Picks of the Week: Nov. 2 – 8.

By Don Heckman

Gianni RussoLos Angeles

- Nov. 2. (Mon.) Gianni Russo. Russo, who played the role of Carlo Rizzi in The Godfather, hosts an entertaining evening featuring his vocal versions of songs from the Italian crooner era, as well as a collection of his Il Padrino Wines. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- Nov. 4. (Wed.) Gaea Schell. Pianist/singer Schell likes to think of herself as a pianist first, and there’s no denying her solid jazz skills. But there’s something to be said, as well, for her intimate, understated vocal stylings. She performs in a duo with bassist Zach Matthews. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- Nov. 4. (Wed.) Amanda McBroom. She may be best known for “The Rose,” but McBroom’s singing and songwriting talents reach far beyond the success of a single song. On this night, she concentrates on selections from her latest album, Chanson, singing the songs of Jacques Brel. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- NOv. 5. (Thurs.) Milton Nascimento. One of the great icons of Brazilian popular music, Nascimento doesn’t perform often in the Southland. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear a living legend, still at the top of his form, in action. The Conga Room. (212) 749-0162.  Nascimento also appears at the San Francisco Jazz Festival on Saturday (see below).

- Nov. 5. (Thurs.) Sara Tavares. Portuguese singer Tavares is well connected to her Cape Verdean heritage, but her interests also reach out to the stirring music of Portugal, Brazil, Angola and beyond. The Skirball Cultural Center. (310) 440-4500.  Tavares also appears at the San Francisco Jazz Festival on Friday (see below).

- Nov. 5. (Thurs.) Michael Session. Alto saxophonist Session is one of the Southland’s most dynamic players, making every one of his solos into a wildly exciting improvisational journey. Crown Plaza Brasserie Jazz Lounge. (310) 642-7500.Jackie Ryan 3

- Nov. 5. (Thurs.) Jackie Ryan. There’s a good reason why Ryan’s latest album, Doozy, was at the top of the radio airplay charts for six straight weeks. And that’s because everything she sings is the product of an ear-caressing combination of skill, imagination and a marvelous sound.  Ryan performs at Largo at the Coronet Theatre in a Jazz Bakery  “Moveable Feast. (310) 271-9039.

- Nov. 6. (Fri.) Kim Richmond Ensemble. Alto saxophonist and versatile composer/arranger Richmond leads the first rate ensembles of John Daversa, trumpet, Joey Sellers, trombone, Mehesh Balisooriya, piano and Jamey Tate, drums. Vitellos Restaurant. (818) 769-0905.

- Nov. 6. (Fri.) Lanny Morgan Every performance by the veteran alto saxophonist provides a vivid reminder that bebop still lives, when it is played by a master jazz improviser such as Morgan. He’s backed by the bassist John Heard, drummer Roy McCurdy and pianist Andy Langham. Charlie O’s. (818) 989-3110.

Laurence Juber- Nov. 6. (Fri.) Laurence Juber. Grammy-winning, former member of Paul McCartney’s Wings, Juber is a guitarists’ guitarist, universally admired for both the skill and the creativity of his finger style playing.  McCabe’s (310) 828-4497.

- Nov. 6 & 7.  (Fri. & Sat.)   Esperanza Spalding. Bassist/singer Spalding is one of the rapidly rising new young jazz stars. You’ll know why after you hear her first number. OCPAC. Samueli Theatre. (714) 556-2787.   Spalding also appears at the San Francisco Jazz Festival on Thursday (see below).

- Nov. 6 & 7. (Fri. & Sat.) Jack Jones Sings the lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman. The son of Allen Jones, a movie musical star, Jones works hard, and successfully, at keeping alive the tradition of big-voiced male balladeers. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210

- Nov. 6 – 8. (Fri. – Sun.) “Ramayana: An Indian Epic” The classic Indian epic, one of the world’s great legendary dramas is performed via Balinese music and dance by Gamelan Burat Wanti. REDCAT. (213)237-2800.

- Nov. 7. (Sat.) Patti Austin. If there’s a style that Austin can’t sing, it’s hard to imagine what it could be. But what really matters is that, beyond eclectic versatility, she brings wide open inventiveness to every song she touches. CSUN Performing Arts Center (818) 677-5768.

- Nov. 8. (Sun.) Betty Bryant. The always-entertaining, veteran singer/pianist celebrates her 80th birthday with a CD release party and a jazz brunch. 11 a.m. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210

ClaudiaSan Francisco

- Nov. 3. (Tues.) Claudia Acuna. She has one of the jazz vocal world’s finest voices, but what really makes Acuna special is the rich, expressive way she uses her natural abilities. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.

- Nov. 5, 6, 7 & 8.  (Thurs, Fri. ,Sat. & Sun.)  The San Francisco Jazz Festival — SFJAZZ.   Thurs: Esperanza Spalding at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre.  Fri: Sara Tavares at the Herbst Theatre.  Sat: Milton Nascimento at Nob Hill Masonic Center.  Sun: Ornette Coleman at Davies Symphony Hall.   SFJAZZ. (415) 398-5655.

- Nov. 6 – 8. (Fri. – Sun.) Jean Luc-Ponty. Cutting edge violinist Ponty has taken his instrument into adventurous new areas of expression. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.

New York

- Nov. 3 – 8 (Tues. – Sun.) Lou Donaldson Quartet. Veteran alto saxophonist Donaldson doesn’t receive the credit he deserves as one of the best of the post-Charlie Parker altoists. Village Vanguard. (212) 255-4037.

- Nov. 3 – 9. (Tues. – Sun.) Django Reinhardt Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary with a stellar line-up of talent, all inspired by Reinhardt, the gypsy jazz master. Tchavalo & Samson Schmitt, Brian Torff, Andreas Oberg, Ludovic Beier, Aurore Voilqué, Ted Gottsegan. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.

- Nov. 6 – 8. (Fri. – Sun.) Vijay Iyer Trio. American born, from Indian parents, Iyer brings an extraordinary range of musical perspectives to his always compelling piano playing. Jazz Standard. (212) 447-7733.

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