Picks of the Week: April 16 – 22

April 17, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Robert Davi

- April 17. (Tues.) Robert Davi. The warm, expressive sound, brisk rhythms and lyrical phrasing recall Frank Sinatra. But Davi is no Sinatra imitator. Inspired by Ol Blue Eyes, Davi has taken the style and shaped it into his own creative identity. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- April 17. (Tues.) Fat Tuesday” Jazz Nights – celebrating “the amazing jazz roots of the Big Easy” – begin at the LAX Jazz Club every Tuesday night. Opening the celebration in the right style – jazz/blues vocalist Sweet Baby Jai.  (310) 258-1333.

- April 18. (Wed.) Anthony Wilson. Guitarist Wilson’s third installment in his month-long, Wednesday night residency at the Blue Whale finds him in the first rate musical companionship of guitarists Larry Koonse, John Storie and Jeffrey Stein. Blue Whale (213) 620-0908

Bob Sheppard

- April 18. (Wed.) The Bob Sheppard Group opens“Live at the Federal.” One couldn’t have asked for a better choice to open the doors at a new L.A. Jazz venue than saxophonist/composer Bob Sheppard. Impresario April Williams has promised that the inviting new room, on the second floor of the Federal Bar & Restaurant in the heart of North Hollywood’s NoHo district, will feature “live fusion jazz, funk and big band sounds. Sheppard won’t have a big band – at least not this time – but he’ll be covering the other styles in his usual energetic fashion. Expect this to be the start of something special. The Federal. (818) 980-2555 Ext, 2.

- April 19. (Thurs.) Judy Wexlers Birthday Bash. Numbers don’t count when it comes to a singer with a spirit as youthful and imaginative as Judy Wexler. So wish her a happy birthday and then sit back and let her provide an evening of delightful musical gifts. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- April 19 – 21. (Thurs. – Sat.) Lynda Carter. She may be best known as Wonder Woman, but Carter is an appealing singer, as well. Hopefully, she’ll offer some of the songs from her latest album, Crazy Little Things, a blend of standards, pop and country. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

- April 20. (Fri.) Lorraine Feather. In addition to her versatile vocal skills, Feather is a brilliant lyricist, who has written lyrics for instrumental pieces by Duke Ellington, Fats Waller and other jazz greats. Her latest album, Tales of the Unusual, is a compelling display of her ability to bring life to familiar musical themes. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- April 21. (Sat.) Kate McGarry. She’s been described as having “the soul of a folk singer and the facility of a jazz instrumentalist.” And the proof is there for all to hear on her new CD, Girl Talk. Blue Whale.  (213) 620-0908

Anoushka Shankar

- April 21. (Sat.) Anoushka Shankar. The daughter of legendary Indian sitarist. Ravi Shankar, Anoushka has slowly moved beyond the encompassing shadow of her powerful father to become an impressive interpreter of Indian classical music in her own right. Luckman Fine Arts Complex  (323) 343-6600. Also at Irvine Barclay on April 22. (Sun.) (949) 854-4646.

- April. 22. (Sun.) Melissa Morgan. Climaxing a week in which Vitello’s has been bursting with impressive female jazz singers, the talented young Morgan arrives with a stellar band, ready to display some of the blues-driven material on her almost completed new CD. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- April 22. (Sun.) John Daversa Big Band. Baked Potato. Trumpeter/composer/arranger Daversa offers a too-rare opportunity to hear his adventurous excursions into new, big jazz band timbres, textures and rhythms.  The Baked Potato.  (818) 980-1615.

- April 22. (Sun.) Joan and Marcus Belgrave. Veteran trumpeter Belgrave, who’s played with everyone from Ray Charles and Charles Mingus to Tony Bennet and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra does a gig featuring the soothing, sexy vocals of his wife, Joan Belgrave. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

- April 22. (Sun.)  Mike Lang.  Pianist/composer Lang’s credits reach from Ray Charles and Lee Konitz to film scores by Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstein and beyond.  Add to that the material he’s composed for Stan Getz, Herb Alpert and others.  But the full extent of Mike’s skills is best revealed in the sort of gig he’s playing this weekend — an “Up Close and Personal” performance with the sole accompaniment of bassist Michael Valerio.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast at the Music Den at Keyboard Concepts.  Sherman Oaks.  (310) 271-9039.

-April 22. (Sun.) Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Kahane 2. The celebration of music director Jeffrey Kahane‘s 15th anniversary with LACO climaxes with a performance featuring the music of his son, Gabriel Kahane. In addition, the Orchestra showcases its remarkable versatility with performances of Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 and Charles Ives’ Three Places In New England. UCLA Live at Royce Hall. (310) 825-4401.

San Francisco

Charles Lloyd

- April 22. (Sun.) Charles Lloyd New Quartet. Saxophonist/flutist Lloyd continues to take an ever exploratory musical path — one of jazz’s great innovators since the ’60s and still going strong. In addition to his New Quartet, Lloyd will be joined by Maria Farantouri, the remarkable Greek vocalist featured on Lloyd’s latest ECM abum, Athens Concert.  An  SFJAZZ. 2012 Spring Season concert at the Herbst Theatre.  (866) 920-5299.

Seattle

- April 17 & 18. (Tues. & Wed.) Tuck & Patti. It’s a simple combination – guitar and voice. But what guitarist Tuck and singer Patti – partners in music and life – make of it is sheer musical beauty. Jazz Alley. (206) 441-97

New York

- April 17. (Tues.) Lainie Cooke. At a proud sixtysomething, Cook still hasn’t receive either the visibility or the accolades that her vocal imagination deserves. But her passionate performances should be heard at every opportunity. Cornelia St. Cafe. (212) 989-9319.

- April 17 – 22 (Tues. – Sun.) Joshua Redman Trio. Tenor saxophonist has been taking on the challenge of the basic trio format – without a harmony instrument – and succeeding admiraby. Here he performs with Matt Penman, bass and Greg Hutchinson, drums. The Village Vanguard.  (212) 929-4589.

- April 17 – 22 (Tues. – Sun.) The Jim Hall Quartet featuring Julian Lage. One of the iconic figures of jazz for decades, guitarist Hall teams up with young prodigy Lage for a cross generational musical encounter. They’re backed by Scott Colley, bass and Joey Baron, drums. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.

Boston

Luciana Souza

- April 20. (Fri.) Luciana Souza and Romero Lubambo Brazilian Duo. It doesn’t get much more Brazilian than the irresistible musical combination of the versatile vocalist Souza and the equaly eclectic guitarist Lubambo. Regatta Bar.  (617) 661-5000.

Washington, D.C.

- April 19 – 22 (Thurs. – Sun.) Keiko Matsui. A pioneer in the smooth jazz realm, keyboardist Matsui has been leading the way in the crossover style with her gentle groove and colorful harmonies for decades. Blues Alley.(202) 337-4141.

London

- April 16 – 21 (Mon. – Sat.) Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. The only performer to knock the Beatles out of a #1 chart position (way back in the ’60s), Fame, now a virtual pop legend, is still a dynamic performer. Ronnie Scott’s.  020 7439 0747

Paris

- April 20. (Fri.) Brian Blade and Music from Moma Rosa. One of the most highly praised jazz drummers of his generation, Blade has taken a giant leap into a new area, as a guitarist and singer’/songwriter, with a group of songs inspired by his grandmother. New Morning. 01 45 23 51 41.

Berlin

- April 17. (Tues.) The Fly Trio. Like Joshua Redman, saxophonist Mark Turner and Fly – Larry Grenadier, bass and Jeff Ballard, drums – are exploring the minimalist horn and rhythm format founded by Sonny Rollins decades ago. They’ll perform selections from their ECM album Sky & Country. A-Trane.  030 / 313 25 50.

Milan

- April 18 – 21. (Wed. – Sat.) Marcus Miller Sextet. Bassist/composer Miller – a major participant in the Miles Davis fusion bands, continues the exploratory tradition with his own sextet. Blue Note Milano. 02.69.01.68.88.

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Bob Sheppard and Charles Lloyd photos by Tony Gieske.  


Picks of the Week: Jan 10 – 15

January 9, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Youngjoo Song

- Jan. 10. (Tues.)  Youngjoo Song.  Korean jazz pianist Youngjoo Song brings an affection for classical music and American gospel song to her creatively eclectic view of jazz, as both a player and a composer.  In this rare Los Angeles appearance, the rising jazz star’s  group features the similarly versatile,  fast-fingered, multi-saxophone playing of  the always inventive Bob SheppardThe Blue Whale.   (213) 620-0908.

- Jan. 11. (Wed.)  Nora Rothman.  The talented young jazz singer/pianist, just barely into her ‘20s, has the skill and the style of a major talent in the making.  She’s backed by Nick Chuba and Charlie Mischer.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

Judy Wexler

- Jan. 12. (Thurs.)  Judy Wexler Quintet.  One of the many great things about hearing jazz singer Judy Wexler in action is the unpredictability of what to expect.  Always compelling, she makes a song her own, whether it’s American Songbook, Jazz Standard, Top 40 Pop or Singer/Songwriter.  The LAX Jazz Club at the Crowne Plaza.  l  (310) 258-1333.

- Jan. 12. (Thurs.)  Paul Jacobs.  The winner of a 2010 Best Solo Instrumental Grammy – the first organist ever to do so – Jacobs presents a challenging program of 20th century works, including Messiaen’s Livre du Saint Sacrement.  Royce Hall Organ Recital.  UCLA Live.   (310) 825-2101.

- Jan. 12. (Thurs.)  Pilc – Moutin – Hoenig.  The world class trio of pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, from France, bassist Francois Moutin, also from France, and drummer Ari Hoenig, from Philadelphia have been affirming the true international nature of jazz for more than a decade with their cutting edge version of the jazz piano trio.  The Musicians Institute Concert Center.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast.    (310) 271-9039.

- Jan. 12. (Thurs.)  Kate Reid and Larry Koonse.  Singer/pianist Reid’s recent CD, The Love I’m In, offers a potent display of her rich, intuitive way with a song.  Working in tandem with the superb guitar of Koonse should produce similarly intriguing results.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Jan. 12 – 14. (Thurs. – Sat.)  George Duke’s Fusion Band. He’s got the skills to go in any musical direction.  This time out, celebrating his 66th birthday (on Thurs.) the versatile keyboardist is digging into his rich bag of funk. Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

Gustav Mahler

- Jan. 13. (Fri.) through Feb. 5. (Sun).  The Mahler Project.  9 Symphonies, 3 Weeks, 2 Orchestra, 1 Conductor.  Gustavo Dudamel takes on the Herculean task of conducting Gustav Mahler’s nine completed symphonies in performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela at venues in Los Angeles and Caracas.  The Mahler Project.   (323) 850-2000.

- Jan. 13 & 14. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Vardan Ovsepian Chamber Ensemble.  Part I and II.  Armenian-born pianist-composer Ovsepian is musically inhabiting the broad land between jazz and concert music with remarkably intriguing results.  The Blue Whale.    (213) 620-0908.

- Jan. 15. (Sun.)  Sing! Sing! Sing! This week’s singalong with the Sing! Sing! Sing! vocalists and the adroit backing of pianist Judy Wolman focuses on the incredible song catalog of Irving Berlin.  Between songs, Howard Lewis will provide some fascinating nuggets of information about the Great American Songwriter who was born Israel Baline.  Sing! Sing! Sing! 

Seattle

- Jan. 12 – 15. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Arturo Sandoval. The gifted trumpeter/pianist/percussionist/singer (and more) takes a band of L.A.’s finest players up to the Northwest for a display of Southern California/Cuban Latin jazz.  Jazz Alley.    (206) 441-9729.

Boston

J D Souther

- Jan. 12. (Thurs.)  J. D. Souther.  He may be best known as the writer of some compelling hit songs for Linda Rondstat, the Eagles and himself (among others), but Souther – his performances spiced with his affection for jazz – is best to see and hear on his own.  Click HERE to read iRoM’s review of Souther’s latest recording.  Regatta Jazz Bar.   (617) 395-7757.

New York

- Jan. 10 – 12. (Tues. – Thurs.)  The Clayton Brothers. Not just the Clayton Brothers, bassist John and alto saxophonist Jeff, but also the next generation’s impressive new star – John’s son, pianist Gerald Clayton.  All these hugely talented, interrelated genes will be backed by trumpeter Terrell Stafford and drummer Obed CalvaireDizzy’s Club Coca Cola.   (212) 258-9800.

- Jan. 10 – 15. (Tues. – Sun.)  Geri Allen, Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington.  Here they are, all in one incredible package – a trio of three of the contemporary jazz world’s most gifted female artists.  Don’t miss this one.  The Village Vanguard.    (212) 255-4037.

Berlin

Kurt Rosenwinkel

- Jan. 14. (Sat.)  Kurt Rosenwinkel Berlin Quartet.  In a world filled with ambitious guitarists, Rosenwinkel has managed to hold his own, developing a style that is both unique, appealing and immensely musical.  A-Trane.   030/313 25 50. Guitarist Rosenwinkel,


Picks of the Week: August 2 – 7

August 2, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

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

Jessica Molasky and John Pizzarelli

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

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

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

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

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

Annie Sellick

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

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

San Francisco

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

Turtle Island String Quartet

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

Seattle

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

Chicago

Charles McPherson

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

New York

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

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

London

Claire Martin

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

Tokyo

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


Picks of the Week: April 11 – 17

April 11, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

-  April 11. (Mon.)  Cabaret Cares.  A Song For Japan. A benefit performance to aid the stricken populace of Japan features cabaret artists Andrea Marcovicci, Daisy Eagan, Lee Lessack, Sharon McNight and others.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  .

John Pisano

- April 12. (Tues.)  John Pisano’s Guitar Night.  With Sid Jacobs and John Leftwich.  Pisano’s Tuesday Guitar Nights just keep on cooking.  And with Jacobs and Leftwich also on stage, the rhythms will be crisp and the imagination wide open.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

-April 12. (Tues.)  John Daversa Big Band.  Trumpeter Daversa’s exploratory approach to big jazz band sounds is producing some consistently adventurous music.  To read a recent iRoM review of the Daversa Big Band click HEREVibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- April. 12. (Tues.)  Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band. The always swinging, always entertaining Big Phat Band celebrates the release of their new CD, That’s How We Roll. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  .

- April 13. (Wed.) Mike Lang Trio. Pianist Lang has a resume that includes gigs with the likes of Natalie Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Barbra Streisand and more, recordings with Henry Mancini, John Williams, Elmer Bernstein, and a long string of film and TV credits.  This time out, he’s doing it his own way, backed by bassist Michael Valerio and drummer Jim Keltner Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210. .

- April 14. (Thurs.)  Duran Duran.  They’re back.  The sounds of the eighties that made all the young girls quiver, still playing the hits.  Fox Theatre Pomona.   (909) 784-3671.

Denise Donatelli

- April 14. (Thurs.)  Denise Donatelli. Grammy-nominated Donatelli’s dark-timbred voice and imaginative singing will prove, once again, why she really should have won that award.  Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058.

- April 14 – 16. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Victor Wooten Band.  Five time Grammy Award winner Wooten displays the bass playing dexterity and free-roving imagination that make him one of the important artists of his generation.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  .

- April 15. (Fri.)  Michael Wolff.  Pianist Wolff, heard to rarely in these parts, plays his second Vitello’s gig in a couple of weeks.  This time, his musical companions will be trumpeter Mark Isham, bassist John B. Williams and drummer Michael Barsimento.  Click HERE to read an iRoM review of a recent Wolff performance.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- April 15. (Fri.)  2nd Proverb Trio.  An unusually intriguing approach to small ensemble jazz features Dafnis Prieto, drums, Kokayi, vocals and poetry and Jason Lindner, keyboards.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast at  the Musicians Institute Concert Hall.  \.

- April 15. (Fri.)  Tom Peterson/Andy Martin Quartet.  Saxophonist Peterson and trombonist Martin, first call players on their instruments, take a break from playing for everyone else, and step to the front of the stage. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- April 16. (Sat. ) Improvisatory Minds: Chamber Music by Jazz Musicians.  It’s an evening that promises to provide some of the more intriguing musical explorations of recent memory.  On the bill: works by Bevan Manson, Ed Neumeister, and Gernot Wolfgang, with guest composers Billy Childs and Alan BroadbentVitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

Judy Wexler

- April 16. (Sat.)  Judy Wexler.  Versatile Ms. Wexler is a singer who finds the essence of jazz in everything she sings, regardless of genre.  She celebrates her birthday with a prime evening of music.  Café 322.    (626) 836-5414

- April 16 & 17. (Sat. & Sun.)  Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks.  They may not have found musical companionship in their early years, but Stewart and Nicks seem perfectly attuned to share a stage in the prime maturity of their careers.  Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- April 16 & 17. (Sat. & Sun.)  The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.  Music Director Jeffrey Kahane leads the LACO in a performance of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto with pianist Jon Kimura Parker.  Also on the program: Dvorak’s lyrical Serenade in E Major for Strings and composer John Harbison’s whimsical Gli accordi piu usati (“The most often used chords”).  Saturday at the Alex Theatre in Glendale.  Sunday at UCLA’s Royce Hall.  For information click HERE.  (213)  622-7001 Ext. 215.

San Francisco

- April 15. (Fri.)  Dr. Lonnie Smith and Barbara Dennerlein. It’s a night for B-3 organ fireworks.  The groove pyrotechnics of Dr. Lonnie and the hard driving rhythmic charge of German-born Dennerlein.  SFJAZZ Spring Season at the Herbst Theatre.  (566) 920-5299.

- April 15 & 16. (Fri. & Sat.)  Maceo Parker.  Alto saxophonist Parker’s funk roots trace back to his highly visible work with James Brown.  Since then, he’s performed with every imaginable funk band, including his own “greatest little funk band on earth.”  He makes his debut performance at Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

New York

- April 12 & 13.  (Tues. & Wed.)  The Three Cohens.  Tenor saxophonist/clarinetist Anat Cohen, trumpeter Avishai Cohen and soprano saxophonist Yuval Cohen.  Three impressive jazz artists from the same Israeli family are a jazz

Anat Cohen

rarity.  But aside from that, they’re always a pleasure to hear, and never more so than when they’re in an infrequent public family jam.  Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.   (212) (212) 258-9595.

- April 12 – 17. (Tues. – Sun.)  Martial Solal & Francois Moutin Duo. There’s no better proof of France’s love affair with jazz than the teaming of these two extraordinary French artists in a cross generational gig – the great, veteran pianist Solal and the talented young bassist Moutin. Village Vanguard.   (212) 255-4037.

- April 13 (Wed.)  Kendra Shank – Steve Wilson – Frank Kimbrough.  Vocalist Shank, saxophonist Wilson and pianist Kimbrough will be performing standards, originals, songs by the likes of Thelonious Monk, Abbey Lincoln and others.  With the additional highlight of Shank’s imaginative “voice collages” – vocal improvisations with electronic loops.  Kitano Hotel.   (212) 885-7119.

Darcy James Argue

- April 14. (Thurs.)  Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society.  Fast rising composer arranger Argue’s writing for his big band, Secret Society, has been praised in media of every stripe.  Here’s a chance to hear the work of this gifted young artist in an up front and live setting.  Iridium.   (212) 582-2121.

- April 14 – 17. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet. Trumpeter Akinmusire leads a stellar collection of young players in a celebration of the release of his debut album on Blue Note, When the Heart Emerges Glistening. Jazz Standard.  (212) 576-2232.

John Pisano photo by Bob Barry.  Denise Donatelli and Judy Wexler photos by Faith Frenz.  Anat Cohen photo by Tony Gieske.


Picks of the Week: July 26 – August 1

July 26, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- July 27. (Tues.) and 29. (Thurs.) Heroic Beethoven.  A pair of evenings overflowing with the splendor of Beethoven’s boundless imagination.  Pianist David Fray plays the Piano Concerto No. 3.  And Pablo Heras-Casado conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the Eroica Symphony No. 3.  The Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- July 27. (Tues.)  John Pisano’s Guitar Night.  This week Pisano interacts with the adventurous guitar of Bruce Forman and the ever-dependable bass of Chuck BerghoferVitello’s (818) 769-0905.

Count Basie

- July 28. (Wed.)  Big Band Jazz at the Bowl.  The Count Basie Orchestra, the Dave Holland Big Band and the Dave Douglas Big Band.  Expect a diverse set of perspectives on big band jazz, from the ineffable swing of the Basie players to Holland’s Grammy-winning large ensemble to the outward bound music of Douglas.  The Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- July 28. (Wed.)  Tina Raymond Trio.  The rising drummer/percussionist performs with guitarist Tim Fischer and bassist Emilio Terranova.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.  www.vibratogrilljazz.com.

- July 28. (Wed.)  Ancient Future. The duo of Matthew Monfort, scalloped fretboard guitarist and Mariah Parker, santurist, from the world fusion group Ancient Future, perform selections from three recent albums: Seven Serenades for Scalloped Fretboard Guitar (Monfort); Sangria (Parker); and the re-mastered 30th anniversary edition of Planet Passion (Ancient Future).   The Waterfront Concert Theatre, Marina del Rey.  (310) 448-8900. They also appear at the Fret House in Covina on Sat., July 31.  (626) 339-7020.

- July 28. (Wed.)  Jack Shit.  Blues, country, rock and satire.  Musical entertainment at its extreme.  Click here for a recent iRoM review of a Jack Shit performance.  The Baked Potato.  (818) 980-1615.

- July 29. (Thurs.)  The David Angel Saxtet.  Celebrate Sax Liberation Day with the six saxophonists and the sturdy rhythm section of Angel’s entertaining ensemble. Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

- July 29. (Thurs.) CJSQ. Saxophonist Chuck Johnson and trumpeter James Smith keep the torch burning for swinging, straight-ahead jazz.  Crowne Plaza Hotel.   (310) 642-7500.

Natacha Atlas

- July 29. (Thurs.)  Natacha Atlas.  Belgian-born Atlas has been in the vanguard of world music artists exploring the boundary-less blending of traditional Middle Eastern music with reggae, rock and electronica.  The Skirball Center.  http://www.skirball.org (310) 440-4500.

- July 29. (Thurs.)  Kailash Kher’s Kailasa. Kher is one of the major stars of Indian pop music.  His program will run the gamut of Indian Pop, Rock andBollywood songs.  Twilight Dance at the Santa Monica Pierh (310) 458-8900.

- July 30. (Fri.)  Mon David.  Filipino singer David has been convincingly establishing himself as one of the most unique new male jazz vocalists.  The Culver Club in the Raddison.  (310) 649-1776 ext. 4137.

- July 30 & 31. (Fri. & Sat.) Sergio Mendes and Morcheeba. Mendes has been bringing Brazilian sounds and rhythm to the world for more than four decades, and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down.  British rock band Morcheeba is the opening act.  The Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

Strunz & Farah

July 30 & 31. (Fri. & Sat.)  Strunz & Farah.  The two-guitar duo’s fast fingered musical romps seem to get better with every outing.  Click here read a recent iRoM review of Strunz & Farah.   Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- July 31. (Sat.)  Viver Brasil with Katia Moraes. The premiere of Alafia/Harmony, a celebration of peace, as expressed in the music and dance of the Yoruban community, featuring the dynamic Viver Brasil dancers and the charismatic singing of Moraes. Ford Amphitheatre.  (323) 461-3673.

- July 31. (Sat.) Holly Hofmann and Bill Cunliffe.  Hoffman’s flute and Cunliffe’s piano make for an irresistible combination of subtle sounds and driving rhythms.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- July 31. (Sat.)  Pat Benatar and REO Speedwagon. Eighties pop-rock hit-maker Benatar teams up with eighties rocksters REO Speedwagon to revisit their hits.  The Greek Theatre. (323) 665-3125.

Judy Wexler

- Aug. 1. (Sun.) Judy Wexler.  Jazz artist Wexler is always a pleasure to hear, with her eclectic musical interests and articulate vocal skills.  This time out she’ll be in a setting that perfectly frames her abilities — a luxurious new downtown music venue, the First and Hope Supper Club

- Aug. 1. (Sun.)  Film: The Anatomy of Vince Guaraldi.  The Jazz Bakery’s Movable Feast events feature a film, this time out, celebrating the life and music of Vince Guaraldi, with on-camera appearances by Dave Brubeck, Dick Gregory, Irwin Corey, John Handy and others.   Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax.  Jazz Bakery Movable Feast.   (310) 271-9039.

- Aug. 1. (Sun.)  Gaea Schell. She prefers to describe herself as a jazz pianist who also sings, but the truth is that Schell handles both those hyphenates with plenty of style, imagination and grace.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.  .

San Francisco

- July 28. (Wed.) Mingus Amungus. One of the Bay area’s more intriguing groups, celebrating the music of Charles Mingus in music and dance. Yoshi’s San Francisco (415) 655-5600.

- July 30 & 31. (Fri. & Sat.)  Larry Carlton Trio.  Specializing in smooth jazz, blues and crossover, guitarist Carlton has been doing it well for decades.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

John Pizzarelli

- July 30 – Aug. 1. (Fri. – Sun.)  John Pizzarelli. Every time he steps on stage, Pizzarelli’s guitar playing, singing, and whimsical humor affirm the fact that jazz can be as entertaining as it is musically engaging.  Yoshi’s Oakland (510) 238-9200.

New York

- July 27 – 31. (Tues. – Sat.)  Charlie Haden’s Quartet West.  Bassist Haden celebrates the 25th Anniversary of his Quartet West ensemble with the current personnel — Ravi Coltrane, Alan Broadbent and Rodney Green. Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

- July 27 – Aug. 1 (Tues. – Sun.)  Earl Klugh.  The Grammy-winning guitarist continues to bring life and imagination to the smooth jazz and crossover genres.The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

- July 27 – Aug. 1. (Tues. – Sun.)  Marcus Roberts Trio. Backed by Jason Marsalis and Rodney Jordan, Roberts moonlights from his professorial duties at Florida State University with performances that are virtual living displays of jazz piano history.  Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.  (212) 258-9595.

- July 29. (Thurs.)  Sarah McLachlan.  Jet Blue customers traveling through Terminal 5 at New York’s JFK airport on Thurs., July 29 will enjoy a free, live show, post-security in the Marketplace, celebrating singer/songwriter McLachlan’s new album Laws of Illusion.   Information click here.

Joanne Brackeen

- July 29 – Aug. 1. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Joanne Brackeen Quartet.  Veteran pianist/composer Brackeen displays her dynamic improvisational style backed by the sterling playing of Mark Turner, Ugonna Okegwo and Johnathan Blake Jazz Standard. (212) 576-2232.

- July 29 – Aug. 1.  (Thurs. – Sun.)  Larry Coryell Power Trio.  Coryell, who can do almost anything he wants to with a guitar, cranks up the power, assisted by the equally electrifying playing of bassist Victor Bailey and either Lenny White or Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums.  Iridium.   (212)  582-2121.


Picks of the Week: May 3 – 9

May 3, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Jeanie Brandes

- May 4. (Tues.)  Jeanie Brandes.  Songs from Brandes’ new CD, Kisses You Awake will be on the agenda for Brandes’ crystalline voice and elegant phrasing.  She’s backed by Bryan Bromberg, Shelly Markham and Tom ZinkasCatalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- May 4. (Tues.)  Jonny Blu.  He’s a unique musical canaries, an American singer who has been a star in China, singing in Mandarin.  And he’s just as good with the classic American songbook.  Vibrato (310) 474-9400.

- May 5. (Wed.)  Cinco de Mayo CelebrationLouis Cruz Beltran. The dynamic drummer/singer celebrates the holiday in an irresistible evening of rhythm and song. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- May 5. (Wed.)  Susie Hansen Latin Jazz Band.  The body-moving rhythms of Hansen’s dynamic ensemble are applied to tunes from her soon-to-be-released new CD, the appropriately titled Representante de la SalsaAtomic Ball Room, Irvine.   (914) 250-3332.

- Jan. 6. (Thurs.) Julie Kelly.  Kelly’s dulcet tones and brisk rhythms are supported by the stellar backing of Bill Cunliffe, Chris Collangelo and Kendall Kay. Charlie O’s.    (919) 994-3058.

Gustavo Dudamel

- May 6 – 8.  (Thurs. – Sun.)  Los Angeles Philharmonic.  An evening of dramatic music directed by the equally dramatic hands of Gustavo Dudamel: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony #6 (Pathetique) and the Dvorák Cello Concerto, with soloist Alisa WeilersteinDisney Hall.

- May 7. (Fri.)  Charlie Shoemake and “Sounds of Shearing” Vibist Shoemake brings the classic Shearing sound back to life, recalling some of the classics, applying it to new repertoire.  Culver Club Radisson Hotel. Culver Club Raddison.

- May 7. (Fri.)  Rique Pantoja & Friends.  Brazilian pianist Pantoja leads a band that can easily cover all aspects of the jazz meets Brazilian rhythms style.  Bob Sheppard, Abraham Laboriel, Luis Conte and Russ MillerVitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

- May 7. (Fri.)  Shelly Berg Trio.  Jazz pianist and jazz educator Berg takes a hiatus from his academic duties in Miami for a one-nighter in Fullerton.  He’s backed by Chuck Berghofer and Greg FieldSteamers.   (714) 871-8800.

Katayoun Goudarzi

- May 7.  (Fri.) SaffronA Celebration of Rumi. A rich blending of atmospheric music with readings from the sensual poetry of Rumi.  The engaging voice of reader Katayoun Goudarzi is accompanied by the playing of Sujaat Husain Khan, Tim Ries, Kevin Hayes, Satoshi Takeishi and Abhimann Kaushal.   The Skirball Center.   (310) 440-4500.

- May 8.  (Sat.) Patti LaBelleAshford & Simpson.  A Mother’s Day Concert celebrates the maternal blessings with a classic collection of soul and r & b sounds. Gibson Amphitheatre.   (818) 622-4440.

- May 9. (Sun.) Raymond de Felitta Trio.  Pianist de Felitta is a legitimate show business mult-hyphenate.  In addition to this convincing keyboard work, he is an Academy Award-nominated independent filmmaker and writer.  His most recent film, City Island, received First Place Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival.  Vibrato.  (310) 474-9400.

- May 9. (Sun.)  Judy Wexler. KJAZZ Mother’s Day Brunch. The singing’s great, the food is great, and the atmosphere is great.  Mother should be very happy to be here. KJAZ’s Helen Borgas hosts. Twist Restaurant at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.   (562) 985-2999.

San Diego

- May 7. (Fri.)  Eldar. The young prodigy jazz pianist from Kyrgyzstan, now 23, has matured into a top level improvisational artist.  Anthology, San Diego.   (619) 595-0300.

Farah and Strunz

- May 8. (Sat.)  Strunz & Farah. The veteran two-guitar team (from Iran and Costa Rica) are producing some of the finest music of their long career together.  Click here to read an iRoM review of a recent L.A. appearance. Anthology, San Diego.   (619) 595-0300.

San Francisco

- May 6 & 7. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Christian McBride and Inside Straight.  Everybody’s favorite bassist, adept at almost any given style, leads his own, appropriately titled straight ahead quintet.  Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

- May 7 – 9. (Fri. – Sun.)  Rachelle Ferrell.  A voice with no apparent limits ranges easily across styles, from blues and gospel to some convincing jazz singing.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

New York

Chick Corea

May 4 – 9. (Tues. – Sun.)  Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez and Paul Motian“Further Explorations of Bill Evans” Corea must be serious about the quest to dig into the rich lode of Bill Evans music.  He’s performing with a pair of players – bassist Gomez and drummer Motian – who spent a lot of time on the bandstand with Evans.   The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

- May 5 – 8. (Wed. – Sat.)  Umbria Jazz. Unfortunately trumpeter Enrico Rava, the headliner for this presentation of high level Italian jazz, had an accident and can’t make the gig.  He’s been replaced by close associate Dan Kinzelman (sax and clarinet), along with Gianluca Petrella (trombone) Giovanni Guidi (piano), Pietro Leveratto (bass) Fabrizio Sferra (drums), and the quality level is still something special to hear.  Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

Kenny Garrett

- May 5 – 8. (Wed. – Sat.) Kenny Garrett Band. Alto saxophonist Garrett takes time off from the Five Piece Band to apply his free orbiting style to a collection of his own music.  Iridium.  (212) 582-2121.

- May 5 – 9. (Wed. – Sun.) The Julliard Jazz Orchestra examines some classic jazz repertoire in a program devoted to  “The Music of Mary Lou Williams and Duke Ellington”  with special guests Kenny Barron (Wed. & Thurs.) and Lew Tabackin (Fri. – Sun.)  Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.   (212) 258-9800.

- May 6 – 9. (Thurs. – Sun.) Mulgrew Miller and Wingspan. Pianist Miller and his small band, Wingspan, have produced some of the jazz world’s most appealing sounds over the past three decades.  The current group features Antonio Hart, Steve Nelson, Duane Eubanks, Ivan Taylor and Rodney Green. Jazz Standard. (212) 576-2232.


Picks of the Week: March 23 – 28

March 23, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Mar. 23. (Tues.)  Christopher Cross.  Multiple Grammy Award-winning composer Cross hits include “Sailing,” “Ride Like the Wind” and “Never Be the Same.” Vibrato.   (310) 474-9400.

Ray Davies

- Mar. 24. (Wed.)  Ray Davies. After the success of last Fall’s CD, The Kinks Choral Collection, Davies – one of the founders of the venerable English rock band The Kinks – is once again out on tour, offering golden oldies, as well as his newer material. Grove of Anaheim.  (714) 712-2700.

- Mar. 25. (Wed.)  Jamie Cullum.  The English wiz, adept at the piano, quick with a song, successfully masters the territory between rock, pop, blues and jazz.  The Avalon.   (323) 467-4571.

- Mar. 25. (Wed.)  Nat Adderley Jr. Quintet “The Music of Cannonball and Nat Adderley”. His direct connection with the source, makes pianist Adderley, Jr. the perfect advocate for the classic music of his father and uncle. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- Mar. 24. (Wed.)  Judy Wexler“Talkin’ About My Generation.” Jazz singer Wexler adds her fine-tuned, improvisational vocal touches to the music of the ‘60s and ‘70s.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Mar. 25.  (Wed.)  Chef Jam Sessions. Vibrato launches a new series in which guest chefs will cook 5-course dinners of their signature favorites.  Alain Giraud (Anisette, Bastide, Citrus) is the first all-star guest chef.  The Norman Pantone Continental Quartet will accompany the feasting with accordion-driven Gypsy jazz.  Vibrato. (310) 474-9400.

- Mar. 25. (Thurs.)  Nancy Kelly.  Veteran jazz singer Kelly brings swing, phrasing, vitality and – best of all – authenticity to everything she sings.  This is one of her too-rare appearances in the Southland.  Crown Plaza Brasserie Jazz Lounge.  (310) 642-7500.

Billy Childs

- Mar. 25. (Thurs.)  Billy Childs. He’s got eight Grammy nominations and two Grammy awards, and he’s been commissioned by symphonies across the land to write compositions.  But Childs is also one of the finest — and too little acknowledged — jazz pianists in the world. He doesn’t play many club dates these days, so don’t miss this one.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Mar. 26. (Fri.)  The CJS Quintet and Hideaki “Heday” Tokunaga “East Meets Wes.” The hard bop of the CJS Quintet encounters Heday’s grooving, Wes Montgomery-styled guitar work.   Hollywood Studio Bar and Grill/Gower Gulch.  (323) 466-9917.

- Mar. 26. (Fri.) Larry Karush Quintet.  Pianist Karush roves confidently across the boundaries of improvisation, from the thorny avant-garde to the propulsive lift of straight ahead.  The Santa Monica College Performing Arts Center (Edye 2nd Space)  (310) 434-3000.

- Mar. 26. (Fri.)  Perlene Thurston. The rich-timbred voice and roving phrases of Thurston stimulate distinct recollections of Sarah Vaughan.   The Back Room at Henri’s.   (818) 348-5582.

- Mar. 26 & 27. (Fri. & Sat.) Wallace Roney Quintet. Trumpeter Roney has taken the Miles Davis style and shaped it into a highly personal expression of his own.  He performs with Antoine Roney, saxophones, Aruan Ortiz, keyboards, Rashaan Carter, bass, Kush Abadey, drums.  Spazio.  (818) 728-8400.

- Mar. 26 & 27. (Fri. & Sat.)  Mike Lang and Los Angeles Sonic Odyssey.   Pianist Lang performs the world premiere of Jennifer Logan’s Planetarium, a work for improvised piano and electronics.  Logan will also perform Lang’s Moonlit Night…in blossoms’ shimmer and her own Serenades and spreading shadows for solo piano.  Neighborhood Unitarian Church, Pasadena.  Los Angeles Sonic Odyssey. (213) 422-2733.

Diane Schuur

- Mar. 27. (Sat.)  Diane Schuur.  Eclectic singer/pianist Schuur has a pair of Grammy awards and three nominations.  Lately, Deedles has been setting aside some of her pop interests in favor of the expressive jazz vocalizing she does best.  CSUN Performing Arts Center.  (818) 677-1200.

- Mar. 27. (Sat.)  Broadway Today Jason Graae, David Burnham, Julia Murney and Lisa Howard sing songs from  such contemporary musicals as  Wicked, Hairspray,  The Lion King, Rent, The Producers, The Phantom of the Opera, Jersey Boys, Mamma Mia and others.  Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.  (805) 449-2787.

- Mar. 27. (Sat.)  Antonio Sanchez Quartet. Drummer Sanchez keeps the Jazz Bakery brand alive with a stellar group that includes alto saxophonist David Binney, tenor saxophonist Donny McCaslin and bassist Scott Colley.  All of which should make for a high sprited evening.  Musicians Institute.  A Jazz Bakery Moveable Feast.   (310) 271-9039.

- Mar. 28. (Sun.)  Frank Potenza Trio. Guitarist/educator Potenza, inspired by Joe Pass, has built a highly personal style of his own.  He performs material from his current Capri release, Old, New, Borrowed & Blue.  With Joe Bagg, organ, Steve Barnes, drums.  The Lighthouse Café in Hermosa Beach.   (310) 376-9833

San Francisco

- March 23 & 24.   (Tues. & Wed.)  Joe Lovano and US Five perform selections from “Folk Art,” his first recording with a program of all his original compositions.   Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

Eliane Elias

- Mar. 23 & 24.  (Tues. & Wed.)  Eliane Elias.  Pianist/singer Elias brilliantly combines her deep Brazilian roots with an impressively original jazz imagination.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

- Mar. 23 – 27. (Tues. – Sat.)  Maude Maggart. With a background that traces to several generations of musical show biz veterans, Maggart enhances her inherited skills with her own stylish approach to the classic songs of cabaret and the musical theatre.  The Rrazz Room.  (415) 394-1189.

- Mar. 26 – 28. (Fri. – Sun.)  Natalie Cole.  Ever versatile, as comfortable with a  soulful pop song as she is with a dynamic evening of jazz, Cole makes a rare club appearance.  Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

New York

Mar. 23 – 27. (Tues. – Sat.)  John Scofield New Quartet. Guitarist Scofield sets aside his eclectic musical interests for some straight ahead jazz.  With Mulgrew Miller, piano, Ben Street, bass and Kendrick Scott, drums. Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

- Mar. 23 – 28. (Tues. – Sun.)  Regina Carter. The busy, versatile violinist previews her new CD, Reverse Thread. Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.   (212) 258-9595.

- Mar. 25. (Thurs.) Allison Miller.   Multi-skilled drummer, composer and singer Miller leads a stellar ensemble — pianist Myra Melford, violinist Jenny Scheinman and bassist Todd Sickafoose — in a release party for her new CD, Boom Tic Boom.   Cornelia Street Cafe.  (212) 989-9319.

Freda Payne

- Mar. 25 & 26. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Kurt Rosenwinkel Standards Trio.  Guitarist Rosenwinkel does what the title of his group says – explore the soaring melodies and rich harmonies of the Great American Songbook.  Jazz Standard.   (212) 576-2232.

- Mar. 25 – 28.  (Thurs. – Sun.)  Freda Payne sings Ella Fitzgerald.  She’s had a #! Hit – “Band of Gold” – and starred in Broadway shows such as “Jelly’s Last Jam” and ‘Sophisticated Ladies.”  But Payne has a feel for jazz, too, and – especially – an empathic way of understanding Ella’s way with a song.  Iridium. (212) 582-2121.


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