Picks of the Week: July 25 – 31.

July 25, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Justo Almario

- July 26. (Tues.)  Justo Almario Quartet.  Saxophonist/flutist Almario is one of the Southland’s great jazz treasures, a player who moves convincingly across every jazz arena. Vibrato.  (310) 474-9400.

- July 27. (Wed.)  Gladys Knight and James Ingram.  The one and only Grammy-winning Empress of Soul shares the stage with the smooth sounds of balladeer Ingram.   Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2040.

- July 28. (Thurs.)  David Angel’s Saxtet.  Angel continues his quest to showcase the jazz saxophone in all its glories.   Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058.

- July 28. (Thurs.)  Red Baraat.  The band that has convincingly married the Punjabi bhangra percussion rhythms with spunky New Orleans brass makes its West Coast premiere appearance.  The Skirball Cultural Center.   Free.  Seating on first come basis.  (310) 440-4500.

Ann Hampton Callaway

- July 28 – July 30.  (Thurs. – Sun.) Ann Hampton Callaway.  Blessed with one of the jazz vocal world’s most gorgeous, emotionally pliant voices, Callaway is also a convincing pianist and a masterful musical storyteller. Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- July 29. (Fri.)  Los Lonely Boys and Los Lobos.  One of the major pop music breakthroughs of the past decade, the Grammy winning, platinum producing Lonely Boys share the stage with the older, more established, but no less compelling Los Lobos. The Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-5857.

- July 29. (Fri.)  John Proulx, Kristin Korb and Dave Tull. Trio’s like this don’t come along very often.  Pianist Proulx, bassist Korb and drummer Tull are all first rate instrumentalists  But each of them is also an appealing jazz vocalist.   Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

- July 29 & 30. (Fri. & Sat.) Michael Feinstein and the Singing Stars of Television.  Pianist/singer Feinstein, who matches his musical adroitness with a dedication to the glories of American song, performs with Wayne Brady, Florence Henderson, Cheyenne Jackson and Dick Van Dyke.   Hollywood Bowl.    (323) 850-2040.

- July 30. (Sat.)  Trouble in Tahiti. The too-rarely seen Leonard Bernstein one-act opera receives a rare and unusual performance in a night club setting.  Jessica Marney and Phil Meyer star.   Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

- July 30. (Sat.)  Shoghaken Ensemble and Tigran.  An evening overflowing with the colorful, far-reaching melodies and rhythms of Armenia.  Grand Performances.

(213) 687-2159.

- July 30. (Sat.)  Chuck Manning Quartet.  Versatile tenor saxophonist Manning brings an inventive point of view to his bop-influenced, straight ahead style.  His stellar backing includes Jay Daversa, trumpet, Pat Senatore, bass and Jimmy Branley, drums.  At 6:30 and 10:30, the Otmaro Ruiz duo.   Vibrato.  (310) 474-9400.

Peter Frampton

- July 30. (Sat.)  Peter Frampton.  One of the icons of classic rock, Frampton was a co-founder of the group Humble Pie when he was only eighteen.  Still a star, this time out he performs his multi-platinum album Frampton Comes Alive! in its entirety.  Greek Theatre.   (323) 665-5857.

- July 30 & 31. (Sat. & Sun.)  The Central Avenue Jazz Festival.  The 16th annual festival, always a showcase for the Southland’s finest, takes place in one of the founding places of Los Angeles jazz.  This year’s line up includes: on Saturday: Pete Escovedo, Kamasi Washington, the Pan Afrikan People’s Arkestra, Karen A. Clark Project, Ashley Siris, Dorian Holley, The LAUSD All-City High School Jazz Band.  On Sunday: The Gerald Wilson Orchestra, Katia Moraes and Sambaguru, Deacon Jones with Ray Goren, Ernie Andrews, Jazz America tribute to Buddy Collette.  The Central Avenue Jazz Festival takes place on Central Ave. between 42nd and 43rd streets.  Free.  (213) 473-2309.

San Francisco

New West Guitar Group

- July 27. (Wed.)  New West Guitar Group. A trio of gifted young guitarists – John Storie, Perry Smith and Jeff Stein, the New West players have thoroughly authenticated their ability to move freely and imaginatively across jazz, rock, folk and beyond.  Freight & Salvage.   http://www.thefreight.org  (510) 644-2020.

- July 29. (Fri.)  Lavay Smith’s Crazy in Love with Patsy Cline.  The one and only sultry siren finds entertaining common ground between jazz, blues and country.  Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse.   (510) 644-2020.

- July 31 – 31. (Sat. & Sun.)  The Fab Four.  Tribute bands seem to be proliferating in every direction.  But none do a more entertaining job of it than the Fab Four’s ear and eye catching versions of the Beatrles. Yoshi’s San Francisco.    (415) 655-5600.

New York

- July 26 – 30. (Tues. – Sat.)  Leny Andrade“From Rio With Love.”  The title is great, but it doesn’t say it all.  Andrade, in fact, has for years been one of Brazil’s most proficient jazz vocal artists, combining her deep understanding of Brazilian rhythms with an equally inventive jazz style.  Birdland.     (212) 581-3080.

- July 26 – 31. (Tues. – Sun.)  Fourplay. Guitarist Chuck Loeb joined founding Fourplay members Bob James, keyboards, Nathan East, bass and Harvey Mason, drums in 2010.  The result has been a further musical enhancement of a group that has always had the ability to find the creative heart of whatever style they elect to play.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

Claudia Acuna

- July 26 – 31. (Tues. – Sun.)  Claudia Acuna.  In a jazz world overflowing with talented female vocal artists, Acuna continues to soar freely at the highest levels of the art.  Chilean born, she mastered the basics quickly, but what makes her special is the way she has shaped her version of those basics into her own mesmerizing musical story telling. (212) 258-9800.   Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.

Paris

- July 29. (Fri.)  Ravi Coltrane Quartet.  Tenor and soprano saxophonist Coltrane has successfully accomplished the difficult task of creating his own convincing musical identity, expanding inventively from year to year, inspired but undistracted by the greatness of his father.  New Morning.    01 45 23 51 41.

Justo Amario photo by Tony Gieske.


Picks of the Week: Jan. 18 – 23

January 18, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Jan. 18. (Tues.)  John Pisano Guitar Night.  With Larry Koonse and Tom Warrington.  Koonse is everybody’s first call guitarist.  Here’s a too rare chance to hear him in the spotlight.  Vitello’s (818) 769-0905.

- Jan. 18. (Tues.)  Theo Saunders Quartet. Pianist Saunders has a resume with activities covering every area of the music world.  This time out, he leads his own group. Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

- Jan. 18. (Tues.)  The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.  One of the Southland’s superlative large jazz ensembles, the Grammy nominated CHJO makes an up close club appearance. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

A Chorus Line

- Jan. 18 – 23. (Tues. – Sat.)  A Chorus Line.  Winner of nine Tony awards and a Pulitzer Prize, A Chorus Line, with its memorable music and stellar dancing, should be seen by everyone who loves the musical theatre.  Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza (805) 449-2700.     Also Jan. 28 – 30 at  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 916-8501.

- Jan. 19. (Wed.)  L’Arpeggiata.  The highly praised French early music ensemble are joined by singer Lucilla Galeazzi, and directed by Christina Pluhar in a program of engaging Baroque classics. Disney Hall. (323) 850-2000.

- Jan. 19. (Wed.) Emil Richards Big Band.  Vibist/percussionist has displayed his extraordinary skills with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Frank Zeppo.  This time out he leads his own big bandful of Southland musical stalwarts.   Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Jan. 20. (Thurs.)  David Garfield Group.  With Luis Conte and Emil Richards.  A trio of L.A.’s best studio artists – pianist Garfield, percussionist Conte and vibist Richards join forces in an evening of dynamic rhythm tunes.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

Kenny Burrell

- Jan. 20 – 22. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Kenny Burrell Quintet. One of the gifted products of Detroit’s prolific jazz sceme, guitarist/educator Burrell continues – as he has done for decades – to create delightfully memorable evenings of jazz.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Jan. 21. (Fri.)  Brad Mehldau’s Highway Rider with Chamber Orchestra and jazz ensemble.  Composer-pianist Mehldau performs an in-concert version of the music from his new 2-CD set, Highway Rider — a through-composed work opening up the possibilities in a musical setting replete with jazz improvisation, classical chamber music textures and pop melodies.  He’s accompanied by the all-star ensemble of  Joshua Redman, Larry Grenadier, Jeff Ballard and Matt Chamberlain.  Scott Yoo conducts the Chamber Orchestra.  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

- Jan. 21.  (Fri.)  Kristin Korb. She sings, she plays the bass, she entertains, and does it all with the sort of entertaining flair that demands attention in everything she does.  Steamers.   (714) 871-8800.

Al Jarreau

- Jan. 21. (Fri.) Al Jarreau.  He’s such an impressive entertainer that it’s easy to overlook the extraordinary depth of his jazz skills.  Back on track after some health problems, Jarreau is one of a kind, as good as the vocal art ever gets. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. (562) 916-8501.

- Jan. 21. (Fri.)  Patrick Williams Big Band “Aurora.” A week filled with big band music continues with Williams’ “Aurora,” featuring a line-up of  L.A.’s (and the world’s) most extraordinary players.   Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Jan. 21. (Fri.)  Suzanne Vega. The folk music revival of the ‘80s wouldn’t have been the same without singer/songwriter Vega, whose music still simmers with cool, but telling emotional atmosphere.  Irvine Barclay Theatre.   (949) 854-4646.

- Jan. 22. (Sat.)  Roberta Flack.  Multiple Grammy winning Flack was named one of VH-1’s “100 Greatest Women of Rock & Roll.”  But her rich sound and tender interpretations reach into expressive territories far beyond the world of rock.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 916-8501.

Jack Sheldon

- Jan. 22. (Sun.)  Jack Sheldon California Cool Quartet. Some cool trumpet playing, appealing vocals and bawdy humor are on the music menu for this week’s jazz brunch. Helen Borgers hosts.  KJAZZ Sunday Champagne Brunch.  The Twist Restaurant in the Renaissance Hollywood \Hotel.  (562) 985-2999.

- Jan. 23. (Sun.)  Jazz Vespers with Bob Mintzer and Russell Ferrante. Saxophonist Mintzer and pianist Ferrante, founding members of the Yellowjackets, team up for the January Jazz Vespers.  All Saints Church, Pasadena.

- Jan. 23. (Sun.)  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. A dramatic evening of music with Ignat Solzhenitsyn conducting the LACO in a performance of Lutoslawski’s Musique Funebre, Haydn’s Symphony No. 103 (“Drum roll”) and performing the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 20. Royce Hall.  (310) 825-2101.

San Francisco

- Jan. 18 & 19. (Tues. & Wed.)  Ladysmith Black Mambazo.  The Grammy winning South African a cappella group’s music brilliantly displays the deep African linkage between music and dance.  Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.

- Jan. 19 – 22. (Wed. – Sat.)  Roy Hargrove Quintet.  Trumpeter Hargrove takes a break from his big band activities to perform in the wide open improvisationa setting of his small group.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

New York

Lauren Kinhan, Janis Siegel, Laurel Masse

- Jan. 18. (Tues.) JALALA.  Three of the most musically adept female singers in the music world – Lauren Kinhan, Laurel Masse and Janis Siegel get together to display their wares in a harmonious vocal setting.  The Cornelia St. Café.   (212) 090-9319.

- Jan. 18 & 19. (Tues. & Wed.)  Blood, Sweat & Tears with Arturo Sandoval. The ultimate jazz rock band joins forces with the master of Latin jazz.  Expect musical fireworks. The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

- Jan. 18 – 22. (Tues.- Sat.)  David Murray Big Band.  Saxophonist Murray, a Grammy winner and a Guggenheim Fellow, applies some of the techniques he learned as a major avant-garde figure to the rich textures of a large ensemble.  Birdland. (2120 581-3080.

- Jan. 18 – 23. (Tues. – Sun.)  Lewis Nash Quintet.  Drummer Nash leads a stellar ensemble, with trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, vibist Steve Wilson, pianist Renee Rosnes and bassist Peter WashingtonVillage Vanguard (212) 929-4589.

- Jan. 18 – 23. (Tues. – Sun.)  Marcus Roberts Trio.  The piano trio continues to be one of the jazz world’s ever-evolving ensemble styles.  And pianist Roberts, with drummer Jason Marsalis and bassist Rodney Jordan, has perfected his own unique approach to the instrumentation. Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.   (212) 258-9800.

- Jan. 23. (Sun.)  Jane Ira Bloom.  Soprano saxophone master Bloom celebrates the release of her fascinating new CD, WingwalkerThe Cornelia St. Café.   (212) 090-9319.

Kenny Burrell and Jack Sheldon photos by Tony Gieske.


Picks of the Week: Nov. 9 – 14

November 9, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Nov. 9. (Tues.)  Roy Gaines and His Orchestra.  “Tuxedo Blues” Guitarist/blues singer Gaines’ resume includes stints with Ray Charles, Chuck Willis, Bobby “Blue” Bland and others.  The Living Blues “Comeback Artist of the Year,” he’s still in rare form.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Nov. 9 – 13.  (Tues. – Sat.) Jimmie Vaughan.  With a career dating back to the Fabulous Thunderbirds, veteran guitarist/singer Vaughan — the older brother of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan — continues to be an impressive practitioner of the Texas blues style.  He makes a series of stops in the Southland this week  supporting  Plays Blues, Ballads & Favorites, his first new album in nine years.  Tues: The Grammy Museum.  Thurs: Belly Up in Solana Beach.  Friday: the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills.  Saturday: Brixton in Redondo Beach.

Lila Downs

- Nov. 10. (Wed.)  Lila Downs and Buika.  A pair of vibrant Latin artists – Mexican-American Downs and Spanish-born Concha Buika explore music reaching from flamenco and morna to traditional Mexican folk in a contemporary setting.  Disney Hall (323) 850-2000.

- Nov. 10. (Wed.)  Carol Welsman.  Tall, blonde and beautiful, Welsman is also a singer/pianist with stunning jazz skills as a vocalist and an instrumentalist.  Hopefully her program will include a few selections from her scintillating Peggy Lee tribute album, I Like Men.   Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- Nov. 10. (Wed.)  Chuck Berghofer’s Midnight Jazz band.  One of the Southland’s most compelling jazz combinations returns to its original line up of Berghofer, bass, Gary Foster, alto saxophone, Joe LaBarbera, drums and Tom Ranier, piano.  Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

- Nov. 11. (Thurs.)  The Szymanowski Quartet.  The highly regarded quartet demonstrates its versatility with a program of Schubert, Beethoven and a work by its namesake, Polish composer Karol Szymanowski.  Samueli Theatre. Orange County Performing Arts Center.   (714) 556-2787.

Theresa Russell

- Nov. 12. (Fri.)  Mike Melvoin and Theresa Russell.  Veteran jazz pianist Melvoin teams up with singer/actress Russell in an adventurous tour through Great American songs.  Bassist Tony Dumas and drummer Ralph Penland energize the rhythm.   Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Nov. 12. (Fri.) The Littleton Brothers. The two veteran brothers – bassist Jeff and drummer Don – have played with an all-star array of leaders (from Herbie Hancock and Horace Silver to Billy Eckstine and Horace Tapscott).  Here they are, side by side, leading their own sterling group.  LACMA. (323) 857-6000.

- Nov. 12. (Fri.)  Hi-Fi: The Sounds of the 70s.  Featuring B.J. Thomas, Chuck Negron (Three Dog Night) and the 5th Dimension in a memorable evening of hits.  Expect to hear, among others, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Joy To The World” and “Up, Up and Away.”   Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. (562) 916-8500.

- Nov. 12. (Fri.) Brian Blade “Fellowship Band.” The superb drummer (guitarist and singer)  Blade is featured in a stellar ensemble of young players – Chris Thomas, Jon Cowherd, Myron Walden, Melvin Butler, Jeff Parker. A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast at Zipper Hall.   (310) 271-9039.  (Also at Yoshi’s Oakland on Wed. & Thurs.)

- Nov. 12. (Fri.)  Nnenna Freelon. Six-time Grammy nominee Freelon is one of the uniquely original voices in the growingly crowded field of female jazz singers.   The Broad Stage. (310) 434-3200.

- Nov. 12 – 14. (Fri. – Sun.)  The Los Angeles PhilharmonicSusanna Malkki conducts a stylistically diverse program reaching from Strauss’ Also Spach Zarathurstra (central to the score of 2001: A Space Odyssey) and the teen-aged Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 1, performed by violinist Martin ChalifourDisney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

Robert Cray

- Nov. 13. (Sat.)  An Evening with Robert Cray.  Five time Grammy winner Cray successfully blends traditional and contemporary blues, while crossing over easily into soul, r&b and pop.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.    (562) 916-8500.

- Nov. 13. (Sat.)  Christine Ebersole. Tony Award winner Ebersole is a convincing musical actress, as adept with a tender ballad as she is with a whimsical patter song. The Broad Stage. (310) 434-3200.

- Nov. 13. (Sat.)  Rita Moreno. Actress, singer and dancer Moreno is one of the few artists to have won a Grammy, an Emmy, an Oscar and a Tony.  She makes a rare, up close and personal club appearance. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Nov. 13. (Sat.)  The Assad Brothers.  The gifted, guitar-playing Brazilian brothers, Sergio and Odair Assad belong to a family of talented guitarists.  Their eclectic repertoire reaches from folk, traditional and jazz works to classical standards and transcriptions of the Baroque keyboard literature.  CSUN Performing Arts Center.   (818) 677-3000.

- Nov. 13. (Sat.)  60th Birthday Party. Dr. Bobby Rodriguez celebrates a landmark birthday in a high spirited musical encounter with Rickey Woodard. Backed by John Heard TrioCharlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

- Nov. 13. (Sat.)  Peter Sprague String Consort.  It’ll be 26 strings and three cymbals in action, as guitarist Sprague’s jazz trio blends sounds and rhythms with string quartet in a program reaching from jazz and classical to Brazilian samba.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

Helen Sung

- Nov. 14. (Sun.)  Helen Sung. Pianist Sung’s impressive versatility has served her well in a career that includes gigs with the likes of Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter, Clark Terry and others. Here’s a chance to hear her far-ranging musical skills in a piano trio setting. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.  http://www.vibratogrilljazz.com

- Nov. 14. (Sun.)  Kim Richmond Quartet +1.  Alto saxophonist/composer Richmond appears with his quartet, enhanced by the added presence of woodwind artist Alex Budman.  Also in the quartet: David Roitstein, piano, Kristin Korb, bass and vocals, Jamey Tate, drums.  The Lighthouse Café.   (310) 376-9833.

- Nov. 14. (Sun.)  “The Grand Romance Riverboat Jazz Cruise” It’s a new Southland way to hear first rate jazz — on a short entertaining cruise on a replica of a Mississippi Paddle Steamer.  And it takes place every Sunday, this week featuring the Rickey Woodard Quintet. With Bobby Rodriguez, trumpet, Llew Matthews, piano, Richard Simon, bass, Roy McCurdy, drums.  Departing from Rainbow Harbor, Long Beach.  1 p.m. and 3:45 p.m.   The Grand Romance Riverboat Jazz Cruise. (562) 628-1600.

San Francisco

- Nov. 10 & 11. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Brian Blade “Fellowship Band.” The superb drummer Blade is featured in a stellar ensemble of young players – Chris Thomas, Jon Cowherd, Myron Walden, Melvin Butler, Jeff Parker. Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.  (Also at a Jazz Bakery Movable Feast in Los Angeles on Friday.)

Hiromi

- Nov. 12 – 14.  (Fri. – Sun.)  Hiromi. Pianist Hiromi takes a break from her recent ensemble work with Stanley Clarke to perform as a soloist, showcasing selections from a soon to be released CD. Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

- Nov. 14. (Sun.) Vijay Iyer Trio.  Although his jazz skills are world class, Iyer also delves deeply into other musical genres and creative territories.  In 2009, he was voted – with good reason — #1 Rising Star Jazz Artist in Down Beat’s Critics Poll.  An SFJAZZ concert at the YBCA Forum.   (866) 920-5299.

- Nov. 14. (Sun.) Rosanne Cash. The gifted daughter of Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash’s superlative career has generated ten Grammy nominations and eleven #1 hit singles.  She’ll perform selections from her 2009 album, The List.   An SFJAZZ concert at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre.   (866) 920-5299.

New York

Jim Hall

- Nov. 9 – 13. (Tues. – Sat.)  Jim Hall Quartet.  Veteran guitarist Hall approaches his 80th birthday (in December) by displaying his still extraordinary chops with the musically challenging ensemble of Greg Osby, alto saxophone, Steve Laspina, bass and Joey Baron, drums.  Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

- Nov. 11 – 14. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Ottmar Leibert  “Evening of Solo Guitar.” One of the founders of the nouveau flamenco style, Leibert – who is also an ordained Zen Monk – plays an intimate evening of solo selections.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

- Nov. 11 – 14. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Cyrus Chestnut Trio.  Pianist Chestnut says he likes to “construct melodies that tell stories.”  And he’s done that with everything from jazz standards to spirituals and Elvis Presley tunes.  This time out, he’ll offer tunes from his recently released CD, Journeys.  Jazz Standard.  (212) 447-7733.

Freda Payne

Nov. 12 – 14. (Fri. – Sun.)  Freda Payne Sings Ella Fitzgerald.  Not only will the lovely Ms. Payne channel the songs of Ella (A-Tisket, A-Tasket, Mack the Knife, etc.).  She’ll also add a few Lena Horne specialties, as well.  And — of course — her own inimitable Band of GoldIridium.  (212) 582-2121.

South Carolina

- Nov. 11 – 13. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Earl Klugh’s Weekend of Jazz.  Golf, sun, ocean, jazz and a lot more.  A great way to spend a weekend — especially with a line up that includes Kyle Eastwood, Boney James, Jessy J, Earl Klugh, FourplayKiawah Island Golf Resort.  Kiawah Island, South Carolina.   (800) 576-1570.


Picks of the Week: Oct. 25 – 31

October 24, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Oct. 25. (Mon.)  Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band.  Los Angeles has a full crop of big bands, performing with some (if still not enough) frequency.  And the Big Phat band is one of the best, collectively and individually.  Hearing them at Vitello’s is like having them perform for your own private party.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Oct. 26. (Tues.)  Kristin Korb.  Combining the seemingly incompatible skills of vocalizing and bass playing, Korb does so with ease, musicality and a rare quality of thoughtfulness in her musical story telling.  Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058.

Jason Marsalis

- Oct. 26. (Tues.)  Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet.  His older brothers have identified Jason as the most talented member of the Marsalis family.  And, whether true or not, there’s no doubting his ability.  A superb drummer, he’s been impressively exploring the vibes lately.  He performs with bassist Will Goble, pianist Austin Johnson and drummer David PotterVitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Oct. 27. (Wed.) Neil Sedaka. [This concert has been postponed due to illness.  It will be rescheduled to Tuesday, Dec. 7.  Original tickets for the Oct. 27 program will be valid on Dec. 7.] Singer/songwriter Sedaka was churning out hits just before the Beatles (and the British) arrived.  But he came back a decade later, and – at 71 – continues to entertain audiences with his familiar, and well-crafted songs. Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

- Oct. 27. (Wed.) Larry Goldings Quartet.  With Harry Allen.  Keyboardist Goldings and saxophonist Allen – an eminently like-minded musical pair – offer a program featuring selections from their whimsically titled new album, When Larry Met Harry. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- Oct. 28 – 30 (Thurs. – Sat.)  Three Phantoms In Concert.  A perfect Halloween celebration: Craig Shulman, Kevin Gray and Brad Little, all of whom have played the title role in The Phantom of the Opera, perform selections from that classic musical, as well as memorable songs from Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Guys and Dolls, Nine and more.  Segerstrom Concert Hall in the Orange County Performing Arts Center.  (714) 556-2787.

Cheryl Bentyne

- Oct. 29. (Fri.)  Cheryl Bentyne “The Gershwin Songbook” Bentyne’s crystal sound has enlivened the Manhattan Transfer for decades.  Her solo excursions are equally compelling, and even more so when applied to the irresistible songs of the brothers Gershwin.  Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- Oct. 29. (Fri.)  Moscow State Symphony.  Renowned for their interpretations of Russian classical music the Moscow State Symphony performs a diverse offering of great works.  On the program: Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italien, Op. 45,  Bruch’s Violin Concert No. 1 in g minor, Op. 26 with violinist Jennifer Koh, and the Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 916-8501.

- Oct. 29. (Fri.)  Bill Cantos Trio.  Pianist/singer/songwriter Cantos is a convincing musical hyphenate, bringing imagination, skill and swing to everything he plays. Hopefully he’ll play some of his own memorable songs.  Cantos will be joined by his equally versatile wife, singer/composer Mari FalconeThe Culver Club at the Radisson.   (310) 649-1776 ext. 4137.

Julie Esposito

- Oct. 29. (Fri.)  Julie Esposito.  She’s an eclectic singer, capable of bringing musical authenticity to a far-reaching range of styles.  And, as  if that’s not enough,  Esposito manages to have an extensive career in law in her spare time.  (Or is it vice versa?)  This time out, she sings a mini-tribute to her father, the fine Chicago-based jazz pianist/arranger Gene Esposito.  Esposito also shares the stage with singer Frank Messina in a group of Broadway tunes and American Songbook standards.  The Gardenia.  West Hollywood.  (323) 467-7444.

- Oct. 29. (Fri.)  Blame Sally. The San Francisco-based quartet is an all-female collective of singer-songwriters: Pam Delgado, Renee Harcourt, Jeri Jones and Monica Pasqual.  But their gender is less significant than their expressive musicality — and the fact that each is a talented writer/performer with something unique to say.  Different though they may be, they perform with the empathic togetherness of musicians who intuit and value the musical connections that exist between them.  Boulevard Music.  (310) 398-2583.

- Oct. 30. (Sat.)  Monica Mancini and Friends.  Mancini’s latest album, I Loved These Days, features her convincing readings of songs from the singer/songwriter era of the ‘60s and ‘70s, aided by the presence of the likes of Stevie Wonder, Brian Wilson and Jackson Brown.  Will they be among the “Friends” who appear with her?  Only one way to find out.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Oct. 30. (Sat.)  Tom Rotella Quartet.  Guitarist/composer Rotella has recorded with everyone from Cher and Frank Sinatra to Herbie Hancock and Luciano Pavarotti.  As well as writing and/or performing on soundtracks for Sex and the City, The Simpsons, The Tonight Show and more.  But he says he gets his greatest kicks performing live, which he’ll do with the Pat Senatore TrioVibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

Julie Kelly

- Oct. 30. (Sat.)  Julie Kelly’s Birthday Party.  Singer/guitarist Kelly brings a rare sense of joy to her songs – fully apparent on her new CD Everything I Love. She’ll be celebrating her birthday and the new album, backed by the John Heard Trio. Charlie O’s. (818) 994-3058.  And don’t forget that Julie appears regularly, concentrating on her love of Brazilian music in her Brazilian Hour Happy Hang, on Thursdays at Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Oct. 31. (Sun.)  John Daversa’s Contemporary Big Band.  Trumpeter Daversa brings in Halloween with his “scary big band.”  With a stage full of L.A.’s first team players performing Daversa’s unpredictable, the results should be supernatural.  Baked Potato.   (818) 980-1615.

San Francisco

- Oct. 25. (Mon.)  Karrin Allyson.  Female jazz singers have been arriving by the dozen, but Allyson continues to hold her own as a convincingly complete jazz artist.  Expect to hear, and enjoy, her range across repertoire from John Coltrane to Antonio Carlos Jobim.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

- Oct. 27. (Wed.)  Harvey Wainapel’s Alegritude.  Saxophonist/clarinetist Wainapel has spent more than a decade in Brazil.  His group Alegritude is the product of everything he learned during those years of immersion in bossa nova, samba and all the other rich elements of Brazilian music. Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

Leo Kottke

- Oct. 27 – 29. (Wed. – Fri.)  Leo Kottke.  Multiple Grammy-nominated Kottke achieved high visibility during the singer/songwriter years of the ‘70s.  But the roots of his music – then and now – have always been in his impressive acoustic guitar virtuosity.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

- Oct. 29. (Fri.)  Bitches Brew Revisited. The 40th anniversary year of Miles Davis’ iconic Bitches Brew is celebrated in contemporary fashion by the group of Graham Haynes, trumpet, Marco Benevento, keyboards, Antoine Roney, woodwinds, James “Blood” Ulmer, guitar, DJ Logic, turntables.  An SFJAZZ Festival event at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre. (866) 920-5299.

- Oct. 30. (Sat.)  Nellie McKay.  Quirky singer/songwriter/pianist McKay brings wit and a sardonic humor to songs that range from well targeted social activism to subtly engaging lyricism.  An SFJAZZ Festival event at the YCA Forum.   (866) 920-5299.

New York

- Oct. 26 – 30. (Tues. – Sat.)  Pat Martino Organ Quartet.  Guitarist Martino makes the most of the classic organ quartet format with a line-up that includes Tony Monaco, Hammond B-3 organ, Eric Alexander, tenor saxophone and Jason Brown, drums.  Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

Gerald Clayton

- Oct. 26 – 31. (Tues. – Sun.) Gerald Clayton Trio.  L.A.’s Clayton – whose father John and uncle Jeff are two of the co-leaders of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra – is thoroughly establishing himself as one of New York’s rapidly rising young jazz piano talents. Village Vanguard.   (212) 929-4598.

- Oct. 28 – 31. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Houston Person Quartet. Tenor saxophonist Person’s muscular sound and expressive style spent years working with Etta Jones.  But he’s a powerful player in his own right, mixing bebop with a strong seasoning of soul.  Jazz Standard.   (212) 576-2232.

- Oct. 28 – 31. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Mike Clark’s Indigo Blue.  Clark’s drumming was one of the driving forces in Herbie Hancock’s Headhunters, and his funk drumming beats have been sampled by everyone from Prince to Janet Jackson.  But he’s been stepping out on his own lately, as he does here with the stellar ensemble of trumpet Nicholas Payton, alto saxophonist Donald Harrison and bassist Christian McBride Irididum.  (212) 582-2121.


Picks of the Week: Sept. 20 – 26

September 21, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Sept. 21. (Tues.)  Further. Featuring Phil Lesh and Bob Weir. The music of the Grateful dead still lives, as Lesh and Weir, with an all star band take the classics “further” out.  The Greek Theatre.   (323) 665-3125.

- Sept. 21. (Tues.) John Pisano’s Guitar Night. Pisano teams up for an evening of duets with the guitarist Frank Sinatra loved — Ron Anthony. Bassist John Belzaguy keeps the rhythm together.  Vitello’s (818) 769-0905.

- Sept. 22. (Wed.)  Sally Kellerman.  “Hot Lips” returns with another display of Kellerman’s entertaining way with a song.  Andy Langham’s piano and arrangements provide the backing.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Sept. 23. (Thurs.) Denise Donatelli.  Her enchanting voice and intuitive way with a song are rapidly elevating Donatelli to the highest levels in the crowded field of female jazz vocalists.   Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

Debbie Reynolds

- Sept. 23 – Oct. 3. (Starting Thurs.)  Debbie ReynoldsAlive & Fabulous. The title tells it all.  MGM’s hottest musical property from the ‘50s still knows how to light up a stage. The El Portal Theatre, North Hollywood.   (818) 508-4200.

- Sept. 24. (Fri.)  Kristin Korb.  Versatile bassist/singer Korb supports her new CD, In the Meantime with a free performance and two bands: Llew Mathews and Steve Barnes in the first set; Bruce Forman and Aaron Serfaty in the second.  LACMA.  (323) 857-6000.

- Sept. 24. (Fri.) Phil  Ranelin and Tribe Renaissance.  Trombonist Ranelin and his players apply their own unique mainstream sound and style to a musically stimulating encounter with the veteran trumpeter Marcus BelgraveThe Culver Club at the Radisson.   (310) 649-1776 ext. 4137.

- Sept. 24. (Fri.)  Willie Nelson & Family. The one and only Willie performs selections from his latest CD, Country Music. Ryan Bingham and the Dead Horses open the show.  The Greek Theatre.   (323) 665-3125.

- Sept. 24. (Fri.)  Doug Webb.  One of the Southland’s most popular go-to saxophonists, Webb explores the nocturnal selections on his latest CD, MidnightVibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Sept. 24. (Fri.)  Babatunde Lea Quintet.  With Patrice Rushen, Ernie Watts, Gary Brown and Dwight Trible.  African, Cuban,, Caribbean and South American rhythms are blended into an irresistibly appealing jazz feast by Lea’s world class ensemble. Holy Nativity Episcopal Church, Westchester.  (310) 670-4777.

Dave Liebman

- Sept. 24 & 25. (Fri. & Sat.)  Dave Liebman. Saxophonist – and 2011 Recipient of the NEA Masters of Jazz Award – brings his New York Quartet, with guitarist Vic Juris, bassist Marko Marcinko and bassist Tony Marino to a rare Southland club engagement.  Don’t miss this one.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Sept. 24 & 25. (Fri. & Sat.)  BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet.  They’ve been performing traditional creole, cajun and zydeco music since the mid’’70s, and they’re still utterly compelling.  On Friday at McCabe’s. (310) 828-4497.  On Sat. in a free concert with Big Chief Monk Boudreaux & the Mardi Gras Indians. at Orange County Great Park.  (949) 854-4646.

- Sept. 25. (Sat.) Sound of Music Singalong. It’s the ultimate singalong, complete with a giant screen to keep everyone on the same beat in the same scene.  There’ll be a pre-show parade for audience members courageous enough to wear costumes.The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

Charles Lloyd

- Sept. 25. (Sat.) Charles Lloyd. Saxophonist/flutist Lloyd, one of the true – if sometimes under-appreciated – originals to emerge from the post-Coltrane era, performs selections from his new CD, Mirror, with the world class backing of pianist Jason Moran, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland.   Jazz Bakery Movable Feast.  Nate Holden Performing Arts Center.   (310) 271-9039.

- Sept. 25. (Sat.)  Kris Kristofferson.  A solo acoustic show from the Grammy-winning Kristofferson, one of the stellar talents of the singer/songwriter era .  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  http://www.cerritoscenter.com (562) 918-8501.  Also Sept. 26. (Sun.) at the Civic Arts Plaza in Thousand Oaks.   (805) 449-2700.

- Sept. 25. (Sat.)  Symphonic Jazz Orch.  A far too-rare performance by the 67 person SJO, performing jazz, Brazilian music, soul music, classical music and a few world premieres.  With guest stars George Duke, Luciana Souza and Raul Midon. Conducted by Mitch Glickman.  Host for the evening is comedian Tommy DavidsonRoyce Hall. (310) 876-8130.

- Sept. 25. (Sat.)  Fiesta Mexicana VIIISones, Bailes y Cantares. A colorful evening celebrating the rich folkloric music and dance of Mexico.  Among the groups performing – Tamborazo Pancho Villa and Trio Jacaranda.   Ford Amphitheatre.  (323) 461-3673.

- Sept. 26. (Sun.)  Red Holloway and Plas JohnsonBubba Jackson hosts.  KJAZZ Sunday Champagne Brunch. The Twist Restaurant in the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel. h

- Sept. 26. (Sun.)  17th Annual Brazilian Summer Festival. The spirit of Brazil has been vividly alive in these Summer Festival events for nearly two decades.  And Sunday night will be no exception, with a spectacular performance by the 23-member percussion and dance ensemble Olodum, the group that created samba reggae.  Opening the performance, Brasilidade Samba and Pagode show combine body-moving pagode and samba rhythms with a coterie of stunning Brazilian dancers.  Ford Amphitheater.   (323) 461-3673.

San Francisco

George Wein

- Sept. 20 & 21. (Mon. & Tues.)  George Wein and the Newport All-StarsAn Evening of Conversation and Jazz. The inventor of the outdoor jazz festival displays his chops as a pianist and as an entertaining, anecdote-filled conversationalist. Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

- Sept. 21. (Tues.) Fred Hersch and Nancy King.  Pianist Hersch and singer King, A pair of he jazz world’s most consistently inventive, musically adventurous artists, find common musical ground.  Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

- Sept. 22 & 23. (Wed. & Thurs.)  The Charles Lloyd New Quartet.  Saxophonist/flutist Lloyd, one of the true – if sometimes under-appreciated – originals to emerge from the post-Coltrane era, performs selections from his new CD, Mirror, with the world class backing of pianist Jason Moran, bassist Reuben Rogers and drummer Eric Harland. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.

- Sept. 23 – 26. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The McCoy Tyner All-Stars. “All-Stars” is precisely the right title, with Roy Hargrove, trumpet, John Patitucci, bass and Willie Jones III, drums on stage with the ever-stellar Tyner.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

Geri Allen

- Sept. 24 – 26. (Fri. – Sun.)  Fri. – Sun.)  Geri Allen: Tribute to Eric Dolphy. Allen has assembled the right collection of players for a long overdue tribute to one of jazz’s most remarkable innovators — Oliver Lake, alto sax, Don Byron, bass clarinet, Dwayne Dolphin, bass and Jeff “Tain” Watts, drums.  Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

New York

- Sept. 21 – 25. (Tues. – Sat. )  “Coltrane Revisited’ Joe Lovano, Steve Kuhn, Lonnie Plaxico and Andrew Cyrille.  Combine Lovano’s affection for Coltrane with Kuhn’s remembrances of having worked with Coltrane, add the solid bass and drum work of Plaxico and Cyrille, and expect a musically energizing evening.  Birdland. (212) 581-3080.

- Sept. 21 – 26. (Tues. – Sun.)  Ravi Coltrane Quartet. He comes from noble lineage, but the most intriguing aspect of Coltrane’s saxophone work is the way he has shaped it into a style which is uniquely, creatively his own.  Village Vanguard.  (212) 255-4037.

Sept. 23 – 26. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Taylor Eigsti Trio with singer Becca Stevens.  A former child jazz prodigy, now impressively in his mid-‘20s, Eigsti displays his versatility with his own group, with singer Stevens and with special guests Julian Lage, guitar (Thurs.), singer Gretchen Parlato and pianist Gerald Clayton (Sun.).  Jazz Standard.   (212) 576-2232.

- Sept. 24. (Fri.)  Mike Melvoin Trio.  L.A.’s master jazz pianists hits the Big Apple with his favorite New York rhythm team, bassist Jay Leonhart and drummer Bill GoodwinKitano.   (212) 885-7119.


Picks of the Week: July 6 – 11

July 6, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Arturo Sandoval

- July 6. (Tues.)  Arturo Sandoval’s Big Band.  The versatile Sandoval showcases his trumpet playing, piano playing, percussion and vocals in the company of a powerful large ensemble,  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- July 6. (Tues.) A Glorious Celebration. The Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Master Chorale launch the 2010 classical season at the Bowl with a program of works by Handel, Haydn, Vivaldi and Poulenc.  The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

- July 6. (Tues.)  The Kate Reid Trio. Singer/educator Reid takes time away from the classroom for a practical application of her vocal skills. Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

- July 7. (Wed.)  Femi Kuti, Terence Blanchard, Richard Bona, Lula Washington Dance Theatre.  Hollywood Bowl. 2010 Jazz at the Bowl opens the season by reaching out to display the wide array of sounds, rhythms and movements that co-exist comfortably under the jazz umbrella. Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

Kellye Gray

- July 8. (Thurs.)  Kellye Gray.  San Francisco based Gray is as impressive with her riffing up-tempos as she is with her poignant ballad interpretations.  She’s backed by Otmaro Ruiz, Hamilton Price and Jimmy BranleyCrowne Plaza. (310) 642-7500.

- July 8. (Thurs.)  Kristin Korb.  Bassist Korb has moved from her role as a first call sideperson into the spotlight as a charismatic singer/instrumentalist. Steamers. (714) 871-8800.

- July 9. (Fri.)  John Proulx.  Impressive as a jazz pianist, Proulx has been displaying considerable vocal ability as well.  This time out, he plays and sings selections from his Chet Baker tribute CD Baker’s Dozen: Remembering Chet Baker. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- July 9. (Fri.) “Music in the Zoo.” World Music Night. The summer music season at the Zoo begins with an entertaining gumbo of world music performances.  On the bill: John Bilezikjian (Middle Eastern), the Marieve Harrington Band (French), Billy Mitchell presents World Music Featuring Marisa Kosugi (Japanese) and “Cui Cui” Rangel” (Mexican), Incendio (Salsa), Paddy’s Pig (Irish), Espino (Latin) and Masanga Marimba (Zimbabwean).  The Los Angeles Zoo.  6 p.m.   (323) 644-6042.

- July 9. (Fri.)  Yes.  Peter Frampton.  The Grammy Award winning progressive rock band Yes and the eclectic Frampton were a pair of the most ground-breaking musical artists of the seventies.  And they’re still going strong, with Frampton showcasing selections from his just-released CD Thank You Mr. ChurchillGreek Theatre (323) 665-3125.

Bill Holman (photo by Lesley Bohm)

- July 9. (Fri.)  Bill Holman Orchestra. An innovative composer and arranger for large jazz ensembles, Holman has been an utterly original stylist for more than five decades.  Far too rarely heard in person, the 80-something jazz icon leads a collection of L.A.’s finest in a program guaranteed to delight the senses and nourish the musical mind.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- July 9. (Fri.)  Bill Cantos. Singer/pianist/songwriter Cantos spends a lot of time making other performers sound good.  Here’s a chance to hear him in action with his own fine songs.  The Culver Club in the Raddison.   (310) 649-1776 ext. 4137.

- July 9 & 10. (Fri. & Sat.)  Todd Murray.  Romantic balladeer Murray’s title for this latest show is Croon, which gives a pretty good indication of the engaging style he brings to material from the Great American Songbook.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- July 9 – 11 (Fri. – Sun.)  A Beatles Celebration. Classic Beatles songs performed by a stylistically diverse line-up of singers, including Patti Austin, Joe Jackson, Rob Laufer, Betty LaVette, Brian Stokes Mitchell.  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.  Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- July 10. (Sat.)  Chris Botti.  Botti’s rich-toned trumpet, fluent improvisations and imaginative way with a ballad have established him as one of the jazz world’s most popular artists.  And watch out for Katharine McPhee, whose electrifying singing has the potential to steal a show from anybody.  Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-3125.

- July 10. (Sat.)  Steve Wilson Quartet. Alto saxophonist Wilson has been receiving – with good reason — critical notices identifying him as one of the important new jazz arrivals. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- July 10. (Sat.)  Kayhan Kalhor.  Persian kamancheh virtuoso performs a program of traditional and improvised music from Iran and Turkey.  He’s backed by Turkish master baglama player, Erdal ErzincanGrand Performances.  (213) 687-2159.

Susie Hansen

- July 11. (Sun.)  The Susie Hansen Latin Jazz Band.  The dynamic five-string electric violinist, her exciting band and her irresistibly rhythmic Latin Jazz for dancing begin an every-Sunday gig at the Sage Restaurant and Lounge in Whittier with a celebration of the release of her new CD, Representante de la SalsaSage Restaurant and Lounge. (562) 945-1204.

- July 11. (Sun.)  The Phil Norman Tentet. Performing material composed and arranged by some of the Southland’s finest writer’s Norman’s Tentet revives the cool West Coast jazz sound into a briskly swinging contemporary experience.  Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- July 11. (Sun.)  The Steve Miller Band. The platinum-selling Steve Miller Band hit #1 with their first single, then topped it with the ever-memorable “Fly Like An Eagle.”  Their most recent effort, “The Town and the City” affirmed that the Band is still in rare and entertaining form.  Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-3125.

San Francisco

- July 5 & 6. (Tues. & Wed.) Richard Bona. The African bass master has been using his mesmerizing blend of traditional African sounds with contemporary jazz elements to set new standards for his instrument. Tues.:Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.  Wed.: Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

- July 10. (Sat.)  Paul McCartney. Sir Paul brings his current group into a Beatles-sized venue – the official home of the San Francisco Giants.  Expect to hear some nostalgic classics.  AT&T Park.  San Francisco.

San Diego

Pete Escovedo

- July 9 & 10.  (Fri. & Sat.)  Pete Escovedo. 75th Birthday Celebration.  After demonstrating his potent rhythmic wares at the Playboy Jazz Festival, Escovedo and his talented offspring continue the joyous celebration of his extraordinary life and music.  Anthology, San Diego.  (619) 595-0300

New York

July 6 – 10. (Mon. – Sat.)  Louis Hayes Quintet Veteran drummer Hayes leads a stellar group – alto saxophonist Vincent Herring, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, pianist Rick Germanson and bassist Richie Goods in a tribute to his old boss with “The Cannonball Adderley Legacy.” Birdland. (212) 581-3080.

July 6 – 11. (Mon. – Sun.)  Enrico Pieranunzi.  The Italian pianist’s superb playing provides convincing evidence of the growingly global reach of first rate jazz artistry. Village Vanguard (212) 255-4037.

- July 6 – 11. (Mon. – Sun.)  Ben E. King.  The great ‘60s and ‘70s soul singer – the composer of “Stand By Me” — still knows how to find the heart of a song. The Blue Note. l (212) 475-8592.


Picks of the Week: May 10 – 16

May 10, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- May 11. (Tues.)  John Pisano’s Guitar Night .  Larry Koonse, the guitarist who can play almost anything, takes a break from making everyone else sound great, and steps onto center stage alongside Steve Cardenas.  Vitello’s.  http://www.vitellosrestaurant.com (818) 769-0905.

- May 12. (Wed.)  Chuck Berghofer’s Midnight Jazz Band.  Featuring Gary Foster and Terry Trotter. A group of L.A.’s (and the world’s) fine jazz veterans remind us of the pleasures of classic improvising.  Charlie O’s.    (919) 994-3058.

- May 12. (Wed.)  Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars.  Organized in a refugee camp, using battered old instruments, the All-Stars have emerged as an engaging collection of genre-crossing world musicians.  The Roxy.

- May 12. (Wed.) Ron Kalina.  Harmonica is one of the rare jazz instruments, but Kalina brings it impressively into the jazz mainstream.  He’s backed by the Pat Senatore Trio.  Vibrato.   (310) 474-9400.

Sally Kellerman

- May 13. (Thurs.)  Sally Kellerman.  She may be best known for her role as Hot Lips Houlihan in the film M*A*S*H, but Kellerman’s also a jazz singer with convincing musical credentials.   Vitello’s.

- May 13 – 15. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Earl Klugh Quartet. Guitarist Klugh brings both listenability and musical authenticity to the smooth jazz/fusion jazz genres. Catalina Bar & Grill  http://www.catalinajazzclub.com (323) 466-2210.

- May 14. (Fri.)  Thom Rotella Quartet.  Expect musical sparks to fly when guitarist Rotella digs into his straight ahead jazz roots with the all-star quartet of Theo Saunders, Rickey Woodard, Kevin Brandon, Roy McCurdy Culver Club Radisson Hotel.  (310) 649-1776 Ext. 4137.

Michael Wolff

- May 14. (Fri.)  Michael Wolff.  Vitello’s.  He was the leader of the band on the Arsenio Hall Show, and pianist Wolff co-stars with his two sons, Nat and Alex on Nickelodeon’s Naked Brothers Band.  But he’s also a first rate jazz pianist in his own right.  And he’ll no doubt be at his best, working with the superb musical companionship of Bob Sheppard, Brian Bromberg and Michael Barsimento. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- May 14. (Fri.)  “Wavefest.” Don’t let the “Wave” title fool you.  This is a program that reaches across several musical genres, all of them appealing.  With Michael McDonald, Chaka Khan, Poncho Sanchez, Mindi Abair and more.  The Greek Theatre. (323) 665-5857.

- May 14. (Fri.) Dave Pell & Med Flory Quintet.  Pell and Flory find new life in the alto & tenor front line sound.  They’ll also be joined by talented young tenor saxophonist Chloe FeoranzoBack Room at Henri’s.   (818) 348-5582.

- May 14. (Fri.)  Kristin Korb.  Bassist/vocalist Korb shows off her versatile skills with the supportive backing of Llew Matthews and Paul Kreibich.   Hip Kitty. (949) 447-6700.

Alyssa Graham

- May 14 & 15. (Fri. & Sat.)  Alyssa Graham. The warm voice and intimate style of Graham has been compared – with good reason, to Helen Merrill, Karen Carpenter and other fine vocal models.  Café Metropol.  (213) 613-1537.

- May 15. (Sat.)  Patti Lupone. “Matters of the Heart.” The gifted Lupone moves effortlessly from the big stage of musical theatre to the short story songs of Randy Newman, Brian Wilson, Stephen Sondheim, Joni Mitchell and others.   Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

- May 15. (Sat.)  Dwight Trible and John Beasley. Pianist Beasley’s far-ranging musical imagination provides the perfect setting for Trible’s equally adventurous vocalizing. Boston Court Theatre.  Pasadena.  Jazz Bakery Moveable Feast (310) 271-9039.

- May 16. (Sun.)  Sonny Rollins.  He’s inarguably one of the jazz world’s major iconic figures.  And he’s still fully capable of creating magic every time he picks up his horn.  Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

- May 16. (Sun.)  Nedra Wheeler. Wheeler’s performed with everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Ravi Coltrane.  But it’s always fun to hear her upfront, doing her thing with her own group.  And no better place to do it than the pleasant setting of a KJAZZ Sunday Brunch.  Twist Restaurant at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.   (562) 985-2999.

Bill Cosby

- May 16. (Sun.) Bill Cosby.  Cosby has always been much more than a joke-telling comedian.  His story-telling, his slice of life memories, his capacity to riff on a theme are the verbal equivalents of a world class jazz performance. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 916-8500.

- May 16. (Sun.)  Mitch Forman All-Star Jazz Band. The title is well-chosen.  Forman the real thing as a keyboardist.  And his associates are fully up to his level: Walt Fowler, trumpet, Brandon Fields, saxophone, Ernest Tibbs, bass, Joel Taylor, drums and Munyungo Jackson, percussion.  The Baked Potato.   (818) 980-1615.

- May 16. (Sun.)  Denise Thimes. The pride of St. Louis brings her unique style – with her transformative touches of Carmen McRae, Ella Fitzgerald and others – to a far too-rare appearance in the Southland.  A Frame Jazz.   (310) 659-9169.

San Diego

- May 14. (Fri.)  Spyro Gyra.  Smooth jazz and fusion have always been too limiting a labels for a band with the ability to stretch easily into bebop and the mainstream, as well. Anthology.   (619) 595-0300.

- May 15. (Sat.)  Richie Havens.  Approaching seventy, Havens can still set a stage on fire with the power of his strummed guitar and his inimitable voice.  Let’s hope he sings “Freedom.”   Anthology.   (619) 595-0300.

San Francisco

- May 11 & 12. (Tues. & Wed.)  Stanley Clarke Band, featuring Hiromi.  Bassist Clarke and pianist Hiromi have discovered a surprisingly compatible musical connection between their individually diverse styles. Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.   Also May 13 & 14 (Thurs. & Fri.) at Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

Wesla Whitfield

- May 11 – 16. (Tues. – Sun.)  Wesla Whitfield and the Mike Greensill Trio. “We’re In The Money.” A couple in music and life, Whitfield and Greensill have been defining the contemporary cabaret art since they first got together in the ‘80s.  They’ll perform songs from films such as An American In Paris, Meet Me In St. Louis, The Wizard of Oz and more. The Rrazz Room.  The Rrazz Room. (415) 394-1189.

New York

- May 11 – 16. (Tues. – Sun.)  The trio of Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, Paul Motian cover a lot of territory in six short days.  On Tues. – Thurs they appear with Joe Lovano, Greg Osby, John Scofield, Hubert Laws.  (Check with club for schedule).  On Fri. – Sun. they delve into the fascinating area of  “Further Explorations of Bill Evans.”  Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

- May 11 – 16. (Tues. – Sun.)  Nnenna Freelon. Multi-Grammy nominee Freelon celebrates the release of her new Concord album, Homefree. Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola. (212) 258-9595.

- May 13 – 16. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Andy Bey Trio. At a time when jazz is flooded with a wave of female singers, Bey carries the torch for the male side of the art, doing so with an incomparably individual sound and style.  Jazz Standard.   (212)  576-2232.

Maria Raducanu

- May 15. (Sat.)  “Wall To Wall Behind the Wall.” An all-day program of Eastern European music from the end of WWI, through the Cold War to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.  Compositions by Shostakovich, Penderecki, Lutoslawski, Part, Bartok and many others, will be performed by the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic and Poland’s Silesian String Quartet.  Also on the program – a performance by Romanian jazz singer Maria Raducanu and a Russian jazz set by Lanny Myers, Clare Daly, Mary Ann McSweeney and Greg Joseph The Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.  Free.    (212) 864-5400.


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