ 20 per person and can be purchased in advance from the f / 8 Studios website, fatstudioslongbeach.com/jazznights. Attendees can add a bottle of California Heights Market wine and / or a box of Hungry Drea Creations deli meats, or bring their own food and refreshments. Only 30 seats are available for each performance. Vaccination cards are required to enter.