Picks of the Week: Feb. 20 – 26

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Feb. 21. (Tues.)  Strunz & Farah.  Two guitars together don’t get any more exciting than the high speed musical magic of long-time partners Jorge Strunz and Ardeshir Farah.  After more than three decades together, they’re still in rare form.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

Lorraine Feather

- Feb. 22. (Wed.)  “An Evening With Duke Ellington.”  Ted Howe Trio.  Veteran pianist/arranger Howe offers new perspectives on the classic Ellington songbook.  His special guests — Lorraine Feather, Sweet Baby Jai and Mark Winkler — add some equally compelling vocal contributions. Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- Feb. 23. (Thurs.)  Judy Carmichael.  Count Basie called her “Stride,” and with good reason.  Carmichael’s fast fingers and energetic style are keeping alive one of the great jazz piano styles.  She’s backed in this rare L.A. club appearance by guitarist Larry Koonse and saxophonist Harry Allen.  Click HERE to read an iRoM Q & A conversation with Judy Carmichael.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester

- Feb. 23. (Thurs.)  Max Raabe and Palast OrchesterOne Cannot Kiss Alone.  The super elegant Max Raabe and the tuxedoed instrumentalists of the Palast Orchester have impressively revived the style, the music and the wit of the ‘20s and ‘30s.  This time out, they feature selections from their best-selling new album.  One Cannot Kiss Alone.  UCLA Live.    (310) 825-2101.

- Feb. 23 – 25. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Stanley Clarke Quartet.  Fresh off a Grammy win with Chick Corea and Lenny White for Forever, the ever-eclectic Clarke is back to leading his own stellar quartet.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- Feb. 23 – 25. (Thurs. – Sat.) The Pacific Symphony, conducted by Carl St. Clair, presents an attractive program of works, reaching from the classic to the contemporary.  Vadim Gluzman performs the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto; other pieces include Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings and a pair of new works by Michael Daugherty.  Segerstrom Center for the Arts.    (714) 556-2787.

- Feb. 24. (Fri.)  David Binney. Despite his dozen or so albums and appearances with the likes of Jim Hall, Maria Schneider and others, alto saxophonist Binney still hasn’t received the broad acknowledgement that his adventurous style deserves. He makes a rare Southland appearance. The Blue Whale.    (213) 620-0908.

Jill Schoelen

- Feb. 25. (Sat.)  “Late Night Love Songs.”  Jill Schoelen.  One of the “scream queen” film heroines of the ‘80s, Schoelen began moving into the jazz vocal area with the late bassist Dave Carpenter with appealing results.  She’s backed here by guitarist Larry Koonse and bassist Dave Robaire. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 25. (Sat.) Kurt Rosenwinkel Standards Trio. Guitarist Rosenwinkel’s versatility allows him to cruise comfortably across styles.  But he’s especially appealing when he’s applying his imaginative variations to the classic standards of American song.  He performs with Eric Revis, bass and Justin Faulkner, drums.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast.  The Musicians Institute.   (310) 271-9039.

- Feb. 25. (Sat.)  Monica Mancini and Arturo Sandoval. Expect musical and lyrical fireworks and drama. Mancini is a singer who knows how to tell a musical story.  And Sandoval, who will be leading his big band, is equally adept at producing musical pyrotechnics on trumpet, percussion and piano.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.   (562) 916-8501.

- Feb. 25. (Sat.)  BRAZILIAN : EXOTICA.  Brazilian Nites’ 12th annual celebration of  carnaval features an all-star Brazilian band with non-stop music and dance.  From 8 p.m. until 2 a.m. revelers will have the opportunity to celebrate the euphoric holiday in true Brazilian style.  Featured performers include SambaDá, Chalo Eduardo’s All Star Band, featuring vocals by Andrea Ferraz, a pageant of samba dancers, capoeira martial artists, and an inaugural parade by the Los Angeles Samba SchoolBrazilian Carnaval: Exotica.  Club Nokia/LA Live.  (818) 566-1111.

- Feb. 25. (Sat.)  The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Conductor Jeffrey Kahane is the musical tour guide in this Discover Concert performance of J.S. Bach’s Magnificat.  The L.A.C.O. is joined by the USC Thornton Chamber singers and soloists for this magnificent choral work.  A Q&A with Jeffrey Kahane follows the performance.  The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra at Ambassador Auditorium.  (213) 622-7001.  Ext. 1

- Feb. 26. (Sun.)  Russell Ferrante Duo.  A founding member of the Yellowjackets, keyboardist Ferrante was instrumental in the two nominations the dynamic band received this year.  Here’s a chance to hear him in the most intimate of musical settings, working with the solid rhythmic support and improvisation sensitivity of bassist Pat SenatoreVibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

San Francisco

Dave Holland

- Feb. 24. (Fri.)  Dave Holland Overtone Quartet.  To call bassist Holland’s Overtone Quintet an all-star ensemble still wouldn’t come close to acknowledging the high quality of this extraordinary collection of players: saxophonist Chris Potter, pianist Jason Moran and drummer Eric Harland.  Expect to hear state of the art, 21st century jazz at its very finest.  Palace of Fine Arts Theatre. An SFJAZZ concert.  (866) 920-5299.

- Feb. 24. (Fri.)  Hubert Laws.  The master of the jazz flute, a master who is fully capable of crossing over into pop, classical and beyond, Laws was justifiably honored with an NEA Jazz Masters award in 2011.   Yoshi’s San Francisco.    (415) 655-5600.

Chicago

Feb. 23 – 26. )Thurs. – Sun.)  Larry Coryell Trio. Guitarist Coryell has been crossing over from rock to blues to jazz and beyond since the ‘60s, having a powerful impact on the fusion of the post bop era.  And he’s still doing it, while offering his wisdom to a new generation of guitarists.  Jazz Showcase.    (312) 360-0234.

New York 

Cyrus Chestnut

- Feb. 21 – 26. (Tues. – Sun.)  Cyrus Chestnut Quartet.  Pianist Chestnut says he likes to “construct melodies that tell stories.”  It’s an admirable, and often too rare, trait for a jazz improviser.  And it’s amply present, whether he’s in the mood for straight ahead jazz, gospel or soul food.  Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.  (212) 258-9800.

Feb. 24 – 26.  (Fri. – Sun.)  Benny Green Trio.  There may be traces of Bud Powell and Oscar Peterson in Benny Green’s approach to the piano, but his irresistible sense of swing and far-ranging melodic imagination are all his own.  He performs here with Peter Washington (Feb. 24 & 26) or Ben Wolfe (Feb. 25), bass and Kenny Washington, drums.  Jazz Standard.   (212) 576-2232.

- Feb. 25. (Sat.)  Dave Liebman, Richie Beirach Duo.  A pair of indefatigable music explorers come together to scour the boundaries of contemporary improvisation.  The results will be both enlightening and entertaining.  Cornelia St. Café.   (212) 989-9319.

Boston

- Feb. 24. (Fri.)  POEMJAZZ.  With pianist Laurence Hobgood and poet Robert Pinsky. A fascinating creative meeting between Grammy-winning jazz pianist Hobgood and the poetic melodies and rhythms of Pinsky, the only three-term U.S. Poet Laureate.  Regatta Bar.    (617) 661-5000.

London

Courtney Pine

- Feb. 23 – 24. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Courtney Pine.  Europa. English multi-instrumentalist Pine, whose honors include an Order of the British Empire (OBE) and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (COBE), has been bringing a far ranging collection of ideas and sounds to English jazz for the past few decades.  This time out, he’ll feature the bass clarinet driven selections from his latest album, Europa. Ronnie Scott’s.    020 7439 0747.

Paris   

- Feb. 25. (Sat.)  The Cookers. The name is perfectly chosen for this sturdy collection of take-no-prisoners, hard swinging jazz veterans: Billy Harper, Eddie Henderson, George Cables, Cecil McBee, Victor Lewis, David Weiss, and Craig HandyNew Morning.     01 45 23 51 41.

Milan

- Feb. 23 (Thurs.)  Bennie Maupin Quintet.  The influential musical textures of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew, Big Fun, Jack Johnson and more wouldn’t have been the same without the dark, woody sound of Maupin’s bass clarinet.  But he’s a master of other wind instruments as well, always ready to explore new sounds and ideas.  Blue Note Milano.    02.69.01.68.88.

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