Picks of the Week: Nov. 29 – Dec. 4

November 29, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Sting

- Nov. 30. (Wed.)  Sting. One of the iconic masters of popular song makes a rare Southland appearance as part of his extended, “Back To Bass” tour.   The  Wiltern.     (877) 686-5366.

- Nov. 30. (Wed.)   The Ron McCurdy Collective.  Trumpeter/educator McCurdy blends his soaring trumpet sounds with the lush harmonies of the four-voice Collective.  Catalina Bar *& Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Nov. 30 – Dec. 4. (Wed. – Sun.)  The Blue Man Group.  The blue-skinned, multi-media specialists blend comedy, music, technology into an evening of sheer audio-visual excitement.  Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.   (805) 449-2787.

- Dec. 1. (Thurs.)  Chris Walden Quintet.  Arranger/composer/conductor/trumpeter Walden, a true musical multi-hyphenate, takes a break from his large ensemble chores to lead a quintet of stellar L.A. players: featuring saxophonist Rob Lockhart, pianist Josh Nelson and bassist Pat Senatore. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

- Dec. 1 – 4. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Mike Stern Band.  Always an exciting, compelling player in his own right, guitarist Stern takes it up to an even higher level when he’s working – as he is here – in the company of players such as drummer Dave Weckl, bassist Richard Bona and saxophonist Bob Franceschini Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

Mike Melvoin

- Dec. 2. (Fri.).  A Celebration of 50 Years of the Music of Mike Melvoin. A much deserved tribute to pianist/composer/activist Melvoin – a vital figure in the jazz and music world and a supporter of aid for musicians and entertainers for decades.  Participants include pianist Mike Lang, singer David Basse, saxophonist Pete Christlieb, bassist Jim Hughart, drummer Ralph Penland and more. Culvers Club For Jazz.  6161 W. Centinela Ave.  Inside the Double Tree Hotel.  Presented by In-House Music.

- Dec. 2 (Fri.)  The Shanghai Quartet.  Together since the mid-‘80s, the highly praised Chinese string quartet performs the Mozart Quartet No. 17 (“The Hunt”) and Schubert’s Quartet No. 15 in the beautifully atmospheric setting of the Doheny Mansion.  A Da Camera Society “Chamber Music in Historic Sites” program.    (213) 477-2929.

- Dec. 2 (Fri.)  “Holiday Doo-Wop.”  An evening of sheer doo-wop nostalgia, featuring The Crystals, Johnny Tillotson, Kenny Vance & the Pianotones, and Cleve Duncan (from the Penguins).  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.   (562) 916-8501.

- Dec. 3. (Sat.) Holiday Wonders: Festival of Carols.  The Los Angeles Master Chorale.  Disney Hall.  It’s one of the great holiday musical blessings – a program of favorite Christmas carols, performed by one of the world’s finest vocal ensembles.  Disney Hall.    (323) 850-2000.

Jane Birkin

- Dec. 3. (Sat.)  “An Evening With Jane Birkin.”  The image of ‘60s mod style, singer/actress Jane Birkin had a long, passionate, professional and personal relationship with iconic French singer Serge Gainsbourg. Her performance recalls the drama of their connection and the impact it had upon the ‘60s and ‘70s.   Luckman Fine Arts Complex.   (323) 343-6600.

San Francisco

- Dec. 1 – 4.  (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra.  The rhythms will be provocative, and there’ll be a great desire to get up and salsa.  But Latin jazz great Palmieri also adds an irresistible seasoning of jazz to almost everything he plays.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.

Chicago

Benny Green

- Dec. 1 – 4 (Thurs. – Sun.)  Benny Green Trio. Pianist Green has been carrying the banner for straight ahead, bebop-driven jazz in his dynamic playing since he was an emerging jazz star in the ‘80s.  And he’s still at it.   Jazz Showcase.   (312) 360-0234.

New York

- Dec. 1. (Thurs.) Shane Endsley and the Music Band.  Versatile trumpeter Endsley was a founder of the Grammy nominated band, Kneebody.  But his colorful resume includes gigs reaching from Ani DiFranco and Pearl Jam to Steve Coleman and Slavic Soul Party.  For this gig, he leads a group that includes pianist Uri Caine, bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Justin Brown. Cornelia St. Café.   (212) 989-9319.

SPECIAL EVENT

- Dec. 1. (Thurs.)  Jackson Browne.  Veteran rock singer/songwriter Browne takes up the cause of Occupy Wall St. with a live performance in Zuccotti Park at 1 p.m.  Also on the program — the California band Dawes.  Zuccotti Park at Liberty Plaza between 6th Ave. & Broadway.  Backpacks, camping gear and large bags are reportedly not permitted. 

- Dec. 1 – 4. (Thurs. – Sun.)  “Tango Meets Jazz Festival.”  For the 11th year in a row, the Festival explores the surprisingly compatible common ground between tango and jazz.  This time out, the featured performers are nuevo tango master Pablo Ziegler with his quartet, jazz vibraphonist Joe Locke and jazz violinist Regina CarterThe Jazz Standard.    (212) 576-2232.

- Dec. 2 & 3.  (Fri. & Sat.)  Tudo Isto E Fado (“All This Is Fado”). Like American blues, Argentine tango and Brazilian samba, the fado is deeply rooted in the emotional expressiveness of its native culture.  Here, in two extraordinary nights of music, every aspect of fado – from  historical to contemporary – is on full display.  Performers include: On Fri.: Lisboa Soul and Camane.  On Sat.: Deolinda and Amalia Hoje.   The Gilman Opera House at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.    (718) 636-4100.

- Dec. 4. (Sun.)  Bobby Avey Quartet. Winner of the Thelonious Monk Competition for Composition in 2011, pianist Avey is a certified emerging jazz star.  His impressive group includes MacArthur “genius” award winner, Miguel Zenon on saxophone, bassist Thomson Kneeland and drummer Marcus Gilmore. Cornelia St. Café.    (212) 989-9319.

Berlin

Jeff Lorber

- Dec. 2 (Fri.)  Jeff Lorber Fusion.  Keyboardist Lorber’s original fusion band virtually defined the crossover styles that led to contemporary groove jazz, smooth jazz and more.  But Lorber’s music – past and present – has also always simmered with swinging jazz authenticity.  Expect the same, from a group that includes saxophonist Eric Marienthal, bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Gary Novak A-Trane.    030 / 313 25 50.

Tokyo

- Dec. 1 – 4. (Thurs. – Sun.)  David Sanborn.  Not only does alto saxophonist Sanborn have one of the most unique sounds in jazz, he also has one of the most influential.  Transforming the blues styles of Hank Crawford and David “Fathead” Newman, he’s been among the most imitated saxophonists of the past four decades.  The Blue Note Tokyo.   03-5485-0088.


Picks of the Week: May 3 – 8

May 3, 2011

By Don Heckman

 Los Angeles

Leon Russell

- May 3. (Tues.)  Leon Russell.  One of the great iconic figures of the golden era of rock makes a rare local appearance in a relatively small venue.  There’ll also be a special performance by Booker T. JonesThe El Rey.   (323) 936-6400.

- May 3. (Tues.)  Emil Richards, Mike Lang, Abraham Laboriel, Joe Porcaro.   A quartet of L.A.’s finest, veteran jazzmen get together to provide a few effortlessly swinging lessons in the benefits of bebop and beyond.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

– May 4 & 5. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Josh Nelson’s “Kansas City-L.A Project.  Pianist Nelson leads  Hermon Mehari, trumpet, Bob Reynolds tenor saxophone, Ben Leiffert, bass and Zack Albetta, drums in a colorful musical excursion.  Wed. at Steamers in Fullerton (714) 871-8800
and on Thursday at the Blue Whale Bar in Los Angeles.   (213) 620-0908.

Roy Hargrovw

- May 4 – 8. (Wed.- Sun.)  Roy Hargrove Quintet. Trumpeter Hargrove is playing in every imaginable setting these days, but it’s always a special pleasure to hear him in a straight ahead, jazz quintet performance.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- May 5. (Thurs.) Cinco de Mayo at the Conga Room.  For the sheer joy of music and movement, there’s no better place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than the Conga Room.  And it’s especially sizzling this year with the electro music of Maria Daniela y Su Sonido Lasser, the three piece, electro-pop party band, Cosmopolitan and L.A.’s own Son Jarocho collective, Las CafeterasThe Conga Room.    (213) 745-0162.

- May 5. (Thurs.)  Jon Mayer.  Here’s another performance by a quartet of the Southland’s finest veteran jazzers.  Expect the mood to be swinging and the sounds to be memorable. With Rickey Woodard, tenor saxophone, Chris Conner, bass, Roy McCurdy, drums.   LAX Jazz Club at the Crown Plaza LAX.  (310) 258-1333.

- May 5 – 7. (Thurs. – Sat. )  Ravel with the Pacific Symphony.  Conductor Carlos Miguel Pietro leads the Pacific Symphony in a journey across the Iberian peninsula via the music of Albeniz (Iberia), Sarasate (Carmen Fantasy), De Falla (The Three Cornered Hat) and Ravel (Bolero and Tzigane.  Violinist Philippe Quint solos.  Segerstrom Center for the Arts.   (714) 556-2787.

Shirley MacLaine

- May 6. (Fri.)  Shirley McLaine.  It’s hard to know what to expect from any given appearance by the fascinating Ms. McLaine.  But there’s no doubt she’ll share some of her film moments with some revelations about her life, career and interests in spirituality.  Valley Performing Arts Center.    (818) 677-8800.

- May 6 & 7. (Fri. & Sat.)  The Mikado. One of Gilbert & Sullivan’s most entertaining musical delights, performed by the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.   (562) 916-8501.

- May 7. (Sat.)  Ceu.  Brazilian singer Ceu comfortably steps across genres – Brazilian music, pop, rock, jazz – in a single bound.  El Rey.     323) 936-6400.

- May 7. (Sat.)   Wavefest.  The 15th annual Wavefest has morphed into something more than music to relax to.  There’ll be a lot more energy than that, and a lot more interest, too, in a program featuring Roberta Flack, KEM, Macy Gray and Sheila E. & the E. FamilyThe Greek Theatre.   (323) 665-5857.

- May 8. (Sun.)  Alan Broadbent and Pat Senatore.  Pianist Broadbent and bassist Senatore have played with just about everyone in their long productive careers.  Here’s a chance to hear them exchanging musical ideas in an elegant, laid back setting.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

Cameron Carpenter

- May 8. (Sun.)  Cameron Carpenter.  Carpenter isn’t just a brilliantly virtuosic organist, he’s also a charismatic entertainer who understands how to balance his astonishing technical displays with interpretive authenticity.  In this performance he finds the heartbeat of Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture  and Prelude and Fugue in G minor.  Disney Hall.  (323) 650-2000.

 San Francisco

- May 5 – 8. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The CrusadersJoe Sample, Wayne Henderson and Wilton Felder, three of the original Jazz Crusaders, revive their unique blend of jazz, soul, bop, blues and groove.  Yoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.

- May 7. (Sat.)  Yanni.  One of the most popular international artists in the world, Yanni’s lyrical piano playing, combined with his warm and fuzzy orchestrations have sold more than 20 million albums worldwide.  The Warfield.    (415) 345-0900.

 Seattle

May 5 – 8. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Keiko Matsui.  Keyboardist Matsui was one of the first artists to make the most of the fertile territory between smooth jazz, fusion and New Age, and do so with a subtly appealing undercurrent of swing.  Jazz Alley.    (206) 441-9729.

New York

- May 3 – 8. (Tues. – Sun.)  Omar Sosa.  Cuban pianist/composer Sosa’s Afri-Lectric Quintet finds fascinating common ground with special guest Benin-born guitarist Lionel LouekeThe Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

- May 3 – 8. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Julliard Jazz Quintet.  A cross-generational jazz quintet that balances scholarly know-how with inventive swing.  With Ron Carter, bass, Rodney Jones, guitar, Frank Kimbrough, piano, Carl Allen, drums and Ron Blake, saxophone. Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.    (212) 258-9800.

Danny Aiello

- May 4. (Wed.)  Danny Aiello.  He’s given one memorable film performance after another – including a pair of Academy Award nominations along the way.  But Aiello’s singing chops are every bit as impressive.  The New York Times called it right when it said “Aiello has the bounce of his idols Bobby Darin, Frank Sinatra and Louis Prima, and the throaty lyricism of another idol, Tony Bennett.”  The Iridium.    (212) 582-2121.

Washington, D.C.

- May 6 & 7. (Fri. & Sat.)  Azar Lawrence Quintet.  Tough tenor Lawrence applies his muscular style to an encounter with the equally dynamic Eddie Henderson, trumpet, Benito Gonzalez, piano and Billy Hart, drums.  Blues Alley.    (202) 337-4141.

Boston

- May 5. (Thurs.)  The Mahavishnu Project. Drummer Gregg Bendian leads his sturdy band of players in the performance of the original Mahavishnu Orchestra’s complete Visions of the Emerald Beyond.  John McLaughlin offers his support: “To hear you guys playing those tunes in such an unbelievable way is quite amazing.”   The Regatta Bar.   (617) 395-7757.

 Chicago

- May 5 – 8. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Eric Alexander/Harold Mayburn Quartet. Fiery saxophonist Alexander combines his hard driving, fast fingered skills with the veteran bop chops of pianist Mayburn.  Jazz Showcase.    (312) 360-0234.

London

PHaroah Sanders

May 2– 4. (Mon. – Wed.)  Pharoah Sanders Quartet. Adventurous, Grammy-winning tenor saxophonist Sanders continues the exploratory journeys he began in the avant-garde ‘60s.  Ronnie Scott’s.    020.7439.0747

May 8. (Sun.) The Atomic Mr. Basie.  Led by Pete Long,the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra, with its stellar assemblage of U.K. jazz talent, performs the complete program from Basie’s classic 1957 album.  Ronnie Scott’s.    020.7439.0747

 Paris

May. 6. (Fri.)  The Kora Jazz Trio.  Keyboardist/composer Abdoulaye Diabate, kora player Djeli Moussa Diawara and percussionist Moussa Sissokho are creating a compelling fusion of the Mandinka tradition and the free flying, improvisational qualities of jazz.  New Morning.   01 45 23 51 41.


Picks of the Week: April 11 – 17

April 11, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

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

John Pisano

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

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

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

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

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

Denise Donatelli

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

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

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

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

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

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

Judy Wexler

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

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

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

San Francisco

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

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

New York

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

Anat Cohen

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

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

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

Darcy James Argue

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

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

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


Picks of the Week: Feb. 8 – 14

February 8, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

John Daversa

- Feb. 8. (Tues.)  The John Daversa Progressive Big Band. Trumpeter/composer/arranger  Daversa takes the big band instrumentation into fascinating new musical areas.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 8. (Tues.)  Lianne Carroll.   BBC Jazz Award winner Carroll, who accompanies her vibrant vocals with equally dynamic piano playing, makes her North American debut. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- Feb. 9. (Wed.)  The Clare Fischer Voices and Latin Jazz Group. A fascinating blend of vocal and instrumental jazz from Clare Fischer’s prolific musical imagination.  Brent Fischer directs the ensemble.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 9. (Wed.)  The John Altman Quartet.  Busy alto saxophonist Altman takes a break from his composing, arranging and producing for laid back jazz jam with Mike Lang, piano, Frank De Vito, drums, Putter Smith, bass.  Charlie O’s.

Nadja Salerno Sonnenberg

- Feb. 9. (Wed.)  Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg with the New Century Chamber Orchestra. Now the conductor of the NCCO, violinist Salerno-Sonneberg joins with the ensemble in a diverse program of Bartok, Piazolla and Tchaikovsky.  The Broad Stage.   (310) 434-3200.

- Feb. 9 & 10. (Wed. & Thurs.) Oz Noy.  Israeli-born guitarist Noy leads a jazz/rock/fusion trio with Dave Weckl on drums and Darryl Jones (of the Rolling Stones) on bass. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- Feb. 10. (Thurs.)  Kodo.  The entertaining Japanese percussion collective bring their colorful collection of instruments and irresistible rhythms to Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

Lorraine Feather

- Feb. 10. (Thurs.)  Lorraine Feather.  Singer/songwriter Feather writes songs in which jazz is the root and poetry the blossom.  There’s no one quite like her, and she should be heard at every opportunity.  Backing her: Russell Ferrante, piano and Mike Valerio, bass.  Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 10 & 11. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Natalie Cole. She’s a beyond definition artist, as comfortable with jazz as she is with the blues and classic pop songs.  No doubt she’ll be unforgettable (and probably sing it, as well) with the Pacific Symphony, conducted by Richard Kaufman. Segerstrom Concert Hall (714) 556-2787.

- Feb. 10 – 13. (Thurs. – Sun.)  and Feb. 17 – 20. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Who’s “Tommy. It’s one of the classics of the sixties, still a compelling work of musical art.  This version is a Chance Theatre Production. Segerstrom Concert Hall Segerstrom Center for the Arts. (714) 556-2787.

- Feb. 11 (Fri.)  Tessa Souter.  Souter’s warm sound and intimate interpretive style are backed in this pre-Valentine’s Day celebration, by the solidly supportive playing of guitarist Larry Koonse, bassist Hamilton Price and drummer Steve Haas.  Musicians Institute. A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast.  (310) 271-9039.

Larry Karush

- Feb. 11 & 12. (Fri. & Sat.)  Larry Karush Solo & Quartet. Pianist/composer Karush, ever in search of new musical horizons, displays his creative adventures in both a solo and an ensemble setting.  The Blue Whale.   (213) 620-0908.

- Feb. 11 – 14. (Fri. – Mon.) and Feb. 17 – 20 (Thurs. – Sun.)  Steve Tyrell.  Singer Tyrell’s nouveau-pop style, with its traditional pop echoes, is successfully aimed at finding the life in great American song.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Feb. 12. (Sat.)  Inner Voices“An A Cappella Valentine Show.” The Southland’s masterful a cappella ensemble apply their extraordinary vocal magic to a program of Valentine standards. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 12 & 13. (Sat. & Sun.)  The Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Jazz at Lincoln Center OrchestraLeonard Slatkin conducts Gershwin’s An American In Paris, Shostakovich’s Jazz Suite No.1 and the West Coast premiere of Wynton MarsalisSwing Symphony (commissioned by the LAPA).  Disney Hall. (323) 850-2000.

- Feb. 13. (Sun.) Herb Alpert and Lani Hall.  The music world’s ultimate power couple.  And they can still deliver it.  Hall has been, and remains, one of the underrated jazz singers.  And trumpeter Alpert knows how to find both the space and the center in an improvisation. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

Charmaine Clamor

- Feb. 14. (Mon.)  Charmaine Clamor.  .  Jazz vocalist Clamor is rapidly establishing herself as one of the uniquely creative, rising vocal stars.  The equally incomparable Bubba Jackson hosts.  KJAZZ Valentine’s Day Jazz Dinner The Twist Restaurant in the Renaissance Hollywood \Hotel.  (562) 985-2999.

San Francisco

Maria Volonte

- Feb. 8. (Tues.) Maria Volonte.  Argentine singer/songwriter/guitarist Volonte’s music is an appealing blend of traditional roots rhythms – tango, candomble, etc. – with the sounds of contemporary jazz, pop and funk.  The Rrazz Room. (415) 394-1189. To read an earlier iRoM review of Volonte click HERE.

- Feb. 8 & 9 (Tues. & Wed.) Kenny Garrett Quartet. Grammy award-winning alto saxophonist Garrett has a resume reaching from Duke Ellington to Miles Davis.  This time out, he offers his envelope-stretching sounds at the front of  his own quintet.  Yoshi’s Oakland (510) 238-9200.

- Feb. 10 – 14. (Thurs. – Mon.)  Pete Escovedo Latin Jazz Orchestra.  Pete Escovedo and the Escovedo family have been energizing Latin jazz since the ‘60s.  And they’re all still at it.  This time out, the band includes special guests Sheila E. and Peter Michael EscovedoYoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.

New York City

Gato Barbieri

- Feb. 10 – 12 (Thurs. – Sun.) Gato Barbieri.  Tenor saxophonist Barbieri’s long, checkered career has reached from the avant-garde years of the ‘60s through his Grammy-winning score for The Last Tango In Paris to more recent smooth jazz outings.  The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

- Feb. 8 – 13. (Tues. – Sun.)  Chris Potter Trio. Tenor saxophonist Potter takes on the familiar Sonny Rollins challenge of performing with only bass and drums as a rhythm team.  His companions: bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Eric Harland. Village Vanguard.   (212) 255-4037.

- Feb. 8 – 13. (Tues. – Sun.)  Freddy Cole “Valentine Swing” with Harry Allen.  Cole’s sound and style are clearly, and unabashedly, influenced by his big brother Nat.  But Cole has a way of adapting those qualities to his own engaging musical identity.  Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola (212) 258-9800.

- Feb. 8 – 14. (Tues. – Mon.)  Hilary Kole.  Jazz singer Kole, who usually hosts Birdland’s Sunday Jazz Party, does a full week’s run at the club.  And her rich way with a ballad is the perfect lead-in to Valentine’s Day.  Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

Denise Donatelli

- Feb. 11 & 14. (Fri. & Mon.). Denise Donatelli.   Grammy-nominated singer Donatelli makes a pair of too-rare Manhattan appearances which will inform New York jazz fans about what Angelenos have known for years — that she is a singer with the sound, the skill and the imagination to be included at the top levels of the jazz vocal art.  Donatelli is backed by the Geoff Keezer arrangements and quartet featured on the Grammy-nominated “When Lights Are Low.”  Fri.: Coca-Cola Circle of Fashion Lounge, Time Warner Center, 6:30 p.m.  Mon.: Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, 7:30, p.m.  (212) 258-9800.


Picks of the Week: Dec. 7 – 12

December 7, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Neil Sedaka

- Dec. 8. (Tues.)  Neil Sedaka.  Hitmaker Sedaka showcases his memorable catalog of songs in a performance replacing a date cancelled in late October. Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

- Dec. 8. (Wed.)  Carol Welsman Canadian-born Welsman has the rare ability to surround the supple timbres of her voice with an intimate piano style.  Her versatility reaches from American standards to songs in French, Italian and Portuguese.  With any luck, she’ll offer her intimate version of the lovely Italian song, “Estate.”  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- Dec. 8. (Wed.)  Emil Richards/Joe Porcaro Quartet.  Featuring Abraham Laboriel, bass and Mike Lang, piano. A quartet of veteran players reveal the broad, generational reach of masterful jazz.  Charlie O’s. (818) 994-3058.

- Dec. 8. (Wed.)  The Celtic Tenors Holiday Show. An evening of musical holiday cheer from the soaring voices of the Celtic tenors, embracing classical, Celtic, Americana and pop music.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 916-8501.

Natalie Cole

- Dec. 9. (Thurs.)  Natalie Cole.  The eclectic Cole, who – like her Dad – reaches convincingly across genres from jazz to blues and pop, makes her Disney Hall debut.  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

- Dec. 9. (Thurs.)  Adam Schroeder.  Rising star jazz saxophonist Schroeder hosts a pair of release parties for his new CD, A Handful of Stars.  W. Graham Dechter, guitar, John Clayton, bass, Jeff Hamilton, drums.  Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.   Also Dec. 10 (Fri.) at the The Culver Club for Jazz at the Radisson L.A. West Side Hotel.   (310) 649-1776 Ext. 4137.

- Dec. 9. (Thurs.)  Eric Reed Trio.  Once a teen-age pianistic jazz prodigy, Reed is now firmly established as mature jazz star.  He performs with Hamilton Price, bass, Kevin Yokota, drums.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Dec. 9. (Thurs.)  Denise Donatelli. The Southland is blessed with an impressive array of gifted jazz vocalists.  Donatelli’s one of the best – here and elsewhere.  To read a recent iRoM performance review click HERE. Charlie O’s. (818) 994-3058.

- Dec. 9 – 11. (Thurs. – Sat.)  The Pacific Symphony with pianist Kirill Gerstein in an evening of memorable classics.  On the program: the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto #2 and Dvorak Symphony #9 (from the New World).  Segerstrom Concert Hall, Orange County Performing Arts Center.   (714) 556-2787.

- Dec. 9 – 12. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Mike Stern Quartet.  Guitarist Stern leads an ensemble of guys, all of whom, fly freely across a colorful array of jazz genres.  With Randy Brecker, trumpet, Dennis Chambers, drums and Anthony Jackson, bass.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Dec. 10 – 12. (Fri. – Sun.)  Hilary Hahn and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Hahn applies her rich, interprettive style to the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto, and Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos conducts the LA Phil in Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique Disney Hall. (323) 850-2000.

James Ingram

- Dec. 11 & 12. (Sat. & Sun.)  The Colors of Christmas.  It’s been one of the annual pleasures of Christmas for nearly two decades, with Peabo Bryson, James Ingram, Oleta Adams and Stephanie Mills bringing holiday musical joy to the season.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 916-8501.

- Dec. 12. (Sun.)  Red Holloway and Plas Johnson.  Two of the most inimitable jazz tenor saxophonists in the business team up for a holiday jazz celebration.  The irrepressible Bubba Jackson hosts.   KJAZZ Sunday Champagne Brunch.   (323) 491-1000.

- Dec. 12. (Sun.)  Kate McGarry and Keith Ganz.  Grammy-nominated McGarry performs selections from her album, Less Is More, Nothing is Everything, with her husband, guitarist Keith Ganz.  The Royal T. (310) 559-6000.

San Francisco

Charlie Hunter

- Dec. 9 – 12. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Charlie Hunter.  Guitarist Hunter, who sometimes manages to make his diverse guitar playing sound like a one man band, arrives for his eleventh annual December appearance at Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.

- Dec. 9 – 12. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Los Van Van.  The great Cuban band, crossing genres in every stylistic direction, and doing it with vitality and substance, makes a rare San Francisco appearance.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

New York

- Dec. 7. (Tues.)  Theo Bleckmann & Ben Monder Duo.  The unique duo of Bleckmann and Monder trigger musical magic via the blending of voice, live electronics and guitar.  The Cornelia St. Café. (212) 989-9319

- Dec. 7 – 11. (Tues. – Sat.)  The Roy Haynes Quartet.  Ageless, 85 year old drummer Haynes, continues to give seminars in the art of swinging, backed by his Fountain of Youth Quartet.  Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

- Dec. 7 – 12. (Tues. – Sun.)  Robert Glasper Trio.  Pianist Glasper is one of the rare young jazz artists who can bring authenticity to the combination of jazz, rock, hip hop and more.   Village Vanguard.   (212) 929-4589.

Manhattan Transfer

- Dec. 7 – 12. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Manhattan Transfer. Vocal music – jazz, pop, blues and beyond – doesn’t get any better than the Transfer. Forty years together and their performances are still utterly mesmerizing.  The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.

- Dec. 9 – 12. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Patricia Barber. Pianist/singer Barber is one of a kind, opening new vistas in every song she sings.  Hopefully she’ll play an advance tune or two from her upcoming album, The Storyteller, due out in 2011.   Jazz Standard (212) 576-2232.


Picks of the Week: June 1 – 6

May 31, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- June 1. (Tues.) Guitar Night. John Pisano, Barry Zweig. John Belzaguy.  A pair of veteran guitarists – each with an overflowing resume of memorable appearances – have a typical Guitar Night jam with the solid backing of bassist Belzaguy.   Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

Lisa Hilton

- June 1. (Tues.) Lisa Hilton.  Described as a “lioness of jazz” by JazzReview magazine, Hilton is about to release her 12th U.S. recording, Nuance. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.  On Saturday, June 5, Hilton will also give an onstage interview and performance for visually-impaired students from Junior Blind America at the Grammy Museum.  The appearance is part of her continuing efforts to bring music to the visually impaired in Los Angeles, Boston and New York.

- June 2. (Wed.)  Austin Peralta/Javier Santiago Project.  Pianist Peralta had two CDs released in Japan by the age of 16.  Approaching his 20th birthday, the talented young player – the son of legendary skateboarder and film director Stacy Peralta – shows off his wares amid the simmering rhythms of the Javier Santiago Project.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- June 2 & 3. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Partch: Even Wild Horses.  Harry Partch was such an original musical thinker that he re-imagined the concept of musical pitch intervals, then created an array of instruments designed to play those intervals.  John Schneider continues his superb survey of Partch’s extraordinary music with Even Wild Horses–Dance Music for an Absent Drama and Cloud Chambe. Also on the program: Lou Harrison‘s Canticle #3, the West Coast debut of Anne LeBaron‘s Southern Ephemera, and Madeline Tourtelot‘s MiRotate the Body in All Its Planes REDCAT.  (213) 237-2800.

Mike Lang

- June 4. (Fri.) Mike Lang Trio.  PianistLang’s far-ranging career reaches from backing Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald to performing on more than 2,000 film scores.  But here’s a rare opportunity to experience his own music, up close and personal. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

- June 4. (Fri.)  Calabria Foti.  Blessed with a rich, multi-hued voice, Foti enhances it with impressive musicality and an engaging sense of phrasing.  The Back Room At Henri’s.   (818) 346-5582.

- June 4. (Fri.)  Sal Marquez with the Pat Senatore Trio.  One of the Southland’s premiere trumpeters, Marguez has found a unique pathway for himself, somewhere between the lyricism of Miles Davis and the fire of Freddie Hubbard.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- June 4. (Fri.)  Bern.  Drummer Bernie Dresel leads his gang of funk and groove driven instrumenalists and singers through the music of Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Prince, the Beatles and beyond.  Vitello’s. m (818) 769-0905.

- June 4 & 5. (Fri. & Sat. )  Sara Gazarek.  Still on the rise, Gazarek has all the qualities that make a prime jazz artist.  She’s won a Down Beat Student Music Award, and hit the top 10 in Billboard jazz charts with her first album.  But she’s still not receiving the full attention that her finely honed talents deserve.  The Café Metropol.

Rita Moreno

- June 5. (Sat.) Rita Moreno.  She completely inhabited the role of Maria in the film version of West Side Story, winning an Academy Award for her work.  And that was only one of the accomplishments in a career that has also produced an Emmy, a Grammy and a Tony, as well.  Moreno doesn’t do club dates often, so don’t miss this rare opportunity to see a legendary entertainer in action.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- June 5. (Sat.) Rickey Woodard with the John Heard Trio.  L.A.’s had more than its share of impressive saxophonists over the years.  And Woodard belongs in the very top echelon of that extraordinary group.  Always a pleasure to hear, he’s at his best performing with bassist Heard and his group in the cozy setting of Charlie O’s.    (818) 994-3058.

- June 5. (Sat.)  Grant Geissman.  Busy, versatile guitarist Geissman celebrates Cool Man Cool, the latest in his long string of entertaining recordings.  Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

- June 5. (Sat.)  Gary Lucas solo acoustic. The Grammy-nominated veteran of Captain Beefheart has been described by Rolling Stone as “one of the best and most original guitarists in America.”  And that’s a reasonable description for a musician who’s played with both Leonard Bernstein and Lou Reed (among others).  McCabes. (310) 828-4497.

- June 6. (Sun.)  Graham Dechter and the Adam Schroeder Quartet.  Dechter’s guitar and Schroeder’s baritone sax make for one of the more unique timbral sounds in jazz.  Add to that the sturdy swing capabilities of both players, and expect an evening of high energy.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- June 6. (Sun.)  Element Band.  This entertaining, eclectic ensemble is a living definition of the phrase “World Music.”  Performing in Armenian, French, Greek, Spanish, English, Arabic, Portuguese, Italian, Bulgarian and Farsi, they offer a little something for almost every ethnic or musical taste.  Guest star Italian singer Giovanna Gattuso adds her own elegant touch to the proceedings.  The Ford Amphitheatre. (323) 461-3673

Highlight……………………………………………………………

- June 6. (Sun.)  “Playboy Jazz in Warner Park.” The build-up to the Playboy Jazz Festival at the Hollywood Bowl on June 12 & 13 continues with another free Playboy community event.  Although the Warner concerts only began a couple of years ago, they’ve already become one of the early Summer’s most popular jazz events.  And the price is right.  This year’s program features four time Grammy nominated singer Oleta Adams, keyboardist Lao Tizer, master jazz trumpeter Sal Marquez, and the Calabasas High School Jazz Band (one of the 15 finalists in Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington CompetitionPlayboy Jazz in Warner Park.   (310) 450-1173.

San Francisco

- June 1 & 2. (Tues. & Wed.)  Jane Monheit. Always one of the most gorgeous voices in jazz, Monheit is also an original jazz stylist, approaching everything she sings with a unique combination of rhythmic swing and lyrical imagination. Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

- June 1 & 2. (Tues. & Wed.)  Pat Martino.  Guitarist Martino has essentially had to learn to play the guitar twice, as the result of a near-fatal brain aneurysm in 1980.  But he’s done it superbly, firmly establishing his position as one of jazz’s finest veteran artists.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

John Handy

- June 3. (Thurs.)  John Handy. Forty-five years after his remarkable performance at the Monterey Jazz Festival made him a highly visible jazz figure, Handy – who has also had a long career as an educator – continues to be a an eminently listenable alto saxophonist.  Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

- June 4 – 6. (Fri. – Sun)  Dave Holland Quintet.  Bassist Holland’s interests have taken him in all directions – in recent years with a big band as well as a little big band.  This time, he’s back to basics, with a quintet that includes the all-star line-up of saxophonist Chris Potter, trombonist Robin Eubanks, vibist Steve Nelson, and drummer Nate Smith. Yoshi’s Oakland.(510) 238-9200.

- June 4 – 6. (Fri. – Sun.) Dr. John & the Lower 911. One of the music world’s true originals, Dr. John (Mac Rebennack) has been one of the irrepressible symbols of New Orleans for decades.  And he’s still going strong, winning a Grammy last year for “City That Care Forgot.” Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

New York

- June 1 – 5. (Tues. – Sat.)  Stacey Kent.  Wisely focusing her career upon international audiences, Kent has achieved visibility reaching beyond that of many of her contemporaries.  Her latest album, Raconte-Moi, sung in French underscores her global outreach.  Birdland.   581-3080.

- June 3 – 6. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Jacky Terrasson Trio. French/American pianist Terrasson – well-regarded since he won the 1993 Thelonious Monk Piano Competition – celebrates the release of his latest album, Push. Jazz Standard.  (212) 576-2232.

Dee Dee Bridgewater

- June 3 – 6. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Dee Dee Bridgewater. Her recordings are always a pleasure to hear, and the latest — Eleanor Fagan: To Billie With Love From Dee Dee Bridgewater – is an extraordinary Billie Holiday tribute.  But Bridgewater in person is even more unique, more dynamic.  This is one to place on your “Don’t Miss” list.  The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.

Washington, D.C.

- June 1 – 13.  D.C. Jazz Festival. It was originally titled the Duke Ellington Jazz Festival.  But whatever the name, this is one of the early Summer’s most impressive assemblages of all-star talent.  Among the major names:  Claudio Roditi, Roberta Flack, Eddie Palmieri, Kenny Barron, Paquito D’Rivera, Regina Carter, Roberta Gambarini, Roy Hargrove, and more.  The D.C. Jazz Festival.


Picks of the Week: March 23 – 28

March 23, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

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

Ray Davies

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

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

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

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

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

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

Billy Childs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diane Schuur

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

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

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

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

San Francisco

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

Eliane Elias

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

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

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

New York

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

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

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

Freda Payne

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

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


Live Jazz: The Ron Jones Influence Big Band at Vitello’s

March 9, 2010

By Tony Gieske

Ron Jones

The world’s longest running publicity stunt did not command the attention of everyone in Hollywood Sunday night. Disdaining the Oscar festivities was a discriminating crowd that filled the Upstairs room at Vitello’s out in the Valley to hear the Ron Jones Jazz Influence big band.

Jones, a noted composer for off-beat television fare, led his organization of 22 studio savants, including a pair of French hornists, to reward the visitors with a program of familiar songs and heads that were staples when bebop was young. That would have been before many of the players took up the instruments with which they now make their not inconsiderable livings.

Clockwise from upper left: Chuck Berghofer, Bob McChesney, French horn player Jean Marinelli, Ron Jones, Jeff Bunnell, Bob Sheppard, Tim May

“The Way You Look Tonight,” in a gently swinging arrangement by Mike Tomaro (available online for $47.50, in case you run a big band), followed a gently swinging opener on “Bird of Paradise,” playing the spotlight here and there on the world’s greatest trumpet section.

These horns were limber muscle and flat abs all evening, a shout when called for that gave no pain but was music to the ear, and dry muted comments in support of other soloists. Charlie Davis, Chuck Findley, Gary Grant and Jeff Bunnell were the players. Findley soloed powerfully on an original ballad.

The Ron Jones brass section

The similarly adept trombones lent a rich color and deep power to the tuttis, underpinning the various sections when necessary, warming the top line when called for. Bob McChesney stepped out for a pretty little story about “Emily,” beginning with velvety balladic wooings and ending with bold staff-surmounting calisthenics.

The reeds were light and airy on such swiftly wandering numbers as Wayne Shorter’s “Yes and No” and loaded with vigor on the Latinate “St. Thomas,” which the Bill Holman arrangement made into a more delightful romp than many of those we’ve been hearing since the Eisenhower Administration.

Such delights rested all night on the Basie-like power of Chuck Berghofer, bass, Mike Lang, piano, Tim May, guitar and Steve Schaeffer, drums. The colors of May and vibraharpist Billy Holting reminded you of the old Woody Herman sound that Red Norvo and Billy Bauer contributed.

But that was a hotbed zone; tonight was a botanical garden.

Photos by Tony Gieske.

Read and see more of Tony Gieske’s jazz essays and photos at his personal web site tonyspage.com.



Picks of the Week: Feb. 8 – 14

February 8, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Jennifer York Quartet

- Feb. 9. (Tues.)  The Jennifer York Quartet.  Bassist and TV personality York leads a band that crosses smoothly from contemporary to mainstream jazz.  The evening will be further enlivened by the always impressive singing of special guest Chris BennettCatalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- Feb. 9.  (Tues.)  John Pisano Guitar NightBarry Zweig, who has played with everyone from Peggy Lee and Don Ellis to Buddy Rich and Natalie Cole,  partners with Pisano in this laid-back, entertaining format.  Vitello’s (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 10. (Wed.)  Masters of Persian Music Kamancheh (spike fiddle) player  Kayhan Kalhor and Hossein Alizadeh, a master of the lute-like tar and setar are joined by classical vocalist Hamid Reza Nourbakhsh in a program of Persian traditional and classical music.   Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.   Also Friday, Feb. 12  at the Irvine Barclay Theatre (see below).

Emil Richards

- Feb. 11. (Thurs.)  Emil Richards/Joe Porcaro Quartet.  Vibist/percussionist Richards has played on the soundtracks of nearly 2000 films and TV shows creating such memorable sounds as the the finger snaps on the Addams Family show, the bongos on the original Mission Impossible show and the xylophone on The Simpons.  Here he partners with Porcaro, a veteran of gigs with Gerry Mulligan, Frank Sinatra, Madonna and more.  Backing them, the similarly experienced pianist Mike Lang and bassist Abraham LaborielCharlie O’shttp://www.charlieos.com (919) 994-3058..

- Feb. 11. (Thurs.)  The Paul Kreibich Quartet with guest vocalist Tony GallaA Pre-Valentine’s Day Party.   Drummer Kreibich has been a rhythm section mainstay with Ray Charles, Carmen McRae, Mose Allison and more.  Galla’s lyrical singing harkens back to the days of the great Italian balladeers — a perfect voice for the romance of Valentine’s Day.   The Kreibich Quartet also includes saxophonist Roger Neumann, pianist Marty Harris and bassist Kirk Smith.  The Brasserie Jazz Lounge in the  Crowne Plaza LAX Hotel.  (310) 642-7500.

Ken Peplowski

- Feb. 11 – 14. ( Thurs. – Sun.)  “For the Love of Jazz” Newport Beach Jazz Party. The Southland’s first major jazz event of the year.  Highlights include the Sinatraland Orchestra, Ken Peplowski’s Big Band and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.  Saturday night Valentine’s Dance, Sunday Valentine’s Day Brunch with Bill Henderson and Byron Stripling. The Heath Brothers Quartet. The long list of participants includes Dave Frishberg, Ken Peplowski, Jackie Ryan, Houston Person, Lewis Nash, Rickey Woodard, Holly Hofmann, Bill Cunliffe, Ron Eschete, Tamir Hendelman and dozens of others.  Newport Beach Jazz Party.  (949) 759-5003.

- Feb. 11 – 14 (Thurs. – Sun.) & Feb 18 – 21 (Thurs. – Sun.)  Steve Tyrell.  Catalina’s has become a virtual second home for the American Songbook stylings of the mellow-voiced Tyrell. Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- Feb. 12. (Fri.)  Dave Pell & Med Flory Quintet.  Veteran saxophonists Pell and Flory revive the compelling sounds of an alto and tenor front line.  The Back Room at Henri’s.  (310) 348-5582.

- Feb. 12.  (Fri.)  Masters of Persian Music Kamancheh (spike fiddle) player  Kayhan Kalhor and Hossein Alizadeh, a master of the lute-like tar and setar are joined by classical vocalist Hamid Reza Nourbakhsh in a program of Persian traditional and classical music.  Irvine Barclay Theatre.  (949) 854-4646.

Denise Donatelli

- Feb. 12. (Fri.)  Denise Donatelli. Always a pleasure to hear, Donatelli is at her best when she’s in a superlative musical setting.  As she is here, with pianist Otmaro Ruiz, bassist Hamilton Price and drummer Aaron Serfaty. Spazio.   (818) 728-8400.

- Feb. 12 – 13.  (Fri & Sat.) Adam Rudolph and the Go: Organic Orchestra. Adventurous percussionist/composer Rudolph presents an evening of cutting edge music, performed by a remarkable, 26-piece enssemble of winds, percussion and strings.  Electric Lodge, Venice.   (310) 306-1854.

- Feb. 12 – 13. (Fri. & Sat.).  La Traviata.  Teatro Lirico D’Europa perform Verdi’s tragic opera of frustrated love and selfless sacrifice.  In Italian with English supertitles.  Cerritos Center.  (582) 916-8501.

- Feb. 12 – 13. (Fri. & Sat.)  Alex Acuna. The versatile drummer/percussionist celebrates the release of his “Jungle City” CD leading a Weather Report-styled trio (with keyboardist Jan Gunnar Hoff and bassist Per Mathisen).  Vitello’s (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 13. (Sat.)  Tessa Souter.  English jazz vocalist — by way of New York City — brings her engaging interpretation of standards and jazz classics to a Jazz Bakery Moveable Feast. She’s backed by Jason Ennis, guitar, Hamilton Price, bass, Kevin Kanner, drums.  To read an iRoM review of Souter’s last L.A. appearance, click here. Ivy Substation, Venice.  Jazz Bakery.   (310) 271-9039.

Katja Rieckermann

- Feb. 13. (Sat.)  Katja Rieckermann Quartet.  The German tenor saxophonist has been touring and recording with Rod Stewart for the past several years. Her resume also includes gigs with, among others, Al Green, Carole King, Reba McEntire, Tom Scott and Randy Newman. Vibrato Grill Jazz… etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 14. (Sun.)  Gershwin Sings GershwinAlexis Gershwin and the Harry James Tribute Band.  A chance to hear Gershwin songs performed by a singer in the direct lineage.  Alexis is the niece of George and Ira Gershwin.   Cerritos Center.   (582) 916-8501.

San Francisco

- Feb. 9. (Tues.) Maria Volonte.  The sweet-voiced singer/guitarist from Argentina begins with classic tango, expanding it into musical visions of her own.  The Rrazz Room.   (415) 394-1189.

- Feb. 12 – 14. (Fri. – Sun.)  Mavis Staples.  No one finds the heart of gospel in rhythm and blues as impressively as the still mesmerizing veteran of the Staples Singers.   Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

New York

Gerald Clayton

- Feb. 9 – 14. (Wed. – Sun.) The Gerald Clayton Trio.  Pianist Clayton, now in his mid-twenties, has been one of the most electrifying young jazz talents since he was still a teen-ager.  And he keeps gettng better.  He performs with Joe Sanders, bass and Justin Brown, drums.  Village Vanguard.  (212) 255-4037.

- Feb. 9 – 14. (Wed. – Sun.)  The David Sanborn Quartet featuring Joey DeFancesco. Call this pairing the perfect combination for finding the heart of the blues in contemporary jazz.   The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

- Feb. 10. (Thurs.)  Steve Kuhn and Ravi Coltrane Duo.  Veteran pianist Kuhn once created magic with John Coltrane.  Now he’s recalling the formula with the elder Coltrane’s gifted saxophone-playing son.   Jazz Standard.   (212) 576-2232.

Hilary Kole

- Feb. 10 – 14. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Hilary Kole.  Kole’s singing reaches well beyond the usual vocal interpretations of standard songs.  In her gifted hands, they are transformed into compelling new musical short stories.  To read an iRoM review of Kole’s recent L.A. appearance click here.   Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

- Feb. 11 – 14. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Rene Marie.  Marie has been an utterly unique jazz vocalist, insisting upon doing a song her own way, since she first arrived on the scene a decade ago.   Jazz Standard. (212) 576-2232.

Seattle

Feb. 11 – 14 (Thurs. – Sun.)  Mindi Abair.  Contemporary jazz saxophonist Abair has a track record reaching from the Backstreet Boys and Josh Groban to Lee Ritenour and Keb’ Mo’, producing a series of Top 10 hits on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz charts.  As if that wasn’t enough, she also plays the flute, sings and writes songs.  Jazz Alley.   (206) 441-9729.

Washington, D.C.

- Feb. 11 – 14. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Jerry “The Ice Man” Butler.  Butler, the original lead singer in the Impressions, now divides his time between his still-potent, still-cool singing, and his  political activities  as a Cook County [Illinois] Board Commissioner    Blues Alley.   (202) 337-4141.

Zanzibar

- Feb. 11 – 16.  (Thurs. – Tues.)  Sauti Za Busara Zanzibar.   An international festival celebrating East African music.  The long list of artists includes performers from South Africa, Senegal, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Egypt, Suriname, Uganda, Zanzibar and beyond.  Admission is free to all East African residents before 5 p.m. Tel: 255 24 223 2423.  Sauti Za Busara Zanzibar.


Picks of the Week: Feb. 2 – 7

February 2, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Anthony Wilson

- Feb. 2. (Tues.)  John Pisano Guitar Night.  With Anthony Wilson.  Guitar Nights are always good.   This should be one of the best.  Guitarist, composer and bandleader Wilson is a stunningly versatile talent.   Vitello’s (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 4. (Thurs.) Beyond the Pale Skirball.  The Canadian band doesn’t hesitate to wrap klezmer around everything from bluegrass and jazz to reggae and funk.  (310) 440-4500.

Estaire Godinez

- Feb. 4. (Thurs.)  Estaire Godinez.  Percussionist/singer Godinez brings passionate intensity to eveerything she sings and plays.   She celebrates the release of her new CD.  Vibrato Grill Jazz… etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 5. (Fri.)  Yamaha Piano All Star Review.  A versatile line up of pianists pay tribute to the Yamaha brand with music reaching from romantic classical to straight ahead jazz.  Performers include Anna Grinberg, Danny Holt, Milen Kirov, David Roitstein, David Rosenboom, Juris Vikovs, and Liam VineyREDCAT.  (213) 237-2800.

- Feb. 5. (Fri.)  Sony Holland.  Vocalist Holland’s intimate sound and dramatic phrasing find a perfect blend with the Theo Saunders Quartet Steamers.  (714) 871-8800.

Dave Liebman

- Feb. 5. (Fri.)  Dave Liebman.  A too-rare Los Angeles appearance by the versatile, veteran saxophonist Liebman, enhanced by the all-star Southland quartet of  Bob Sheppard, bass, John Beasley, piano, Darek Oles, bass and Joe LaBarbera, drums.  Upstairs at Vitellos.  (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 5. (Fri.)  Laurence Hobgood Trio. Pianist Hobgood has had a lot of visibility as Kurt Elling’s musical associate, but he’s a gifted artist in his own right.  Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear him in action.  Café Metropol. (310)  613-1537

- Feb. 5. (Fri.)  Jon Mayer Quartet. Pianist Mayer is a bop master, but he crosses comfortably into other mainstream jazz areas as well.  He’s backed by the vertain team of Ernie Watts, tenor saxophone, Chris Conner, bass, Roy McCurdy, drums.  Spazio.   (818) 728-8400.

- Feb. 5 & 6.  (Fri. & Sat.)  Strunz & Farah.  The guitar duo, with roots in Costa Rica and Iran have been stretching the limits of flamenco jazz and fusion since world music was just becoming a genre on its own. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210

- Feb. 5 & 6. (Fri. & Sat.)   Sambaguru.  When the super-heated Katia Moraes and her accomplices in Sambaguru hit the stage, the Brazilian rhythmic pyrotechnics never stop.Friday at Culver Club Raddison.  Sat. at Spazio. .   Sambaguru.

- Feb. 6. (Sat.)  Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. They’ve gone through several incarnations since their founding in 1994, but JFJO continue to blur the boundaries between jazz, rock, funk and avant-garde.  The Mint.   (323) 954-9400

- Feb. 6. (Sat.) Lanny Morgan.  Another bebopper on the loose, alto saxophonist Morgan is also a lyrical ballad player.  He performs with the John Heard Trio.  Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058.

Repast

- Feb. 6. (Sat.)  Repast.   The Baroque instrumental trio — Amelia Roosevelt (baroque violin), John Mark Rozendaal (baroque violoncello and viola da gamba), and Avi Stein (harpsichord) — are joined by baroque violinist Claire Jolivet and soprano Nell Snaidas for an evening of music from Amsterdam.  Th performance complements the Getty’s current exhibit of drawings by Rembrandt and his students.   The Getty.   (310) 440-7300.

- Feb. 6 – 19.  (Sat. – Fri.)  Bob Barry Jazz Photography Exhibit.  Barry’s extensive jazz performance photos are on display as part of the two week Celebration of Jazz at the  Brand Library of Music and Art.   (818) 548-2051

- Feb. 7. (Sun.)  Mike Lang. The ever-versatile, always-swinging pianist appears with the solid backing of bassist Abraham Laboriel, Sr. and drummer Walter RodriguezCatalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

San Francisco

Paula West

- Feb. 2 – 28.  Paula West.  One of the Bay area’s many fine jazz vocalists, West still hasn’t received the recognition her extraordinary talent deserves.  She sings with the George Mesterhazy QuartetThe Rrazz Room.   (415) 394-1189.

- Feb. 4. (Thurs.)  John Handy. Educator and long-time cutting-edge alto saxophonist brings his admirable skills to a rare one-nighter. Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

- Feb. 4 – 7. (Thurs. – Sun)  Charisma!: The Music of Lee Morgan.  Selections from the catalog of the great jazz trumpeter are performed by the sterline ensemble of  Benny Maupin, Bill Harper, Eddie Henderson, David Weiss, Geri Allen, Dwayne Burno, Billy HartYoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

- Feb. 6. (Sat.)  Dionne Warwick.  The iconic hit-maker of the ’60s and ’70s still knows how to bring a song to life — even if it wasn’t written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.Castro Theatre. (415) 392-4500.

New York

- Feb. 2 & 3.  (Tues. & Wed.)  Dorado Schmitt‘ continues his cross-country celebration of the Django Reinhardt centennial.  This time with special guest Curtis StigersIridium.   (212) 582-0161.

Gretchen Parlato

- Feb. 2 & 3. (Tues. & Wed.)  Afinidad — the adventurous ensemble formed by Edward Simon and David Binney moves into even more colorful musical territory with special guests Gretchen Parlato, Ben Monder, Rogerio BoccatoJazz Standard. (212) 576-2232.

- Feb. 2 – 6. (Tues. – Sat.)  Oregon, the trail-breaking jazz/world music ensemble is still making superb music — forty years after its founding.  With Ralph Towner, guitar, keyboards and trumpet, Paul McCandless, woodwinds, Glen Moore, bass and Mark Walker, drums.  Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

- Feb. 2 – 7. (Tues. – Sun.)  Jimmy Heath Big Band.  Veteran saxophonist/educator Heath has been leading big bands of one sort or another for most of his long, productive musical life.  And, at 84, he’s still at it.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

- Feb. 3. (Wed.)  Mary Foster Conklin.  Somewhere between cabaret and jazz, Mary Foster has found an utterly believable musical home.  She’s always worth hearing, and never more so than at  Café Vivaldi.  (212) 691-7538.

- Feb. 4 – 6. (Thurs. – Sat.)  David Sanchez Group.  Puero Rican tenor saxophonist Sanchez has been honing and shaping his unique musical voice since he arrived on the scene.  And it just keeps getting better.   Jazz Standard. http://www.jazzstandard.com/red/index.html (212) 576-2232.


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