Picks of the Week: Nov. 9 – 14

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Nov. 9. (Tues.)  Roy Gaines and His Orchestra.  “Tuxedo Blues” Guitarist/blues singer Gaines’ resume includes stints with Ray Charles, Chuck Willis, Bobby “Blue” Bland and others.  The Living Blues “Comeback Artist of the Year,” he’s still in rare form.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Nov. 9 – 13.  (Tues. – Sat.) Jimmie Vaughan.  With a career dating back to the Fabulous Thunderbirds, veteran guitarist/singer Vaughan — the older brother of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan — continues to be an impressive practitioner of the Texas blues style.  He makes a series of stops in the Southland this week  supporting  Plays Blues, Ballads & Favorites, his first new album in nine years.  Tues: The Grammy Museum.  Thurs: Belly Up in Solana Beach.  Friday: the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills.  Saturday: Brixton in Redondo Beach.

Lila Downs

- Nov. 10. (Wed.)  Lila Downs and Buika.  A pair of vibrant Latin artists – Mexican-American Downs and Spanish-born Concha Buika explore music reaching from flamenco and morna to traditional Mexican folk in a contemporary setting.  Disney Hall (323) 850-2000.

- Nov. 10. (Wed.)  Carol Welsman.  Tall, blonde and beautiful, Welsman is also a singer/pianist with stunning jazz skills as a vocalist and an instrumentalist.  Hopefully her program will include a few selections from her scintillating Peggy Lee tribute album, I Like Men.   Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- Nov. 10. (Wed.)  Chuck Berghofer’s Midnight Jazz band.  One of the Southland’s most compelling jazz combinations returns to its original line up of Berghofer, bass, Gary Foster, alto saxophone, Joe LaBarbera, drums and Tom Ranier, piano.  Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

- Nov. 11. (Thurs.)  The Szymanowski Quartet.  The highly regarded quartet demonstrates its versatility with a program of Schubert, Beethoven and a work by its namesake, Polish composer Karol Szymanowski.  Samueli Theatre. Orange County Performing Arts Center.   (714) 556-2787.

Theresa Russell

- Nov. 12. (Fri.)  Mike Melvoin and Theresa Russell.  Veteran jazz pianist Melvoin teams up with singer/actress Russell in an adventurous tour through Great American songs.  Bassist Tony Dumas and drummer Ralph Penland energize the rhythm.   Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Nov. 12. (Fri.) The Littleton Brothers. The two veteran brothers – bassist Jeff and drummer Don – have played with an all-star array of leaders (from Herbie Hancock and Horace Silver to Billy Eckstine and Horace Tapscott).  Here they are, side by side, leading their own sterling group.  LACMA. (323) 857-6000.

- Nov. 12. (Fri.)  Hi-Fi: The Sounds of the 70s.  Featuring B.J. Thomas, Chuck Negron (Three Dog Night) and the 5th Dimension in a memorable evening of hits.  Expect to hear, among others, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Joy To The World” and “Up, Up and Away.”   Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. (562) 916-8500.

- Nov. 12. (Fri.) Brian Blade “Fellowship Band.” The superb drummer (guitarist and singer)  Blade is featured in a stellar ensemble of young players – Chris Thomas, Jon Cowherd, Myron Walden, Melvin Butler, Jeff Parker. A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast at Zipper Hall.   (310) 271-9039.  (Also at Yoshi’s Oakland on Wed. & Thurs.)

- Nov. 12. (Fri.)  Nnenna Freelon. Six-time Grammy nominee Freelon is one of the uniquely original voices in the growingly crowded field of female jazz singers.   The Broad Stage. (310) 434-3200.

- Nov. 12 – 14. (Fri. – Sun.)  The Los Angeles PhilharmonicSusanna Malkki conducts a stylistically diverse program reaching from Strauss’ Also Spach Zarathurstra (central to the score of 2001: A Space Odyssey) and the teen-aged Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 1, performed by violinist Martin ChalifourDisney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

Robert Cray

- Nov. 13. (Sat.)  An Evening with Robert Cray.  Five time Grammy winner Cray successfully blends traditional and contemporary blues, while crossing over easily into soul, r&b and pop.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.    (562) 916-8500.

- Nov. 13. (Sat.)  Christine Ebersole. Tony Award winner Ebersole is a convincing musical actress, as adept with a tender ballad as she is with a whimsical patter song. The Broad Stage. (310) 434-3200.

- Nov. 13. (Sat.)  Rita Moreno. Actress, singer and dancer Moreno is one of the few artists to have won a Grammy, an Emmy, an Oscar and a Tony.  She makes a rare, up close and personal club appearance. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Nov. 13. (Sat.)  The Assad Brothers.  The gifted, guitar-playing Brazilian brothers, Sergio and Odair Assad belong to a family of talented guitarists.  Their eclectic repertoire reaches from folk, traditional and jazz works to classical standards and transcriptions of the Baroque keyboard literature.  CSUN Performing Arts Center.   (818) 677-3000.

- Nov. 13. (Sat.)  60th Birthday Party. Dr. Bobby Rodriguez celebrates a landmark birthday in a high spirited musical encounter with Rickey Woodard. Backed by John Heard TrioCharlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

- Nov. 13. (Sat.)  Peter Sprague String Consort.  It’ll be 26 strings and three cymbals in action, as guitarist Sprague’s jazz trio blends sounds and rhythms with string quartet in a program reaching from jazz and classical to Brazilian samba.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

Helen Sung

- Nov. 14. (Sun.)  Helen Sung. Pianist Sung’s impressive versatility has served her well in a career that includes gigs with the likes of Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Clark Terry and others. Here’s a chance to hear her far-ranging musical skills in a piano trio setting. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.  http://www.vibratogrilljazz.com

- Nov. 14. (Sun.)  Kim Richmond Quartet +1.  Alto saxophonist/composer Richmond appears with his quartet, enhanced by the added presence of woodwind artist Alex Budman.  Also in the quartet: David Roitstein, piano, Kristin Korb, bass and vocals, Jamey Tate, drums.  The Lighthouse Café.   (310) 376-9833.

- Nov. 14. (Sun.)  “The Grand Romance Riverboat Jazz Cruise” It’s a new Southland way to hear first rate jazz — on a short entertaining cruise on a replica of a Mississippi Paddle Steamer.  And it takes place every Sunday, this week featuring the Rickey Woodard Quintet. With Bobby Rodriguez, trumpet, Llew Matthews, piano, Richard Simon, bass, Roy McCurdy, drums.  Departing from Rainbow Harbor, Long Beach.  1 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.   The Grand Romance Riverboat Jazz Cruise. (562) 628-1600.

San Francisco

- Nov. 10 & 11. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Brian Blade “Fellowship Band.” The superb drummer Blade is featured in a stellar ensemble of young players – Chris Thomas, Jon Cowherd, Myron Walden, Melvin Butler, Jeff Parker. Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.  (Also at a Jazz Bakery Movable Feast in Los Angeles on Friday.)

Hiromi

- Nov. 12 – 14.  (Fri. – Sun.)  Hiromi. Pianist Hiromi takes a break from her recent ensemble work with Stanley Clarke to perform as a soloist, showcasing selections from a soon to be released CD. Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

- Nov. 14. (Sun.) Vijay Iyer Trio.  Although his jazz skills are world class, Iyer also delves deeply into other musical genres and creative territories.  In 2009, he was voted – with good reason — #1 Rising Star Jazz Artist in Down Beat’s Critics Poll.  An SFJAZZ concert at the YBCA Forum.   (866) 920-5299.

- Nov. 14. (Sun.) Rosanne Cash. The gifted daughter of Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash’s superlative career has generated ten Grammy nominations and eleven #1 hit singles.  She’ll perform selections from her 2009 album, The List.   An SFJAZZ concert at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre.   (866) 920-5299.

New York

Jim Hall

- Nov. 9 – 13. (Tues. – Sat.)  Jim Hall Quartet.  Veteran guitarist Hall approaches his 80th birthday (in December) by displaying his still extraordinary chops with the musically challenging ensemble of Greg Osby, alto saxophone, Steve Laspina, bass and Joey Baron, drums.  Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

- Nov. 11 – 14. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Ottmar Leibert  “Evening of Solo Guitar.” One of the founders of the nouveau flamenco style, Leibert – who is also an ordained Zen Monk – plays an intimate evening of solo selections.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

- Nov. 11 – 14. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Cyrus Chestnut Trio.  Pianist Chestnut says he likes to “construct melodies that tell stories.”  And he’s done that with everything from jazz standards to spirituals and Elvis Presley tunes.  This time out, he’ll offer tunes from his recently released CD, Journeys.  Jazz Standard.  (212) 447-7733.

Freda Payne

Nov. 12 – 14. (Fri. – Sun.)  Freda Payne Sings Ella Fitzgerald.  Not only will the lovely Ms. Payne channel the songs of Ella (A-Tisket, A-Tasket, Mack the Knife, etc.).  She’ll also add a few Lena Horne specialties, as well.  And — of course — her own inimitable Band of GoldIridium.  (212) 582-2121.

South Carolina

- Nov. 11 – 13. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Earl Klugh’s Weekend of Jazz.  Golf, sun, ocean, jazz and a lot more.  A great way to spend a weekend — especially with a line up that includes Kyle Eastwood, Boney James, Jessy J, Earl Klugh, FourplayKiawah Island Golf Resort.  Kiawah Island, South Carolina.   (800) 576-1570.

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