By Don Heckman
-June 30. (Wed.) Sally Kellerman. Hot Lips is back. And, as convincing as she was in M*A*S*H, she’s even more so as a singer, crafting tunes simmering with traces of jazz, folk, soul and country. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
- June 30. (Wed.) Open Hands. One of the Southland’s authentic all-star jazz ensembles, featuring the invigorating bass work of Abraham Laboriel and the dynamically versatile tenor saxophone of Justo Almario, with Greg Mathieson, keyboards and Bill Maxwell, drums. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.
- June 30. (Wed.) Kevin Eubanks Group. He’s no longer on the air with Leno, but Eubanks is still one of the most listenable guitarists in jazz. And on this gig you won’t have to worry about being interrupted by a commercial break. Baked Potato. (818) 980-1615.
- June 30. (Wed.) Nancy Sanchez. She may have been a mariachi singer as a teen-ager, but Sanchez is now an intriguing, up and coming jazz vocalist who comfortably combines some pop and crossover elements in her coolly expressive vocalizing. Steamers. (714) 871-8800.
- July 1. (Thurs.) Linda Ciofalo. With an appealing voice and a perky rhythmic manner, Ciofalo is the right interpreter for the Johnny Mercer tunes on her brand new CD, Dancing With Johnny. She’s backed by pianist Otmaro Ruiz, bassist John Belzaguy and drummer Jimmy Branley. Crowne Plaza. (310) 642-7500.
- July 2. (Fri.) Charles Owens Quartet. The versatile Owens can play any saxophone, in almost any style, and do it with utter believability. But the best time to hear him is on a gig like this, when he’s up front, doing everything his own way. The Culver Club in the Raddison. (310) 649-1776 ext. 4137.
- July 2 – 4. (Fri. – Sun.) July 4th Fireworks Spectacular. Vince Gill, with twenty Grammy Awards and more than 22 million albums sold, is the perfect headliner for the annual pyrotechnical celebration. Expect to hear such country hits as “I Still Believe In You” and “One More Last Chance.” Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.
- July 3. (Sat.) Ira Nepus and Friends. Trombonist, Nepus, one of L.A.’s fine first-call players, steps into the spotlight with his own group. And the set will be even more highlighted by the engaging vocals of Bonnie Bowden. Willy’s BBQ and Grill. Agoura Hills. (818) 991-7227.
- June 29 & 30 (Tues. & /Wed,) Joyce (Joyce Moreno) The Brazilian singer/guitarist is keeping the bossa nova flame still burning, while adding her own more contemporary tunes to programs rich with the rhythms of Rio. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.
- July 4. (Sun.) Kiosk. There’s something appropriate about the presence of the highly praised Iranian rock band, Kiosk, at Yoshi’s on Independence Day. Prevented from performing in public in their native land (because of “inappropriate” lyrics), they re-formed outside Iran and now perform around the globe. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.
- June 29 – July 3. (Tues. – Sat.) Lew Tabackin & Toshiko Akiyoshi Quartet. The husband and wife team, innovative figures in the contemporary jazz world for decades, make a too-rare live appearance. They’re backed by bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Mark Taylor. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.
June 29 – July 4. (Tues. – Sun.) Fourplay. Grammy-nominated Fourplay – Bob James, Chuck Loeb, Nathan East and Harvey Mason – have successfully created an audience-pleasing crossover jazz style without sacrificing any of their substantial array of pure jazz skills. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.