Picks of the Week: August 4 – 10 in Los Angeles, Seattle, Chicago, New York City, London, Berlin, Stockholm, Moscow and Tokyo

August 4, 2014

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Aug. 5. (Tues.) John Pisano’s Guitar Night. The official release party for Pat Kelley‘s new CD, Overtones 4 Two Guitars. With Pisano, Kelley, Kendall Kay, drums, and John Belzaguy, bass. Viva Cantina. (818) 845-2425.

- Aug. 5 & 6. (Tues. & Wed.) The Gypsy Allstars. If you like the Gipsy Kings, you’ll be equally impressed by the Gypsy All-Stars who play a similar repertoire, energized by Gipsy Kings alumni Ced Leonardi and Mario Reyes. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock

- Aug. 6. (Wed.) Herbie Hancock and Gregory Porter. A classic jazz night at the Bowl. On the bill: orchestral renderings (arranged by Vince Mendoza) of selections from the Hancock songbook; and a program of song by jazz vocal star, Porter. The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 7. (Thurs.) The Haden Triplets. Charlie Haden’s talented three daughters carry on the Haden tradition of family music making Skirball Cultural Center.  (310) 440-4500.

- Aug. 7. (Thurs.) Michael McDonald and Toto. McDonald and Toto have been getting together to make music for years, dating back to the 1986 album, Farenheit.  Expect musical excitement from this compelling musical reunion.  The Greek Theatre. (323) 665-5857

 

Judy Wexler

Judy Wexler

- Aug. 7. (Thurs.) Judy Wexler. The versatile musical story-teller with a briskly swinging style performs with the sterling backing of Jeff Colella, piano, Kenny Wild, bass and Devin Kelly, Drums. The Merc at 42051 Main St. in Temecula. (866) 653-8696.

- Aug. 8. (Fri.) Kamasi Washington and the Next Step. Saxophonist Washington is rapidly establishing himself as one of the Southland’s must-hear jazz artists. Jazz at LACMA. (323) 857-6000.

- Aug. 8 & 9. (Fri. & Sat.) Gladys Knight and Kool and the Gang. Grammy-winning soul queen Knight is joined by funksters Kool and the Gang for an evening of rhythmic and vocal delights. The Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 8 & 9. (Fri. & Sat.) Jay Leonhart and Josh Nelson. Bassist Leonhart is often called “the wittiest man in jazz” for his whimsical narratives, but he’s also a world class player as well. Writing in the L.A. Times, Don Heckman described Leonhart as “the Fred Astaire of jazz.” The pairing of Leonhart with the gifted young pianist Josh Nelson should produce some irresistibly intriguing musical results. On Friday at Vitello’s;  on Saturday at Cornerstone Music Conservatory on West Pico Blvd.

Stanley Jordan

Stanley Jordan

- Aug. 8 – 10. (Fri. – Sun.) Stanley Jordan Trio. There’s no one quite like Jordan, who plays guitar with a tapping technique that allows him to create textures, sounds and harmonic clusters rarely heard on the instrument. Add to that his inventive gifts as a jazz improviser. Don’t miss this chance to hear this remarkable artist in action. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Aug. 9. (Sat.) The Susie Hansen Latin Jazz Band. Violinist Susie Hansen may be a blonde mid-Westerner, but she’s been leading authentically exciting Latin jazz bands for more than two decades. since the early ’90s. As Don Heckman noted in the L.A. Times, “Susie creates a brand of music that is as physically moving as it is intellectually stimulating.” Knott’s Berry Farm. 8039 Beach Blvd., Buena Park.  (714) 220-5200.

- Aug. 9. (Sat.) The Tom Peterson Quartet. Saxophonist and woodwind artist Peterson is a first call player, with good reasons. Here’s a chance to hear him in the spotlight with a stellar rhythm section. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

Seattle

Fourplay

- Aug. 7 – 10. (Thurs. – Sun.) Fourplay. Bob James, Chuck Loeb, Nathan East, Harvey Mason. They’ve got a reputation for funk and contemporary styles, but this veteran band of superb, veteran jazz artists bring everything they have to whatever genre-of-the-moment they’re playing. Jazz Alley.  (206) 441-9729.

Chicago

- August 7. (Thurs.) Charles McPherson. Well-known for his long run with the Charles Mingus band of the ’60s, alto saxophonist/flutist McPherson is also a convincing practitioner of classic bebop. Jazz Showcase.  (312) 360-0234.

New York City

- Aug. 5 – 10. (Tues. – Sun.)Django Reinhardt NY Festival “15th Anniversary Celebration.” It’s one of the great annual jazz celebrations, recalling the glories of the great Django Reinhardt with some of his finest musical descendants. Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

London

Michel_Legrand

Michel_Legrand

- Aug. 8 & 9. (Fri. & Sat.) Michel Legrand Trio. Pianist/composer/songwriter does it all – writing songs (often with the Bergmans), scoring films, performing with his jazz trio – and he does it with stunning brilliance. He isn’t heard often in clubs, so don’t overlook this rare opportunity to hear him. Ronnie Scott’s  +44 (0)20 7439 0747.

Berlin

- Aug. 6 & 7. (Wed. & Thurs.) Roy Hargrove Quintet. Trumpeter Hargrove and his band were in Paris last week. Keeping his numerous European fans happy, Hargrove appears this week in Berlin. A-Trane Jazz. +49 30 3132550.

Stockholm

- Aug. 9. (Sat.) Sonny Fortune Quintet. “In the Spirit of Miles.” Alto saxophonist/woodwind player Fortune, a veteran of Miles Davis’ group of the mid-’70s – brings striking authenticity to his Davis musical celebration. Fasching Jazz Nightclub.  08-20 00 66.

Moscow

- Aug. 5. (Tues.) Alexander Vinitsky. Russian guitarist Vinitsky may not be well-known (yet) in the U.S., but he’s a gifted player who deserves wider international exposure. Igor Butman Jazz Club.  (+7 495) 792-21-09.

Tokyo

- Aug. 9 & 10. (Sat. & Sun.) Akiko Yano Trio. Eclectic artist Yano moves comfortably from piano playing to composition to singing and songwriting. This time out, she’s in a trio setting with bassist Will Lee and drummer Chris Parker. Blue Note Tokyo.  +81 3-5485-0088.


Picks of the Week: Aug. 7 – 12

August 7, 2012

By Don Heckman

 Los Angeles

- Aug. 7. (Tues.) Yo Yo Ma and Gustavo Dudamel.  Two of the most charismatic figures in today’s classical music world join with the Los Angeles Philharmonic to perform the Schumann Cello Concerto and Tchaikovsky’s electrifying Symphony No. 4.  Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

Duke Ellington

- Aug. 8. (Wed.)  Duke Ellington Orchestra.  Kenton 100th Anniversary. It’s an evening of classic big band music.  The still very active Ellington Orchestra is joined by vocalist Brian McKnight, and the Stan Kenton Centennial Orchestra revives some memorable Kenton items with singer Tierney SuttonHollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 8. (Wed.)  Ron Jones and the Influence Jazz Orchestra.  Jones’ swinging arrangements performed by the Southland’s finest players make for a great musical evening.  To read an earlier iRoM review of the IFO, click HERE.     Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

Jackie Ryan

- Aug. 9. (Thurs.) Jackie Ryan.  She’s been delighting Bay area listeners for years with her gorgeous voice, story telling magic and gentle swing.  But Jackie doesn’t make many appearances in Los Angeles.  So don’t miss this chance to hear her up close and personal.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Aug. 10. (Fri.)  Nora Jones.  An impressive week of music at the Bowl continues with a solo appearance by singer/songwriter/pianist Jones.  It’ll be intriguing to hear how the intimate stylings of Jones fill the wide spaces of the Bowl. Opening the show: Corey Chisel and the wandering Sons. Hollywood Bowl.    (323) 850-2000.

Cheryl Bentyne

- Aug. 10 & 11. (Fri. & Sat.)  Cheryl Bentyne City of Hope Benefit.  The stylish voice of Bentyne has been a primary element in the sound of the Manhattan Transfer for decades.  She returns to action now from a life-threatening illness in an all-star performance benefiting the City of Hope.  Contact the club for the full line-up.  Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

- Aug. 11. (Sat.)  Liza Minelli  ”Confessions.”  The one and only Liza, star of stage, screen and cabaret, winner of a wide array of awards – from Oscars to Grammys – makes one of her rare Southland appearances in the only venue big enough to contain her talents.  Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 11. (Sat.)  Helen Reddy.  Yes, it’s that Helen Reddy — the’70s  hitmaker of “I Am Woman” and “I Don’t Know How To Love Him.”  She’s returning to action after a ten year hiatus, with a show that has “handpicked stories and songs from her heart.”  She may or may not, however, sing some of her classics.  Either way, here’s a rare opportunity to see and hear an iconic music world figure.  The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills.  (818) 879-5016.

- Aug. 11. (Sat.)  Danny Janklow Quartet. Alto saxophonist Janklow – acknowledged as an “outstanding soloist” by Wynton Marsalis when he was still in high school.  Check out this fast rising young talent at an early stage in his career.  With the Pat Senatore Trio.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. http://www.vibratogrilljazz.com  (310) 474-9400.

Gustavo Dudamel

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- Aug. 12. (Sun.) Gustavo Dudamel conducts “Rigoletto.” A week filled with an amazingly diverse array of music at the Bowl winds up with a staged concert performance of the great Verdi opera, starring the Serbian baritone Zeljko Lucic in the starring role.  The  Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 12. (Sun.)  Julie Kelly Celebrates Los Angeles Arrangers.  Julie gets together with the Bill Cunliffe Quartet to sing tunes arranged by LA.’s finest – among them, Cunliffe, Otmaro Ruiz, Sara Lieb, Tom Garvin, Rich Ruttenberg and others.  Vitello’s.  http://www.vitellosrestaurant.com  (818) 769-0905.

Russ Garcia

- Aug. 12. (Sun.)  A Free Concert Celebrating Russ Garcia.  “To Build A Better World.”  Arranger/composer Garcia, who died last year at 95, had a career encompassing everything from numerous film and television scores to collaborations with stars reaching from Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong to Walt Disney and Charlie Chaplin.  His instruction book, The Professional Arranger Composer,  has been used by arrangers young and old for decades.  The Canyon Club.  2 – 5 p.m.  RSVP to kristy4wellness@me.com

 San Francisco

- Aug. 9. (Thurs.)  Rebecca Mauleon plays Eddie Palmieri.  Pianist/arranger Mauleon applies her wide experience and deep understanding of Latin jazz to an evening dedicated to the legendary Palmierie.  An SFJAZZ concert at Amnesia.    (866) 920-5299.

 Seattle

- Aug. 7 & 8. (Tues. & Wed.)  Tracy Nelson. With her band, Mother Earth, Nelson was one of the stars of the San Francisco ‘60s scene, followed by a series of country and soul albums.  At 67, Nelson is still gpmg strong.  Jazz Alley.  http://www.jazzalley.com/artist.asp?artistid=1141   (206) 441-9729.

 Chicago

- Aug. 9 – 12. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Charles McPherson Quartet.  Alto saxophonist McPherson is a convincing advocate of classic bebop.  But his skills also reach beyond that genre into an expressive improvisational style of his own. Jazz Showcase.    (312) 360-0234.

 New York

Melissa Stylianou

- Aug. 7. (Tues.)  Melissa Stylianou.  Still not well enough known beyond the New York City jazz scene, Stylianou is demonstrating all the characteristics of a potentially important jazz vocal artist.  Check out her latest album, Silent Movie, then check her out in this live appearance.  The Jazz Standard.  (212)  576-2232.

- Aug. 11. (Sat.)  Thumbscrew. It’s a new band with some adventurous new music.  How could it be otherwise with the impressive line up of Mary Halvorson, guitar, Michael Formanek, bass and Tomas Fujiwara, drums.  The Cornelia St. Café.   (818) 989-9319.

 London

- Aug. 8 & 9. (Wed. & Thurs.)  The Music of Miles Davis.  The jazz celebration of the Olympics continues with a pair of performances dedicated to the memorable music of Miles Davis, performed by the Jay Phelps QuartetRonnie Scott’s.   (0) 20 7439 0747.


Picks of the Week: June 5 – 10

June 5, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- June 5. (Tues.)  “And Then She Wrote.”  Peter Marshall, Carol Welsman, Calabria Foti.  Five time Emmy Award-winning Marshall (Yes, he sings, too) is joined by the lovely singer/instrumentalists Welsman and Foti in an evening of great standards written by women. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- June 5. (Tues.)  Corliss Dale and Lou Forestieri.  Pianist/arranger  Forestieri’s impressive resume reaches from Stanley Clarke to Mel Torme and beyond.  He and his singing wife Dale have released a pair of impressive albums of standards; Fascinating Rhythms and Crazy Rhythm.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.     (310) 474-9400.

- June 6. (Wed.)  The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses.  The music from one of the most popular video games of all time is performed by a full orchestra.  The program features music based on story lines from “Ocarina of Time,” “The Wind Waker,” “Twilight Princess” and “A Link to the Past.” The Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-5857.

Fabiana Passoni

- June 7. (Thurs.) Fabiana Passoni.  Her sultry vocals have earned Passoni the title of Best Brazilian Singer Living in the U.S. from the Brazilian International Press.  Despite the difficult interruptions of a three year battle with cancer, her musical journey has continued to discover new areas of creativity.  She’ll be backed by a ten piece band featuring the stellar presence of, among others, pianist Bill Cantos and guitarist Kleber Jorge. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.    (310) 474-9400.  Also at Yoshi’s San Francisco on Sun. (See below.)

- June 7 – 9. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Freddy Cole Quartet.  If the voice sounds familiar, don’t be surprised.  He’s Nat Cole’s younger brother, and he’s fashioned those memorable vocal timbres into an appealing style all his own.  At a time when engaging male jazz singers are in short supply, don’t miss the chance to hear Cole in action.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- June 7 – 9. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Peter Cetera.  If the name doesn’t instantly ring a bell, think “Chicago.”  And, no, not the city, the great rock group of the ‘70s that rode to fame on Cetera’s memorable vocals.  Segerstrom Center for the Arts.     (714) 556-2787.

- June 8. (Fri.) Primus.  For nearly three decades Primus has been stretching the envelope in the style of Frank Zappa and Pink Floyd.  Also on the bill, Fishbone, a high visibility presence in L.A.’s alternative rock scene since the ‘80s.  Greek Theatre.   (323) 665-5857.

Ernie Watts

- June 8. (Fri.)  Ernie Watts.  Grammy-winner Watts’ versatile saxophone playing has been heard over the past four decades on more than 500 recordings in the company of artists reaching from Cannonball Adderley to Frank Zappa.  And he’s still going strong.  LACMA.    (323) 857-6000.

- June 8. (Fri.) Big Phat BandGordon Goodwin’s collection of L.A. all-stars perform selections from his always-swinging book of originals and re-invented standards.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- June 10. (Sun.)  Los Angeles Master Chorale. Tribute to Gorecki.  The superb voices of the LAMC close the season with a trio of sonically mesmerizing works by the great Polish composer, as well as the Brahms motet for chorus, Schaffe in mir, Gott, ein rein Herz.  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

- June 10. (Sun.)  Chickenfoot.  All-star rock group Chickenfoot – Joe Satriani, Kenny Aronoff, Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar – arrive in support of their latest album, Chickenfoot III.  Also on the bill – Black Stone Cherry. Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-5857.

San Francisco

Rick Braun

- June 8 – 10.  (Fri. – Sun.)  Rick Braun. Trumpeter/vocalist Braun, following in the Chet Baker footsteps, combining his warm and amiable vocals with an appealingly melodic trumpet style.  Yoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.

June 10. (Sun.)   Fabiana Passoni.  Brazilian singer Passoni makes her second California appearance this week.  See above L.A. entry for more details.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.    (415) 655-5600.

Washington D.C.

- June 8 – 10.  (Fri. – Sun.)  Kenny Garrett. Cutting edge alto saxophonist Garrett’s early roots trace to a five year stint with Miles Davis’ electric bands.  But he’s traveled his own path since then, fully apparent in his latest album, Seeds From the Underground.  Blues Alley.  http://bluesalley.com/events.cfm  (202) 337-4141.

New York

Karrin Allyson

- June 5 – 9. (Tues. – Sat.)  Karrin Allyson. Twenty years after her debut album, I Didn’t Know About You, was released, Allyson continues to set standards for what great jazz singing can and should be – via her superb musicality, rich sense of swing and her utterly engrossing storytelling abilities.  Birdland.    (212) 581-3080.

- June 5 – 10. (Tues. – Sun.)  Renee Rosnes Quartet.  Pianist Rosnes, always a jazz adventurer, checks out fascinating territories with the world class companionship of Steve Nelson, vibes, Peter Washington, bass and Lewis Nash, drums.  Village Vanguard.   (212) 929-4589.

- June 5 – 10. (Tues. – Sun.)  Dudka Da Fonseca & Helio Alves.  “Samba, Jazz and the Music of Jobim”  An evening revealing, in delightfully rhythmic fashion, the creatively compelling links between jazz and the music of Brazil. With Anat Cohen, Claudio Roditi, George Mraz and Maucha Adnet.  Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.    (212) 258-9800.

- June 7 – 10. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Charles McPherson. Alto saxophonist McPherson has been convincingly carrying the torch for bebop since he performed on the soundtrack of Clint Eastwood’s 1988 Charlie Parker film, Bird.   Jazz Standard.   (212) 576-2232.

London

Danilo Perez

- June 6 (Wed.)  Danilo Perez.  Panama-born pianist/composer/educator Perez’s career arc reaches from intimate musical relationships with Dizzy Gillespie to Wayne Shorter.  With a lot of stops in between, thoroughly establishing himself as one of the influential jazz voices of his generation.  Ronnie Scott’s.   020 7439 0747.


Picks of the Week: Feb. 14 – 19

February 14, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Feb. 14. (Tues.)  Nedra Wheeler.  Bassist/vocalist Wheeler is a convincing performer as an instrumentalist and a singer. and she’ll no doubt be in rare form with the backing of  Lanny Hartley, piano, Clarence Webb, saxophone and Munyungo Jackson, drums.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

Spanky Wilson

- Feb. 15. (Wed.)  Spanky Wilson. With a style that runs the gamut from soul, blues and funk to warmly communicative jazz, Wilson has always been one of a kind.  She makes a rare Los Angeles appearance, backed by pianist Dennis Hamm, saxophonist/flutist Louis Van Taylor and drummer Lyndon Rochelle.  Culvers Club for Jazz.  (310) 216-5861.

- Feb. 15. (Wed.)  The Assads.  Brothers Sergio and Odair, offspring of an extraordinary family of musicians, have been performing world class duo guitar music – of every style — since the late ‘70s.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 916-8501.

- Feb. 15. (Wed.)  The John Proulx Duo.  Pianist/singer Proulx combines solidly swinging pianistic skills with a mellow voice and a rich understanding of musical storytelling.  The other half of the duo is the ever-dependable bassist Pat Senatore, whose far-reaching resume (from Stan Kenton and the Tijuana Brass to Freddy Hubbard, Joe Henderson and beyond) underscores his great creative versatility.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 15. (Wed.)  The Phil Norman Tentet.  West Coast jazz of the fifties, with its cool and swinging sound, is vividly alive in the music of the Tentet, enhanced by a contemporary view that convincingly blends old and new.  Click HERE to read a recent iRoM review of the Norman Tentet.   Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

Itzhak Perlman

- Feb. 16. (Thurs.)  Itzhak Perlman.  16-time Grammy winner (including a Lifetime Achievement Award), Perlman’s virtuosic skills are still in full bloom.  Performing with pianist Rohan De Silva, a frequent partner, he will play Schubert, Brahms and Prokofief.  Royce Hall.  A UCLA Live concert.    (310) 825-2101.

- Feb. 16. (Thurs.)  The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.  “Baroque Conversations: The Art of Baroque Dance.”  The LACO’s Baroque Conversations programs are both entertaining and musically illuminating, never more so than in this engaging view of the Baroque era linkages between music (by the LACO players) and dance (by dancers Jill Chadroff and Linda Tomko).  Zipper Concert Hall. (212) 622-7001.

- Feb. 16. (Thurs.) Chucho Valdes and the Afro Cuban Messengers, Poncho Sanchez and His Latin Jazz Band with Terence Blanchard.  The great Cuban pianist Valdes teams up with Sanchez and Blanchard to dig into the roots of Latin jazz via a tribute to the legendary conguero Chano Pozo and the incomparable bebop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.   Disney Hall.    (323) 850-2000.

- Feb. 17. (Fri.)  Jessy J.  Saxophonist/singer Jessy J. mixes the hot rhythms of her Mexican heritage with her cool but intense saxophone stylings.  Hopefully she’ll hit some of the irresistible highlights from her latest album, the appropriately titled Hot Sauce, Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Bob Sheppard

- Feb. 18. (Sat.)  The Lounge Art Ensemble.  It’s an amusing name for a band, but when it comes right down to basics, it’s saxophone jazz at its finest, with Bob Sheppard taking on the challenging task of performing with only bass and drums – capably handled by Darek Oles and Peter Erskine. Sonny Rollins did it beautifully.  So will Sheppard. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 18. (Sat.)  The Shoemake/Morgan Jazz Ensemble.  The “Famous Jazz Artist Series” – one of the primo jazz events of the Central Coast – begins a monthly run in Solvang.  Featured performers are Charlie and Sandi Shoemake, vibes and vocals, Lanny Morgan, alto saxophone, Joe Bagg, piano, Tony Dumas, bass and Steve Schaeffer, drums.  The Terrace Dinner Theatre. Solvang.    (805) 691-9137

San Francisco

- Feb. 16 & 17. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Leo Kottke.  He’s a guitarists’ guitarist, at the cutting edge of improvisatory acoustic guitar playing since the 70’s  Plagued by tendonitis in later years, he developed a new playing style to compensate, and he remains one of the definitive acoustic guitar masters.   Yoshi’s San Francisco.    (415) 655-5600.

- Feb. 17. (Fri.)  Enrico Rava Tribe and the John Abercrombie Trio. Italian trumpeter Rava leads an assemblage of talented young European improvisers.  And the current Abercrombie trio takes on the classic jazz organ trio sound, with B-3 star Gary Versace and drummer Adam NussbaumThe Herbst Theatre.  An SFJAZZ Spring Season event.    (866) 920-5299.

Portland, Oregon

Branford Marsalis

- Feb. 17 – 26. (Fri. – Sun.(26)).  The Portland Jazz Festival.  Rapidly becoming one of the counry’s most attractively programmed jazz festivals, Portland offers a banquet of musical delights.  This year’s line-up includes Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, Roy Haynes, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Bill Frisell, Charles McPherson, Charlie Hunter, Vijay Iyer, Enrico Rava and many more. The Portland Jazz Festival.    (503) 228-5299.  To read more about the Festival in a Q & A with Managing Director Don Lucoff click HERE.

Boston

- Feb. 16. (Thurs.)  Tim Berne. Alto saxophonist Berne has built an extensive career emphasizing the outer limites of jazz improvisation.  He celebrates the release of his new album, Snakeoil. Regatta Bar.    (617) 395-7757.

New York

Jay Clayton

- Feb. 14. (Tues.)  Jay Clayton.  With John di Martino, piano.  jazz vocal artists have been coming and going with great frequency in the last few years.  But Clayton, like Sheila Jordan, continues to be a standard of creativity that sets the pace.  One of the great originals, she should be heard at every opportunity.  Cornelia St. Café.   (212) 989-9319.

- Feb. 14 – 16. (Tues. – Thurs.  Sachel Vasandani.  Chicago-born singer Vasandani is gradually establishing himself as one of the significant voices in the relatively slim gathering of male jazz singers.  The Jazz Standard.     (212) 576-2232.

- Feb. 14 – 19.  Tues. – Sun.  David Sanborn.  The Blue Note.  One of the  most influential  alto saxophonists of the past few decades, Sanborn’s blues based, passionately vocalized sound is heard, to varying degrees, in many of the best new young saxophonists.   The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

Paris

Steve Kuhn

- Feb 14. (Tues.)  Steve Kuhn.  Pianist Kuhn’s long, checkered career has journeyed through every aspect of jazz, from the envelope-stretching sixties to authoritative mainstream playing.  His innate lyricism was especially apparent during a long musical partnership with singer Sheila Jordan, and his solo playing reveals the true depths of his creative imagination.  New Morning.   01 45 23  51 41.S

London

- Feb.15 – 18.  (Wed. – Sat.)  Billy Cobham Band.  The drumming engine that propelled both the Miles Davis band and the Mahavishnu Orchestra in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Cobham remains one of the definitive masters of rock and funk-driven fusion jazz.  Ronnie Scott’s.   020 7439 0747.

Itzhak Perlman photo by Akira Kinoshita.

Bob Sheppard photo by Tony Gieske.


Picks of the Week: August 2 – 7

August 2, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Aug. 2 (Tues.) Yes and Styx. Two of the classic rock franchises — still going strong — team up for a display of some of the archetypal music of the ’70s and ’80s. The Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-5857.

Jessica Molasky and John Pizzarelli

- Aug. 3 – 7. (Wed. – Sun.) John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molasky. Collectively and individually, the married team of singer/guitarist Pizzarelli and vocalist Molasky make for one of the jazz world’s most entertaining acts. Capable of generating the humor of the great husband and wife teams of the past, they also bring a rare blend of musicality to their singing and playing that is uniquely their own. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

- Aug. 3 – 7. (Wed. – Sun.) Clarinet Fest 2011. Everything you ever wanted to know about the clarinet, or hear about the clarinet will undoubtedly take place in this large assemblage of programs and seminars. Clarinet ensembles of every stripe will perform.  Among the many highlights are performances on Sunday by the Eddie Daniels Quintet and the Clare Fischer Clarinet Choir. But there are numerous others, from many other parts of the world. Clarinet Fest 2011 in the Valley Performing Arts Center at CalState Northridge.

- Aug. 4. (Thurs.) Ron Kalina’s Birthday Bash. Versatil jazz harmonica player Kalina — who also plays piano, leads a celebratory evening of music to remember. He’s backed by vibist Gino Antonachi, bassist Pat Senatore and drummer Ryan Doyle. Vibrato Jazz Grill…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

- Aug. 4. (Thurs.) Hippiefest. The annual installment of music from the peace, love and rock ‘n’ roll generation returns for the sixth time. The headliners are Dave Mason (Traffic), Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad), Rick Derringer, Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals and Gary Wright. The Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-5857.

- Aug. 4. (Thurs.) Yemen Blues. The Skirball’s always entertaining, free Sunset Concerts continue with an appearance by a band that produces a steaming gumbo of music spiced with elements of jazz, blues, Jewish melodies and African grooves. Don’t plan to sit still when this band starts to kick it. Skirball Center.  (310) 440-4500.

Annie Sellick

- Aug. 6. (Sat.) Annie Sellick. Her bold, assertive style, blended with occasional touches of vulnerability make Sellick an appealing singer — one whose work warrants a wider hearing than she seems to be receiving. Steamers.  (714) 871-8800.

- Aug. 6. (Sat.) Judy Wexler. Critically praised jazz vocalist Wexler celebrates the release of her third CD, Under A Painted Sky, backed by some of the stellar players on the album — pianist/arranger Alan Pasqua, guitarist Larry Koonse, saxophonist Bob Sheppard, bassist Darek Oles and drummer Steve Hass. Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

San Francisco

- Aug 5 – 7. (Fri. – Sun.) Los Van Van. It’s been more than four decades since Juan Formell organized the fusion Cuban band Los Van Van. Expanding on the traditional charanga style, instrumentally as well as the choice of material, he created a band that continues to provide musical thrills at every performance. Yoshis Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

Turtle Island String Quartet

- Aug. 7. (Sun.) Turtle Island String Quartet. When the Turtle Islanders first posited the notion that the members of a string quartet — if they possessed the right blend of talent and imagination — could play with the creative liberation of a jazz group, it seemed a radical idea. (Despite the fact that their goal also included reviving the improvisation that had been for centuries a fundamental part of classical music as well.) But they’ve made their case convincingly, winning Grammy awards and opening an expressive pathway that more ensembles should explore. Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

Seattle

Aug. 4 – 7. (Thurs. – Sun.) Bill Frisell. Ever on the trail of another musical idea, Frisell’s Beautiful Dreamers features violinst Eyvind Kang and drummer Rudy Royston in a challenging, but potentially productive musical setting. Jazz Alley.  (206) 441-9729.

Chicago

Charles McPherson

Aug. 4 – 7. (Thurs. – Sun.) Charles McPherson. It’ll be an evening of Charlie Parker revisited when McPherson steps on stage. But not in an imitative sense. McPherson’s connection with Parker is inspirational, and the results are always musically compelling. Jazz Showcase.  (312) 360-0234.

New York

-Aug. 2 – 4. (Tues. – Thurs.) McCoy Tyner expands his usual trio format to a quintet featuring the two saxophone front line tenorist Ravi Coltrane and alto Gary Bartz. And it’s hard to imagine a more compatible assemblage of world class players. Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

- Aug. 3. (Wed.) The Center for Improvisational Music. Trumpeter Ralph Alessi, alto saxophonist Tim Berne, pianist Kris Davis, bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Gerald Cleaver — present and former faculty members — celebrate the 10th anniversary of the School for Improvised Music’s pioneering work in the exploration of the art of improvisation. Cornelia St. Cafe.  (212) 989-9319.

London

Claire Martin

- Aug. 4 (Thurs.) Claire Martin. She’s often described as England’s best jazz singer, which may well be true. But Martin is more than that — a versatile performer with the capacity to find the inner life of whatever she sings in whatever style. She appears with the Richard Rodney Bennett/Bobby Wellins Quartet. Ronnie Scott’s.  020 7439 0747.

Tokyo

- Aug. 2 – 5. (Tues. – Fri.) Joyce with special guest Sergio Santos. Singer/songwriter Joyce — who now occasionally also uses her last name, Moreno, has been a highly visible figure in Brazilian music since the MPB era. Still an engaging performer, she appears here with the gifted guitarist/songwriter/singer Santos, whose talents are still too little known in the U.S. The Blue Note Tokyo.  03-5485-0088.


Picks of the Week: Sept. 14 – 19.

September 14, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Sept. 14. (Tues.) Michael Bolton. One World One Love Tour.  The title says it all for the music of the two-time Grammy winner, Bolton, whose soft-rock style has been appealing to romantics since the ‘80s.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 915-8501.

- Sept. 14. (Tues.)  John Proulx Trio.  Proulx’s solid skills as a first-call jazz pianist bring an impressive blend of musicality to his highly personal vocals. Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

Dolores Scozzesi

- Sept. 15. (Wed.)  Dolores Scozzesi.  Blending the dark timbres of her voice with a thoughtful interpretive style, Scozzessi brings musical illumination to everything she sings. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Sept. 16. (Thurs.) Angela Carole Brown.  Brown’s multi-faceted creativity – musical, poetic, dramatic – are essential elements in her engaging vocal performances.  She’s backed by the Pat Senatore Trio. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- Sept. 16. (Thurs.)  Sweet Baby Jai Quartet. She does it all – standards, blues, jazz and pop – with a charismatic style that commands a state.  Crowne Plaza Brasserie Jazz Lounge.   (310) 642-7500.

- Sept. 17. (Fri.)  Bob Mintzer Quartet.  Saxophonist Mintzer is also a prime composer and arranger who invests his far ranging improvisations with imagination and focus.  LACMA.   (323) 857-6000.

Anna Mjoll

- Sept. 17. (Fri.)  Anna Mjoll.  In the mid-‘90s, Mjoll‘s “Sjubidu” (Shoo-Be-Do) was a hit at the Eurovision song festival.  Since then, her rich-toned voice and assertive rhythms have evolved into a uniquely original jazz vocal style. Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

- Sept. 17 &O 18. (Fri. & Sat.)  Roy Gaines.  The veteran singer/guitarist has been creating classic blues performances – live and on record – since the ‘50s.  Catalina Bar & Grill.

- Sept. 19. (Sun.)  KCRW World FestivalViva Mexico! The Summer’s world music schedule at the Bowl wraps up with a celebration of Mexican music featuring performances from Ozomatli (with Cheech Marin and Cut Chemist), Calexico, the Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles and special guests from various regions of Mexico.  Raul Campos hosts.  The Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- Sept. 19. (Sun.)  Caleb Quaye and the Faculty.  Quaye – who’s played guitar with everyone from Elton John and Mick Jagger to Paul McCartney – leads his own jazz/rock/fusion band.  Bubba Jackson hosts.  KJAZZ Sunday Champagne Brunch.  The Twist Restaurant in the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.

Monterey

Sept. 17 – 19. (Fri. – Sun.)  The 53rd Annual Monterey Jazz Festival. It’s arguably one of the country’s prime musical events.  And its inarguably a sensational way to experience a weekend of non-stop, world-class entertainment.  With 500 artists, 85 performances on 8 stages, along with an instrument petting zoo, percussion playshop and jazzy jumper for the youngest attendees, there’s a list of attractions too long to completely include here.  But the line-up, as always, is stellar.  Among the highlights: Ahmad Jamal, Harry Connick, Jr., Angelique Kidjo, Mino Cinelu, Billy Childs and the Kronos Quartet in the premiere of a new, MJF commisioned work by Childs, Roy Hargrove Big Band, Roberta Gambarini, Marcus Roberts, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Chris Potter, Gretchen Parlato, Fred Hersch, Dianne Reeves and much more.  The Monterey Jazz Festival.    (925) 275-9255.

San Francisco

Rudresh Mahanthappa

- Sept. 15. (Wed.)  Rudresh Mahanthappa & the Indo-Pak Coalition.  Saxophonist Mahanthappa leads Pakistani-American guitarist Rez Abbasi and tabla player Dan Weiss in a fascinating collection of Indo-jazz fusion.  Yoshi’s Oakland (510) 238-9200.

- Sept. 17 – 19. (Fri. – Sun.)  Sadao Watanabe. Japanese alto saxophonist, at 77, is still soaring easily from his bebop roots to the smooth sounds of contemporary jazz.  Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.

New York

- Sept. 14 – 19. (Tues. – Sun.)  Renee Rosnes Quartet.  Pianist Rosnes showcases her adventurous playing in the stellar company of bassist Peter Washington, drummer Lewis Nash and vibist Steve NelsonVillage Vanguard.   (212) 255-4037.

- Sept. 14 – 19. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Generations in Jazz Festival.  The Generations series continues with a pair of virtuosic jazz veterans: alto saxophonist Charles McPherson and trumpeter Randy Brecker with the New Jersey City University Jazz Ensemble. Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.   (212) 258-9595.

- Sept. 14 – 19. (Tues. – Sun.)  Diane Schuur.  After several excursions through the pop world, Schuur is solidly back in a jazz groove, displaying the appealing qualities of her early jazz singing years.  The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.

Mose Allison

Washington, D.C.

- Sept. 16 – 19. (Thurs. – Sun.)   Mose Allison Trio. The Bard of the Bayou still has a lot to say.  Hopefully he’ll include something from his recent album, The Way of the World, his first in more than a decade.  Blues Alley.   (202) 337-4141.

Seattle

- Sept. 16 – 19. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Jeff Lorber, Eric Marienthal, Jimmy Haslip, Will Kennedy.  They may be a quartet with contemporary and crossover references, but these guys can also carry their weight in every aspect of the jazz mainstream.  Jazz Alley.  (206) 441-9729.


Picks of the Week: Mar. 8 – 14

March 8, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Mar. 9. (Tues.) John Pisano’s Guitar Night.  

John Pisano

John Pisano trades riffs with Pat Kelley, who has transformed his Oklahoma roots into an amiable, highly personal guitar style. Ralph Humphrey, drums and John Belzaguy, bass, provide sturdy back-up.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Mar. 9. (Tues.) Bill Watrous and the San Gabriel 7.  Virtuoso trombonist Watrous leads his seven piece band in a collection of Latin, jazz and funk music.  Singer Katie Campbell adds enticing vocal stylings.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

Mar. 9. (Tues.) A Special Benefit Tribute to Francisco Aguabella.  The Banda Brothers, with guests Pete Escovedo and Sheila E. lead a tribute performance to benefit the now ill, legendary Cuban drum master.  Other scheduled performers include Alex Acuna, Justo Almario, Poncho Sanchez, Danilo Lozano, John Clayton and many others.  Steamers.  (714) 871-8800.

Mar. 9. (Tues.) Night of Radical Guitar: Janet Feder and Miroslav Tadic with Vinny Golia.  Guitarists Feder and Tadic join up with multi-woodwind instrumentalist Golia to explore the outer limits of eclectic improvisation.  South Pasadena Music Center and Conservatory.  (626) 403-2300.

- Mar 10.  (Wed.)  Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.  An evening of Maurice Ravel, with Daphnis et Chloe, Ma Mere L’Oye and La Valse on the program.  Mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter joins the ensemble for ShehereazadeUCLA Live at Royce Hall .  (310) 825-2101.

- Mar. 10. (Wed.)  Scott Martin’s Latin Soul Band.  After fourteen years in the Grammy-winning Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band, saxophonist Martin is now fronting his own Latin ensemble.  His latest CD, Only Trust Your Heart, finds him surrounded by the lush rhythms and rich harmonies of Brazil.  Vibrato.  (310) 474-9400.

- Mar. 10.  (Wed.)  Classic Albums Live: The Beatles’ Abbey Road.  It’s a tribute performance in which the emphasis is on authentic musical reproduction, without the costumes and wigs.  Irvine Barclay Theatre. (949) 854-4646.

- Mar. 10 & 11. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Babatunde Lea Quintet. The veteran, master percussionist leads a stellar ensemble in a tribute to the late, great singer Leon Thomas. With Ernie Watts, saxophones, Patrice Rushen, keyboards, Gary Brown, bass and vocalist Dwight TribleCatalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- Mar. 11. (Thurs.)  The Ying Quartet.  Originally founded by the four Ying siblings, the Ying Quartet now includes Frank Huang, replacing Timothy Ying as first violinist.  But the quartet’s remarkably symbiotic musical togetherness continues. CSUN Performing Arts Center. l (818) 677-1200

- Mar. 11. (Thurs.)  Joe La Barbera Quintet.  Drummer La Barbera takes a leader’s role, fronting the all-star assemblage of trumpeter Clay Jenkins, saxophonist Bob Sheppard, pianist Bill Cunliffe and bassist Tom Warrington.   Charlie O’s.   (919) 994-3058.

- Mar. 11 & 12. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Matt Slocum. Rising young jazz drummer Slocum celebrates the release of his CD, Portraits.  With Dan Lutz, bass and Josh Nelson, piano.    Thurs: Crown Plaza Brasserie Jazz Lounge.  (310) 642-7500.   Fri.: Café Metropol.   (213) 613-1537.

Hiromi

- Mar. 11. (Thurs.)  Hiromi. Japanese keyboardist Hiromi is building a style that reaches out to embrace everything from high voltage electronica to swinging, straight ahead jazz.  A Jazz Bakery Moveable Feast.  (310) 271-9039.  Japan America Theatre.

- Mar. 12. (Fri.) The Stan Kenton Alumni BandMike Vax lead alumni from the 1956-1978 Stan Kenton Orchestras through a program of Kenton classics. Chapman Auditorium, Chapman University.   (714) 997-6871.

- Mar. 12. (Fri.)  Dave PellMed Flory.  A pair of veteran saxophonists have fun with the alto and tenor saxophone frontline format, at one L.A.’s most cozily intimate jazz clubs.  The Back Room at Henri’s in Woodland Hills.

- Mar. 12. (Fri.)  Gary Foster and the Pat Senatore Trio.  Busy studio woodwind player Foster doesn’t spend much time as the front man in a jazz ensemble. So don’t miss this chance to hear his superb saxophone playing, backed by a solid rhythm section. Vibrato.  (310) 474-9400.

Vinicio Caposella

- Mar. 13. (Sat.) Vinicio Capossela. The Italian singer/songwriter’s performances are as unpredictable as the dark balladry of Tom Waits and the capriciousness of Tom Zé, spiced with his own unique stylings, which can reach from a tarantella or a tango to a high spirited love song.  The El Rey.  (323) 936-6400.

- Mar. 13. (Sat.)  Bill Cunliffe’s Imaginacion Quartet. The ever-versatile, always musically curious pianist Cunliffe applies his musical insights to songs with a Latin tinge (as Jelly Roll Morton would have described it).  Vibrato.   (310) 474-9400.

Andrea Marcovicci

- Mar. 13. (Sat.)  Andrea MarcovicciI’ll Be Seeing You…Love Songs of World War II. Singer Marcovicci knows how to get to the heart of a song, and there’s no collection of songs filled with more heartfelt emotions than the songbook of World War II. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza

- Mar. 13. (Sat.)  John Beasley Jazz Circle.  Multi-instrumentalist Beasley sticks with the keyboards this time, leading the musically intriguing ensemble of  Dwight Trible, vocals, Oscar Seaton, drums and Ian Martin, bass.   Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

- Mar. 13 & 14. (Sat. & Sun.)  The Wailers. The group that has virtually defined reggae music since the ’60s is in town for a pair of performances to support their “I Went Hungry” world food program.  On Saturday, they appear at Brixton in Redondo Beach (310) 406-1931; on Sunday they’re at the Galaxy Concert Theatre in Santa Ana (714) 957-0600.

- Mar. 14. (Sun.)  Larry  Coryell and “Bombay Jazz.” Guitarist Coryell explores the compatible linkages between jazz and Indian classical music.  With saxophonist / composer George Brooks, Indian bamboo flutist Ronu Majumdar and tabla player Aditya Kalyanpur Jazz Bakery Moveable Feast.  Largo – Coronet Theatre.  (310) 271-9039.

Adam del Monte

- Mar. 14. (Sun.)  Adam del Monte.  The master flamenco guitarist celebrates the release of  his new CD, A Cry in the Dark with a concert (no dancing) of all new compositions.  His ensemble includes Enosh del Monte, violin, Emir Isilai, keyboard, Asaf Kofler, bass and Gerardo Morales, percussion.  The Fountain Theatre.  (323) 663-1525.

- Mar. 14. (Sun.)  Traps ‘n’ Taps: A Brief History of American RhythmThe California Jazz Foundation presents an entertaining Sunday jazz brunch featuring versatile dancer, choreographer, bandleader and film archivist Chester Whitmore and drummer Clayton Cameron. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

San Francisco

Bobby Hutcherson

- Mar. 11 – 14.  (Thurs. – Sun.)  John Scofield’s New Jazz Quartet brings the versatile guitarist back to a steady jazz orbit.  With Mulgrew Miller, piano, Ben Street, bass and Kendrick Scott, drums. Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

- Mar. 12 – 14. (Fri. – Sun.)  NEA Jazz Masters All-Stars. An assemblage of great jazz veterans display the skills of their lifetimes in the music.  Bobby Hutcherson, vibes, Jimmy Heath, tenor saxophone, Slide Hampton, trombone, Cedar Walton, piano. Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

New York

- Mar. 8 – 11. (Mon. – Thurs.)  Cassandra Wilson. The inimitable Wilson, her voice one of the unique sounds in contemporary jazz, brings storytelling insights to material reaching across the full range of song. The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

- Mar. 9 – 13. (Tues. – Sat.)  John Pizzarelli’s “Swing 7.” Pizzarelli’s swinging four- horn band provide a solid foundation for his songs and guitar, wife Jessica Molaskey’s crystal clear voice, and the wit and humor of the most entertaining show biz couple since Sonny & Cher.  Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

- Mar. 9 – 14. (Tues. – Sun.)  Bill Charlap Trio.  Pianist Charlap and his sturdy companions — Peter Washington, bass and Kenny Washington, drums – bring maturity, musical insight and downright swing to everything they play.  Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.   (212) 258-9595.

Bobby Sanabria

- Mar. 10. (Wed.)  Bobby Sanabria Big BandPost Mamboism in the 21st Century Continues! Grammy nominated percussionist Sanabria affirms the vitality of  big band Latin jazz.  FB Lounge (212) 410-7292.

- Mar. 11. (Thurs.)  Lew TabackinHighlights in Jazz celebrates the playing of saxophonist Tabackin with his wife, pianist/composer Toshiko Akiyoshi, drummer Lewis Nash, bassist Boris Kozlov, trumpeter Joe Magnarelli, and guitarist Jack Wilkens plus a Very Special Guest. Tribeca Performing Arts Center.   (212) 220-1460.

- Mar. 11 – 14. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Charles McPherson Quintet featuring Tom Harrell provides dynamic proof that bebop continues to stimulate compelling new musical ideas.   With Jeb Patton, piano, Ray Drummond, bass and Willie Jones III, drums.  Jazz Standard.   (212)  576-2232.

Roberta Gambarini

- Mar. 12 – 14. (Fri. – Sun.)  Roberta Gambarini. The Italian-born vocalist has a remarkable instrument, with training and skills to match.  But it’s what she does with that admirable combination that makes her one of the unique 21st century jazz singers.  The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

Chicago

- Mar. 9. (Tues.) Rose Colella TrioAn Evening of Academy Award Winning Songs & Colella applies her lyrical vocal style to songs from films such as “The Gay Divorcee,” Pinocchio,” “Cabin in the Sky” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”  Katerina’s.  (773) 348-7592.

- Mar. 12 & 13. (Fri. & Sat.)  Mike Melvoin Trio.  Long time L.A. jazz star Melvoin returns to his home Midwest territory to refresh his musical roots.  Singer (and actress) Theresa Russell will sing a few tunes from the Melvoin Songbook, and they’ll be backed by Larry Gray, bass and Charles Heath, drums.  Club Blujazz.   (773) 360-8046.


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