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.


Picks of the Week: Jan. 19 – 24

January 19, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Victor Wooten

- Jan. 19 – 20. (Tues. – Wed.)  Victor Wooten Band.  Award winning bassist Wooten’s performances with the Bela Fleck Band have always been impressive feats of musical magic.  Here he conjures up his own creative surprises.   Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- Jan. 19. (Tues.)  John Pisano Guitar Night.  Now firmly established at Vitello’s Guitar Night begins its duo performances.  This time, Pisano gets together with former Oscar Peterson standout, Swedish guitarist Ulf WakeniusVitellos. (818) 769-0905.

- Jan. 21. (Thurs.)  Simplexity.  The innovative electronic jazz group celebrates the release of their CD “Extreme Measures.” With  John von Seggern, Gary Novak, Steve Tavaglione and John Beasley ResBox at the Steve Allen Theatre.

- Jan. 21. (Thurs.)  John Altman Quartet.  English alto saxophonist and multi-hyphenate composer/arranger/songwriter Altman makes one of his too-infrequent Southland appearances. Charlie O’s (818) 989-3110.

Kenny Burrell photo by Bob Barry

- Jan. 21. (Thurs.)  Gerry Gibbs Quintet.  Inventive drummer Gibbs leads a stellar ensemble — accordionist Frank Marocco, multi-instrumentalis Rob Hardt, pianist Llew Matthews and bassist Lyman Medieros.     Crowne Plaza LAX Hotel.  (310) 642-7500.

- Jan. 21 – 23.  (Thurs. – Sat.)  Kenny Burrell Quartet.  One of the icons of jazz guitar, Burrell spends most of his time in educationsl settings these days.  So don’t miss this relatively rare chance to hear him in action.   Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- Jan. 22. (Fri.)  Julie Esposito.   She has an enviable blend of skill, training and natural ability.  But what really makes Esposito special is her interpretive ability to find the heart of a song.   Café 322 (626) 836-5787.

Anna Mjoll

- Jan. 22. (Fri.)  Tom Peterson with the Pat Senatore Trio.  Saxophonist Peterson has played with just about everyone at one time or another.  Here he is up front, doing it his own way with Senatore’s solid backing.    Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Jan. 22. (Fri.)  Anna Mjoll.  The Icelandic singer moves easily across traditional pop and jazz genres with upbeat swing and an engaging on stage manner.  She performs with the John Heard TrioCharlie O’s. .  (818) 989-3110.

- Jan. 22. (Fri.)  Lincoln Mayorga.  “Chopin and the Piano.”  A discussion of the composer’s life and a performance of all of the 24 Preludes, the Grande Polonaise in A flat, the Scherzo in C sharp minor and selected mazurkas, etudes, and waltzes.  At the new Steinway Piano Gallery.  314 N. Robertson Blvd. (near Beverly Blvd.)  Information: Jeannine@FrankEntertainment.com (310) 476-6735

- Jan. 23. (Sat.)  Madeline Eastman.  San Francisco-based Eastman has skills too rarely heard in most alleged jazz singers — the ability to paraphrase, the implicit understanding of how a song is constructed, and a deep understanding of the relationship between words and music.  She sings with the Randy Porter Trio.  The Red Carpet Jazz Series.  Upstairs at Vitellos.  (818) 769-0905.

Carol Bach-y-Rita

- Jan. 23. (Sat.)  Carol Bach-y-Rita.   Jazz, Brazilian music and Salsa are, says Bach-y-Rita says, her “great loves.”  And she sings them with the affection that only a true lover can express.   Spazio. (818) 728-8400.

- Jan. 23. (Sat.)  Doug MacLeod and Lawrence Lebo. Here’s a typically entertaining, typically eclectic McCabe’s program: the traditional blues and soulful guitar and vocals of MacLeod, and the jaunty swing and blues stylings of the inimitable Lebo.  McCabe’s. (310) 828-4497. 

- Jan. 24. (Sun.)  Ron McCurdy and the Vocal Collective.  Trumpeter (and educator) McCurdy interacts with the superb harmonies and briskly swinging vocals of the Vocal Collective.   Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.    (310) 474-9400.

San Francisco

Ann Hampton Callaway

- Jan. 18. (Mon.)  Kat Parra and The Sephardic Experience.  Parra’s beguiling voice expressively blends traditional elements with contemporary sounds and rhythms.  Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.

- Jan. 19. (Tues.)  Ann Hampton Callaway.  The busily traveling Callaway makes a too brief, one-night stop.  Too brief because her singing and her piano playing are always as entertaining as they are illuminating. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.

- Jan. 19 – 31. (Tues. – Mon.) Andrea Marcovicci.  Always an insightful interpretive artist, the “Queen of Cabaret” applies her dramatic musicality to “Skylark: A Centennial Tribute to Johnny Mercer.”    The Rrazz Room (415) 781-0306.

Kenny Garrett

- Jan. 21 – 24. (Thurs. – Sun.)  “Django Reinhardt at 100.” There will be numerous celebrations this year of the Reinhardt centennial.  Here’s one that brings together a pair of stylistically diverse guitarists:  Dorado Schmitt with special guest Dave Grisman Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

- Jan. 22 – 24.  (Fri. – Sun.)  Kenny Garrett Quartet.  Alto saxophonist Garrett continues to stretch the envelope of contemporary jazz improvising.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

New York

- Jan. 19. (Tues.)  Groove CollectiveD J Logic, Bernie Worrell, Dr. Lonnie Smith, among others, perform in a Benefit for Haiti.  100% of ticket proceeds go to Haiti Action and Hands Together.  At Le Poisson Rouge.   (212) 228-4854.

- Jan. 19 – 23 (Tues. – Sat.)  M’Boom Percussion Ensemble meets the World Sax Quartet in a spectacular musical encounter.  Featuring percussionists Joe Chambers, Warren Smith, Ray Mantilla, Eli Fountain and Steve Berrios and saxophonists David Murray, Hamiet Bluiett, Oliver Lake & James Carter. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.

Lee Konitz

- Jan. 19 – 24. (Tues. – Sun.) Lee Konitz Trio. The great alto saxophonist, one of jazz history’s true originals, is still — at 82 — in rare form.   W. Dan Tepfer, piano, Matt Wilson, drums. Village Vanguard. (212) 255-4037.

- Jan. 19 – 24. (Tues. – Sun.) Frank Wess 88th Birthday Celebration. A week long birthday musical gala for the veteran saxophonist, featuring his Nonet with special guests Mulgrew Miller, Renee Rosnes, Bill Charlap, Billy Taylor, Mike Ledonne and Hank Jones. Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.  (212)  258-9595.

- Jan. 19 – 31. (Tues. – Mon.)  Winter Latin Jazz Festival. This year’s Festival touches a far-ranging set of jazz styles with the starry line-up of Dave Valentin, Candido, Arturo Sandoval, Gato Barbieri, Poncho SanchezBlue Note.  NYC.  (212) 475-8592.

- Jan. 21 – 24. (Thurs. – Sun.)  FLY.    Mark Turner, tenor saxophone, Larry Grenadier, bass and Jeff Ballard, drums.  The combination of saxophone, bass and drums is both a challenging and an invigorating instrumentation.  These guys handle it with spirit and imagination.   The Jazz Standard.  (212) 576-2232.


Picks of the Week: Dec. 29 – Jan. 3

December 29, 2009

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Jane Monheit

Dec. 29 – Jan. 3. Jane Monheit. There’s no more entertaining jazz way to bring in 2010 than with the gorgeous sound and imaginative phrasing of the always compelling Ms. Monheit. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

Dec. 29. (Tues.) Ron Jones Influence. Jones leads his big, 22 piece orchestra in an evening of large ensemble jazz. Spazio. (818) 728-8400.

- Dec. 29. (Tues.) Wayne Bergeron’s Big Band. Trumpeter Bergeron has ample credibility as a big band performer to front his own large jazz collective, and he does it well. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

Judy Wexler

- Dec. 30 (Wed.) Billy Mitchell Group starts the holiday early with his pre-New Year’s Eve Celebration, backed by Rob Kyle, Tomas Gargano, and Frank Wilson. Crown Plaza Brasserie Jazz Lounge. (310) 642-7500.

- Jan. 2. (Sat.) Judy Wexler Quartet. Filling in as an unexpected replacement, Ms. Wexler gives her many fans an early opportunity to hear her briskly swinging vocals in action in the new year. Café Metropol. (213) 613-1537.

Highlight: New Year’s Eve in L.A……………………………………

Dr. Bobby Rodriguez

- Dr. Bobby Rodriguez New Year’s Eve Dance Party. Trumpeter Dr. Bobby knows how to celebrate a holiday, keeping the dance rhythms moving while retaining a firm hold on his admirable jazz chops. The Culver Club in the Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Westside. (310) 649-1776.

- Don Menza, John Heard, Roy McCurdy and Tom Ranier. One couldn’t ask for a better, more seasoned band to spend a holiday evening with — or, for that matter, a better place to spend it than at Charlie O’s. (818) 989-3110.

Veteran guitarist Don Peake brings in the New Year with one of his typically entertaining bands, featuring Ellis Hall, vocals, Earl Gordon, drums, Michael Torres, bass, Aaron Mclain, guitar/vocals and Harlan Spector, keyboards. Spazio. (818) 728-8400.

- Janis Mann and Llew Matthews Trio (Paul Kreibich, drums, John Belzaguy, bass). The rich, dark sound, soaring vocals of the under-appreciated Ms. Mann, backed by a sterling trio. Sheraton Gateway Hotel LAX. (310) 642-1111.

- Jerry Vivino’s Quartet from the Tonight Show with Conan Obrien. It’s described as a Masquerade and Dance Party, filled with “glitz, glamour, dancing and music. ” And with saxophonist Vivino leading bassist Mike Merritt, drummer James Wormworth and pianist Scott Healy, the description should be right on target. Upstairs at Vitellos. (818) 769-0905.

- Kleber Jorge. The guitarist/singer from Rio celebrates New Year’s Brazilian style. Crustacean, Beverly Hills. (310) 205-8990.

Louie Cruz Beltran

- Louie Cruz Beltran Latin Jazz Ensemble. Percussionist/singer Beltran is entertaining on any night one hears him. Celebrating New Year’s he’ll no doubt be even better. South Coast Winery Resort and Spa, Temecula. (866) 994-6379.

- Rick Vittallo. The veteran singer/guitarist has been a busy Southland performer since the ’70s, working in far ranging musical settings. Here he works in an intimate small group setting with bassist Pat Senatore and pianist Matt Harris. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

Roaring Twenties New Year’s Eve. Marie MacGillis performs classic jazz and swing tunes with Michto Pelo, Tommy Davy and John Reynolds. Chaya Brasserie, Beverly Hills. (310) 859-8833.

- Don Randi & Quest. Keyboardist avoids the holiday traffic by leading his fusion group Quest at his own cozy jazz room, the Baked Potato. (818) 980-1615.


San Francisco

- Dec. 29 – Jan. 2. (Tues. – Sat.) Ledisi. Soul stylist Ledisi has been entertaining audiences with her engaging voice since she was eight. Her latest album, “Turn Me Loose,” adds a touch of funk to her driving vocals. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.

McCoy Tyner

- Dec. 29 – Jan. 3. (Tues. – Sun.) McCoy Tyner New Year’s Celebration. And an all-star celebration it is — a rare combination of players not to be missed. With Ravi Coltrane, Esperanza Spalding and Francisco Mela. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200

- Dec. 30 – Jan. 3. (Wed. – Sun.) Melba Moore. Moore’s checkered career and sometimes troubled life haven’t diminished the quality of her work as a singer with a unique way with a song. Here’s a rare chance to hear her up close and personal. The Rrazz Room. (415) 394-1189.

New York

(Dec. 29 – Jan. 3) Chris Botti‘s trumpet playing continues in rare form, as he finishes up his epic three week run at the Blue Note. (212) 475-8592

(Dec. 29 – Jan. 3) Struttin’ With Some Barbecue. Straight ahead, hard driving, New Orleans-tinged jazz at its best. With Henry Butler, piano, Donald Harrison, alto sax, Sean Jones, trumpet, Wycliffe Gordon, trombone, Ben Wolfe, bass, Ali Jackson, drums. The Jazz Standard. (212) 447-7733.

HIlary Kole

(Dec. 30 – Jan. 3). The Bad Plus. Still at the cutting edge of contemporary jazz, the trio of pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King continue to be influential pathfinders for imaginative young jazz players. The Village Vanguard. (212) 255-4037.

Dec. 31. Hilary Kole with the Chico O’Farrill Jazz Orchestra. Any night with Kole’s singing is a night to remember. New Year’s Eve with Kole and the O’Farrill Orchestra should be something to preserve in a memory book. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.

Dec. 31. (Thurs.)  New Year’s Eve with Liz Callaway.  The mellifluous voice and dramatic interpretive style of Broadway’s Callaway will be heard in two shows: Passage of Time at 8:30, featuring tunes from her recent CD; The Best of Liz at 10:30, with “Meadowlark,” “Memory,” “The Show Goes On” and champagne at midnight.  The Metropolitan Room.  (212) 206-0440.


Picks of the Week: Nov. 30 – Dec. 6

November 30, 2009

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Demetra George

- Nov. 30. (Mon.)  Gala Opera NightDemetra George and Ralph Cato perform “Villains and Heroines at the Opera,” selections from Puccini, Verdi and Strauss.  Frank Fetta is music director.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Nov. 30. (Mon.)  Slide FX  Trombone Tentet.  Not quite enough trombones to play “76 Trombones,” but enough to produce a surprisingly appealing array of sounds and swing.   Steamers. (714) 871-8800. http://www.steamerscafe.com

- Dec. 1. (Tues.)  “Christmas in Ireland” The veteran Irish ensemble Danu combines with a choir to bring an Irish Christmas celebration –An Lollaig in Eirnn – to Southland audiences.  The Cerritos Center. (562) 916-8501.

- Dec. 1. (Tues.)  Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band.  Goodwin’s band is that rarity – a big jazz ensemble with steady personnel delivering performances that match well-rehearsed craftsmanship with inventive playing and imaginative arrangements.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- Dec. 1. (Tues.)  Henry Franklin Quartet.  Bassist “Skipper” Franklin plays with most of the hard driving ensemble from his recently released CD, “Home Cookin’”: Azar Lawrence, tenor saxophone, Theo Saunders, piano, Ramon Banda, drums.  Charlie O’s.   (818) 989-3110.

Hilary Kole

- Dec. 1 & 2. (Tues. & Wed.)  Hilary Kole. The critically praised New York jazz singer makes her West Coast debut, backed by the sterling ensemble of Alan Broadbent, piano, Larry Koonse, guitar, Tom Warrington, bass and Kendall Kay, drums.  . Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- Dec. 2. (Wed.)  Peter Marshall sings “TIME WAS: Music of the Thirties and Forties.”  No Hollywood Squares in this evening of delightful musical nostalgia.  Upstairs at Vitellos.  (818) 769-0905.

- Dec. 2. (Wed.)  Judy Wexler. Gifted with a smoky sound, thoughtful phasing and a solid sense of rhythm, Wexler applies those qualities to her ever-intriguing jazz interpretations.  Café 322 (626) 836-5787.

- Dec. 3. (Thurs.)  Tom Rainier.  With Trey Henry, bass and Ralph Humphrey, drums, the trio serves as the rhythm section for “Dancing with the Stars.”  But here they are, in a very different setting, doing their own thing.  Upstairs at Vitellos. (818) 769-0905.

- Dec. 3, 4 & 5. (Thurs, Fri. & Sat.)  Charlie Hunter.  The adventurous guitarist brings his cross-genre style to a pair of L.A. appearances.  Thurs., Saint Rocke, Hermosa Beach. 310-372-0035.  Fri. & Sat. The Mint.  323-954-9400.

Gaea Schell

- Dec. 3. (Thurs.)  West Coast Left Coast: Leonard Slatkin with the Kronos Quartet and the Los Angeles Philharmonic perform works by Gladsmith, Bates, Waxman and Newman in the continuing series.  Disney Hall.

- Dec. 4. (Fri.)  Gaea Schell Trio.  A hard-swinging, inventive pianist, Schell brings the qualities of an instrumentalist to her laid-back, but always intriguing vocals. This time out, she celebrates the release of her new CD, “After the Rain.” Café 322. (626) 836-5787.

- Dec. 4 & 5. (Fri. & Sat.)  5th Annual Fil-Am Jazzfest.  Any original doubts about the reality of Filipino jazz have been thoroughly removed by these stirring annual events.  This year’s featured artists include Charmaine Clamor, Mon David, Tateng Katendig, Abe Lagrimas, Angelo Pizzaro, Sandra Viray and a special appearance by Eddie Katendig.   . Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- Dec. 5. (Sat.)  The Nutcracker SuiteThe State Street Ballet Company brings an unusual slant to Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic with a newly choreographed production featuring Art Deco sets and 1930’s costumes..  2 p.m. and 7 p.m.  CSUN Performing Arts Center.  (818) 677-5768.

- Dec. 5. (Sat.)  Carol Welsman. Canadian pianist/singer Welsman illuminates songs associated with (or written by) Peggy Lee in her new album, “I Like Men.”   Spazio. (818) 728-8400.

Herb Alpert & Lani Hall

- Dec. 5. (Sat.)  David Ornette Cherry and Organic Roots.  Following in the footsteps of his father, Don Cherry, and his namesake, Ornette Coleman, Cherry’s envelope-stretching music also embraces eclectic aspects of cultures from around the globe.  World Stage Performance Gallery.  (323) 293-2451.

- Dec. 5. (Sat.)  Herb Alpert & Lani Hall. Show biz power couple Alpert and Hall also happen to be imaginative musical artists.  Performing selections from their recent album, “Anything Goes,” Alpert’s trumpet and Hall’s vocals make an appealingly intimate jazz marriage. Orange County Performing Arts Center. (714) 556-2787.

- Dec. 5 & 6. (Sat. & Sun.)  Lisa Mezzacappa.  San Francisco bassist/composer Mezzacappa says her music lives “at the intersection of music and composition.”  She brings her imaginative musical perceptions to a pair of Southland performances. Sat.: Café Metropole, / Sun: Eagle Rock Center for the Arts.

- Dec. 6. (Sun.) Inner Voices. “Christmas A Cappella Brunch.” L.A.’s most fascinating vocal ensemble – musically, harmonically and stylistically – present their annual look at the rich, creative potential of the familiar songs of Christmas.  Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

San Francisco

Dec. 2 – 6. (Wed. – Sun.)  The Taj Mahal Trio.  The blues legend displays his inimitable guitar and voice in the intimate frame work of a trio.  Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

New  York

- Dec. 1. (Tues.)  Jackie Ryan.  Praised from every direction, Ryan’s extraordinarily versatile voice, her buoyant swing and gifted story telling abilities will be backed by a pair of superb instrumentalists — trumpeter Jeremy Pelt and saxophonist Eric AlexanderBirdland. (212) 581-3080.

Anat Cohen

Dec. 1 – 6. (Tues. – Sun.)  Anat Cohen Quartet.  In addition to her powerful – and often funky – tenor saxophone work, Cohen is bringing vital new life to the too-often under-appreciated jazz clarinet.  She performs with Howard Alden, guitar,  Carlos Enriquez, bass and Herlin Riley, drums.  Village Vanguard.  (212) 255-4037.

- Dec. 2. (Wed.)  Bob Brookmeyer celebrates his 80th birthday with the Eastman New Jazz EnsembleKilbourn Hall at the Eastman School of \Music.  Rochester, N.Y.   (585) 454.2100.

- Dec. 2 – 5. (Wed. – Sat.)  Christine Ebersole and Billy Stritch“A Town and Country Christmas.” A pair of musical theatre and cabaret veterans come together for an evening of inspired song.  Birdland(212) 581-3080.

- Dec. 3 – 6. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Chano Dominguez Flamenco Quartet perform “The Flamenco Side of Kind of Blue – a fascinating musical concept that will be the final concert series of the Voll-Damm Barcelona International Jazz Festival,  The Jazz Standardhttp://www.jazzstandard.net (212) 447-7733.

- Dec. 4 – 6. (Fri. – Sun.)  Madeleine Peyroux“Remembering Lady Day: 50 Years.” Given the Holiday qualities that are such a distinct part of the Peyroux style, this should be among the more intriguing live performances of recent memory.  Blue Note.  The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.

Sonny Rollins

- Dec. 6. (Sun.)  Sonny Rollins.  The icon of the tenor saxophone appears in a benefit Concert for Pete Seeger’s Clearwater.  He’s backed by his regular ensemble: Clifton Anderson, trombone; Bobby Broom, guitar; Bob Cranshaw, bass; Kobie Watkins, drums and Victor See-Yuen, percussion. Tarrytown Music Hall or call 877-840-0457.

- Dec. 6. (Sun.)  Alessandra Belloni“The Voyage of the Black Madonna,” written and directed by Belloni, with music composed and arranged by John La Barbera.  The work features healing chants, ritual drumming and dances from Southern Italy performed by Alessandra Belloni with La Barbera playing guitars, mandolin, and Susan Eberenz playing flute, piccolo and recorders.  St. Mary’s Church, 521 W. 126 St. (212) 864-4013.


PIcks of the Week: Nov. 9 – 15

November 9, 2009

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Nov. 9. (Mon.)  Judy Wexler. Wexler’s briskly swinging vocal style finds a perfect match with the trio of organist Joe Bagg, guitarist Bruce Forman and drummer Devin KellyCharlie O’s.   (818) 989-3110.

Steve Gadd

Steve Gadd & Friends

- Nov. 10. (Tues.)  Reginald Robinson.  The MacArthur Genius award winning pianist  performs solo ragtime pieces to accompany silent film clips of animation by cartoon pioneers Walter Lantz, Otto Messmer and Earl Hurd. The Hammer Museum.

- Nov. 10 – 12. (Tues. – Thurs.)  Steve Gadd and Friends. After bringing the authentic flavor of jazz to a long list of pop artists, drummer Gadd does his own thing. With Joey DeFrancesco, Ronnie Cuber and Paul Bollenback.   Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.  (Also at Yoshi’s SanFran Nov. 13 – 15.  See Below)

- Nov. 11. (Wed.)  The Philharmonia Baroque OrchestraNicholas McGegan conducts this superb period orchestra, six soloists and the Philharmonia Chorale in a rare evening devoted completely to the music of Henry Purcell.  Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

- Nov. 12. (Thurs.)  McCoy Tyner.  Versatile, ever-intriguing Tyner has been one of the most powerful piano innovators of the past five decades.  He performs with his trio and alto saxophonist Gary Bartz.  The large improvisational ensemble, Build an Ark, opens the show.  UCLA Live at Royce Hall. (310) 825-4401.

janis-mann

Janis Mann

- Nov.12. (Thurs.)  Janis Mann.  Although she’s been compared to such iconic singers as Sarah Vaughan, Mann bring’s her own unique qualities to the classic jazz vocal style. Crown Plaza Brasserie Jazz Lounge. (310) 642-7500.  m

- Nov. 12. (Thurs.)  Pete Christlieb Tall and Small Band w. vocalist comedian Tony Russell.  Saxophonist for all seasons Christlieb leads a snappy 10-piece band with his wife, trombonist Linda Small-Christlieb.  This is the first event in which comedy is added to Vitellos’ Red Carpet Jazz Series.  More on the way.   Upstairs at Vitellos.  (818) 769-0905.

- Nov. 12. (Thurs.)  Denise Donatelli. A singer with the sound, the rhythm and the interpretive imagination to bring a song to life – that’s Donatelli.   Charlie O’s.  (818) 989-3110.

- Nov. 12 – 15. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Dawn Upshaw with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.. Upshaw sings Luciano Berio’s fascinating cycle of folk songs and Dudamel conducts Schubert’s Symphony #8 (Unfinished).  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

- Nov. 13. (Fri.)  “Loud and Rich. ”  Loudon Wainwright and Richard Thompson. A pair of veteran songwriters, each with a witty, sometimes sardonic, way with a phrase, make a rare duo appearance.  UCLA Live at Royce Hall (310) 825-4401.

Frank Marocco

Frank Marocco

- Nove. 13. (Fri.)  Dr. Bobby Rodriguez. ” Latin Dance Party”.  Trumpeter and educator Rodriguez knows all the connections between the steaming rhythms of Latin jazz and Latin dance.  The Culver Club in the Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Westside.  (310) 649-1776.

- Nov. 14. (Sat.)  Frank Marocco Quartet. Marocco keeps affirming the role of the accordion in jazz and beyond with his rich, inventive musical imagination.  He’s backed by Pat Senatore, bass, Robert Hardt, piano and Ramon Banda, drums.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

San Francisco

- Nov. 9. (Mon.)   Ian Anderson plays acoustic Jethro Tull. Anarchic flutist Anderson revisits his past.   The Warfield.

- Nov. 11.  (Wed.)  Leon Russell.  A rare club appearance by the great songwriter, pianist and character. Yoshi’s  San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

- Nov. 12. (Thurs.)  Ray Davies performing the Kinks Choral Collection. Forty years after, Davies is still producing memorable music.  The Warfield.

- Nov. 13. – 15. (Fri. – Sun.)  Steve Gadd and Friends.  W.. Joey DeFrancesco, Ronnie Cuber and Paul Bollenback Yoshi’s  San Francisco (415) 655-5600.

New York

- Nov. 9 – 12. (Mon. – Thurs.  Gal Costa and Romero Lubambo.  An irresistible combination: Costa’s dark-toned, intimate lyricism and Lubambo’s remarkably intuitive guitar backing.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

Jim Hall

Jim Hall

- Nov. 10 – 14. (Tues. – Sat.)  Jim Hall Quartet.  Veteran guitarist Hall, always eager to test his wares in a contemporary setting, performs with Greg Osby, alto sax, Steve Laspina, bass and Joey Baron, drums. Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

- Nov. 11. (Wed.)  Kat Edmonson.  A stand-out in the crowded field of young female jazz vocalists, Edmonson has an ear caressing sound and an easygoing sense of rhythmic swing.  The Jazz Standard.   (212) 447-7733.

- Nov. 13 & 14. (Fri. & Sat.)  The Mike Melvoin Trio.   The veteran pianist is backed by the world class rhythm team of bassist Jay Leonhart and drummer Bill Goodwin.  Mike promises that they “will play music for your blood, your heart and your spirit.”  Kitano.  (212) 885-7119.

 


Picks of the Week: August 11 – 16

August 11, 2009

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Aug. 11. (Tues.) John Pisano Guitar Night. Every Guitar Night — Tuesdays at Spazio — is a great night for music. And this one’s even more special, with Pisano trading licks with the versatile, imaginative Larry Koonse. Tom Warrington‘s bass keeps the dueling guitars in line. Spazio.  (818) 728-8400.

Alfredo Rodriguez

Alfredo Rodriguez

- Aug 12. (Wed.) Alfredo Rodriguez. Pianist Rodriguez, still in his early twenties, gave a brilliant performance at the Playboy Jazz Festival in June. Here he is, making his first Southland appearance since then, performing in an intimate club setting. Not to be missed by anyone curious about the new directions in jazz piano. Vibrato.  (818) 474-9400.

- Aug. 12. (Wed.) Buddy Guy, Dr. John, James Cotton. Blues on the loose. when it comes to an evening of down home, in the pocket, traditional blues of every stripe, it doesn’t get any better than this. The Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 12. (Wed.) Jackson Browne. The veteran singer-songerwriter arrives in the Southland as part of the summer U.S. tour supporting his latest CD, “Time the Conqueror.” An apt title, perhaps, given the fact that it coincides with his 60th birthday. Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-3125.

Omar Faruk Tekbilek

Omar Faruk Tekbilek

- Aug. 13. (Thurs.) Omar Faruk Tekbilek Ensemble. One of the great virtuosi of Middle Eastern music, Tekbilek’s performances are masterful displays, embracing his superb playing of the flute-like nay, the double reed zurna, the baglama, a long-necked lute, and various percussion instruments. The Skirball Center.  (31) 440-4500.

- Aug. 13. (Thurs.) Henry Franklin Quartet. The sterling bassist everyone calls the “Captain,” leads a hard-driving ensemble featuring saxophonist Azar Lawrence, pianist Theo Saunders, piano and drummer Ramon Banda. Charlie O’s.  994-3058.

- August 13 – 15. (Thurs. – Sat.) Buster Williams, Patrice Rushen, Cindy Blackman and Bennie Maupin. Nobody’s listed as the leader here, but with a stellar group like this — featuring Maupin’s versatile woodwinds, Rushen’s rich keyboard sounds, Williams’ sturdy bass and Blackman’s propulsive drumming — expect collective music making at its best. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

509DENISE

Denise Donatelli

- Aug. 14. (Fri.) Denise Donatelli. One of the jazz vocal world’s most eminently listenable talents, Donatelli still doesn’t quite get the attention her superb interpretive talents deserve. She should be at her best backed by pianist Josh Nelson, bassist Hamilton Price and drummer Kevin Kanner Spazio.  (818) 728-8400.

- Aug. 14. (Fri.) Tamir Hendelman trio with Dan Lutz, bass and Dean Koba, drums. Pianist Hendelman’s international presence, as an arranger, accompanist and gifted talent in his own right, is growing by leaps and bounds. But it’s always a pleasure to hear him on his own, backed by a pair of fine players, revealing the intimate depths of his music. The Culver Club in the Radisson.  (310) 649-1776.

- August 16. (Sun.) Gina Eckstine. The offspring of famous singers aren’t always what one hopes for. But Eckstine, whose father was Billy Eckstine, has the spunk, the spirit and the soul of her family’s patriarch. At her best, she delivers a song with the same intense ability to tell a musical story. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- August 16. (Sun.) Take 6.  The extraordinary a cappella group — who are creating some of the most remarkable vocal moments of the decade — make a rare L.A. appearance for a concert supporting the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra’s “Music in the Schools” program.  Call it an opportunity to do something really valuable, while hearing some superb music.  At the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles. Two shows, at 6:15 and 8:15 p.m.   Information click here.

San Francisco

- Aug. 14 & 15. (Fri. & Sat.) Jack Jones. He’s a living, walking, singing classic. A member of the ’50s and ’60s gang of male divos that included Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Vic Damone and others. Like Bennett, Jones is still going strong, still demonstrating how to bring a song to life. Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

New York

elaine1

Eliane Elias

- Aug. 12 – 16. (Wed. – Sun.) Eliane Elias Trio. “Tribute To Bill Evans.” The Elias trio — with bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Adam Nussbaum — accomplish the difficult task of exploring the Evans musical lexicon while still maintaining their own unique creative identity. The Iridium. (212) 582-2121.

- Aug. 13 & 14. (Thurs. &o Fri.) Judy Wexler. With a pliable voice, a seductive sound and a stirring rhythmic drive, Wexler moves easily from story-telling balladry to briskly swinging vocalese.  Feinstein’s at the Regency.  (212) 339-4095.

- Aug. 13 – 16 (Thurs. – Sun.) Steve Kuhn Trio featuring bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Al Foster. Three masters at work, still at the top of their form, still revealing more enlightening views of the inner mysteries of jazz improvisation. The Jazz Standard.   (212) 576-2252.

- Aug. 16. (Sun.) The James Carney Group. Carney is a pianist/composer who invests his music with a compelling blend of subtle structure and expansive musical exploration. He performs at one of the city’s great jazz hang-outs with the firsr rate ensemble of Tony Malaby, tenor saxophone, Josh Roseman, trombone, Chris Lightcap, bass and Dan Weiss, drums. The 55 Bar.  (212) 929-9883.


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