Live Music: A Ray Charles Tribute at the Hollywood Bowl

July 13, 2012

By Michael Katz

When you consider the arc of Ray Charles’ career – jazz, blues, R&B, country, it’s no surprise that it took a village Wednesday night at the Hollywood Bowl to pay tribute to him. There was an all-star jazz band, in addition to the Count Basie Band, strings, a choir, headliners from all the touchstones of Charles’ music, plus a loaded version of the Raelettes (Patti Austin!), all tied up in a ribbon by Tavis Smiley. If it only occasionally matched the searing genius of Brother Ray Himself, it did keep everyone on their toes.

Ray Charles’ voice was unmistakable – not just for the raw soulfulness mixed with lyric grace, but for the pain that was never far from the surface. There is a certain courageousness in that for a male singer, and  it’s not surprising that the women on the program seemed to channel Charles’ spirit most effectively, with Dee Dee Bridgewater and Ms. Austin exhibits A and 1A. More on that later.

The first half of he show was anchored by an all-star band led by drummer and musical director Gregg Field. The front line featured Terence Blanchard and Scotty Barnhart (Barnhart also led the trumpet section of the Basie band), with Dave Koz on alto sax, Houston Person on tenor and Tom Scott on baritone. George Duke sparkled throughout the concert on piano and electric keyboards, with Shelly Berg’s Hammond B-3  percolating underneath it all.

R&B singer BeBe Winans was the opening vocalist, smoothly working through “I Got A Woman” and a more expressive “Drown In My Own Tears.” Perhaps that is damning with faint praise, but the raw power of Ray Charles was lurking in the background, and anything short of that can’t help but be noticed. The band had “Them That Got” to themselves, featuring Dave Koz  on alto and Tom Scott picking up his soprano. Koz is a star on the smooth jazz scene and dominated the sax solos during the show — this inevitably left less room for Houston Person, which was regrettable. That big tenor sound, exemplified by the late David “Fathead” Newman, whose name never came up during the evening, was a major part of the Charles sound.

Dee Dee Bridgewater

And then came Dee Dee Bridgewater. Head shaven, clad in a stunning gold dress, she took over the show from the first note. She started with “Hallelujah I Love Him So,” backed up by Houston Person in his one soulful excursion of the night. She followed with “I Believe In My Soul” and the rousing “I Got News For You,” which brought Blanchard out front on trumpet and Duke alternating from keyboards to piano. Dee Dee Bridgewater simply has it all – the booming voice in perfect pitch, the sassiness in her presentation, the hurt and tenderness when she needed to reach back for it. All of it flows naturally, not a note forced. Thankfully she wasn’t done for the night.

Patti Austin

The next section of the show featured Ray Charles’ foray into Country and Western music. It started with a standout version of the Raelettes, with Patti Austin and Siedah Garrett. Garrett led Charles’ smoldering version of “You Are My Sunshine,” then Patti Austin took center stage. Austin is just too much of a presence to keep in the background. Her intro to “Come Rain or Come Shine” seemed effortless, but before you knew it  she had you in her grasp – her version of the ballad stood right there with Ray Charles’s.

Country music singer Martina McBride closed the first half of the program.  If you are mainly a jazz or R&B fan with a tangential knowledge of country, McBride’s voice fits in solidly with the post-Loretta Lynn/Patsy Cline tradition.  Producers Gregg Field and the legendary Phil Ramone  were smart to give her a variety of settings, instead of just covering Charles’ C&W oeuvre. “Bye Bye Love” had the Raelettes behind her, then a combination of strings and the Fred Martin/Levite Camp of Urban Entertainment Institute choir filled up the stage for “You Don’t Know Me” and “Take These Chains.” Finally,  trumpet virtuoso Arturo Sandoval came onstage and joined McBride for the Hank Williams standard “Hey, Good Lookin’.” Cuban Country Soul…you just don’t get that everywhere.

The second half of the show was anchored by the Count Basie Big Band,   featuring the aforementioned Barnhart on trumpet and Reggie Thomas on piano. The main vocalist for much of the set was Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds. He’s an appealing singer, his voice pitched a little higher than Winans, but he just doesn’t have the visceral appeal to carry this music. “Let The Good Times Roll” was a good vehicle to start his segment. There were Charles standards to follow like “I Can’t Stop Loving You” and “Crying Time,” which featured Monica Mancini stepping out in front of the Raelettes.

Bebe Winans

But the real fireworks came as the program concluded. There was BeBe Winans reaching back for a little extra on “How Long Has This Been Going On?” Then Dee Dee Bridgewater came back out and tore the place up again with “Busted.” Before the final numbers, the video screens flashed a clip of Ray Charles as a guest on Saturday Night Live, Year 2, with Murray, Belushi, Gildna Radner et al playing a cover group, “The Young Caucasians.” It was at once hilarious and a reminder of how far Ray Charles’ music had brought us. It set the stage for “Georgia On My Mind,” which brought back Babyface as well as Patti Austin and the Raelettes, and then the whole production returned for “America The Beautiful.”

Despite the effort to sprinkle the program with all sorts of pop stars, the attendance was only around 10,000. Which makes me wonder, since it is supposed to be a jazz series, why not just give the microphone to Dee Dee Bridgewater, Houston Person, Patti Austin et al and let them try and fill the place up instead of relying on retro themes? I don’t think Ray Charles would have objected.

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.


The Playboy Jazz Festival: The First Ladies of the Skins

June 14, 2012

The 2012 Playboy Jazz Festival, which takes place at the Hollywood Bowl this weekend, features the rare presence of three world class female jazz drummers.  Writer/musician Devon Wendell describes his reaction when he first saw the Festival line up.  

By Devon Wendell

Growing up, I always thought of the drums as being this potent symbol of masculine power.  I’d listen to Max Roach, Philly Joe Jones, Elvin Jones, Billy Higgins, Art Blakey, Tony Williams, and Roy Haynes.  These men sounded tough, pissed off, strong and as if they possessed boundless energy.  Bird, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, or Miles could be playing the sweetest melody you’ve ever heard and then this bombastic force would enter in a way that felt like Zeus throwing thunder bolts from the heavens – and at the same time it always complimented the music perfectly.

The initial experiences of that drum sound were so wild that it made me giggle as if I were listening to something forbidden.  It was a similar feeling that I had when sneaking off with my high school chums, smoking and listening to Richard Pryor albums when no adults were present.

Although I could play guitar, bass, harmonica, and some keys by my mid-teens, the drums always intimidated me. I felt too weak and geeky to be a drummer.  It was Max Roach with Bird on those classics Verve sides that scared me away from picking up those sticks.  Once I had second thoughts and was going to give it a go, I heard Philly Joe Jones’ drum solo behind Miles Davis on Miles’ version of the Dizzy Gillespie classic “Salt Peanuts” from those incredible Prestige recordings of 1956.  Once again I felt like the scrawny kid watching the jocks slamming into each other on the football field.

I knew that I could be lethargic, lazy and fake self confidence with an electric guitar but not with drums. Unless you’re playing an electric kit like that dreadful sound Phil Collins was selling to the public in the 80s, there’s nothing to hide behind on the drums. To me, this was a tough guy’s instrument.

My perception of drummers quickly shifted when I first saw Sheila E. performing with Prince on TV.  She bashed away at the kit, creating polyrhythmic bliss.  All of my sexist, preconceived notions of what a woman could and couldn’t do vanished like all my dreams and aspirations did in high school.  Sheila E. appeared just as confident and energetic as Elvin Jones playing with John Coltrane.

Sheila E.

Many years later I saw Sheila E. perform with her father – the brilliant and legendary percussionist and composer Pete Escovedo.  There must have been six or seven percussionists up their on stage, and they all seemed to be having a hard time keeping up with Sheila E., who had this ferocious look on her face. Her teeth were gritted as she stared down her father and his comrades.  I could imagine her saying, “Take that boys!”  I found this confidence to be extremely sexy.

Cindy Blackman

One night while I was attending college, I ventured down to the Knitting Factory in NYC to see Pharoah Sanders.  Although he was great in his own right, it was his drummer that got my attention.  Here was this slender woman with big, wild hair tossing back and fourth on her head, and her arms flailing all over the drums. She looked totally relaxed but played as aggressively as Tony Williams. I rushed over to the sound man to find out who she was and he told me, “Man, that’s Cindy Blackman.”

At times, her facial expressions revealed possible shyness, which I could not match with her total control and mastery of the drum kit.  Her ideas kept flowing.  She played the top and bottom of the kit while taking risks and never missing a beat.  I instantly had a crush on Blackman, whose appearance was that of a modern day, elegant, psychedelic goddess. But I wasn’t cool enough to approach her, not even close.  I barely saw Sanders and whoever else was in the band that night. I knew that this drummer was someone who was going to get a lot of attention.

The next time I saw Blackman play was a year later with Lenny Kravitz at some God awful rock festival in New Jersey.  Behind Kravitz, she played a funkier, more subordinate roll, but the effect was just as compelling.  She gave Lenny some much needed groove.

In 2003, I was in Atlanta and went to see Herbie Hancock, who was set to play with fellow legend, vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson.  This was one of the greatest performances I’ve ever witnessed.  Once again, the drummer caught my ears and eyes.

Terri Lyne Carrington

Hancock introduced her, and the name Terri Lyne Carrington has stayed with me ever since.  What struck me about Carrington was her sense of dynamics.  Amazingly, she could play soft and hard all at once, using high hat flourishes with the bass drum in a way that was completely unique.  Herbie may have been the band leader, but Carrington was the driving force, taking the band way up and then down to where you could hear “A rat piss on cotton,” as Ella Fitzgerald used to put it.  It was as if Carrington was aware of what Hancock, Hutcherson, and bassist Scott Colley were going to do before they did. She played melodically the way Art Taylor did behind Jackie McLean. The jazz dork in me was in love again.

All three women let it be known that they are proud and strong and can give any male drummer a run for their money. Cindy Blackman (now Cindy Blackman Santana) has said, “I wouldn’t care if Art Blakey was pink with polka dots wearing a tutu or if Tony Williams was green.  Me being a female drummer has nothing to do with anything except for the fact that I wear bras and panties and guys don’t.”  (Well, some guys.)

Terri Lyne Carrington says of her latest musical venture (and fifth album as a bandleader) The Mosaic Project: “This particular project really is to celebrate women artists, women musicians, and women instrumentalists and singers.” Like bassist Esperanza Spalding, (who has also proven to be a great innovator on a male dominated instrument), Carrington is also a uniquely soulful vocalist.  The Mosaic Project won a Grammy this year in the Best Jazz Vocal category.  The album not only celebrates woman musicians and artists but features such great ladies as Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Nona Hendryx, Cassandra Wilson, Esperanza Spalding, Gerri Allen, and Sheila E.  All the musicians on the album are women. Sheila E. said about the project, “I dare any man to come and try to do this!”

You can see all three artists perform at The 34th Annual Playboy Jazz Festival this weekend.

Sheila E. will be playing a set with her own band on Saturday, June 16th, the opening day of The Festival.

Cindy Blackman Santana appears on Sunday’s program with her latest band, Spectrum Road, which is a tribute to Tony Williams (featuring Vernon Reid: guitar, John Medeski: keyboards, and Jack Bruce on bass) performing music from their self-titled debut album Spectrum Road on Sunday.

And Terri Lyne Carrington and her Mosaic Project – with Gretchen Parlato, Carmen Lundy, Tia Fuller, Ingrid Jensen, Helen Sung, Linda Taylor, Mimi Jones, Patrice Rushen, Angela Davis (and some surprise guests) are also on the Sunday Playboy Festival line up.

I can visualize Max, Elvin, Philly Joe, Art Blakey, and Billy Higgins all standing together, dressed to the nines, looking down from heaven at these three women playing and then slapping each other five and saying, “Yeah, they got it covered,” and maybe even looking somewhat envious at what they see and hear.

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For information about the 34th Playboy Jazz Festival, call the Festival hot line –  (310) 450-1173 — or click HERE.

To read more posts and reviews by Devon Wendell click HERE.


Picks of the Week: May 29 – June3

May 29, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- May 30. (Wed.)  Gene Cipriano.  “The World According to ‘Cip”  Veteran saxophonist Cipriano, backed by a band of L.A.’s veteran jazz artists, in an evening of stories and song.  His stellar band includes trombonist Dick Nash, pianist Tom Ranier, bassist Trey Henry and drummer Ralph Humphrey Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- June 1 & 2. (Fri. & Sat.) Steve Smith and Vital Information.  Former Journey drummer Smith has been leading the crossover jazz ensemble Vital Information for nearly three decades.  And the band continues to be one of the most accomplished musical pathfinders in contemporary jazz.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

Chris Botti

- June 2. (Sat.)  Chris Botti.  Trumpeter Botti is the world’s best selling jazz artist and with good reason.  Not only is he a player with a uniquely personal sound, inventive ideas and a brisk sense of swing – he’s also a performer who knows how to create a connection with his audience.  The Greek Theatre.     (323) 665-5857.  Click HERE to read a recent iRoM review of a Botti performance. 

- June 2. (Sat.)  John Daversa Quartet.  Versatile trumpeter Daversa channels his impressive abilities as a composer/instrumentalist into the improvisational setting of his quartet.   Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.    (310) 474-9400.

- June 2. (Sat.) Grupo Falso Baiano.  The San Francisco based group cruises through traditional and contemporary choro music, blending their dynamic interpretations with a cross-genre seasoning of jazz, flamenco and beyond.  LACMA.   (323) 857-6000.

Johnny Mandel

- June 2. (Sat.)  Johnny Mandel Big Band.  The great composer/arranger/songwriter makes one of his rare appearances, leading a stageful of L.A.’s finest players in a program of his lush, atmospheric charts. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.  Click HERE to read a recent iRoM review of a Mandell performance. 

- June 3. (Sun.)  Phil Norman Tentet.   Little/big band West Coast jazz of the ‘50s is alive, in briskly swinging contemporary fashion, in the music of the Tentet.  Pasta Sunday at Vitello’s.     (818) 769-0905.  Click HERE to read a recent iRoM review of a Tentet performance. 

San Francisco

- May 31. (Thurs.)  Eliyahu & the Qadim EnsembleNey flutist Eliyahu leads an ensemble performing music ranging across the entire Middle East: Arabic, Jewish, Turkish Sufi, Armenian, Ladino, Moroccan and beyond.  The Qadim’s players include Rachel Valfer Sills on oud and vocals, Faisal Zedan on Arabic percussion, and Gari Hegedus on Turkish saz and oud.   Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse.    (510) 644-2020.

Chicago

- May 31 – June 3. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Pat Martino Trio. Guitarist Martino’s remarkable recovery from a near fatal brain aneurysm in 1980 has been astonishing.  His most recent album, Undeniable: Live at Blues Alley hit #1 on the jazz charts.  Jazz Showcase.    (312) 360-0234.

New York

Dee Dee Bridgewater

- May 29 – June 2. Tues. – Sun.)  Dee Dee Bridgewater.  The superb jazz vocalist has had seven Grammy nominations and three wins, as well as a Tony award for her appearance in The Wiz. This time out she shares a celebration of her 62nd birthday with her listeners.  The Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

- June 3. (Sun.)  Jane Ira Bloom“All Ballads.”  Bloom, who has been quietly defining an appealing use of the soprano saxophone in contemporary jazz, offers an evening of instrumental balladry.  Cornelia St. Café.    (212) 989-9319.

London

- May 31 – June 2. (Thurs. – Sat.)  The Ronnie Laws/Tom Browne band.  A pair of veteran players who know all the ins and outs of jazz with a funk accent.  They’re backed by pianist Jason Rebello, bassist Karl Rasheed and drummer Will Calhoun.   Ronnie Scott’s.    020 7439 0747.

Paris

- June 1. (Fri.)  Joan Armatrading.  British born, three time Grammy nominee Armatrading has been working the crossover areas between pop, jazz and the blues since the late ‘60s.  And she’s still doing it impressively.  New Morning.    01 45 23 51 41.

Tokyo

Jim Hall

- June 3 – 6. (Sun. – Wed.)  Jim Hall Trio.  He’s every guitarist’s favorite player – and a lot of other instrumentalists’ favorite, as well.  Pat Metheny has described Hall, and with good reason, as “the father of modern jazz guitar.  He performs with Scott Colley, bass and Joey Baron, drums.  Blue Note Tokyo. 03-5485-0088.

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Photos of Chris Botti, Johnny Mandel and Dee Dee Bridgewater by Tony Gieske


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

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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.


News: THE 2012 MONTEREY JAZZ FESTIVAL – FIRST LOOK

February 24, 2012

By Michael Katz

I’ve made it no secret over the years that I consider The Monterey Jazz Festival one of the world’s great musical weekends.  This morning MJF, celebrating its 55th anniversary September 21-23, released a preview of its program:  Pat Metheny, Esperanza Spaulding,  Trombone Shorty and a new edition of the Monterey All-Stars highlight an exciting list of performers. There had been some grumbling last year among season ticket holders that seats had to be renewed before the schedule was announced. I doubt anyone will be complaining this year.

With young trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire already announced as the featured artist and guitarist Bill Frisell as the comissioned artist, MJF needed some big names to complement such ambitious choices; they found them, and more. Pat Metheny is scheduled for a rare two performances on the main stage, the first on Saturday in a superb trio led by Jack DeJohnette with Christian McBride, then Sunday in a quartet with sax player Chris Potter, drummer Antonio Sanchez and bassist Ben Williams. That set will be followed by a duet featuring DeJohnette and Frisell.

Meanwhile, the new edition of the Monterey All Stars looks sensational.  Dee Dee Bridgewater, who gave a rousing late night performance two years ago with her band, headlines this group with Benny Green, McBride, Akinmusire, Potter and drummer Lewis Nash.

The two afternoon concerts should both be real crowd pleasers. Trombone Shorty, who laid waste to the festival two years ago, will be anchoring the Saturday afternoon blues/roots show. Emerging star Esperanza Spalding will take the main stage Sunday afternoon, following the award winning high school bands and the Next Generation Band.

There is, of course, much more to come, with five stages to fill, and the Friday night main stage show yet to be announced. But the backbone of the festival looks terrific. With Pat Metheny sure to bring his devoted following into town and Trombone Shorty and Esperanza Spalding drawing a younger crowd, ticket sales figure to be brisk for MJF’s 55th.

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

Click HERE to visit Michael Katz’s new personal blog, Katz of the Day.

 


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.


Live Jazz: Kenny Burrell 80 Years Young at Royce Hall

November 14, 2011

By Don Heckman

It was all about Kenny Burrell Saturday night at UCLA’s Royce Hall.  Burrell the guitarist, Burrell the founder of the University’s jazz studies program, Burrell the teacher, Burrell the all around good guy.  More than three months after the actual date – July 31 – the UCLA Live event celebrated his 80th birthday with a gathering of musical participants from both inside and outside of Westwood.

Kenny Burrell

And with good reason.  Burrell’s far-reaching career reaches from high visibility as a major jazz artist to a vital role in the creation of U.C.L.A.’s Jazz Studies program – an influential pathfinder in the expanding world of jazz education.

The program resembled, in several respects, the Royce Hall 2006 salute to Burrell on his 75th birthday. Like the earlier tribute, Saturday’s program blended appearances by major artists with performances from a variety of student ensembles.  And, also like the 2006 show – it ran at marathon length, largely causing the otherwise engaging program to come to a grinding halt when yet another of his many present and past associates made his way to the microphone to offer praise for Burrell.

The speech-making aside, it was the music itself that offered the best tribute to Burrell, as an artist and as an educator.  An opening set by the Jazz Heritage All-Stars – an aggregation of familiar Southland jazz luminaries – offered a view of the solid, straight-ahead sort of jazz that Burrell was instrumental in helping to create.  And when B.B. King and his band arrived on stage and the blues took over, the exchanges between King and Burrell were classic displays of the blues roots of the jazz art.

D.D. Bridgewater, Stevie Wonder, B.B. King and Kenny Burrell

At that point, what was shaping up to be the high point of the show went up another level with the surprise arrival of Stevie Wonder on stage.  And the all-star glow brightened even more when Dee Dee Bridgewater – scheduled to appear later – dashed out to share the fun in a jam session format with Burrell, King and Wonder.  It was a remarkable musical moment – one for the memory books.

Lalo Schifrin also performed with a trio, offering a longish view of his busily rhapsodic jazz perspectives. And Michelle Weir led the Tribute Vocal Ensemble – as she did in the 2006 show – in a performance of music based on Burrell compositions.

Other highlights included the introduction of the Los Angeles Jazz Orchestra Unlimited, a stellar ensemble of prime Southland players described by Burrell as an important new musical entity with a continuing role in the growing U.C.L.A. jazz program.  The program wrapped with a performance by the UCLA Philharmonia of composer Paul Chihara’s Pax Humana, a tribute to Burrell, and the combined Philharmonia and L.A. Jazz Orchestra Unlimited rendering of Suite For Peace, a collaborative work featuring segments by Burrell, John Clayton, Charley Harrison and others.

It was, in other words, a night that successfully celebrated the continuing creativity of Kenny Burrell – as artist and educator — with the sort of wide ranging, imaginative musical views that have characterized his own work over the years.

Photos by Reed Hutchinson courtesy of UCLA Live.


Picks of the Week Nov. 8 – 13

November 8, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Nov. 8. (Tues.) Rick Braun Sings.  Trumpeter Rick Braun, a high visibility instrumentalist in the smooth jazz arena, displays his engaging vocal skills on his latest album, the appropriately titled Rick Braun Sings With Strings. Vitello’s.      (818) 769-0905.

-  Nov. 9. (Wed.)  Phil Norman Tentet CD release party.  The Norman Tentet’s 21st century take on the West Coast sounds of the ‘50s is enhanced in the new album – Encore – by a set of arrangements from some of the world’s finest jazz arrangers.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

Phil Upchurch

- Nov. 9. (Wed.)  Phil Upchurch and Grace Kelly.  Veteran blues artist Upchurch joins his solid skills with the rapidly growing talent of young alto saxophonist Kelly.  They’re joined by Ernest Tibbs on bass.  The Coffee Gallery.    (626) 798-6236.

- Nov. 9. (Wed.)  Marc Cohn.  Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Cohn features selections from his new album, Listening Booth 1970 in which he finds vibrant life in that storied year via his transformations of songs by Cat Stevens, John Lennon, Van Morrison, Smokey Robinson and others.  The Irvine Barclay.    (949) 854-4607.

- Nov. 10. (Thurs.) Patrick Berrogian’s Hot Club Combo.  French guitarist Berrogian recalls the gypsy swing of Django Reinhardt with the hard driving support of Combo from the Hot Club of San Diego.  Vibrato Jazz Grill…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

CHita Rivera

- Nov. 10 – 13. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Chita Rivera: My Broadway.  The title is right on target.  Who knows Broadway better than Rivera, whose credits reach from West Side Story to Kiss of the Spiderwoman and beyond.  Segerstrom Center for the Arts.      (714) 556-2787.

- Nov. 11. (Fri.)  Evelyn Glennie and Maya Beiser.  The gifted Scottish percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie and cello goddess Beiser perform individual sets defining their extraordinary talents before coming together for a climactic world premiere of Stuttered Chant, composed for them by David Lang.  Royce Hall. UCLA Live.   (310) 825-2101.

- Nov. 11 & 12. (Fri. & Sat.) Strunz & Farah.  Performing together since 1980, the duo guitar team of Jorge Strunz and Ardeshir Farah create incomparable musical banquets overflowing with sounds and rhythms reaching from jazz and flamenco to the Middle East, spiced with their own musically rich imaginations.  Click HERE to read iRoM’s most recent review of Strunz & Farah.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

The Labeque Sisters

- Nov. 11 & 12. (Fri. & Sat.)  Bychkov and the Labeques.  The musically vivacious Labeque sisters – Katia and Marielle — s are joined by the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the baton of Semyon Bychkov at Disney Hall in a performance of Ravel’s Rhapsodie Espagnole, Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances and the world premiere of Swiss composer Richard Dubugnon’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Double OrchestraDisney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

- Nov. 12. (Sat.) Denise Donatelli.  Grammy nominated jazz vocalist Donatelli performs material from her radio-favorite album When Lights Are Low  as well as the standards she sings with such musical authenticity.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Nov. 12. (Sat.)  Three GuitarsFrank Potenza, Bruce Forman and Pat Kelley. Guitar togetherness doesn’t get much better than this blending of three of the instrument’s most gifted masters.  Boulevard Music, Culver City.  Info: (310) 398-2583.

Kenny Burrell

- Nov. 12. (Sat.)  Kenny Burrell.  “80 Years Young.” He may be turning 80, but guitarist Burrell continues a full schedule reaching from his work with the UCLA’s jazz studies program to his continuing live performances.  Celebrants include B.B. King, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Lalo Schifrin, as well as the UCLA Philharmonia, the UCLA Jazz Orchestra and the Jazz Heritage All-Stars.  The program features new compositions by Dr. Roger Bourland, Dr. Paul Chihara, John Clayton, James Newton, Burrell and others.  Royce Hall.  UCLA Live.  (310) 825-2101.

Mark Miller and Betty Bryant

- Nov. 13. (Sun.)  Betty Bryant and Mark Miller.  Singer/pianist Bryant’s entertaining style embraces pleasures of jazz reaching back to the ‘50s.  She celebrates her birthday by joining with singer Miller in a performance of songs from their new duo album, Together.  Matinee.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

San Francisco

- Nov. 8 (Tues.)  New West Guitar Group.  The talented young guitar virtuosos of the NWGG, equally adept at acoustic and electric styles, celebrate the recent release of their latest CD, Round Trip Ticket.   Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

- Nov. 12.  Jim Kweskin, Geoff Muldaur and Suzy Thompson. Folk revival heroes of the ‘60s, Kweskin and Muldaur, along with the Jug Band, brought the spirit of Americana to the world of rock music.  Thompson’s dynamic singing and spirited fiddling add solid roots touches to the mix.  Freight & Salvage.    (510) 644-2020.

- Nov. 13. (Sun.)  “Melody Monsters.”  Dave Grisman and Frank Vignola Duo. It’s a uniquely appealing combination – Grisman’s sweetly lyrical mandolin and Vignola’s dependable jazz guitar.  Don’t miss this one.  Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

Seattle

Rickie Lee Jones

- Nov. 6 & 9. (Tues. & Wed.)  Rickie Lee Jones.  Singer and songwriter of styles beyond definition Jones – approaching 60 – may not have the visibility she once did, but she nevertheless continues to be one of pop music’s most intriguing performers.  Jazz Alley.    (206) 441-9729.

New York

Maureen McGovern

- Nov. 8 – 12. (Tues. – Sat.)  Maureen McGovern. Her soaring vocals have been delighting audiences with her imaginative views of the American Songbook over four decades.  Now she’s offering tunes from a new CD – dangling conversations  – featuring music by more recent additions to the Songbook – Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Webb among them.  Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

- Nov. 8 – 13. (Tues. – Sun.)  Chick Corea continues his epic, month long run at the Blue Note.  This week, he’ll be in the company of Bobby McFerrin (Tues. – Thurs.) and Gary Burton with the Harlem String Quartet. (Fri. – Sun.)  The Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

- Nov. 11. (Fri.)  “The 50th Anniversary of West Side Story: The Movie.”  Yes, it’s been half a century since the magnificent Bernstein/Sondheim hit musical of the ‘50s made its way into a classic film musical.  Celebrating that extraordinary production, the Manhattan School of Music Jazz Orchestra and Justin DiCioccio will feature arrangements crafted by Dave Grusin, Michael Abene and Don Sebesky, as well as the Buddy Rich West Side Story Suite by Bill Reddie and a pair of Johnny Richards arrangements for Stan Kenton’s West Side Story album.  Borden Auditorium at the Manhattan School of Music.   (917) 493-4428.

Tierney Sutton

- Nov. 13. (Sun.)  Turtle Island Quartet and Tierney Sutton.   They’re a seemingly unlikely combination, but both the TIQ and Sutton have a sparkling history of musical adventurousness.  And when they get together – as they do here – to perform the music of John Coltrane, expect creative fireworks.  Iridium.  (212) 582-2121.

London

- Nov. 9 – 12 (Wed. – Sat.)  Brubecks Play BrubeckDarius, Chris and Dan Brubeck plus special guest.  The musical genealogy is a potent element in this aggregation of Dave Brubeck’s sons.  Each is an accomplished, envelope-stretching player in his own right.  Together, they recall some of their old man’s finest efforts.  (I wonder who the special guest will be.)  Ronnie Scott’s.   020 7439 0747.

Photos of  Kenny Burrell, Rickie Lee Jones and Tierney Sutton by Tony Gieske.


Picks of the Week: Aug. 15 – 21

August 16, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Herbie Hancock

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

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

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

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

Barbara Morrison

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

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

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

Wilson Phillips

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

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

San Francisco

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

Seattle

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

New York

Steve Kuhn

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

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

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

London

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

Herbie Hancock photo by Tony Gieske. 


PIcks of the Week: Aug. 9 – 14

August 9, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

George Cables

- Aug. 9. (Tues.)  George Cables Trio. Pianist Cables doesn’t make a lot of L.A. club appearances, so don’t miss this opportunity to hear the veteran artist in action.  He’ll be backed by Pat Senatore and Joe LaBarberaVibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Aug. 9. (Tues.)  Jennifer Leitham.  It’s a birthday celebration for bassist/singer Leitham who’ll be aided in her far-reaching skills by the solid backing of Andy Langham, piano and Randy Drake, drums.  Charlie O’s. (818) 994-3058.  www.charlieos.com

- Aug. 10. (Wed.)  Blues Night.  The title of this stellar evening is almost an understatement.  With Robert Cray. Keb’ Mo’ and Mavis Staples on hand, it’ll be the blues in all its extraordinary manifestations.  Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 11. (Thurs.)  Nuriya.  The Skirball Center continues its high energy, Thursday night free concerts with an appearance by Mexican-born vocalist Nuriya, whose singing encompasses the sounds of her native land, as well as the Jewish, Middle Eastern traditions of her heritage.  She’ll be backed by a high energy ten piece ensemble.  Skirball Center.    (310) 440-4500.

- Augs. 11. (Thurs.)  Aaron Novik.  Bass clarinetist Novik’s chamber ensemble crosses freely from jazz and pop to Jewish and Eastern European traditional musics.  The Hammer Museum.    Also at the Press Restaurant in Claremont on Friday.

Dee Dee Bridgewater

- Aug. 11. (Thurs.)  Dee Dee Bridgewater.  Dynamic singer actress Bridgewater is a Tony and Grammy award winner.  But even those honors don’t fully encompass the creative and musical excitement that is present every time she steps in front of an audience.  The Grammy Museum.  (213) 765-6800.

- Aug. 11. (Thurs.)  Claudio Roditi. Brazilian trumpeter Roditi has been blending elements from his Brazilian roots with an impressive grasp of straight ahead jazz for three decades.  LAX Jazz Club Crowne Plaza Hotel.    (310) 642-7500.

- Aug. 12. (Fri.)  Christian Jacob Trio. The all-star jazz trio pianist Jacob, bassist Kevin Axt and drummer Ray Brinker have been performing in impressive synchronicity with singer Karrin Allyson.  Here, they show off their stuff in a pure piano jazz trio setting.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Aug. 12 (Fri.)  Tizer.  Versatile keyboardist Lao Tizer leads his unique band, Tizer, in a groove-driven, eclectic blend of jam based fusion and contemporary jazz.  Violinist Karen Briggs is also on hand, and a few “special guests” may show up, as well.  The Baked Potato.    (818) 980-1615.

- Aug. 13. (Sat.)  World Classic Rockers.  The title pretty much says it all.  It’ll be an evening featuring players from such high visibility rock bands as Steppenwolf, Santana, Boston, Journey, TOTO and Lynard Skynard.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. The Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.   (562) 916-8501.

- Aug. 13. (Sat.)  Dolores Scozzesi.  Jazz vocalist Scozzesi brings rich musicality, dramatic illumination and an eclectic overview to everything she sings.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Aug. 13 & 14. (Sat. & Sun.)  The Gipsy Kings.  There’s nothing quite like the music of the flamenco-driven, gypsy-styled music of the Gipsy Kings, for decades one of world music’s most engaging ensembles.  The Greek Theatre.   (323) 665-5857.

Dave Koz

- Aug. 14. (Sun.)  Smooth Summer Jazz. Featuring Dave Koz, Bobby Caldwell, Sheila E., Larry Graham, Spyro Gyra. Phil Perry.  The Bowl’s annual tribute to smooth jazz and instrumental pop, with some of the genres’ highest visibility performers bringing the evening to life.   Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 14. (Sun.)  The Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, conducted by Noreen Green“Exaltation! Biblical Stories Through Music.”  The LAJS presents a colorful evening of music — from classical, film and musical theatre sources — celebrating music inspired by the Bible.  Special guests include Grammy nominee singer Amick Byram and 15 year old violinist Stephen Waarts.  Selections include works by Andrew Lloyd Weber, Steven Schwartz, Jerry Bock, Alan Menken and Shuki LevyThe Ford Amphitheatre.  (323) 461-3673.

San Francisco

- Aug. 9. (Tues.)  Big Bad Voodoo DaddyHow Bad Can You Get:100 Years of Cab Calloway. The Voodoo Daddys recall Cab Calloway and the hard-driving, swing-based, dance jazz of the ‘30s and ‘40s. Yoshi’s San Francisco.  http://www.yoshis.com/sanfrancisco/jazzclub/artist/show/1972   (415) 655-5600.  

- Aug. 11. (Thurs.)  Martin Taylor.  A guitarist’s guitarist, admired by his contemporary artists, Taylor is arguably one of the finest solo guitarists you’ll ever hear.  The Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse.    (510) 644-2020.

- Aug. 14. (Sun.)  Buffy Sainte-Marie.  She’s been a compelling performer for decades, and Saint-Marie’s charisma – musically and dramatically – is still as powerful as ever.  Yoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.

Seattle

Karrin Allyson

Aug. 11 – 14. (Wed. – Sun.)  Karrin Allyson.  Jazz singer Allyson, one of the jazz vocal art’s most musically credible performers, celebrates the release of her latest CD,  ‘Round Midnight,   Jazz Alley.   (206) 441-9729.

New York

- Aug. 9 – 10. (Tues. – Sat.)  Kurt Rosenwinkel with OJM (the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos).  The ever versatile guitarist Rosenwinkel, always in search of musical challenges, performs with an intriguing musical ensemble from Portugal.Birdland.  Birdland.    (212) 581-3080.

- Aug. 9 – 14. (Tues. – Sun.)  Jane Monheit. Blessed with one of the most gorgeous sounding voices in jazz, Monheit supplements her rich timbres with solid musicality and lively sense of swing.  Her special guest will be the remarkably eclectic violinist Mark O’ConnorThe Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

Cedar Walton

- Aug. 9 – 14. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Cedar Walton Quintet. Pianist Walton has assembled a convincingly creative ensemble, featuring the impressive artistry of trombonist (and conch shell player) Steve Turre, alto saxophonist Vincent Herring, bassist David Williams and drummer Willie Jones III Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.    (212) 258-9800.

Washington D.C.

-Aug. 12 – 14. (Wed. – Sun.)  Jerry Gonzalez and Ft. Apache.  They’ve been generating high voltage performances, spiced with Latin jazz rhythms, for three decades.  This time out, the groove will no doubt be even more pyrotechnic with the presence of Cuban drummer Dafnis Prieto.  Blues Alley.    (202) 337-4141.

London

- Aug 11. (Thurs.)  Gwilym Simcock Trio. His name may not be familiar (or even pronounceable) to most American jazz fans, but Simcock is one of the finest recent arrivals on the global jazz stage.  Ronnie Scott’s.    020 7439 0747.

Dave Koz photo by Greg Allen.


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