Over 50 guests were on hand at ASMAC’s Honor Our Own Luncheon on October 16th at Catalinas. ASMAC paid tribute to Catalina Popescu, owner of Catalina’s Jazz Club; Flip Manne, President of Los Angeles Jazz Society and Scherr Lillico, Exec Director of ASMAC, Business Manager of LA Jazz Society and Event Producer for several other non-profits. Composer Arranger and ASMAC Boardmember Chris Walden hosted the day and made the presentation.
Scherr L. Lillico, President/Founder – The Proper Image
Scherr Lillico has the reputation of a doer…. one who sees what needs to be done and just ‘makes it happen.’ “Nothing is impossible; it’s simply a challenge. But, let’s just have plan A, plan B and plan C ready to go – just in case.” Prior to founding The Proper Image in 1984, Scherr’s background included seven years in television production, plus positions in marketing/ public relations/ administration for resort hotels, real estate and personnel agencies.As the Executive Director of ASMAC, Scherr has been the backbone of the Society for over 25 years. The Proper Image originally began by providing freelance marketing and advertising for clients. Shortly after the birth of her daughter, Scherr joined a charity “Women in Show Business – for Children” (WiSB) where she was elected to Chair their annual fundraiser (and served as Event Chair AND President for most of the next 25 years). Simultaneously, composer Joe Harnell (then president of ASMAC), who was helping Scherr as Music Director on several WiSB galas, asked her to help with ASMAC’s 50th Anniversary Golden Score Awards. One referral led to the next, and thus began the current focus of The Proper Image Events, and Scherr’s longtime association with ASMAC and other music organizations.
The Proper Image provides creative special event planning and production along with P.R., Marketing and Management for a variety of non-profits – many clients having been with her for 7-10+ years. Management Clients include ASMAC, Los Angeles Jazz Society, and LAPD’s Eagle & Badge Foundation. Event clients are mostly focused on music, law enforcement, veterans, or children’s causes. Functions have honored VIP’s from Elizabeth Taylor to Gregory Peck to Sylvester Stallone plus composers John Williams, Randy, David and Thomas Newman, Henry Mancini, and many more. And, Scherr can tell you some interesting stories about getting lions and tigers onto the Playboy Mansion grounds; faulty walkie-talkies at events; and creating 8 foot tall pink panthers, and many more. Maybe there’s a book on the horizon?Scherr was also one of the founders of ‘National Burn Awareness Week,’ recognizing the need for education regarding the severity and various ways of being burned; lobbied in Washington; and working with burn centers and fire departments across the country served as Exec Director of the NBAW national committee for 8 years.
Mrs. Shelly “Flip” Manne, President – Los Angeles Jazz Society
Flip (“don’t call me Florence!”) Butterfield was born in 1921 in a farmhouse in Vermont. She started taking dance lessons, and, as they wouldn’t let her be a jockey, she moved to New York in 1939 and started dancing. After various jobs across the country, Flip took a job at New York’s Roxy Theatre, and, after trying out for The Rockettes, she made the transition to performing with the world renowned precision dance group – four shows a day!
Flip met a young drummer, Shelly Manne, when he was in the Coast Guard during World War II. Although an early “women’s libber”–with no plans for marriage — they married in 1943. She remained a Rockette until war’s end. After his discharge, they went on the road with Stan Kenton, Woody Herman and various small groups. In 1951 they moved to California. Shelly became a world-famous jazz drummer and host at his Hollywood celebrity hangout, Shelly’s Manne Hole. Flip became involved in training and showing horses, along with anti-war and women’s causes, civil rights, and animal rights groups.Shelly died in late 1984, barely a year after Flip helped Teri Merrill-Aarons, with the support of other jazz lovers and musicians, start the Los Angeles Jazz Society, now celebrating 30 years. She’s been active in the LAJS ever since. The Jazz Society’s mission is to introduce young people to jazz and recognize the great jazz artists that have thrilled us for so many years. They present exciting multi-cultural and interactive in-school and off-campus jazz education programs (Jazz in Schools and the Bill Green Mentorship Program have been ongoing for over 25 years along with other programs). They also promote and honor the legacy of jazz by paying tribute to great jazz artists of today and yesterday with the annual Jazz Tribute Awards (coming up the end of October), Vibe Summit (for 20 years) and the new ‘New Note’ Program commissioning new works for emerging young composers.
At 92, Flip still LOVES jazz. She puts in a lot of long hours as the current President of the Los Angeles Jazz Society attending every event, audition, board meeting, and many of the Jazz in Schools concerts. And, she’s still dancing!
Catalina Popescu, Proprietor – Catalina Bar & Grill
Catalina Popescu has been running the club named for her for 27 years. In 1986, she’d been in Los Angeles for 10 years, after arriving in town from a repressive, jazz-averse Romania, and had tried to open a restaurant that hadn’t worked out. A chance meeting with horn player Buddy Collette led to Popescu and husband Bob opening the jazz supper club that has survived numerous waves of openings and closings in a city that has not always been friendly to jazz. They met Buddy through a family friend and were thinking about maybe presenting music. After he spoke about how great jazz was, he inspired them to open the next weekend – with his band. “He was a charming man with a beautiful smile. The way he spoke about music was a total winner for us.”
Located in Hollywood on Sunset Boulevard, Catalina Bar & Grill has certainly lived up to its slogan “Nothing But The Best In Jazz” by presenting a veritable Who’s Who of jazz legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Art Blakey, Ahmed Jamal, McCoy Tyner, Chick Corea, Ray Brown, Joe Williams, Max Roach, Carmen McRae, Betty Carter, Ron Carter, Joe Henderson, Benny Carter, Tony Williams, Joe Zawinul, Marcus Miller, Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Joshua Redman, Michael Brecker, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Jimmy Scott, Steve Tyrell, and many more.”I can say it’s quite stressful and consuming,” Popescu says of running a club. “But when you have the passion, things happen.”Catalina’s offers the best in jazz… along with great food… and the club is sold out with standing room only on many occasions. She is a great supporter of jazz organizations and young people entering the field. She has long been a good friend of the Los Angeles Jazz Society, American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers, the California Jazz Foundation (which recently honored her) and others. Catalina is the perfect hostess for ASMAC’s monthly luncheons as well as many of the Jazz Society’s special events including their Bill Green Mentorship Concert and annual Holiday Party.