PIcks of the Week: March 23 – 29

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

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Nikki Yanofsky

- Mar. 23. (Mon.)  Nikki Yanofsky.  She’s only fifteen, but this young Canadian jazz singer has already headlined at the Montreal Jazz Festival, performed at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, and recorded with Herbie Hancock.  Catch her now, so you can say you saw a new star in the ascendancy.   Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  www.catalinajazzclub.com.

- Mar. 24. (Tues.)  Carol Welsman.  Yet another Canadian vocalist, but one who has already established her credentials as one of the jazz world’s uniquely talented, musically compelling singer/pianists.  Vibrato. (310) 474-9400.  www.vibratogrilljazz.com.  Also Mar. 27. (Fri.) at the  Culver Club in the Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Westside.  (310) 649-1776.  http://www.radisson.com/hotels/caculver/dinings.

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Branford Marsalis

- Mar. 24 – 28 (Tues. – Sat.)  Branford Marsalis Quartet.  Tenor saxophonist Marsalis’ impressive versatility is on full display in his just-released album, “Metamorphosen.”  Catalina Bar & Grill.  Expect to hear selections from it, including, hopefully, his rarely heard alto sax on the Marsalis original, “Jabberwocky.” (323) 466-2210.  www.catalinajazzclub.com.

- Mar. 26. (Thurs.)  Pharoah’s DaughterBasya Schecter may have been born in Brooklyn, but her musical heart beats with Middle Eastern rhythms.  And her group, Pharoah’s Daughter, weaves comfortably through Hasidic chants, Sephardic folk-rock and her own re-imagining of Mediterranean musics.  Skirball Cultural Center.  (310) 440-4500.  www.skirball.org

- Mar. 26. (Thurs.)  Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, with the Ditty Bops and Van Dyke Parks.  The sixties and seventies still live in the outlaw swing of Hicks and the Licks.  And with the folky Ditty Bops and the unpredictable Parks in the room, anything can happen.   El Rey Theatre. (323) 936-6400    http://www.theelrey.com.

- Mar. 26. (Thurs.)Tenor saxophonist Pete Christlieb’s status as an A-list sideman is fully justified by his far-ranging versatility.  But the best time to hear him is when he’s doing it his way, backed by the solid rhythm section of Jon Mayer, piano, Roy McCurdy, drums and Chris Conner, bass.  Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058.  www.charlieos.com

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Ron Carter

- Mar. 27 – 28. (Fri. & Sat.)  Ron Carter, Russell Malone, Mulgrew Miller.  All-star trios don’t get much better than this definitive display of mature, creative jazz at its finest.  The Jazz Bakery  (310) 271-9039.  www.jazzbakery.com.

- Mar. 27 – 28. (Fri. & Sat.)  Cryptonights at REDCAT showcase a collection of envelope-stretching contemporary music.  Fri. Myra Melford and Be Bread, the Alex Cline Continuation Quartet.  Sat. The Nels Cline Singers.  The Jeff Gauthier Goatette. REDCAT. (213) 237-2800.  www.redcat.org.   Also at Yoshi’s Oakland, Wed. Mar. 25. and Thurs. Mar. 26.  Yoshi’s Oakland. . (510) 238-9200.  www.yoshis.com.

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Madeleine Peyroux

- Mar. 28. (Sat.)  Madeleine Peyroux . Until the recent release of her newest album, “Bare Bones,” Peyroux has built her career as an atmospheric interpretative artist.  Now she’s stepping out on her own, with considerable success, as an intriguing singer songwriter.  William Fitzsimmons, an idiosyncratic songwriter, himself, opens the show.  8 p.m. Club Nokia. (213) 765-7000.  www.clubnokia.com

Mar. 28. (Sat.)  The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with special guest Ernie Andrews.   One of the country’s biggest, brawniest jazz bands with the inimitable, strutting vocals of a legendary vocalist, performing in the newly expanded Spazio jazz room.  Doesn’t get much better than that.  Spazio in Sherman Oaks.  (818) 728-840o.  http://www.spazio.la/jazz.php.

- Mar. 28. (Sat.)  Prince.  The purple one does what no one seems to have ever done before — perform at three different (if nearby) venues in the same night.  The stunt is in support of the launch of his new web site, http://www.LotusFlow3r.com, and the release of three new studio albums.  He’ll appear at  5:30 p.m. at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live.  (213) 763-6030.   http://www.nokiatheatrelalive.com.  8 p.m. at the Conga Room. (213) 749-0162.  http://www.congaroom.com.  11:30 p.m. at Club Nokia.(213) 765-7000.  www.clubnokia.com.    ..

- Mar. 29. (Sun.)  Jay Leonhart. In set pieces such as “The Bass Lesson, Leonhart supplements his sturdy rhythm playing with a wit and whimsy that place him comfortably in a grouping with jazz humorists Dave Frishberg and Bob Dorough.  The last event before the closing of Steinway Hall @ Fields Pianos.  5 p.m. (310) 471-3979 or Jeannine@FrankEntertainment.com.

- Mar. 29. (Sun.)  Mark Winkler writes the kind of songs that should provide him with a comfortable spot in the Great American Songbook — if anyone’s still interested in melodic, literate, emotionally touching songs, that is.  He celebrates the release of his new CD, “Till I Get It Right,” presumably not referring to his songwriting, since he got that right a while ago.  Cheryl Bentyne makes a guest appearance.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  www.catalinajazzclub.com.

San Francisco

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Andy Statman

- Mar. 23. (Mon.)  Andy Statman Trio.  A pioneer of the klezmer revival that began in the late seventies, Statman — who is proficient on clarinet and mandolin — roves freely from bluegrass and jazz to Eastern European Jewish roots music.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.  www.yoshis.com

- Mar. 25 and 26. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Myra Melford and Be Bread.  The Alex Cline Continuation Quartet, The Nels Cline Singers and The Jeff Gauthier Goatette.   Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.  www.yoshis.com.  Also at REDCAT Mar. 27 & 28.

- Mar. 28.  (Sat.)  Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks. Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.  www.yoshis.com.  Also Mar. 26 at the El Rey.

New York City

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Cecil Taylor

- Mar. 28. (Sat.)  Cecil Taylor, still as mesmerizing a performer as he was in the fifties and sixties, when he was redefinng the possibilties of the jazz piano.   Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center.  (212) 501-3330.  http://kaufman-center.org/merkin-concert-hall

- Mar. 28. (Sat.)  The Jessica Lurie Ensemble.  The multi-instrumental woodwind artist  roves freely from performance art to Latin music and jazz.  The Jalopy Theatre.  Brooklyn. (718) 395-3214.  http://www.jalopy.biz.

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