Picks of the Week: Jan. 21 – 26

January 21, 2014

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Jan.21. (Tues.) The Pat Senatore Trio. Bassist Senatore, Josh Nelson, piano, and Mark Ferber, drums, assemble to celebrate a CD release party for the Trio’s new album, Ascensione. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc (310) 474-9400.

Aaron Weinstein

Aaron Weinstein

- Jan. 22. (Wed.) Aaron Weinstein. Violinist Weinstein, still not a highly visible jazz artist, is rapidly establishing himself as one of his instrument’s rare jazz masters. Click HERE to read an earlier iRoM review of Weinstein. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- Jan. 22 – 24. (Wed- Fri.) Lenny White and Friends. Eclectic drummer White, a vital veteran of Return to Forever, leads his own solid ensemble, including bassists Foley and Victor Bailey, woodwind player Bennie Maupin and keyboardist George Colligan. Catalina Bar & Grill (223) 466-2210.

John Proulx

John Proulx

- Jan. 23. (Thurs.) John Proulx Trio. He’s a fine pianist and an in-demand rhythm section player. And Proulx is now beginning to prove his skills as a fine interpretive jazz singer, as well. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Jan. 25 & 26. (Sat. & Sun.) The Los Angeles Master Chorale performs the Bach B Minor Mass in an interpretation that Music Director Grant Gershon says will “blow the roof off Disney Hall.”  (323) 850-2000.

- Jan. 25 & 26. (Sat. & Sun.) Average White Band. More than 40 years after their arrival on the pop music scene the A.W.B. still conjurs up an irresistible blend of funk, soul and r&b. Catalina Bar & Grill (223) 466-2210.

Chita Rivera

Chita Rivera

- Jan. 25. (Sat.) Chita Rivera: A Legendary Celebration. And, yes, Rivera is indeed one of the musical theatre’s most unique, memorable and legendary performers. Valley Performing Arts Center. (818) 677-8800.

- Jan. 25 & 26. (Sat. & Sun.) The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra offer an inviting program of Mozart & Beethoven. On Saturday at the Alex Theatre.  On Sunday at Royce Hall.

- Jan. 26. (Sun.) Bill Cunliffe. Grammy-nominated Cunliffe offers a “Night at the Grammys with a stellar ensemble – saxophonist Bob Sheppard, bassist Darek Oles and drummer Adam Czerwinski.  (818) 769-0905.  Vitello’s.

 San Francisco

Cameron Carpenter

Cameron Carpenter

- Jan. 24. (Fri.) Cameron Carpenter. Organist Carpenter is one of classical music’s most dynamic performers, bringing an astounding blend of virtuosic technique and entertaining showmanship to everything he plays. SFJAZZ at Grace Cathedral.  (866) 920-5299.

Seattle

Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly

- Jan. 21 – 22. (Tues. – Wed.) Grace Kelly with the Marc Seales Trio. A jazz saxophone prodigy as a teen-ager, Kelly – now 21 – has matured into a gifted creative artist. Jazz Alley.  (206) 441-9729.

 New York City

- Jan. 22 & 23. (Wed. & Thurs.) Pat Martino and Eldar. A cross generational team – veteran guitarist Martino and talented young pianist Eldar – get together in search of common improvisational ground. Iridium. (212) 582-2121.

Copenhagen

- Jan. 23-25 (Thurs. – Sat.) Paolo Fresu Special Quartet. Italian trumpeter/flugelhornist Fresu has assembled an aggregation of some of Europe’s finest jazz players, among them Paolo Russo, piano, Thomas Fonnesbaek, bass, and Alex Riel, drums. Jazzhus Montmartre.  +45 31 72 34 94.

Milan

Diane Schuur

Diane Schuur

- Jan. 23 – 25. (Thurs. – Sat.) Diane Schuur. “Deedles,” as she is known by friends, fans and musicians alike, continues to sing with the Sarah Vaughan influenced style that has characterized her imaginative work ever since Stan Getz discovered her in the late ’70s. The Blue Note Milano.  +39 02 6901 6888.

Tokyo

Jan. 23 & 24. (Thurs. & Fri.) Avishai Cohen Trio. Israeli jazz bassist Cohen – not the Israeli jazz trumpeter by the same name – leads his new trio in a rare Japanese appearance. The Blue Note Tokyo. +81 3-5485-0088.


Live Jazz: Jack DeJohnette, Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke at Catalina Bar & Grill

May 17, 2012

By Don Heckman

Catalina Bar & Grill was packed to the gills Tuesday night.  If there was an empty seat anywhere in the big, comfortable L-shaped room, it was hard to locate.  Why such a crowd for a mid-week night?  Easy answer: The band on stage consisted of a trio that can pretty much be expected to draw a lot of attention: Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Jack DeJohnette.

Chick Corea

All-star jazz groups – especially those consisting of artists with well-established careers and styles of their own – can sometimes be more appealing on a marquee than on stage.  Iconic egos don’t always fit well into the same groove.

But no such problems for this group of stellar players.  In a set that was largely oriented toward extended solos woven into ensemble textures, the results were memorable on every count.  Reaching from originals by some of the group members to Billy Strayhorn’s “Lush Life” (arranged by Corea), each number was a study in world class music-making.

Jack DeJohnette

The evening was billed as a celebration of DeJohnette’s seventieth birthday.  So it was appropriate that the opening number offered a wide open space for his impressive skills to be on full display.  DeJohnette’s versatility is well known to anyone who’s heard him with the Keith Jarrett trio, or on his own stylistically far-reaching recordings.  And in this performance, as elsewhere, he transformed the basic jazz drum set into a virtual collection of musical instruments, employing them as a fascinating, rhythmically dynamic percussion orchestra.

Stanley Clarke

Corea and Clarke have worked together frequently over the years, most recently with Lenny White in the Grammy-winning “Forever” ensemble.  And what happens between them can best be described as a musical symbiosis, in which their individual creative perspectives become completely blended.  That quality was especially apparent in “Lush Life,” with Clarke’s ostinato pattern weaving intimately around Corea’s soaring melody lines.

With DeJohnette added to the Corea/Clarke mix, the musical palette became even richer.  On “Summer Night,” a rarely heard tune from Miles Davis’ Quiet Nights album, improvisational complexity was placed fully at the service of a compelling, multi-layered musical expressiveness.  In passages like this, the real essence of musical fusion, with all its far-reaching emotional possibilities, came vividly to life.

As I suggested earlier, a memorable night of music-making, to be sure.  And a rare one, at that.  Fortunately DeJohnette, Corea and Clarke will continue their musical magic through Sunday night at Catalina’s.  Don’t miss the opportunity to help celebrate DeJohnette’s 70th in such a mesmerizing musical fashion.

Jack DeJohnette, Chick Corea ant Stanley Clarke at Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210. Tonight Through Sunday.


Here, There & Everywhere: The 2012 Jazz Grammy Winners

February 13, 2012

By Don Heckman

The 2012 Grammys are in, and once again there’s not much sound of surprise in the results.  Certainly nothing in the same ballpark as last year’s Best New Artist award for Esperanza Spalding.  That’s not to say that any of the wins were undeserved.  Because they all were the products of gifted artists doing their best. Nor were any of the nominees any less deserving than the winners.

Still, both the awards and the Recording Academy’s current approach to jazz raise some questioning observations.  Take, for example, the inclusion of Terri Lyne Carrington’ s The Mosaic Project in the Jazz Vocal grouping.  Doesn’t it seem inevitable that a collection of songs by such major names as Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Cassandra Wilson and, yes, Esperanza Spalding (among others) is going to have a major head start in any competition against recordings by single artists?  What chance did the other nominees – especially the unusually superlative trio of albums from Tierney Sutton, Roseanna Vitro and Karrin Allyson – have against a full line-up of such musical heavyweights?

Notice, too, some of the repetitions: multiple nominations for Randy Brecker, Fred Hersch and Sonny Rollins.  Great artists, all, but where are the nominations for the youngest generation of jazz players?  It’s worth noting that Gerald Clayton is the only nominee still in his twenties.  And Miguel Zenon is the only nominee still in his thirties.

Add to that several aspects in this year’s awards procedures that underscore the diminishing role that jazz is playing in the Grammy overview.  Start with the reduced number of categories.  In 2011 there were six: Contemporary Jazz Album, Vocal Album, Improvised Jazz Solo, Jazz Instrumental Album (Individual or Group), Large Jazz Album and Latin Jazz Album.

This year, there are four: Best Improvised Jazz Solo, Best Jazz Vocal Album, Best Jazz Instrumental Album and Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album. Some jazz fans won’t miss the Contemporary category, despite the fact that its absence eliminates the presence of some fine, pop-oriented jazz stylists.  But the Latin Jazz omission is unforgivable, and should receive careful re-consideration in the planning for next year’s Grammys.

In the listings below, I’ve also included Best Instrumental Arrangement and Best Instrumental Composition, because, in these nominees, the emphasis is almost completely in the direction of jazz.  They could easily have had different orientations — pop, rock, electronica, classical and otherwise — given the all-inclusive nature of the descriptions “Instrumental Arrangement” and “Instrumental Composition.”

Ultimately, the single word that comes to mind in considering all the above is “irrelevant.”  Receiving a Grammy award continues to be one of the music world’s greatest honors – for the individual artist.  And every jazz player –like every other musical artist – has to be delighted to receive the gold statuette.  But the overall significance of the Grammys to jazz, the Awards’ full commitment to honoring one of America’s greatest cultural contributions, continues to diminish.  And if it continues in its current direction, the long, historical Grammy/jazz connection won’t just be irrelevant, it’ll be non-existent.

Here are this year’s awards:

Best Improvised Jazz Solo

 Winner.  Chick Corea : “Five Hundred Miles Highfrom Forever.

Other Nominees:

Randy Brecker: “All or Nothing at All” from The Jazz ballad Song Book

Ron Carter: “You Are My Sunshine” from This Is Jazz.

Fred Hersch: “Work” from Alone at the Vanguard.

Sonny Rollins: “Sunnymoon For Two: from Road Shows, Vol. 2.

Best Jazz Vocal album

Winner: Terri Lyne Carrington and Various Artists: The Mosaic Project.

Other Nominees:

Tierney Sutton Band: American Road

Karrin Allyson: ‘Round Midnight.

Kurt Elling: The Gate.

Roseanna Vitro: The Music of Randy Newman.

Best Jazz Instrumental Album

Winner: Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke & Lenny White.  Corea, Clark & White.

Other Nominees:

Gerald Clayton: The Paris Sessions.

Fred Hersch: Alone at the Vanguard.

Joe Lovano/Us Five: Bird Songs.

Sonny Rollins: Road Shows, Vol.2

Yellowjackets: Timeline.

Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album

Winner: Christian McBride Big Band. The Good Feeling.

Other Nominees:

Randy Brecker with the WDR Big Band: The Jazz Ballad Song Book.

Arturo O’Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra: 40 Acres and a Burro.

Gerald Wilson Orchestra; Legacy.

Miguel Zenon: Alma Adentro: The Puerto Rican Songbook

Best Instrumental Arrangement

Winner: Gordon Goodwin: Rhapsody in Blue.

Other Nominees:

Peter Jensen: ‘All or Nothing At All” (for Randy Brecker with the GDR Big Band)

Clare Fischer: “In the Beginning: (from the Clare Fischer Big band’s Continuum.)

Bob Brookmeyer: “Nasty Dance.” (from the Vanguard Jazz Orchstra’s Forever Lasting).

Carlos Franzetti: “Song Without Words” (from Alborada).

Best Instrumental Composition

Winner: Bela Fleck and Howard Levy: “Life In Eleven” from Rocket Science.

Other Nominees:

John Hollenbeck: “Falling Men” from Shut Up and Dance.

Gordon Goodwin: “Hunting Wabbits 3 (Get Off My Lawn) from That’s How We Roll.

Randy Brecker: “I Talk To The Trees” from The Jazz Ballad Song Book.

Russell Ferrante: “Timeline” from Timeline.


Picks of the Week: July 12 – 17

July 11, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- July 12. (Tues.)  John Pisano’s Guitar Night.  With Mundell Lowe and bassist Jim Hughart.  Guitar Night’s always a pleasure, but here’s one not to miss – a pair of veteran jazz guitarists in action with the support of a fine bassist.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

Chris Botti

- July 13. (Wed.)  Chris Botti and Bobby McFerrin with the Yellowjackets.  One of the highlights of the Hollywood Bowl summer jazz schedule.  Botti’s trumpet playing, delivered with surging rhythms and an elegantly expressive melodic flow have currently established him as the best-selling American instrumentalist.  McFerrin is always a wonder and even more so when he’s having fun with the dynamic Yellowjackets players.  The Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000

- July 13. (Wed.)  Alex Iles and Bill Reichenbach Quintet.  A pair of primo trombonists get together with a sound and style that will hopefully recall the delights of Kai Winding and J.J. Johnson.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- July 14. (Thurs.)  The Bill Cunliffe Quartet.  “Bill in Brazil The ever-versatile pianist displays his love of the irresistible rhythms and soaring melodies of Brazil.    Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

Della Reese

- July 14. (Thurs.)  Della Reese.  “I’m still here, celebrating my 80th birthday,” says the ever energetic Ms. Reese.  And indeed she is, still singing up a storm, bringing imagination and entertainment to everything she does.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- July 15 & 16. (Fri. & Sat.)  Sarah McLachlan with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Thomas Wilkens conducting.  Multi-Grammy winning McLachlan makes her Hollywood Bowl debut in her first tour with an orchestra.  She’ll sing songs from her recent CD, Laws of Illusion.  Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- July 16. (Sat.)  Golden Boys: Frankie Avalon, Fabian Forte, Bobby Rydell.  Three of the teen idols of the ‘50s and ‘60s appear in the Cerritos season opener.  The Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.   (562) 916-8501.

- July 16. (Sat.)  An Evening with the Monkees. Forty five years after they first hit the television screens original members Davy Jones, Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork revisit their catalog of hits.  Greek Theatre.    (323) 665-5857.

- July 16. (Sat.)   Rickey Woodard with the John Heard Trio.  Saxophonist Woodard’s hard swinging, harmonically and melodically adventurous improvisations are among the Southland’s great jazz delights.  Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058.

- July 16. (Sat.)  “From California With Love”  CD release party.  The CD and the performance benefit Japanese disaster relief.  Among the stellar list of performers are Jim Cox, Michael Dees, Sue Raney, Diane Hubka, Pinky Winters and many more.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

Freda Payne

- July 17. (Sun.)  Freda Payne.  The gorgeous Ms. Payne applies her far reaching interpretive skills to a Tribute to the Great Ladies of Jazz: Ella, Lena and Sarah Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

San Francisco

- July 17. (Sun.)  Shahrzad Sepanlou.  The lovely Iranian singers warm, expressive voice moves freely from traditional songs to intimate contemporary balladry.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.    (415) 655-5600.

- July l5 & 16.  (Fri. & Sat.)  Charlie Hunter/Scott Amendola Duo. Hunter’s seven string guitar virtuosity has a chance to fully express itself in the company of Amendola’s subtle drumming.  Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse.    (510) 644-2020.

Chicago

- July 14 – 17. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Steve Turre Quartet with pianist Willie Pickens. Jazz trombonist and remarkable conch shell player Turre explores colorful jazz territory with Chicago jazz great Pickens.  Jazz Showcase.    (312) 360-0234.

New York

- July 13. (Wed.)  Jane Bunnett and Hilario Duran.  Soprano saxophonist/flutist Bunnett and pianist Duran display some of the unusually eclectic Cuban material on their new album, Cuban Rhapsody.  Jazz Standard.  http://www.jazzstandard.com/red/index.html  (212) 576-2232.

July 14 – 17. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Airto.  The great Brazilian percussionist, fascinating with a group or as a soloist, plays with the all-star aggregation of  Mark Egan, bass, Jose Neto, guitar, Helio Alves, piano, and Lew Soloff, trumpet.  D Booker, the daughter of Airto and Flora Purim, will sing.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

London

Charlie Parker

- July 12 & 13. (Tues. & Wed.)  “The Music of Charlie Parker”  Alto saxophonist Gilad Atzmon evokes the spirit and the soul of the great bebop alto saxophonist, performing – with a string ensemble – selections from Bird’s classic “with strings” recordings.  Ronnie Scott’s.    020 7439 0747.

Paris

- July 12. (Tues.) Ceu. Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Ceu is an intriguing songwriter and a compelling performer, blending her unique skills with her admiration for Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Lauryn Hill.    New Morning.    01 45 23 51 41.

Milan

- July 15. (Fri.)  Return To Forever IVChick Corea, Lenny White, Stanley Clarke, Jean-Luc Ponty, Frank Gambale.  The latest incarnation of Return to Forever may well be the best one yet.  With Ponty and Gambale bringing their fiery skills to the dependable platform provided by Corea, White and Clarke, the results are musically irresistible.The Blue Note Milano.    02.69.01.68.88.

Berlin

- July 13 & 14. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Lionel Loueke and Raul Midon, the Duwala Malambo Projekt. A pair of uniquely idiosyncratic guitarist/singers find common ground in a wide open arena of improvisational adventuring they call the Duwala Malambo Projekt.  A-Trane International Jazz Club.   030/313 25 50.

Chris Botti photo by Tony Gieske.


Picks of the Week: Mar. 1 – 6

March 1, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Alan Bergman

- Mar. 1. (Tues.)  Alan Bergman.  It’s always fun to hear a songwriter perform his own songs.  But it’s even better when the songwriter is also a singer with a richly nuanced interpretative style.  In Bergman, you get all that and more.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.  http://www.vibratogrilljazz.com

- Mar. 2. (Wed.)  Bill Cunliffe Piano Trio.   Pianist, composer, arranger and Grammy winner Cunliffe applies his multi-hyphenate skills to the musical clarity of the jazz piano trio setting.  His associates are Joe La Barbera, drums, Ryan McGillicuddy, bass.  Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- Mar. 2. (Wed.)  Isabel Rose.  She does it all — co-wrote and starred in the film, Anything But Love, has written a novel — intriguingly titled The J.A.P. Chronicles — and a one-woman musical.  As if that wasn’t enough, she also sings and swings on her CD Swingin’ From the Hip with an authenticity that reaches into the classic traditions of American pop song.    Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Mar. 2. (Wed.)  Baroque Variations: Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin.  Here’s a unique opportunity to hear a program of Baroque music performed by one of the world’s finest period instrument ensembles.  Walt Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

- Mar. 3. (Thurs.)  David Becker Tribune.  International guitar star Becker’s group Tribune has been bringing their global overview to dynamic jazz performances for more than two decades.  Mostly on tour around the world, they’re making a rare Southern California appearance.  Don’t miss it.  Becker, guitars, Bruce Becker-drums, Jim Donica bass, Aniela Perry cello.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

Gerald Clayon

- Mar. 3. (Thurs.)  Gerald Clayton Trio. Raised in the Southland in a highly visible musical family (his father is bassist John Clayton, his uncle is saxophonist Jeff Clayton), pianist Gerald Clayton has emerged, in  his mid-twenties as one of the most compelling, versatile and engaging jazz artists of his generation.  Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

- Mar. 3. (Thurs.)  “Mulligan Stew” Drummer Paul Kriebich celebrates West Coast cool jazz in a tribute to Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker.  His band includes Charlie Orenia, saxophone, Ron Stout, trumpet, Chris Conner, bass.  LAX Jazz Club at the Crown Plaza LAX.  (310) 258-1333.

- Mar. 3. (Thurs.)  Eric Reed Quartet. A jazz prodigy when he was still a teen-ager, pianist Reed’s resume has since included gigs with everyone from Freddie Hubbard and Wayne Shorter to Quincy Jones and  Wynton Marsalis.  He performs with Jacques Lesure, guitar, Hamilton Price, bass, Kevin Kanner, drums.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Mar. 3 & 4. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Scharoun Ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic. The much honored octet of players from the Berlin Philharmonic perform Mozart’s Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, Beethoven’s Septet in Eb Major and the Schubert Octet in F Major. Thurs.  UCLA Live Royce Hall.  UCLA Live at Royce Hall.   (310) 825-2101.  Fri. Irvine Barclay Theatre.   (949) 854-4646.

Rebecca Coupe Franks

- Mar. 5. (Sat.)  Rebecca Coupe Franks.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  A Californian by birth, trumpeter Franks has become a New Yorker by career, performing with the likes of Lou Donaldson, Ben Riley, Kenny Barron and others.  She makes a rare Southland appearance.  (310) 474-9400.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.

- Mar. 5. (Sat.)  Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter.  With Dave Holland and Vinnie Colaiuta.  It’s an iconic, all-star night when old musical pals Hancock and Shorter get together, backed by the dynamic bass of Holland and the multi-layered, hard-driving drumming of Colaiuta. Walt Disney Hall.  Disney Hall (323) 850-2000.

- Mar. 5. (Sat.)  The 11th Annual Brazilian Carnaval Exotica. The annual celebration of Brazilian carnaval in Los Angeles converts Club Nokia into an opportunity to indulge the senses and get lost in a pulsating sea of samba, sequins, masks and feathers.  In addition to Chalo Eduardo’s all-star band, the celebration will feature the Brazilian Nites Samba Dancers and a 100 piece community drum circle.  8 p.m. – 2 a.m.  Club Nokia.  (213) 765-7000.

- Mar. 5. (Sat.) Chick Corea and Gary Burton. Corea and Burton revive a partnership that began with the 1972 album Crystal Silence – described by NPR as “one of the seminal recordings of the decade.”   UCLA Live at Royce Hall.   (310) 825-2101.

Gerald Wilson

- Mar. 6. (Sun.) Gerald Wilson Orchestra.  At 92, Wilson has been leading impressive, hard swinging big bands for nearly seventy years.  And they’ve all reflected his free roaming imagination, his mastery of big band instrumentation and his fierce conducting techniques.  Don’t miss this opportunity to see and hear him in action. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

San Francisco

- Mar. 1. (Tues.)  Aaron Goldberg Trio. Pianist Goldberg is an A-list choice for Joshua Redman, Nicholas Payton, Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.  But the best way to hear him may be with his long standing trio – with Matt Penman, bass and Eric Harland, drums.  He’ll also be joined by some surprise quests from the SFJAZZ Collective. Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

- Mar. 3. (Thurs.)  Elvin Bishop. Bishop’s long musical road has reached from the Butterfield Blues Band and his mid-‘70s hit, “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” to side trips into blues taverns, concert stages and music festivals around the world.  Yoshi’s Oakland (510) 238-9200.

New York

- Mar. 1 – 6 (Tues. – Sun.)  Donald Harrison, Ron Carter, Billy Cobham Trio. All-Star is the proper phrase to use in describing this impressive, cross generational collective of jazz masters. The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

JD Walter

- Mar. 2. (Wed.)  JD Walter. He still hasn’t received anything like the recognition his talent deserves, but Walter is a jazz vocalist to remember.  No wonder the LA Times called him “an original in an art overpopulated with copycats.”  55 Bar.  (212) 929-9883.

- Mar. 2 – 6. (Wed. – Sun.)  Fred Hersch Duos & Trio +2.  Pianist Hersch spreads his considerable skills around in a series of musical encounters.  He’ll play duos on Wed. with singer Kate McGarry, on Thurs. with guitarist Julian Lage, and on Sunday with saxophonist Joshua Redman.  And on Fri. and Sat., he’ll perform with his trio and saxophonist Noah Preminger and trumpeter Ralph AlessiJazz Standard.  (212) 576-2232.

- Mar. 4 – 6. (Fri – Sun.)  Larry Coryell Power Trio.  Guitarist Coryell joins up with bassist Victor Bailey and drummer Lenny White to recall the rich textured sounds and fiery rhythms of jazz fusion.  Iridium.   (212) 582-2121.

Gerald Wilson photo by Tony Gieske.


Picks of the Week: Jan. 25 – 31

January 25, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Jan. 25. (Tues.) John Pisano Guitar Night features the always compelling playing of Anthony Wilson in the downstairs lounge.  Upstairs, the jazz voices take over, with the Peter Eldridge Group and Dollison & Marsh’s Vertical Voices.  Grammy nominated pianist Geoff Keezer provides his usual scintillating accompaniment.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Jan. 25. (Tues.)  Itzhak Perlman in Recital. The masterful veteran violinist is accompanied by pianist Rohan de Silva in a program of music by Leclair, Saint-Saens and Beethoven.  Disney Hall. (323) 850-2000.

Hair

- Jan. 25 – Feb. 6.  (Tues. – Sat.(6)).  “Hair” The definitive musical theatre work of the counter-culture sixties, filled with memorable songs, from “Aquarius” and “Easy to Be Hard” to “Frank Mills” and “Good Morning Starshine.”  Segerstrom Concert Hall.  OCPAC.   (714) 556-2787.

- Jan. 27. (Thurs.)  Jorge Drexler.  Oscar-winning (for “Al Otro Lado del Rio” in The Motorcycle Diaries) Uruguayan singer/songwriter Drexler makes his first L.A. appearance since his sold out concert at Disney Hall three years ago.  Skirball.   (310) 440-4500.

- Jan. 27. (Thurs.)  The Frank Marocco Quartet.  Accordionist Marocco affirms, in every performance, the tonal warmth, harmonic richness and articulate swing that he can generate from his too often maligned instrument.Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Jan. 27. (Thurs.) Luther Hughes & the Cannonball Coltrane Project. Bassist Hughes and his companions revive the music from one of great jazz classic albums.  LAX Jazz Club at the Crown Plaza LAX.  (310) 258-1333.

Julie Kelly

- Jan. 28. (Fri.)  Julie Kelly with the John Heard Trio. Kelly singing is one of the Southland’s vocal jazz blessings, whether she’s tip-toeing through bossa nova or applying her rich sound to an intimate ballad. Charlie O’s. (818) 994-3058.

- Jan. 28. (Fri.) Ernie Watts. Everyone’s a-list, number one saxophonist, Watts delivers on all counts – tone, imagination, drive and the utter uniqueness that all great jazz players possess.  Steamers (714) 871-8800.

- Jan. 28. (Fri.)  Ron Stout. Bearded Ron Stout, whose easy transitions from jazz soloing to adept section playing have made him one of the Southland’s most in-demand trumpeters, shows up for an infrequent appearance in the spotlight.  He’ll be backed by the sterling trio of pianist Tom Ranier, bassist Pat Senatore and drummer Kevin Kanner.     Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Jan. 28 – 30.  (Fri. – Sun.)  “A Chorus Line.” Winner of nine Tony awards and a Pulitzer Prize, A Chorus Line, with its memorable music and stellar dancing, is one of the great musical theatre pieces.  If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t miss this rare opportunity.    Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts (562) 916-8501.

- Jan. 28 – 30. (Fri. – Sun.)  Robben Ford/Roger Kellaway Band.  Guitarist Ford and pianist Kellaway, each a unique and very different jazz stylist, get together for what should be a fascinating musical encounter.  Vocalist Anne Kerry Ford adds her richly personal way with a song.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Jan. 29. (Sat.) Karsh Kale & MIDIval Punditz.  Indian music goes strikingly contemporary with the electronic fusion of tabla artist Kale.  He’ll be joined by his frequent collaborators MIDIval Punditz, guitarist Chris Buono, ghazal master Vishal Vaid and electric violinist Dorian CheahRoyce Hall.  (310) 825-4401.

- Jan. 29. (Sat.)  Alan Paul. Manhattan Transfer’s Paul takes a break from his ensemble responsibilities for a solo turn.  He follows his partners Janis Siegel and Cheryl Bentyne onto the stage at Vitello’s (818) 769-0905.

Ed Shaughnessy

- Jan. 30. (Sun.)  Ed Shaughnessy Quintet. Veteran drummer has demonstrated his versatility with everything from avant-garde jazz to a long stint in the Tonight Show band.  This time out he applies his two bass drum percussion magic to his own quintet. The inimitable Bubba Jackson Hosts.  KJAZZ Sunday Champagne Brunch.  The Twist Restaurant in the Renaissance Hollywood \Hotel.  (562) 985-2999.

- Jan. 30. (Sun.)  Los Angeles Master Chorale: London Bridges.  L.A.’s always adventurous voices reach into the deep, centuries old English choral music tradition.  They’ll sing works by William Byrd, John Tavener, Benjamin Britten and more.  Disney Hall (323) 850-2000.

- Jan. 30. (Sun.)  Mozart Classical Orchestra.  A Happy Birthday tribute to the MCO’s namesake.  Ami Porat conducts the Mozart Symphony No. 36 (“Linz”), Il Re Pastore Overture and the Violin Concerto No. 4. (with violinist Roberto Cani).    Irvine Barclay.

- Jan. 30. (Sun.)  Sing! Sing! Sing! “Let’s Face the Music of Irving Berlin.  Judy Wolman leads an all-join-in celebration of the extraordinarily rich Berlin musical catalog.  Sing! Sing! Sing!.  Keyboard Concepts.

Bill Holman

- Jan. 31. (Mon.)  The Bill Holman Big Band. Holman’s arranging and composing have stamped him as one of the true poets of big band jazz.  His too rare appearances leading his own group are as fascinating to the musicians who play his charts as they are to the audiences fortunate enough to hear them.  Don’t miss this one. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

San Francisco

- Jan. 27 & 28. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Bobby Hutcherson celebrates his 70th anniversary with his quartet and the unique sounds of special guest Anthony Wilson on guitar.  Yoshi’s Oakland (510) 238-9200.

- Jan. 29. (Sat.) Lizz Wright. The singing of Wright is deeply rooted in gospel, and she moves freely across blues and rock, as well, adding spice and substance drawn from her affection for, and skill with jazz.  Yoshi’s Oakland.

(510) 238-9200.

New York

Randy Weston

- Jan. 25 – 30 (Tues. – Sun.)  Jacky Terrasson Trio.  French pianist Terrasson applies his crisply swinging style in a trio setting with bassist Ben Williams and drummer Jamire WilliamsVillage Vanguard.  (212) 255-4037.

- Jan. 25 – 30. (Tues. – Sun.) Randy Weston and African Rhythms.  At eighty four, pianist/composer Weston continues to explore (and discover) the rich connections between jazz and it African roots.  He’s accompanied by bassist Alex Blake, percussionist Neil Clarke, drummer Lewis Nash, (Tues. – Fri.) and saxophonist Billy Harper (Sat. & Sun).   Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.  (212) 258-9800.

- Jan. 25 – 29. (Tues. – Sat.) “Hub Art: The Music of Freddie Hubbard.” The late, great trumpeters music is performed in authentic fashion by Nicholas Payton, trumpet, Javon Jackson, tenor saxophone, George Cables, piano, Dwayne Burno, bass and Lenny White, drums.  Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

- Jan. 27 – 30. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Tony Williams Lifetime TributeJack Bruce, bass and vocals, Vernon Reid, guitar, John Medeski, keyboards/organ and Cindy Blackman, drums get together once again to revive the extraordinary fusion sounds of the Lifetime.  The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

- Jan. 28. (Fri.)  “Girls Gone Mild” With Rebecca Martin, Gretchen Parlato and Becca Stevens.  Three gifted jazz canaries introduce their new trio.  Backed by Chris Tordini and Larry Grenadier on basses, with Martin and Stevens playing guitar, ukulele, etc. and Parlato doubling on percussion, they’re explore everything from standards and originals to brand new material. Cornelia St. Café (212) 989-9319.

Randy Weston photo by Tony Gieske.


Picks of the Week: Aug. 24 – 29

August 24, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Aug. 24. (Tues.) Sarah Chang.  The gifted young violinist takes on the fascinating musical demands of the Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Slatkin,  plays the Shostakovich Symphony No. 5The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 24. (Tues.)  Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. The Southland’s always compelling contribution to the top tiers of big band jazz makes an infrequent club engagement. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Aug. 24. (Tues.) Otmaro Ruiz Quartet.  Versatile pianist Ruiz shares his views of Latin jazz with the talented vibraphonist, Nick Mancini.  Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058.

Monica Mancini

- Aug. 25. (Wed.) Gershwin Across America.  What could be more entertaining than a warm summer night at the Hollywood Bowl, listening to the timeless melodies of Gershwin sung and played by a cast of musical all-stars.  Featured artists include Monica Mancini, Jason Mraz, BeBe Winans, Nancy Wilson, St. Vincent, Shelly Berg, Arturo Sandoval, Tom Scott, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band and others.  The Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 25. (Wed.)  Dale Fielder Angel City Quartet.  Saxophonist Fielder leads his quartet in an evening dedicated to a tribute to Wayne Shorter as well as selections from his own Suite ClarityCatalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.  .

- Aug. 25. (Wed.)  Larry Goldings Quintet.  Film music is on the menu for pianist Goldings, who leads his players – guitarist Anthony Wilson, trumpeter Josh Welchez bassist Gabe Noel and drummer Kevin Kanner in a program of music by the likes of Bernard Hermann, Henry Mancini, Nino Rota, Leonard Bernstein and more.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

Norah Jones

- Aug. 25. (Wed.)  Norah Jones. She burst onto the music scene with almost no advance warning.  And she’s been spreading her wings musically ever since, revealing the broad, eclectic reach of her performing, playing and composing skills. The Greek Theatre.   (323) 665-3125.

- Aug. 25 & 26. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Jeremy Siskind.  The talented young pianist offers a tribute to Oscar Peterson, backed by guitarist Graham Dechter and bassist Will Snyder.  Wed. at Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.  Thursday at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- Aug. 26. (Thurs.)  BeatlesfestLed Zepagain. It’s tribute night on the Pier, with the sounds of the Beatles and Led Zeppelin spreading musical memories in every direction.   Twilight Dance at the Santa Monica Pier.   (310) 458-8900.

- Aug. 26. (Thurs.)  Peter Erskine and Friends. Expect high quality, world class jazz whenever drummer Erskine is leading the way.  And once again he’s got a band that knows how to deliver it. With Alan Pasqua, piano, Derek Oles, bass and Bob Mintzer, saxophones.  Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- Aug. 26. (Thurs.)  Galway Plays Mozart.  Flutist John Galway – his instrument’s most visible performer — plays the Mozart Flute Concerto No 2, as well as Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Piston’s Incredible Flutist Suite.  The Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Slatkin, offers the Overture to Mozart’s The Magic FluteThe Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

Frank Sinatra, Jr.

- Aug. 26 – 29. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Frank Sinatra Jr.  The Sinatra sound is alive and well in the voice and the style of son Frank, Jr.   At a time when Sinatra imitators are showing up everywhere, it’s good to hear the music coming from such an original source.  (323) 466-2210.    Catalina Bar & Grill.

- Aug. 27. (Fri.)  Cyndi Lauper. With 13 Grammy nominations, a pair of Emmys and a ton of MTV awards, Lauper continues to sustain musical stardom that reaches back to her hits of the ‘80s.  Her guest stars are New Orleans’ Allen Toussaint and guitarist David RhodesThe Greek Theatre.   (323) 665-3125.

- Aug. 27. (Fri.)  Dena DeRose. It took injuries to her hands to convince DeRose that she had vocal skills to match the quality of her piano playing.  Fortunately recovered, she now does both.  What she doesn’t do very often, however, is make Southland appearances.  So don’t miss this one.  Crowne Plaza Hotel.   (310) 642-7500.

- Aug. 28. (Sat.)  The Turtle Island Quartet.   The ever-adventurous Turtle Islanders perform music from their new CD, Have You Ever Been… — featuring the music of Jimi Hendrix and founder/composer in residence David BalakrishnanGrand Performances.  (213) 687-2190.

Charmaine Clamor

- Aug. 28. (Sat.) Charmaine Clamor.  The Philippines’ gift to the world of jazz singing gets better and better with every performance, spreading her extraordinary musical versatility in all directions.  Hopefully she’ll offer a glimpse into the songs on her soon to be released new album, Something Good. And this time out, it won’t cost a penny to hear and see this world class artist at the  Levitt Pavilion in a free concert in MacArthur Park.   (213) 384-5701

- Aug. 28. (Sat.)  Jeri Brown.  Brown, whose voice is one of the jazz world’s most remarkable instruments, takes a break from her teaching activities in Canada to make a very rare Southland appearance.  If you haven’t heard her yet, you should start now.  Café Metropol.   (213) 613-1537.

- Aug. 28. (Sat.)  Ashley Maher.  Imagine the lyrical depths of Joni Mitchell embraced by the vital rhythms of Africa, and it still won’t quite describe the songs and singing of Maher, who deserves far more attention than she has received.  She performs with Haiti’s Jean-Paul.  The Kara Mack Band opens.  The Talking Stick, Venice.

- Aug. 28 & 29. (Sat. & Sun.)  Idyllwild Jazz in the Pines.  A great way to spend a late Summer weekend – an entertaining program of music in a delightful outdoor setting.  Featured artists include Tom Scott, Kenny Washington, Oscar Hernandez and David Benoit.  But there’s much more, from the Peter Sprague String Consort and the Jeff Tower Big band to Henry Franklin, Yves Evans, Graham Dechter and many others.  The inimitable Bubba Jackson is the master of ceremonies.  Idyllwild Jazz in the Pines.

= Aug. 29. (Sun.) Kleber Jorge.  Brazilian singer/guitarist Jorge, former lead guitarist with Sergio Mendes,  has also performed with everyone from Dori Caymmi to John Patitucci.  He celebrates the opening of a new Sunday brunch series at the Tiato Market Garden Cafe in Santa Monica.   (310) 866-5228.

San Francisco

- Aug. 24 & 25. (Tues. & Wed.)  Lenny White and Anomaly. Drummer White celebrates the release of Anomaly, his first album in ten years,  Determined to “put the rock back into jazz-rock,” he thoroughly succeeds in the task.  For a review of his performance at Catalina Bar & Grill last weekend, click here.   Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

Bob Dylan

- Aug. 25. (Wed.)  Bob Dylan and His Band. A rare and special event.  And it begins with what will surely be a virtual “happening” outside the theatre before the show begins.  Why?  Because all tickets are general admission and will be sold only on the day of the show.  $60, cash only, no credit cards, and no advance tickets will be sold.  Box office and doors open at 5:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show.  Line-ups will be allowed no earlier than noon on the day of the show.  The Warfield, San Francisco.

Aug. 26 – 28. (Thurs. – Sat.) John Zorn.  A three night Zorn festival.  On Thursday he performs in a duo with composer Terry Riley; on Friday he plays Alhambra love songs at 8, and is joined by the Aleph Trio at 10; on Saturday he appears with the Rova Saxophone QuartetYoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

New York

- Aug. 24 – 28. (Tues. – Sat.) Richie Bierach.  Pianist Bierach, a favorite of Stan Getz and Chet Baker, among others, performs with trumpeter Randy Brecker, violinist Gregor Huebner, bassist George Mraz and drummer Billy HartBirdland.  (212) 581-3080.

-Aug. 24 – 29. (Tues. – Sun.)  Saxophone Summit: Salute to James Moody.  Special guests: Tues. — Chris Potter; Wed. – Eric Alexander and Antonio Hart; Thurs – Jimmy Heath; Fri. – Lew Tabackin; Sat. – Ada Rovatti; Sun. – Joe LovanoThe Blue Note. (212) 475-8592

- Aug. 24 – 29. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim. An evening of works by the man who created some of the most memorable songs of the late 20th century. Performed expertly by The Trio Da Paz, with Joe Locke, Harry Allen and Maucha AdnetDizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.   (212) 258-9595.

Lee Konitz

- Aug. 26 – 29. (Thurs. – Sun.) Lee Konitz.  The veteran alto saxophonist, one of the jazz world’s true original artists, displays his extraordinary improvisational skills in the company of the alternating rhythm section teams of Ethan Iverson/Larry Grenadier (Thurs. & Sun.) and Reid Anderson/Jorge Rossy (Fri. & Sat.)  Iridium.   (212) 582-2121.

- Aug. 26 – 29. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Gerald Clayton Quintet. Rapidly rising young pianist Clayton expands his trio with a pair of equally promising young instrumentalists – trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and alto saxophonist Logan RichardsonThe Jazz Standard. l (212) 576-3323.


Live Jazz: Lenny White and “Anomaly” at Catalina Bar & Grill

August 23, 2010

By Don Heckman

Drummer Lenny White says that it’s time to put the rock back into jazz-rock.  And that’s precisely what he did Saturday night at Catalina Bar & Grill.  White was a high visibility member of Chick Corea’s Return to Forever.  But it was an earlier association that was the spark for his current quintet – an association that took place when, still a teen-ager, he performed on the recording of Miles Davis’ classic Bitches Brew.

Lenny White

That experience, he said before the first set, had everything to do with his new recording, Anomaly, his first in ten years.  And the quintet he brought to Catalina’s reflected his deep desire to bring back, to his music and to the jazz world in general, the sort of passion he felt in the studio with Davis 40 years ago.

The intensity of the passion burst off the stage in the sort of high decibel wave of sound rarely heard in a jazz club.  It was, no doubt, startling to those members of the audience expecting something a bit less, shall we say, dynamic.  But White clearly had no intention of lowering the volume level or the intensity as he led the way through a program of selections mostly chosen from the new CD.

Jimmy Herring, Richie Goods, Lenny White

His band was fully prepared to match him in every way.  The guitar work of featured soloist Jimmy Herring — a veteran of Widespread Panic, the Allman Brothers and other high visibility rock acts – possessed a rare combination of slippery musical flow and guitar god pyrotechnics.  Working alongside him, guitarist Tom Guarna – a Julliard graduate, as White humorously pointed out – countered with his own very different, but equally forceful version of fusion-style improvising.

White’s drums, understandably, served as the engine that drove the rhythm section.  But he was ably supported by the powerful, body-moving bass lines of Richie Goods and the rich clusters of sound from Vince Evans’ keyboard work.

Did White make his case about returning the rock to jazz-rock?  Yes, and convincingly so.  And, perhaps even more importantly, in solidly musical fashion.  It may have been loud, and it may have been intense, but there was no denying the creative effectiveness of White’s Anomaly.

White and his players perform tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday at Yoshi’s Oakland.


Picks of the Week: Aug. 16 – 22

August 16, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Aug. 17. (Tues.) Tuesday Classics at the Bowl. Leon Fleisher plays Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand.  Pietari Inkinen conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Sibelius’ Finlandia and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4The Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 17 & 18. (Tues. & Wed.)  Steve Tyrell.  Singer Tyrell continues to affirm his fascination with the classics of the Great American Songbook.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

The Neville Brothers

- Aug. 18. (Wed.)  The Neville Brothers.  It’s a night to celebrate the great musical heritage of New Orleans.  Also on the bill, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and the Trey McIntyre Project.    The Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 18. (Wed.) Cheryl Bentyne & Mark Winkler.  The Manhattan Transfer’s Bentyne teams up with singer/songwriter Winkler to celebrate the swinging legacy of West Coast CoolCatalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  .

- Aug. 18. (Wed.)  Chopin, Schumann and the Bliss Oboe Quintet. Music to honor the bicentennial’s of Robert Schumann and Frederic Chopin.  Glendale Noon Concerts.  At twelve noon in the Sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Glendale.  Free.

- Aug. 19. (Thurs.)  The Clare Fischer Latin Sextet. Fischer’s compositions and arrangements are always impressive, and never more so than when he’s writing in a Latin mood for the group he once called Salsa Picante. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Aug 19. (Thurs.)  Jews on Vinyl. A live performance of music linked to the exhibition, Jews On Vinyl, celebrating Jewish recorded music from the ‘40s to the ‘80s.  Featured artists include International vocalist Hedva Amrani, veteran jazz cellist Fred Katz and singer Sol Zim (“the Tom Jones of cantoral music”)  The Skirball Center.   (310) 440-4500.

- Aug. 19. (Thurs.) Henry Franklin Quartet. Bassist Franklin leads a dynamic group of Southland’s finest.  With Kasami Washington, tenor saxophone, Theo Saunders, piano, Tony Austin, drums.  Charlie O’s. (818) 994-3058.

- Aug. 20. (Fri.)  Bobby Bradford Mo’Tet with visual artist George Herms. A fascinating evening of interplay between music and visual art.  LACMA (212) 857-6000.

Carol Welsman

- Aug. 20. (Fri.)  Carol Welsman.  Singer/pianist Welsman knows how to bring a song to life, whether she’s delivering a Peggy Lee classic, a memorable bossa nova or a French chanson.  While doing so in an irresistibly swinging setting.  Boston Court Performing Arts Center, Pasadena.  Jazz Bakery Moveable Feast. (310) 271-9039.

- Aug. 20 – 21. (Fri. & Sat.)  Tchaikovsky Spectacular.  And “Spectacular” it is, with Baiba Skride playing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto.  Adding to the music pyrotechnics, Bramwell Tovey leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the Capriccio Italien and concludes with  the 1912 Overture complete with fireworks and the USC Trojan Marching Band. The Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 20 – 22. (Fri. – Sun.)  Lenny White’s Anomaly. Drummer White supports his fascinating new recording, Anomaly, once again demonstrating the musical versatility that has marked his high flying career since the days with Chick Corea’s Return To Forever.   Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.  .

- Aug. 21. (Sat.)  Al Green.  The Pointer Sisters. It’s rhythm and soul night at the Greek with the Reverend Al’s legendary groove and the Pointers’ memorable hits from the ‘70s and ‘80s.  The Greek Theatre. (323) 665-3125.

- Aug. 21. (Sat.)  Ron Eschete Trio. Guitarist Eschete presents his unique, seven-string stylings in Henri’s intimate jazz room.  The BackRoom at Henri’s.   (818) 348-5582.

- Aug. 21. (Sat.)  Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. The GCLA singers celebrate their third performance at Disney Hall with a program of contemporary choral classics as well as the newly commissioned The End of It All, by John Tejada.  The program also includes the mixture of music and spoken word in the Harvey Milk Schools Project. Disney Hall.

Fiesta Argentina

- Aug. 21. (Sat.) Fiesta Argentina: Tango, Cancion de Buenos Aires.  A dynamic evening of Argentine music and dance, featuring clarinetist Zinovy Goro, flutist Pablo Goldstein, singers Esther Segovia, Osvaldo Roval, Carlos Bossio and Claudio Ortega with the Otero Dance Company. Ford Amphitheatre.  (323) 461-3673.

- Aug. 21 & 22. (Sat. & Sun.) Sunset Junction Fair. The 30th annual Sunset Junction Fair has its familiar collection of music (on five stages), arts, crafts, rides and games.  Check the website for the lengthy program of acts, but don’t overlook Saturday’s live Miles Davis Bitches Brew Remix led by Davis’ nephew, drummer Vince Wilburn, Jr. Sunset Junction Fair.

- Aug. 22. (Sun.)  Gail Pettis.  Seattle jazz singer Pettis takes time off from her orthodontics practice to showcase her first rate jazz vocal skills.  Helen Borgers hosts.  KJAZZ Sunday Champagne Brunch at the Twist Restaurant in the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.

San Francisco

Patrice Rushen

- Aug. 20 & 21. (Fri. & Sat.)  Patrice Rushen. Keyboardist Rushen makes the most of her ability to reach across the spectrum of jazz genres.  Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

- Aug. 20 – 22. (Fri. – Sun.)  Charanga Habanera.  A youthful band of Havana players mix traditional sounds and rhythms with contemporary textures in a strikingly visual presentation.  Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.

New York

- Aug. 17 – 21. (Tues. – Sat.)  Geri Allen Trio 3.  Pianist Allen leads the stellar trio of Andrew Cyrille, Reggie Workman and Oliver Lake in a celebration of the Mary Lou Williams Centennial.  Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

Hiromi

- Aug. 17 – 22. (Tues. – Sun.)  Hiromi. Japanese keyboardist Hiromi accomplishes the rare feat of juxtaposing her convincing straight ahead playing against well-crafted fusion sounds. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.

- Aug. 17 – 22. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim. An evening of works by the man who created some of the most memorable songs of the late 20th century. Performed expertly by The Trio Da Paz, with Joe Locke, Harry Allen and Maucha AdnetDizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.   (212) 258-9595.

- Aug. 19 – 22. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Al Foster Quartet. Veteran drummer foster leads the way with a pack of superb young jazz lions. With Gerald Clayton, piano, Chris Potter, tenor saxophone, Doug Weiss. Bass.  The Iridium.   (212) 582-2121.


Picks of the Week: July 26 – August 1

July 26, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

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

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

Count Basie

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

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

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

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

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

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

Natacha Atlas

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

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

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

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

Strunz & Farah

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

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

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

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

Judy Wexler

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

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

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

San Francisco

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

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

John Pizzarelli

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

New York

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

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

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

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

Joanne Brackeen

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

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


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