Picks of the Week: August 26 – Sept. 1

August 26, 2013

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Lyn Stanley

Lyn Stanley

- Aug. 27. Tues.) Lyn StanleyLost in Romance.”  Jazz vocalist Lyn Stanley celebrates the release of her new album in the stellar company of Tamir Hendelman, Mike Lang, Llew Matthews, Dominic Genova, Jim DeJulio, Bernie Dresel, Rickey Woodard, Bob McChesney and Grant Geissman. Add to that an appearance by a pair of pro ballroom dancers, Latin world champions Maria Nikolishina and Nikolai Vononovich. And, topping the evening, a warm tribute to the late pianist Paul Smith, who was instrumental in the early development of Stanley’s career. Smith’s widow, Annette Warren Smith, a veteran film, radio and television singer, will also be in attendance. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Aug. 28. (Wed.) Denise Donatelli and Geoffrey Keezer. The musical partnership of jazz singer Donatelli and pianist/arranger Keezer has resulted in Grammy nominations and some extraordinary music. Here’s a chance to hear them in action, live. Vitello’s. . (818) 769-0905.

- Aug. 28. (Wed.) Wayne Shorter’s 80th Birthday Celebration.  The iconic saxophonist/composer’s 80th birthday provides the ideal motivation for a major musical highlight of the 2013 Summer Bowl schedule.  The stellar line up of performers includes Herbie Hancock, Geri Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding, Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Brian Blade, the Imani Winds and the Joe Lovano/Dave Douglas Quintet The Hollywood Bowl.     (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 29. (Thurs.) Tierney Sutton. “After Blue” One of the more intriguing performances of the week – the musically adventurous Sutton in a preview performance of her “Joni Mitchell Project.” Vitello’s. . (818) 769-0905.

Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.

- Aug. 30 – Sept. 1. (Fri. – Sun.)  Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.  The multiple, Grammy-winning duo from the Fifth Dimension showcase their warm and intimate vocalizing. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

Sept. 1. (Sun.) The Modernaires. A performance by the second generation of this great, veteran vocal ensemble features contemporary singers Julie Dickenson, Joe Croyle, Jim Stephens, Ginger Berglund, Scott Whitfield. Vitello’s. . (818) 769-0905.

Seattle

- Aug. 29 – Sept. 1. (Thurs. – Sun.) Keiko Matsui. 25Th Anniversary Tour & Soul Quest CD release party. Originally known as a smooth jazz keyboardist, Matsui’s musical imagination has taken her in many new areas of expression. Jazz Alley. 441-9729.

Boston

Albert Lee

Albert Lee

- Aug. 28. (Wed.) Albert Lee. Finger-picking guitarist Lee has been widely influencing guitarists of all genres since the mid-’60s. Regatta Bar.  (617) 661-5000.

New York City

- Aug. 27 – 31. (Tues. – Sat.) Charlie Parker Birthday Celebration. A congregation of contemporary all -stars get together to celebrate Charlie “Bird” Parker‘s birthday on Aug. 29. The players include Vincent Herring, Tom Harrell, George Cables and Victor Lewis. Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

- Aug. 29 – Sept. 1. (Thurs. – Sun.) The Mingus Big Band. The memory, the music and the very unique characteristics of the great bassist/composer Charles Mingus are kept alive and well in the work of the Mingus Big Band. The Jazz Standard.  (212) 576-2232.

- Aug. 30 (Fri.) Robert Davi Sings Sinatra. The Sinatra style, as well as the memorable melodies in the Great American Songbook, are all vividly alive in the rich baritone voice of Robert Davi. And here’s a chance to hear him in a free, outdoor concert. Also on the bill: comedian Mike Marino. Bring your own chairs and blankets. Click HERE to read a recent iRoM review of a Robert Davi performance in Los Angeles. The Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, New York.

London

- Aug. 26 &O 27. (Mon. & Tues.)  Ginger Baker’s Jazz Confusion. Drummer Baker, well-known for his work with Cream and Blind Faith, explores a wide territory of music with his African-oriented Jazz Confusion. Ronnie Scott’s+44 (0)20 7439 0747

Berlin

- Aug. 27 – 31. (Tues. – Sat.) “Sommerwochenconzert.” Marilyn Mazurs Celestial Circle in action. In addition to Mazur’s superb drumming her current band includes John Taylor, piano, Josefien Cronholm, vocals, and Klaus Hovman. A-Trane.  030 / 313 25 50.

Denmark

Sinne Eeg

Sinne Eeg

- Aug. 31 – Sat. 1. (Sat. & Sun.) Sinne Eeeg Quartet. Danish jazz vocalist Eeeg, highly regarded in Europe, has not yet received the recognition her talent deserves. Click HERE to read an iRoM review of a Sinne Eeeg performance in Los Angeles. Jazzhus Montmartre. +45 31 72 34 94.

Tokyo

(Aug. 27 – 31. (Tues. – Sat.) The Mike Stern Band, featuring Makoto Ozone, piano Dave Weckl, drums and Tom Kennedy, bass, move freely and imaginatively from funk and fusion to straight ahead jazz. .. Blue Note Tokyo.  +81 3-5485-0088.

Photo of Sinne Eeeg by Faith Frenz.


Live Jazz: Geoffrey Keezer at Vitello’s

July 28, 2013

By Don Heckman

Grammmy-nominated pianist Geoffrey Keezer showcased his impressive solo talents at Vitello’s Friday night for an enthusiastic, overflow crowd sparkling with the presence of such stellar  music world listeners as Chris Botti, Billy Childs, Bobby Colomby, John Proulx, Mike Lang, Denise Donatelli, Mark Winkler and others.

Seemingly inspired by his audience, Keezer offered a far-ranging set of music, chosen from jazz, pop and folk sources. In his first solo performance in more than a decade, he celebrated the release of his latest album, also a solo effort, Heart of the Piano.

The piano is often described as a complete orchestra in itself, and Keezer clearly had that perspective in mind as he roved, adventurously, through one richly textured, rhythmically alive improvisation after another.  His program reached from tunes by Stevie Wonder, Alanis Morrisette, Peter Gabriel and Rush to Duke Ellington, Wayne Shorter and Christian McBride.

Geoffrey Keezer

Geoffrey Keezer

That’s a challenging collection of musical stimuli, and Keezer responded to it with a full-bodied expression of his creative imagination.  At times, his mastery of the piano, driven by fast, busy fingers, called up aural images of Shostakovich and Bartok.  At other times, he dug into his jazz roots, moving easily into alternating passages touching on everything from stride to bebop.  And Keezer did so with ease, investing the jazz segments with an irresistible sense of swing.

He was especially compelling on a pair of works that triggered rich, emotional interpretations – Ellington’s “Black and Tan Fantasy” and the Robert Burns/traditional tune “My Love Is Like A Red, Red Rose” (inspired, Keezer said, by the Eva Cassidy version, and which he dedicated to his wife Susan).

Billy Martinez

Billy Martinez

Keezer climaxed  his performance with an improvisational duet with artist Billy Martinez, who painted on several tall canvas panels, as Keezer played.  While it was unclear if either artist was leading the way, they nonetheless seemed inspired by each other as they interacted in completely spontaneous fashion.  Searching together, they often found fascinating, common creative ground.

The only uncertain moments in this otherwise memorable musical evening, came when Keezer leaned a bit too strongly in the direction of the piano as an orchestra.  While these passages were stunning displays of his virtuosic improvisational skills, one also wished to hear more of Keezer’s gift for melodic lyricism.

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That said, his solo piano playing deserves a wider hearing.  If you weren’t in the crowd for Friday night’s concert, most of the pieces Keezer played can be found in the CD that inspired the performance, Heart of the Piano.  Don’t miss it.

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Photos by Faith Frenz.


Live Jazz: A Tribute to Bill Henderson at Catalina Bar & Grill

April 20, 2013

By Don Heckman

Hollywood, CA.  The line waiting to get in to Catalina Bar & Grill at 7:30 Thursday night stretched all the way back to the jazz venue’s nearby garage.  And it was moving slowly.  But there was no sign of anyone leaving.  Not for this performance.  Not with a stellar assemblage of talented performers awaiting their turns to celebrate the remarkable life and musical accomplishments of veteran singer/actor Bill Henderson.

Bill Henderson

Bill Henderson

And the anticipation was enhanced by the awareness that the 87 year old Henderson was already in the club, surrounded by friends, waiting for the music to begin.

Before the live entertainment began, however, the full house audience was treated to a video documentary.  Produced by Merle Kreibich, the video chronicled the remarkable Henderson career – as a singer and an actor whose impressive talents were apparent even in the black and white images of his youthful appearances on film and recordings.

But the live show was the heart of the evening, a  procession of singers and musicians, all eager to offer their own unique tributes to Henderson. Here’s the line up:

Melissa Morgan

Melissa Morgan

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First up: singer Melissa Morgan offering soul styled renditions of ‘Sleeping Bee” and “Accentuate the Positive.”  Filled with energy and spunk, she got the evening underway with a hard driving take off.

Denise Donatelli

Denise Donatelli

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Next: Denise Donatelli applied her warm, embracing  voice and intimate story-telling to a contrasting pair of appealing tunes, “Social Call” and “Skylark.” Donatelli can do no wrong as an interpretive vocalist.  And her reading of the Mercer/Carmichael standard was one of the evening’s memorable highlights.

Billy Valentine’s two songs – “I’ve Got A Woman” and “You Don’t Know Me” – delivered with convincing intensity – were reminders of the blues roots in Henderson’s music.

The musical emphasis shifted dramatically with the arrival on stage of Finis Henderson, Bill Henderson’s nephew.  Offering a soaring, musically dramatic interpretation of Puccini’s tenor aria “Nessun Dorma” from the opera Turandot, he affirmed the diverse musical talent in the Henderson genes.

Janis Mann

Janis Mann

Jazz singer Janis Mann added her soaring, Sarah Vaughan influenced style to a diverse pair of tunes, moving from the rhythmic groove of “Old Devil Moon” to the lyricism of  “You Taught My Heart To Sing.”  She was backed by Eric Reed, ably replacing Mike Lang in the piano chair.

Mark Winkler was up next, enjoying every minute of his delightful encounter with Bobby Troup’s “I’m Such A Hungry Man,” and wrapping his solo set with a selection from his new album of Laura Nyro songs.

Mark Winkler and Cheryl Bentyne

Mark Winkler and Cheryl Bentyne

Before he left the stage, however, he was joined by Cheryl Bentyne, pairing up on a joyous romp through Paul Desmond’s “Take Five.”

Kenny Burrell

Kenny Burrell

Next, in the evening’s highlight instrumental set, veteran guitarist Kenny Burrell showcased his always appealing blend of rhythmic swing and melodic tenderness with a .  warm take on “It Might As Well Be Spring.”

Ernie Andrews

Ernie Andrews

Appropriately, the non-stop music reached a climax with the arrival on stage of the inimitable Ernie Andrews.  Two years younger than Henderson, but very much the same generation, Andrews recalled an era in which jazz artists were not embarrassed to reach out to their audiences in entertaining fashion.  His jaunty versions of “Time After Time” and “All Blues” were the perfect climax for a memorable musical tribute.

Live performance photos by Faith Frenz.


Picks of the Week: April 17 – 21

April 17, 2013

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Corky Hale plays for Billie Holiday

Corky Hale plays for Billie Holiday

- April 17. (Wed.)  Corky Hale and special guest Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge perform selections from the Billie Holiday songbook. Pianist/harpist Hale, who accompanied Holiday in the ‘50s, is well qualified for the job.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

April 17. (Wed.)  Julian Coryell.  The son of fine veteran guitarist Larry Coryell, Julian – an impressive guitarist in his own right, as well as a singer – is carving out a prime career. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- April 17. (Wed.)  Andras SchiffThe Bach Keyboard Cycle.  Schiff performs the French Suites and the French Overture as part of his survey of the complete solo keyboard works of J.S. Bach.  Disney Hall.    (323) 850-2000.

- April 18. (Thurs.)  Judi Wexler Birthday Bash.  The critically praised Wexler displays the far ranging, richly interpretive qualities that are at the heart of her singing.  Mambo’s Café.   (818) 545-8613.

Bill Henderson

Bill Henderson

- April 18. (Thurs.)  A Tribute to Bill Henderson.  A celebration of the music and life of the creative versatility of 87 year old singer/actor Henderson.  The program features the Eric Reed Trio, with special guests Denise Donatelli, Kenny Burrell, Janis Mann, Ernie Andrews, Mark Winkler, Cheryl Bentyne  and others.  Bubba Jackson hosts the performance.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- April 20. (Sat.)  Jimmy Cobb and the So What Band.  Drummer Cobb is the last surviving member of the Miles Davis band that created the best selling album, Kind of Blue.  Here, leading a world class band, he revisits the classic numbers from that iconic jazz recording.  Valley Performing Arts Center.    (818) 677-8800.

- April 21. (Sun.)  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.  Music Director Jeffrey Kahane conducts and performs the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 22. The program also includes Handel’s Concerto Grosso in A Major, Ginastera’s Variaciones Cncertantes and a newly commissioned work by Andrew NormanCAP UCLA at Royce Hall.   (310) 825-2101.

Catalina Popescu

Catalina Popescu

- April 21. (Sun.)  The Arturo Sandoval Big Band is the centerpiece in the California Jazz Foundation’s annual Benefit Concert, this time honoring the decades of jazz support from Catalina Popescu, the owner of Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- April 21. (Sun.)  Sherry Williams. With a voice as smooth and sweet as honey, Williams is always a pleasure to hear in her blues-tinged interpretations.  She’ll be backed by Joe Bagg, piano, Pat Senatore, bass, Mark Ferber, drums.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

San Francisco

- April 19. (Fri.)  Raquel Bitton. With special guest Rebeca Mauleon. Paris Meets Havana is the subtitle of a program featuring Bitton’s French and Mauleon’s Cuban classics, performed with full orchestra. Yoshi’s San Francisco.    (415) 655-5600.

- April 20. (Sat.)  Bill Frisell.  The ever-adventurous guitarist/composer Frisell provides original music for a reading of Hunter S. Thompson’s The Kentucky Derby.  An SFJAZZ program at Miner Auditorium.    (866) 920-5299.

Chicago

Diane Schuur

Diane Schuur

- April 18 – 21. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Diane Schuur.  “Deedles,” as she is known to friends and fans alike, still possesses one of the most musically malleable voices in jazz – always a pleasure to hear. Jazz Showcase.    (312) 360-0234.

Washington D.C.

- April 17. (Wed.)  The Stan Kenton Alumni BandMike Fax conducts a program of music ranging across the full musical panorama of Kenton’s remarkable big band history.  Blues Alley.    (202) 337-4141.

New York City

- April 17 – 20. (Wed. – Sat.)  The John Scofield “Hollow Body Band” is an aptly titled musical exchange with special guest guitarist Mike SternBirdland.      (212) 581-3080.

Steve Wilson

Steve Wilson

- April 18 – 21. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Steve Wilson Quintet.  Alto saxophonist Wilson’s resume includes recordings and performances ranging from Chick Corea and Lionel Hampton to Joe Henderson, Ron Carter and beyond.  But it’s always great to hear him on his own.  In this case he’s backed by Alex Sipiagin, trumpet, George Cables, piano, Larry Grenadier, bass and Ulysses Owens, Jr., drums.  The Jazz Standard.    (212) 576-2232.

- April 19. (Fri.)  Ana Popovic.  A blues guitarist and singer from Serbia may seem unlikely, but Popovic has been solidly proving her skills in both those areas.  The Iridium.    (212) 582-2121.

London

- April 21 (Sunday)  Joyce.  Described by Antonio Carlos Jobim as “one of the greatest singers of all times” Brazil’s Joyce has convincingly blended jazz and Brazilian music in her far-reaching recordings and performances.  Ronnie Scott’s.   +44 20 7439 0747.

Berlin

Judy Niemack

Judy Niemack

- April 18. (Thurs.)  Judy Niemack.  She has been praised for the beauty of her voice, but Niemack is also a superb interpretive singer, who blends technical skill and far-reaching imagination.  A-Trane.   030 / 313 25 50.

Milan 

- April 20. (Sat.)  Dave Holland with the Pepe Habichuela Flamenco Quintet. Always in search of new areas of musical expression, bassist Holland dips into the pleasures of flamenco.  The Blue Note Milano.    +39 02 6901 6888.

Buenos Aires

Maria Puga Lareo

Maria Puga Lareo

- April 18. (Thurs.)  Maria Puga Lareo and Bob Telson.  Argentine singer Lareo, highly regarded for her jazz skills, performs every Thursday night in April with American jazz and film composer/pianist Telson.   Clasica Y Moderna.   +54 11 4813-9517.

Tokyo

- April 19 & 20.  (Fri. & Sat.)  Karen Souza.  Latin American singer Souza’s fascination with the jazz swing era is an essential element in her music.  Click HERE to read a recent iRoM review of Karen Souza.   Tokyo Blue Note.   +81 3-5485-0088.


Live Music: “And Then She Wrote” with Peter Marshall, Carol Welsman, Denise Donatelli

November 30, 2012

By Don Heckman

Studio City, CA.  It was a return visit to Vitello’s Wednesday night for And They She Wrote.  The cast was slightly different from the line-up that brought the same show to Vitello’s  in June.  But the selections were largely the same classics from the Great American songbook, once again illuminating how many of those classics were written, or co-written, by female composers and lyricists.

The three-performer show, conceived by singer/actor/television star Peter Marshall, featured the vocal trio of Marshall, Carol Welsman and Denise Donatelli (replacing Calabria Foti from the original cast), backed by pianist John Rodby and bassist Dave Robaire.

Carol Welsman, Peter Marshall and Denise Donatelli

Carol Welsman, Peter Marshall and Denise Donatelli

The show’s premise – clearly inferred in the title – was explored via informative nuggets about such major female songwriters as Dorothy Fields, Betty Comden, Carolyn Leigh, Peggy Lee, Marilyn Bergman, Ann Ronnell, Ruth Lowe and others.  And there probably wasn’t a single person in the full house crowd who didn’t, at some point, gasp in surprise when the female writers or co-writers of songs such as “Willow Weep For Me,” “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, “Don’t Blame Me” and dozens of others, were identified.

Peter Marshall

Peter Marshall

Off the cuff whimsical remarks from Marshall, with sharp responses from Welsman and Donatelli,  added spontaneous humor to the evening, often enhanced by the addition of songs with their own humorous aspects – “Diga, Diga Doo,” “I’m Hip” and “I’m Shadowing You.”

Aside from its genuinely informative aspects, the real essence of this engaging musical evening was the blending of memorable songs with first rate vocal performances ranging from solos and duets to trios.

Marshall, whose checkered career has ranged from a long run on network television to Broadway musicals, sang with an easygoing relaxed style, finding the intriguing inner qualities of songs such as “Young At Heart,” ‘I’m Drinking Again” and winding up with the Frank Sinatra theme song, “Put Your Dreams Away (For Another Day).”

Dense Donatelli

Denise Donatelli

Among the several ensemble songs, the highlights included the ladies singing “A-Tisket, A-Tasket,” Donatelli and Marshall exchanging colorful insults on “A Fine Romance,” and all three singers joining in on “Pick Yourself Up.”

Appropriately, however, it was Welsman and Donatelli, jazz singers gifted with extraordinary musicality, who provided some of the evening’s most gripping moments.

Carol Welsman

Carol Welsman

There were far too many to mention, but among the many highlights: Donatelli’s transformation of “Willow Weep For Me” into an embracing love song, and her touching reading of “Some Other Time” ; Welsman’s exquisite interpretation, enhanced by her piano playing, of “La Vie En Rose,” and her equally memorable “The Way You Look tonight.”

So, once again And Then She Wrote proved to be an entertaining, imaginative overview of an unusual aspect of American song, transformed into living color by a trio of fine vocal artists.

New Yorkers will have an opportunity to see and hear “And Then She Wrote” at the Metropolitan Room on January 11 – 14.

Photos by Bob Barry


Picks of the Week: Nov. 27 – Dec. 2

November 27, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Carol Welsman

- Nov. 27 & 28. (Tues. & Wed.)  “And Then She Wrote.”  With Peter Marshall, Carol Welsman and Denise Donatelli.  A new version of an entertaining show dedicated to the female composers and lyricists of the Great American Songbook.  Tuesday night the duo of Marshall and Welsman perform; on Wednesday, Donatelli joins them in a trio.  She replaces Calabria Foti from the original cast.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Nov 27 – 30. (Tues. – Fri.)  Bela Fleck and the Marcus Roberts Trio.  It may sound like an odd combination, but banjoist Fleck and pianist Roberts are both dedicated musical adventurers.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

Louie Cruz Beltran

- Nov. 29. (Thurs.)  Louie Cruz Beltran.  The busy percussionist and bandleader adds vocals to his impressive array of entertainment talents, singing and playing Latin Standards, American classics and a few surprises.  He’ll be backed by pianist Carlos Vivas, bassist Pat Senatore and drummer Ramon Banda.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.     (310) 474-9400.

- Nov. 29 – Dec. 2.  (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Marcus Shelby Quartet.  Bassist Shelby offers a program celebrating “the evolution of American social movements through music.”  The Skirball Cultural Centert   (310) 440-4500.

- Nov. 30. (Fri.) Bob Mintzer.  “Homage to Count Basie Band.”  Saxophonist Mintzer leads an evening of big band music dedicated to the classic rhythms of the Basie Band, and featuring some of the Southland’s finest players. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Dec. 1 (Sat.)  The Anonymous 4. The all-female vocal quartet, well-known for their Renaissance music performances, take a different tack with  “Love Fail,” a contemporary work composed by David LangCAP UCLA Royce Hall.    (310) 825-2101.

Bill Cunliffe

- Dec. 1. (Sat.) Bill Cunliffe’s Big Band “Holiday Kick-Off.”  The Big Band weekend at Vitello’s continues with pianist/arranger/composer Cunliffe’s celebration of the holiday season. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Dec. 1. (Sat.)  8th Annual Fil-Am Jazz Festival. An evening celebrating the growing numbers of fine Filipino jazz artist.  Heading the line-up, Charmaine Clamor, the Queen of Jazzipino.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

San Francisco

- Dec. 2. (Sun.) The Blind Boys of Alabama. The multiple Grammy-winning gospel singers, performing for decades, are a musical inspiration.  An SFJAZZ event at the Herbst Theatre.    (866) 920-5299.

Chicago

- Nov. 29 – Dec. 2 (Thurs. – Sun.)  Tom Harrell Quintet. Trumpeter Harrell leads a stellar ensemble in a program displaying his extensive talents as an instrumentalist and composer.   Jazz Showcase.   (312) 360-0234.

New York

Eliane Elias

- Nov. 27 – Dec. 1. (Tues. – Sat.)  Eliane Elias   Brazilian pianist/singer Elias makes her Birdland debut.  Expect an evening ranging from Elias’ superb jazz piano to her authentically Brazilian way with a song.  Birdland.    (212) 581-3080.

- Nov. 27 – Dec. 2. (Tues. – Sun.)  Geri Allen ‘s Timeline Band.  Pianist Allen honors the connection between jazz and tap dancing in a performance featuring the rhythmic stepping of dancer Maurice Chestnut. Jazz Standard.   (212) 889-2005.

London

- Nov. 27 – Dec. 1. (Tues. – Sat.)  The Mingus Big Band.  The music of composer/bassist Mingus is kept vividly alive, in all its many manifestations by the Mingus Big Band.  Ronnie Scott’s.    +44 (0)20 7439 0747.

Copenhagen

Kenny Barron

- Nov. 28 & 29. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Kenny Barron Solo Piano. He’s been everyone’s first call jazz pianist for decades, but the most intriguing way to hear the free-roving Barron improvisational imagination is in this kind of solo piano performance. Jazzhus Montmartre.   (+45) 70 15 65 65.

Milan

- Nov. 29. (Thurs.)  Carmen Lundy.  Jazz singer Lundy’s superb interpretive artistry is enhanced by her original songs.  Blue Note Milano.   02.690 16888.

Tokyo

- Nov. 30 – Dec. 3. (Fri. – Mon.)  David Sanborn.  Alto saxophonist Sanborn’s unique, blues-driven style has impacted the past few decades of arriving saxophonists.  He performs selections from his new, 2-CD album, AnthologyBlue Note Tokyo.  03-5485-0088.


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.


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