Live Jazz: The KJAZZ Summer Benefit Concert at Walt Disney Concert Hall

June 30, 2014

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles.  There was a full house, enthusiastic crowd in attendance Saturday night at Disney Hall for the KJAZZ benefit concert. As there should have been.

The importance of FM radio station KJAZZ 88.1 to jazz fans cannot be under-estimated. I may not agree with the programming 100% of the time, but KJAZZ is nonetheless at the top of our radio buttons, in our cars and our living room. And deejays such as Bubba Jackson, Helen Borgers, LeRoy Downs, Bob Parlocha and others have become familiar and friendly jazz voices.

There was a lot to like about the KJAZZ benefit concert, as well. The presence of singer Steve Tyrell and pianist Jason Moran as headliners offered a range of jazz elements, with a lot to please different tastes.

Steve Tyrell

Steve Tyrell

Tyrell, as always, applied his appealing Texas twang and gently swinging jazz phrasing to a scintillating list of offerings from the Great American Songbook. Ranging from standards such as “It Had To Be You” and “I’ll Take Romance” to more recent singer/songwriter items such as “On Broadway” and “Will You Still Love Me,” he thoroughly demonstrated his authenticity as an appealing jazz artist.

Jane Monheit

Jane Monheit

On several numbers he was joined by the warmly engaging vocalizing of Jane Monheit and the articulate playing of pianist and KJAZZ deejay David Benoit.

The evening was kicked off by the highly regarded young pianist Jason Moran. Praised by the New York Times, Down Beat and Jazz Times, he quickly revealed the adventurous quality of his playing.

Jason Moran

Jason Moran

At the heart of his imaginative improvising, Moran approached the piano in a way reflecting the view of the instrument as an orchestra in itself. While some of his excursions roved into complex, busy-fingered areas, he was never less than an appealing artist, and surely one of the finest jazz artists of his generation.

Add to all that, there was the presence of a stellar back up band including pianist Quinn Johnson, guitarist Steve Cotter, trumpeter Bijon Watson, bassist Lyman Medeiros and drummer Kevin Winard. Along with especially appealing solo efforts from Cotter, Johnson and Watson.

Call it a memorable evening – one that informed, entertained and reminded us of the significance of KJAZZ as a valued entity in the Southland jazz community. Let’s hope that the concert raised the funds needed to keep KJAZZ alive, well and swinging.

* * * * * * * *

 Steve Tyrell photo by Bob Barry.

Jane Monheit photo by Faith Frenz.

Jason Moran photo by Tony Gieske.

 


Picks of the Week: June 24 – 29

June 24, 2014

By Don Heckman

Summer has arrived, with all its distractions, and many of the music venues — in the U.S., Europe and beyond — are either closed or booking with reduced schedules.  But there’s still good music to be heard.

Los Angeles

Annie Trousseau

Annie Trousseau

- June 25. (Wed.) Annie Trousseau. Multi-lingual singer Trousseau is described in her press material as offering “some impressive musical reminders of Edith Piaf and Marlene Dietrich.” Which should make for an evening of eminently fascinating music. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

- June 26. (Thurs.) “Tenors For Two” Tenor saxophonists Tom Peterson and Roger Neumann recall the jazz glory days of the “battling tenors.” Expect these two fine players to stretch the limits. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- June 26. (Thurs.) Heartbeat Brazil. They may be Los Angeles-based, but Heartbeat Brazil approaches classic Brazilian music with a convincingly authentic approach to bossa nova, samba, etc. And the highlight of the night may well be the presence of guest singer, Jason Gould, Barbra Streisand’s son. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

Jack Jones

Jack Jones

- June 27 & 28. (Fri. & Sat.) Jack Jones. Jones’ mellow, baritone voice carried the torch for traditional pop music during the rock ‘n’ roll sixties. And the Grammy winner is still going strong, still recalling the glories of the Great American Songbook. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (223) 466-2210.

- June 27 & 28: (Fri.,  & Sat.)  Andrea Marcovicci. Actress, singer, and “Queen of Cabaret,” Marcovicci’s resume reaches from the White House and Carnegie Hall to films and television.  She returns to celebrate her 29th Anniversary at The Gardenia with a program of torch songs titled “Let’s Get Lost.”  The Gardenia.

- June 28. (Sat.) KJAZZ Summer Benefit Concert. Aways one of the most memorable musical experiences of the year, the annual KJAZZ Benefit concert features Steve Tyrell, Jane Monheit, Jason Moran and David Benoit. Don’t miss this one. Disney Hall.  (562) 985-2999.

- June 29. (Sun.) Moulin Russe. Cabaret meets jazz when the Moulin Russe performers bring the delights of traditional French music, in all its glories, to Los Angeles. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (223) 466-2210.

San Francisco

Rickie Lee Jones

Rickie Lee Jones

- June 27 & 28. (Fri. & Sat,) Rickie Lee Jones. Crossing comfortably from jazz to pop in the ’70s and ’80s, identifying herself as a high visibility star and winning Grammys along the way, Jones was one of the most signigicant artists of her generation. Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

Boston

- June 26. (Thurs.) Sadao Watanabe. One of the rare Japanese to break into the national jazz arena, Watanabe thoroughly established himself as a significant player; and he’s still going strong at 80. Regatta Bar.  (617) 661-5000.

New York City

Tierney Sutton

Tierney Sutton

- June 24 – 28. (Tues. – Sat.) The Tierney Sutton Quartet. “After Blue: The Joni Mitchell Project.” Sutton and her band have been creating some of the most impressive vocal jazz of the past decade. The stunning versions of Joni Mitchell classics featured on her most recent CD will provide the centerpiece for her current tour. Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

- June 25 – 28. (Wed. – Sat.) Stanley Jordan. Famous for his unique method of playing the guitar with a string tapping technique, Jordan creates some of the jazz world’s most appealing sounds. Iridium.  (212) 582-2121.

London

- June 24 – 28. (Tues. – Sat.) Curtis Stigers. Singer/saxophonist continues to establish himself as one of the rare male jazz vocal artists on the current scene. Ronnie Scott’s.  (0)20 7439 0747.

Tokyo

- June 28 – 30. (Sat. – Mon.) Pete Escovedo Latin Jazz Orchestra. Featuring Sheila E. It’s always family time when the Escovedos get together on stage. And anyone who hears them in action leaves with significant musical memories. The Blue Note Tokyo.  +81 3-5485-0088.

 

 

 


Live Music: Steve Tyrell at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.

March 29, 2014

By Don Heckman

Bel Air.  Mention an area of the music world and Steve Tyrell has been there and done that. Whether it’s from a business perspective, running a record company or producing albums by major artists, or if it’s in the creative arena, clearly establishing his own identity as a performer Tyrell knows how to do it.

On Wednesday night at Herb Alpert’s Bel Air club – Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. – Tyrell displayed the vocal artistry he has developed as a master interpreter of the Great American Songbook.

The Songbook, of course, with its extraordinary collection of works reaching from Gershwin, Berlin, Porter, Kern and beyond, has been the foundation for the careers of numerous singers. But Tyrell’s far-reaching interpretive skills have brought new perspectives to this rich catalog of material.

Performing with the skillful backing of a stellar band of players, Tyrell was at his best.

Steve Tyrell and his Band at Vibrato Grill Jazz...etc.

Steve Tyrell and his Band at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.

Among the rich list of songs he sang, every selection was memorable. Starting with “I’ll Take Romance,” “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” and “They Can’t Take That Away From Me,” he proceeded with classics such as “I Can’t Get Started,” “I Get A Kick Out of You” “Come Rain Or Come Shine,” “This Guy’s In Love With You” and a climactic “Stand By Me.”

He introduced most of the songs with a few insightful comments about the songwriters. On some, he often included the usually omitted verses of the songs. And he frequently added fascinating anecdotes providing intriguing insight into a song’s history.

Steve Tyrell

Steve Tyrell

But the real evaluation of Tyrell’s performance has to mention what he brought to both the music and the lyrics of every song he sang. Tyrell is often praised for the appeal of his warm, Texas accent, brisk rhythmic swing and easygoing on stage manner.

Add to that, however, his innate skills as a musical story teller. In song after song, he blended his jazz-driven phrasing with a thoughtful interpretive ability. The result was the opportunity to experience a musical poet in action, finding the most gripping lyrical moments in every song he touched.

So call it an evening showcasing the best of American song, rendered with complete creative authenticity. And listening to Steve Tyrell’s performance one couldn’t help but imagine how delighted the legion of American Songbook composers might have been to hear their musical brilliance evoked with such care and enthusiasm.

* * * * * * * *

Photos by Faith Frenz.

 

 


Picks of the Week: Feb. 18 – 23

February 18, 2014

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Brenna Whitaker

- Feb. 19. (Wed.) Brenna Whitaker. She’s a blonde beauty with a voice to remember. Michael Buble has called Whitaker “one of the finest singers of our generation. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 20 – 23. (Thurs. – Sun.) ”TchaikovskyFest.” The Los Angeles Philharmonic celebrates Tchaikovsky with performances of his chamber music, as well as his Symphonies #1 and #6. Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

Steve Tyrell

Steve Tyrell

- Feb. 20 – 23. (Thurs, – Sun.) Steve Tyrell. He’s back at Catalina’s again for another long weekend. So don’t miss this opportunity to experience Tyrell’s warm, interpretive, gently swinging way with the Great American Songbook. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (223) 466-2210.

- Feb. 22. (Sat.) Bob McChesney Quartet. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400. The Southland bandleaders’ first choice for their trombone section. McChesney is not just a master of his instrument, he also brings rich musical depths to everything he plays. Here, he’s out front, leading his own band. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 23. (Sun.) Angela Parrish. Singer, songwriter and pianist Parrish showcases her engaging collection of original songs. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 23. (Sun.) “Guitar Passions.,” Call this a great evening of guitar mastery in a variety of appealing styles. Start with the classical guitar of Sharon Isbin, followed by her guests – Brazilian guitarist Romero Lubambo and the finger tapping stylings of Stanley Jordan. Valley Performing Arts Center.  (818) 677-8800.

San Francisco

Bobby Hutcherson

Bobby Hutcherson

- Feb. 20 – 23. (Thurs. – Sun.) Bobby Hutcherson, David Sanborn, Joey DeFrancesco and Billy Hart join forces in an assemblage of jazz all-stars. An SFJAZZ event at Miner Auditorium.  (866) 920-5299.

Portland OR

- Feb. 23 (Sun.) Dave Frishberg and Bob Dorough. “Who’s On First?” A rare opportunity to hear a tandem performance by a pair of the jazz world’s most gifted musical humorists. A PDX Jazz Event at the Winningstad Theatre.  (503) 228-5299.

New York City

- Feb. 20 (Thurs.) Portraits of Joni: Jessica Molaskey Sings Joni Mitchell. Musical theatre star Molaskey (and wife of John Pizzarelli) takes a break from the stage to explore the rich Mitchell song catalog. Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.  (212) 258-9595.

- Feb. 21 – 23. (Fri. – Sun.) Patricia Barber. Singer/pianist brings imagination, musicality and wit to her new interpretations of Songbook classics, as well as her own songs.The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

Milan

Dee Dee Bridgewater

Dee Dee Bridgewater

- Feb. 19 – 22. (Wed. – Sat.) Dee Dee Bridgewater. The one and only Dee Dee offers her inimitable collection of vocal jazz renderings to Italy’s many jazz fans. Blue Note Milano.  +39 02 6901 6888.

Moscow

- Feb. 23. (Sun.) Lisa Henry. With the Igor Butman Trio. Blues and gospel specialist Henry is backed by saxophonist/bandleader and club owner Igor Butman. Igor Butman Jazz Club.  (+7 495) 632-92-64.

Warsaw

- Feb. 22. (Sat.) DISCO FEVER! Revisit the dance crazes of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s in a Polish evening to remember. Tygmont Live Club.  +48 22 828 34 09.

Tokyo

Roy Hargrove

Roy Hargrove

- Feb. 18 & 19. (Tues. & Wed.) Roy Hargrove Big Band. Trumpeter Hargrove continues his quest to keep big band jazz alive with his own stellar ensemble. Blue Note Tokyo.  +81 3-5485-0088.


Picks of the (Valentine) Week: Feb. 12 – 16

February 12, 2014

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Steve Tyrell

Steve Tyrell

- Feb. 13 – 16. Thurs. – Sun. Steve Tyrell. Four days to enjoy Valentine’s Day at L.A.’s primo jazz room, captivated by Tyrell’s warm voice and engaging musical storytelling. Catalina Bar & Grill (223) 466-2210.

- Feb. 13 & 14. (Thurs. & Fri.) The Moscow Festival Ballet showcases a trio of ballets perfectly chosen for Valentine’s Day: Giselle, Chopiniana and Romeo & Juliet. Valley Performing Arts Center.  (818) 677-8800

- Feb. 14. (Fri.) Dream Street. Led by guitarist/arranger Stan Ayeroff, Dream Street brings superb musicality to all their compelling interpretations.  However, singer Bobbi Paige, a regular member, will not be present, due to a family emergency and will be replaced by “fill-in” vocalists.. Vitello’s (818) 769-0905.

Anna Mjoll

Anna Mjoll

- Feb. 14. (Fri.) Anna Mjoll. Icelandic jazz vocalist Mjoll celebrates the romance of Valentine’s Day with a program of love songs from the Great American Songbook. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 14. (Fri.) Maria Rita. Brazilian singer Rita,the daughter of the iconic Brazilian vocalist, Elis Regina, has become a vocal star in her own right. Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000

- Feb. 15. (Sat.) Clint Black. Grammy-winning, country male vocalist of the year, puts a unique country twist on a program of ballad classics. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 916-8500.

New York City

- Feb. 12 – 15. (Wed. – Sat.) Cyrille Aimee. French-born jazz singer Aimee has been described, accurately, by Will Friedwald as “one of the most promising singers of her generation.” Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

Tierney Sutton

Tierney Sutton

- Feb. 13. (Thurs.) Tierney Sutton. One of L.A.’s finest jazz pleasures, Sutton has lately been bringing her many skills to compelling, jazz-driven interpretations of Joni Mitchell songs.  Click HERE to read a recent review of a Sutton performance in Los Angeles.  Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. (212) 258-9595.

Copenhagen

- Feb. 13 – 15. (Thurs. – Sat.) Warren Wolf. Vibist Wolf has been bringing new, imaginative ideas to his instrument. He’s backed in his Danish appearances by American drummer Billy Williams, Danish pianist Jacob Christoffersen and bassist Kaspar Vadsholt. Jazzhus Montmartre. +45 31 72 34 94.

 London

All Jarreau

All Jarreau

- Feb. 16. (Sun.) Al Jarreau. The seven-time Grammy award winner and all around versatile jazz artist celebrates the 30th anniversary of his album, Jarreau the Album. Ronnie Scott’s+44 (0)20 7439 0747.

Milano

- Feb. 13 – 15. (Thurs. – Sat.) Ray Gelato and the Giants. Vocalist Gelato and his European jazz masters describe their music in the all-inclusive label of “Swing + Rhythm ‘n’ Blues + Jive.” Expect to be well-entertained. Blue Note Milano.  +39 02 6901 6888.


Picks of the Weekend: Nov. 8 – 10

November 8, 2013

By Don Heckman

 Los Angeles

Bill Holman

Bill Holman

- Nov. 8. (Fri.) Bill Holman Big Band. Holman’s music is always a pleasure to hear live. And this is an even better opportunity, since the band will be performing (on the first set only) its highly praised all-Thelonious Monk album, Brilliant Corners, in its entirety. Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

- Nov. 8. (Fri.) Anna Mjoll. Iceland’s gift to jazz is also one of the Southland’s intriguing female jazz vocalists. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

Steve Tyrell

Steve Tyrell

- Nov. 8 – 10. (Fr. – Sun.) Steve Tyrell. Bringing his own musical gifts to the Great American Songbook, Tyrell’s appealing interpretations are always a pleasure to hear. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (223) 466-2210.

- Nov. 8 – 10. (Fri. – Sun.) The Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Bramwell Tovey, with trumpet soloist Alison Balsom, perform Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. and Tovey’s trumpet concerto, Songs of the Paradise Saloon. Disney Hall (323) 850-2000.

- Nov. 9. (Sat.) Lee Hartley. Jazz singer Hartley surrounds her self with a stellar collection of world class artists, including the great Les McCann and the grooving Alphonse Mouzon Band. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- Nov. 9. (Sat.) Susan Marshall & Company. Featuring Marshall’s Play/Pause, described as the “ultimate mash-up: postmodern dance-theater meets indie rock on both real and virtual stages.” A CAP UCLA event at Royce Hall.  (310) 825-4401.

Judy Wexler

Judy Wexler

- Nov. 10. (Sun.) Judy Wexler. Always a pleasure to hear in action, the small, but musically exciting Wexler celebrates a CD release party for her new album, What I See. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- Nov. 10. (Sun. Brunch Performance) Betty Bryant. Veteran singer/pianist Bryant celebrates her anniversary with a Birthday Bash Brunch and CD release party. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

- Nov. 10. (Sun.) Bill Cunliffe and Imaginacion. Grammy-winning pianist/composer/arranger Cunliffe digs into his Latin jazz perspectives. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

 San Francisco

- Nov. 8 – 10. (Fri. – Sun.) Paula West. A standout among the Bay area’s many fine female jazz artists, West displays her virtuosity with an appealing set of songs, including her take on June Christy’s version of “Something Cool.” SFJAZZ at Joe Henderson Lab.  (866) 920-5299.

 New York City

Steve Kuhn

Steve Kuhn

- Nov. 7 – 10. (Thurs. – Sun.) Steve Kuhn Trio. Pianist Kuhn has been carving out his own musical directions since he played with John Coltrane as a young arrival. Here he’s backed by the propulsive accompaniment of Buster Williams, bass and Billy Drummond, drums. Jazz Standard.  (212) 576-2232.

- Nov. 8 – 10. (Fri. – Sun.) The Django Reinhardt New York Festival recalls the inimitable jazz artistry of the great Django Reinhardt with an ensemble featuring the Django Festival All-Stars. With Special Guests: Cyrille Aimee, Freddie Cole, James Carter & Edmar Castaneda. Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

 Boston

Jackie Ryan

Jackie Ryan

- Nov. 8. (Fri.) Jackie Ryan. In the crowded field of female jazz vocalists, Ryan continues to be a standout, an imaginative artist who still hasn’t quite received the accolades her extraordinary talents deserve. She celebrates the release of her latest CD. Regatta Bar.  (617) 661-5000.

 London

- Nov. 8 & 9. Fri. & Sat. Soul Jazz Alliance. You can bet that the title of this group is an accurate description of what to expect from a world class collection of players, featuring Vincent Herring and Jeremy Pelt and special guest Sachal Vasandani. Ronnie Scott’s.   +44 (0)20 7439 0747.

Paris

Sheila E.

Sheila E.

- Nov. 8. (Fri.) Sheila E. Gifted with jazz skills inherited from her Escovedo family background, Sheila E. can do just about anything, from her driving percussion work to her ability to musically dominate a stage. New Morning.  +33 1 45 23 51 41.

Milano

- Nov. 8 & 9. (Fri. & Sat.) Maceo Parker. A saxophone star with James Brown, Parker is still – at 70 – a master of the soul, funk and bebop genres. Blue Note Milano.  +39 02 6901 6888.


Picks of the Week: Feb. 12 – 17

February 13, 2013

By The iRoM Staff

Los Angeles

Valentine’s Day

Steve Tyrell- Feb. 13 – 17. (Wed. – Sun.)  Steve Tyrell.  Vocalist Tyrell applies his appealing, jazz-driven style, enhanced by his warm Texas roots, to five evenings of memorable Valentine’s Day celebrating.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- Feb. 14 (Thurs.)  Dream Street & Bobbi Page.  The combination of guitarist Stan Ayeroff, the amiable acoustic chamber music of Dream Street, and the tender, evocative singing of Page is a welcome choice for another celebration of the day of love.   Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 14. (Thurs.)  Carol RobbinsTony Gala.  Harpist Robbins sets the Valentine’s Day mood in the first set, followed by the romantic vocals of Gala.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 14. (Thurs.) Nancy Sanchez.  Award-winning jazz vocalist Sanchez displays her many impressive talents.  Steamers.     (714) 871-8800.

Denise Donatelli

Denise Donatelli

- Feb. 14. (Thurs.)  Denise Donatelli.  She was nominated again, but Denise didn’t win a Grammy this year, although she should have.  And here’s a great opportunity to hear why her singing is so special, as she applies her lustrous sound and intimate interpretations to a program of Valentine love songs.  Prestons at the Loew’s Hotel Hollywood.   (323) 491-1000.

- Feb. 14. (Thurs.)  Taylor Eigsti.  Once a youthful piano prodigy, Eigsti is now a fully matured jazz artist.  He’s joined by Dayna Stephens, saxophone, Harish Raghavan, bass and Eric Harland, drums.  Blue Whale.    (213) 620-0908.

Sue Raney

Sue Raney

- Feb. 14. (Thurs.)  “A Gershwin Valentine.”  And a colorful Valentine at that, enhanced by a full spectrum of musical vocalizing from Sue Raney, Michael Dees, Kurt Reichenbach and Pinky WintersA Jazz Bakery Movable Feast at the Kirk Douglas Theatre.    (310) 271-9039.

- Feb. 14 – 16. (Thurs. – Sat.)  “Romance at the Phil”  Celebrate a classical music Valentine’s week with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Charles Dutoit, with soloists Gautier Capucon, cello, and Carrie Dennis, viola, in a program of romantic classics from Mendelssohn, Mozart and Strauss.  Disney Hall.    (323) 850-2000.

- Feb. 14 – 17. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The 13th Annual Newport Beach Jazz Party. It would take much more space than we have to mention all the world-class jazz talent at the annual Newport event.  But trust that – as always – the four engaging days of the Party will offer non-stop jazz at its finest.  The Newport Beach Jazz Party at the Marriott Newport Beach Hotel and Spa.  For details, check the web site.    (949) 759-5003.

And More

Tierney Sutton and the Turtle Island Quartet

Tierney Sutton and the Turtle Island Quartet

- Feb. 15. (Fri.)   Tierney Sutton and the Turtle Island Quartet. “Poets and Prayers.” The unique combination of vocalist Sutton and the Turtle Island players finds inspiration in the music of Joni Mitchell and John Coltrane, and the poetry of Hafiz and Rumi.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast at Zipper Hall.    (310) 271-9039.

- Feb. 17. (Sun.)  The Chieftains. The irresistible playing and singing of the Chieftains remind us of the many pleasures of Irish music.  Disney Hall. http://www.laphil.com/tickets/calendar  (323) 850-2000.

- Feb. 17. (Sun.)  Tim Weisberg Band.  Vitello’s.  Flutist Weisberg leads the fine musical collective of keyboardist Barnaby Finch,  bassist David Hughes, drummer David Derge and guitarist/vocalist Chuck AlvarezVitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 17. (Sun.)  Pat Senatore Trio with Josh Nelson.  Jazz crosses the generations via the well-crafted, veteran bass work of Senatore and the adventurous piano playing of the youthful Nelson.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 15 & 16. (Fri. & Sat.)  Paco Pena Flamenco Vivo” The brilliant Flamenco guitarist Pena is joined by a dynamic band of guitarists, singers and dancers.   Fri.: Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.      Sat.: Valley Performing Arts Center. (562) 916-8501.     (818) 677-3000.

San Francisco

The Manhattan Transfer

The Manhattan Transfer

- Feb. 15 – 17.  (Fri. – Sun.)  The Manhattan Transfer.  No one does jazz vocal ensemble singing better than the Transfer.  And they’re back to their best with the welcome return (from an illness hiatus) of the superb singing of Cheryl BentyneYoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 128-9200.

Washington D.C.

- Feb. 14 – 17. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Jerry “The Iceman” Butler.  Once the lead singer of the Impressions, soul singer Butler – at 73 – is still out there, fully justifying his entry into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. Blues Alley.    (202) 337-4141.

New York City

- Feb. 12 – 18. (Tues. – Mon.)  The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra.  Monday night big band jazz was a favorite, for years, on the Vanguard stage.  This time, the swinging ensemble is in residency for a week.   The Village Vanguard.    (212) 255-4037.

- Feb. 14 – 17. )Thurs. – Sun.)  Rachelle Ferrell. With a remarkable vocal range and a simmering, blues-driven style, Ferrell knows how to apply it all to her intriguing jazz interpretations.  The Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

London

Eliane Elias

Eliane Elias

- Feb. 17. (Sun.)  Eliane Elias, Marc Johnson and Joe LaBarbera.  A world class jazz trio, with Elias’ imaginative piano lines backed by the dynamic rhythm of bassist Johnson and drummer LaBarbera.  Ronnie Scott’s.   +44 (0)20 7439 0747.

Berlin

- Feb. 17. (Sun.)  Cedar Walton Trio.  Pianist Walton, everyone’s favorite rhythm section player, steps out in front, backed by bassist David Williams and drummer Willie Jones III.  A-Trane.  030/313 25 50.

Tokyo

- Feb. 13 – 16. (Wed. – Sat.)  Nicola Conte and Till Bronner.  Versatile Italian guitarist Conte teams up with the equally eclectic German trumpeter Bronner.  The Tokyo Blue Note.     03-5485 0088.

Steve Tyrell photo by Bob Barry

Denise Donatelli and Sue Raney photos by Faith Frenz.


Live Music: Steve Tyrell at Catalina Bar & Grill

November 17, 2012

By Don Heckman

Hollywood CA.  Steve Tyrell is back at Catalina Bar & Grill this week.  No surprise there, since the veteran singer has become a regular at the Hollywood jazz room, frequently drawing overflow crowds to his performances of familiar standards.

Which is what he did on Thursday night, with a program largely dedicated to the songs of Sammy Cahn, before an audience glittering with song writing associations.  Among his listeners – Cahn’s widow, Tita, Jimmy McHugh’s granddaughter, Judy McHugh, as well as the songwriting team of Alan and Marilyn Bergman, and songwriter Mike Stoller.

The Steve Tyrell Band:Bob Mann, Lyman Medeiros, Steve Tyrell, Lew Soloff

Tyrell’s extensive background as a producer taught him, early on in his career, that singers are always deeply reliant upon the quality of their instrumental support.  And he has wisely assembled an impressive seven piece band – featuring stellar work from guitarist Bob Mann, saxophonist Jeff Driscoll and trumpeter Lew Soloff – that provided consistently solid backing.  Soloff’s trumpet work, moving from plunger-muted soloing to far ranging, high note ensemble leads, was a particularly vital contribution to the colorful sounds and rhythms curling around Tyrell’s vocals.

Add to that the beautifully crafted arrangements by Mann, Don Sebesky and Alan Broadbent.  And, of course, there was the amazing catalog of Cahn’s music, overflowing with the sort of catchy lyrics perfectly appropriate for Tyrell’s jauntily expressive singing style.

Steve Tyrell

Working with barely a break, moving smoothly from one Cahn classic to another he hit many of the high points in this remarkable catalog, dealing with each in appropriately atmospheric fashion: “Call Me Irresponsible,” “Time After Time,” “Guess I’ll Hang My Tears Out To Dry,” “Come Fly With Me,” “It’s Magic, “Teach Me Tonight,”  “It All Depends on You,” “I’ve Got the World On A String” and “All the Way.”  (Note that there are a couple of Academy Award winners in that list.)

Tyrell also acknowledged some of the other songwriter presence in the audience by adding Jimmy McHugh’s “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” and the Bergmans’ “Nice and Easy.’  Topping it all off, he also included a pair of Bacharach and David tunes – “The Look of Love” and “This Guy’s In Love With You” – dating back to his youthful association, as a producer, with the great songwriting team.

Call it a well-crafted show.  Tyrell’s ebullient singing style, tinged with a good guy Texas accent and briskly rhythmic phrasing, was the centerpiece in an evening that was as entertaining as it was well-crafted.  Chatting amiably between numbers, telling a story or two, acknowledging celebrities in the crowd, he offered a virtual seminar in how to showcase the Great American Songbook.

There will be two more opportunities to experience Tyrell in action, with shows tonight (Saturday) and tomorrow at Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210 for reservations.

Photos by Bob Barry.


Picks of the Week: Nov. 14 – 18

November 14, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

David Sanborn

- Nov 14. (Wed.)  David Sanborn.  Alto saxophonist Sanborn is the star of pop jazz, r & b and crossover.  But at the heart of his playing is a deep involvement with the essential elements of straight ahead jazz.  Catalina Bar & Grill. http://www.catalinajazzclub.com  (323) 466-2210.

- Nov. 14. (Wed.) Alan Bergman.  In partnership with his wife, Marilyn Bergman, Alan has written the lyrics for some of the most memorable songs of the past five or six decades.  And they’re often best heard in his own quietly lyrical interpretations.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   http://www.vibratogrilljazz.com  (310) 474-9400.

- Nov. 14. (Wed.) Barbara Cook. Tony Award-winning singer/actress Cook celebrates her long, productive career – she was 85 in October – with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a program of great American song. Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

- Nov. 15 – 18. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Steve Tyrell.  A highly successful producer before he embarked on a singing career of his own, Tyrell has emerged as a vocalist with an appealing, jazz-driven style enhanced by the warmth of his Texas roots. Catalina Bar & Grill  (323) 466-2210.

Janis Paige

- Nov. 16. (Fri.)  Janis Paige. If you remember the movie musicals of the ‘50s, then you’ll remember Paige from such films as Silk Stockings and Please Don’t Eat The Daisies.  Decades in musical theatre and television followed, and the 90 year old Paige is still a delightfully effective vocal artist.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Nov. 16. (Fri.) Cip & Cat.  Saxophonist Gene Cipriano (Cip) and  vocalist Cat Conner (Cat), backed by guitarist John Chiodini with special guest trombonist Dick Nash celebrate their fifth anniversary together and their first anniversary at the venue.  Out Take Bistro.       (818) 760-1111.

- Nov. 16 – 18. (Fri. – Sun.)  The Los Angeles Philharmonic.  An evening rich with musical variations.  The Phil, conducted by Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, performs Haydn’s Symphony No. 6 and Cello Concerto in C, Albeniz’s Suite Espanola and Ravel’s Bolero Disney Hall.    (323) 850-2000.

Johnny Mandel

- Nov. 17. (Sat.) Johnny Mandel Big Band.  Composer, arranger, band leader and songwriter, Mandel’s resume includes stints with Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Peggy Lee and many more.  At 86, Mandel is now best heard leading his own band, playing his own well-crafted arrangements and compositions. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Nov. 17. (Sat.)  Buika.  Spanish singer Buika, a native of Equatorial Guinea, who sings flamenco with an appealing blend of soul music and jazz rhythms, makes a rare Southland appearance.  Luckman Fine Arts Complex.    (323) 343-6610.

- Nov. 18. (Sun.)  Quattro.  The four talented members of Quattro – cellist Giovanna Clayton, violinst Lisa Dondlinger, guitarist Kay-Ta Matsuno and percussionist Jorge Villanueva (all of whom also sing) – have written and arranged all the diverse works they describe as Popzzical music. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Nov. 18. (Sun.)  Jackson Browne. He’s been writing memorable songs since the ‘70s, still producing prime selections.  He’s joined in this performance by Sara Watkins, Jonathan Wilson and other special guests.  Valley Performing Arts Center.    (818) 677-3000.

- Nov. 18. (Sun.) The Los Angeles Master Chorale performs Monteverdi’s Vespers.  This will be a concert to remember, with the gorgeous voices of the LAMC applying their magical touch to the lush vocal lines of Renaissance polyphony.  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

San Francisco

Ornette Coleman

- Nov. 17. (Sat.) Ornette Coleman.  Since his arrival on the international jazz scene in the late ‘50s, Coleman’s compositions and alto saxophone playing have been among the music’s most persistently exploratory voices.  An SFJAZZ event at the Herbst Theatre.   (866) 920-5299.

New York

- Nov. 18 & 19. (Sun. & Mon.)  An Intimate Evening with Stanley Jordan Solo. Jordan’s remarkable mastery of the guitar tap-on style has provided him with a virtual orchestral instrument.  And he makes the most of it.  The Iridium.    (212) 582-2121.

- Nov. 19. (Mon.)  Sheila Jordan and Steve Kuhn Duo. Their history together goes back decades.  And they continue to make music together with a symbiotic creative togetherness.  The performance celebrates Sheila’s 84th birthday.  The Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

Washington  D.C.

- Nov. 15 – 18. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Tuck & Patti.  Guitarist Tuck and singer Patti have been together for nearly three decades.  And their deeply intimate musical and personal relationship seems to improve and mature like fine wine.  Blues Alley.  (202) 337-4141.

Paris

- Nov. 16. (Fri.)  John Scofield Trio.  Always on the search for new ideas, guitarist Scofield gets down to the absolute jazz basics with his current trio.  New Morning  01 45 23 51 41.

Berlin

Judy Niemack

- Nov. 16. (Fri.)  Judy Niemack & Jay Clayton2 Voices Flying.  Niemack, a constantly captivating singer, bringing musicality, imagination and interpretive excellence to everything she touches, teams up with the equally adventurous and inventive Clayton.  A-Trane.    030/313 25 50.

Milan

- Nov. 16. (Fri.)  Tony Levin.  “Stick Men”.  Bassist Levin, who’s worked with a stellar list of artists in virtually every genre, steps out front with his own vocals.  He’ll be backed by drummer Pat Mastelliotto and touch guitarist Markus ReuterBlue Note Milano.    +39.02.69016888.

Tokyo

- Nov. 18 & 19. (Sun. & Mon.)  Michel Camilo and Tomatito. The dynamic duo of pianist Camilo and flamenco guitarist Tomitito come together with a magical blend of jazz and traditional Spanish music.  The Blue Note Tokyo.   03.5485.0088.


Picks of the Week: Feb. 6 – 12

February 6, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Feb. 7. (Tues.)  Misha Piatigorsky and Sketchy Black Dog.  Winner of the 2004 Thelonious Monk Composers’ Competition, Piatigorsky applies his adventurous composition and piano playing skills within the offbeat string quartet sounds of the Sketchy Black Dog. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. http://www.vibratogrilljazz.com  (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 7. (Tues.)  Guitar NightJohn Pisano and Barry Zweig.  The two veteran guitarists share a birthday celebration with a typical evening of Guitar night jamming. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 7. (Tues.)  Joshua Bell in Concert.  Versatile violinist Bell applies his rich interpretive skills to a program of Mendlssohn, Brahms, Ravel, Ysaye and Gershwin.  Pianist Sam Haywood accompanies.  Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

Janis Siegel

- Feb. 9. (Thurs.)  Janis Siegel with the Elliot Deutsch Big Band“Love: Swinging From the Heart.”  The Manhattan Transfer’s eclectic singer takes a break from quartet life for an evening of love songs with Deutsch’s briskly swinging young band.  Old Town Temecula Community Theatre.    (866) 653-8696.

- Feb. 10. (Fri..)  Pete Christlieb.  Every bandleader loves to have tenor saxophonist Christlieb on stage with him (or her), knowing that – whatever the music demands – Christlieb will deliver it in world class style.  Here’s a chance to hear him up front, doing his own thing.  Expect the best.  He’ll be backed by the Pat Senatore Trio.  Vibrato.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 10. (Fri.)  Hugh Masekela. South African trumpeter and human rights activist Masekela and his South African band survey his far reaching career – from “Grazing in the Grass” to straight ahead jazz and Afro-pop. Royce Hall.  UCLA Live.    (310) 825-2101.

- Feb. 10. (Fri.)  The Glendale Pops Orchestra with Kenny Loggins.  “This Is Romance.” Hitmaker and pop superstar Loggins has been producing soft rock romantic tunes since the ’70s, and he’s still going strong.  He’ll be singing some of his classics with the Glendale Pops as the perfect lead-in to Valentine’s day.  Matt Catingub conducts.  The Glendale Pops Orchestra at the Alex Theatre.  (818) 552-2787.

- Feb. 10 – 12. (Fri. – Sun.) and Feb. 16. – 19. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Steve Tyrell.  The warm and fuzzy baritone of Steve Tyrell can always be counted on to add the right romantic touch to an evening of songs for Valentine’s Day.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Feb. 11. (Sat.)  Jaye Maynard’s Blossom Dearie Songbook. Maynard explores the delightfully whimsical material favored by the one and only Dearie, without falling into the trap of imitating her inimitable singing style.  1 p.m. matinee show.  Also Mon., Feb. 13.  8 p.m.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Judy Collins

- Feb. 11. (Sat.)  Judy Collins. It’s been more than four decades since Grammy winning Collins was first thrilling boomers with songs such as “Both Sides Now,” “Someday Soon,” “Who Knows Where The Time Goes” and much more.  At 72, she continues to bring new life to everything she sings. Disney Hall.    (323) 850-2000.

- Feb. 11. (Sat.)  Inner Voices Valentine Show. The Southland’s primo vocal collective brings their lush harmonies and soaring solos to a program of holiday-appropriate love songs. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 11. (Sat.)  Pasatono Orquesta.  The first concert in this year’s “Sounds of L.A.” series showcases the indigenous music of Mexico performed on hand-crafted instruments.  The Getty Center. (310) 440-7300.

Ravi Coltrane

- Feb. 11. (Sat.)  Christian McBride Trio and Ravi Coltrane Quartet. Two of the contemporary jazz scene’s most gifted artists share the Royce Hall stage, as well as their individual quests to explore new jazz territories. Royce Hall.  UCLA Live.    (310) 825-2101.

- Feb. 12 (Sun.)  Los Angeles Master Chorale. The LAMC take on a pair of compelling choral works: Bruckner’s lush textured Mass in E minor, performed with a wind orchestra, and Stravinsky’s three-movement, neo-classical Symphony of the Psalms.  Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

- Feb. 12. (Sun.)  Marian Petrescu. Bucharest-born pianist Petrescu brings astonishing technical virtuosity to a jazz style blending mainstream elements with a free flying, fiercely rhythmic improvisational inventiveness. Pierre’s Fine Pianos.  (310) 247-0331.    

- Feb. 12. (Sun.)  Moscow Festival Ballet. Founded in 1989 by Bolshoi Ballet dancer Sergei Radchenko, the Moscow Festival Ballet offers their own version of the magical fairy tale, Cinderella.   Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.     (562) 916-8501.

San Francisco

- Feb. 10 – 12. (Fri. – Sun.)  The Manhattan Transfer.  “Valentine’s Weekend.” The Transfer offer their richly harmonized versions of songs for the holiday. Singer Margaret Dorn steps in for Cheryl Bentyne, who is recovering from a serious illness. Yoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.

Miami

- Feb. 11. (Sat.)  The Jacky Terrasson Trio.    Born in Berlin to an American mother and a French father, pianist Terrasson has thoroughly established himself as a world-class jazz artist.  In his first Florida appearance he’s backed by the sturdy swing of bassist Ben Williams and drummer Jamire Williams The Miniaci Performing Arts Center.  (954) 462-0222.

Washington

- Feb. 10 – 12 (Fri. – Sun.)  Jerry “The Iceman” Butler. One of the original Impressions, Butler – and his smooth baritone — followed up with a string of solo hits. At 72, he’s still going strong, while also serving as a Cook County Board Commissioner.  Blues Alley.    (202) 237-4141.

New York

Roy Hargrove

- Feb. 7 – 12. (Tues. – Sun.)  Roy Hargrove Big Band with Special Guest Roberta Gambarini.  After a string of performances with his quintet, trumpeter Hargrove is back in front of his dynamic big band.  But many of the high points will also be provided by the superb jazz singing of Gambarini.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

- Feb. 9 – 12.  (Thurs. – Sun.) Benny Golson.  He’s written some of the great jazz standards, but tenor saxophonist Golson also has a lot to say through his horn.  Don’t miss this rare club appearance.  Jazz Standard.    (212) 576-2232.

- Feb. 10. (Fri.)  The American Symphony OrchestraOrientalism in France”  The ASO takes a close look at the impact that the music of Asia had upon French composers of the late 19th and early 20th cenuries.  The program includes works by Saint-Saens, Franck, Delage, Ravel and Bizet’s rarely heard one act opera, Djamileh. Carnegie Hall, Stern Auditorium, Perelman Stage.   (212) 247-7800.

London

- Feb. 8 & 9. (Tues. & Wed.)  Gilad Atzmon“The Music of Charlie Parker.”  Alto saxophonist Atzmon takes on some of the familiar Parker works, including pieces from the classic Bird with Strings recordings.  Ronnie Scott’s.    020 7439 0747.

Berlin

- Feb. 10. (Fri.)  Gwilym Simcock.  Although he is best known in the U.K., Welsh jazz 30 year old Simcock is one of the most innovative pianists of his generation, applying many of his classical skills to his improvisational excursions.  He performs here on solo piano.   A-Trane.  030/313 25 50

Milan

Billy Cobham

- Feb. 9 – 11. (Thurs. – Sat.)  The Billy Cobham Band. Fusion, crossover, whatever one chooses to call it, drummer Cobham is one of the master chefs of the mixed musical stew of jazz, pop, rock and beyond. Blue Note Milano.     02.69.01.68.88.

Tokyo

Feb. 11 & 12. (Sat. & Sun.)  Take 6. The six a cappella singers of Take 6 have taken every element in the history of jazz vocal ensembles, added their own unique talents and created the best new jazz ensemble singing of the 21st century. Blue Note Tokyo.   03.5485.0088.

Janis Siegel photo by Bob Barry.


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