Picks of the Week: Dec. 12 – 18

December 12, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Dec. 12. (Mon.)  Handel’s Messiah Singalong. It’s an annual delight for anyone who’s ever sung in a choir – and even those who haven’t – to share in the magic of Handel’s classic.   The L.A. Master Chorale leads the way.  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

Charmaine Clamor

- Dec. 13 (Tues.)  The 7th Annual Fil-Am Jazz & World Music Festival. Hosted by Charmaine Clamor. A decade ago, few jazz fans were aware that the Philippines were – and had been – producing world class jazz artists.  But all that changed with the start of the Fil-Am Jazz Festival and the arrival of Clamor, the Queen of the unique blend of jazz and traditional Filipino sounds called Jazzipino.  This year’s celebration, also hosted by the inimitable Bubba Jackson, features guitarist Vincent Reyes, vocalists Angela Vicente and VJ Rosales, pianist/harmonica player Noel Melanio, pianist Winston Raval and drummer/ukulele player Abe Lagrimas, JrCatalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Dec. 13 & 14. (Tues. & Wed.)  The Messiah. Handel not only composed The Messiah in little more than three weeks, he also orchestrated several different versions.  Here, it’s performed in historically authentic fashion by San Francisco’s period instrument-playing Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the Philharmonia ChoraleDisney Hall.    (323) 850-2000.

The Canadian Tenors

- Dec. 14. (Wed.)  The Canadian Tenors.  Moving easily from dramatic classical singing to dynamic pop, the four gifted Canadian Tenors are stirring performers in their own right, as well as a stunning musical ensemble.  Their Christmas recording, The Perfect Gift, hit the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s classical music chart.  The Cerritos Performing Arts Center.   (562) 916-8501

- Dec. 14 & 15. (Wed. & Thurs.)  The Moscow Classical Ballet.  “The Nutcracker Suite.”  In contrast to the Joffrey Ballet’s intriguing Nutcracker seen here in early December (click HERE to read the iRoM review), the Moscow company’s version closely follows the classic Russian version of the ballet.  The contrast should be fascinating. Valley Performing Arts Center.  (818) 677-3000.

- Dec. 15. (Thurs.) A Chanticleer Christmas. Described as an “orchestra of voices,” the 12 Grammy-nominated male singers of Chanticleer move freely and impressively from Renaissance madrigals to contemporary pop, jazz and gospel.  Disney Hall.     (323) 850-2000.

Marilyn Scott

- Dec. 15. (Thurs.)  Marilyn Scott.  She’s got a resume that reaches with ease across smooth jazz, pop, blues, soul and beyond.  But the inner reality of Scott’s singing has always flowed from an irresistible jazz heartbeat.  She performs with the stellar backing of Mitch Forman, piano, Brian Bromberg, bass and Joel Taylor, drums.  Vibrato Jazz Grill…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Dec. 15 – 17. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Stanley Jordan Trio.  Well known to jazz and guitar fans for his unique “tapping” method of playing his instrument, Jordan has used the technique to create an ever-fascinating jazz style. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Dec. 15 & Dec. 18. (Thurs. & Sun.) Inner Voices Christmas Holiday Show.  The annual holiday performances of Morgan Ames’ gifted vocal collective are always among the musical highlights of the season.  Thurs.: 8 p.m.  Sun.: 1 p.m.  Vitello’s.     (818) 769-0905.

- Dec. 16. (Fri.)  The Baked Potato All-Stars.  “All-Stars” is exactly the right title for this assemblage of some of the Southland’s jazz masters: Ernie Watts, saxophones, Russell Ferrante, keyboards, Brian Bromberg, bass, Alex Acuna, drums, Jeff Richman, guitar.  The Baked Potato.   (818) 980-1615.

Aaron Neville

- Dec. 17. (Sat.)  Aaron Neville.  Multi-Grammy award winner Neville has one of the most recognizable – and most appealing – vocal sounds in all of pop music.  This time out, he’ll apply that signature sound and style to a program of seasonal favorites.  Luckman Performing Arts Complex.   (323) 343-6600.

- Dec. 17 & 18. (Sat. & Sun.)  Manhattan Transfer.  They’ve won 12 Grammys and deserved every one – and maybe a few more.  Not only are they a convincing jazz vocal ensemble, they’re also superb individual artists who bring imagination, insight and rich subtlety to everything they do. Broad Stage.(310) 434-3200.

- Dec. 17 & 18. (Sat. & Sun.)  The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles.  The more than 200 members of the GMCLA have established it as an extraordinary musical organization, as well as an important service to the community.  This year’s holiday show is titled, with characteristic humor, Naughty and Nice, and features special guest, Melissa Manchester.  The Alex Theatre in Glendale.    (818) 243-2539.

- Dec. 18. (Sun.) The MessiahLos Angeles Master Chorale. One of the world’s finest vocal ensembles, the LAMC has played a vital role in the L.A. music scene since the mid-‘60s.  In a week in which The Messiah will be performed in many different fashions, the Chorale’s version is one not to be missed.  Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

Gerald Wilson

- Dec. 18. (Sun.)  The Gerald Wilson Orchestra.  At 93, the great arranger/composer/bandleader is still going strong, still matching his fine compositional skills with a capacity to bring a performance by his band to life via the sheer magnetism of his presence.  Don’t miss any chance to hear and see him in action.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

San Francisco

- Dec. 12 & 13. (Mon. & Tues.)  Women of Jazz Celebrate the Holidays.  It’s a double bill showcasing the wealth of distaff talent in the Bay area.  Mon. night features singer Roberta Donnay and her Jass Ensemble and  New Orleans-born vocal stylist Chelle! On Tues., harpist Destiny Muhammed’s Jazz Trio and pianist (and keyboardist with Stevie Wonder) Victoria Theodore are showcased.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.    (415) 655-5600.

- Dec. 14 & 15. (Wed. & Thurs.  Tuck and Patti: Season of Giving. The ultimate jazz duo, guitarist Tuck and singer Patti have been together for nearly three decades.  And their deeply intimate musical and personal relationship seems to improve and mature like fine wine. Yoshi’s San Francisco.    (415) 655-5600.

Seattle

Taj Mahal

- Dec. 13 – 18. (Tues. – Sun.)  Taj Mahal Trio.  Blues is at its best in the capable hands and the remarkable voice of Taj Mahal.  He celebrates his nearly five decade career with selections from his most recent album, Maestro.  Jazz Alley.    (206) 441-9729.

New York

- Dec. 13 – 18. (Tues. – Sun.)  “Samba, Jazz and the Bossa Nova Years.”  The musically layered connections between samba, jazz and bossa nova are displayed in their full glory by a band adept in all areas: drummer Duduka Da Fonseca, singer Maucha Adnet, guitarist Romero Lubambo, pianist Helio Alves, trumpeter Claudio Roditi and bassist Hans GlawischnigDizzy’s Club Coca Cola.    (212) 258-9800.

- Dec. 15. (Thurs.)  Spike Jones’ 100th Birthday Celebration. The wild and crazy musical capers of Spike Jones’ slapstick musical comedy are revived in a “Challah-Daze Spectacular” by the group Polygraph Lounge.   Joe’s Pub.    (212) 539-8778.

- Dec. 15 – 18. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Trumpeter Chris Botti — one of the most in-demand (with good reason) performers in the jazz world — begins his annual holiday residency at the Blue Note.  He’ll continue, performing two shows a night, until Jan. 1.  The Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

Berlin

- Dec. 15. (Thurs.) Paula Morelenbaum and the Renova Bossa Trio.  Morelenbaum’s subtle singing style has been carrying the torch for classic bossa nova for years.  Here she performs in the Renova Bossa Trio with pianist Ralf Schmid and trumpeter Joo KrausA-Trane Berlin.    030 / 313 25 50.

Milan

Diane Schuur

- Dec. 13 – 17. (Tues. – Sun.)  Diane Schuur. Always a versatile singer with the capacity to move convincingly across genres, Schuur – “Deedles” to friends and fans — has returned to emphasizing the abundant jazz skills in her musical portfolio.  The Blue Note Milano.   02 69 01 58 88.

Paris

- Dec. 13. (Tues.)  Pharaoh Sanders Quartet.  Seen by many as the successor to John Coltrne, tenor and soprano saxophonist Sanders has moved beyond the comparison into a deeply expressive improvisational style of his own.  New Morning Jazz Club  01 45 23 51 41.

Tokyo

- Dec. 17 & 18. (Sat. & Sun.)  Stefon Harris, David Sanchez and Christian Scott.  The world class trio of young jazz lions showcase music from their highly praised new recording, Ninety Miles.  The Blue Note Tokyo.   03 5485 0088.

Gerald Wilson photo by Tony Gieske


Picks of the Week: Aug. 15 – 21

August 16, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Herbie Hancock

- Aug. 17. (Wed.)  Joni’s Jazz. With Herbie Hancock, Chaka Khan, Kurt Elling,Wayne Shorter, Tom Scott, Cassandra Wilson, etc. Hancock’s fascination with Joni Mitchell’s music resulted in the 2008 Grammy winning Album of the Year, River.  Here he goes again, with a stellar line up to illuminate Mitchell’s compelling songs.  Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 17. (Wed.)  The Go-Go’s.  Thirty years after Beauty and the Beast, the Go Go’s return, proving in bright, living color that their ‘80s successes were more than just a passing California fancy.  The Greek Theatrets  (323) 665-5857.

- Aug. 18. (Thurs.) Jeff Colella/Pat Senatore/Kendall Kay Trio. Three veteran players — who spend most of their time as sidemen, making other leaders sound great – join together to display their impressive individual and collective skills. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Aug. 18. (Thurs.)  Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited.  He’s called the “Lion of Zimbabwe” with good reason.  Mapfumo’s remarkable voice and his hook-oriented songs transcend boundaries, resulting in a truly global musical expression.  The Skirball Center.  (31) 440-4500.

Barbara Morrison

- Aug. 18. (Thurs.)  Friends of Barbara.  Dana Bronson presents a benefit concert in support of the great jazz/blues vocalist Barbara Morrison, who is experiencing serious health problems.Call the club for the line-up of performers.   Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Aug. 18 & 19. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Death Cab For Cutie. They may have initially been best known for their cutting edge videos, but DCFC also provide that a good band can actually break through as an indy, even before being signed by a major label.  The Greek Theatre.    (323) 665-5857.

- Aug. 19. (Fri.)  Anthony Wilson Quintet.  Guitarist Wilson has worked a lot with Diana Krall.  But he’s even more impressive, with his own group, playing his own break-out compositions.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Wilson Phillips

- Aug. 19. (Fri.)  Wilson Phillips. They’ve been together only intermittently since they burst on the scene in 1990 with a parade of hit songs.  But now the offspring of Brian Wilson and John and Michelle Phillips are getting together again, displaying their impressive, inherited musical skills.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 916-8501.

- Aug. 20. (Sat.)  Rique Pantoja & Friends.  With friends like Abraham Laboriel, Ernie Watts, Alex Acuna and Mitchell Long on stage with him, Pantoja will no offer an evening of definitive Latin jazz with a distinctly Brazilian slant.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

San Francisco

- Aug. 16 & 17. (Tues. & Wed.)  Sophie Milman.  Russian-born, Canadian singer Milman made an impressive debut in 2004 with her first album.  Expect to hear some selections from her upcoming new release, In the Moonlight.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.     (415) 655-5600.

Seattle

- Aug. 18 – 21. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Spyro Gyra. Before there was smooth jazz, there was Spyro Gyra.  The band’s 25 albums, reaching back to the ‘70s, defined the blend of r&b, flunk and instrumental pop that has come to be known as the smooth jazz genre.  Jazz Alley.    (206) 441-9729.

New York

Steve Kuhn

- Aug. 16 – 20. (Tues. – Sat.)  The Masters Quartet: Steve Kuhn, Dave Liebman, Steve Swallow and Billy Drummond. One couldn’t find a more appropriate label for this quartet of extraordinary veteran players.  To make it even better, they’ve performed together often in the past in many musical settings, so expect musical magic.  Birdland.    (212) 581-3080.

- Aug. 16 – 21. (Tues. – Sun.) “Tribute To Ray Brown.”  Christian McBride and Dee Dee Bridgewater.  Bassist McBride and singer Bridgewater honor Brown’s extraordinary skills as a bassist and as an astute accompanist to some of the great jazz vocalists. The Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

- Aug. 16 – 21. (Tues. – Sun.)  “The Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Stan Getz.”  With Trio Da Paz, Joe Locke, Harry Allen and Maucha Adnet.  It’s an unusual assemblage – the Brazilian authenticity of Trio Da Paz and singer Maucha Adnet with the straight ahead jazz chops of Locke and Allen.  Should make for an intriguing musical evening.  Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.    (212) 258-9800.

London

- Aug. 16 – 20. (Tues. – Sat.)  The Wynton Marsalis Quintet. The chances to hear the Marsalis Quintet in a club setting are rare – in London and elsewhere.  Tickets may be hard to come by, but it’s worth doing whatever you can to experience Wynton in an intimate performance arena. Ronnie Scott’s.    020 7439 0747.

Herbie Hancock photo by Tony Gieske. 


Picks of the Week: April 5 – 10

April 4, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Junko Onishi

- April 5. (Tues.)  Junko Onishi Trio.  Japanese pianist Onishi confirms her return to jazz action last year after a performance break of nearly a decade.  She kicks off her American tour tonight with the backing of the sterling rhythm team of bassist Dwayne Burno and drummer Gregory Hutchinson.   Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323)466-2210  (Also at Yoshi’s Oakland on April 6.)

- April 5. (Tues.)  Ostad Abbos Kosimov.  Traditional Uzbek and Tajik Percussion Music and Dance. Percussionist Kosimov is one of the world’s masters of the doyra frame drum.  He is joined by the CalArts Persian and World Music ensembles, as well as members of his own Abbos Ensemble in an exploration of the music of Uzbekistan.  Tara Pandeya adds the sensual movements of Central Asian dance.  REDCAT (213) 237-2800.

- April 5. (Tues.)  Lorenzo Lamas.  You may remember him as Jane Wyman’s evil stepson in Falcon Crest. But Lamas (yes, from that family) is also an effective musical purveyor of the romantic side of cabaret.  Vibrato Grill Jazz… (310) 474-9400. 

Kenny Burrell

- April 6. (Wed.) Kenny Burrell Jazz Heritage All Stars.  For once, the label “All-Stars” has real significance.  Veteran guitarist/educator Burrell puts it all together with trumpter (and also educator) Bobby Rodriguez, saxophonist Justo Almario, drummer Clayton Cameron and more.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- April 6. (Wed.)  The Kronos Quartet. The creatively eclectic, Grammy winning string quartet celebrates composer Steve Reich’s 75th birthday with the performance of a newly commissioned work.   Segerstrom Center for the Arts.   (714) 556-2787.

Salif Keita

- April 6. (Wed.)  Salif Keita. The voice of Keita, with its soaring tones, penetrating sound and inspiring rhythms, is one of the great glories of African popular music.  The Conga Room.  (213) 745-0162.

- April 6. (Wed.) Blue Lou Marini.  Veteran New York saxophonist Marini makes one of his rare West Coast appearances, performing with trumpeter Walt Fowler, pianist John Campbell, bassist Chuck Berghofer, drummer Peter Erskine and special guests.  Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- April 7. (Thurs.)  Big Willie’s Burlesque.  Busy drummer Willie McNeil’s Quartet lays down some classic backbeat sounds to inspire the irresistible moves of dancer Carolina Cerisola.   They call it “old school burlesque with a cutting edge, Latin, new school vibe.”   The Edison Downtown.  (213) 613-0000.

- April 7. (Thurs.) V. R. Smith Sextet.  It’s a Smith Family Night.  With vocalist V.R. Smith backed by the band of her husband, bassist Putter Smith with Gary Foster alto saxophone, Chuck Manning, tenor saxophone, Jim Szilagyi, piano and Tim Pleasant, drums.  Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

- April 7 – 10. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Rachelle Ferrell.  Blessed with one of the most impressive voices in the jazz vocal world, Ferrell is also a uniquely appealing song stylist.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  .

Arlo Guthrie

- April 8. (Fri.)  Arlo Guthrie and Friends.  Folk music patriarch returns to UCLA, this time with his “Journey On” tour, featuring his son, Abe Guthrie and the folk-rock trio The Burns SistersUCLA Live.  Royce Hall. (310) 825-2101.

- April 9. (Sat.)  Jazz Fundraiser for Japan.  Vitello’s April Williams has assembled an impressive collection of the Southland’s finest jazz artists for a 12 hour fundraiser for Japan.  Among the participants: Alan Pasqua, Peter Erskine, Bob Mintzer, Darek Oles, Alex Acuna, the Wayne Bergeron Big Band, Denise Donatelli, Joe La Barbera, Larry Koonse, Tom Warrington, Bob Sheppard and many more.  11 a.m. to 11 p.m.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- April 9. (Sat.) Plas Johnson.  Although he’s been a vital member of the Southland jazz community for decades, Johnson is best known for his memorable solo work on “The Pink Panther” theme.  But he’s got a lot more than that to offer.  He’ll be playing with pianist Tom Ranier, bassist John Giannelli and drummer Fritz WiseGiannelli Square.  (818) 772-1722.

- April 9. (Sat. ) Wind Soloists of New York and Pedja Muzijevic. The superb wind instrumentalists of this much praised ensemble join with pianist Muzijevic to perform a dynamic program of works by Beethoven, Saint-Saens, Prokofiev and Poulenc.  And they’ll do so in the elegant Pompeian Room of the Doheny Mansion.  The Da Camera Society.  (213) 477-2929.

- April 10 (Sun.)  Greta Metassa.  Seattle-based singer Metassa is far less known than she should be.  In this rare Southland appearance, she’ll deliver her beautifully crafted vocals  in a plush, private mini concert hall in Beverly Hills.   Hopefully, she’ll include songs from her latest CD, I Wanna be Loved.” Backing her: the world class rhythm section of pianist Mike Garson, bassist Clipper Anderson and drummer Bob Leatherbarrow.  To book seats, click on Resonance Records.   Address will be given when the reservation is made.

San Francisco

- April 6. (Wed.)  Junko Onishi Trio.  Japanese pianist Onishi confirms her return to jazz action last year after a performance break of nearly a decade.  She’ll be backed by the sterling rhythm team of bassist Dwayne Burno and drummer Gregory HutchinsonYoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.

Madeleine Peyroux

- April 8. (Fri.)  Madeleine Peyroux.  Moving beyond the Billie Holiday musical frame that had narrowed her music for too long, Peyroux is now finding her own way, as unique musical persona and an intriguing songwriter.  SF Jazz Spring Season.  Palace of Fine Arts Theatre.   (415) 398-5655.

- April 9. (Sat.)  Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester.  The music of the twenties and thirties comes vividly back to life in the hands of Raabe and his extraordinarily versatile musicians.  Always as musically provocative as they are entertaining, they’re one of a kind. SFJAzz Spring Season.  Paramount Theatre, Oakland. .

- April 10. (Sun.)  The Asaad Brothers Da Volta as Raizes” Offspring of a famouns musical family, the two guitar duo of the Asaad brothers play everything from Bach transcriptions and gypsy jazz to Brazilian samba and the music of the Middle East.  SFJAZZ Spring Season. Palace of Fine Arts Theatre.  (415) 398-5655.

New York

Toshiko Akiyoshi

- April 4 (Mon.) Fund Raising Concert For Japan. The New York jazz community steps up to play a concert in support of the beleaguered people of Japan. Toshiko Akiyoshi; Cecil Bridgewater; Sam Burtis; Jerry Dodgion; Roy Hargrove; Tom Harrell; Barry Harris; Fred Hersch; Rene Manning; Earl McIntyre; Jimmy Owens; Rufus Reid; Marvin Stamm; Lew Tabackin; Kenny Werner and many othersThe Village Vanguard.  (212) 255-4037.

- April 5 – 10. (Tues. – Sun.)  Toots Thielemans with Kenny Werner and Oscar Castro-Neves.  As if that weren’t enough, Werner will also do a set each night with his Quintet featuring Lionel Loueke and Miguel ZenonThe Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.

- April 8. (Fri.)  Rudresh Mahanthappa’s “Gama.” With David Fiuczynski, guitar, Francois Moutin, bass and Dan Weiss, drums.  Altoist Mahanthappa and Fiuczynski have been working together lately in Jack DeJohnette’s band.  Here they dip into some of the fascinating improvisational territory between jazz and Indian music.  Cornelia St. Café.  (212) 989-9319.


Picks of the Week: Dec. 21 – 26

December 21, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Bob Mintzer

- Dec. 21. (Tues.)  Bob Mintzer Big Band.  Saxophonist Mintzer is also a masterful big band arranger and composer.  Expect fireworks from his assemblage of L.A.’s finest players.  Click HERE to read an earlier review of the Mintzer Big Band.   Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- Dec. 21. (Tues.)  The Manhattan Transfer “Christmas Show. The Transfer singers are a joy to hear, no matter the setting or the circumstances.  But when they’re doing holiday songs, it’s sheer musical magic.  Don’t miss this one.  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

- Dec. 21. (Tues.)  Jennifer York Quartet and Friends. Bassist and television personality York leads her solid contemporary jazz group in an evening of seasonal songs.  Special guest Jonathan Dane adds his soaring trumpet lines to the mix.  Baked Potato.  (818) 980-1615.

- Dec. 21. (Tues.) Chris Colangelo Quartet.  Bassist Colangelo’s group invests hard driving jazz improvisations with irresistible rhythmic swing.  Featuring Benn Clatworthy, tenor saxophone, Otmaro Ruiz, piano, Alex Acuna, drums.  Charlie O’s. (818) 994-3058.

- Dec. 22. (Wed.)  Tony Guerrero Quartet.  Trumpeter Guererro leads a stellar ensemble in an evening of holiday classics in a briskly swinging jazz setting.  With saxophonist Robert Kyle, drummer Matt Johnson and Dave Siebels on the B-3 organ.  Steamer’s. http://www.steamerscafe.com (714) 871-8800.

April Williams

- Dec. 23. (Thurs.) Eileen Ivers  ”An Noillag: An Irish Christmas”.  Ivers and her blue fiddle celebrate the holiday in true Irish fashion with a stageful of musicians, singers and dancers.  Disney Hall. (323) 850-2000.

- Dec. 23. (Thurs.)  “Holiday Hang” with the Williams – Williams & Berghofer Group.  Singer April Williams joins Don Williams, drums, Chuck Berghofer, bass, Larry Koonse, guitar, Bob Sheppard, saxophones and flute, and various guests in a laid-back, jam session evening of holiday jazz. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Dec. 24. (Fri.)  Christmas Eve at Vibrato is a non-stop banquet of solid jazz.  From 6:30 to 8:30, pianist/singer Gaea Schell leads her trio in an engaging blend of vocals and instrumentals.  At 9p.m., veteran saxophonist Don Menza takes the stage for a straight ahead jazz romp, backed by the Pat Senatore TrioVibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

San Francisco

- Dec. 22. (Wed.)  Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks. The unique Hicks musical gumbo of  jazz, pop, rock, blues and musical fun has been entertaining audiences for several decades.  To read a recent iRoM review of Hicks and the Licks, click HEREYoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

- Dec. 22 – 24. (Wed. – Fri.)  Pharoah Sanders.  Tenor saxophonist Sanders is viewed by many as an inheritor of the envelope-stretching John Coltrane style of the mid-‘60s.  But Sanders offers much more, as well, amplifying the style with his own adventurous musical ideas. Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

New York

- Dec. 21 – 25. (Tues. – Sat.) It’s “A Swinging Birdland Christmas” with the delightful voice of Hilary Cole, the stylings of  Jim Caruso, and the backing of pianist Billy Stritch and violinist Aaron Weinstein enlivening a program of traditional holiday songs.  Birdland. (212) 581-3080.  To read a recent iRoM review of a Hilary Cole performance click HERE.

- Dec.. 21 – 26. (Tues. – Sun.)  Chris Botti.  Hard working, musically imaginative, always entertaining trumpeter Botti continues his marathon, 21-straight day run at the Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

- Dec. 22 – 26. (Wed. – Sun.)  4 Generations of Miles.  A quartet of players, all of whom have been with Miles Davis in past decades, get together to celebrate their musical legacy.  Featuring Mike Stern, Sonny Fortune, Buster Williams, Jimmy CobbIridium.   (212) 582-2121.

- Dec. 23. (Thurs.) Matt Wilson’s Christmas Tree-O.  Drummer Wilson leads his trio in a performance of selections from their new Palmetto album of the same title.  Wilson is joined by Jeff Lederer, saxophones and Paul Sikivie, bass.  Cornelia Street Café (212) 989-9319

Bob Mintzer photo by Tony Gieske.


Picks of the Week: Feb. 8 – 14

February 8, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Jennifer York Quartet

- Feb. 9. (Tues.)  The Jennifer York Quartet.  Bassist and TV personality York leads a band that crosses smoothly from contemporary to mainstream jazz.  The evening will be further enlivened by the always impressive singing of special guest Chris BennettCatalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- Feb. 9.  (Tues.)  John Pisano Guitar NightBarry Zweig, who has played with everyone from Peggy Lee and Don Ellis to Buddy Rich and Natalie Cole,  partners with Pisano in this laid-back, entertaining format.  Vitello’s (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 10. (Wed.)  Masters of Persian Music Kamancheh (spike fiddle) player  Kayhan Kalhor and Hossein Alizadeh, a master of the lute-like tar and setar are joined by classical vocalist Hamid Reza Nourbakhsh in a program of Persian traditional and classical music.   Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.   Also Friday, Feb. 12  at the Irvine Barclay Theatre (see below).

Emil Richards

- Feb. 11. (Thurs.)  Emil Richards/Joe Porcaro Quartet.  Vibist/percussionist Richards has played on the soundtracks of nearly 2000 films and TV shows creating such memorable sounds as the the finger snaps on the Addams Family show, the bongos on the original Mission Impossible show and the xylophone on The Simpons.  Here he partners with Porcaro, a veteran of gigs with Gerry Mulligan, Frank Sinatra, Madonna and more.  Backing them, the similarly experienced pianist Mike Lang and bassist Abraham LaborielCharlie O’shttp://www.charlieos.com (919) 994-3058..

- Feb. 11. (Thurs.)  The Paul Kreibich Quartet with guest vocalist Tony GallaA Pre-Valentine’s Day Party.   Drummer Kreibich has been a rhythm section mainstay with Ray Charles, Carmen McRae, Mose Allison and more.  Galla’s lyrical singing harkens back to the days of the great Italian balladeers — a perfect voice for the romance of Valentine’s Day.   The Kreibich Quartet also includes saxophonist Roger Neumann, pianist Marty Harris and bassist Kirk Smith.  The Brasserie Jazz Lounge in the  Crowne Plaza LAX Hotel.  (310) 642-7500.

Ken Peplowski

- Feb. 11 – 14. ( Thurs. – Sun.)  “For the Love of Jazz” Newport Beach Jazz Party. The Southland’s first major jazz event of the year.  Highlights include the Sinatraland Orchestra, Ken Peplowski’s Big Band and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.  Saturday night Valentine’s Dance, Sunday Valentine’s Day Brunch with Bill Henderson and Byron Stripling. The Heath Brothers Quartet. The long list of participants includes Dave Frishberg, Ken Peplowski, Jackie Ryan, Houston Person, Lewis Nash, Rickey Woodard, Holly Hofmann, Bill Cunliffe, Ron Eschete, Tamir Hendelman and dozens of others.  Newport Beach Jazz Party.  (949) 759-5003.

- Feb. 11 – 14 (Thurs. – Sun.) & Feb 18 – 21 (Thurs. – Sun.)  Steve Tyrell.  Catalina’s has become a virtual second home for the American Songbook stylings of the mellow-voiced Tyrell. Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- Feb. 12. (Fri.)  Dave Pell & Med Flory Quintet.  Veteran saxophonists Pell and Flory revive the compelling sounds of an alto and tenor front line.  The Back Room at Henri’s.  (310) 348-5582.

- Feb. 12.  (Fri.)  Masters of Persian Music Kamancheh (spike fiddle) player  Kayhan Kalhor and Hossein Alizadeh, a master of the lute-like tar and setar are joined by classical vocalist Hamid Reza Nourbakhsh in a program of Persian traditional and classical music.  Irvine Barclay Theatre.  (949) 854-4646.

Denise Donatelli

- Feb. 12. (Fri.)  Denise Donatelli. Always a pleasure to hear, Donatelli is at her best when she’s in a superlative musical setting.  As she is here, with pianist Otmaro Ruiz, bassist Hamilton Price and drummer Aaron Serfaty. Spazio.   (818) 728-8400.

- Feb. 12 – 13.  (Fri & Sat.) Adam Rudolph and the Go: Organic Orchestra. Adventurous percussionist/composer Rudolph presents an evening of cutting edge music, performed by a remarkable, 26-piece enssemble of winds, percussion and strings.  Electric Lodge, Venice.   (310) 306-1854.

- Feb. 12 – 13. (Fri. & Sat.).  La Traviata.  Teatro Lirico D’Europa perform Verdi’s tragic opera of frustrated love and selfless sacrifice.  In Italian with English supertitles.  Cerritos Center.  (582) 916-8501.

- Feb. 12 – 13. (Fri. & Sat.)  Alex Acuna. The versatile drummer/percussionist celebrates the release of his “Jungle City” CD leading a Weather Report-styled trio (with keyboardist Jan Gunnar Hoff and bassist Per Mathisen).  Vitello’s (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 13. (Sat.)  Tessa Souter.  English jazz vocalist — by way of New York City — brings her engaging interpretation of standards and jazz classics to a Jazz Bakery Moveable Feast. She’s backed by Jason Ennis, guitar, Hamilton Price, bass, Kevin Kanner, drums.  To read an iRoM review of Souter’s last L.A. appearance, click here. Ivy Substation, Venice.  Jazz Bakery.   (310) 271-9039.

Katja Rieckermann

- Feb. 13. (Sat.)  Katja Rieckermann Quartet.  The German tenor saxophonist has been touring and recording with Rod Stewart for the past several years. Her resume also includes gigs with, among others, Al Green, Carole King, Reba McEntire, Tom Scott and Randy Newman. Vibrato Grill Jazz… etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 14. (Sun.)  Gershwin Sings GershwinAlexis Gershwin and the Harry James Tribute Band.  A chance to hear Gershwin songs performed by a singer in the direct lineage.  Alexis is the niece of George and Ira Gershwin.   Cerritos Center.   (582) 916-8501.

San Francisco

- Feb. 9. (Tues.) Maria Volonte.  The sweet-voiced singer/guitarist from Argentina begins with classic tango, expanding it into musical visions of her own.  The Rrazz Room.   (415) 394-1189.

- Feb. 12 – 14. (Fri. – Sun.)  Mavis Staples.  No one finds the heart of gospel in rhythm and blues as impressively as the still mesmerizing veteran of the Staples Singers.   Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

New York

Gerald Clayton

- Feb. 9 – 14. (Wed. – Sun.) The Gerald Clayton Trio.  Pianist Clayton, now in his mid-twenties, has been one of the most electrifying young jazz talents since he was still a teen-ager.  And he keeps gettng better.  He performs with Joe Sanders, bass and Justin Brown, drums.  Village Vanguard.  (212) 255-4037.

- Feb. 9 – 14. (Wed. – Sun.)  The David Sanborn Quartet featuring Joey DeFancesco. Call this pairing the perfect combination for finding the heart of the blues in contemporary jazz.   The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

- Feb. 10. (Thurs.)  Steve Kuhn and Ravi Coltrane Duo.  Veteran pianist Kuhn once created magic with John Coltrane.  Now he’s recalling the formula with the elder Coltrane’s gifted saxophone-playing son.   Jazz Standard.   (212) 576-2232.

Hilary Kole

- Feb. 10 – 14. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Hilary Kole.  Kole’s singing reaches well beyond the usual vocal interpretations of standard songs.  In her gifted hands, they are transformed into compelling new musical short stories.  To read an iRoM review of Kole’s recent L.A. appearance click here.   Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

- Feb. 11 – 14. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Rene Marie.  Marie has been an utterly unique jazz vocalist, insisting upon doing a song her own way, since she first arrived on the scene a decade ago.   Jazz Standard. (212) 576-2232.

Seattle

Feb. 11 – 14 (Thurs. – Sun.)  Mindi Abair.  Contemporary jazz saxophonist Abair has a track record reaching from the Backstreet Boys and Josh Groban to Lee Ritenour and Keb’ Mo’, producing a series of Top 10 hits on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz charts.  As if that wasn’t enough, she also plays the flute, sings and writes songs.  Jazz Alley.   (206) 441-9729.

Washington, D.C.

- Feb. 11 – 14. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Jerry “The Ice Man” Butler.  Butler, the original lead singer in the Impressions, now divides his time between his still-potent, still-cool singing, and his  political activities  as a Cook County [Illinois] Board Commissioner    Blues Alley.   (202) 337-4141.

Zanzibar

- Feb. 11 – 16.  (Thurs. – Tues.)  Sauti Za Busara Zanzibar.   An international festival celebrating East African music.  The long list of artists includes performers from South Africa, Senegal, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Egypt, Suriname, Uganda, Zanzibar and beyond.  Admission is free to all East African residents before 5 p.m. Tel: 255 24 223 2423.  Sauti Za Busara Zanzibar.


Picks of the Week: Dec. 7 – 13

December 8, 2009

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Dec. 8. (Tues.)  Dominick Farinacci.  Trumpeter Farinacci’s debut U.S. CD, Lovers, Tales and Dances, announced the arrival of an impressive new young jazz artist.  He makes one of his rare Southland appearances for one night only.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.    (310) 474-9400.

- Dec. 8. (Tues.) Charles Lloyd, Joshua Redman, Exene Cervenka, Michael McClure, Kurt Elling, others.  A compelling line-up of artists have been gathered together for one of the most intriguing evenings in the Philharmonic’s  West Coast, Left Coast series: A Night of the Beats. Disney Hall.

- Dec. 9. (Wed.)  The Irish Tenors. Holiday Show.  What better way to celebrate the holiday season than with the soaring voices of the three Irish tenors singing holiday songs.    The Cerritos Center.   (562) 916-8501.

Bebel Gilberto

- Dsec. 9. (Wed.)  Bebel Gilberto with DJ Lara Gerin.  The daughter of  Joao Gilberto — who virtually invented the sound and the rhythm of bossa nova — and singer Miucha,  Bebel Gilberto has carved out an impressive career in her own right, bringing her contemporary, Brazilian-tinted  vision to international pop music.   Music Box @ the Fonda. (323) 464-0808.

- Dec. 9. (Wed.)  Flexible Reality.  The instrumentation alone makes this a fascinating musical ensemble.  The players — Richard Todd, French Horn, Charlie Bisharat,  violin, Frank Marocco, accordion, Michael Valerio and Abraham Laboriel, basses and Alex Acuna, drums – make it even better.  Red Carpet Jazz Serries.  Upstairs at Vitellos. (818) 769-0905.

- Dec. 9 – 13. (Wed. – Sun.)  Roy Hargrove Quintet.  Versatile trumpter Hargrove, who’s been leading a big band lately, shows up this time with his briskly swinging quintet.   Catalina’s. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- Dec. 10. (Thurs.)  Alan Pasqua, Peter Erskine, Darek Oles, Bob Mintzer.  The Pasqua/Erskine trio with the late Dave Carpenter was one of the Southland’s finest jazz ensembles.  With the excellent bassist Oles now in the group, the tradition of world class jazz continues, this time with the sturdy tenor saxophone of Bob Mintzer.  Red Carpet Jazz Series Upstairs at Vitellos. (818) 769-0905.

- Dec. 11. (Fri.)  Scotty Barnhart.  Trumpeter /educator Barnhart, a veteran of the Count Basie band, takes a break from his academic chores to jam with  with John Heard, bass, Roy McCurdy, drums, Andy Langham, piano.  Charlie O’s(818) 989-3110.

Molly Ringwald

Dec. 11. (Fri.)  Molly Ringwald and Plus 4. Yes, it’s the same Molly Ringwald who you remember from Pretty in Pink and Secret Life of the American Teenager.  And, yes, she can sing, too, having started from an early age with her jazz pianist father, Bob Ringwald.  Spazio.  (818) 728-8400

- Dec. 11 & 12. (Sat. & Sun.)  C.A.B. World class fusion from the guys who do it best, with Frank Gambale, guitar, Otmaro Ruiz, keyboards, Bunny Brunel, bass, Tom Brechtlein, drums.  The Baked Potato. (818) 980-1615.

- Dec. 12. (Sat.)  Bruce Forman Quartet.  Guitarist Forman brings strikingly new perspectives to the contemporary art of jazz guitar.  He plays with  Joe Bagg, organ, Pat Senatore, bass, drums tbd.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Dec. 12. (Sat.)  Jazz Compass.  Holiday Concert & Jazz Party from a collective of L.A.’s A-list players.  Featuring Larry Koonse, Clay Jenkins, Tom Warrington, Joe La Barbera, Bill CunliffeUpstairs at Vitellos.  (818) 769-0905.

- Dec. 12. (Sat.)  Los Angeles Master ChoraleMessiah Sing-along.   The annual must-do event for everyone who ever sang in a choir: the chance to join voices sith the extraordinary artists of the Master Chorale.  2 p.m.  Disney Hall. http://www.laphil.com

- Dec. 12 & 13. (Sat. & Sun.)  “Colors of Christmas” One of the annual holiday season’s most pleasant musical interludes, with Peabo Bryson, Sheena Easton, Jennifer Holiday and Maxi Priest.  The Cerritos Center.  (562) 916-8501.

Bill Holman

- Dec. 13. (Sun.) Marathon Jazz Party.  It’s an event to benefit the relocation of the L.A. Jazz Institute.  Three rooms of continuous music, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., with dozens of musicians — including the big bands of Bill Holman, Steve  Huffsteter, Med Flory, Kim Richmond and others — as well as raffles, auctions, door prizes, CD sales, etc.    Los Angeles Jazz Institute. LAX Marriott. (562) 985.7065.

- Dec. 13. (Sun.)  Holiday Jazz Vespers ServiceEric Kertes and Friends, with Aaron Hernandez’s hip hop commentary on today’s world.  Free will offering.  Bring a can, box or bag of food for donation to Food Pantry LAX to help those in need.  Welcoming people of all faiths, and those with no faith.  Episcopal Church of the Holy Nativity. (310) 670.4777

San Francisco

- Dec. 8 & 9. (Tues. & Wed.)  Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks.  With special guest Bob Dorough.  “Holidaze in Hicksville”  Featuring Hicks’ holiday classics “My Main Man Santa,” “A Yule That’s Cool” and “Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Christmas Card.”  As well as Dorough’s “Blue Xmas” (written with Miles Davis.  (510) 238-9200.

- Dec. 10 – 13. (Thurs. – Sun.) Guitarist Mike Stern fronts a band of world class players, as adept with tradition as they are with fusion: trumpeter Randy Brecker, drummer Dave Weckl and bassist Tom KennedyYoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.

Ahmad Jamal

- Dec. 10 – 13. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Ahmad Jamal.  A unique jazz artist, pianist Jamal influenced Miles Davis’ view of phrasing, established himself as an iconic figure, and is still out there doing his thing.  Don’t miss the chance to hear and see him in action.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

Chicago

-Dec. 10 (Thurs.)  The Chicago Jazz Ensemble and Jon Faddis continue the 11th annual American Jazz Heritage Series with a program honoring the music of John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman and Miles Davis.  Special guests David Sanchez and Steve Wilson.  The Harris Theatre.  The Chicago Jazz Ensemble.  (312) 369-6270.

New York

- Dec. 8 – 12. (Tues. – Sat.)  Lee Konitz, Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, Brad Mehldau. Several generations of great jazz improvisers in an adventurous search for common musical ground.  Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

- Dec. 8 – 13. (Tues. – Sun.)  Eddie Palmieri y La Perfecta.  A 73rd birthday celebration for the master keyboardist of Latin Jazz,  leading his irrepressible La Perfecta.  The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.

- Dec. 8 – 13. (Tues. – Sun.)  Dave Douglas Quintet.  Trumpeter and musical explorer Douglas works with ensemble equally capable of journeying into new territory.  With Uri Caine, piano, Donny McCaslin, sax, James Genus, bass, Clarence Penn, drums.  Village Vanguard.   (212) 255-4037.

Dec. 10 – 12.  (Thurs. – Sat.)  Red Hot Holiday Stomp.  A New Orleans perspective on some classic holiday favorites.  With Wycliffe Gordon, Victor Goines, Don Vappie, Herlin RileyRose Theatre at Jazz at Lincoln Center.  (212) 258-9800.

Kim Burrell

- Dec. 10 – 13. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Tango Meets Jazz Festival.  The marriage of a pair of musical genres with a surprising number of common elements.  With pianist Pablo Ziegler and saxophonists Miguel Zenon (12/10 and 12/11) and  David Sanchez ((12/12 and 12/13).  The Jazz Standard. (212) 447-7733.

Dec. 11 – 12.  (Fri. & Sat.)  Kim Burrell, The divine diva of gospel brings the spirit of Christmas alive with her soulful, spiritual stylings.  The Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center. (212) 258-9800.


Picks of the Week: Aug. 18 – 23

August 18, 2009

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Aug. 18. (Tues.) John Altman Quartet. The English saxophonist/composer has a line of credits reaching from Monty Python to bebop (with all stops in between). And with pianist Mike Lang, bassist Harvey Newmark and drummer jennifer LeighamFrank De Vito on hand, he has the backing to support his every musical move. Charlie O’s (818) 994-3058.

- Aug. 20. (Thurs.) Jennifer Leitham. The Southland’s prima singing, left-handed bassist makes her last appearance as an Angeleno before moving to the New York City area. The presence of her regular sidekicks Josh Nelson, piano, and Randy Drake, drums, should make for a poignantly swinging evening. Cafe 322. (626) 836-5414.

- Aug. 20. (Thurs.) Flexible Reality. It would be hard to beat this instrumentation for an evening of intriguing sounds, with Richard Todd on French horn, Charlie Bisharat on violin, Frank Marocco on accordion, Michael Valerio and Abraham Laboriel on bass and Alex Acuna on drums. But beyond that, each of these guys is a first rate player, so this is one not to miss. Give April Williams credit for bringing increasingly fine programming to this Studio City venue. Vitello’s Upstairs (818) 769-0905.

- Aug. 21. (Fri.) Mel Martin Band with Don Friedman. Here’s one of the most interesting pairings of the summer — versatile woodwind/saxophone artist Martin and the versatile, veteran pianist Friedman in what promises to be a fascinating musical encounter. Bassist John Heard and drummer Lorca Hart provide solid support. The Culver Club in the Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Westside. (310) 649-1776.

Diana Krall

- Aug. 21 – 22. (Fri. & Sat.) Diana Krall and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Krall sings and plays selections from her “Quiet Nights” collection of bossa nova tunes with the L.A. Phil. under the very able direction of Alan Broadbent. In the opening half of the program, the Philharmonic, directed by Benjamin Wallfisch performs selections by Mexican composer Arturo Marquez. The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 22. (Sat.) Carmen Lundy. The gifted and still far too unrecognized singer appears with the dynamic backing of pianist Billy Childs, bassist Ryan Cross and drummer Lorca Hart. Expect musical magic. The Culver Club for Jazz. The Culver Club in the Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Westside. (310) 649-1776.

- Aug. 23. (Sun.) Smooth Summer Jazz. It used to be called the JVC Festival, but this new label provides a more accurate description of melodiously rhythmic music on the program. Featured acts are Dave Koz, Brian Culbertson, Peabo Bryson, George Duke, Tower of Power and Doc Powell. The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

Country Joe Aug. 23. (Sun.) Woodstock Tribute. It’s a weekend after the 40th anniversary of the legendary concert in the fields, but this tribute performance will be no less memorable, given the line-up. True, most of the bands are not exactly what they were in 1969, but there’s no denying the nostalgia that will be in the air when the familiar melodies begin to roll from Jefferson Starship, 10 Years After, Canned Heat and Big Brother and the Holding Company, with the inimitable Country Joe McDonald as the host. The Greek Theatre.

- Aug. 23. (Sun.) Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Band. Drummer Gibbs and his six piece band (playing 40 different instruments) bring rhythmic drive and improvisational enthusiasm to a performance of all the original music from their latest CD on RKM Records, “Moving On.” Spazio. (818) 728-8400.

San Francisco

- Aug. 20 – 22. (Thurs. – Sat.) Brass, Bows and Beats. A Hip Hop Symphony by Adam Theis and the Jazz Mafia Symphony. The first performance by Theis’ 40 piece ensemble at the Palace of Fine Arts was an s.r.o. event. And the work, with its extraordinary compatible assemblage of seemingly disparate musical genres, clearly deserves more performances. Here’s an opportunity to hear it live and up close. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.

- Aug. 21 – 23. (Fri. – Sun.) Chuck Mangione. The flugelhorn-playing Mangione has been defining melodic jazz for decades, and he shows no signs of slowing down. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200. .

New York

- Aug. 18 – 23. (Tues. – Sun.) Kevin Eubanks. Here’skevin_eubanks a chance to hear Eubanks’ fine guitar live and in person, playing full tunes rather than interstitial segments on a late night television talk show. He’s aided by Marvin “Smitty” Smith, drums, Rene Camacho, bass, Bill Pierce, saxophone, ad Gerry Etkins, keyboards. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592. .

- Aug. 19 – 22. (Wed. – Sat.) Richie Beirach Quintet. A veteran of gigs with Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Dave Liebman and others, pianist Beirach leads a stellar group of players: Tim Hagans, trumpet (8/19 only), Randy Brecker, trumpet (8/20-22), George Mraz, bass, Billy Hart, drums, Gregor Huebner, violin. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.

- Aug. 20 – 23. (Thurs. – Sun.) Joanne Brackeen Quartet with special guest Eddie Gomez. The irresistibly swinging music of pianist Brackeen has been praised — justifiably — by everyone from Bill Evans to Tony Bennett. In addition to Gomez, her first rate band includes Ravi Coltrane, tenor saxophone, Adam Cruz (8/21 only) and E.J. Strickland, drums (8/20, 8/22 & 8/23). The Jazz Standard. (212) 576-2252.


Picks of the Week: March 9 – 15

March 9, 2009

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Mar. 9. (Mon.)  Bill Holman Big Band.  Holman is arguably one of the great, innovative arranger’composers of his – or of any – generation.  With big band nights becoming difficult to maintain in the current economy, here’s a rare opportunity to hear Holman’s amazing charts up close and personal. Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058.  www.charlieos.com

- Mar. 11. (Wed.)  Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette.  Twenty-five years together, and this trio of jazz veterans continues to find new wonders in the piano trio format.  UCLA Royce Hall. (310) 825-2101. www.uclalive.org.  Also Saturday, Mar. 14 at U.C. Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall.

509DENISE

Denise Donatelli

- Mar. 12 (Thurs.)  Denise Donatelli.  A dark, enchanting voice, an intuitive ability to tell a musical story, and ineffable rhythmic drive.  All the qualities one looks for in a fine jazz vocalist.  Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058.  www.charlieos.com

- Mar. 12 – 15. (Thurs.- Sun.)  David Sanchez. Puerto Rican-born tenor saxophonist Sanchez is arguably one of his instrument’s top creative players.  Jazz Bakery. Jazz Bakery  (310) 271-9039.  www.jazzbakery.com.

- Mar. 13 – 14. (Fri. & Sat.)  Nnenna Freelon.  The six-time Grammy nominated Freelon sings with what the L.A. Times has described as “exquisite musicality and an unerring sense of swing.”  Pepperdine Center for the Arts, Smothers Theatre. (310) 506-4522  http://arts.pepperdine.edu.  .

- Mar. 13 – 14.  (Fri. & Sat.)  Patrice Rushen & Ndugu Chancler. Versatile pianist Rushen and drummer-for-all-seasons Chancler partner with tenor saxophonist Justo Almario and bassist Tony Dumas in an evening of jazz classics.  Spazio. (818) 728-8400.  www.spazio.la/jazz.php

sfjazz-collective

SFJAZZ Collective

- Mar. 13 – 15. (Fri. – Sun.)  SFJAZZ CollectiveJoe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Stefon Harris, Miguel Zenon, Robin Eubanks, Renee Rosnes, Mat Penman, Eric Harland.  An impressive collection of all-stars – including alto saxophonist and MacArthur genius award winner Zenon – provide the best possible representation for the San Farnicsco Jazz Festival’s far-ranging programming.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  www.catalinajazzclub.com.

- Mar. 14. (Sat.)  Dave Mackay, Peter Erskine, John Giannelli.  Pianist Mackay’s resume reaches from Sonny Stitt and Bobby Hackett to Don Ellis and Chet Baker.  Working with bassist Giannelli and drummer Erskine opens the possibility for hard swinging post bop, tempered by lyrical balladry.  Giannelli Square.  (818) 772-1722.  www.giannellisquare.com..

mike-melvoin

Mike Melvoin

- Mar. 15. (Sun.)  Mike Melvoin Trio. In a week rich with piano trio gigs, don’t overlook Melvoin, working with bassist Tony Dumas and drummer Ralph Penland.  Melvoin’s skills, reaching from jazz and pop through classical music, are extraordinary.  But his most unique gift is an ability to bring creative authenticity to everything he plays.  Spazio. (818) 728-8400.  www.spazio.la/jazz.php

- Mar. 15 & 16. (Sun. & Mon.)  Rhiannon, Otmaro Ruiz, Abraham Laboriel, Alex Acuna.  Live Recording.  Bay area vocal artist is – like Bobby McFerrin – an ever-curious adventurer in every area of vocal expression.  Her appearances in L.A. are far too rare, making this two-night session of live recording a not-to-be-missed musical event.  L.A. Sound Gallery, Burbank. (310) 317-4292.  jazz@thevicforjazz.com.

San Francisco

- Mar. 10 & 11. (Tues. & Wed.)  David Sanchez.  Yoshi’s Oakland. Yoshi’s Oakland. . (510) 238-9200.  www.yoshis.com.  Also at the Jazz Bakery, Mar. 12 – 15. (See above)

john-zorn

John Zorn

- Mar. 10 – 15. (Tues. – Sun.)  John Zorn.  Saxophonist, composer and MacArthur fellow Zorn conducts a five night residency at Yoshi’s San Francisco.  Each night features different ensembles performing Zorn’s works.  Among the participants – the Masada String Trio, guitarist Marc Ribot, cellist Erik Friedlander, percussionist Cyro Baptista, drummer Joey Baron and others.  And there’s a Special Offer, too:  Buy tickets for any John Zorn show using the password: zorn and receive a gift certificat of equal value good for tickets at either Yoshi’s.   Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.  www.yoshis.com

Mar. 14 (Sat.)  Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette.  U.C. Berkley Zellerbach Hall.    (510) 642-9988.  http://www.calperfs.berkeley.edu.

New York City

- Mar. 10 & 11. (Tues. & Wed.)  Denny Zeitlin Trio with Buster Williams, bass and Matt Wilson, drums.  Zeitlin’s career as a psychiatrist hasn’t minimized his five decades as a consistently envelope-stretching pianist, still seeking and finding new areas of expression within the piano trio format. Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola. (212) 258-9595. (www.jalc.org/dccc

- Mar. 11 – 14. (Wed. – Sat.).  Steve Kuhn, Eddie Gomez and Al Foster.  There’s not much in the world of jazz that hasn’t been seen, experienced or played by this trio of veteran jazz artists.  Kuhn’s piano playing has evolved over the years from youthful hard bop through avant-garde jazz, while always maintaining his own voice – a voice that has matured into strikingly imaginative musical mastery.  Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.  www.birdlandjazz.com.

phil-woodsjpg

Phil Woods

-  Mar. 12 – 15. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Phil Woods Quintet. Classic bebop still lives in the effervescent playing of alto saxophonist Woods.  He performs with the stellar companionship of Brian Lynch, trumpet; Bill Mays, piano; Steve Gilmore, bass; Bill Goodwin, drums. Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola  www.jalc.org/dccc

- Mar. 12 – 15. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Odean Pope Saxophone Choir featuring James Carter.  Pope’s nine saxophone choir produces one of contemporary jazz’s most extraordinary sounds.  Add saxophone master Carter to the mix and the multi-reed banquet becomes even more delectable.  Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592. http://www.bluenote.net/newyork/index.shtml.


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