Picks of the Week: October 2 – 6

October 2, 2013

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Diane Hubka

Diane Hubka

- Oct. 2. (Wed.) Diane Hubka. Singer/guitarist Hubka celebrates the release of her new CD, West Coast Strings. She’ll be backed by a prime group of players: Guitarists John Pisano, Barry Zweig & David Eastlee, organist Bobby Pierce, bassist Jeff D’Angelo and drummer Kendall Kay. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Oct. 2. (Wed.) Teka & New Bossa. Brazilian singer/guitarist Teka displays her authentic view of Brazilian music, backed by Quinn Johnson on piano, Kevin Winard on percussion, Doug Webb on saxophone and Randy Tico on bass. Vitello’s (818) 769-0905.

Christian McBride

Christian McBride

- Oct. 3 – 6. (Thurs. – Sun. Christian McBride Trio. Bassist Christian McBride, every leader’s first call for a world class rhythm section, plays selections from his album Out There with pianist Christian Sands and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr,. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Oct. 4. (Fri.) Lucy Guerin Inc. Weather. Australia’s much-honored choreographer presents a new work that “embodies human patterns within those of the elements.” CAP UCLA at Royce Hall.  (310) 825.2101.

Anat Cohen

Anat Cohen

- Oct. 4 – 6. (Fri. – Sun.) The 6th Annual Angel City Jazz Festival begins with a weekend brim full of musical activity. On Fri.: Free concert at LACMA with the Zach Ramacier Group and Nicole Mitchell Sun Dial Ensemble. On Sat: Dave Holland Prism and the John Scofield Uberjam Band. CAP UCLA at Royce Hall. On Sun: Richard Sears group, Albert Tootie Heath, Kneebody, Yosvany Terry Quintet, Greg Osby Group with special guest Anat Cohen. Ford Amphitheatre. The Angel City Jazz Festival.

- Oct. 5. (Sat.) Sandi Patty. One of the major stars of Christian music, Patty is a uniquely talented singer whose work is not limited by her popularity in the Christian music genre. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 916-8501

- Oct. 6. (Sun.) Carol Duboc. Versatile Duboc, a singer/composer and actress, celebrates the release of her latest album, Smile, in the musical companionship of Jeff Lorber, keyboards, and Jimmy Haslip, bass. Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

San Francisco

Miguel Zenon

Miguel Zenon

- Oct. 5. (Sat.) SFJAZZ Collective Jam Session. The SFJAZZ Collective has thoroughly established itself as one of the irresistiblly appealing contemporary jazz ensembles. The gifted players include Miguel Zenón alto saxophone, David Sánchez tenor saxophone, Warren Wolf vibraphone, Edward Simon piano, Matt Penman bass, and Obed Calvaire, drums. An SFJAZZ event at the Joe Henderson Lab. (866) 920-5299.

Seattle

- Oct. 3 – 6. (Thurs. – Sun.) Karrin Allyson. Grammy-nominated jazz singer Allyson continually reveals a musical curiosity that has taken her from bossa nova and the blues to John Coltrane. Jazz Alley.  (206) 441-9729

Chicago

- Oct. 3 – 6. (Thurs. – Sun.) Bobby Watson Quartet. Eclectic alto saxophonist Watson has moved convincingly from bebop and hard bop to cutting edge contemporary jazz. Jazz Showcase.  (312) 360-0234.

New York City

Donald Harrison

Donald Harrison

- Oct. 3 – 6. (Wed. – Sun.) The Messenger Legacy Celebrating Blakey. Drummer Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers legacy is celebrated by Brian Lynch, trumpet, Donald Harrison and Billy Pierce, saxophones, Donald Brown, piano, Reggie Workman, bass, Ralph Peterson, drums. Jazz Standard.  (212) 576-2232.

- Oct. 4 & 5. ( Fri. & Sat.) John Mayall and Friends. The influential English blues artist, whose influence reaches from Eric Clapton to Mick Fleetwood and beyond, celebrates his 80th birthday. The Iridium. h ( 212) 582-2121.

Copenhagen

- Oct. 3. (Thurs.) Soren Kristiansen. Pianist Kristiansen, largely viewed as one of Denmark’s finest, most imaginative jazz artist, displays influence from Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and Art Tatum in a stellar evening of solo piano jazz improvisations. Jazzhus Montmartre.  +45 31 72 34 94.

Milan

- Oct. 3. (Thurs.) Nicholas Payton. Trumpeter Payton, a world class, Grammy-winning product of New Orleans music, is always a pleasure to hear in action. Blue Note Milano.  +39 02 6901 6888.


Picks of the Week – Oct. 24 – 28

October 24, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Sally Kellerman

- Oct. 34 (Wed.)  Sally Kellerman.  Hot Lips herself, in action.  But Sally’s a one of a kind vocalist, too, bringing interpretive magic to everything she sings. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Oct. 24. (Wed.)  Gabriel Johnson.  Emerging jazz trumpeter Johnson has been praised by Clint Eastwood and Chris Botti, and performed with everyone from Gladys Knight to Gerald Albright.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.     (310) 474-9400.

- Oct. 25. (Thurs.)  Robert Glasper Experiment.  Adventurous pianist Glasper has been pioneering the territory between jazz and contemporary pop.  His special guests include Jose James, Taylor McFerrin and Austin PeraltaCAP UCLA at Royce Hall.   (310) 825-2101

- Oct. 25. (Thurs.)  Ariana Savalas. Singer/songwriter/actress Savalas, the offspring of a show biz family, is making her own way as a rising vocalist.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.     (310) 474-9400.

- Oct. 25. (Thurs.)  Kathy Kosins.  “The Ladies of Cool.”  Singer Kosins celebrates the work of such West Coast-oriented jazz vocalists as June Christy, Julie London, Anita O’Day and Chris Connor.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Bob Dylan

- Oct. 26. (Fri.)  Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler.  The legendary Dylan makes a rare appearance in Los Angeles in companionship with the British singer/songwriter/guitarist best known for his work with the band Dire Straits.  The Hollywood Bowl.     (323) 850-2000.

- Oct. 26 & 27. (Fri. & Sat.) Eddie Daniels.  The great clarinetist – and fine saxophonist, as well – makes his annual L.A. appearance, reminding us that the clarinet is still a great jazz instrument.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Oct. 26 – 28. (Fri. – Sun.)  Buster Williams Quartet.  Versatile bassist Williams leads a stellar group of Southland players — keyboardist Patrice Rushen, saxophonist Mark Gross and drummer Ndugu ChanclerCatalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- Oct. 27. (Sat.)  Ron Carter Quartet.  Carter – for decades everyone’s first call bassist — has also offered some breakthrough music of his own. This time out he performs with the cutting edge musical ideas of the Robert Glasper TrioCAP at UCLA Royce Hall.  (310) 825-2101.

- Oct. 27. (Sat.) Michael Feinstein.  “The Sinatra Project.”  One of the champions of the Great American Songbook, singer/pianist Feinstein interprets a program of songs associated with Frank Sinatra.  Segerstrom Hall at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.    (714) 556-2746.

Leon Russell

San Francisco

- Oct. 24. (Wed.)  Leon Russell.  One of the vital singer/songwriters of the rock era, Russell, at 70 is still going strong.  Don’t miss this rare club appearance.  Yoshi’s Oakland.      (510) 238-9200.

New York

- Oct. 24 – 28. (Wed. – Sun.).  Jimmy Heath 86th Birthday Celebration.  NEA Jazz Master Heath goes back to his roots to celebrate his 86th birthday with the Jimmy Heath Big Band — an assemblage of New York’s stellar players.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

- Oct. 26. (Fri.)  Kendra Shank.  The ever-adventurous, always musically engaging  Shank performs the last Friday of every month at the 55 Bar.   (212) 929-9883.

London

- Oct. 26. (Fri.)  Steve Smith and Vital Information.  Smith has been voted #1 All-Around Drummer by Modern Drummer magazine five years in a row.  In addition to his far-ranging pop and rock activities, he also leads the high energy jazz group Vital Information  Ronnie Scott’s.   (0) 20 7439 0747.

Copenhagen

- Oct. 24 & 25. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Roditi/Ignatzek/Rassinfosse.  The remarkable trio of trumpeter Claudio Roditi, pianist Klaus Ignatzek and bassist Jean-Louis Rassinfosse have been performing together for 25 years, emphasizing the Brazilian songbook and the repertoire associated with Chet Baker.  Jazzhus Montmartre.    (+45) 70 15 65.

Milan

- Oct. 25. (Thurs.)  Kenny Werner.  Versatile pianist, composer and writer arrives in Italy with a world class ensemble: saxophonist David Sanchez, trumpeter Randy Brecker, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Antonio SanchezBlue Note Milan.    02. 69016888.

Tokyo

The Manhattan Transfer

.

- Oct. 24 – 26. (Wed. – Fri.)  The Manhattan Transfer.  Nearly four decades in the jazz world spotlight, and the gifted members of the Transfer continue to produce music that brilliantly defines and expands the potential in vocal ensemble jazz.  Blue Note Tokyo.


Picks of the Week: October 9 – 14

October 10, 2012

BY DON HECKMAN

Los Angeles

Dr. John

Oct. 11. (Thurs.)  Dr. John, the Lower 911 and the Blind Boys of Alabama“Spirituals To Funk.”  The title is right on target, with Dr. John’s inimitable, funk-driven, Crescent city swing and the gripping spirituals of the Blind Boys.  Valley Performing Arts Center.  (818) 677-8800.

- Oct. 11. (Thurs.)  Frank Petrilli.  The jazz accordion is alive and well in the talented hands of Frank Petrilli.  He’s backed by the equally skilled John Chiodini, guitar, Pat Senatore, bass and Enzo Tedesco, drums.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.    (310) 474-9400.

- Oct. 11 – 14. (Thurs. – Sun.).  “Where the Wild Things Are.”  Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a mixed media performance of Oliver Knussen’s one act opera based on the famous children’s book by Maurice Sendak.  Also on the program: Ravel’s charming Mother Goose.   Walt Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

Bajofondo

Oct. 12. (Fri.)  Bajofondo.  Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla leads an eight person collective of musicians from Argentina and Uruguay in a program of innovative Latin music ranging from tango and electronica to contemporary and alternative sounds.  A CAP UCLA  concert at Royce Hall.   (310) 825-2101.

Oct. 12. (Fri.)  Marilyn Crispell and Myra Melford.  Pianist/composer Crispell performs a solo/duo set, followed by pianist Melford and Snowy Egret, her six person music and dance ensemble.  At REDCAT as part of the ANGEL CITY JAZZ FESTIVAL.    (213) 237-2800.

Oct. 12. (Fri.) Smoky Joe’s Cafe.  The immensely popular, Tony-nominated musical features a program of memorable songs by Mike Stoller and Jerry Lieber Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 916-8501. /production.aspx?productionSeasonId=4128

Denise Donatellil

Oct. 12 & 13. (Fri. & Sat.)  Denise Donatelli.  The gifted, Grammy nominated Ms. Donatelli is backed by music director/pianist Geoffrey Keezer and his quintet in a release party for her new CD, Soul Shadows.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Oct. 12 – 14. (Fri. – Sun.)  Chris Minh Doky and the Nomads.  Danish/Vietnamese bassist Doky leads a hard driving, jazz fusion band featuring Dave Weckl, drums, Dean Brown, guitar and George Whitty, keyboards. Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

Oct. 13. (Sat.) Bill Frisell & Bill Morrison.  “The Great Flood.”  A creative collaboration between the music of guitarist/composer Frisell and Morrison’s film based on the 1927 Mississippi River flood.  A CAP UCLA/Angel City Jazz Festival concert at  Royce Hall.

Oct. 14. (Sun.)   An Evening with Vijay Iyer: Trio, Quartet and Sextet.  The much praised keyboardist leads several different group formats featuring saxophonist Steve ColemanA CAP UCLA/Angel City Jazz Festival concert at Royce Hall.

San Francisco

- Oct. 10. (Wed.)  “Monk’s Birthday.”  With Barry Harris, Jacky Terrasson and Alfredo Rodriguez. Three cross-generational jazz pianists celebrate the 95th anniversary of the birth of the incomparable Thelonious Monk.   An SFJAZZ concert at the Herbst Theatre.  .

New York

Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin

- Oct. 10 – 14. (Wed. – Sun.)  “GRP 30th.”  Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin, a pair of long time musical companions, get together for the 30th anniversary of GRP Records, the company founded by Grusin and Larry Rosen.  The Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

- Oct. 13 & 14. (Sat. & Sun.)  The SFJAZZ Collective Plays Chick Corea.  The stellar members of the SFJAZZ Collective perform the far-reaching, ever-fascinating music of Chick Corea.  SFJAZZ Collective is David Sanchez, Miguel Zenon, Avishai Cohen, Stefon Harris, Robin Eubanks, Edward Simon, Matt Penman and Jeff BallardJazz Standard.    (212) 576-2232.

London

- Oct. 11 & 13. (Thurs. & Fri.) Soulive.  Carrying the torch for the jazz organ trio format, the trio of Soulive – Eric Crasno, guitar, Neal Evans, keyboards and Alan Evans, drums, continue to keep the jazz groove alive.  Ronnie Scott’s.    (0)20 7439 0747.

Tokyo

John Scofield

- Oct. 10 – 13. (Wed. – Sat.)  The John Scofield Trio.  Guitarist Scofield, always in search of challenging playing environments, performs with a pair of great, veteran players – bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bill StewartBlue Note Tokyo.  03.5485.0088.


Jazz With an Accent: Music, the Brain and the Internet

May 30, 2012

Twitter Music

By Fernando Gonzalez

A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to hear the David Sanchez Quartet with Stefon Harris in concert. It was, by any reasonable jazz standard, a beautiful performance. The music, for the most part originals, was compelling and nicely designed. The group worked like a chamber ensemble, eschewing look-at-me posturing to actually listen to each other and maintain the music front and center. And when the players did solo, they did it with imagination and eloquence.

What troubled me about the performance had to do with technology, the Internet and my brain.

The Internet

As a music journalist/critic, I am a sort of professional listener. Moreover, I was educated as a musician. I was once a professional player and composer. And yet that Saturday evening, at times, I found myself lost. Worse yet, I found myself getting impatient with the length of a piece or a particular solo. The concert had a break (at the request of the promoter, explained Sanchez) and yet it felt to me like a marathon.

The audience — I’d estimate the average age in the mid-50s — listened politely and applauded at the expected moments, neither particularly engaged, nor actively disapproving.

Perhaps most, if not all, of my issues that night might be chalked up to my own deficiencies and that’s that. Then again, if it didn’t engage me, well, it didn’t engage me. Perhaps the concert was not as good as I thought. Perhaps.

But the experience was also a personal reminder of how technology is rewiring our brains.

“We shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us,” wrote Marshall McLuhan in his seminal Understanding Media.

Instruments such as Google, tablets and smart phones are profoundly affecting the way we read, look, listen, think and even use our memory. And they do it in ways we are not even aware of. (Quick, write down the phone numbers of three close friends or family members. I thought so.)

“I can’t read War and Peace anymore. I’ve lost the ability to do that. Even blog posts of more than three or four paragraphs are too much to absorb. I skim it,” says a pathologist on the faculty of the University of Michigan Medical School and blogger on Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows, a book on the effects of the Internet on our brains.

What similar impact might our new tools might have upon our listening habits and, inevitably as a result, on the creation, performance, presentation and consuming of music?

Because, after all, as much as many look at the development of jazz with a Great Man Theory of history (say Armstrong to Ellington to Parker to Miles to Coltrane….), other, more mundane factors have played significant roles in shaping the music.

The advent of the long playing disc granted composers, arrangers and improvisers possibilities up to then unthinkable. The size of the clubs in 52nd St. might have played a greater role in the music going from big bands to small groups (and thus spurring on the development of bebop) than the talent of any one particular musician.

We should anticipate that the changes that technology continues to make to the way we process information will also have consequences.

I am not saying anything startlingly new or particularly astute here. In fact others have said it better. (The subject is brilliantly addressed by Carr in The Shallows.)

If there is a (modest) contribution to the discussion here, it is in asking how these changes are affecting our listening to music in general and jazz in particular – and how, in turn, this will shape the way music is created, designed and presented.

After all, music is an art form that happens in time and depends on memory. In the specific case of jazz, even in its most conventional format, to appreciate the reinterpretation and commentary suggested by the improvisation, the listener must be able to have some recall of the original material. Otherwise, it’s gibberish or some form of musical gymnastics.

In other words, as our memory withers, replaced by gadgets, and our attention span gets shorter and shorter, will there be in a few years an audience capable of remembering an eight-bar-theme that happened five, 10 minutes earlier? And if the listeners are not able to recall even the most basic theme, or lack the patience and discipline to connect the dots over a simple musical form, what could they then make of an improvisation?  (Or in classical music: What happens with Bruckner or Mahler?)

And as audiences inevitably get increasingly lost and frustrated and impatient, go looking for something shorter and simpler, what can the composers, improvisers and presenters do?  In all fairness, is there anything they should do?

On that Saturday night, a couple of weeks ago, David Sanchez and his group played a concert that at times had me baffled and irritated because, well, it had no hyperlinks, no keywords, no way to skim over and get faster to the good parts.

What did they expect?

Come to think of it, what do we expect?

* * * * * *

To read more posts from Fernando Gonzalez and “Jazz With An Accent” click HERE.


Picks of the Week: April 25 – April 30

April 24, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Freda Payne

- April 25. (Wed.)  Corky Hale and Freda PayneA Salute to Billie Holiday’s Birthday.  Lovely Freda Payne has a convincing way with the musical riches of the Holiday legacy.  And  the versatile pianist/harpist Hale, once Lady Day’s accompanist, provides the perfect setting.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- April 25. (Wed.)  Anthony Wilson residency Part 4. Guitarist Wilson wraps up his residency with special guests Donald Vega, Mark Ferber, Dave Robaire, Gilbert Castellanos, Matt Otto, Matt Zebley and Adam SchroederThe Blue Whale.    (213) 620-0908.

- April 25. (Wed.)  The Academy of St. Martin in the Fields with Joshua Bell. The rightly much-honored violinst Bell performs the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the accompaniment of the Academy’s superb ensemble.  Valley Performing Arts Center.  (818) 677-8800.         Bell and the Academy perform a similar program Thursday, 4/26 at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.    (818) 677-8800.

- April 26, 27 & 29.  (Thurs., Fri. & Sun.)  Pepe Romero and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Veteran classical/flamenco guitarist Romero performs Rodrigo’s great Concierto de Aranuez with the L.A. Phil under the baton of Christoph Konig.  Also on the program: Dvorak’s Scherzo Capriccioso and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2.  Disney Hall. (323) 850-2000.

Della Reese

April 27 & 28. (Fri. & Sat.)  Della Reese. She may have reached her largest audience as a star of the hit ‘90s television series, Touched By An Angel, but Reese has been an eminently listenable singer since the ‘50s.  And she’s still going strong.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- April 27 & 28. (Fri. & Sat.)  Nnenna Freelon and Earl Klugh.  Jazz vocalist Freelon and guitarist Klugh are at the top of their form, skilled jazz individualists and engaging performers.  Samueli Theatre at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.   (714) 556-2787.

- April 27 & 28. (Fri. & Sat.)  The Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet.  The 15-member Cedar Lake company concentrates on the works of innovative choreographers.  For this performance they’ll feature works by Regina van Berkel, Crystal Pite and Alexander Ekman.  A UCLA Live event at Royce Hall.  (310) 825-4401.

- April 28. (Sat.) Nailah Porter and Billy Childs.   Porter’s been a Capitol Hill attorney as well as a singer/songwriter. Currently working on a new album, she’ll no doubt be trying out some of the material with her producer – pianist/composer Childs.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

* * * HIGHLIGHT EVENT * * *

 – April 30. (Mon.)  1st International Jazz Day Celebration.  Herbie Hancock’s first initiative as a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador was to create International Jazz Day – the climactic event celebrating April as Jazz Appreciation Month.  Concerts will take place in Paris, New York, New Orleans and dozens of other countries.  In Los Angeles, Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. has stepped up with a major jazz event featuring an all-star line-up of the Southland’s finest players in an evening of continuous jazz.  The stellar list of names is too long to include here – check the Vibrato web site for the full line-up: Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

* * * * *                                                     * * * * *

San Francisco

Anat Cohen

- April 29. (Sun.)  The 3 Cohens and the Gilad Hekselman Trio.  It’ll be a celebration of the impact jazz has had on young Israeli musicians – and vice versa.  With Cohen siblings Anat, clarinet and tenor saxophone, Yuval, soprano saxophone, and Avishai, trumpet, as well as guitarist Hekselman’s Trio. SFJAZZ at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco.    (866) 920-5299.

Washington

Jon Faddis

April 25 – 28.  (Wed. – Sat.)  Jon Faddis.  Arguably one of the most virtuosic trumpeters of his generation, Faddis’ performances are virtual seminars in the length and breadth of jazz trumpetry.  Blues Alley.   (202) 337-4141.

New York

- April 24 – 28.  (Tues. – Sat.)  Bossabrasil.  Featuring Marcos Valle and Paula Morelenbaum.  Fifty years after the girl from Ipanema, keyboardist Valle and singer Morelenbaum get together to explore the broad connections Brazilian music has established with pop, jazz, world music and beyond.  Birdland.    (212) 581-3080.

- April 25 – 29.  (Wed. – Sun.)  “Endangered Species: The Music of Wayne Shorter.”  It may not actually be endangered, but Shorter’s works  surely deserve more attention than they’ve received in recent years.  And there’s no better collection of interpreters than Ravi Coltrane, Jeremy Pelt and Marcus StricklandDizzy’s Club Coca Cola.  (212) 258-9800.

London

- April 25 & 26. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Clare Teal. BBC Jazz Singer of the Year in 2006, Teal’s busy career includes a pair of Radio 2 weekly shows featuring her eclectic vocal stylings.   Ronnie Scott’s.   020 7439 0747.

Paris

David Sanchez

- April 27. (Fri.)  David Sanchez.  Puerto Rican born saxophonist Sanchez enlivens his solid jazz skills with occasional seasonings of Caribbean rhythms.  New Morning.  01 45 23 51 41.

Berlin

- April 29. (Sun.)  Vijay Iyer Trio. Starting out as violinist, while absorbing some Carnatic music along the way, holder of a PhD in music cognition, Iyer has brought a rich creative perspective to his art as a jazz pianist.  A-Trane.  030 / 313 25 50.

Milan

- April 27. (Fri.)  Patti Austin.  Few singers can match Austin’s remarkable stylistic versatility, her ability to move with great authenticity from jazz to pop to rock to r & b and beyond.  Blue Note Milano.    02.69.01.68.88.


News: The 55th Monterey Jazz Festival Final Line Up.

April 5, 2012

By Michael Katz

The 55th Monterey Jazz Festival announced its complete schedule yesterday, adding Tony Bennett and Michael Wolff (leading his Cal Tjader tribute band) to a program already rich with stars that include Pat Metheny, Showcase Artist Jack DeJohnette, Esperanza Spalding, Trombone Shorty, Bill Frisell and Artist-in-residence Ambrose Akinmusire.

Tony Bennett

More on all that later. If you really want to know how loaded this festival is, set your watch for 9:30 p.m. Saturday night, September 22. Here’s what you can hear: Metheny, DeJohnette and Christian McBride in a trio performance on the Lyons Stage; Wolff and his Tjader band with Warren Wolf on vibes along with Pete Escovedo, John Santos, Vince Lateano and Robb Fisher at Dizzy’s Den; The Tierney Sutton Band at the Night Club; Gerald Clayton at the Coffee House. Yikes. Almost all at the same time.  Fortunately, Sutton gets a head start at 9 and Metheny plays another set with his Unity Band featuring Chris Potter, Antonio Sanchez and Ben Williams on Sunday night. Still, if that cloning research gets perfected by September, you know where to find me.

Here’s a few of the other highlights. The Friday night arena show opens with Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band making its MJF debut, and we LA folk know they will get the festival off to a rollicking start. I confess to having heard little of Melody Gardot, who follows, other than sampling the bluesy jazz offerings on her website, but that’s the beauty of MJF.

Ambrose Akinmusire

There’s always some fresh faces,  including harmonica player Gregoire Maret at the Night Club and vocalist Gregory Porter, who has been creating a big ripple lately, with Night Club’s late set. DeJohnette and Akinmusire perform at Dizzy’s Den and the Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra caps off the Arena Show. Finally, pianist Mulgrew Miller, who I would rate along with Michael Wolff among the finest of his (and my) generation, will lead his trio in three performances at the Coffee House.

Saturday is blues/roots/funk day in the afternoon. Robert Randolph and the Family Band open the show at the Arena and end the afternoon at the Garden Stage, always a great place to hang out. As mentioned, Trombone Shorty headlines at the Arena   and his performance, on the heels of his 2010 tour de force, will be one of the most anticipated of the festival. If you are looking for something a little quieter, two of my favorite musicians, flutist Ali Ryerson and guitarist Mimi Fox will be performing a matinee duet at the Night Club.

Saturday night, in addition to the aforementioned logjam at 9:30, begins at the Arena with guitarist Bill Frisell’s Beautiful Dreamers band performing the Festival’s commissioned piece and ends with Tony Bennett. Whether the moon will show up on cue as it did during the opening notes of “Fly Me To The Moon,” as it did in Bennett’s memorable 2005 concert has yet to be determined, but don’t bet against it.

Esperanza Spalding

Sunday afternoon features the award-winning high school and college groups, highlighted by the all-star Next Generation Band at the Arena, with alumnus Ambrose Akinmusire sitting in. The NGB was one of the highlights of the festival last year, so don’t wander in late. Esperanza Spalding, with a hot new album and lots of national exposure, anchors the afternoon show. The late afternoon Sunday shows at the Garden Stage often provide some of the most relaxed and enjoyable moments of the weekend. This year vocalist Jose James gets the 4pm slot and Kyle Eastwood and his band are sure to be crowd pleasers at 5:30.

Sunday night at the Arena begins with Pat Metheny’s band and finishes up with the MJF 55th Anniversary All Star group, featuring Dee Dee Bridgewater, trumpeter Akinmusire, Christian McBride, Benny Green, Chris Potter and drummer Lewis Nash. (They also perform Saturday night at Dizzy’s Den.) There’s plenty happening on the grounds, including vibist Stefon Harris’ Cuban themed 90 Miles Band with David Sanchez on sax and Nicholas Payton filling the trumpet chair; DeJohnette and Frisell in duets; and the annual Hammond B3 organ blowout featuring John Abercrombie, Larry Goldings and Chester Thompson. Tiger Hamasyan takes the piano spot at the Coffee House.

The 55th Annual MJF runs September 21-23. Details at: www.montereyjazzfestival.org/2012

* * * * *

To read more iRoM reviews and posts by Michael Katz, click HERE.

To visit Michael Katz’s personal blog, “Katz of the Day,” click HERE.


Picks of the Week: March 6 – 11

March 6, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

John Pisano

- Mar. 6. (Tues.)  John Pisano’s “Guitar Night.” Pisano takes his ever-entertaining, ever-popular  “Guitar Night” to a new venue.  To celebrate the move, the featured guest is veteran guitarist Mundell Lowe.  Lucy’s 51. Toluca Lake.  (818) 763-5200.

Mar. 6. (Tues.)  The Gonzalo Bergara Quartet.  Guitarist Bergara and his crew bring Django Reinhardt’s gypsy jazz firmly into the 21st century.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Mar. 6. (Tues.)  Hod O’Brien and Stephanie Nakasian.  Pianist O/Brien is one of the authentic beboppers, continuing to mine the still rich sounds and rhythms of bop for new musical discoveries.  Here, he also backs his wife, singer Nakasian. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Mar. 6. (Tues.)  The CJS Quintet in a “Tribute to Dexter Gordon.”  The CJS Quintat, always eager keep mainstream jazz alive and swinging, explore the muscular music of Dexter Gordon.  CJS is Chuck Johnson, saxes, James Smith, trumpet, Koji Ono, piano, Trevor Ware, bass, Kenny Elliott, drums. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Mar. 6 – 11. (Tues. – Sun.)  Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Dance at its finest is a fundamental aspect of every performance by the Ailey dancers.  Three programs are offered, featuring Ailey classics and contemporary works.  Check website for schedule.   Segerstrom Hall  (714) 556-2787..

Jeffrey Kahane

Mar. 7. (Wed.)  Jeffrey Kahane and members of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra present a 15th Anniversary Celebration of Kahane’s tenure as Director of the LACO.  The program showcases Kahane’s far reaching skills as a pianist in the Bach French Suite, the Brahms Piano Trio No. 1, a broad selection of Chopin works and a new Gabriel Kahane composition.  Disney Hall.    (323) 850-2000.

- Mar. 7. (Wed.)  Tull, Korb, Proulx. An evening featuring a sterling trio of jazz instrumentalist/singers – drummer Dave Tull, bassist Kristen Korb, pianist John Proulx.  To read a recent iRoM review of a Proulx performance, click HEREVitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Nellie McCay

- Mar. 9. (Fri.)  Nellie McKay.  Singer, pianist songwriter McKay is one of a kind, making every performance into a compelling creative adventure.  To read an iRoM review of a recent McKay performance, click HERE. Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- Mar. 10. (Sat.)  Cecelia Coleman Quartet. L.A. native Coleman, who has been living in New York, returns to remind us of the intriguing qualities of her piano style. She performs with trumpeter Steve Huffsteter, bassist Pat Senatore and drummer Ramon Banda.   Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Mar. 11. (Sun.)  Billy Childs Quartet and the Kronos QuartetBill Frisell’s Beautiful Dreamers.  A fascinating evening of jazz and jazz-oriented chamber music.  The Childs Quartet and Kronos play individual sets and then combine to perform a Childs composition.  Frisell opens the show with the engaging sounds of his guitar, viola and drum trio.  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

San Francisco

- Mar. 8 & 9.  (Thurs. & Fri.) Patricia Barber. Pianist, singer, songwriter Barber brings emotional and intellectual illumination to everything she plays and sings — whether it’s from the Great American Songbook or her own folio of works. Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

- Mar. 10. (Sat.)  Lynne Arriale Trio.  Pianist Arriale combines an airy harmonic imagination with a briskly effervescent rhythmic feeling.  Yoshi’s San Francisco. .  The trio also appears at Jazz Alley in Seattle on Mar. 13 & 14.   (206) 441-0729.

- Mar. 10. (Sat.)  “Salute to Toots Thielemans.”  A stellar assemblage of players,  led by harmonica player Gregoire Maret, come together to celebrate the life and work of the one and only Toots.  The group also includes Oscar Castro-Neves, guitar, Kenny Werner, piano and Airto Moreira, percussion.  Herbst Theatre.  An SFJAZZ 2012 Spring Season event.  Salute to Toots Thielemans.  (866) 920-5299.

Chicago

David Sanchez

- Mar. 8 – 11. (Thurs. – Sun.)  David Sanchez Quartet. Puerto Rican-born Sanchez, one of the finest saxophonists of his generation, enhances his inventiveness with traces of his Caribbean roots.  Jazz Showcase (312) 360-0234.

New York

- Mar. 6 – 11. (Tues. – Sun.)  Freddy Cole Sextet.  Cole’s conversational vocal style is backed by the richly melodic improvising of saxophonist Harry Allen in a showcase of Cole’s new album, Talk To Me. Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.   (212) 258-9800.

- Mar. 6 & 7. (Tues. & Wed.)  Edmar Castaneda, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Miguel Zenon.  Expect musical fireworks from this encounter between Castaneda’s fiery harp playing, Rubalcaba’s adventurous piano work and Zenon’s far-ranging saxophone playing.  The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

Berlin

- Mar. 8. (Thurs.)  Dino Saluzzi, Anja Lechner and Felix Saluzzi Trio. The trio of prominent Argentine musical artists – bandoneonist Dino Saluzzi, his saxophonist brother Felix Saluzzi and cellist Anja Lechner – assemble to play selections from their fine ECM album, Navidad de Los Andes.  A-Trane.   030/313 25 50.

Tokyo

Lou Donaldson

- Mar. 7 – 10. (Wed. – Sat.)  Lou Donaldson. The playing of veteran alto saxophonist Donaldson, still in rare form at 85, provides a compelling link to the bebop era of Charlie Parker and Sonny Stitt.  Blue Note Tokyo.   03-5485-0088.

Milan

- Mar. 10. (Sat.)  The Ron Carter Quartet. Bassist Carter, who has played with virtually every major jazz artist of the past five decades, steps out with a group reflecting his own musical thinking: pianist Renee Rosnes, percussionist Rolando Morales-Matos and drummer Payton Crossley.  The Blue Note Milan    02.69.01.68.88.

John Pisano photo by Bob Barry.

Nellie McCay poto by Tony Gieske.


Picks of the Week: Jan. 31 – Feb. 5

January 31, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Anthony Wilson

- Jan. 31. (Tues.)  Anthony Wilson.  He’s had a lot of visibility the past few years backing Diana Krall, but Wilson’s a certified jazz star in his own right – as a performer, a composer and a band leader.  This time out, he gets back to basics with guitarist and host John Pisano in the laid back format of  Guitar NightVitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Jan. 31. (Tues.)  Sheldon Reynolds’ “Elements of Fire.”  A guitarist and lead singer with Earth, Wind and Fire in the ’80s and ’90s, Reynolds revisits some of the Grammy-winning ensemble’s greatest hits.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 2 (Thurs.)  The Salzburg Chamber Soloists.  The critically praised members of the SCS reveal their musical versatility with a diverse program featuring works by Mozart, Ravel, Britten and Janacek.  The Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.    (562) 916-8501.

Windy Karigianes

- Feb. 2 (Thurs.)  Windy Karigianes.  Las Vegas singer Karigianes hasn’t had a lot of wide visibility yet, but the warmth of her sound, her briskly rhythmic style and evocative interpretations bode well for her future.  Saxophonist Brandon Fields will be her special guest.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 2. (Thurs.)  Doug MacDonald Organ Quartet.  Guitarist MacDonald dips into a deep groove with the vibrant assistance of organ playing and vocals of Bobby Pierce, the tenor saxophone of Clarence Webb and the drumming and vocals of Harold Acey.  The LAX Jazz Club at the Crowne Plaza.   (310) 258-1333.

- Feb. 2 – 4. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Bobby Caldwell. It’s a safe bet that Caldwell won’t get through the night without singing his 1978 hit, “What You Won’t Do For Love.”  But he’s got plenty of other past hits in his resume, as well as an easygoing, appealing way of dealing with everything from American Songbook classics to his own catalog of memorable originals.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

The Flying Karamazov Brothers

- Feb. 3. (Fri.)  The Flying Karamazov Brothers.  Juggling’s their game, and comedy’s a good part of their fame.  How could it be otherwise with a whimsical group of experts who juggle everything from apples and swords to fish and flaming torches.  There’s nothing quite like them.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.    (562) 916-8501.

- Feb. 3. (Fri.)  Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band.  Saxophonist/pianist/bandleader has accomplished the jazz world miracle of not only keeping a big band together, but doing so with an impressive display of engaging, hard swinging musicality.  No surprise that the Phat Band has a Grammy nomination this year.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 3. (Fri.)  Trio M.  With Myra Melford, piano, Mark Dresser, bass, Matt Wilson, drums.  The instrumentation may be the same as the classic jazz piano trio, but Trio M — Myra, Mark, Matt — has set no stylistic limits.  A true creative musical collective, each of its stellar members brings his or her artistic vision to the trio’s unbounded explorations.  The Musicians Institute Concert Center.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast.    (310) 271-9039.

- Feb. 3. (Fri.)  John Beasley and Dwight Trible.  “First Fridays Jazz Series.”  Pianist Beasley ands singer Trible, performing with stunning musical empathy, celebrate the release of their album, Duality, as a headliner event in the First Friday Jazz Series at Joe’s Restaurant.    (310) 399-5811.

- Feb. 3 & 4. (Fri. & Sat.)  Ben Wendel.  Grammy nominated multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Wendel showcases his eclectic creative skills in a celebration of his new album, Frame. Blue Whale.  (213) 620-0908.

San Francisco

Peter Erskine

- Feb. 1 (Wed.)  The Peter Erskine New Trio.  Grammy-winning Peter Erskine has drummed with everyone from Stan Kenton to Pat Metheny, with all stops in between.  But one of the best ways to hear his subtle rhythms is with his own impressive new trio, featuring pianist Vardan Ovsepian and bassist (and nephew) Damian ErskineYoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

New York

- Jan. 31 – Feb. 4. (Tues. – Sat.)  David Sanchez Quartet.  Grammy-winning, and frequently Grammy-nominated Sanchez is one of the rare saxophonists who has found inspiration in John Coltrane, while continuing to explore the essentials of his own style and creativity.  He’s backed by drummer Antonio Sanchez, bassist Matt Brewer and guitarist Adam Rogers. Jazz Standardl.  (212) 576-2232.

Simone Dinnerstein

- Feb. 2 (Thurs.)  Simone DinnersteinBach and the Romantics.  Whether it’s baroque, classical or romantic, Dinnerstein approaches the piano with a transparency that takes the listener into the very origins of the music she plays.  This time she offers a program reaching from Bach through Schubert, Chopin and Brahms.  The Miller Theatre at the Columbia University School of the Arts.    (212) 854-7799.

- Feb. 3. (Fri.)  The Ben Monder, Theo Bleckmann Duo.  Guitarist Monder and vocalist Bleckmann, each an adventurous musical explorer in his own right, take on even more unusual creative territories when they come together as a team.  Cornelia St. Café.    (212) 989-9319.

London

- Jan. 31. (Tues.)  Mark Murphy. One of the great veterans of the jazz vocal art.  Approaching 80, he continues to offer definitive displays of his still potent, richly creative abilities. Ronnie Scott’s.   020 7439 0747

Berlin

- Feb. 5. (Sun.)  Becca Stevens. Singer, composer and multiple instrumentalist (guitar, ukulele and charango), Stevens also manages to find a way to embrace folk, classical and pop in her idiosyncratic, jazz-tinged music.   A-Trane.   030/313 25 50.  Critically acclaimed 2011 album, Weightless.

Peter Erskine photo by Tony Gieske


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: Dec. 6 – 11

December 6, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Sophie Milman

- Dec. 6 & 7. (Tues. & Wed.)  Sophie Milman.  The young Russian/Canadian singer has thoroughly established herself as one of the important new arrivals on the jazz scene.  She’ll hopefully do a few selections from her latest CD, In the Moonlight.  Catalina Bar & Grill   (323) 466-2210.

- Dec. 7. (Wed.)  Keb’ Mo’  It’s blues on the loose whenever Keb’ Mo’ is on stage.  This time out he’ll no doubt sprinkle some holiday selections among his acoustic repertoire. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.

- Dec. 8. (Thurs.)  Larry Koonse Quartet.  He’s a second generation all-star guitarist, but Larry Koonse has also established a style, an attitude and a visibility all his own.  He’s frequently seen in some one else’s rhythm section, so don’t miss this chance to see and hear him in the spotlight.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- Dec. 8 – 10. (Thurs. – Sat.)  The Four Seasons.  Amid all the holiday music of the season, it’ll a distinct alternative pleasure to hear Norwegian violinist/conductor Henning Kraggerud perform the always-engaging Vivaldi work – and especially the Winter segment — with the Pacific Symphony Segerstrom Center for the Arts.    (714) 556-2787.

Thomas Wilkins

- Dec. 8, 9 & 11. (Thurs., Fri. & Sun.)  “The Hollywood Sound.”  Thomas Wilkins conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic in an evening of memorable film music by the likes of Erich Korngold, Bernard Herrman, Elmer Bernstein, John Williams and more.  The performance is part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time program.  Disney Hall.    (323) 850-2000.

- Dec. 9 – 11. (Fri. – Sun.)  Kenny Werner Band.  A pianist, composer and Guggenheim Fellowship winner, Werner leads a world-class jazz ensemble, featuring trumpeter Randy Brecker, saxophonist David Sanchez, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Antonio SanchezCatalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210..

- Dec. 9. (Fri.)  Holiday Pop!  The Glendale Pops Orchestra is conducted by Matt Catingub in a program of holiday classics.  Also featured: pianist David Benoit doing material from Vince Guaraldi’s A Charlie Brown Christmas  and Grammy winner Taylor Dayne adds her own Christmas favorites.  The Alex Theatre.    (818) 243-2611.

Peabo Bryson

- Dec. 10. (Sat.)  The Colors of Christmas. This always festive holiday program has been arriving every year for nearly a decade.  The current line up includes Grammy winners Peabo Bryson and Jennifer Holiday, Broadway star Lea Salonga and Tony award winner Ben VereenCerritos Center for the Performing Arts.    (562) 916-8501.

- Dec. 10 & 11. (Sat. & Sun.)  Reflection”  The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. The Southland’s most gifted and adventurous chamber ensemble brings a colorful array of music to the holiday season in a program of  Ravel, Tchaikovsky, Thomas Ades and Respighi.  Jeffrey Kahane conducts and cellist Ralph Kirshbaum solos.  Sat. The Alex Theatre. (818) 243-2539.   Sun.  Royce Hall.  (310) 825-2101.

- Dec. 10 & 11. (Sat. & Sun.)  Scarlet Stone.  A mixed-media (music/dance/animation) look at ancient Persian mythology, Scarlet Stone also portrays to the current struggles within Iran.  Freud Playhouse, U.C.L.A.    (310) 825-2101.

- Dec. 11(Sun.)  Rejoice: A Classical Christmas. Los Angeles Master Chorale. The gorgeous voices and articulate musicality of the LAMC are heard in a program of compelling Christmas compositions by Poulenc, Distler, Ferko and Lauridsen.  Disney Hall.    (323) 850-2000.

Otmaro Ruiz

- Dec. 11. (Sun.)  Otmaro Ruiz.  Sunday night piano and bass duos at Vibrato are always sure to produce intriguing music. Expect that and more with the creative interaction between the adventurous composer/pianist Ruiz and the versatile bassist Pat SenatoreVibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

- Dec. 11. (Sun.) ASMAC 2011 Holiday Celebration.  The American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers celebrates the season with a Holiday Party, Silent Auction and More.  The John Clayton Holiday Quartet performs, with Clayton, bass, Tamir Hendelman, piano, Graham Dechter, guitar, Kevin Kanner, drums.  Brunch at 11:30 a.m.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

San Francisco

- Dec. 10. (Sat.)  Ahmad Jamal.  The pianist Miles Davis often cited as a master or rhythmic space and time, Jamal is still demonstrating the essentials of how to bring life to the beat and imagination to the music.   The Herbst Theatre.  An SFJAZZ concert.   (866) 920-5299.

Chicago

= Dec. 8 – 11. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Benny Golson Quartet. Veteran tenor saxophonist and composer of some of the most memorable works in the Great American Jazz songbook, Golson in live performance is always something to remember.  Jazz Showcase.    (312) 360-0234.

New York

- Dec. 6 – 10. (Tues. – Sat.)  The Frank Wess Quintet.  Approaching his ninetieth birthday in January, multi-instrumentalist Wess continues to be one of the definitive jazz flutist as well as a superb saxophonist.  Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

The Manhattan Transfer

- Dec. 8 – 11. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Manhattan Transfer.  For almost four decades the Transfer has been an incomparable model for jazz ensemble singing of every imaginable style, always done with impeccable musicality.   Amazingly, they’re still at their best.  Hear them at every opportunity. The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

- Dec. 8 – 11. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Trumpeter Dave Douglas displays his full range of jazz versatility via performances with four different groups:  Thurs.: the Key Motion Quintet. Fri.: So Percussion.  Sat.: Orange Afternoons Quintet.  Sun.: Brass Ecstasy.  The Jazz Standard.  (212) 576-2232.

London

- April 6 – 10. (Tues. – Sat.)  Motown Christmas Review.   Natalie Williams and her Soul Family Band celebrate the holiday season with the music of Smoky Robinson, Gladys Knight, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, Michael Jackson and a lot more.  Ronnie Scott’s.    020 7439 0747.

Tokyo

- April 10 – 12.  (Sat. – Mon.)  Kyle Eastwood.   Bassist Eastwood has garnered a great deal of visibility as the son of jazz fan Clint Eastwood.  But Kyle is a solid talent on his own well on his way to a sterling career as a talented bassist. Blue Note Tokyo.    03–5485-0088.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 220 other followers