Picks of the Week: Sept. 24 – 28

September 23, 2014

By Don Heckman

As the warm days of September wind to a close, while autumn is just beginning to arrive, the bookings are light at clubs and concert venues around the world, but there’s still some very special music to hear.

Los Angeles

Pat Senatore

Pat Senatore

- Sept. 25. (Thurs.) Pat Senatore Trio. Bassist Senatore and his trio – pianist Josh Nelson and drummer Mark Ferber play selections from his exciting new album Ascensione and a forecast of what to expect from his up-coming, soon to be released CD. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

- Sept. 26. (Fri,) Roumani & Sidiki Diabate and Rokia Traore. An extraordinary evening of music from Mali, featuring the father and son team of Diabates in a program of traditional sounds, as well as the imaginative works of singer/songwriter/guitarist Traore. A CAP UCLA event at Royce Hall.  (310) 825-2101.

Trey Anastasio

Trey Anastasio

-Sept. 26. (Fri.) Trey Anastasio with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. One of the founding members of Phish, the ever-adventurous Anastasio presents newly imagined orchestral versions of pieces he’s written over the past few decades. The Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- Sept. 26 & 27 (Fri. & Sat.) Chambers, Herbert & Ellis. The best way to describe this musically fascinating vocal trio is to say “Lambert, Hendricks & Ross. But Chambers, Herbert & Ellis add their own unique touches as well. Click HERE to read an iRoM review of the trio in action. The Gardenia.  (323) 467-7444.

- Sept. 26 – 28. (Fri. – Sun.) Lenny White, Victor Bailey and Larry Coryell. A trio of the contemporary jazz world’s most versatile players. Expect to hear improvisational fireworks from drummer White, bassist Bailey and guitarist Coryell. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

Eliane Elias

Eliane Elias

Seattle

- Sept. 25 – 28. (Thurs. – Sun.) Eliane Elias. Sao Paulo’s gift to jazz continues to find fascinating creative links between her Brazilian roots and her compelling jazz piano and vocals. Click HERE to read a recent iRoM review of Elias and her superb trio. Jazz Alley.  (206) 441-9729.

New York City

- Sept, 23 – 27. (Tues. – Sat.) Fred Hersch, Esperanza Spalding and Richie Barshay. Pianist Hersch and bassist/singer Spalding may seem to be an odd couple. But with the talent they have, individually and collectively with drummer Barshay, musical delights will be on the menu. The Jazz Standard.  (212) 576-2232.

David Sanborn

David Sanborn

London

- Sept. 24 – 26. (Wed. – Fri.) The David Sanborn Trio featuring Joey DeFrancesco and Byron Landham. Alto saxophonist, one of the innovative players of his generation, is always a pleasure to hear. And he’ll no doubt take everything up a notch in company with the dynamic organ work of DeFrancesco and the solid groove of drummer Landham. Ronnie Scott’s.  +44 20 7439 0747.

Milan

- Sept. 24. (Wed.) Tierney Sutton. “After Blue – The Joni Project. On her seemingly non-stop quest to bring her imaginative approach to jazz vocalizing, Sutton has added the music of Joni Mitchell to her extraordinary performances. (And on her After Blue CD, as well.) Blue Note Milan. / +39 02 6901 6888.


Picks of the Week: Feb. 18 – 23

February 18, 2014

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Brenna Whitaker

- Feb. 19. (Wed.) Brenna Whitaker. She’s a blonde beauty with a voice to remember. Michael Buble has called Whitaker “one of the finest singers of our generation. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 20 – 23. (Thurs. – Sun.) ”TchaikovskyFest.” The Los Angeles Philharmonic celebrates Tchaikovsky with performances of his chamber music, as well as his Symphonies #1 and #6. Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

Steve Tyrell

Steve Tyrell

- Feb. 20 – 23. (Thurs, – Sun.) Steve Tyrell. He’s back at Catalina’s again for another long weekend. So don’t miss this opportunity to experience Tyrell’s warm, interpretive, gently swinging way with the Great American Songbook. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (223) 466-2210.

- Feb. 22. (Sat.) Bob McChesney Quartet. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400. The Southland bandleaders’ first choice for their trombone section. McChesney is not just a master of his instrument, he also brings rich musical depths to everything he plays. Here, he’s out front, leading his own band. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 23. (Sun.) Angela Parrish. Singer, songwriter and pianist Parrish showcases her engaging collection of original songs. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 23. (Sun.) “Guitar Passions.,” Call this a great evening of guitar mastery in a variety of appealing styles. Start with the classical guitar of Sharon Isbin, followed by her guests – Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo and the finger tapping stylings of Stanley Jordan. Valley Performing Arts Center.  (818) 677-8800.

San Francisco

Bobby Hutcherson

Bobby Hutcherson

- Feb. 20 – 23. (Thurs. – Sun.) Bobby Hutcherson, David Sanborn, Joey DeFrancesco and Billy Hart join forces in an assemblage of jazz all-stars. An SFJAZZ event at Miner Auditorium.  (866) 920-5299.

Portland OR

- Feb. 23 (Sun.) Dave Frishberg and Bob Dorough. “Who’s On First?” A rare opportunity to hear a tandem performance by a pair of the jazz world’s most gifted musical humorists. A PDX Jazz Event at the Winningstad Theatre.  (503) 228-5299.

New York City

- Feb. 20 (Thurs.) Portraits of Joni: Jessica Molaskey Sings Joni Mitchell. Musical theatre star Molaskey (and wife of John Pizzarelli) takes a break from the stage to explore the rich Mitchell song catalog. Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.  (212) 258-9595.

- Feb. 21 – 23. (Fri. – Sun.) Patricia Barber. Singer/pianist brings imagination, musicality and wit to her new interpretations of Songbook classics, as well as her own songs.The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

Milan

Dee Dee Bridgewater

Dee Dee Bridgewater

- Feb. 19 – 22. (Wed. – Sat.) Dee Dee Bridgewater. The one and only Dee Dee offers her inimitable collection of vocal jazz renderings to Italy’s many jazz fans. Blue Note Milano.  +39 02 6901 6888.

Moscow

- Feb. 23. (Sun.) Lisa Henry. With the Igor Butman Trio. Blues and gospel specialist Henry is backed by saxophonist/bandleader and club owner Igor Butman. Igor Butman Jazz Club.  (+7 495) 632-92-64.

Warsaw

- Feb. 22. (Sat.) DISCO FEVER! Revisit the dance crazes of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s in a Polish evening to remember. Tygmont Live Club.  +48 22 828 34 09.

Tokyo

Roy Hargrove

Roy Hargrove

- Feb. 18 & 19. (Tues. & Wed.) Roy Hargrove Big Band. Trumpeter Hargrove continues his quest to keep big band jazz alive with his own stellar ensemble. Blue Note Tokyo.  +81 3-5485-0088.


Picks of the Week: Sept. 10 – 15

September 10, 2013

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

George Gershwin

George Gershwin

- Sept. 10 (Tues.) Rachmaninoff and Gershwin. “Romantic Favorites.” The Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya with piano soloist Daniil Trifonov, performs a program of richly colorful, early 20th century music. Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- Sept. 11. (Wed.) George Benson Inspiration Tour. A Tribute To Nat “King” Cole. Guitarist/singer Benson brings convincing life to the Cole song book. Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- Sept. 12 & 13. (Thurs. & Fri.) Joey DeFrancesco. Jazz organist DeFrancesco is joined by guitarist Steve Cotter and drummer Ramon Banda in a definitive display of jazz organ trio music. Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

Roberta Gambarini

Roberta Gambarini

- Sept. 12 – 14. (Thurs. – Sat.) Roberta Gambarini.   Italian-born Gambarini continues to assert her musical aulthenticity as one of contemporary jazz’s finest vocalists. She’s joined by special guest, Kenny Burrell. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Sept. 13 & 14. (Fri. & Sat.) Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express. One of the most appealing pop/rock, jazz-influenced bands of the late ’60s, the Oblivion Express, in keyboardist Auger’s hands, still continues to produce exciting music. The Baked Potato.  (818) 980-1615.

- Sep. 13 – 15. (Fri. – Sun.) Fireworks Finale: Earth, Wind & Fire with Thomas Wilkins and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. It’s an attractive line-up of talent, enhanced by the usual spectacular fireworks, bringing the 2013 season to a pyrotechnic closure. Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- Sept. 14. (Sat.) Tom Peterson Quartet. Saxophonist/woodwind player Peterson, one of Minnesota’s many gifts to jazz, balances first rate playing with a busy career as a producer, educator, clinician and more. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. r (310) 474-9400.

Cheryl Bentyne and Mark Winkler

Cheryl Bentyne and Mark Winkler

- Sept. 15. (Sun.) Cheryl Bentyne and Mark Winkler. The Manhattan Transfer’s Bentyne teams up with jazz vocalist Winkler to celebrate the CD Release party for their new album, West Coast Cool. Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

- Sept. 15. (Sun.) John Proulx. Pianist/vocalist Proulx continues to display a warmly interpretive vocal style, backed by the solid support of his swinging piano work. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

- Sept. 15. (Sun.) Julie Esposito. She’s an attorney/jazz singer, one of the more unlikely hyphenates in the L.A. music scene. And, somehow, Esposito handles both her skill sets with authority and complete authenticity. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

San Francisco

Randy Brecker

Randy Brecker

- Sept. 12. (Thurs.) The United Trumpet Summit. The title is exactly right, given the presence in the U.T.S. of a stellar line-up of world class trumpeters, including Randy Brecker, Dr. Eddie Henderson, Jeremy Pelt and Leon Jordan, Jr. Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655.5600.

Portland, Oregon

- Sept. 12. (Thurs.) Jacqui Naylor. She’s one of the contemporary jazz vocal world’s most versatile artists, moving easily from straight ahead jazz to folk rock and adult alternative genres. Hear her in action. Jimmy Mak’s.  (503) 295-6542.

Seattle

Nellie McCay

Nellie McCay

- Sept. 10 & 11. (Tues. & Wed.) Nellie McKay. Singer/actress/humorist MacKay balances a sardonic sense of humor with stunning musicality and an easy comfort with genres reaching from jazz to rap, funk and beyond. Jazz Alley.  (206) 441-9729.

New York City

- Sept. 10 & 11. (Tues. & Wed.) Dave Liebman Expansions Quintet. Always eager to explore new musical territory, saxophonist Liebman leads an adventurous new ensemble. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.

- Sept. 13 – 15. (Fri. – Sun.) Staney Jordan Trio. Guitarist Jordan’s unique, tapping style of playing has created virtual one-man-band sounds. But this time out he expands his possibilities in a trio setting. Iridium (212) 582-2121.

Washington D.C.

Gary Burton

Gary Burton

- Sept. 12 & 13. (Thurs. & Fri.) The New Gary Burton Quartet.70th Bday Tour.Vibist Burton, one of his instrument’s most gifted practitioners, celebrates his 70th birthday in the company of Julian Lage, guitar, Scott Colley, bass and Antonio Sanchez, drums. Blues Alley (202) 337-4141.

London

- Sept. 10 – 12. (Tues. – Thurs.) Jose Feliciano. Guitarist Feliciano has been a uniquely appealing singer/guitarist since his ’60s hit version of “Light My Fire.” And, at 67, he’s still going strong. Ronnie Scott’s. +44 (0) 7439 0747.

Milan

- Sept. 11. (Wed.) Big One – The European Pink Floyd Show “Biglietto Cumulativo.“ The music of the English art rock band of the ’60s continues to appeal to audiences around the world. Blue Note Milano. +39 02 6901 6888. 

Tokyo

Chick Corea

Chick Corea

- Sept. 10 & 11. (Tues. & Wed.) Chick Corea and The Vigil. The iconic keyboardist/composer has once again organized a new collective to express his ever-curious, creative musical adventures. The Vigil includes the gifted, youthful Tim Garland, Carlitos Del Puerto, Marcus Gilmore, Charles Altura and Luisito Quintero. Blue Note Tokyo. 03-5485-0088. 


Picks of the Week: Mar. 12 – 17

March 12, 2013

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Wynton Marsalis with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Wynton Marsalis with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

- Mar. 12. (Tues.) Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.  Marsalis and his JLCO players continue to bring life to the past, the present and the future of big band jazz.  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

Mar. 12. (Tues.) Allison Adams Tucker.  “Women in Jazz.”  Jazz singer Tucker performs with a gifted, all-female ensemble – Kait Dunton, piano, Sherry Luchette, bass, Tina Raymond, drums and Lori Bell, flute.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Mar. 13. (Wed.)  Lou Marini.  New York-based veteran saxophonist Marini makes a rare L.A. appearance backed by a stellar array of players.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Lynda Carter

Lynda Carter

- Mar. 14. – 16.  (Thurs. – Sat.)  Lynda Carter. She’ll probably always be known as Wonder Woman, but Carter is an appealing singer, as well, with a convincing interpretive style.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (223) 466-2210.

- Mar. 15 – 17. (Fri. – Sun.)  Ambrose Akinmusire.  Trumpeter Akinmusire has been receiving critical accolades and winning polls lately.  Here’s a great opportunity to hear him in action and make your own evalulation.  Blue Whale.   (213) 620-0908.

- Mar. 16. (Sat.)  Johnny Mandel Big Band. Veteran arranger/composer Mandel showcases selections from his rich collection of classic arrangements and original works for big jazz band. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers

- Mar. 17. (Sun.)  An Evening with Kenny Rogers.  Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the music of Grammy-winning, hit-making veteran singer/actor/songwriter Rogers.  Valley Performing Arts Center.    (818) 677-8800.

- Mar. 17. (Sun.)  Carol Robbins, Larry Koonse and Pat Senatore. An all-strings evening of music, featuring the fascinating timbres and jaunty swing of Robbins’ harp, Loonse’s guitar and Senatore’s bass. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

San Francisco

- Mar. 12 & 13.  (Tues. & Wed.)  “Miles Smiles”  A super-group of Davis alumni, including trumpeter Wallace Roney, organist Joey DeFrancesco, guitarist Larry Coryell, bassist Darryl Jones and drummer Omar Hakim, recall the Miles era.  Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

Seattle

Leo Kottke

Leo Kottke

- Mar. 12 & 13. (Tues. & Wed.)  Leo Kottke. Virtuosic, finger-picking guitarist intersperses his 6- and 7-spring playing with humorous, between-tunes monologues.  Jazz Alley.   (206) 441-9729.

New York City

- Mar. 13 – 17. (Wed. – Sun.)  Brazilian Jazz All-Stars.  Bossa nova and the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim will be authentically performed by an all-star aggregation of Brazilian artists: Duduka Da Fonseca, percussion, Romero Lubambo or Vic Juris, guitar, Claudio Roditi, trumpet, Helio Alves, piano, Maucha Adnet, voice, Hans Glawishnig, bass.  Iridium.   (212) 582-2121.

- Mar. 15 & 16. (Fri. & Sat.)  Charlie Musselwhite.  Blues harmonica player Musselwhite, a veteran of the fertile blues and rock happenings of the ‘60s, is still going strong at 69.  He is alleged to be the model for Dan Aykroyd’s character in The blues Brothers.  Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.   (212) 258-9595.

London

- Mar. 14. (Thurs.)  “Birth of the Cool.”  The Richard Shepherd Nonet celebrates the music from Miles Davis’ iconic Birth of the Cool recording, plus classics from Kind of Blue and Milestones.  Ronnie Scott’s.    +44 20 7439 0747.

Milan

Brad Mehldau

Brad Mehldau

- Mar. 15 & 16. (Fri. & Sat.)  Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana.  Mehldau steps away from his classically oriented acoustic jazz with Mehliana – an electric funk duet project with drummer Guiliana.  Blue Note Milano.   +39 02 6901 6888

Tokyo

- Mar. 12 & 13. (Tues. & Wed.) Kenny Barron Trio. High on the list of every major jazz artist’s first-call pianists, Barron is also a compelling, musically adventurous player in his own right – especially when he’s working with his trio.  Blue Note Tokyo.    +81 3-5485-0088.


Picks of the Week: Jan. 15 – 20

January 15, 2013

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Eloise Laws

Eloise Laws

- Jan. 16. (Wed.)  Eloise Laws.  A member of the musically prominent Laws family (Hubert, Ronnie and Debra among others) Eloise Laws makes a rare live performance in the Southland.  Her warm and expressive vocals are backed by members of the Laws family and their talented friends.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- Jan. 16. (Wed.) Windy Karigianes.  It’s a busy month for international jazz singers to make appearances in L.A.  Denmark’s superb vocal artist Sinne Eeg was here last week, Australia’s Chris McNulty is at Vitello’s tomorrow.  And today there’s Karigianes, whose background is Greek, Portuguese and Italian, bringing a musically diverse perspective to her mellow, evocative singing.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Jan 16. (Wed.)  John Beasley Residence II.  Pianist Beasley’s second event in his January residence features his trio – with bassist Carlitos del Puerto and drummer Gary Novak, plus guests — playing a program of Brazilian Music.  The Blue Whale.    (213) 620-0908.

- Jan. 17 & 18. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Chris McNulty.  Australian jazz singer McNulty celebrates the release of her latest CD, The Song That Sings You Here.  With guitarist Paul Bollenback and bassist Trey HenryVitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Diane Schuur

Diane Schuur

- Jan. 17 – 19. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Diane Schuur.  Veteran jazz vocalist Schuur – called “Deedles” by friends and fans alike – continues to sing with the appealing, Sarah Vaughan influences that she has transformed into her own unique style. Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- Jan. 18 – 19. (Fri. & Sat.)  Joey DeFrancesco Trio.  The master of contemporary jazz organ always has something new to bring to his classic organ trio performances.  He’ll perform with the Banda Brothers, Steve Cotter and Steve WilkersonSteamer’s.  (714) 871-8800.

- Jan. 19. (Sat.)  Freddy Cole.  There’s an immediately recognizable trace of the Cole sound in Freddy’s vocals and piano work.  And he’s retained the musical memories while exploring new musical horizons. The  Kirk Douglas Theatre.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast.    (310) 271-9039.

- Jan. 20. (Sun.)   Bill Frisell and Vinicius Cantuaria.   A pair of very different guitarists with styles reaching from American folk to Brazilian rhythms perform selections from their 2012 album, Lagrimas Mexicanas.  Skirball Center.     (310) 440-4500.

John Daversa

John Daversa

- Jan. 20. (Sun.)  The John Daversa Contemporary Big Band.  Trumpeter/composer Daversa, a true musicall adventurer – as a soloist and as a writer/composer – showcases some of his especially ground-breaking writing for his stellar big band.  Baked Potato.    (818) 980-1615.

San Francisco

- Jan. 19 & 20. (Sat. & Sun.) Jane Monheit. She’s always had a gorgeous voice, but Monheit – now in her ‘30s – also brings a compelling musicality to everything she sings.  Click HERE to read a recent iRoM review of a Monheit performance in Los Angeles. Yoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.

New York

- Jan. 15. (Tues.)  Tammy Faye Starlight IS Nico in the show Chelsea Madchen, singing legendary Velvet Underground songs in a Warhol-tinged setting.  Special guest: Steve EarleThe Cutting Roomk  (212) (877) 987-6487.

Ken Peplowski

Ken Peplowski

- Jan. 15 – 20.  (Tues. – Sun.)  Benny Goodman Reinvented: 75th Anniversary Carnegie Hall Concert.  Clarinetist Ken Peplowski assembles a 10 piece all-star ensemble to revisit Goodman’s memorable Swing Era performance in January, 1938. The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

- Jan. 16. (Wed.) Ornette Coleman’s Free Jazz Revisited.  Anther live, musical re-imagining performance.  This time the subject is one of the classic recordings of the ‘60s free-jazz era.  Players include  Jaleel Shaw, Joe Lovano, saxophones; Jeremy Pelt, Tim Hagans, trumpets, Ben Allison, Lonnie Plaxico, basses, Billy Drummond, Matt Wilson, drums.  Jazz Standard.    (212) 576-2561.

London

- Jan. 16 – 19. (Wed. – Sat.) Deodato.  Brazilian pianist/composer/arranger has produced and/or arranged hundreds of albums for everyone from Bjork to k.d. lang.  Here’s a rare opportunity to hear him up close in his own personal musical environment.  Ronnie Scott’s.    +44 (0)20 7439 0747.

Berlin

Steve Kuhn

Steve Kuhn

- Jan. 14 & 15. (Mon. & Tues.)  Steve Kuhn Trio.  With a resume that reaches back to John Coltrane and the avant-garde ‘60s, Kuhn – at 74 – has thoroughly established himself as one of the contemporary jazz scene’s most original piano voices.  His trio includes Buster Williams and Joey BaronA-Trane.   030/313 25 50.

Panama

- Jan. 14 – 19.  Panama Jazz Festival.  The 10th Annual Panama Jazz Festival once again assembles a stellar line up of performers in a warm and welcoming Central American setting.  The artist roster includes Herbie Hancock, the Wayne Shorter Quartet, Ruben Blades, Susana Baca, Bill Frisell, John Patitucci, Brian Blade and Danilo PerezThe Panama Jazz Festival.    (507) 317-1466.


Picks of the Week: Aug. 20 – 26

August 21, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Alison Balsom

- Aug. 21. (Tues.)  McGegan conducts Haydn.  Nicholas McGegan conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a program of Papa Haydn’s finest, including the Alleluia Symphony and the Drumroll Symphony.  Add to that an appearance by the brilliant British trumpeter Alison Balsom performing the Haydn Trumpet Concerto.  The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 22. (Wed.) Anita Baker.  Esperanza Spalding.  A pair of the finest jazz/pop/r&b crossover singers in the world make a rare Bowl appearance.  Baker will no doubt perform her  new hit digital single, “Lately,”  “Sweet Love” and “Giving You the Best That I’ve Got” and Spalding will display some of the dynamic singing and bass playing that brought her a Grammy new star award.  (323) 850-2000.  The Hollywood Bowl. 

- aug. 22. (Wed.) Annie Sellick.  I once described singer Sellick as “an utterly unique personality.”  And she’s accomplished that by transforming influences — such as Janis Joplin — toher own personal (and personable) style.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Aug. 22. (Wed.) Kofi Baker’s Tribute to Cream.  Up close and personal with one of the great rock bands.  Baker (son of Ginger Baker), drums.  Fran Banish, guitar, Rick Fierabracci, bass.  Baked Potato.    (818) 980-1615.

- Aug. 23. (Thurs.)  Midsummer Mozart.  Nicholas McGegan again conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a program of delightful summer music — this time by Mozart.  The featured solo artist will be Norwegian violinist Henning Kraggerud, making his debut Bowl appearance in a performance of the Mozart Violin Concerto No. 4.  (323) 850-2000.  The Hollywood Bowl.

Christian McBride

- Aug. 23 – 26. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Christian McBride Quartet.  He was everybody’s first call bassist when he was barely out of his teens.  But McBride’s ambitions have reached out to embrace big band writing (and leading) and wide activities as an educator, curator and administrator.  Here, he’s back to basics, leading his own fine trio.  Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

- Aug. 24. (Fri.)  The Kevin Toney 3.  The “New American Suite” tour.  Composer/pianist Toney introduces selections from the classically-inspired compositions in his new recording.  He’ll be backed by bassist Michael Bradford and drummer Chris Coleman.  Vitello’s.

Diana Krall

- Aug. 24 & 25. (Fri. & Sat.)  Diana Krall.  It’s been less than two decades since jazz singer/pianist Diana Krall released her first album, at a time when she was honing her skills in L.A. — much admired, but with low visibility.  Since then, she’s become an international star, selling albums in the millions, maturing into one of the finest jazz vocalists of this, or any, generation.   Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 25.  (Sat.)  Dale Fielder Quartet.  Saxophonist Fielder’s versatility reaches across saxophones  from the baritone up to the soprano.  But his versatility is not simply technical, it’s enhanced by a rich musical understanding of the qualities of each instrument, combined with an inventive musical imagination.  He’ll perform with bassist Pat Senatore, pianist Theo Saunders and bassist Ramon BandaVibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

San Francisco

- Aug. 24 – 26. (Fri. – Sun.)  A Tribute to Jimmy Smith and Wes Montgmery.  Organ jazz trios and quartets never got any more exciting and imaginative than they did in the hands of Smith and Montgomery.  But this ensemble, celebrating the masters, comes close.  And how could it be otherwise, with Joey DeFrancesco, Jimmy Cobb, Larry Coryell and Steve Cotter.  Yoshi’s Oakland.  http://www.yoshis.com/oakland/jazzclub/artist/show/2768  (510) 238-9200.

Seattle

Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin

- Aug. 21 – 26. (Tues. – Sun.)  Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin.  A pair of the path-finding masters of the music generally grouped under the titles of smooth jazz, funk, crossover and instrumental pop get together for one of their many musical encounters.  Expect to be hugely entertained by a pair of guys who have never abandoned their straight ahead roots. Jazz Alley.   (206) 441-9729.

Chicago

- Aug. 23 – 26. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Ira Sullivan Quartet.  81 year old Sullivan is a truly iconic jazz figure — a superb player on trumpet, saxophone and flute, whose playing career has reached from gigs with Charlie Parker, Lester Young and Roy Eldridge to Pat Metheny, Jaco Pastorius and beyond.  Still a remarkable improvisational artist, he should be heard at any opportunity.   Jazz Showcase.     (312) 360-0234.

New York

Michael Brecker

- Aug. 21 – 23.  (Tues. – Thurs.)  Celebrating Michael Brecker.  The music of the late, great saxophonist is featured in all its far-reaching glories by a band with all the skills to do it right: Joey Calderazzo, piano and musical director, Ravi Coltrane, saxophones, James Genus, bass and Jeff “Tain” Watts, drums.  With special guests.  The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

- Aug. 21 – 26. (Tues. – Sun.)  Trio Da PazThe Music of Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto.  The Trio Da Paz — guitarist Romero Lubambo, bassist Nilson Matta and drummer Duduka da Fonseca reach back into the roots of bossa nova with the spendid aid of saxophonist Harry Allen, vibist Joe Locke  and singer Maucha AdnetDizzy’s Club Coca Cola.  (212) 258-9595.

London

- Aug. 25. (Sat.)  A Portrait of Jaco”  The Laurence Cottle Big Band.  Bassist Laurence Cottle, a world class instrumentalist in his own right, showcases the influences — both instrumental and compositional — that have impacted him from the legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius.  Ronnie Scott’s. (0) 20 7439 0747.

Berlin

Celine Rudolph

- Aug. 21 – 25. (Tues. – Sat.  Celine Rudolph.   Singer Rudolph’s urban oriented jazz  blurs the boundaries between musical styles, finding common ground where little seems to exist.  Appropriately, her musicians come from locations such as Lisbon, Paris and Berlin.  She’ll no doubt feature songs from her CD, Salvador. A-Trane.    030/313 25 50.


Traveling Music: Five For The Road

July 22, 2012

By Michael Katz

Summertime has always meant the opportunity for long road trips, the most notable joy of which is putting my favorite music on the stereo and cranking it up as I cruise into what Ed Abbey called the Back of Beyond. In the old days I would spend untold hours in preparation, transferring my favorite record albums onto cassette tapes. The trips back then were longer, most prominently the one from Chicago to Hayward, Wisconsin, and the musical menu a bit different. It might range from singing along with The Kingston Trio, to Canned Heat, to whatever jazz greats I could slip into the playlist for the benefit of the uninitiated among my fellow camp counselors.

Now, as I prepare for a visit to Tuolumne Meadows in the Yosemite High Country, my requirements have been modified, somewhat. I still like to crank it up, sing along, or just get carried along by the groove. The main thing nowadays, is that I have to stay awake. As much as I love Stan Getz and Bill Evans, they are not going to get me through the vast nothingness that is Rte. 395 from Mojave to Lone Pine. And just loud isn’t enough, either. Monotony can put you to sleep as easily as a lullaby. The music has to be engaging.

Technology has altered the picture, of course. CDs and iPods have eliminated the need for home taping systems, although anyone who has seen me try and navigate my iPod through the radio dials might feel safer if I was asleep. And then there are cell phones. Let me make it clear that I consider the Freedom of the Open Road to be a freedom from this blight upon mankind. The only thing I want to hear less than my cellphone ringing is YOUR cellphone ringing. The unspeakable rudeness of having a passenger turn the volume down on my Bonnie Raitt CD to yak on the phone with someone (other than me) makes me yearn for an “eject” button.

Seriously. Don’t even think about it.

Here, then, is a short list of albums, for those of you not into assembling your own playlist or tuning in Sirius, or unable to find a baseball game as you hurtle through the desert, or across the Interstate. Yes, it reflects my personal, jazz-oriented tastes, and I know you’ll substitute the Dead, or Willie Nelson, or whomever. But this is my Sort of Top 5 For The Road, with the same type of leeway you give to the speed limit.

5A: Dear Diz, Arturo Sandoval. If Sandoval’s stratospheric trumpet can’t keep you awake, not much can. The newest CD on the list, Sandoval’s big band features terrific arrangements of Dizzy Gillespie tunes, plus cameos by Eddie Daniels, Gary Burton, Bob Mintzer and Joey DeFrancesco.

5B: Brotherhood, Gene Harris. Actually, practically anything by Gene Harris will do. His funky tremolo will keep you going for miles without need of caffeine. Brotherhood was one of the many CDs Gene made with his quartet for Concord after bassist Ray Brown coaxed him out of his Idaho retirement. His gigs with the Ray Brown Trio work equally well.

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4: The Very Best of the Kingston Trio. You will never nod off singing along to “MTA” or “Tijuana Jail.” This has been proven by years of experience over thousands of miles from our tested drivers.

3: Road Tested, Bonnie Raitt. This is a double CD made from live performances and has been road tested personally many times. It includes highlights from the post-Nick of Time years, plus songs for those of us who go way back with Bonnie, including “Angel From Montgomery,” “Louise,” “Three Time Loser” and more. (Take along her new one, Slipstream, too.).

2: Bop For Kerouac, Mark Murphy. What better than to go on the road with On The Road? Vocalist Mark Murphy is at his best here, interweaving the writings of Jack Kerouac with the bebop that inspired him. Bebop lives!

2A: Que Viva Mingus, The Mingus Big Band. Mix the compositional genius of Charles Mingus with a Latin-tinged big band and keep your eyes on the road. From the opening of “Cumbia & Jazz Fusion” to the closing “Ysabel’s Table Dance,” this will keep you riveted, with a band that includes Randy Brecker, David Sanchez, Chris Potter and a terrific rhythm section.

1. MF 4 and 5, Live at Jimmy’s, Maynard Ferguson. I suppose this is my guilty pleasure. I loved Maynard’s bands of the early ‘70s, and this double album was the best of that period. Freed from the commercial restrictions Columbia put on his other albums, Live at Jimmy’s featured mostly original jazz compositions like “Nice and Juicy” and “Stay Loose With Bruce,” which spotlighted the other star of this band, baritone sax player Bruce Johnstone. The combination of Maynard’s piercing horn and these great arrangements will keep you awake and alert.

Well, that ought to do it. Now if I can just figure out where the bathrooms are between Mojave and Lone Pine…

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Postscript: Special Bonus Choice! The Soundtrack from the Motion Picture Remembering Phil.

 

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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.


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