Live Music: Gershwins With A Groove: SING! SING! SING! at Keyboard Concepts

September 26, 2012

By Norton Wright

Judy Wolman

It was another extraordinary afternoon on Sunday with SING! SING! SING!, the unique 9-person group of rehearsed singers led by Artistic Director Judy Wolman.  Sprightly swinging on piano with Chris Conner on bass, Jack LeCompte on drums, Wolman and raconteur Howard Lewis melded the history of composer George Gershwin and lyricist Ira Gershwin with performances of twenty of their most remarkable songs.And invited the audience to sing along.

Why is a performance so special with the SING! SING! SING! group  (6 women and 3 men, including the multi-talented host, Howard Lewis)?  It’s because the singers have such a good time with the tunes that their enjoyment is happily infectious, and soon the whole audience is singing and sharing in the groovy toe-tapping.

Howard Lewis

And memory, too, plays a big role in the experience as SING! SING! SING!’s sparkling renditions of the Gershwins’ songs also led us to fondly recall Sarah Vaughan’s jazz take on “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” Chet Baker singing “But Not For Me,” Diane Schuur’s “The Man I Love,” Shirley Horn’s “Isn’t It a Pity,” and Louis and Ella on “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off.” The myriad ways that the Gershwin Songbook can be rendered demonstrates why we regard that songbook as so great.

For those who have not experienced SING! SING! SING!, it should be noted that the group’s performance is much more than a “follow-the-bouncing ball” sing-along. There is something intensely touching in the sound of an audience, essentially of strangers, moved to sing together, to join the SING! SING! SING! performers in what emerges as a kind of surprise bonding, a rare coming-together, a veritable musical communion of performers and audience.

Facilitating that performer-audience interaction in Keyboard Concepts’ mini-theater on Sunday, lyric sheets were given to all audience members, and the sheets designed by Artistic Director Wolman not only clarified the oft confused definitions of “verse,” “refrain,” “chorus,” “bridge” and “release,” but also graphically indicated to the audience how a jazz vibe on the Gershwin tunes can be achieved by rhythmic pauses in the lyrics.

For Example:  “Someone To Watch Over Me” (1926) Words by Ira Gershwin.

Verse:

There’s a saying old, Says that love is blind, ____ Still we’re often told,
“Seek and ye shall find.” ____ So I’m going to seek a certain lad I’ve had____ in mind. ____
Looking ev’rywhere, Haven’t found him yet; He’s the big affair I cannot forget.____
Only man I ever think of with regret. _____
I’d __ like _ to add his initial to my monogram. ___
Tell __me, __ Where is the shepherd for this __ lost ___ lamb? ____

Refrain:
There’s a somebody I’m longing to see. __ I hope that he __ turns out to be __
Someone who’ll watch ___ over _ me. ______
(etc., etc.)

The audience participation on Sunday was robust and reminded one of those show biz evenings of old on NYC’s West End Avenue where Broadway folk would casually gather round an apartment’s piano and sing the night away. And there were some cool surprises from the SING! SING! SING! group as Ruth Davis stepped forward on stage to solo in a wise and dramatic rendition of “He Loves And She Loves.”  Later, Judy Wolman and Howard Lewis drew Chuck Marso from the audience to sing the Gershwin brothers’ rarely heard but oh so optimistic “Beginner’s Luck,.

Susan Watson

For a  guest finale, invited up from the audience was Susan Watson — fresh from her year-long run in “Follies” at Washington’s Kennedy Center, on Broadway, and at the Ahmanson Theater here in Los Angeles — to sing a touching rendition of “Someone To Watch Over Me.”

Though the individual singers of SING! SING! SING! may not have jazz star names like “Deedles,, “Sassy,” “Dizzy,” or “Zoot,” they delivered a musical powerhouse performance and merit star recognition  as follows — Tina Appel, David Beraru, Gloria Birnkrant, Ruth Davis, Pamela Jackson, Jackie Manfredi, Anita Royal, Judith Farber Weissman, Jerry Weissman.  

Bottom line — for a unique and emotionally-moving musical experience, keep your internet eyes out for the monthly programs and venues of SING! SING! SING! You’ll have a wonderful time!


Picks of the Week: June 20 – 24

June 20, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Jane Harvey

- June 20. (Wed.)  Jane Harvey.  The remarkable Jane Harvey’s career dates back to gigs with Benny Goodman in the ‘40s.  Now well into her ‘80s she continues to draw critical raves for her performances.  Click HERE to read a recent iRoM review of a Harvey appearance.   Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

- June 21 – 11. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Joey DeFrancesco.  The master of the B-3 has been placing at the top of the critics’ polls in Down Beat and with the Jazz Journalists association for years.  And with good reason.  He’ll be performing with Steve Cotter, bass and Ramon Banda, drums.  Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- June 21 – 23. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Melissa Manchester. Grammy-winning singer-songwriter scored her biggest, chart-topping hits in the ‘70s and early ‘80s.  And her dramatic renderings of tunes such as “Midnight Blue” and “Don’t Cry Out Loud” are still classics.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- June 21. (Thurs.)  Chuck Manning.  Tenor saxophonist Manning’s resume includes gigs with everyone from Anthony Wilson and Branford Marsalis to Cedar Walton and Charlie Haden.  This time out, he takes on the most challenging setting for a horn player – a trio gig with bass, drums and no harmony instrument.  He’ll be backed by Pat Senatore, bass and Jimmy Branley, drums.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

Reba McEntire

- June 22. (Fri.)  Opening Night of the 2012 Season at the Hollywood Bowl. Julie Andrews hosts an evening featuring Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame inductees Reba McEntire and Chaka Khan, with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra conducted by Thomas Wilkins.  Additional guests and presenters are yet to be announced..   (323) 850-2000.  Hollywood Bowl.

- June 22. (Fri.)  Mary Stallings.  An underappreciated jazz vocalist for years, Stallings has been producing first rate recordings since a 1961 duet album with Cal Tjader.  Still in rare form, she’ll no doubt sing some selections from her latest release Don’t Look Back.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.  .  (310) 271-9039.

- June 23. (Sat.) Jazz Journalist Association Awards Party.  In celebration of the 2012 JJA Awards, a Jazz Hero Award will be granted to Catalina Popescu, proprietor of L.A.’s pre-eminent jazz club, Catalina Bar & Grill.  The Blue Whale, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.  The Ferenc Nemeth Trio perform at 9 p.m.   The Blue Whale.  (213) 620-0908.

Katia Moraes

- June 24. (Sun.)  Katia Moraes.  There’s no one quite like this Brazilian bundle of musical dynamite.  Bringing irresistible vitality to every song she sings, Katia celebrates her birthday with her original quartet, the lively Sambaguru, featuring Bill Brindle, keyboards, Hussain Jiffry, bass and Tony Shoren, drums.  Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

- June 24. (Sun.)  Sing! Sing! Sing!  “Giving Our Regards to Broadway.”  It’s just after the Tony Awards, and what better time to join the Southland’s engaging singalong in a tour through some of the most memorable Broadway songs as well as a sampling of the latest numbers on the Great White Way.  At Keyboard Concepts in West L.A. Sing! Sing! Sing!     (310) 990-2405.

Glen Campbell

- June 24. (Sun.)  Glen Campbell.  The Goodbye Tour.  Veteran singer/guitarist Campbell has produced 12 gold albums and 4 platinum albums while receiving a string of Grammy awards (including four in 1967).  A year ago, he announced he had been diagnosed with Altzheimer’s disease.  The Goodbye Tour, which he says will be his last, features the group Dawes, with Jackson Browne, Kris Kristofferson, Lucinda Williams and others.  (323) 850-2000.  Hollywood Bowl.

 

San Francisco

- June 22. (Fri.)  Ceu.  Grammy-nominated Brazilian singer/songwriter Ceu has carved a unique musical pathway for herself, combining Brazilian roots rhythms with everything from soul and funk to afrobeat and electronica.  An SFJAZZ event at the Herbst Theatre.    (866) 920-5299.

Seattle

- June 21 – 24. (Thur. – Sun.)  Spectrum Road.  After producing a spectacular climax to the Playboy Jazz Festival on Sunday night, Spectrum Road takes off for Seattle with their explosive reminders of drummer Tony Williams’ Lifetime group.  The band consists of bassist Jack Bruce, guitarist Vernon Reid, keyboardist John Medeski and drummer Cindy Blackman Santana. Click HERE to read iRoM’s review of the Playboy Jazz Festival and Spectrum’s Festival performance.  Jazz Alley.    (206) 441-9729.

New York

Samson Schmitt

- June 20 – 24. (Wed. – Sun.) The Django Reinhardt New York Festival.  Featuring rising gypsy jazz star Samson Schmitt, guitarist son of the iconic Dorado Schmitt, leading a collective of European jazz artists.  They’ll be joined by a trio of the finest female jazz artists: Anat Cohen on Wed., Grace Kelly on Thurs. & Fri., and Cyrille Aimee on Sat. and Sunday.  Birdland.    (212) 581-3080.

- June 20 – 24. (Wed. – Sun.)  Barbara Carroll.  Jazz pianist/singer Carroll is still going strong at 87, her upbeat style recalling her high visibility in New York’s jazz clubs of the ‘50s and ‘60s. She performs with the stellar backing of Ken Peplowski, Jay Leonhart and Neal SmithDizzy’s Club Coca Cola.   (212) 258-9595.

- June 21 – 24. (Thurs. – Sun.)  McCoy Tyner and the Charles Tolliver Big band get together to recreate John Coltrane’s vital 1961 album, Africa Brass, more than fifty years after its original release.  The Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

London

- June 21 – 23. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Jean Carne and Doug Carn.  Four decades ago, jazz and soul singer Carne and her then-husband, pianist/composer, Doug Carn, produced a series of fusion jazz and soul albums strongly influenced by John Coltrane. After decades in which their lives and music took different paths, they’re back with a Reunion Performance of their ‘70s classics. Ronnie Scott’s.  020 7439 0747.

Tokyo

- June 20 – 23 (Wed. – Sat.)  Bob Mintzer Big Band.  A vital member of the Yellowjackets, saxophonist/composer Mintzer is also an innovative big band arranger, producing a book full of gripping arrangements for his collection of fine players. Blue Note Tokyo.   03.5485.0088.

* * * * * * * * *

Jane Harvey photo by Tony Gieske.  Katia Moraes photo by Caesar Lima.


Picks of the Week: Jan 10 – 15

January 9, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Youngjoo Song

- Jan. 10. (Tues.)  Youngjoo Song.  Korean jazz pianist Youngjoo Song brings an affection for classical music and American gospel song to her creatively eclectic view of jazz, as both a player and a composer.  In this rare Los Angeles appearance, the rising jazz star’s  group features the similarly versatile,  fast-fingered, multi-saxophone playing of  the always inventive Bob SheppardThe Blue Whale.   (213) 620-0908.

- Jan. 11. (Wed.)  Nora Rothman.  The talented young jazz singer/pianist, just barely into her ‘20s, has the skill and the style of a major talent in the making.  She’s backed by Nick Chuba and Charlie Mischer.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

Judy Wexler

- Jan. 12. (Thurs.)  Judy Wexler Quintet.  One of the many great things about hearing jazz singer Judy Wexler in action is the unpredictability of what to expect.  Always compelling, she makes a song her own, whether it’s American Songbook, Jazz Standard, Top 40 Pop or Singer/Songwriter.  The LAX Jazz Club at the Crowne Plaza.  l  (310) 258-1333.

- Jan. 12. (Thurs.)  Paul Jacobs.  The winner of a 2010 Best Solo Instrumental Grammy – the first organist ever to do so – Jacobs presents a challenging program of 20th century works, including Messiaen’s Livre du Saint Sacrement.  Royce Hall Organ Recital.  UCLA Live.   (310) 825-2101.

- Jan. 12. (Thurs.)  Pilc – Moutin – Hoenig.  The world class trio of pianist Jean-Michel Pilc, from France, bassist Francois Moutin, also from France, and drummer Ari Hoenig, from Philadelphia have been affirming the true international nature of jazz for more than a decade with their cutting edge version of the jazz piano trio.  The Musicians Institute Concert Center.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast.    (310) 271-9039.

- Jan. 12. (Thurs.)  Kate Reid and Larry Koonse.  Singer/pianist Reid’s recent CD, The Love I’m In, offers a potent display of her rich, intuitive way with a song.  Working in tandem with the superb guitar of Koonse should produce similarly intriguing results.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Jan. 12 – 14. (Thurs. – Sat.)  George Duke’s Fusion Band. He’s got the skills to go in any musical direction.  This time out, celebrating his 66th birthday (on Thurs.) the versatile keyboardist is digging into his rich bag of funk. Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

Gustav Mahler

- Jan. 13. (Fri.) through Feb. 5. (Sun).  The Mahler Project.  9 Symphonies, 3 Weeks, 2 Orchestra, 1 Conductor.  Gustavo Dudamel takes on the Herculean task of conducting Gustav Mahler’s nine completed symphonies in performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela at venues in Los Angeles and Caracas.  The Mahler Project.   (323) 850-2000.

- Jan. 13 & 14. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Vardan Ovsepian Chamber Ensemble.  Part I and II.  Armenian-born pianist-composer Ovsepian is musically inhabiting the broad land between jazz and concert music with remarkably intriguing results.  The Blue Whale.    (213) 620-0908.

- Jan. 15. (Sun.)  Sing! Sing! Sing! This week’s singalong with the Sing! Sing! Sing! vocalists and the adroit backing of pianist Judy Wolman focuses on the incredible song catalog of Irving Berlin.  Between songs, Howard Lewis will provide some fascinating nuggets of information about the Great American Songwriter who was born Israel Baline.  Sing! Sing! Sing! 

Seattle

- Jan. 12 – 15. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Arturo Sandoval. The gifted trumpeter/pianist/percussionist/singer (and more) takes a band of L.A.’s finest players up to the Northwest for a display of Southern California/Cuban Latin jazz.  Jazz Alley.    (206) 441-9729.

Boston

J D Souther

- Jan. 12. (Thurs.)  J. D. Souther.  He may be best known as the writer of some compelling hit songs for Linda Rondstat, the Eagles and himself (among others), but Souther – his performances spiced with his affection for jazz – is best to see and hear on his own.  Click HERE to read iRoM’s review of Souther’s latest recording.  Regatta Jazz Bar.   (617) 395-7757.

New York

- Jan. 10 – 12. (Tues. – Thurs.)  The Clayton Brothers. Not just the Clayton Brothers, bassist John and alto saxophonist Jeff, but also the next generation’s impressive new star – John’s son, pianist Gerald Clayton.  All these hugely talented, interrelated genes will be backed by trumpeter Terrell Stafford and drummer Obed CalvaireDizzy’s Club Coca Cola.   (212) 258-9800.

- Jan. 10 – 15. (Tues. – Sun.)  Geri Allen, Esperanza Spalding, Terri Lyne Carrington.  Here they are, all in one incredible package – a trio of three of the contemporary jazz world’s most gifted female artists.  Don’t miss this one.  The Village Vanguard.    (212) 255-4037.

Berlin

Kurt Rosenwinkel

- Jan. 14. (Sat.)  Kurt Rosenwinkel Berlin Quartet.  In a world filled with ambitious guitarists, Rosenwinkel has managed to hold his own, developing a style that is both unique, appealing and immensely musical.  A-Trane.   030/313 25 50. Guitarist Rosenwinkel,


Here, There & Everywhere: Sing! Sing! Sing!

December 23, 2011

By Don Heckman

Christmas caroling was a regular seasonal activity in my young life.  Growing up in an Eastern Pennsylvania rust belt city, singing carols while slip-sliding our way across icy sidewalks was as necessary to the holiday as going to Mass on Christmas eve.  In a way, it was an equally necessary counter to the darker side of what we’d done on Halloween, when enacting tricks was a lot more common than  asking for treats.

All of which went through my mind last night when Faith and I took our lovely ten year old granddaughter, Maia, to the Victorian Mansion for “Candlelight Carols” by Judy Wolman, Howard Lewis and “Sing! Sing! Sing!”  And one couldn’t have asked for a more delightfully atmospheric setting to join in a holiday music singalong than the elegant wood-paneled room that jazz fans will recall as the former site of the much-missed jazz club, “The Vic.”

At the beginning, Wolman reminded me that she, Lewis and their group of singers had been doing these holiday celebrations for 20 years.  Not only that, of course, but also their continuing programs of participatory jaunts through the rich musical landscape of the Great American Songbook.  (Programs devoted to Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Johnny Mercer, Hoagy Carmichael and others are already scheduled for 2012.)

The “Candlelight Carols” program characteristically reached out to embrace the Songbook – with selections from Irving Berlin, Frank Loesser, Rodgers & Hammerstein, etc. — as well as a collection of traditional carols.  And the format was as comfortable and inviting as a holiday evening in a close friend’s living room.

Lewis introduced each number with some fascinating background, often including nuggets of insight into the song, as well as its creators.  Then Wolman — a superb piano accompanist, backed by Chris Conner’s bass, Dick Weller’s drums and some warm melody-making from harmonica player Ron Kalina – led the way into the song.

Maia

The audience, using lyric sheets provided by Wolman, sang along enthusiastically, sometimes even more than that.  And our granddaughter, Maia, not especially familiar with all the standards, nonetheless applied her already burgeoning musicality to every song, singing, smiling, enjoying every minute of this engaging new experience.

And what a collection of songs it was: “It’s Beginning To Look Like Christmas,” “Silver Bells,” “My Favorite Things,” “White Christmas,” “Sleigh Ride,” “Winter Wonderland,” “The Christmas Song,” “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve?”  As well as “Silent Night,” “We Three Kings,” “The First Noel” and much, much more.

Between the singalong segments, individual singers from the Sing! Sing! Sing! vocal ensemble – Chuck Marso, Anita Royal, Jackie Manfredi and Ruth Davis – soloed.  And songwriter Jim Mann presented a brand new Christmas song, “Cheers! Cheers! Cheers!”

The sidewalks weren’t icy, and there was no snow in the forecast as we left the Victorian.  But the wind was blowing, and, as we walked hand in hand to our car, the words to one of the evening’s songs – with their perfect holiday sentiments — kept coming to mind.

           “The wind is blowing

           But I can weather the storm

            What do I care how much it may storm?

            I’ve got my love to keep me warm.”


Picks of the Week: Oct. 12 – 17

October 12, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Oct. 13. (Wed.)  Wayne Bergeron Big Band. Trumpeter Bergeron, whose skills reach from superb section work to solid soloing, steps into the spotlight as a leader.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- Oct. 13. (Wed.)  Ed Vodicka Big Band with Marlene VerPlanck. New York singer VerPlanck brings an imaginative slant to the Great American Songbook, backed by Vodicka’s stirring ensemble. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

Ludovico Einaudi

- Oct. 13 – 17. (Wed. – Sun.) (H)IT Week. The pop music of Italy – from rock to dance to electronica — fills the Los Angeles air in four dynamic evenings.  Oct. 14: singer Ludovico Einaudi and Oct. 15: Singer Elisa and La Blanche Alchimie at The Ford Amphitheatre. Oct. 16: Rock band Negrita and Oct. 17: Pianist Giovanni Allevi at The El Rey.  (323) 936-6400.

- Oct. 14. (Thurs.)  Ann Walsh Quartet.  Walsh’s expressive vocals display a unique empathy for the music of Brazil.  Crowne Plaza Brasserie Jazz Lounge.   (310) 642-7500.

- Oct. 14 – 16. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Stanley Clarke.  Bassist Clarke, always looking in different musical directions, performs with a quartet that includes keyboardist Deron Johnson, pianist Ruslan Sirota and drummer Ronald BrunnerCatalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- Oct. 14 & 16. (Thurs. & Sat.)  Chucho Valdes and the Afro-Cuban Messengers.  The great Cuban pianist returns to the U.S. for the first time in seven years, fronting an ensemble that digs into the irrepressible links between jazz and Afro-Cuban music. Thurs.: Irvine Barclay Theatre.  (949) 854-4646    Sat.: Luckman  Fine Arts Complex.   (323) 343-6600.

Gustavo Dudamel

- Oct. 14 – 17. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Los Angeles PhilharmonicGustavo Dudamel conducts a rare performance of Olivier Messiaen’s Turangalila Symphonie, a ten-movement, 80 minute work, written when Messiaen – who described the composition as a “love song” — was focusing on the Tristan and Isolde story.  In addition to full orchestra and piano, the score also includes the ondes Martenot, one of the earliest electronic instruments.  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

- Oct. 14 & 17. (Thurs. & Sun.) Oran Etkin.  Clarinetist Etkin celebrates the release of his CD Wake Up, Clarinet! in a pair of Southland performances. On Thursday he’s at The Skirball Center he appears with his group, Kelenia.  (310) 440-4500.  On Sunday he presents a children’s/family show at McCabe’s. (310) 828-4497.

Charmaine Clamor

- Oct. 15 – 17. (Fri. – Sun.) The Asian American Music Festival. The music of the Pacific rim provides a bountiful collection of sounds and rhythms for this creatively eclectic, far-ranging festival.  Friday’s program features hip-hopster Kero One, Dana Leong’s Milk & Jade’s electronica sounds, and Japanese rapper Shing02.  The inimitable Leroy Downs is the host.  Saturday afternoon’s bill includes two extraordinary pianists, Jon Jang and Gary Fukushima.  The Pan Asian Arkestra and the Taiko Project will also present the world premiere of Jang’s Concerto For Jazz Orchestra and Taiko.  Saturday night showcases the amazing ukulele playing of Jake Shimabukuro and the quartet of Abe Lagrimas, Jr. and Noel Okimoto.  Sunday afternoon features the Japanese-American pop-jazz singer Ernie Meyer and the hip-hop electronica of the Shanghai Restoration Project.  And the festival soars to a close on Sunday night when a pair of extraordinary jazz vocalists take center stage: Charmaine Clamor and Sachel Vasandani, with the amiable Bubba Jackson hosting.  The Asian American Music Festival.  The Japanese American National Museum.  (213) 545-1330.

- Oct. 15. (Fri.)  Peter Erskine Quartet.  Erskine follows up last year’s Grammy-nominated Standards album with selections from his new CD, Standards 2: Movie Music. LACMA (323) 857-6000.

Chris Bennett

- Oct. 15. (Fri.)  Chris Bennett Band.  Bennett, who brings style and substance to everything she sings, will feature selections from her recently released album Sail Away: The Tahiti Sessions. The Culver Club at the Radisson.  (310) 649-1776 ext. 4137.

- Oct. 16. (Sat.)  Madeline Eastman with the Randy Porter Trio.  Bay area jazz singer Eastman is always a pleasure to hear.  She doesn’t come south often, so don’t miss this one.  Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- Oct. 16. (Sat.) Paul Weitz.  Guitarist Weitz and his quartet perform  with the gifted singer/songwriter Jelsa PalaoBack Room at Henri’s. (818) 348-5582.

- Oct. 16. (Sat.)  Gary Foster and Putter Smith.  It’s an unusual combination – alto saxophone and bass – but Foster and Smith have the skills and the imagination to make it into a fascinating musical encounter.  Jazz Bakery Movable Feast.  At the Boston Court in Pasadena. (310) 271-9039.

- Oct. 17. (Sun.)  Judy Wolman’s Sing! Sing! Sing! Wolman’s singalong afternoons offer spirited opportunities to share the memories and the pleasures of the Great American Songbook.  This time it’s the arching melodies and sophisticated word play of Rodgers and Hart.  12 – 3 p.m.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

San Francisco

Chick Corea

- Oct. 12 – 14. (Tues. – Thurs.) Chick Corea Trio (w. Christian McBride and Brian Blade). It’s as all-star as it gets, and a chance to hear Corea in a basic, piano trio setting. Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

- Oct. 13. (Wed.) Tom Harrell Quintet.  Trumpeter Harrell’s warm sound, rich melodic imagination and rhythmic drive lead the way for his stellar quintet. Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

- Oct. 15 – 17. (Fri. – Sun.)  Michael Franks. Singer/songwriter Franks has been coming up with memorable songs for more than three decades.  Expect to hear “Popsicle Toes,” “The Lady Wants To Know” and, hopefully, a few of his Brazilian inspired works. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.

New York

- Oct. 12. (Tues.)  Italian Jazz Days. The title says it all.  A quintet of Italy’s finest jazz descendants in action: Saxophonist Joe Lovano, trumpeter Dominick Farinacci, pianist Antonio Ciacca, bassist Joseph Lepore, drummer Luca SantanielloDizzy’s Club Coca Cola.   (212) 258-9595.

- Oct. 12 – 17. (Tues. – Sun.) John Abercrombie Quartet. Guitarist Abercrombie has a long history of stretching the musical envelope, and he continues to do so with his current players – violinist Mark Feldman, bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joey Baron. Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

- Oct. 14 – 17. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Apex: Rudresh Mahanthappa & Bunky Green. A pair of alto saxophonists with very different musical roots work – with remarkable success – at finding common ground. The Jazz Standard.   (212) 447-7733.

Chick Corea photo by Tony Gieske


Picks of the Week: April 19 – 25

April 19, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Pat Metheny

- April 19. (Mon.)  Pat Metheny.  The ever-adventurous, all-star guitarist has put together a computerized, remote control ensemble that allows him to play all the instruments in his band. The Orchestrion TourDisney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

- April 19. (Mon.) Larry GoldingsOrgan Night.  The B-3 rules on Monday nights at Vitellos, and Goldings is the guy who takes it to the limit..  Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

- April 19. (Mon.)  The Ed Vodicka Big Band. Multi musical hyphenate Vodicka takes a night off from composing, arranging, conducting and producing to lead his own big jazz band.  Vocal chores will be handled by the versatile cabaret jazz singer, Marlene VerPlanck Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- April 20. (Tues.)  Strunz and Farah. The guitar duo were among the first artists to fit into the emerging world music genre, via the musical encounters between Costa Rican Strunz and Iranian Farah.  Vibrato.   (310) 474-9400.

- April 20.  (Tues.)  RATT. The Southland’s own hard rock, glam metal band is back again, ready to release a new CD, Infestation, and a new video.  The Key Club.  (310) 274-5800.

- April 21. (Wed.)  Suezenne Fordham Jazz Trio.  Veteran pianist/composer Fordham continues to find creative potential in the 3rd Stream concept, blending classical and jazz into a unique musical entity.  Glendale Noon Concerts.  First Baptist Church of Glendale.   (818) 242-2113.

Regina Carter

- April 22.  (Thurs.)Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour.  The MJF’s own all-star jazz band – Kenny Barron, Regina Carter, Kurt Elling, Russell Malone, Johnathan Blake and Kiyoshi Kitagawa – display some of  the world class musicality that’s always present every September in Monterey.  UCLA Live. Royce Hall.    (310) 825-2101.   Also April 24 at Orange County Performing Arts Center .  (714) 556-2787.

- April 22. (Thurs.) Ana Moura. Portugal’s young, gifted fado singer has been bringing passionate, new perspective to the classic song form.  Skirball Center. g (310) 440-4500.

- April 22. (Thurs.)  Lizzy Williams Band.  The multi-talented singer/songwriter/actress performs with virtuoso guitarist David Williams, drummer Laura Bilobeau, bassist Chief and iRoM’s very own Devon “Doc” Wendell on harmonica.  The Green Room Lounge at the Viper Room.  (310) 358-1881.

- April 22 – 24. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Dick Gregory. Still one of the world’s great humorists, Gregory has an unerring eye and ear for detecting cant, pretentiousness, hubris and arrogance in public figures, nailing them with a sardonic phrase or an imaginative story. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- April 23 & 24. (Fri. & Sat.)  World premiere of Dice Thrown, a contemporary opera composed by John King using aleatoric techniques pioneered by John Cage.  Musical direction by Marc LowensteinCalArts Walt Disney Modular Theatre.

- April 24. (Sat.)  Ron King. The versatile trumpeter, a mainstay with almost every big band in town, takes a break to display his chops as a fine jazz soloists.  Backing him — the John Heard TrioCharlie O’s. (919) 994-3058.

Benny Golson

- April 24. (Sat.)  Benny Golson. Tenor saxophonist Golson has composed some memorable jazz standards.  But he’s an equally convincing an improviser with a personal sound and an adventurous imagination.  Jazz Bakery Moveable Feast.  Grammy Museum Sound Stage.   (310) 271-9039.  He’s also at Anthology in San Diego on Friday (see below).

- April. 24. (Sat.)  Christine Ebersole. Tony Award-winning Broadway musical star Ebersole has had an equally stellar career in film, television and cabaret.  She brings all that, and more, to her far-ranging collection of songs and stories.   CSUN Performing Arts Center.  (818) 677-1200.

- April 25. (Sun.)  Sing! Sing! Sing! Remembering Jerome Kern. Judy Wolman’s entertaining Sunday singalong celebrates the richly diverse songbook by the legendary composer of Show Boat – and much, much more. The Victorian Mansion.  Sing! Sing! Sing! (310) 990-2405.

- April 25. (Sun.)  Shelly Berg – Greg Abate Quartet. Pianist Berg takes time off from his teaching and administrative duties at the University of Miami to get together with saxophonist Abate, bassist Darek Oles and drummer Peter Erskine in the intimate setting of a home in the Hollywood Hills.   A-Frame Jazz. (310) 659-9169.  By reservation only.

Gail Pettis

- April 25. (Sun.)  Gail Pettis.  An impressive new jazz singer from out of the Northwest is drawing a lot of attention.  And there’s no better place to hear her special way with a song than at the KJAZZ Sunday Champagne Brunch hosted by the inimitable Bubba Jackson at Twist Restaurant in the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.  (562) 985-2999.

San Diego

- April 23. (Fri.) Benny Golson.  The day before his gig in the Jazz Bakery’s Moveable Feast series, Golson brings his muscular tenor saxophone and memorable song book to Anthology in San Diego.   (619) 595-0300.

- April 24. (Sat.)  Ronnie Laws.  Smooth jazz comes alive with soul whenever Laws picks up his horn.  No wonder he’s had a long string of Top 40 albums and and singles.  Anthology San Diego.  (619) 595-0300.

San Francisco

James Moody

- April 22 – 25. (Thurs. – Sun.)  In the Mood For Moody: A Tribute to James Moody.  Moody’s been recovering from health problems and won’t be able to make this stellar tribute.  But there’ll be plenty of all stars to fill in the gaps: including Frank Wess, Joey DeFrancesco, Nnenna Freelon, Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis and others.  Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

- April 25. (Sun.)  Charles Lloyd New QuartetTale of a Cloud.  Lloyd always surrounds himself with extraordinary players, and his New Quartet is no exception, eoyj Jason Moran, piano, Reuben Rogers, bass and Eric Harland, drums.  SFJAZZ at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre.  (866) 920-5299.

New York

-April 20 – 21. (Tues. & Wed.) Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green. A pair of alto saxophonists from different generations and different styles get together.  Expect to see and hear musical sparks.  Jazz Standard.   (212) 576-2232.

Geri Allen

- April 20 – 25. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Geri Allen Quartet.  The superb, and too little acknowledged pianist challenges her skills by leading a quartet overflowing with talent and imagination: Ravi Coltrane, saxophones, Joe Sanders, bass, Jeff “Tain” Watts, drumsVillage Vanguard.   (212) 255-4037.

April 20 – 25. (Tues. – Sun.) Michel Camilo Trio.  With Charles Flores, bass, Cliff Almond, drums.  The Blue Note.  Pianist Camilo has released eighteen recordings, garnering a Grammy Award, two Latin Grammy Awards, two Grammy nominations and an Emmy Award.  He obviously should be heard at every opportunity.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-0049.

- April 20 25. (Tues. – Sun.) George Coleman Quintet.  Veteran saxophonist Coleman leads a group that positions him in the front line with the fast-fingered young saxophonist Eric Alexander and the crisp, articulate piano work of Harold Mabern. Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.  (212) 258-9595.


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