Picks of the Week: July 21 – 27 In Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City, London, Paris and Tokyo

July 21, 2014

By Don Heckman

It’s another warm Summer week, with many international jazz clubs shuttered in their annual July -August hiatus. But there’s still some fine music to be heard.

Los Angeles

Strunz and Farah

Strunz and Farah

- July 22. (Tues.) Strunz and Farah. The dynamic guitar duo of Costa Rica’s Jorge Strunz and Iran’s Ardeshir Farah, showcase their irresistibly eclectic playing in one of their rare L.A. Appearances. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

- July 22 & 24. (Tues. & Thurs.) Dudamel & Beethoven. The Los Angeles Philharmonic, under the kinetic conducting of Gustavo Dudmel illuminates a July evening with an all-Beethoven’s program featuring the classic Symphony No. 5 and the fascinating Triple Concerto. The Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

Robert Davi

Robert Davi

- July 24. (Thurs,) Robert Davi. “Davi Sings Sinatra.” Actor/singer Davi’s association with Frank Sinatra dates back to the 1977 film Contract on Cherry St. Since then he has become the most musically convincing of the Sinatra-styled singers, applying his own creative imagination to the “Blue Eyes” style. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

- July 24. (Thurs.) Noura Mint Seymali. The compelling voice of Mauritanian singer is featured in the opening event in the Skirball Cultural Center’s 18th Free Sunset Concert Series. The Skirball Cultural Center.  (310) 440-4500.

- July 24 – 26. (Thurs. – Sat.) The Ron Carter Trio. Ron Carter may well be the most recorded bassist in jazz history. But he’s also a fine composer and the leader of his own impressive trios. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (223) 466-2210.

Gloria Estefan

Gloria Estefan

- July 25 – 26. (Fri. & Sat.) America & Americans Festival: Gloria Estefan. The L.A. Phil’s celebration of the music of North and South America continues with an appearance by Grammy-nominated vocalist Setefan with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra conducted by Thomas Wilkins. The Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- Juy 26 (Sat.) Elliott Deutsch Big Band. Trumpeter/arranger/composer Deutsch leads his briskly swinging ensemble with the skills that have made him the arranger of choice for the likes of Cheryle Bentyne, Bill Watrous and others. Vitello’s.  (213) 620-0908.

- July 26 & 27. (Sat. & Sun.) The Central Ave. Jazz Festival. A spectacular assemblage of world class jazz in L.A.’s most memorable jazz setting. Featured artists include Kamasi Washington and Next Step, Patrice Rushen & Ndugu Chancler, Mongorama, The Gerald Wilson Orchestra, Michael Session, Ernie Andrews, Dr. Bobby Rodriguez and more. Admission is free. The Central Ave. Jazz Festival.

- July 27. (Sun.) Peggy King and Corky Hale. She may be best known as “pretty, perky Peggy King” on the ’50s George Gobel television show. But in her later career, King’s matured into an impressive vocal artist. She performs with the superb accompaniment of pianist Corky Hale, who has been at the keyboard (or the harp) with everyone from Billie Holiday to Frank Sinatra.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (223) 466-2210.

San Francisco

Tierney Sutton

Tierney Sutton

- July 24 – 27. (Thurs. – Sun.) Tierney Sutton. “Songs of Joni Mitchell.” A gifted vocalist with an emotionally rich style of her own, Sutton is one of the rare singers to have the musicality and the interpretive skills to handle the complex Mitchell catalof of songs. Click HERE to read an earlier iRoM review of Sutton singing Mitchell. An SFJAZZ event at Joe Henderson Lab. (866) 920-5299.

New York City

- July 22 – 26. (Tues. – Sat.) John Pizzarelli and the Swing Seven. Singer/guitarist Pizzarelli is in his most appealing medium when he’s digging into the pleasures of Swing, backed by an equally swinging bunch of players – as he is here. Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

London

Randy Brecker

Randy Brecker

- July 22 – 24. (Tues. – Thurs.) The Brecker Bros. Reunion Band. Trumpeter Randy Brecker and saxophonist Michael Brecker were one of the gifted brother acts in modern jazz. Since the death of Michael in 2007, Randy has kept the memories of the Brecker Bros. Band alive and well. He’s joined by his wife, Ada Rovatti, in the band’s saxophone chair. Ronnie Scott’s. +44 (0)20 7439 0747.

Paris

- July 24. (Thurs.) The Mike Stern & Bill Evans Band. Expect some blues grooves and fusion fireworks when Stern and Evans get together with drummer Dennis Chambers and bassist Tom Kennedy. New Morning Paris.  +33 1 45 23 51 41.

Tokyo

- July 25 – 27. (Fri. – Sun.) Jose James. In his own unique way, vocalist James is searching for, and often finding, a blend between jazz, soul and hip-hop. Will it please the fans of each genre? Check him out and see. Blue Note Tokyo.  +81 3-5485-0088.

 

 

 


Live Jazz: The 60th Anniversary of Jazz at Massey Hall and the Newport Jazz Festival at Disney Hall

March 16, 2014

By Don Heckman

A pair of memorable jazz celebrations filled Disney Hall Saturday night with an enthusiastic crowd of listeners. Both segments of the performance were dedicated to 60th anniversaries. The first was a rare musical re-imagining of the 1953 Massey Hall (Toronto) performance that featured the brilliantly iconic quintet of Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus and Max Roach.

That’s as classic a bebop ensemble as has ever been heard, anywhere. And the challenge facing anyone attempting to simulate the classic Massey Hall performance (which is available on recordings) was to recall the original without falling into mimickry.

Jon Faddis

Jon Faddis

To the credit of the Massey Hall-revisited band at Disney – trumpeter Jon Faddis, alto saxophonist Jesse Davis, pianist Bill Charlap, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny Washington – they performed a dynamic set of numbers vividly bringing the bebop era to life.

Faddis’ long-time relationship with Gillespie was present in everything he played. There were passages in which Faddis, like Gillespie, explored the trumpet’s full range of pitch and expressionism, often dominating the stage with ear-tingling high notes and storm clouds of fast-fingered riffing.

Saxophonist Davis brought both an affection for Charlie Parker, as well as a similarity of sound and phrasing, to his full-toned improvisations. Standing side by side with Faddis, ripping through such bebop classics as “Groovin’ High,” “Salt Peanuts,” “All the Things You Are,” “Hot House,” “Night In Tunisia” and more, propulsively driven by the strong rhythm team, he partnered in an effective recalling of one of contemporary jazz’s most memorable musical excursions.

Anat Cohen

Anat Cohen

The second half of the bill celebrated the 60th anniversary of the start of the Newport Jazz Festival. This ensemble, with saxophonist/clarinetist Anat Cohen serving as musical director, offered an equally appealing array of players: Cohen, pianist Peter Martin, trumpeter Randy Brecker, singer Karrin Allyson, guitarist Mark Whitfield, bassist Ben Allison and drummer Clarence Penn.

Here, however, there was no special effort to offer contemporized versions of the bebop past. Instead, the ensemble, in its natural diversity, recalled the ever-appealing range of music that has always been an essential element in the colorful history of the Newport Festival.

The first numbers showcased the trumpet virtuosity of Brecker, ably supported by the band’s dynamic rhythm team.

Karrin Allyson

Karrin Allyson

But as the program continued, a different musical direction took over, guided imaginatively by the two women in the ensemble: Cohen and Allyson.  Always as improvisationally expansive as an instrumentalist, Allyson was at her best in a performance of “’Round Midnight” that showcased the full range of her expressive powers.

The highlight of the set, however, as well as the entire evening, was a reading of “La Vie En Rose” featuring Allyson’s lush-toned voice in tandem with the emotionally rich clarinet of Cohen. Singing and playing with expansive creative intensity, often moving with the subtle gestures of dancers, both brought a rarely heard feminine jazz expressiveness to the French classic — and the balance of the program.

In sum, there was a vital appropriateness in the qualities that were constantly present in the efforts of Cohen and Allyson, beautifully enlivening the transformative gender qualities that have become part of the jazz lexicon over the past 60 years.


Here, There & Everywhere: April Williams Resigns from Vitello’s

January 19, 2014

By Don Heckman

Jazz clubs come and go in most major cities. Los Angeles is no exception. The Jazz Bakery lost its home in Culver City in 2009. Charlie O’s in Van Nuys was shuttered in 2011. Both were vital homes for L.A.’s finest jazz artists and valuable destinations for jazz fans.

April Williams

April Williams

This month, Upstairs at Vitello’s, another jazz room, is not closing down. But it is apparently changing its management and its scheduling.  And April Williams, who has been primarily responsible for establishing Upstairs at Vitello’s as a major Los Angeles Jazz venue, is moving on.  To explain her decision, Williams has written a letter to the musicians, the fans and the friends who will all be impacted by her departure from Vitello’s.

* * * * * * * *

Here’s her letter:

Dear Beloved Musicians and Friends

Happy New Year! I wish you good health, happiness and prosperity. I am so grateful for all the great performances, your friendship and the good times we have shared together.

With the New Year there are endings and new beginnings. I am very excited about my plans for 2014.  However, as excited as I am about new projects in the works, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you that, due to ongoing artistic differences with the management, I will be terminating my residency at Vitello’s as of February 1, 2014. I thank Vitello’s for the opportunities they extended to me when I knocked on their door in 2009 when the world was economically crashing down. I told them I had a vision that I could create a Jazz Night one day a week..and they gave me that opportunity.

February 2014 is the five-year anniversary of my residency at Vitello’s. We have all done so much uniting and growing the communities involvement with live music. Together we have proven that the music community is a vital entity that survives through the worst economic years of the country. In addition to the audiences we attracted to Vitello’s, I ran and continue to run 5 years of composers’ Study groups, we raised $17k for tsunami relief in Japan, we celebrated Grammy Nominees and winners, Big Bands, Young Artists and night after night the magic of music.

I financed the first 9 months personally, bought the equipment and as the power of the music expanded, Vitello’s joined in. I created over 20,000 jobs for musicians in the last five years. I am proud of what we have achieved together. What we’ve learned in the years at Vitello’s is that there is a dedicated Los Angeles audience for the finest jazz of every style and genre. And my new plans will open the doors to venues eager to provide those audiences with the world-class music they’re eager to hear.

I gratefully thank all of you for your selfless sharing of yourselves and your music. And I thank you, too, for your constant support and extraordinary performances over the last five years. Your playing and singing set the creative bar high. And you always embraced me and delivered on your musical promises. In return, I did the very best I could to give you all the services you deserve to properly honor your music.

The audiences I thank as well. You are musical forces unto yourselves. Composed of musicians, aficionados, writers, photographers, sound teams, and fans, students and educators, you all came forward to preserve the music culture of Los Angeles.

It has been a fantastic run. I am so grateful to have worked alongside the best musicians in the world. Musician Friends, that is, who have all become my closest and dearest associates.

I look forward to working together again with all of you in the near future.

Stay tuned. More news coming shortly.

And remember…the difference between noise and music is the amount of space between the notes.

Love and peace,

April Williams

april@redcarpetjazz.com

www.downbeatentertainment.com

*  * * * * * *

When he heard about Williams’ plans to move on from Vitello’s, Joe LaBarbera, one of the Southland’s finest, busiest players, wrote a response to Williams’ letter with his own commentary about her departure from the room. 

* * * * * * * *

Here’s Joe’s message:

Dear April,

Joe LaBarbera

Joe LaBarbera

5 years ago you took a vacant space in a mediocre Italian restaurant and magically transformed it into a real jazz club. Starting with just one night a week, the reputation of the club grew along with the roster of artists who were happy to play there, local at first and eventually from coast to coast. You improved every aspect of that room to make it THE place to play in Los Angeles.

It’s been true of every great club I have known over the years that the only reason it is successful is because the person in charge loves the music. Max Gordon at the Village Vanguard, Sonny Canterino at the Half Note, Shelly Manne and Rudy Underwieser at the Manne Hole, Mike and Randy Brecker at 7th Ave. These are just a few examples.

Thank you, April for a great run and I look forward to working together in the future.

Love,

Joe LaBarbera 

* * * * *

As Joe LaBarbera’s letter makes abundantly clear, April Williams has had a significant impact upon both the quantity and the quality of jazz in Los Angeles.  And she will continue to play a leading role in the jazz and the music communities that have benefited so much from her presence. As April’s letter clearly indicates: Stay tuned for her future plans.

Photos by Faith Frenz.


Picks of the Weekend: December 13 – 15

December 12, 2013

By Don Heckman

 Los Angeles

Mike Stern

Mike Stern

- Dec. 13 – 15. (Fri. – Sun.) Mike Stern Quartet. Guitarist Stern moves convincingly across jazz styles with ease. And he’s backed by a band – featuring Randy Brecker, Anthony Jackson and Dave Weckl – that is equally versatile – and swinging. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Dec. 13 – 15. (Fri. – Sun) “Christmas with Gustavo.” The Los Angeles Philharmonic plays the Nutcracker Suite (complete), under the celebratory baton of Musical Director Gustavo Dudamel. Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

- Dec. 13. (Fri.) Don Menza Quartet. Saxophonist Menza is high on the list of first call players, regardless of style. This time out, she steps into his own musical spotlight. Vibrato. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

- Dec. 13. (Fri.) The Oak Ridge Boys. Christmas Time’s A Comin’” with the iconic country group presenting their own warm and fuzzy Christmas celebration. Valley Performing Arts Center (818) 677-8800

April Williams

April Williams

- Dec. 15. (Sun.) The Ron Jones Influence Jazz Orchestra and April Williams. “It’s A Big Band Holiday.” Christmas music in a big jazz band setting, with Ron Jones 21 piece big band, featuring holiday classics sung by tuneful April Williams. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

San Francisco

Sheila E.

Sheila E.

- Dec. 13 & 14. (Fri. & Sat.) Sheila E. Birthday Celebration. Singer/percussionist Sheila Escovedo is a compelling performer who is as musically gripping as she is entertaining. Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

Chicago

- Dec. 13 – 15. (Fri. – Sun.) The Fred Hersch Trio. Pianist Hersch’s playing recalls the engaging aspects of the jazz piano trio style that reaches back to Bill Evans. The Jazz Showcase. (312) 360-0234.

 New York City

Fourplay

- Dec. 13 – 15. (Fri. – Sun) Fourplay. With Bob James, keyboards, Chuck Loeb, guitar, Harvey Mason, drums, Nathan East, bass, Fourplay continues to maintain its well-deserved reputation as a world class contemporary jazz ensemble. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.

 Copenhagen

- Dec. 15. (Sun.) Love & Peace. The Music of Horace Parlan. Bop piano stylist Parlan has had medical problems intruding on his playing in recent years. But his music is being keep alive in Copenhagen by the American/Danish ensemble of Bob Rockwell, tenor saxophone and Doug Raney, guitar, from the U.S. and Jesper Lundgaard, bass, Henrik Gunde, piano and Aage Tanggaard, drums, from Denmark. Jazzhus Montmartre. +45 31 72 34 94.

 Tokyo

Roberta Flack

Roberta Flack

- Dec. 14 & 15. (Sat. & Sun.) Roberta Flack. Singer/songwriter Flack may be in her mature years, but she’s still singing with the vitality of a gifted young artist. Hopefully she’ll include “Killing Me Softly” and ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” in her program. The Blue Note Tokyo.+81 3-5485-0088.


Picks of the Week: Sept. 10 – 15

September 10, 2013

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

George Gershwin

George Gershwin

- Sept. 10 (Tues.) Rachmaninoff and Gershwin. “Romantic Favorites.” The Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya with piano soloist Daniil Trifonov, performs a program of richly colorful, early 20th century music. Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- Sept. 11. (Wed.) George Benson Inspiration Tour. A Tribute To Nat “King” Cole. Guitarist/singer Benson brings convincing life to the Cole song book. Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- Sept. 12 & 13. (Thurs. & Fri.) Joey DeFrancesco. Jazz organist DeFrancesco is joined by guitarist Steve Cotter and drummer Ramon Banda in a definitive display of jazz organ trio music. Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

Roberta Gambarini

Roberta Gambarini

- Sept. 12 – 14. (Thurs. – Sat.) Roberta Gambarini.   Italian-born Gambarini continues to assert her musical aulthenticity as one of contemporary jazz’s finest vocalists. She’s joined by special guest, Kenny Burrell. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Sept. 13 & 14. (Fri. & Sat.) Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express. One of the most appealing pop/rock, jazz-influenced bands of the late ’60s, the Oblivion Express, in keyboardist Auger’s hands, still continues to produce exciting music. The Baked Potato.  (818) 980-1615.

- Sep. 13 – 15. (Fri. – Sun.) Fireworks Finale: Earth, Wind & Fire with Thomas Wilkins and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. It’s an attractive line-up of talent, enhanced by the usual spectacular fireworks, bringing the 2013 season to a pyrotechnic closure. Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- Sept. 14. (Sat.) Tom Peterson Quartet. Saxophonist/woodwind player Peterson, one of Minnesota’s many gifts to jazz, balances first rate playing with a busy career as a producer, educator, clinician and more. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. r (310) 474-9400.

Cheryl Bentyne and Mark Winkler

Cheryl Bentyne and Mark Winkler

- Sept. 15. (Sun.) Cheryl Bentyne and Mark Winkler. The Manhattan Transfer’s Bentyne teams up with jazz vocalist Winkler to celebrate the CD Release party for their new album, West Coast Cool. Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

- Sept. 15. (Sun.) John Proulx. Pianist/vocalist Proulx continues to display a warmly interpretive vocal style, backed by the solid support of his swinging piano work. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

- Sept. 15. (Sun.) Julie Esposito. She’s an attorney/jazz singer, one of the more unlikely hyphenates in the L.A. music scene. And, somehow, Esposito handles both her skill sets with authority and complete authenticity. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

San Francisco

Randy Brecker

Randy Brecker

- Sept. 12. (Thurs.) The United Trumpet Summit. The title is exactly right, given the presence in the U.T.S. of a stellar line-up of world class trumpeters, including Randy Brecker, Dr. Eddie Henderson, Jeremy Pelt and Leon Jordan, Jr. Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655.5600.

Portland, Oregon

- Sept. 12. (Thurs.) Jacqui Naylor. She’s one of the contemporary jazz vocal world’s most versatile artists, moving easily from straight ahead jazz to folk rock and adult alternative genres. Hear her in action. Jimmy Mak’s.  (503) 295-6542.

Seattle

Nellie McCay

Nellie McCay

- Sept. 10 & 11. (Tues. & Wed.) Nellie McKay. Singer/actress/humorist MacKay balances a sardonic sense of humor with stunning musicality and an easy comfort with genres reaching from jazz to rap, funk and beyond. Jazz Alley.  (206) 441-9729.

New York City

- Sept. 10 & 11. (Tues. & Wed.) Dave Liebman Expansions Quintet. Always eager to explore new musical territory, saxophonist Liebman leads an adventurous new ensemble. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.

- Sept. 13 – 15. (Fri. – Sun.) Staney Jordan Trio. Guitarist Jordan’s unique, tapping style of playing has created virtual one-man-band sounds. But this time out he expands his possibilities in a trio setting. Iridium (212) 582-2121.

Washington D.C.

Gary Burton

Gary Burton

- Sept. 12 & 13. (Thurs. & Fri.) The New Gary Burton Quartet.70th Bday Tour.Vibist Burton, one of his instrument’s most gifted practitioners, celebrates his 70th birthday in the company of Julian Lage, guitar, Scott Colley, bass and Antonio Sanchez, drums. Blues Alley (202) 337-4141.

London

- Sept. 10 – 12. (Tues. – Thurs.) Jose Feliciano. Guitarist Feliciano has been a uniquely appealing singer/guitarist since his ’60s hit version of “Light My Fire.” And, at 67, he’s still going strong. Ronnie Scott’s. +44 (0) 7439 0747.

Milan

- Sept. 11. (Wed.) Big One – The European Pink Floyd Show “Biglietto Cumulativo.“ The music of the English art rock band of the ’60s continues to appeal to audiences around the world. Blue Note Milano. +39 02 6901 6888. 

Tokyo

Chick Corea

Chick Corea

- Sept. 10 & 11. (Tues. & Wed.) Chick Corea and The Vigil. The iconic keyboardist/composer has once again organized a new collective to express his ever-curious, creative musical adventures. The Vigil includes the gifted, youthful Tim Garland, Carlitos Del Puerto, Marcus Gilmore, Charles Altura and Luisito Quintero. Blue Note Tokyo. 03-5485-0088. 


LIve Jazz: Amanda Brecker at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.

March 21, 2013

By Don Heckman

Amanda Brecker, a new face in the continually expanding jazz vocal field, made a rare Southland appearance Wednesday night at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  Arriving shortly after the release of her new CD, Blossom (Decca), she spent a substantial portion of her two set-program singing the songs of James Taylor and Carole King that she covers on the album.

That’s a memorable repertoire, one that was the virtual soundtrack for many music fans in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s via songs such as “It’s Too Late Now,” “Sweet Baby James,” and more.

Amanda Brecker

In contrast, Brecker, who plays guitar and piano, also included a substantial serving of her own songs, many from Here I Am, her award-winning first album, released in Japan.

Conceptually, the combination is an intriguing career move for Brecker.  Her youthful energy, soaring vocals and contemporary interpretations open the classic King/Taylor repertoire for a potentially broader demographic than graying, boomer memorabilia seekers.  Probably even a younger audience.  Add to that her own imaginative songs, which have clearly been influenced by the King/Taylor singer/songwriter styles.

But the real key, of course, is how effectively she delivers it.  Her recordings have been well received, the work of a gifted young artist.  (Her creative credentials have clearly been enhanced by the legacy of her parents – Brazilian jazz pianist/singer Eliane Elias and jazz trumpeter Randy Brecker.)

The Amanda Brecker Band

The Amanda Brecker Band

In addition, her performance at Vibrato was backed by the sterling accompaniment of guitarists Jesse Harris (who also produced Blossom) and Anthony Wilson, bassist Lee Sklar (who performed on some of the original King and Taylor recordings), pianist Jon Gilutin and drummer Mike Shapiro.

However, Brecker’s determined effort — along with Jesse Harris, her producer — to remain close, in concept and arrangement, to the original King/Taylor versions tended to somewhat limit her expressive potential.  And I couldn’t help but wonder what she might have done with songs such as “You’ve Got A Friend,” “I Don’t Want To Be Lonely Tonight, ”So Far Away” and “You Can Close Your Eyes” had she viewed them through the prism of her own creativity.

Nor did her originals, which were unfamiliar items, always emerge with the clarity they deserved.  Brecker is a song writer with a promising future.  But in performance, she would be well advised, at this stage, to frame her songs with the sort of brief introduction that could help draw her listeners into the heart of her musical story telling.

All that said, it was nonetheless a real pleasure to hear Amanda Brecker’s undeniable talents up close and personal. Amid the crowds of arriving female jazz singers, she’s one of a kind.

* * * * * * * *

Amanda Brecker photo by Bobby Colomby.

Amanda Brecker Band photo by Faith Frenz.


Picks of the Week: Mar. 19 – 24

March 19, 2013

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Dorothy Dale Kloss

Dorothy Dale Kloss

- Mar. 20. (Wed.)  “Three For the Show.”  A trio of veteran performers celebrate the music of Broadway, cabaret and beyond: Dorothy Dale Kloss, at 89, is described as the world’s oldest, still performing show girl; Suzy Cadham was a Golddigger on the Dean Martin Show, and Ken Prescott starred on Broadway in 42nd St. Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- Mar. 20. (Wed.)  Amanda Brecker. Singer/songwriter Brecker has an impressive lineage – her mother is Brazilian pianist/singer Eliane Elias, her father is jazz trumpeter Randy Brecker.  But Amanda has her own unique musicality, as well.  Her current project is Blossom, a new CD honoring the 40th anniversary of Carole King’s Tapestry. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Mar. 22 & 23. (Fri. & Sat.)  Julie Esposito.  She’s a rare hyphenate – attorney/singer, but she manages to fulfill both roles impressively.  Julie’s current show, “Open Your Window,” is a musical celebration of life—through the songs of Sondheim, Bernstein and more – delivered with the stylish, story-telling qualities that are the essence of her art.  The Gardenia.  (323) 467-7444.

Savion Glover

Savion Glover

- Mar. 22. (Fri.)  Savion Glover.  Watching, and hearing, tap dancer Glover is like experiencing a world class drummer in tap shoes.  There’s no one quite like him, so don’t miss one of his rare Southland appearances. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.    (562) 916-8501

- Mar. 23. (Sat.)  Frank Stallone.  Vitello’s. Grammy and Golden Globe-nominated actor/singer Stallone follows convincingly in the classic styles of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and others.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Mar. 24. (Sun.)  Yuja Wang.  Pianist Wang makes her Disney Hall recital debut with a challenging program reaching from Mendelssohn and Ravel to Debussy, Scriabin and Rachmaninoff.   Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

- Mar. 24. (Sun.)  The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.  “Mostly Baroque.”  The title is right on target for a LACO program encompassing Bach, Handel, Mozart and Stravinsky.  Music Director Jeffrey Kahane will conduct from the keyboard, with soloists Margaret Batjer, violin, and David Shostac, flute.  A CAP UCLA concert at Royce Hall.  (310) 825-2101.

San Francisco

Sheila E.

Sheila E.

- Mar. 20 – 22. (Wed, – Fri.)  Sheila E.  She comes from a high visibility music world family, but she’s learned how to dominate a stage with her magnetic skills as a percussionist, singer, vocalist, songwriter and a lot more, while looking sensational.  Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

New York City

- Mar. 19 – 23. (Tues. – Sat.)  The Tierney Sutton Band.  Grammy-nominated Sutton approaches every song she sings with an imaginative overview, superbly aided by the Band that is an essential element in her deeply expressive musical story telling.  Birdland.    (212) 581-3080.

Madeleine Peyroux

Madeleine Peyroux

- Mar. 22 – 24. (Fri. – Sun.)  Madeleine Peyroux.  Always an unusual vocal talent, Peyroux has moved well beyond the Billie Holiday influences in her early recordings, into a versatile singer with the skill and the imagination to embrace everything from classic standards to Leonard Cohen, Randy Newman, John Hartford and beyond.  Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.    (212) 258-9800.

London

Mar. 20. (Wed.)  Kai Hoffman.  The glamorous vocalist Hoffman celebrates the release of her new CD, Do It While You Can.  Click HERE to read an iRoM review of the album.    Ronnie Scott’s.    +44 20 7439 0747

Copenhagen

- Mar. 22. (Fri.) Marilyn Mazur.  Percussionist Mazur was American-born, but she’s lived in Denmark since the age of 6.  She performs here with Celestial Circle — a group of stellar European jazz artists that includes vocalist Josefine Cronholm, pianist John Taylor and bassist Anders Jormin. Jazzhus Montmarte.   +45 31 72 34 94.

Stockholm

- Mar. 21. (Thurs.)  Frank Gambale Natural High Trio.  Australian fusion guitarist Gambale moves comfortably across genre lines, from rock shredding to straight ahead jazz.  He’s joined in his Natural High Trio by pianist Otmaro Ruiz and bassist Alain CaronFasching.    08-534 829 60.

Berlin

Sandro Albert

Sandro Albert

- Mar. 24. (Sun.)  The Sandro Albert Quartet.  Guitarist Albert is one of Brazil’s most convincing jazz artists.  He’s backed here by a prime American rhythm section – keyboardist James Weidman, bassist Michael O’Brian and drummer Tom BrechtleinA-Trane.   +49 30 3132 ext. 550.

 Milan

- Mar. 23. (Sat.)  The Ron Carter Trio.  Iconic bassist Carter has spent his life playing for world class artists.  And he continues to do so here with his own group, featuring pianist Donald Vega and guitarist Russell Malone.  Click HERE to read a recent iRom review of Carter.  Blue Note Milano.   +39 02 6901 6888

Qatar

- Mar. 19 – 24. (Tues. – Sun.)  Ulysses Owens Jr. Quintet. Grammy-winning drummer Owens has already established himself – in his ‘20s – as first call player whose resume is already filled with world-class performances.  Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha.    +974.4446.0000.

Tokyo

Hiromi

Hiromi

.

- Mar. 22 – 24. (Fri. – Sun.)  Hiromi Uehara Solo.  Performing in a solo setting, the gifted Hiromi finds ways to transform her keyboards – from acoustic to electric – into a virtual orchestra for the fullest expression of her improvisational ingenuity.  Blue Note Tokyo.  +81 3-5485-0088.


Picks of the Week – Oct. 24 – 28

October 24, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Sally Kellerman

- Oct. 34 (Wed.)  Sally Kellerman.  Hot Lips herself, in action.  But Sally’s a one of a kind vocalist, too, bringing interpretive magic to everything she sings. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Oct. 24. (Wed.)  Gabriel Johnson.  Emerging jazz trumpeter Johnson has been praised by Clint Eastwood and Chris Botti, and performed with everyone from Gladys Knight to Gerald Albright.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.     (310) 474-9400.

- Oct. 25. (Thurs.)  Robert Glasper Experiment.  Adventurous pianist Glasper has been pioneering the territory between jazz and contemporary pop.  His special guests include Jose James, Taylor McFerrin and Austin PeraltaCAP UCLA at Royce Hall.   (310) 825-2101

- Oct. 25. (Thurs.)  Ariana Savalas. Singer/songwriter/actress Savalas, the offspring of a show biz family, is making her own way as a rising vocalist.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.     (310) 474-9400.

- Oct. 25. (Thurs.)  Kathy Kosins.  “The Ladies of Cool.”  Singer Kosins celebrates the work of such West Coast-oriented jazz vocalists as June Christy, Julie London, Anita O’Day and Chris Connor.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Bob Dylan

- Oct. 26. (Fri.)  Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler.  The legendary Dylan makes a rare appearance in Los Angeles in companionship with the British singer/songwriter/guitarist best known for his work with the band Dire Straits.  The Hollywood Bowl.     (323) 850-2000.

- Oct. 26 & 27. (Fri. & Sat.) Eddie Daniels.  The great clarinetist – and fine saxophonist, as well – makes his annual L.A. appearance, reminding us that the clarinet is still a great jazz instrument.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Oct. 26 – 28. (Fri. – Sun.)  Buster Williams Quartet.  Versatile bassist Williams leads a stellar group of Southland players — keyboardist Patrice Rushen, saxophonist Mark Gross and drummer Ndugu ChanclerCatalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- Oct. 27. (Sat.)  Ron Carter Quartet.  Carter – for decades everyone’s first call bassist — has also offered some breakthrough music of his own. This time out he performs with the cutting edge musical ideas of the Robert Glasper TrioCAP at UCLA Royce Hall.  (310) 825-2101.

- Oct. 27. (Sat.) Michael Feinstein.  “The Sinatra Project.”  One of the champions of the Great American Songbook, singer/pianist Feinstein interprets a program of songs associated with Frank Sinatra.  Segerstrom Hall at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.    (714) 556-2746.

Leon Russell

San Francisco

- Oct. 24. (Wed.)  Leon Russell.  One of the vital singer/songwriters of the rock era, Russell, at 70 is still going strong.  Don’t miss this rare club appearance.  Yoshi’s Oakland.      (510) 238-9200.

New York

- Oct. 24 – 28. (Wed. – Sun.).  Jimmy Heath 86th Birthday Celebration.  NEA Jazz Master Heath goes back to his roots to celebrate his 86th birthday with the Jimmy Heath Big Band — an assemblage of New York’s stellar players.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

- Oct. 26. (Fri.)  Kendra Shank.  The ever-adventurous, always musically engaging  Shank performs the last Friday of every month at the 55 Bar.   (212) 929-9883.

London

- Oct. 26. (Fri.)  Steve Smith and Vital Information.  Smith has been voted #1 All-Around Drummer by Modern Drummer magazine five years in a row.  In addition to his far-ranging pop and rock activities, he also leads the high energy jazz group Vital Information  Ronnie Scott’s.   (0) 20 7439 0747.

Copenhagen

- Oct. 24 & 25. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Roditi/Ignatzek/Rassinfosse.  The remarkable trio of trumpeter Claudio Roditi, pianist Klaus Ignatzek and bassist Jean-Louis Rassinfosse have been performing together for 25 years, emphasizing the Brazilian songbook and the repertoire associated with Chet Baker.  Jazzhus Montmartre.    (+45) 70 15 65.

Milan

- Oct. 25. (Thurs.)  Kenny Werner.  Versatile pianist, composer and writer arrives in Italy with a world class ensemble: saxophonist David Sanchez, trumpeter Randy Brecker, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Antonio SanchezBlue Note Milan.    02. 69016888.

Tokyo

The Manhattan Transfer

.

- Oct. 24 – 26. (Wed. – Fri.)  The Manhattan Transfer.  Nearly four decades in the jazz world spotlight, and the gifted members of the Transfer continue to produce music that brilliantly defines and expands the potential in vocal ensemble jazz.  Blue Note Tokyo.


Picks of the Week: Sept. 11 – 16

September 11, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Sarah Chang

- Sept. 11. (Tues.)  Sarah Chang. A gifted child prodigy, violinist Chang has matured into a superb interpretive artist. In this far-reaching program, she performs a suite from Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Bramwell Tovey.  Also on the bill – works by Copland and Gershwin.  The Hollywood Bowl.    (323) 850-2000.

- Sept. 12. (Wed.)  Dave Matthews Band.  Hollywood Bowl. Twenty years after singer/songwriter/guitarist formed the Band, the Grammy-winning ensemble continues to produce fascinating music – most recently in the just released CD Away From the World.   The Hollywood Bowl.    (323) 850-2000.

- Sept. 13. (Thurs.)  Patrick Berrogain’s Hot Club Combo.  The hard swinging sounds and rhythms of Django Reinhardt’s gypsy jazz are alive and well in the hands of Berrogain’s Hot Club.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.    (310) 474-9400.

Itzhak Perlman

- Sept. 13. (Thurs.)  Itzhak Perlman plays Tchaikovsky. The final classical concert of the 2012 Bowl season climaxes, appropriately, with the incomparable Perlman, performing the irresistible Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Bramwell Tovey.  Call it a winning combination.  The Hollywood Bowl.  The Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- Sept. 13. (Thurs.)  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. “Music and Story” The LACO’s first “Westside Connection” of the new season features writer Mark Salzman in a musical narrative piece describing the way Bach’s Cello Suite No. 3 (here performed by Andrew Shulman) relieved his struggles with writers’ block.  The Broad Stage.  (213) 622-7001.

- Sept. 13. (Thurs.)  Sons of Etta.  A celebration of the life and music of the great Etta James.  Featured performers include Thelma Jones, saxophonist/harmonica player Jimmy Z and Donto James – the Grammy-winning son of James and the leader of her Roots Band. Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- Sept. 14. (Fri.)  Sascha’s Bloc Band.  A stirring evening of music tinged with an Eastern European flavor, while reaching out to encompass gypsy jazz, contemporary jazz, flamenco, swing, blues and country.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Fiona Apple

- Sept. 14. (Fri.)  Fiona Apple. The Grammy winning singer/songwriter celebrates the release of The Idler Wheel…, her first album in seven years.  The Greek Theatre.    (323) 665-5857.

- Sept. 14. (Fri.)  Joe Bagg Organ 4.  Keyboardist Bagg brings some ear-opening new ideas to the traditional organ jazz trio, with the enthusiastic aid of trumpeter Ron Stout, guitarist Jamie Rosenn and drummer Ryan Doyle.  The eminently listenable duo of pianist Jeff Colella and pianist Putter Smith open the evening.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.    (310) 474-9400.

- Sept. 14 – 16. (Fri. – Sun.)  Brian Setzer OrchestraThe Fireworks Finale.  The Grammy winning rockabilly swingster leads his big band, aided by conductor Thomas Wilkins and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in a glorious, season-topping grand finale.  The Hollywood Bowl. The Hollywood Bowl.    (323) 850-2000.

- Sept. 16. (Sun.)  Phil Norman Tentet.  Swinging West Coast jazz of the ‘50s is alive, well, and completely contemporary in the arrangements and the playing of Norman’s talented Tentet.  Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

San Francisco

- Sept 14 – 16. (Fri. – Sun.)  John Scofield Trio.  Guitarist Scofield’s eclectic musical path has now arrived at a classic musical encounter with a pair of gifted musical associates – bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bill Stewart. Yoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.

Seattle

Pat Metheny

- Sept. 13 – 16. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Pat Metheny Unity Band.  Ever on the lookout for new ideas, guitarist Metheny now finds inspiration in an older instrumentation – the jazz quartet, with the stellar aid of Chris Potter, saxophones, Ben Williams, bass and Antonio Sanchez, drums.  Jazz Alley.  (206) 441-9729.

Chicago

- Sept. 13 – 16. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Mulgrew Miller Trio.  Everybody’s a-list pianist, Miller – active as a musician and an educator – steps into the spotlight to display his invigorating improvisational style.  Jazz Showcase.    (312) 360-0234.

Boston

- Sept. 13 & 14. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Joe Lovano “Us Five.”  Saxophonist Lovano’s new band is overflowing with talent: Grammy-winning bassist/singer Esperanza Spalding, pianist James Weidman, and drummers Francisco Mela and Otis Brown IIIScullers.    (617) 562-4111.

New York

- Sept. 11. (Tues.)  Roz Corral and Judi Silvano.  A pair of the jazz vocal art’s most adventurous practitioners share the stage with equally venturesome accompanists – Alan Broadbent and Boris Kozlov with Corral, and Frank Kimbrough and Ben Allison with Silvano.  Expect to experience some compelling musical surprises.  Cornelia St. Cafe.   (212) 989-9319.

- Sept. 11 – 15.  (Tues. – Sat.)  The Dave Liebman Group. NEA Jazz Master Liebman continues to set the contemporary jazz pace on the soprano saxophone, while adding in some impressive flute and tenor saxophone playing, as well.  Birdland.    (212) 581-3080.

Randy Brecker

- Sept. 11 – 16. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Brecker Brothers Band Reunion.  A revival of one of the jazz world’s great fraternal ensembles, in memory of the incomparable Michael Brecker.  With Randy Brecker, trumpet, Mike Stern, guitar, Rodney Holmes, drums, Ada Rovati, saxophone, George Whitty, keyboards, Will Lee, bass and Oli Rockberger, vocals and keyboards.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

- Sept. 13 – 16. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Oliver Lake.  The veteran alto saxophonist performs in three very different musical settings.  On Thurs. with the Oliver Lake Organ Quartet; on Fri. with the Oliver Lake Big Band; on Sat. and Sun. with the Oliver Lake Trio (with Reggie Workman, Andrew Cyrille and speial guest Geri Allen).  Jazz Standard.    (212) 576-2232.

London

Frank Sinatra Jr.

- Sept. 13 – 15. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Frank Sinatra, Jr.  The entertainment world is filled with Sinatra tributes and imitators.  But no one comes closer to the original than #1 son, Frank Sinatra, Jr.  Hearing his familiar vocal timbre and well-crafted phrasing in the Sinatra classics is an experience to remember.  Ronnie Scott’s.     (0) 20 7539 0747.

Milan

- Sept. 12. (Wed.)  Benny Golson. Saxophonist Golson has composed some memorable jazz classics, among them “I Remember Clifford,” “Killer Joe,” “Whisper Not,” “Along Came Betty” and more.  Here’s a chance to hear them from the originator. The Blue Note Milano.  02.69016888.

Tokyo

- Sept. 11 &o 12. (Tues. & Wed.)  Joe Sample.  Keyboardist and one of the founders of the Jazz Crusaders, performs selections from his new album, Creole Joe Band.  Blue Note Tokyo.    03-5485-0088.


Picks of the Week: June 12 – 17

June 12, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

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

The 34th Annual Playboy Jazz Festival:

Saturday and Sunday, June 16 & 17

The Playboy Jazz Festival umbrella seems to get bigger year by year.  And this year is no exception, with a program that reaches into every area of jazz and blues related music.  Once again, the inimitable Bill Cosby hosts the Festival and leads his own all-star band, The Cos of Good Music.

Christian McBride

Saturday’s program features: The Christian McBride Big Band, Boney James, Ozomatli, Sheila E.,  Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings,  The Soul Rebels,  The Global Gumbo All-Stars,  The Cos of Good Music, Louie Cruz Beltran.  And the LAUSD All City Jazz Band.

Ramsey Lewis

Sunday’s program features: The Ramsey Lewis Electric Band., Robin Thicke,  The Preservation Hall Jazz Band,  Keb’ Mo’,  Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic Project, The Cookers,  Spectrum Road,  Chico Trujillo,  Kg Omulo.  And the Calabasas High School Jazz A Band.

Among the many musically intriguing aspects of this far reaching program is the presence of no less than three world class female jazz drummers: Sheila E., Terri Lyne Carrington and (performing with Spectrum Road) Cindy Blackman.  How often does that happen?

Bill Cosby

So long, Cos.  But the most memorable aspect of all in this 34th Playboy Jazz Festival may well be the fact that it showcases Bill Cosby‘s final appearance as Master of Ceremonies.  After 30 years of introducing such iconic figures as Benny Goodman, Sarah Vaughan, Lionel Hampton, Herbie Hancock, Ray Charles, Wynton Marsalis, Grover Washington, Jr.,  Joni Mitchell, Weather Report, Al Jarreau, Tony Bennett, Bobby McFerrin and dozens of others, Cos will pass on the microphone after this year’s shows.  And his warm, witty and immensely informative presence will be deeply missed.

For informaton about the 34th Playboy Jazz Festival, call the Festival hot line —  (310) 450-1173 — or click HERE.

* * * * * * * *                 * * * * * * * *

- June 12. (Tues.)  Dolores Scozzesi. Crossing freely from jazz to cabaret and beyond, Scozzesi is a true mistress of song, finding the many layers of meaning in everything she sings.   Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- June 13. (Wed.)  Joe Bagg Organ Trio. Keyboardist Bagg’s greatest attribute is his ability to adapt his improvisational inventiveness to whatever instrument he’s playing.  This time out, it’s his effective way with the lush sounds of the Hammond B-3 organ. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.    (310) 474-9400.

- June 13. (Wed.)  Eric Reed Quintet.  A rapidly rising young jazz star while still in his teens, pianist/composer Reed has matured into an important musical voice, with a string of charting albums.  He performs with Dale Fielder, saxophones, Nolan Shaheed, trumpet, Hamilton Price, bass and Kevin Kanner, drums.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- June 14 & 15. (Thurs. & Fri.)  The Bob Mintzer Big Band.  Saxophonist/composer Mintzer – a long time member of the Yellowjackets, is also busy composer/arranger, leading his own impressive big band in his spare moments.  Here’s a chance to experience the full breadth of his talents.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Freda Payne

- June 15 & 16.  (Fri. & Sat.)  Freda Payne. The one and only “Band of Gold” hit-maker, Payne’s skills reach across the gamut of theatre, recordings, television and beyond.  The gorgeous diva is at her best in the up close and intimate setting of a warm jazz room such as Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- June 16. (Sat.)  Billy Childs Quartet. Pianist/composer Childs selects the small jazz band format from his many musical personas, leading a small but stellar band that includes saxophonist Bob Sheppard, bassist Reggie Hamilton and drummer Michael BakerBlue Whale.   (213) 620-0928.

San Francisco

Dr. John

- June 15. (Fri.)  “Another Night In Treme.”  The atmosphere of the hit HBO televison series, Treme, is vividly brought to life by the inimitable Dr. John and the Lower 911 and the Soul Rebels.  An SFJAZZ 2012 Spring Season event at the Paramount Theatre.   (866) 920-5299.

Seattle

- June 14 – 17. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Bill Frisell.  The versatile guitarist performs selections from his 2011 John Lennon tribute album, All We Are Saying.  Jazz Alley.    (206) 441-9729.

New York

- June 12 – 16. (Tues. – Sat.) Stacey Kent. American jazz singer, Kent, who spends most of her time in the U.K. and Europe, celebrates the release of Dreamer in Concert, recorded live in La Cigale in Paris – Kent’s first ever live album. Birdland.     (212) 581-3080.

Savion Glover

- June 12 – 17. (Tues. – Sun.) Savion Glover.  The amazing dancer Glover, who can tap with the crisply swinging rhythms of a prime jazz drummer, performs with special guests McCoy Tyner (Tues. & Wed.), Jack DeJohnette (Thurs. & Fri.) and Roy Haynes (Sat. & Sun.)  The Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

London

- June 14 – 16. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Reuben Wilson, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie and Grant Green.  Once known, with good reason, as the “Godfathers of Groove,” the trio of veterans dig into the deep funk rhythms they helped create.  Ronnie Scott’s.   020 7439 0747.

Tokyo

- June 13 – 17. (Wed. – Sun.)  The Mike Stern Band featuring Randy Brecker. Guitarist Stern infuses his dynamic, contemporary style playing with a solid foundation of straight ahead skills.  Trumpeter Brecker, similarly versatile, is a perfect musical companion.  The Blue Note Tokyo.   03.5485.0088.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 220 other followers