June 1, 2018 – Higher! The Psychedelic Soul and Genius of Sly and The Family Stone, 1966 – 1983 – Grand Performances, Los Angeles, CA

Dexter Story music-directs and co-produces Higher! The Psychedelic Soul and Genius of Sly and The Family Stone on Friday, June 1 at Grand Performances. The tribute features a who’s who of talent celebrating the timeless music classics from the expansive mind of Sylvester Stewart.


Commentary: Thank you to everyone who attended this show on June 1. I appreciate you very much. Sly’s songs are the most intensely beautiful I’ve ever arranged. They play themselves but are not to be underestimated. This is gospel, funk, blues, rock, soul, and folk at its finest. I am grateful.

July 29, 2017 – Mothership Landing: Funk and The Afrofuturist Universe of 1977 – Grand Performances, California Plaza, Downtown Los Angeles, CA

Dexter Story co-produces and music directs “Mothership Landing,” a concert celebrating 1977 cosmic funk album releases by Parliament-Funkadelic, Earth Wind & Fire, Bootsy’s Rubber Band and Sun Ra on Saturday, July 29.

Join us for FREE summer concerts in DTLA!
40 years ago, funk music hit critical mass with the release of groundbreaking Afrofurist-themed albums like Live P-Funk Earth Tour, Funkentelechy and All ‘N All that would ignite dance floors and shape R&B and hip-hop culture forever. Join us to celebrate the cosmic genius of George Clinton, Maurice White, William “Bootsy” Collins, Bernie Worrell, Junie Morrison, Sun Ra and more…

More info:


Keep up with us on Twitter + Instagram
@grandperfs #grandperformances

July 23, 2016 – Liberty Hill Foundation Presents Our Nation Awakens – Grand Performances, Los Angeles, CA

Dexter Story music directs, conducts and co-produces Liberty Hill Foundation’s Our Nation Awakens live concert at Grand Performances on Saturday, July 23, 2016. Guest vocalists include Cody Chestnutt, Maya Jupiter, Abraham McDonald, Joey Dosik, Barbara Morrison, Rachel Fannan, Cary Brothers and Jimetta Rose.
The beating heart of progressive Los Angeles, Liberty Hill is L.A.’s social justice foundation and has been advancing movements for social change through a strategic combination of grants, leadership training and alliance building since 1976.  When Liberty Hill began, it was a daring new foundation that turned philanthropy on its head. Today it is a national leader in social justice. Organizing and advocacy powered by Liberty Hill has changed national policies, launched movements, transformed neighborhoods, and nurtured hundreds of community leaders who respond to the experience of injustice by fighting for their rights. https://www.libertyhill.org/

Grand Performances and the Liberty Hill Foundation share values and priorities for the communities of which we are a part.  The LHF celebrates 40 years of activism in 2016 and GP celebrates 30. To that end, the LHF “Our Nation Awakens” show will feature a stellar repertoire of songs that speak to this awareness.


Bass / Co-MD: Jon Flaugher
Keys: Kenneth Crouch
Guitar: Brett Farkus
Drums: Randy Cooke
Percussion: Alberto Lopez
Tenor Saxophone: Matthew DeMerritt
Trumpet: Matt Rubin
Trombone: Justin Kirk
Background Vocal: Rosalyn Moody
Background Vocal: Rachel Fannan
MD / Conductor / Producer: Dexter Story
Co-Producer: Rocio Wyldeflower Contreras

Liberty Hill Presents Our Nation Awakens
Date: Saturday, July 23, 2016
Location: Grand Performances, DTLA
Showtime: 8pm
Set Length: 2 – 50 minute sets


June 18, 2016 – Grand Performances Presents Soy Africano – Grand Performances, Downtown LA, CA

Dexter Story music directs and co-curates Soy Africano, a special Grand Performances concert on Saturday, June 18th celebrating the Latin influence on music of West Africa. In association with Grand Performances, Radio Afrique DJs/presenters/curators Sonny Abegaze and Rani de Leon partner with Story to bring a 15-piece orchestra to the California Plaza stage with visuals and stellar vocalists.
GrandPerformances_1_photobyShawnAhmed.jpgTransportive, complex rhythms and lilting guitars —all West African trademarks —meld with familiar Latin sounds to bring you a spirited evening exploring new territory in diasporic connections. Soy Africano highlights the overlooked history and widespread influence of latin music in West Africa by showcasing the ways in which clave­-based Cuban music and New York Salsa were embraced by Africans, and led to thriving “latin afro” scenes in countries like Senegal, Benin, Guinea and the Congo.

Featured vocalists include Afrisa International’s Wawali, Son Mayor’s Alfredo Ortiz, Chicano Batman’s Bardo Martinez, Brazilian songstress Thalma de Freitas and the legendary Lazaro Gallaraga among other surprise guests.

Produced for Grand Performances by Radio Afrique and Dexter Story (Music Director/Conductor)

Soy Africano
Saturday, June 18, 2016
Grand Performances
300 S Grand Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90071

Supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts

Evolucn L.A.tino series explores Latino and Chicano culture, power, influence and experiences from a local and global perspective through music, theater, film, culinary arts, and expert panel/lectures. This series is supported in part by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

October 28, 2015 – PolicyLink Presents Sounds of LA: A Celebratory Reception – California Ballroom, Westin Bonaventure Hotel, Los Angeles, CA

Dexter Story music-directs and conducts a reprise of Grand Performances’ Wattstax Revisited at Policy Link’s Equity Summit 2015 on Wednesday, October 28. Grand Performances was the original presenter and also curated this second presentation at the Westin Bonaventure. Wattstax Revisited is a tribute to the soul, artistry and social relevance of the 1972 Memorial Coliseum concert featuring Stax artists and its 1973 companion documentary directed by Mel Stuart. The original Wattstax concert was an extension of the Watts Summer Festival and commemorated the 1965 Watts Revolt. Consequently, this Summer’s event and its reprise take place on the 50th anniversary of the revolt.IMG_0746-960
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The Wattstax Revisited band featured:

Chris Pierce – Vocals
Dustin Warren – Vocals
Jimetta Rose – Vocals
John Bigham – Vocals
N’Dambi – Vocals
Nia Andrews – Vocals

Allakoi Peete – Percussion
Brandon Eugene Owens – Bass
Brandyn Phillips – Trumpet
Geoff “Double G” Gallegos – Baritone Saxophone
Iajhi Hampden – Drums
John Bigham – Guitar
Kenneth Crouch – Keyboards
Randal Fisher – Tenor Saxophone

Steve Nalepa – Visuals

Wattstax Revisited (Reprise)
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Westin Bonaventure Hotel
Downtown Los Angeles
as part of
PolicyLink’s Sounds of LA
@ Equity Summit 2015

Produced by http://www.BigBowlofIdeas.com


July 25, 2015 – Grand Performances Presents 65 to 92: The Rhythm Changes but The Struggle Remains (Produced and Music Directed by Kamasi Washington) – Grand Performances, Downtown Los Angeles, CA

Co-produced Kamasi Washington’s acclaimed event 65 to 92: The Rhythm Changes but The Struggle Remains at Grand Performances on Saturday, July 25, 2015.



Kamasi Washington makes the 1965 and 1992 socio-political conversations musical using the potent jazz and hip hop voices of Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus, Billy Higgins, 2Pac, Snoop, and Cypress Hill. Two bands. Two musical eras. One ongoing struggle.

This event is part of our LOS ANGELES AFTERSHOCKS series, which focuses on the cultural aftershocks of the pivotal events in 1965 and 1992, and exemplifies how music, dialogue, and community celebration help us address racism in our city and nation. This series is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts and Sony Pictures Entertainment. 

Bike valet sponsored by AARP in Los Angeles.

This series presented in partnership with KPCC.

Commentary: This is a post-event post. I had the privilege of working with Kamasi Washington, Leigh Ann Hahn, Banch Abegaze, Janice Wong and Sonny Abegaze to bring Kamasi Washington and ensemble to the Grand Performances stage on Saturday, July 25th. Kamasi is on his way to becoming the international icon he deserves to be. I was amazed at how each of the musicians brought their AAA game to the offering. I am grateful to have been a part of it and look forward to working with Kamasi and crew again soon. Don’t miss Kamasi Washington and The West Coast Get Down on their upcoming domestic and international tour.

June 19, 2015 – The Gaslamp Killer Experience Live – Grand Performances, California Plaza, Downtown Los Angeles, CA

Playing percussion with The Gaslamp Killer Experience at Grand Performances on Friday, June 19, 2015. Hot on the heels of a historic Coachella double weekend, the L.A.-based DJ and producer’s signature dubstep, world music, left-field hip-hop, and psychedelic sound is accompanied by a crushing 10-piece band for a free show.

GLK Experience 3GLK Experience 2


The Gaslamp Killer Experience Live
Grand Performances
Friday, June 19, 2015
California Plaza
350 South Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90071



August 2, 2014 – People Get Ready: A Live Soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement – Grand Performances, California Plaza, Downtown LA, CA

Music directing and co-producing People Get Ready: A Live Soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement at Grand Performances on Saturday, August 2.
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FREE summer concerts in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles

Dexter Story & Jonathan Rudnick bring you


A vital, stirring and heartwarming Celebration of the Civil Rights Movement & 50 years of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 of Freedom and Equality with a powerful ensemble performing striking new renditions of the anthems that defiantly brought about change in the USA!


MAIYA SYKES vocals, choir director

ALBERTO LOPEZ percussion
DAMON AARON effects, voices
KENNETH CROUCH piano, keys


DEXTER STORY music director

+ Very Special Guests

Produced by Jonathan Rudnick and Dexter Story, the team that brought you the uplifting Celebrations of Peace Go With You Gil for GIL SCOTT-HERON and Young Gifted & Nina for NINA SIMONE.


Complimentary bike valet on the Upper Plaza 

Directions + parking: http://bit.ly/17oU9ol
More info: www.grandperformances.org


#grandperformances #peoplegetready


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June 28, 2014 – Double G Presents Dakah Hip Hop Orchestra Live – Grand Performances, Downtown LA, CA

Playing percussion with composer / arranger / conductor Geoff “Double G” Gallegos’ Dakah Hip Hop Orchestra at Grand Performances on Saturday, June 28. Double G will showcase 17 new arrangements.

Double G

Double G and KCRW Present
Dakah Hip Hop Orchestra
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Hosted by DJ Dan Wilcox
Grand Performances
350 S Grand Ave A-4
Los Angeles, CA 90071


August 27, 2013 – VIDEO: Ethio Cali Ensemble Live w/ Dereb The Ambassador – Blue Whale, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, CA

Todd Simon’s Ethio Cali Ensemble featuring Dereb The Ambassador appear in the following live video in support of their 2 Los Angeles-area performances at Grand Performances and Blue Whale. The performances took place on July 26 and July 28. Tadias Magazine was on hand to document the performance at Blue Whale. The songs performed on the video are “Shigey Shegitu” and “Etu Gela.”

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Video shot and edited by Andrew Freire.

Commentary: This video is one of my favorites featuring Ethio Cali. It documents the rousing Blue Whale nightclub/performance space show on Sunday July 28 featuring arranger/bandleader Todd Simon’s Ethio Cali Ensemble and Sydney-based massenqo player and vocalist Dereb Desalegn. Andrew Freire shot and edited the footage with aplomb. We had performed 2 days prior at Grand Performances and we’re ready to unleash it on a more intimate setting. Blue Whale just happens to be our favorite place to play. If this video doesn’t give you a sense of who Ethio Cali and Dereb are (together), I don’t know what will. Enjoy!

July 26, 2013 – KCRW Presents Ethio Cali featuring Dereb The Ambassador Live @ Grand Performances – California Plaza, Downtown Los Angeles, CA

Playing drum set with Todd Simon’s Ethio Cali Ensemble featuring Sydney-based vocalist Dereb Desalegn (aka Dereb The Ambassador) live at Grand Performances on Friday, July 26. This show is sponsored by KCRW and also features The University of Gnawa.


About Todd Simon’s Ethio-Cali Ensemble:
Ethio Cali is a Los Angeles-based Ethiopian jazz ensemble led by trumpeter/arranger/composer Todd Simon and featuring a cast of the finest musicians from Southern California. The ensemble’s sublime sound is inspired by the Golden Age of Ethiopian music of the 1960’s and 70’s, filtered through a lens that is uniquely Los Angeles and roots-inspired. Acknowledging the diverse musical foundations of Ethio-jazz, the ensemble also draws inspiration from the rhythmic and melodic textures of Sudan, Somalia, Ghana, and Columbia.
Ethio Cali featuring Dereb The Ambassador Live
Friday, July 26, 2013
Grand Performances
California Plaza
350 S. Grand Avenue, Downtown Los Angeles
Commentary: What’s so special about this show is that this will be the first time that Ethio Cali has performed with international superstar Dereb The Ambassador. We have also wanted to perform with him and we feel like this is the right opportunity to collaborate with such an amazing vocalist. I look forward to it. The set list is fire.

July 5, 2013 – Young Gifted and Nina: A Tribute to Nina Simone – Grand Performances, California Plaza, Downtown Los Angeles, CA

Music directing Young Gifted and Nina at Grand Performances on Friday, July 5, 2013.


We are particularly honored in this 80th birthday year of The High Priestess of Soul, to celebrate one of the most extraordinary artists and icons of American music, the inimitable Nina Simone. A fiery, passionate, revolutionary and uncompromising artist and storyteller who used her remarkable talent to create a legacy of liberation, empowerment, and love throughout her magnificent body of work.

Young, Gifted, and Nina is a must-see tribute to one of the most distinguished and beloved artist of our time featuring a powerful and dynamic lineup of:

Dwight Trible
Georgia Anne Muldrow
Jimetta Rose
Joi Gilliam
Patrice Quinn
Sonja Marie
Waberi Jordan
Alan Lightner – percussion & steel pan
Carlos Niño – percussion
JP Maramba – acoustic & electric bass
Jacques Lesure – guitar
Jamire Williams – drums
Joey Dosik – wurlitzer, organ, alto saxophone
Steve Nalepa – visual narrative
Vardan Ovsepian – piano, synthesizer
Special Guest: Ron Bishop – piano
+ Jeremy Sole KCRW – special invocation DJ set
and surprise guests

Music directed by multi-instrumentalist Dexter Story and curated by producer Jonathan Rudnick.

*Complimentary bike valet will be available on the Upper Plaza

For more info: www.grandperformances.org

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July 20, 2012 – ‘Peace Go With You, Gil’: A Celebration of the Life and Legacy of Gil-Scott Heron – Grand Performances, Downtown Los Angeles, CA

Music directing this celebration of Gil Scott-Heron’s legacy that explores the soul, vitality, power, humor, social activism, humanity, and dynamic messages of the late artist through his words, music, poetry, and an enthralling visual and interactive art journey. Performers include Gil’s long time collaborator and friend Brian Jackson; Rich Medina; Mark de Clive Lowe; and Miguel Atwood Ferguson, with special guests and surprises. Produced by Jonathan Rudnick, co-founder of Giant Step, and creative mind behind projects like SCORED music in film and theLIFT. Grand Performances is a free outdoor Summer concert series in Downtown Los Angeles’ California Plaza, 350 S. Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071. 4th Street / Olive. 8-10pm. For more information: (213) 687-2190 or http://www.grandperformances.org/en/events/Peace-Go-With-You-Gil.html. More updates and information to come.

Image by Stanley Chow.
Image by Stanley Chow.