Picks of the Week: October 9 – 14

October 10, 2012

BY DON HECKMAN

Los Angeles

Dr. John

Oct. 11. (Thurs.)  Dr. John, the Lower 911 and the Blind Boys of Alabama“Spirituals To Funk.”  The title is right on target, with Dr. John’s inimitable, funk-driven, Crescent city swing and the gripping spirituals of the Blind Boys.  Valley Performing Arts Center.  (818) 677-8800.

- Oct. 11. (Thurs.)  Frank Petrilli.  The jazz accordion is alive and well in the talented hands of Frank Petrilli.  He’s backed by the equally skilled John Chiodini, guitar, Pat Senatore, bass and Enzo Tedesco, drums.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.    (310) 474-9400.

- Oct. 11 – 14. (Thurs. – Sun.).  “Where the Wild Things Are.”  Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a mixed media performance of Oliver Knussen’s one act opera based on the famous children’s book by Maurice Sendak.  Also on the program: Ravel’s charming Mother Goose.   Walt Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

Bajofondo

Oct. 12. (Fri.)  Bajofondo.  Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning composer Gustavo Santaolalla leads an eight person collective of musicians from Argentina and Uruguay in a program of innovative Latin music ranging from tango and electronica to contemporary and alternative sounds.  A CAP UCLA  concert at Royce Hall.   (310) 825-2101.

Oct. 12. (Fri.)  Marilyn Crispell and Myra Melford.  Pianist/composer Crispell performs a solo/duo set, followed by pianist Melford and Snowy Egret, her six person music and dance ensemble.  At REDCAT as part of the ANGEL CITY JAZZ FESTIVAL.    (213) 237-2800.

Oct. 12. (Fri.) Smoky Joe’s Cafe.  The immensely popular, Tony-nominated musical features a program of memorable songs by Mike Stoller and Jerry Lieber Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 916-8501. /production.aspx?productionSeasonId=4128

Denise Donatellil

Oct. 12 & 13. (Fri. & Sat.)  Denise Donatelli.  The gifted, Grammy nominated Ms. Donatelli is backed by music director/pianist Geoffrey Keezer and his quintet in a release party for her new CD, Soul Shadows.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Oct. 12 – 14. (Fri. – Sun.)  Chris Minh Doky and the Nomads.  Danish/Vietnamese bassist Doky leads a hard driving, jazz fusion band featuring Dave Weckl, drums, Dean Brown, guitar and George Whitty, keyboards. Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

Oct. 13. (Sat.) Bill Frisell & Bill Morrison.  “The Great Flood.”  A creative collaboration between the music of guitarist/composer Frisell and Morrison’s film based on the 1927 Mississippi River flood.  A CAP UCLA/Angel City Jazz Festival concert at  Royce Hall.

Oct. 14. (Sun.)   An Evening with Vijay Iyer: Trio, Quartet and Sextet.  The much praised keyboardist leads several different group formats featuring saxophonist Steve ColemanA CAP UCLA/Angel City Jazz Festival concert at Royce Hall.

San Francisco

- Oct. 10. (Wed.)  “Monk’s Birthday.”  With Barry Harris, Jacky Terrasson and Alfredo Rodriguez. Three cross-generational jazz pianists celebrate the 95th anniversary of the birth of the incomparable Thelonious Monk.   An SFJAZZ concert at the Herbst Theatre.  .

New York

Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin

- Oct. 10 – 14. (Wed. – Sun.)  “GRP 30th.”  Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin, a pair of long time musical companions, get together for the 30th anniversary of GRP Records, the company founded by Grusin and Larry Rosen.  The Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

- Oct. 13 & 14. (Sat. & Sun.)  The SFJAZZ Collective Plays Chick Corea.  The stellar members of the SFJAZZ Collective perform the far-reaching, ever-fascinating music of Chick Corea.  SFJAZZ Collective is David Sanchez, Miguel Zenon, Avishai Cohen, Stefon Harris, Robin Eubanks, Edward Simon, Matt Penman and Jeff BallardJazz Standard.    (212) 576-2232.

London

- Oct. 11 & 13. (Thurs. & Fri.) Soulive.  Carrying the torch for the jazz organ trio format, the trio of Soulive – Eric Crasno, guitar, Neal Evans, keyboards and Alan Evans, drums, continue to keep the jazz groove alive.  Ronnie Scott’s.    (0)20 7439 0747.

Tokyo

John Scofield

- Oct. 10 – 13. (Wed. – Sat.)  The John Scofield Trio.  Guitarist Scofield, always in search of challenging playing environments, performs with a pair of great, veteran players – bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bill StewartBlue Note Tokyo.  03.5485.0088.


Here, There & Everywhere: The 2012 Alpert Award in the Arts

May 11, 2012

By Don Heckman

Herb Alpert has had more successes – creative and financial – than most artists can dream of experiencing.  And to his credit he’s handled them with remarkable finesse and generosity.  Music programs at UCLA and CalArts have benefited from his multi-million dollar grants to each institution.

Herb Alpert

Today, another impressive display of the Alpert munificence took place with the presentation of the 2012 Alpert Awards in the Arts, a combined effort of the Herb Alpert Foundation and CalArts. The Awards, now in their 19th installment, recognize mid-career achievements in Music, Dance, Film/Video, Theatre and Visual Arts.

All of the winners — as well as Alpert, CalArts faculty members and some of the panel members who made the Awards selections — were in attendance earlier today for a celebratory party at the Alpert Foundation offices in Santa Monica. Each receives a $75,000 award.

Jazz fans can be especially pleased that the Music Award was granted to pianist/composer Myra Melford, whose ground breaking, exploratory recordings have provided some of the most fascinating improvisational journeys of the past two decades.

Myra Melford

According to Irene Borger, Director of the Alpert Award in the Arts, Melford was honored “for her ascending and expansive trajectory, and great, generous musical mind…her willingness to dive into the deep end of the pool and her ability to take multiple musical traditions into another sphere.”

Ms. Borger also announced the reasoning behind the other awards:

Nora Chipaumire

Dance: Nora Chipaumire, “for her profound movement intellirgence, steaming hot and extraordinary presence, the dialogue she creates with audiences, and her visceral struggles with critical issues of the day.”

* * * *

Kevin Everson

Film/Video: Kevin Everson, “for his relentless curiosity, sustained inquiry, for elevating the visual power of expressive quotidian gestures of working people, and for his aesthetic caring gaze.”

* * * *

Eisa Davis

Theatre: Eisa Davis, “for her profound multiple gifts as playwright, performer and musician, her portrayal of the complex richness of our American character, and her work’s relevance and epic sweep, expanding our notion of how one might live in the 21st century.”

* * * *

Michael Smith

Visual Arts: Michael Smith, “for subversively using the visual languages of popular and corporate culture to take on big issues, for pioneering narrative within video art practice, and for rendering the everyday as truly strange….”

Alpert’s smiling presence underscored the satisfaction he must feel for the display of yet another of his vital contributions to the arts.  He could, after all, have bought an island (or two or three) in the Caribbean and retired to a life of luxurious beach-combing, painting, sculpting and some trumpet playing on the side.  Not that he’s given up on the latter three.  Not at all.  His fascinating paintings and sculptures are omnipresent in the Foundation offices, his home near Malibu and his Bel Air jazz club, Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. And he and his wife, the gifted singer Lani Hall, continue to record and tour with their stellar group.

But Alpert also expresses his creativity via his beneficence – via his generous financial support for the arts as a vital, continually expressive element in American life.

* * * * * *

Photos courtesy of the Herb Alpert Foundation.


Picks of the Week: Jan. 31 – Feb. 5

January 31, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Anthony Wilson

- Jan. 31. (Tues.)  Anthony Wilson.  He’s had a lot of visibility the past few years backing Diana Krall, but Wilson’s a certified jazz star in his own right – as a performer, a composer and a band leader.  This time out, he gets back to basics with guitarist and host John Pisano in the laid back format of  Guitar NightVitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Jan. 31. (Tues.)  Sheldon Reynolds’ “Elements of Fire.”  A guitarist and lead singer with Earth, Wind and Fire in the ’80s and ’90s, Reynolds revisits some of the Grammy-winning ensemble’s greatest hits.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 2 (Thurs.)  The Salzburg Chamber Soloists.  The critically praised members of the SCS reveal their musical versatility with a diverse program featuring works by Mozart, Ravel, Britten and Janacek.  The Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.    (562) 916-8501.

Windy Karigianes

- Feb. 2 (Thurs.)  Windy Karigianes.  Las Vegas singer Karigianes hasn’t had a lot of wide visibility yet, but the warmth of her sound, her briskly rhythmic style and evocative interpretations bode well for her future.  Saxophonist Brandon Fields will be her special guest.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 2. (Thurs.)  Doug MacDonald Organ Quartet.  Guitarist MacDonald dips into a deep groove with the vibrant assistance of organ playing and vocals of Bobby Pierce, the tenor saxophone of Clarence Webb and the drumming and vocals of Harold Acey.  The LAX Jazz Club at the Crowne Plaza.   (310) 258-1333.

- Feb. 2 – 4. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Bobby Caldwell. It’s a safe bet that Caldwell won’t get through the night without singing his 1978 hit, “What You Won’t Do For Love.”  But he’s got plenty of other past hits in his resume, as well as an easygoing, appealing way of dealing with everything from American Songbook classics to his own catalog of memorable originals.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

The Flying Karamazov Brothers

- Feb. 3. (Fri.)  The Flying Karamazov Brothers.  Juggling’s their game, and comedy’s a good part of their fame.  How could it be otherwise with a whimsical group of experts who juggle everything from apples and swords to fish and flaming torches.  There’s nothing quite like them.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.    (562) 916-8501.

- Feb. 3. (Fri.)  Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band.  Saxophonist/pianist/bandleader has accomplished the jazz world miracle of not only keeping a big band together, but doing so with an impressive display of engaging, hard swinging musicality.  No surprise that the Phat Band has a Grammy nomination this year.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 3. (Fri.)  Trio M.  With Myra Melford, piano, Mark Dresser, bass, Matt Wilson, drums.  The instrumentation may be the same as the classic jazz piano trio, but Trio M — Myra, Mark, Matt — has set no stylistic limits.  A true creative musical collective, each of its stellar members brings his or her artistic vision to the trio’s unbounded explorations.  The Musicians Institute Concert Center.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast.    (310) 271-9039.

- Feb. 3. (Fri.)  John Beasley and Dwight Trible.  “First Fridays Jazz Series.”  Pianist Beasley ands singer Trible, performing with stunning musical empathy, celebrate the release of their album, Duality, as a headliner event in the First Friday Jazz Series at Joe’s Restaurant.    (310) 399-5811.

- Feb. 3 & 4. (Fri. & Sat.)  Ben Wendel.  Grammy nominated multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Wendel showcases his eclectic creative skills in a celebration of his new album, Frame. Blue Whale.  (213) 620-0908.

San Francisco

Peter Erskine

- Feb. 1 (Wed.)  The Peter Erskine New Trio.  Grammy-winning Peter Erskine has drummed with everyone from Stan Kenton to Pat Metheny, with all stops in between.  But one of the best ways to hear his subtle rhythms is with his own impressive new trio, featuring pianist Vardan Ovsepian and bassist (and nephew) Damian ErskineYoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

New York

- Jan. 31 – Feb. 4. (Tues. – Sat.)  David Sanchez Quartet.  Grammy-winning, and frequently Grammy-nominated Sanchez is one of the rare saxophonists who has found inspiration in John Coltrane, while continuing to explore the essentials of his own style and creativity.  He’s backed by drummer Antonio Sanchez, bassist Matt Brewer and guitarist Adam Rogers. Jazz Standardl.  (212) 576-2232.

Simone Dinnerstein

- Feb. 2 (Thurs.)  Simone DinnersteinBach and the Romantics.  Whether it’s baroque, classical or romantic, Dinnerstein approaches the piano with a transparency that takes the listener into the very origins of the music she plays.  This time she offers a program reaching from Bach through Schubert, Chopin and Brahms.  The Miller Theatre at the Columbia University School of the Arts.    (212) 854-7799.

- Feb. 3. (Fri.)  The Ben Monder, Theo Bleckmann Duo.  Guitarist Monder and vocalist Bleckmann, each an adventurous musical explorer in his own right, take on even more unusual creative territories when they come together as a team.  Cornelia St. Café.    (212) 989-9319.

London

- Jan. 31. (Tues.)  Mark Murphy. One of the great veterans of the jazz vocal art.  Approaching 80, he continues to offer definitive displays of his still potent, richly creative abilities. Ronnie Scott’s.   020 7439 0747

Berlin

- Feb. 5. (Sun.)  Becca Stevens. Singer, composer and multiple instrumentalist (guitar, ukulele and charango), Stevens also manages to find a way to embrace folk, classical and pop in her idiosyncratic, jazz-tinged music.   A-Trane.   030/313 25 50.  Critically acclaimed 2011 album, Weightless.

Peter Erskine photo by Tony Gieske


Picks of the Week: Aug. 30 – Sept. 5

August 30, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Karen Lovely

- Aug. 31. (Tues.)  The Karen Lovely Band. Rising vocal star Lovely is applying her powerful singing to classic blues, richly investing the  styles of the ’30s and ’40s — Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, etc. — with her uniquely contemporary perspective.   Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- Aug. 31. (Tues.)  Lisa Hilton. Jazz pianist Hilton leads her quartet — saxophonist J.D. Allen, bassist Gregg August and drummer Rudy Royston —  focusing on her playing and her compositions in a performance that will no doubt include some selections from her recently released CD, Nuance. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  .

- Aug. 31. (Tues.)  John Altman. He’s been a visible factor in jazz and pop music for decades, as a composer, arranger, producer and conductor.  But Altman’s also an impressive alto saxophonist as well.  Hear him in one of the Southland’s most laid back jazz settings.  Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

- Aug. 31. (Tues.)  Yuval Ron EnsembleSeeker of the Truth. The Ron Ensemble performs ecstatic music of the Sufi and Jewish traditions, with the Whirling Dervish Aziz and sacred dance artist Maya Karasso.  Also on the program, the vocals of Maya Haddi and the qawwali singing of Pakistan’s Sukhawat Ali KhanSeeker of the Truth.  Morgan-Wixson Theatre, Santa Monica.    Info: (818) 505-1355.

- Aut. 31. (Tues.)  John Pisano’s Guitar Night.  With Howard Alden.  You may not recognize Alden by sight, but you’ve heard his playing if you saw Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown, in which it was dubbed over Sean Penn’s air guitar.  Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

Herbie Hancock

- Sep. 1. (Wed.)  Herbie Hancock Seven Decades – The Birthday Celebration. The Hollywood Bowl’s jazz highlight of the summer season.  The program includes selections from Hancock’s new crossover album,  The Imagine Project.  Among his stellar companions for the night: Wayne Shorter, India.Arie, Jack DeJohnette, Zakir Hussain, Juanes, Esperanza Spalding, Lisa Hannigan, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi and others.  The Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.  Click HERE to read Herbie Hancock’s conversation with iRoM about the making of  “The Imagine Project.”

- Sept. 2. (Thurs.) Leonard Bernstein’s Candide.  A Los Angeles Philharmonic concert staging of Bernstein’s operetta featuring singers Anna Christy, Alek Shrader and Richard Suart with the LA Master ChoraleThe Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- Sept 2. (Thurs.)  Dr. John and the Lower 911.  New Orleans rhythms take over the Santa Monica Pier for a dynamic summer evening.  Dancing, if there’s room, is optional, but probably irresistible.  With Eddie Baytos and the Nervis BrothersTwilight Dance at the Santa Monica Pier.  (310) 458-8900.

- Sept. 2. (Thurs.)  Gail Pettis.  She spends most of her time in her Seattle orthodontist’s office, but Pettis has all the qualities of a breakout jazz vocalist.  She’s not here often, so don’t miss the opportunity to hear her.Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400. 

Gaea Schell

- Sept. 1 & 2. (Wed, & Thurs.) Gaea Schell Quartet Pianist/singer Schell, whose vocals are intimately blended with her articulate piano work, makes a pair of appearances, backed by bassist Essiet Essiet at Vibrato , (310) 474-9400, on Wednesday, and with Essiet, saxophonist Chuck Manning and drummer Sylvia Cuenca at the Crowne Plaza Brasserie Jazz Lounge,  (310) 642-7500, on Thursday.

- Sept. 2 – 5. (Thurs. – Sun.) Mary Wilson You know her from her chart busting performances with the Supremes, and Wilson continues to honor that legacy.  But she’s also emerged as a talented, jazz and blues artist in her own right.  Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.  .

- Sept. 3 & 4. (Fri. & Sat.)  Earth, Wind & Fire celebrate their 40th anniversary, performing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and FireworksThe Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- Sept. 3 – 6. (Fri. – Mon.)  Sweet & Hot Music Festival.  The 15th installment of this annual event celebrates the great jazz mainstream – from up tempo swing to seductive blues and balladry.  Featured artists include  Ernestine Anderson, Herb Jeffires, Banu Gibson, Jack Sheldon Orchestra, The Mills Brothers, Harry Allen, Howard Alden and dozens of others.  Over 200 musicians performing at eight different locations in 180 events, with four dance floors encouraging fancy footwork. .  LAX Marriott Hotel.  Sweet & Hot Music Festival.   (909) 983-0106.

Louie Cruz Beltran

- Sept. 5. (Sun.)  La Vida Music Festival.   An evening of music celebrating L.A.’s rich array of Latin musical cultures.  With Louis Cruz Beltran, Poncho Sanchez.  Real Tango, the Mariachi Divas, Robert Kyle’s Brazilian Quartet and Chalo Eduardo’s Brazilian BeatTommy Hawkins hosts.  Ford Amphitheatre. (323) 461-3673

- Sept. 6. (Mon.) Fantasea One Labor Day Yacht Party.  A mini-cruise and barbeque with four decks of live entertainment, DJs, games, free barbeque, cabanas and more.  Departing from Marina Del Rey at 4 p.m., returning at 8 p.m.  (310) 821-5371.   8th Annual Labor Day Yacht Party.

San Francisco

- Aug. 31 – Sept. 1. (Tues. – Thurs.) Jacky Terrasson.  France’s Terrason burst onto the jazz stage in 1993 as the winner of the Thelonious Monk Piano Competition.  And he didn’t stop there, receiving a pair of Grammy nominations and a string of awards inhis native country.  Always compelling, he makes few West Coast appearances.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600. 

- Sept. 2 – 4 (Thurs. – Sat.)  Marlena Shaw. She’s been crossing genre boundaries – from jazz to soul, disco and beyond – since the mid-‘60s.  And she’s still in rare form.  The Rrazz Room.   (415) 394-1189.

- Sept. 3 – 5. (Fri. – Sun.)  Kenny Burrell Quintet.  Veteran guitarist/educator Burrell leads the scintillating ensemble of saxophonist Tivon Pennicott, bassist Roberto Miranda, pianist Mike Wofford and drummer Clayton Cameron.  To read a recent iRoM review of the Burrell Quintet click HEREYoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

Detroit

Roy Haynes

- Sept. 3 – 6. (Fri. – Mon.)  31st Detroit International Jazz Festival.  This year’s event has as stellar a line up as any jazz festival of the year.  But the price is right for this one.  Here are some of the highlight performers: Roy Haynes and his Fountain of Youth Band, Maria Schneider, Branford Marsalis, Myra Melford, Freddy Cole, Ledisi, Mulgrew Miller & Kenny Barron Duo, Ray Brown Tribute, Danilo Perez, Tower of Power,  Ernie Andrews, Kurt Elling, Ernie Watts, Tower of Power, Gerald Wilson, The Manhattan Transfer and much more.   Free Event.  Detroit International Jazz Festival. At locations in downtown Detroit.

Chicago

- Sept. 2 – 5. (Fri.- Sun.)  The 32nd Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, presented by CareFusion.  Another grat Midwest jazz festival, also priced for everyone’s pocketbook.  Here are some of the high points of a line up that also includes an array of Chicago-based talent of all ages.  Brad Mehldau, Henry Threadgill, Kurt Elling, Rene Marie, Ramsey Lewis, Chuchito Valdes, Brian Blade Fellowship Band, Charisma with a Lee Morgan Tribute, Ted Sirota.  Free Event.  At locations throughout Chicago.  Chicago Jazz Festival (312) 427-1676.   (313) 447-1248.

New York

- Aug. 31 – Sept. 1 (Tues. & Wed.) Jimmy Scott.  He’s been one of jazz, soul and r&b’s most unique stylists since he first arrived on the scene.  Still a master of interpretation, he performs here in the companly of jazz harmonica player Gregoire MaretThe Blue Note (212) 475-8592.

Leny Andrade

- Aug. 31 – Sept. 4. (Tues. – Sat.)  Leny Andrade“Return to Birdland: Bossas, Boleros and Jazz.” Andrade’s ability to illuminate the natural jazz roots of bossa nova has made her one of Brazil’s finest jazz vocal artists.  Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

- Aug. 31 – Sept. 5. (Tues. – Sun.)  Paul Motian, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell.  It’s as all-star as it gets, with three masters of their art working in spontaneous tandem.  Don’t miss this one.  Village Vanguard.   (212) 255-4037.

- Sept. 1. (Wed.)  “Endangered Species; The Music of Wayne Shorter” The Irididium opens Big Band Month with a performance by the Wayne Shorter Tribute Big BandDavid Weiss leads the ten piece ensemble in a program surveying music from the full breadth of Shorter’s remarkable catalog of compositions.  Iridium.   (212) 582-2121.

- Sept. 2 – 5. (Wed. – Sun.)  Tuck & Patti.  They started out as a definitive jazz voice and guitar duo, and they continue to bring imagination and musicality to everything they perform.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.


Picks of the Week: March 23 – 28

March 23, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

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

Ray Davies

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

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

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

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

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

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

Billy Childs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diane Schuur

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

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

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

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

San Francisco

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

Eliane Elias

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

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

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

New York

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

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

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

Freda Payne

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

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


PIcks of the Week: March 23 – 29

March 22, 2009

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

nikki-yanovsky1

Nikki Yanofsky

- Mar. 23. (Mon.)  Nikki Yanofsky.  She’s only fifteen, but this young Canadian jazz singer has already headlined at the Montreal Jazz Festival, performed at Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center, and recorded with Herbie Hancock.  Catch her now, so you can say you saw a new star in the ascendancy.   Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  www.catalinajazzclub.com.

- Mar. 24. (Tues.)  Carol Welsman.  Yet another Canadian vocalist, but one who has already established her credentials as one of the jazz world’s uniquely talented, musically compelling singer/pianists.  Vibrato. (310) 474-9400.  www.vibratogrilljazz.com.  Also Mar. 27. (Fri.) at the  Culver Club in the Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Westside.  (310) 649-1776.  http://www.radisson.com/hotels/caculver/dinings.

branfordmarsalis

Branford Marsalis

- Mar. 24 – 28 (Tues. – Sat.)  Branford Marsalis Quartet.  Tenor saxophonist Marsalis’ impressive versatility is on full display in his just-released album, “Metamorphosen.”  Catalina Bar & Grill.  Expect to hear selections from it, including, hopefully, his rarely heard alto sax on the Marsalis original, “Jabberwocky.” (323) 466-2210.  www.catalinajazzclub.com.

- Mar. 26. (Thurs.)  Pharoah’s DaughterBasya Schecter may have been born in Brooklyn, but her musical heart beats with Middle Eastern rhythms.  And her group, Pharoah’s Daughter, weaves comfortably through Hasidic chants, Sephardic folk-rock and her own re-imagining of Mediterranean musics.  Skirball Cultural Center.  (310) 440-4500.  www.skirball.org

- Mar. 26. (Thurs.)  Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, with the Ditty Bops and Van Dyke Parks.  The sixties and seventies still live in the outlaw swing of Hicks and the Licks.  And with the folky Ditty Bops and the unpredictable Parks in the room, anything can happen.   El Rey Theatre. (323) 936-6400    http://www.theelrey.com.

- Mar. 26. (Thurs.)Tenor saxophonist Pete Christlieb’s status as an A-list sideman is fully justified by his far-ranging versatility.  But the best time to hear him is when he’s doing it his way, backed by the solid rhythm section of Jon Mayer, piano, Roy McCurdy, drums and Chris Conner, bass.  Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058.  www.charlieos.com

ron-carter-pic-1

Ron Carter

- Mar. 27 – 28. (Fri. & Sat.)  Ron Carter, Russell Malone, Mulgrew Miller.  All-star trios don’t get much better than this definitive display of mature, creative jazz at its finest.  The Jazz Bakery  (310) 271-9039.  www.jazzbakery.com.

- Mar. 27 – 28. (Fri. & Sat.)  Cryptonights at REDCAT showcase a collection of envelope-stretching contemporary music.  Fri. Myra Melford and Be Bread, the Alex Cline Continuation Quartet.  Sat. The Nels Cline Singers.  The Jeff Gauthier Goatette. REDCAT. (213) 237-2800.  www.redcat.org.   Also at Yoshi’s Oakland, Wed. Mar. 25. and Thurs. Mar. 26.  Yoshi’s Oakland. . (510) 238-9200.  www.yoshis.com.

madeline-peyroux

Madeleine Peyroux

- Mar. 28. (Sat.)  Madeleine Peyroux . Until the recent release of her newest album, “Bare Bones,” Peyroux has built her career as an atmospheric interpretative artist.  Now she’s stepping out on her own, with considerable success, as an intriguing singer songwriter.  William Fitzsimmons, an idiosyncratic songwriter, himself, opens the show.  8 p.m. Club Nokia. (213) 765-7000.  www.clubnokia.com

Mar. 28. (Sat.)  The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra with special guest Ernie Andrews.   One of the country’s biggest, brawniest jazz bands with the inimitable, strutting vocals of a legendary vocalist, performing in the newly expanded Spazio jazz room.  Doesn’t get much better than that.  Spazio in Sherman Oaks.  (818) 728-840o.  http://www.spazio.la/jazz.php.

- Mar. 28. (Sat.)  Prince.  The purple one does what no one seems to have ever done before — perform at three different (if nearby) venues in the same night.  The stunt is in support of the launch of his new web site, http://www.LotusFlow3r.com, and the release of three new studio albums.  He’ll appear at  5:30 p.m. at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live.  (213) 763-6030.   http://www.nokiatheatrelalive.com.  8 p.m. at the Conga Room. (213) 749-0162.  http://www.congaroom.com.  11:30 p.m. at Club Nokia.(213) 765-7000.  www.clubnokia.com.    ..

- Mar. 29. (Sun.)  Jay Leonhart. In set pieces such as “The Bass Lesson, Leonhart supplements his sturdy rhythm playing with a wit and whimsy that place him comfortably in a grouping with jazz humorists Dave Frishberg and Bob Dorough.  The last event before the closing of Steinway Hall @ Fields Pianos.  5 p.m. (310) 471-3979 or Jeannine@FrankEntertainment.com.

- Mar. 29. (Sun.)  Mark Winkler writes the kind of songs that should provide him with a comfortable spot in the Great American Songbook — if anyone’s still interested in melodic, literate, emotionally touching songs, that is.  He celebrates the release of his new CD, “Till I Get It Right,” presumably not referring to his songwriting, since he got that right a while ago.  Cheryl Bentyne makes a guest appearance.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  www.catalinajazzclub.com.

San Francisco

andy_statman2_sm

Andy Statman

- Mar. 23. (Mon.)  Andy Statman Trio.  A pioneer of the klezmer revival that began in the late seventies, Statman — who is proficient on clarinet and mandolin — roves freely from bluegrass and jazz to Eastern European Jewish roots music.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.  www.yoshis.com

- Mar. 25 and 26. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Myra Melford and Be Bread.  The Alex Cline Continuation Quartet, The Nels Cline Singers and The Jeff Gauthier Goatette.   Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.  www.yoshis.com.  Also at REDCAT Mar. 27 & 28.

- Mar. 28.  (Sat.)  Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks. Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.  www.yoshis.com.  Also Mar. 26 at the El Rey.

New York City

ceciltaylor

Cecil Taylor

- Mar. 28. (Sat.)  Cecil Taylor, still as mesmerizing a performer as he was in the fifties and sixties, when he was redefinng the possibilties of the jazz piano.   Merkin Concert Hall at Kaufman Center.  (212) 501-3330.  http://kaufman-center.org/merkin-concert-hall

- Mar. 28. (Sat.)  The Jessica Lurie Ensemble.  The multi-instrumental woodwind artist  roves freely from performance art to Latin music and jazz.  The Jalopy Theatre.  Brooklyn. (718) 395-3214.  http://www.jalopy.biz.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 229 other followers