Photo Review: Lyn Stanley at Vitello’s

December 9, 2013

Photos by Bob Barry and Faith Frenz

Studio City, CA. Singer Lyn Stanley’s first creative expression was ballroom dancing. And she did it so well that she won three events and two national titles in ballroom competitions in 2010. But her affection for, and expertise in dancing were always intimately connected to her equally passionate attraction to music in general and singing in particular.

As she began her singing career, strongly motivated by the music that had always been present in her family, Lyn was constantly drawn to the linkages between music and dance. And when she met the legendary jazz pianist and accompanist Paul Smith – whose credits reach from Ella Fitzgerald to Mel Torme — his guidance led her on the path to the creative vocal career she had been seeking. The release of her first album, Lost In Romance, announced the arrival of an intriguing new musical talent.

Lyn’s performance at Vitello’s last Friday was a stirring display of her fascination with song and dance. Further enhancing the evening, April Williams, Vitello’s musical manager, arranged for the installation of a wooden tile floor to encourage dancing, as Lyn featured many of the songs from her new album. All of which motivated us to present a photo review of this impressive new vocalist in action, backed by the stellar band of pianist Bill Cantos, bassist Kevin Axt, guitarist Grant Geissman, saxophonist Rickey Woodard, drummer Kendall Kay and music director Steve Rawlins.

* * * * * * * *

“Little Drummer Boy”

“I Just Want To Make Love To You”

“One For My Baby” with Bill Cantos and Kevin Axt

. “My Foolish Heart”

“What Am I Gonna Do With A Bad Boy Like You” with Kevin Axt

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First, third and fourth photos by Bob Barry.  Second and fifth photos by Faith Frenz.


Picks of the Week: October 2 – 6

October 2, 2013

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Diane Hubka

Diane Hubka

- Oct. 2. (Wed.) Diane Hubka. Singer/guitarist Hubka celebrates the release of her new CD, West Coast Strings. She’ll be backed by a prime group of players: Guitarists John Pisano, Barry Zweig & David Eastlee, organist Bobby Pierce, bassist Jeff D’Angelo and drummer Kendall Kay. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Oct. 2. (Wed.) Teka & New Bossa. Brazilian singer/guitarist Teka displays her authentic view of Brazilian music, backed by Quinn Johnson on piano, Kevin Winard on percussion, Doug Webb on saxophone and Randy Tico on bass. Vitello’s (818) 769-0905.

Christian McBride

Christian McBride

- Oct. 3 – 6. (Thurs. – Sun. Christian McBride Trio. Bassist Christian McBride, every leader’s first call for a world class rhythm section, plays selections from his album Out There with pianist Christian Sands and drummer Ulysses Owens, Jr,. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Oct. 4. (Fri.) Lucy Guerin Inc. Weather. Australia’s much-honored choreographer presents a new work that “embodies human patterns within those of the elements.” CAP UCLA at Royce Hall.  (310) 825.2101.

Anat Cohen

Anat Cohen

- Oct. 4 – 6. (Fri. – Sun.) The 6th Annual Angel City Jazz Festival begins with a weekend brim full of musical activity. On Fri.: Free concert at LACMA with the Zach Ramacier Group and Nicole Mitchell Sun Dial Ensemble. On Sat: Dave Holland Prism and the John Scofield Uberjam Band. CAP UCLA at Royce Hall. On Sun: Richard Sears group, Albert Tootie Heath, Kneebody, Yosvany Terry Quintet, Greg Osby Group with special guest Anat Cohen. Ford Amphitheatre. The Angel City Jazz Festival.

- Oct. 5. (Sat.) Sandi Patty. One of the major stars of Christian music, Patty is a uniquely talented singer whose work is not limited by her popularity in the Christian music genre. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 916-8501

- Oct. 6. (Sun.) Carol Duboc. Versatile Duboc, a singer/composer and actress, celebrates the release of her latest album, Smile, in the musical companionship of Jeff Lorber, keyboards, and Jimmy Haslip, bass. Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

San Francisco

Miguel Zenon

Miguel Zenon

- Oct. 5. (Sat.) SFJAZZ Collective Jam Session. The SFJAZZ Collective has thoroughly established itself as one of the irresistiblly appealing contemporary jazz ensembles. The gifted players include Miguel Zenón alto saxophone, David Sánchez tenor saxophone, Warren Wolf vibraphone, Edward Simon piano, Matt Penman bass, and Obed Calvaire, drums. An SFJAZZ event at the Joe Henderson Lab. (866) 920-5299.

Seattle

- Oct. 3 – 6. (Thurs. – Sun.) Karrin Allyson. Grammy-nominated jazz singer Allyson continually reveals a musical curiosity that has taken her from bossa nova and the blues to John Coltrane. Jazz Alley.  (206) 441-9729

Chicago

- Oct. 3 – 6. (Thurs. – Sun.) Bobby Watson Quartet. Eclectic alto saxophonist Watson has moved convincingly from bebop and hard bop to cutting edge contemporary jazz. Jazz Showcase.  (312) 360-0234.

New York City

Donald Harrison

Donald Harrison

- Oct. 3 – 6. (Wed. – Sun.) The Messenger Legacy Celebrating Blakey. Drummer Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers legacy is celebrated by Brian Lynch, trumpet, Donald Harrison and Billy Pierce, saxophones, Donald Brown, piano, Reggie Workman, bass, Ralph Peterson, drums. Jazz Standard.  (212) 576-2232.

- Oct. 4 & 5. ( Fri. & Sat.) John Mayall and Friends. The influential English blues artist, whose influence reaches from Eric Clapton to Mick Fleetwood and beyond, celebrates his 80th birthday. The Iridium. h ( 212) 582-2121.

Copenhagen

- Oct. 3. (Thurs.) Soren Kristiansen. Pianist Kristiansen, largely viewed as one of Denmark’s finest, most imaginative jazz artist, displays influence from Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans and Art Tatum in a stellar evening of solo piano jazz improvisations. Jazzhus Montmartre.  +45 31 72 34 94.

Milan

- Oct. 3. (Thurs.) Nicholas Payton. Trumpeter Payton, a world class, Grammy-winning product of New Orleans music, is always a pleasure to hear in action. Blue Note Milano.  +39 02 6901 6888.


Live Jazz: Ginger and Scott at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.

March 31, 2013

By Don Heckman

Seeing Ginger Berglund and Scott Whitfield at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. Thursday night had the vibe of a Swing Era performance. Most of the big bands of the thirties and forties prominently featured singers, sometimes two or more.  And among the most popular combinations was the dueting of the band’s guy and girl singer.  One of the finest examples (among many) — Helen O’Connell and Bob Eberley singing “Amapola” “Green Eyes” with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra.

Ginger and Scott possessed some of the O’Connell/Eberly qualities, balancing balladry with Swing.  But their range was far broader, embracing styles reaching beyond Swing, into bebop and the present, occasionally recalling the crisp, musically articulate duet singing of Jackie Cain and Roy Kral.

GInger and Scott

That said, however, Ginger and Scott enhanced each of their songs with an appealing musical identity of their own.  Backed by pianist Corey Allen, bassist Jennifer Leitham and drummer Kendall Kay, they played three sets at Vibrato, offering a far-reaching, delightfully engaging program of prime material.

Among the highlights: “Euphoria,” from the Jackie and Roy songbook with the Charlie Ventura band; a few of the whimsical tunes by Fran Landesman and/or Tommy Wolf, including “You Smell So Good,” “You Inspire Me” and “It Isn’t So Good I Couldn’t Get Better”; Dave Frishberg’s sardonic, “Wheelers and Dealers”; the Bergman’s “Solitary Moon”; and a jaunty romp through “How High the Moon” including the bebop paraphrase, “Ornithology.”

Ginger Berglund

Ginger Berglund

Add to that Ginger’s lovely ballad singing on “Darn That Dream” and “I Wish You Love” (in French).  And supplement it all with Scott’s world-class jazz trombone playing between vocals, as well as his convincing, musically on-target scatting.

And the result was an utterly stimulating evening of music, imaginatively chosen and equally inventively performed by a pair of artists who brought interpretive lyricism, musical accuracy and an irresistible sense of swing to everything they touched.

Jackie Cain once described Ginger and Scott as “a new duo who provide hope and inspiration.”  As always, Jackie was right on target.

Photos by Faith Frenz.


Live Jazz: The Ron Kalina Quartet at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.

August 16, 2012

By Don Heckman

Wednesday was another one of those mid-week jazz nights in L.A. A lot of choices about what to hear, with the usual freeway determinants – traffic and/or distance – playing a role in where to go.

But I also was in the mood to hear something a little unusual. And Ron Kalina’s harmonica jazz gig at Vibrato seemed like an intriguing choice, enhanced by the fine rhythm section team of guitarist Barry Zweig, bassist Pat Senatore and drummer Kendall Kay.

There was, however, one small problem. When I first started listening to jazz, the idea of jazz harmonica used to be as unappealing to me as the tinkly sound of the vibraphone. One of my visions of jazz hell at that time was a performance of a band co-led by a vibes player and a harmonica player. All of that changed, of course, as I became familiar with the work of, among many others,Toots Thielemans, Terry Gibbs, Milt Jackson and many others.

Barry Zweig, Pat Senatore, Ron Kalina, Kendall Kaye

I didn’t expect Kalina, performing before a fairly sparse gathering, to necessarily provide any major competition for those stellar figures. And, tp be perfectly honest, he didn’t. But what he did do was provide a pleasant evening of jazz tinged tunes, mostly from the Great American songbook. And he wisely shared much of the solo space with his back-up trio, occasionally livening things with a vocal.

Tunes such as “Laura,” “My Romance,” “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” and “It Could Happen To You” were delivered in a similar middle tempo groove, with Kalina’s harmonica lines moving smoothly from the original melodies to his own buoyant paraphrasing. On “I’m Old Fashioned,” Zweig stepped out to demonstrate his impressively inventive skills.

An uptempo version of “Bernie’s Tune,” a line often played by Gerry Mulligan, added more spice to the program. In contrast, there were some several atmospheric slow tunes – “The Very Thought of You,” “My One and Only Love” and “In The Wee Small Hours.” Kalina vocalized on several, mixing his sometimes foggy baritone lines with harmonica insertions, creating the classic feeling of a being in a jazz cabaret room.

That perception, in fact, underscored much of the music. Nothing wrong, of course, with reminding the listeners of what it was like to be in a 52nd St.  jazz bistro.  Especially when the music is being played with the enthusiasm and high spirits of Kalina and his prime time partners. In sum, a fine way to spend a Wednesday jazz night in L.A.

Photo by Bob Barry.


Picks of the Week: Aug. 14 – 19

August 13, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Aug. 14 & 15. (Tues. & Wed.) Michael Jackson the Immortal World TourCirque du Soleil.  The music and lyrics of Michael Jackson are the foundation for a show that “immerses audiences in Michael’s creative world and literally turns his signature moves upside down,” performed by the incomparable artists of Cirque du Soleil.   Staples Center.   (213) 742-7100.

- Aug. 15. (Wed.)  Joe Cocker and Huey Lewis & The News.  A pair of still vitally active rock icons whose music reaches from the ‘60s to the present make for a rare evening of engaging musical memorabilia.  Greek Theatre.    (323) 665-5857.

- Aug. 15. (Wed.)  Ron Kalina Trio. He’s a virtuoso jazz harmonica player who also doubles on piano, with a resume including recordings with the likes of Linda Ronstadt, Joe Williams, Anita O’Day and dozens of others. Hear him in action, backed by guitarist Barry Zweig, bassist Pat Senatore and drummer Kendall KayVibrato Grill Jazz…etc.     (310) 474-9400.

Eddie Palmieri

- Aug. 15. (Wed.)  Eddie Palmieri, Ruben Blades.  A pair of legendary Latin jazz and salsa giants share the stage on a Wednesday jazz night at the Bowl, demonstrating first hand the exciting linkages between jazz and Latin dance rhythms. Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 15 – 18. (Wed. – Sat.)  Terence Blanchard Quintet. Critically praised trumpeter Blanchard takes a break from his busy schedule as a film composer, Artistic Director of the Thelonious Monk Institute and Director of the Henry Mancini Institute, to lead his Grammy-winning jazz group.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- Aug. 16. (Thurs.)  De Temps Antan.  The Quebecois ensemble makes its West Coast debut, performing the traditional songs of French Canada.  Skirball Center.     (310) 440-4500.

- Aug. 17. (Fri.)  Wolff & Clark Expedition.  Pianist Michael Wolff’s credits reach from Cannoball Adderley. Sonny Rollins and others to a stint as the bandleader on the Arsenio Hall Show.  He’s backed by the stellar rhythm team of drummer Mike Clark and bassist Brian BrombergVitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Aug. 17 & 18. (Fri. & Sat.)  Juanes with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.  Multiple Latin Grammy winning singer/songwriter/guitarist Juanes performs with the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles, the Cal Voce Singers and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra conducted by Thomas Wilkins.  And with fireworks, too.  Hollywood Bowl.    (323) 850-2000.

Sara Gazarek

- Aug. 18 & 19. (Sat. & Sun.)  Sara Gazarek.  At a time when jazz singers are arriving in waves, Gazarek is one of the rare few whose remarkable potential is apparent in everything she sings.  She celebrates her new album, Blossom & Bee with special guest keyboardist Larry Goldings and the backing of pianist Josh Nelson, bassist Hamilton Price and drummer Zach Harmon Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Aug. 19. (Sun.)  Gerald Wilson Big Band.  Well into his nineties, Wilson remains one of the iconic figures of big band jazz.  And watching him in action with hits all-star group is one of the pleasures of experiencing live jazz.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- Aug. 19. (Sun.)  Dudamel and Domingo.  The Hollywood Bowl’s pairing of charismatic classical music figures continues with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic joining for the first time with the great tenor Placido DomingoHollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

San Francisco

Benny Green

- Aug. 16. (Thurs.)  The Benny Green Trio.  A jazz professional as a teen-ager, pianist Green’s career has been expanding ever since, establishing him as one of the most imaginative and listenable players of his generation.  He’s backed by bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny WashingtonYoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.

Seattle

- Aug. 16 – 19. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Karrin Allyson. Grammy nominated singer-pianist Allyson brings rich layers musicality to everything she sings or plays.  Hopefully she’ll include some selections from her latest album, ‘Round Midnight.   Jazz Alley.    (201) 441-9729.

Boston

- Aug. 18. (Sat.)  Kenny Werner. Pianist Werner’s versatility – he is as adept at backing singers as he is at straight ahead jazz playing – no doubt traces to the mind-body techniques explored in his thoughtful book on improvisation, Effortless Mastery.  Regatta Bar.   (617) 661-5000.

New York

John Abercrombie

- Aug. 14 – 18. (Tues. – Sat.)  The John Abercrombie Quartet.  Always seeking adventurous new jazz combinations, Abercrombie’s latest group features saxophonist Joe Lovano, bassist Drew Gess and drummer Adam NussbaumBirdland.    (212) 581-3080.

- Aug. 14 – 19. (Tues. – Sun.)  Enfants Terribles.  Lee Konitz, Bill Frisell, Gary Peacock and Joey Baron. A stellar array of world-class jazz players celebrate their new CD, Enfants Terribles. The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

- Aug. 16 – 19. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Tierney Sutton Band.  Singer Sutton has been working with her band for nearly two decades, and the results are apparent in the extraordinary music they make together.  The Jazz Standard.  (212) 576-2561.

London

- Aug. 14 – 18. (Tues. – Sat.)  Roy Ayers. Vibraphonist Ayers has been, and continues to be, a pioneer in blending jazz with Afro-beat, funk and hip hop.  Ronnie Scott’s.   (0) 20 7439 0747.

Tokyo

Aug. 14 & 15.  Joyce.  Brazilian singer/songwriter/guitarist Joyce Moreno has been blending jazz with bossa nova since the late ‘60s.  Blue Note Tokyo.   03.5485.0088.

Eddie Palmieri photo by Tony Gieske. 


Live Jazz: The John Daversa Quartet at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.

August 6, 2012

By Don Heckman

There’s a lot to be said for the kitchen at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  The cuisine is not only haut, it’s also tasty, diversified and appealing.  Just like the music.  And there’s a lot to be said for that, too. Combined, they make for memorable evenings.

The club’s Music Director and resident bassist, Pat Senatore enhances his far-ranging choice of performers with a regular seasoning of L.A.’s finest local artists.  In any given week, there are frequent opportunities to sample the Southland’s extraordinary range of musical talent.

On Saturday night, it was trumpeter John Daversa, backed by the stellar rhythm team of pianist Otmaro Ruiz, drummer Kendall Kay and bassist Senatore.

Otmaro Ruiz, Pat Senatore, John Daversa, Kendall Kay

Daversa comes by his playing skills naturally.  (His father is the well-known trumpeter Jay Daversa, whose playing can be heard on more than 200 movies and television shows.) But John has more than found his own way in the past decades.  Working as a busy sideman, fronting his own groups – including a big band performing his envelope-stretching arrangements – and teaching jazz classes at CalState Northridge, he’s thoroughly established his own significant presence among the L.A. jazz elite.

“But I like gigs like this, too, as much as the more high visibility dates,” said Daversa between sets.  “Sometimes it’s fun to just play tunes.”

Which is exactly the feeling that resonated through the two sets of mostly familiar tunes by Daversa, Ruiz, Kay and Senatore.  Each was a delight in itself.

Opening with “Bye, Bye Blackbird, Daversa’s warm, vocalized tone was applied to the familiar line with the same kind of respect for space present in Miles Davis – clearly an influence on Daversa’s musical thinking.

“Sunny Side of the Street” was done in a gentle groove, with Daversa leading the way, and Senatore stepping to stage center with an articulate bass solo.

On “Corcovado,” Daversa switched to a mellow-sounding flugel horn, and pianist Ruiz uncovered his best, guitar-like bossa nova comping. And here, too, Daversa’s phrasing was everything, telling a melodic story in a style perfectly reflecting Miles Davis’ famous insistence that “the silences are as important as the sounds.”

Other tunes were equally appealing:  among them, an intimate take on Cole Porter’s “I Love You” featuring atmospheric soloing from Ruiz and Kay, and a lyrical, but swinging “Like Someone In Love.”

The only flaw in this otherwise utterly engaging evening – which had opened with the superb duo of pianist Jeff Colella and bassist Putter Smith – was the familiar noisy crowd at Vibrato’s bar.  On most nights, it’s pretty much of a given that anything short of a roaring big band is going to have to deal with waves of competitive, bar-generated audio (noise).

Fortunately, in the capable hands of artists such as the Daversa quartet and the Colella duo, the music has so much of a life of its own that it doesn’t just survive, it triumphs.  And that’s another one of the good things to be said about Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.

Photo and video by Faith Frenz.


Picks of the Week: July 18 – 22

July 18, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- July 18. (Wed.) The  Chris Walden Big Band with special guest Tierney Sutton. Walden takes a break from his busy schedule of studio arranging and composing to lead his always dynamic big band.  And it will be especially fascinating to hear the versatile Ms. Sutton singing in a setting very different – but no doubt equally compelling — from that of her own band.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

John Pizzarelli

- July 18 – 21. (Wed. – Sat.)  John Pizzarelli Quartet.  He plays the guitar, he sings, he’s as witty and humorous as a stand-up comic.  And he does it all with warm amiability.  If all that isn’t enough, check out his ear-grabbing scatting in unison with his fast-fingered guitar soloing.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- July 19. (Thurs.)  Joshua Bell and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  The gifted violinist performs the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto and joins up with Edgar Meyer to perform the bassists Double Concerto for Violin and Double Bass. The Philharmonic, under Ludovic Morlot, also plays Weber’s Der Freischutz and Oberon overtures. The Hollywood Bowl.    (323) 850-2000.

- July 19. (Thurs.) Nick Mancini.  Vibes artist Mancini, one of L.A.’s busiest studio players, takes a break to showcase his own Mancini Collective.  And what better way to hear first rate  jazz than in Descanso Gardens.  Bring a blanket, picnic food and friends for a laid-back, relaxed musical evening.  Seating on a first come basis.  Descanso Gardens.  (818) 949-4200.

- July 19. (Thurs.)  Judi Silvano.  One never knows what to expect from singer/composer Silvano other than the certainty that she will offer an evening of music that constantly intrigues and entertains.  She’ll be working with pianist Theo Saunders, bassist Pat Senatore and drummer Kendall Kay. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.     (310) 474-9400.

- July 20. (Fri.)  The Josh Nelson Group. Pianist Nelson is in the vanguard of the Southland’s most gifted young jazz artists, releasing  his first recording at 19.  This time out he’s stretching the envelope in the company of guitarist Larry Koonse, trumpeter John Daversa and live sci-fi video art.  The Blue Whale.     (213) 620-0908.

Smokey Robinson

- July 20 & 21. (Fri. & Sat.)  Smokey Robinson.  Blessed with superb songwriting skills and one of the most warm and soothing voices in all of pop music, it’s no wonder Robinson has long been called the King of Motown. The Hollywood Bowl.    (323) 850-2000.

- July 21. (Sat.)  The Gift: the stellar assemblage of pianist Alan Pasqua, saxophonist Bob Sheppard, drummer Peter Erskine and bassist Darek Oles offer the gift of their world class accompaniment as a belated birthday present to singer April Williams, in the room she has established as one of L.A.’s best jazz venues.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- July 21. (Sat.)  The Pasadena POPS with Marvin Hamlisch and Michael Feinstein.  Conductor Hamlisch and the POPS open the summer season with a program featuring the master of the Great American Songbook.  The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden.  The Pasadena Symphony and Pops.   (626) 793-7172.

San Francisco

Leo Kottke

- July 22. (Sun.)  Leo Kottke.  Veteran guitarist Kottke is an entertaining artist, illuminating his vocals with humorous monologues.  But it is his impressive, finger-picking guitar playing that is the centerpiece of his performances.  Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

New York

- July 17 – 22. (Tues. – Sun.)  Igor Butman & the Moscow State Jazz Orchestra.  Saxophonist/bandleader Butman is the Wynton Marsalis of Russia, using his connections with the power elite to support the growing presence of jazz in his country.  His Orchestra includes some of Russia’s finest players. Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.    (212) 258-9800.

- July 18. (Wed.)  A CIM Faculty Concert.  Four cutting edge improvisational artists from the Center for Improvisational Music — pianist Andy Milne, trumpeter Ralph Alessi, bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Tom Rainey – will perform works by all members of the group.  The Cornelia St. Café.   (212) 989-9319.

- July 19. (Thurs.)  An Enchanted Evening: The Songs of Richard Rodgers. “Enchanted” is the right word to describe an evening of Rodgers performed by the ensemble of Bill Charlap, piano / Barbara Carroll, piano & vocals / Sachal Vasandani, vocals / Warren Vaché, cornet /Jon Gordon, alto sax / John Allred, trombone / Jay Leonhart, bass / Sean Smith, bass / Tim Horner, drums.  The 92nd St. Y.   (212) 415-5500.

London

Stanley Clarke

- July 20 & 21.  (Fri. &.  Sat.)  The Stanley Clarke/Stewart Copeland Band.  A pair of world class jazz individualists – bassist Clarke and drummer Copeland – combine their unique visions into an irresistible blend of jazz, fusion and rock with an occasional tinge of classical.  They’re joined by keyboardist Ruslan Sirota and guitarist Brady Cohen.    Ronnie Scott’s.

Paris

- July 21. (Sat.)  The Christian Scott Quintet. Trumpeter Scott has been a vital new figure on the jazz scene since his first album, Rewind That, was released in 2006.  He’ll no doubt feature pieces from his latest album, Christian aTunde Adjua. arrival in   New Morning.    01 45 23 51 41.

Milan

- July 21. (Sat.) Esperanza Spalding. Winner of the Best New Artist award in the 2011 Grammys, bassist/singer Spalding has been crossing genres ever since.  She has modeled her career, she says, on those of Madonna and Ornette Colema.  Blue Note Milan.    02.69.01.68.88.

Tokyo

Dionne Warwick

- July 19 – 21. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Dionne Warwick. Iconic pop singer Warwick was one of the big hit-makers of the rock era.  Best known for association with songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David, she is a five-time Grammy winner (plus seven other nominations). And she’s still going strong. Blue Note Tokyo.   03.5485.0088.


Picks of a Holiday Week: July 4 – 8

July 4, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Barry Manilow

- July 4.  (Wed.)  Barry Manilow and July 4 Fireworks Spectacular.  A high energy celebration of the 4th.  With one soaring Manilow hit after another, a lot of patriotic music from the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, conducted by Sarah Hicks.  And the usual spectacular pyrotechnics.  Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2040.

- July 6 & 7 (Fri. & Sat.)  Rodger Fox’s Wellington Jazz Orchestra.   A big jazz band from New Zealand?  They’re in town to make a recording, while giving Angeleno jazz fans a taste of jazz from the other side of the world.  Should be interesting. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Deana Martin

- July 6 & 7 (Fri. & Sat.)  Deana Martin.  Yes, she’s Dean Martin’s daughter, and the musical inheritance is obvious.  But it’s the way Deana  transforms that inheritance into her own expressiveness that makes her such an intriguing singer.  She’s backed by the stellar trio of Mike Lang, Chuck Berghofer, Jim Fox and Steve SchaefferCatalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- July 7. (Sat.)  Pete Christlieb Quartet.  Saxophonist Christlieb is at the top of everyone’s first call list – for big band jazz, small group, whatever.  And with good reason.  Here’s a chance to hear him in the spotlight, backed by Tom Ranier, piano, Pat Senatore, bass and Kendall Kay, drums.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.     (310) 474-9400.

- July 8. (Sun.)  Hiroe Sekine.  Pianist/composer/singer Sekine celebrates the release of her new CD, After the Fall.  With Larry Koonse, guitar, Bob Sheppard, saxophones, Edwin Livingston, bass, Aaron Serfaty, drums.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

San Francisco

- July 6 – 8. Fri. – Sun.)  Roy Ayers.  Vibraphonist Ayers moved quickly beyond his bebop roots into early jazz funk and, more recently, into funk, house music and other pop/jazz crossovers.  Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

New York

Carmen Lundy

- July 5 – 8. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Carmen Lundy.   Lundy is not only a gifted jazz singer, she’s also a talented songwriter, approaching both skills with a rich palette of musical creativity. The Blue Note.   (212) 475-89592.

- July 6. (Fri.)  Mark Helias: The Parlance of Our Times.  Bassist Helias leads alto saxophonist Tim Berne, trumpeter Kirk Knuffke and drummer Mark Ferber in an exploration of “the lexicon of composition and improvisation practices presented over the last few decades.”   Cornelia St. Cafe.    (212) 989-9319.

London

- July 6 & 7. (Fri. & Sat.)  Jimmy Cobb, Joey DeFrancesco and Larry Coryell Trio.  A tribute to Jimmy Smith by a great trio of all-stars.  It would be hard to imagine three guys who could do it better.  Ronnie Scott’s.   020 7439 0747.

Paris

John Scofield

- July 6. (Fri.)  John Scofield’s Hollowbody.  In his Hollowbody bands, guitarist Scofield sparks the creativity by juxtaposing his unique skills against other guitarists.  This time out, he’s working with guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, as well as bassist Ben Street and drummer Bill StewartNew Morning Paris.   01 45 23 51 41.

 


Picks of the Week: May 22 – 27

May 22, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Kathleen Grace

- May 22. (Tues.)  Kathleen Grace Group.  Singer Grace, a true musical adventurer, combines the folk-based methods of the ‘70s singer songwriters with her jazz roots in her new album, Mirror.   Blue Whale.    (213) 620-0908

- May 22. (Tues.) Otmaro Ruiz/Aaron Serfaty Quartet.  Versatile pianist Ruiz and drummer Serfaty – musical partners for three decades — get together with the solid bass playing of Edwin Livingstone and the lush vocals of Brazilian singer/composer Catina De Luna. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- May 24. (Thurs.)  Vardan Ovsepian.  Armenia-born pianist/composer Ovsepian celebrates his birthday with a release party for his new CD, ChromaticityBlue Whale.   (213) 620-0908.

- May 24 – 27. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Four consecutive nights of Mozart compositions conducted by Gustavo Dudamel,  Thurs. and Sat. will begin the three year Mozart/Da Ponte Trilogy with Don Giovanni. Friday night and Sun. afternoon will feature Exultate, jubilate and the Posthorn Serenade (K. 320) with soprano Kiera DuffyDisney Hall.    (323) 850-2000.

Tierney Sutton

- May 25 – 27. (Fri. – Sun.) Tierney Sutton Band. It’s one of the finest musical partnerships in all of jazz – the almost symbiotic connection between Sutton’s warm, pliable voice and the complimentary responsiveness of her Band.  Hopefully they’ll play some selections from her latest CD, American Road.  Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

- May 26. (Sat.)  War and Tower of Power. Two of the heavy rhythm, hard charging rock bands of the late ‘60s and beyond, War and Tower of Power impacted much of the crossover music that followed.  And they’re still at it. Greek Theatre.    (323) 665-5857.

- May 27. (Sun.) Alan Broadbent.  The gifted pianist/composer Broadbent, long one of the Southland’s jazz benefits, moved to the east coast last year.  Fortunately he comes back from time to time, so don’t miss this visit, in which he’ll be backed by bassist Pat Senatore and drummer Kendall Kay Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.    (310) 474-9400.

* * * * * *       HIGHLIGHT      * * * * * *

May 27. (Sun.) The 2012 Playboy Jazz Festival’s Second Community Concert. The Playboy Jazz Festival’s annual free concerts leading up to the Festival itself — which takes place on June 16 & 17 at the Hollywood Bowl – are some of the Southland’s greatest jazz bargains. And this year is no exception.  The second free concert of the 2012 Festival takes place at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.  The featured act is the Jeff Lorber Fusion.

Jeff Lorber

Founded in 1977, the Fusion was a pacemaker in transforming cross-over pop- and rock-influenced jazz into a convincing musical blend.  Since then, Lorber’s done everything from solo recording and production and session work to r&b and video game music.  But his many fans are always delighted on the rare occasions when he once again revives the inimitable Jeff Lorber Fusion.

Also on the bill, the fine playing of the Washington Preparatory High School Jazz Ensemble, another collective of Southland young players convincingly proving that the future of jazz is in fine hands.,  The Second Free Playboy Community Concert at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.        (310) 450-1173.

 San Francisco

- May 25 – 27. (Fri. – Sun.)  Joshua Redman’s James Farm group examines some of the far reaching connections between jazz and contemporary pop sounds.  With pianist Aaron Parks, bassist Matt Penman and drummer Eric HarlandYoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

Chicago

- May 24 – 27. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Gerald Clayton Trio.  Already an impressive pianist when he was in his teens, the twentysomething Clayton has matured into one of the gifted jazz artists of his generation.  Jazz Showcase.    (312) 360-0234.

New York

Joe Lovano

- May 22 – 26. (Tues. – Sat.)  Joe Lovano US Five. The dynamic tenor saxophonist’s talented young band checks out the music from his Bird Songs album – the still potent pleasures of bebop and its memories.  Birdland.    Bird Songs.  Album  *212( 581-3080.

- May 22 – 27. (Tues. – Sun.)  Fred Hersch Duos & Trio. Pianist Hersch continues his fascinating journey through classically-oriented jazz territories via his work with duos and a trio. The Jazz Standard.    (212) 576-2232.

- May 277. (Sun.)  Ravichandra Kulur.  South Indian flutist Kulur is a master of the Carnatic ragas and talas of his homeland.  His improvisational excursions are aided by Arun Ramamurthy, violin, and Akshay Anantapadmanabhan, mridangam.  Cornelia St. Café.   (212) 989-9319.

London

- May 27. (Sun.)  Sunday Jazz Lunch Celebrating the Modern Jazz Quartet.  The ensemble of Jim Hart, Barry Green, Matt Ridley and Steve Brown perform the memorable music of the legendary Modern Jazz Quartet.  Ronnie Scott’s.   020 7439 0747.

Berlin

Anat Cohen

- May 22 (Tues.)  The Three Cohens.  The gifted Cohen siblings Anat, clarinet and tenor saxophone, Yuval, soprano saxophone, and Avishai, trumpet, display their extraordinary jazz skills in the company of pianist Yonatan Avishai, bassist Omer Avital and drummer Jonathan BlakeA-Trane.  030 / 313 25 50.

Milan

- May 23 – 25. (Wed. – Fri. )  The Yellowjackets.  After more than three decades of musical togetherness, the Yellowjackets continue to bring some impressive jazz essence to their unique blend of fusion and smooth jazz.  Blue Note Milano.   02.69.01.68.88.

Tokyo

- May 22 & 23. (Tues. & Wed.)  The Brian Blade Fellowship Band. Always a much in demand jazz sideman, drummer Blade has recently begun – with his Fellowship Band — to reveal his significant skills as singer and a songwriter.  Blue Note Tokyo.  03-5485-0088.

* * * * * *

Tierney Sutton photo by Tony Gieske.  


Picks of the Week: March 27 – April 1

March 27, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Keith Jarrett

- Mar. 27. (Tues.)  Keith Jarrett Solo. It’s improvisation at its most illuminating whenever Jarrett takes one of his remarkable excursions into the world of total creative spontaneity. Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.  There will also be two additional solo dates as part of this Spring tour.  The first is Sunday, April 1,  at U.C. Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall.  The second is Wed., April 4 at Chicago’s Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center.

- Mar. 27. (Tues.) SFJAZZ Collective plays the music of Stevie Wonder.  The all-star SFJAZZ Collective finds the elusive links between jazz and the the unique Wonder catalog. Valley Performing Arts Center.  (818) 677-3000.

- Mar. 29. (Thurs.) Slumgum with the Bob Sheppard Trio. Cutting edge group Slumgum roves freely across territory reaching from jazz and classical to world music and wide open improvisation.  They share a stage with the equally adventurous saxophonist Sheppard. Curve Line Space.  (323) 478-9874.  www.slumgum.com

Larkin McLean

- Mar. 29. (Thurs.)  Larkin McLean.  She’s a singer/songwriter with a style, an imagination and a wicked sense of humor.  Click HERE to check out an iRoM review of McLean’s new CD, If You’re A Wild Girl, Say AyeGenghis Cohen  (323) 653-0640.

- Mar. 29. (Thurs.) Ute Lemper and the Vogler Quartet with Stefan Malzew.  Cabaret, reaching from the decadence of Weimar to the brand new decadence of century 21, is alive and well in the musically adept persona of the gorgeous Lemper.  A UCLA Live Event.  Royce Hall.  (310) 825-2102.

- Mar. 29 & 30 (Thurs. & Fri.)  Carmen Lundy,   Versatile Carmen Lundy is that rarity – an engaging jazz singer who also writes songs that often are as memorable as the standards she sings.  She celebrates release of her new CD, Changes. Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905

- Mar. 29 – 31. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Robben Ford. His roots are firmly embedded in the blues, but guitarist Ford has also firmly established his versatility, moving comfortably across the various jazz fusion areas.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Mar. 30. (Fri.)  Don Menza Quartet. Saxophonist Menza is in the top echelon of everyone’s first-call list.  But it’s great to hear him up front and personal, on his own, as he will be here, backed by pianist Ed Czach, bassist Pat Senatore and drummer Kendall Kay. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

Billy Childs

- Mar. 31. (Fri.) Billy Childs Jazz Chamber Ensemble. With the Calder String Quartet. He’s one of the most creatively eclectic artists in the contemporary jazz world.  And Childs is especially fascinating when he displays his far-reaching compositions for his Chamber Jazz Ensemble and string quartet. Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

- Mar. 30. (Fri.)  National Children’s Chorus “Journey of Song,” The talented young voices of the National Childrens’ Chorus take on a combination of old and brand new classical works, reaching over five time periods and two world premieres.  The Broad Stage.   (310) 434-3200.

- Mar. 31. (Fri.) Chano Dominguez.  Spanish pianist Dominguez plays a fascinating blend of jazz and flamenco via selections from his new album, Flamenco Sketches.  He’s backed by Omer Avital, bass, Blas Cordoba, vocals and percussion and Dafnis Prieto, drums.   Zipper Hall.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast.  (310) 271-9039

- March 31 & April 1. (Sat. & Sun.)  The Los Angeles Master Chorale performs J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion. The LAMC is joined by the Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra in a performance designed to replicate Bach’s original conception.  Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

Seattle

Hiromi

- Mar. 29 – April 1. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Hiromi and the Trio Project. After spending some time with Stanley Clarke, keyboardist is back on her own, showcasing her fabulous technique and free-flowing imagination, backed by bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon PhillipsJazz Alley.  (206) 441-9729.

San Francisco

- Mar. 31 – April 1. (Sat. & Sun,)  Patrice Rushen & Friends. Expect a little bit of every kind of jazz from keyboardist Rushen and her friends, who navigate every area of the art with ease.  Ndugu Chancler, Doc Powell, Everette Harp, Freddie WashingtonYoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

New York

- Mar. 27 – April 1. (Tues. – Sun.)  Enrico Pieranunzi Trio.  Veteran Italian jazz pianist Pieranunzi – who has played with everyone from Chet Baker to Charlie Haden (among dozens of others) — offers selections from his new CD,    Permutation, with Scott Colley, bass, Antonio Sanchez, drums.  The Village Vanguard. (212) 255-4037.

Andrea Wolper

Mar. 31. (Sat.)  Andrea Wolper Trio.  Still not as well known as she should be Wolper is a singer who brings songs to life, whatever their source, working in a milieu that begins with jazz and reaches out to embrace an expressive area that is uniquely her own. With long time partners Michael Howell, guitar and Ken Filiano, bass.  55 Bar.   (212) 929-9883.

- April 1. (Sun.)  Sara Serpa. Vocalist/composer Serpa has been described by pianist Ran Blake as “the magical voice” for a  style that is opening new areas in jazz vocal improvisation. The Cornelia St. Cafe.   (212) 989-9319.

- April 1. (Sun.)  The New York City Chamber Orchestra and Festival Choruses. The forces of two superb ensembles combine for an Easter week performance of the Mozart Requiem.  Carnegie Hall.  (212) 247-7800.


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