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.


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.


- 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.


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.


- 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: August 26 – Sept. 1

August 26, 2013

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Lyn Stanley

Lyn Stanley

- Aug. 27. Tues.) Lyn StanleyLost in Romance.”  Jazz vocalist Lyn Stanley celebrates the release of her new album in the stellar company of Tamir Hendelman, Mike Lang, Llew Matthews, Dominic Genova, Jim DeJulio, Bernie Dresel, Rickey Woodard, Bob McChesney and Grant Geissman. Add to that an appearance by a pair of pro ballroom dancers, Latin world champions Maria Nikolishina and Nikolai Vononovich. And, topping the evening, a warm tribute to the late pianist Paul Smith, who was instrumental in the early development of Stanley’s career. Smith’s widow, Annette Warren Smith, a veteran film, radio and television singer, will also be in attendance. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Aug. 28. (Wed.) Denise Donatelli and Geoffrey Keezer. The musical partnership of jazz singer Donatelli and pianist/arranger Keezer has resulted in Grammy nominations and some extraordinary music. Here’s a chance to hear them in action, live. Vitello’s. . (818) 769-0905.

- Aug. 28. (Wed.) Wayne Shorter’s 80th Birthday Celebration.  The iconic saxophonist/composer’s 80th birthday provides the ideal motivation for a major musical highlight of the 2013 Summer Bowl schedule.  The stellar line up of performers includes Herbie Hancock, Geri Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington, Esperanza Spalding, Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Brian Blade, the Imani Winds and the Joe Lovano/Dave Douglas Quintet The Hollywood Bowl.     (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 29. (Thurs.) Tierney Sutton. “After Blue” One of the more intriguing performances of the week – the musically adventurous Sutton in a preview performance of her “Joni Mitchell Project.” Vitello’s. . (818) 769-0905.

Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.

- Aug. 30 – Sept. 1. (Fri. – Sun.)  Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.  The multiple, Grammy-winning duo from the Fifth Dimension showcase their warm and intimate vocalizing. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

Sept. 1. (Sun.) The Modernaires. A performance by the second generation of this great, veteran vocal ensemble features contemporary singers Julie Dickenson, Joe Croyle, Jim Stephens, Ginger Berglund, Scott Whitfield. Vitello’s. . (818) 769-0905.


- Aug. 29 – Sept. 1. (Thurs. – Sun.) Keiko Matsui. 25Th Anniversary Tour & Soul Quest CD release party. Originally known as a smooth jazz keyboardist, Matsui’s musical imagination has taken her in many new areas of expression. Jazz Alley. 441-9729.


Albert Lee

Albert Lee

- Aug. 28. (Wed.) Albert Lee. Finger-picking guitarist Lee has been widely influencing guitarists of all genres since the mid-’60s. Regatta Bar.  (617) 661-5000.

New York City

- Aug. 27 – 31. (Tues. – Sat.) Charlie Parker Birthday Celebration. A congregation of contemporary all -stars get together to celebrate Charlie “Bird” Parker‘s birthday on Aug. 29. The players include Vincent Herring, Tom Harrell, George Cables and Victor Lewis. Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

- Aug. 29 – Sept. 1. (Thurs. – Sun.) The Mingus Big Band. The memory, the music and the very unique characteristics of the great bassist/composer Charles Mingus are kept alive and well in the work of the Mingus Big Band. The Jazz Standard.  (212) 576-2232.

- Aug. 30 (Fri.) Robert Davi Sings Sinatra. The Sinatra style, as well as the memorable melodies in the Great American Songbook, are all vividly alive in the rich baritone voice of Robert Davi. And here’s a chance to hear him in a free, outdoor concert. Also on the bill: comedian Mike Marino. Bring your own chairs and blankets. Click HERE to read a recent iRoM review of a Robert Davi performance in Los Angeles. The Harry Chapin Lakeside Theatre at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow, New York.


- Aug. 26 &O 27. (Mon. & Tues.)  Ginger Baker’s Jazz Confusion. Drummer Baker, well-known for his work with Cream and Blind Faith, explores a wide territory of music with his African-oriented Jazz Confusion. Ronnie Scott’s+44 (0)20 7439 0747


- Aug. 27 – 31. (Tues. – Sat.) “Sommerwochenconzert.” Marilyn Mazurs Celestial Circle in action. In addition to Mazur’s superb drumming her current band includes John Taylor, piano, Josefien Cronholm, vocals, and Klaus Hovman. A-Trane.  030 / 313 25 50.


Sinne Eeg

Sinne Eeg

- Aug. 31 – Sat. 1. (Sat. & Sun.) Sinne Eeeg Quartet. Danish jazz vocalist Eeeg, highly regarded in Europe, has not yet received the recognition her talent deserves. Click HERE to read an iRoM review of a Sinne Eeeg performance in Los Angeles. Jazzhus Montmartre. +45 31 72 34 94.


(Aug. 27 – 31. (Tues. – Sat.) The Mike Stern Band, featuring Makoto Ozone, piano Dave Weckl, drums and Tom Kennedy, bass, move freely and imaginatively from funk and fusion to straight ahead jazz. .. Blue Note Tokyo.  +81 3-5485-0088.

Photo of Sinne Eeeg by Faith Frenz.

Live Jazz: Jimmy Cobb’s “So What Band” at the Valley Performing Arts Centerrts

April 21, 2013

By Don Heckman

Northridge, CA.  Jimmy Cobb showed up at the Valley Performing Arts Center last night, leading his “So What Band.”  If the title sounds odd, consider this: Cobb is the last surviving member of the late ‘50s recording session that produced Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue, the best selling jazz recording of all time.  And one of the five pieces on that album was Davis’ “So What.”

For the past few years, Cobb has been touring his six piece “So What Band” with an instrumentation identical to that of the Davis band, performing selections from Kind of Blue. The current personnel includes trumpeter Christian Scott, alto saxophonist Vincent Herring, tenor and soprano saxophonist Dave Liebman, pianist Larry Willis, bassist Buster Williams and drummer Cobb.

Any sextet of competent jazz artists could bring the familiar arrangements of the Kind of Blue selections to life, as is occasionally done in collegiate jazz programs and at jazz festivals.  But tribute bands and cover bands have been far more common in pop, rock and r&b than in jazz.  Improvisational music demands something more than a note-for-note repetition of familiar melodies and rhythms.  Much more was expected, obviously, from Cobb’s talented players.  The real question was how much this particular group could, and would, do to transport such deeply familiar music into a creative, contemporary jazz expression.

Jimmy Cobb

Jimmy Cobb

To the credit of Cobb’s current “So What Band,” both the memorable sounds and the challenging inventiveness of the original Kind of Blue were largely present in Saturday night’s dynamic performance at VPAC.

Starting with “So What,” the Cobb players proceeded through the additional four tunes from the original album – “Freddie Freeloader,” “Blue In Green,” “All Blues” and “Flamenco Sketches,” adding “Green Dolphin Street,” another tune closely associated with Davis.

Christian Scott

Christian Scott


Scott (also known as Christian aTunde Adjuah) is one of the most gifted trumpeters of his generation.  Faced with the challenging task of playing the Miles Davis role in the “So What Band,” he did so with utter conviction.  Recalling the Davis sound whenever he played Harmon-muted trumpet into the microphone, frequently employing some of the phrases from the Davis riffs dialect, he nonetheless improvised impressively from his own creative perspective.

Vincent Herring

Vincent Herring


Herring and Liebman, taking the Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane roles, respectively, roved into even more unique improvisational territory.  Herring found an especially amiable connection with the Adderley style.

Dave Liebman

Dave Liebman


Liebman, always eager to play out of the box, followed the Coltrane dictum of roving through the outer limits of saxophone sound and substance, producing one startling solo after another.

The rhythm section of Willis, Williams and Cobb tended to flow into the sort of groove chosen by the Kind of Blue rhythm players Wynton Kelly, Paul Chambers and Cobb, rather than the more impressionistic style present when Bill Evans was in the piano chair.  Nonetheless, Willis, Williams and Cobb (who played a climactic solo in the last moments of the performance) kept alive the timeless reality of this memorable music.

The primary complaint about the evening was not related to the playing.  Suffice to say that the VPAC’s usual fine acoustics were somewhat offset by an audio mix that sounded more appropriate for a rock concert, with unnecessarily heavy bass reproduction and penetrating upper musical partials.  In addition, one couldn’t help but wish that Cobb had said a few words about his participation in the original Kind of Blue.

But those are small carps about an otherwise completely intriguing musical evening.

 * * * * * * * *

 Four years ago, Jimmy Cobb and a different ”So What Band” appeared at the Playboy Jazz Festival.  The week before the performance Cobb did a Q & A with iRoM offering his first person perspective on the history of “Kind of Blue,” from its original version to its “So What Band” incarnation.  To read the  Q & A with Cobb click HERE.

Picks of the Week: Aug. 27 – Sept. 2

August 27, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Jason Marsalis

- Aug. 27. (Mon.)  Jason Marsalis Quartet. He may be the youngest member of the illustrious Marsalis jazz family, but drummer/vibraphonist Jason has already established his own impressive musical identity.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Aug. 28 & Aug. 30/ (Tues. & Thurs.)  Carmina Burana. German composer Carl Orf’s cantata, a dramatic setting of medieval poems, is performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Master Chorale and the Los Angeles Childrens’ Chorus, directed by Spanish conductor Rafael Fruhbeck de BurgosHollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000

- Aug. 28. (Tues.)  Sachsa’s Bloc.  An eclectic group of musicians from countries across Europe offer a collection of music ranging freely across gypsy jazz, contemporary jazz, flamenco, swing, blues and country. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400

Wayne shorter

- Aug. 29. (Wed.)  Celebrating Peace.  Herbie Hancock has gathered a stellar array of musicians to join together in a musical celebration of the pleasures of peace.  The cast includes Wayne Shorter, Marcus Miller, Zakier Hussain, Dave Holland, Cindy Blackman Santana, Carlos Santana and others.  Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 31 and Sept 1. (Fri. & Sat.)  John Williams Maestro of the Movies.  “Musical Maestro” would be a more accurate title for Williams, whose film scores reach from Star Wars and Superman to E.T. and Harry Potter.  He’ll conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic in selections from many of his hit films, including a film sequence from E.T. accompanied live by the Philharmonic.  The guest artist is violinist Gil Shaham. Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 31. (Fri.)  Wolfgang Schalk Quartet.  Guitarist Schalk celebrates the release of his new CD Word of Ear with pianist Andy Langham, bassist Michael Valerio and drummer Tom BrechtleinUpstairs at Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Sept. 1. (Sat.)  Wendy Fraser.  Singer-songwriter Fraser has been described by the LA jAzz Scene as a “diamond in the rough” and “a musical force to be reckoned with.”  She makes one of her rare appearances, backed by guitarist John Chiodini, saxophonist Rob Lockhart, bassist Chris Colangelo and drummer Kendall Kay. Upstairs at Vitallo’s.  http://www.vitellosjazz.com/event/wendy-fraser  (818) 769-0905.

Barbara Morrison

- Sept. 1 & 2. (Sat. & Sun.)  Barbara Morrison returns to Catalina’s for an exciting weekend featuring a pair of different settings: With the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center Big Band (Sat.), and the Barbara Morrison Quartet (Sun.)  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Sept. 2. (Sun.)  John Proulx and Pat Senatore.  Pianist/singer Proulx’s laid-back vocals recall the intimate singing of Chet Baker.  He’s backed by the ever-versatile, always supportive Senatore on bass.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

- Sept. 2. (Sun.)  Madeleine Peyroux“The Party Oughta be Comin’ Soon!”  Singer/songwriter/guitarist Peyroux has been one of the music world’s most unique talents since she first arrived on the scene in the mid-‘90s.  And she’s still charting her own creative pathway through song. The Broad Stage.   (310) 434-3200.

Louie Cruz Beltran

- Sept. 2. (Sun.)  The Fourth Annual La Vida Music Festival. La Vida returns with its annual celebration of the great pleasures of Latin music, in all its forms.  And what better time to do it than during National Hispanic Heritage Month.  This year’s far-ranging music features Louie Cruz Beltran and his Latin Jazz Ensemble, Incendio, the Plaza de la Raza Youth Mariachi and the Ted and Pablo Choro Ensemble with special guest Chalo Eduardo.  The Ford Amphitheatre.  (323) 461-3673.

San Francisco

- Aug. 29 – Sept. 2. (Wed. – Sat.)  Bela Fleck & the Marcus Roberts Trio. It’s an off-beat combination – Fleck’s unique banjo playing and the straight ahead jazz trio of pianist Roberts, drummer Jason Marsalis and bassist Rodney Jordan. They’ll no doubt play selections from their new recording together – Across the Imaginary Divide. Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

Washington D.C.

- Aug. 30 – Sept. 2. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Mose Allison. The inimitable Bard of the Bayou and his suitcase full of songs can always be counted on to provide a swinging, blues-driven evening of song and wisdom. Blues Alley.   (202) 337-4141.

New York

- Aug. 28 – Sept. 2. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Jenny Scheinman Quartet.  Violinist Scheinman showcases her eclectic musical interests with pianist Jason Moran, bassist Greg Cohen and drummer Rudy RoystonVillage Vanguard.  (212) 929-4589.

- Aug. 28 – Sept. 2. (Tues. – Sun.)  Charlie Parker Birthday Celebration.  What would have been the 92nd birthday week (the actual birthday is Aug. 29) of the legendary alto saxophonist is celebrated with a musical tribute from Tom Harrell, trumpet, Vincent Herring, alto saxophone, George Cables, piano, Victor Lewis, drums and Lonnie Plaxico, bass.  Birdland.    (212) 581-3080.

Ron Carter

- Aug. 28 – Sept. 2. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Ron Carter Big Band.  Bassist Carter has played with everyboy and led a variety of his own ensembles.  But this, his first big band, wasn’t established until 2011, with arrangements by Bob Freedman.  Featuring a line of major NYC players on stage and Carter up front, expect musical magic to take place.  The Jazz Standard.   (212) 889-2005.


- Sept. 2. (Sun.)  The Story So FarRonnie Scott’s Jazz OrchestraPete Lang leads an assemblage of the U.K.’s finest jazz players in an exploration of the music of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Woody Herman, Stan Kenton, the Rat Pack and Benny Goodman.  Ronnie Scott’s.   (0) 20 7439 0747.


- Aug. 30 – Sept. 2. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Mingus Big Band.  The rich musical legacy of bassist/composer Charles Mingus continues to find new musical expression in the hands of the superb Mingus Big Band. The Blue Note Tokyo.   03.5485.0088.

Wayne Shorter and Ron Carter photos by Tony Gieske. 

Picks of the Week: Nov. 15 – 20

November 15, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Carol Welsman

- Nov. 15. (Tues.)  Carol Welsman.  Pianist/singer Welsman makes her last L.A. area performance of the year, which makes it one not to be missed.  Hopefully she’ll play a few tunes from her soon to be released latest CD.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Nov. 16. (Wed.)  Jane Harvey.  Veteran singer Harvey, whose extensive resume begins with the Benny Goodman Band in the mid-40s, is still a remarkable performing artist.  To read Tony Gieske’s recent iRoM review of a Harvey performance, click HERE. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Nov. 16. (Wed.) Herb Alpert and Lani Hall.  They’ve been a jazz/pop power couple for a long time.  But what really makes Alpert and Hall special is the charmed intimacy of the way they make music together.  Here, they perform in their very own jazz club. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Nov. 17. (Thurs.)  Doug Webb.  Master reed and flute player Webb concentrates on tenor saxophone and flute, but he is equally adept at numerous other instruments.  No matter what he plays, however, he does it with style, substance and imagination.  Crowne Plaza LAX Jazz Club.  http://www.crowneplaza.com  (310) 642-7500.

Lainie Kazan

- Nov. 17 – 19. (Thurs. – Sat.) Lainie Kazan. Lainie’s done it all – stage, screen, night clubs and recordings — always with the attractive blend of emotional intensity and sardonic wit that are among her many attributes.  And when she applies it to a song…look out.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Nov. 18. (Fri.)  Riffat Sultana.  The daughter of the great Pakistani singer Salamat Ali Khan, Sultana ranges from traditional and classical ghazal and qawwali to fascinating cross-cultural blends.  The Skirball Cultural Center.  (310) 440-4500.

- Nov. 18. (Fri.)  Bruce Eskovitz Jazz Orchestra. Saxophonist, educator and clinician, Dr. Bruce is also the leader of a big band whose music reflects his quest to create music that blends rhythmic excitement and compelling ensemble textures. LACMA.    (323) 857-6000.

Song of the Angels Flute Orchestra

- Nov. 18. (Fri.)  David Shostac and the Song of the Angels Flute Orchestra.  Shostac, principal flutist with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra leads one of the music world’s most unique entities – an ensemble made up of the full range of flutes, from the familiar concert C flute to the extremely rare double contrabass flute.  Cypress Recital Hall at the Valley Performing Arts Center.   (818) 677-3000.

- Nov. 18 & 19. (Fri. – Sat.)  The Spirit of Django.  Gypsy jazz is at its finest in the hands of Dorado Schmitt, a guitarist with a deep understanding of the irresistible music of the legendary Django Reinhardt.  Segerstrom Center For The Arts.   (714) 556-2787.

- Nov. 18 & 19. (Fri. – Sat.)  Sketchy Black Dog. The off center blend of string quartet with piano jazz trio led by pianist Misha Piatigorsky is liable to play their own take on anything from Jimi Hendrix and Elton John to their own inimitable originals.  Blue Whale.   http://bluewhalemusic.com  (213) 620-0908.

Barbara Morrison

- Nov. 18 & 19. (Fri. – Sat.)  Barbara Morrison.  One of the Southland’s vocal treasures, Morrison has moved beyond her profound medical problems by staying in touch with the expressiveness that has always been at the heart of her music.  Steamers. http://www.steamerscafe.com  (714) 871-8800.

- Nov. 19. (Sat.) Wu Man“Return to East – Ancient Dances.”  A virtuoso player of China’s lute-like pipa, and a member of Yo Yo Ma’s Silk Road ensemble, Wu Man plays selections from the traditional repertoire, as well as the specially commissioned multi-media work, Ancient Dances.  UCLA Live at Royce Hall.    (310) 825-4401.

San Francisco

Miguel Zenon

- Nov. 15. (Tues.)  Miguel Zenon.  MacArthur grant genius award winner Zenon has been playing a lot in other bands lately.  Here’s a chance to hear this imaginative saxophonist on his own.  Yoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.

- Nov. 16. (Wed.) Kiran Ahluwalia. Singer/composer Ahluwalia blends poetic ghazals and traditional Punjabi songs with contemporary sounds and rhythms generated by her guitarist husband, Rez Abbasi.   Yoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.

- Nov. 16 – 20. (Wed. – Sun.)  Diane Schuur.  Deedles, as she is known and loved by fans and friends alike, has been reviving her jazz roots lately.  But that doesn’t mean that she can’t find the heart of any other style she decides to explore.  Don’t miss this rare chance to hear her up close and live.  The Rrazz Room.   (415) 394-1189.

- Nov. 18. (Fri.)  The Anonymous Four.  This female a cappella quartet has produced some of the most extraordinary examples of pre-1600 vocal music.  Heard in the Grace Cathedral, with its remarkable 7-second reverberation, their singing will produce an authentic display of the polyphonic sound and substance of early music.  Grace Cathedral.    (866) 920-5299.


Nov. 18 – 20. (Fri. – Sun.)  Jane Monheit. Blessed with one of the most luxurious vocal instruments in jazz, Monheit isn’t often properly appreciated for the rhythmic lift and imaginative phrasing she brings to her performances.  Jazz Alley.   (206) 441-9729.


- Nov. 17 – 20 (Thurs. – Sun.)  Kenny Barron Trio. He’s every jazz artist’s favorite pianist to have in their rhythm section.  And with plenty of good reasons – all of which are especially apparent when Barron takes the spotlight with his own music.  Jazz Showcase.    (312) 360-0234.

New York

Jim Hall

- Nov. 15 – 19. (Tues. – Sat.)  The Jim Hall Quartet.  At a time when the guitar has been making a major comeback in jazz for a decade or two, Hall – whose credentials reach back to the ‘50s – continues to be one of the instrument’s major masters.  Birdland.    (212) 581-3080.

- Nov. 15 – 20.  (Tues. – Sun.)  Chick Corea continues his epic, month long banquet of music from his long, storied career.  Tues. – Thurs: From Miles, with Eddie Gomez, Jack DeJohnette, Wallace Roney and Gary Bartz; Fri. – Sun: Flamenco Heart, with a new band of world-class Latin musicians.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

- Nov. 16. (Wed.) John Coltrane’s Ascension. A stellar aggregation of contemporary players, led by Joe Lovano, take on one of the classic works of the adventurous jazz of the ‘60s.  The group includes Donny McCaslin, Sabir Mateen and Vincent Herring, saxophones; Jeremy Pelt, trumpet; Josh Roseman, trombone; James Weidman, piano; Ben Allison, bass; Billy Drummond and Matt Wilson, drums;   Jazz Standard.   (212) 576-2232.

- Nov. 18 & 19. (Fri. & Sat.)  Denny Zeitlin.  The psychiatrist/jazz pianist from San Francisco makes one of his infrequent stops in New York.  This time around, his considerable talents will on full display via an evening of solo piano (on Friday) followed by a trio performance with bassist Buster Williams and drummer Matt Wilson (on Saturday).  The Jazz Lounge in the Kitano Hotel.   (212) 885-7119.


Sheila Jordan

- Nov. 17. (Wed.)  Sheila Jordan and Steve Kuhn Duo.  Both Jordan and Kuhn are veteran jazz artists with careers reaching back for decades.  And an especially attractive part of that history is represented by the recordings and live performances they’ve done together.  Call it a symbiotic jazz connection.  The Regatta Bar.    (617) 661-5000.


- Nov. 19. (Sat.)  A Portrait of Jaco.  The Laurence Cottle Big Band performs material from Jaco Pastorious’ “Word of Mouth” band. Celebrating what would have been Jaco’s 60th birthday on Dec. 1. Ronnie Scott’s.   020 7439 0747.

Sheila Jordan photo by Tony Gieske.

PIcks of the Week: Aug. 9 – 14

August 9, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

George Cables

- Aug. 9. (Tues.)  George Cables Trio. Pianist Cables doesn’t make a lot of L.A. club appearances, so don’t miss this opportunity to hear the veteran artist in action.  He’ll be backed by Pat Senatore and Joe LaBarberaVibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Aug. 9. (Tues.)  Jennifer Leitham.  It’s a birthday celebration for bassist/singer Leitham who’ll be aided in her far-reaching skills by the solid backing of Andy Langham, piano and Randy Drake, drums.  Charlie O’s. (818) 994-3058.  www.charlieos.com

- Aug. 10. (Wed.)  Blues Night.  The title of this stellar evening is almost an understatement.  With Robert Cray. Keb’ Mo’ and Mavis Staples on hand, it’ll be the blues in all its extraordinary manifestations.  Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 11. (Thurs.)  Nuriya.  The Skirball Center continues its high energy, Thursday night free concerts with an appearance by Mexican-born vocalist Nuriya, whose singing encompasses the sounds of her native land, as well as the Jewish, Middle Eastern traditions of her heritage.  She’ll be backed by a high energy ten piece ensemble.  Skirball Center.    (310) 440-4500.

- Augs. 11. (Thurs.)  Aaron Novik.  Bass clarinetist Novik’s chamber ensemble crosses freely from jazz and pop to Jewish and Eastern European traditional musics.  The Hammer Museum.    Also at the Press Restaurant in Claremont on Friday.

Dee Dee Bridgewater

- Aug. 11. (Thurs.)  Dee Dee Bridgewater.  Dynamic singer actress Bridgewater is a Tony and Grammy award winner.  But even those honors don’t fully encompass the creative and musical excitement that is present every time she steps in front of an audience.  The Grammy Museum.  (213) 765-6800.

- Aug. 11. (Thurs.)  Claudio Roditi. Brazilian trumpeter Roditi has been blending elements from his Brazilian roots with an impressive grasp of straight ahead jazz for three decades.  LAX Jazz Club Crowne Plaza Hotel.    (310) 642-7500.

- Aug. 12. (Fri.)  Christian Jacob Trio. The all-star jazz trio pianist Jacob, bassist Kevin Axt and drummer Ray Brinker have been performing in impressive synchronicity with singer Karrin Allyson.  Here, they show off their stuff in a pure piano jazz trio setting.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Aug. 12 (Fri.)  Tizer.  Versatile keyboardist Lao Tizer leads his unique band, Tizer, in a groove-driven, eclectic blend of jam based fusion and contemporary jazz.  Violinist Karen Briggs is also on hand, and a few “special guests” may show up, as well.  The Baked Potato.    (818) 980-1615.

- Aug. 13. (Sat.)  World Classic Rockers.  The title pretty much says it all.  It’ll be an evening featuring players from such high visibility rock bands as Steppenwolf, Santana, Boston, Journey, TOTO and Lynard Skynard.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. The Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.   (562) 916-8501.

- Aug. 13. (Sat.)  Dolores Scozzesi.  Jazz vocalist Scozzesi brings rich musicality, dramatic illumination and an eclectic overview to everything she sings.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Aug. 13 & 14. (Sat. & Sun.)  The Gipsy Kings.  There’s nothing quite like the music of the flamenco-driven, gypsy-styled music of the Gipsy Kings, for decades one of world music’s most engaging ensembles.  The Greek Theatre.   (323) 665-5857.

Dave Koz

- Aug. 14. (Sun.)  Smooth Summer Jazz. Featuring Dave Koz, Bobby Caldwell, Sheila E., Larry Graham, Spyro Gyra. Phil Perry.  The Bowl’s annual tribute to smooth jazz and instrumental pop, with some of the genres’ highest visibility performers bringing the evening to life.   Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 14. (Sun.)  The Los Angeles Jewish Symphony, conducted by Noreen Green“Exaltation! Biblical Stories Through Music.”  The LAJS presents a colorful evening of music — from classical, film and musical theatre sources — celebrating music inspired by the Bible.  Special guests include Grammy nominee singer Amick Byram and 15 year old violinist Stephen Waarts.  Selections include works by Andrew Lloyd Weber, Steven Schwartz, Jerry Bock, Alan Menken and Shuki LevyThe Ford Amphitheatre.  (323) 461-3673.

San Francisco

- Aug. 9. (Tues.)  Big Bad Voodoo DaddyHow Bad Can You Get:100 Years of Cab Calloway. The Voodoo Daddys recall Cab Calloway and the hard-driving, swing-based, dance jazz of the ‘30s and ‘40s. Yoshi’s San Francisco.  http://www.yoshis.com/sanfrancisco/jazzclub/artist/show/1972   (415) 655-5600.  

- Aug. 11. (Thurs.)  Martin Taylor.  A guitarist’s guitarist, admired by his contemporary artists, Taylor is arguably one of the finest solo guitarists you’ll ever hear.  The Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse.    (510) 644-2020.

- Aug. 14. (Sun.)  Buffy Sainte-Marie.  She’s been a compelling performer for decades, and Saint-Marie’s charisma – musically and dramatically – is still as powerful as ever.  Yoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.


Karrin Allyson

Aug. 11 – 14. (Wed. – Sun.)  Karrin Allyson.  Jazz singer Allyson, one of the jazz vocal art’s most musically credible performers, celebrates the release of her latest CD,  ‘Round Midnight,   Jazz Alley.   (206) 441-9729.

New York

- Aug. 9 – 10. (Tues. – Sat.)  Kurt Rosenwinkel with OJM (the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos).  The ever versatile guitarist Rosenwinkel, always in search of musical challenges, performs with an intriguing musical ensemble from Portugal.Birdland.  Birdland.    (212) 581-3080.

- Aug. 9 – 14. (Tues. – Sun.)  Jane Monheit. Blessed with one of the most gorgeous sounding voices in jazz, Monheit supplements her rich timbres with solid musicality and lively sense of swing.  Her special guest will be the remarkably eclectic violinist Mark O’ConnorThe Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

Cedar Walton

- Aug. 9 – 14. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Cedar Walton Quintet. Pianist Walton has assembled a convincingly creative ensemble, featuring the impressive artistry of trombonist (and conch shell player) Steve Turre, alto saxophonist Vincent Herring, bassist David Williams and drummer Willie Jones III Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.    (212) 258-9800.

Washington D.C.

-Aug. 12 – 14. (Wed. – Sun.)  Jerry Gonzalez and Ft. Apache.  They’ve been generating high voltage performances, spiced with Latin jazz rhythms, for three decades.  This time out, the groove will no doubt be even more pyrotechnic with the presence of Cuban drummer Dafnis Prieto.  Blues Alley.    (202) 337-4141.


- Aug 11. (Thurs.)  Gwilym Simcock Trio. His name may not be familiar (or even pronounceable) to most American jazz fans, but Simcock is one of the finest recent arrivals on the global jazz stage.  Ronnie Scott’s.    020 7439 0747.

Dave Koz photo by Greg Allen.

Picks of the Week: July 19 – 24

July 19, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

July 20. (Wed.)  John Daversa Big Band.  Trumpeter Daversa’s adventurous, often unpredictable charts make his big band appearances into engaging musical events.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- June 21. (Thurs.)  Bruce Forman Quartet.  Guitarist/educator/novelist Forman is one of the jazz world’s true multi-hyphenates.  Here he is, with his guitar, getting down to basics.Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- June 21. (Thurs.)  Kate Reid with the John Heard Trio.  Singer/pianist Dr. Kate Reid, head of the jazz program at Cypress College also has a resume with gigs reaching from John Hendricks and Mark Murphy to Bobby McFerrin and Tito Puente. Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

Maria de Barros

- June 21. (Thurs.)  Maria de Barros. The musically eclectic de Barros reveals Cape Verdean influences in her Cesaria Evora-influenced style.  But she also brings elements of Latin and international pop to performances rich with dynamic musical energy. Skirball Center.    (310) 440-4500.

- July 22. (Fri.) Phil Upchurch and Sonya Maddox Upchurch.  The Upchurch couple get together for some guitar and voice displays from Phil Upchurch’s new catalog of songs.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- July 22. (Fri.)  Peter Cetera.  He’s probably best known for the hits he was instrumental in creating for the rock group Chicago.  But singer/songwriter Cetera’s had a busy career since then, with Oscar, Golden Globe and Grammy nominations.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.   (562) 916-8501.

- July 22. (Fri.)  Gina Saputo.  She still doesn’t have the visibility her impressive talents deserve, but Saputo continues to make a case for herself as one of the vocal standouts of her still youthful generation.  Steamers.    (714) 871-8000.

- July 22 & 23. (Fri. & Sat.)  Dolly Parton. The Queen of Country and one of the inconic musical artists of the past few decades, makes an appearance in the only Southern California venue large enough for her celebrity stature.  Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- July 22 – 24. (Fri. – Sun.)  Kenny Burrell Quintet. Veteran guitarist and all around musical influence Burrell takes a break from this teaching chores at U.C.L.A. to celebrate his 80th birthday.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

Don McLean

- July 23. (Sat.) Don McLean.  Writer of some of American song’s most memorable hits – “American Pie,” “Vincent,” “And I Love You So” among them – McLean makes one of his too rare Southland appearances. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 916-8501.

- July 24. (Sun.) Global Soul.  With Rickey Minor, Stevie Wonder, Rocky Dawuni, Sharon Jones, Janelle Monae and others..  Overlook the fact that its booked as one of the Bowl’s World Music events, and just sit back and enjoy the international reach of American soul music.  Hollywood Bowl.    (323) 850-2000.

San Francisco

July 23 & 24. (Sat. & Sun.)  Dee Dee Bridgewater.  With her lush, dark sound, her irresistible on-stage energy,  and her adventurous interpretations, a night with Dee Dee is always a night to remember. Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

New York

July 19 – 23. (Tues. – Sat.)  Louis Hayes Quintet“Cannonball Adderley Legacy”  Drummer Hayes, a veteran of six years with the Adderley quintet, offers some authentic musical memories of Adderley’s unique music, with alto saxophonist Vincent Herring playing a key role. Birdland.    (212) 581-3080.

Tierney Sutton

- July 19 – 24. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Tierney Sutton Band.  Sutton’s extraordinary musicality resonates through every thing she sings, enhanced by her equally engaging ability to tell a story.  She performs with Christian Jacob, piano, Kevin Axt, bass and Ralph Humphrey, drums.  Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.    (212) 258-9800.

July 19 – 24.  (Tues. – Sun.)  Fred Hersch Trio.  Pianist Hersch, fully returned to action after some severe medical problems, continues to affirm his compelling vision of the jazz piano art.  With John Hebert, bass and Eric McPherson, drums.  Village Vanguard.    (212) 255-4037.


- July 23. (Sat.)  Gregory Porter.  Grammy-nominated Porter’s lush sound and far-reaching style are bringing vitality to the still small coterie of male jazz vocal artists.  Regatta Bar.   (617) 395-7757.

Washington D.C.

- July 21 – 24. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Cyrus Chestnut Trio.  Versatile pianist Chestnut has a far ranging catalog of material to offer on any given gig – from spirituals and Elvis Presley tunes to straight ahead bebop.  Expect to be well entertained.  Blues Alley.   (202) 337-4141.


James Carter

- July 21 & 22. (Thurs. & Fri.)  The James Carter Organ Trio.  Saxophonist Carter’s ability to generate super heated improvisational energies is the perfect stimulus for the jazz organ trio format.  He performs with Gerard Gibbs, B-3 organ and Leonard King, drums.  Ronnie Scott’s.    020 7439 0747.


- July 21. (Thurs.)  David Krakauer and Klezmer Madness. Clarinetist Krakauer continues on his quest to blend traditional klezmer music with everything from pop and jazz to soul, funk and beyond.   New Morning.    01 45 23 51 41.

Tierney Sutton photo by Tony Gieske.

Picks of the Week: April 19 – 24

April 19, 2011

By Don Heckman

 Los Angeles

- April 19. (Tues.)  Dave Damiani Orchestra.  Singer Damiani celebrates the Swing Era and the songs of Frank Sinatra.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  .

- April 19. (Tues.)  Steve Huffsteter Big Band.  Trumpeter Huffsteter steps out of the section to lead his own collective of all-stars. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

Raya Yarbrough

- April 20. (Wed.)  Raya Yarbrough.  Singer/songwriter Yarbrough, a Southland musical treasure, deserves much wider recognition.  She performs here in the intriguing setting of a jazz rhythm section and a string quartet.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- April 20. (Wed.) Sam Most.  A cool-sounding tenor saxophone, articulate clarinet and innovative flute playing – all characteristics of the ever-adventurous octogenarian Most.  He’s backed by the Pat Senatore Trio.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

Kayhan Kalhor

- April 21. (Thurs.)  Ghazal: Kayhan Kalhor, Shujaat Husain Khan and Samir Chatterjee.  Royce Hall. Persian and Indian music find extraordinary common ground in this challenging encounter between Klhor’s kamancheh and the sitar of Khan (with tabla accompaniment from Chatterjee).  UCLA Live at Royce Hall.   (310) 825-2101.

- April 22. (Fri.) Charles Owens.  Versatile saxophonist Owens shares a jazz birthday celebration.  Backing him — the John Heard Trio.  Charlie O’sl (818) 994-3058.

- April 22. (Fri.)  The Sejong Soloists.  The New York-based Sejong string orchestra revives the compelling musical notion that an ensemble can produce fascinating interpretations without benefit of a conductor’s choreographing.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.   (562) 916-8501.

Katia Moraes and Sambaguru

- April 22. (Fri.)  Sambaguru with Katia Moraes. The fiery Brazilian singer/dancer  Moraes and her band bring the spirit, the spunk and the sensuality of Rio to every note they play and sing. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- April 23. (Sat.)  Grant Geissman and the Cool Man band. Guitarist Geissman showcases live versions of selections from his Cool Man Band CD, featuring the stellar ensemble of Emilio Palame, piano, Brian Scanlon, saxophone, Trey Henry, bass and Ray Brinker, drums.   Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- April 23. (Sat.)  Miles Evans Band.  Evans, son of the great arranger/composer Gil Evans, eager to pick up “where Gil Evans, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, etc. left off,” performs selections from his new CD. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210. .

Robert Plant

- April 23. (Sat.) Robert Plant and the Band of Joy.  Led Zeppelin’s Plant presents music from his highly praised solo album, Band of Joy, performed by the same ensemble – featuring Patty Griffin – featured on the CD.  The Greek Theatre.    (323) 665-5857.

- April 23. (Sat.) Richie Cole.  Bebop lives in the flying fingers and inventive musicality of alto saxophonist Cole.  Giannelli Square.   (818) 772-1722.


- April 19 & 20.  (Tues. & Wed.)  Gail Pettis.  Another affirmation of the too often unheralded high quality of jazz in the Northwest.  Pettis has all the right ingredients – a pliable voice, a brisk sense of swing and an embracing story telling ability.   Jazz Alley.    (206) 441-9729.   She hosts a Fundraiser for Japanese Red Cross Relief.

San Francisco

Randy Newman

- April 22. (Fri.)  Randy Newman.  He spends a lot of his time around the film business these days, but Newman is still one of the great singer/songwriter/storytellers. He performs here in a rare solo concert. SFJazz Spring Season at Davies Symphony Hall.    (866) 920-5299.

- April 22 – 24. (Fri. – Sun.)  Sweet Honey in the Rock.  Thirty five years together, the a cappella singers of Sweet Honey are still among the most compelling of vocal ensembles.  This time out they celebrate the lives and music of Nina Simone, Odetta and Miriam Makeba.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.    (415) 655-5600.


Danilo Perez

- April 21 – 24. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Danilo Perez Trio.  Panamanian born, Grammy winning pianist/composer Perez spices his impressive jazz chops with the subtle musical seasonings of the Caribbean and beyond.  The Jazz Showcase.   (312) 360-0234.

 New York

April 19. (Tues.)  Malika Zarra.  She’s been described, with good reason, as “Morocco’s Jazz Jewel.”  Zarra debuts her new CD, Berber Taxi with     The Jazz Standard.    (212) 576-2232.

- April 19. (Tues.)  Blue Note Jazz Benefit For Japan. The extraordinary line up of performers includes Ron Carter, John Scofield, Michel Camilo, Kenny Barron, Paquito D’Rivera, Robert Glasper, Roy Hargrove, Dave Valentin, Roberta Gambarini, Richard Bona, Lionel Loueke, Gretchen Parlato, Gregoire Maret, Ann Hampton Callaway, Jose James, Alex Brown and Ferenc Nemeth.  100% of the ticket proceeds will go to the Japan Relief and Recovery Fund.  The Blue Note’s Highline Ballroom.   (818) 414-5994.

- April 19 – 24. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Bad Plus with special guest Joshua Redman.  A musical encounter between two different, but equally gripping, jazz perspectives.  Expect musical fireworks.  The Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

- April 20 – 24. (Wed. – Sun.)  George Coleman and Joey DeFrancesco.  Veteran tenor saxophonist Coleman reaches across a generation to share a jazz journey with B-3 master DeFrancesco.  They’re backed by Warren Wolf, vibes, Paul Bollenback, guitar and Byron Landham, drums.  Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.    (212) 258-9800.

- April 20 – 24.  (Wed. – Sun.)  The Jazz Standard presents a Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Impulse! Records via contemporary performances based on some of the classic Impulse! Albums.

Ravi Coltrane

- Wed. John Coltrane: Africa Brass.  Featuring Dave Liebman and Ravi Coltrane.

- Thurs. Oliver Nelson: The Blues and the Abstract Truth. Featuring Roy Hargrove, David Sanchez, George Cables, Dwayne Burno and Gregory Hutchinson.

- Fri. Gil Evans: Out of the Cool. Curated by conductor/composer Ryan Truesdell with a 12 piece ensemble of Manhattans’ finest players.

- Sat.  Kai Winding & J.J. Johnson: The Great Kai & J.J. + The Incredible Kai Winding Trombone Curated by Robin Eubanks, with trombonist Andy Hunter.

- Sun.  Ray Charles: Genius + Soul= Jazz.  Curated by Henry Butler, piano and vocals, with Vincent Herring, alto saxophone, Cocoran Hart, bass and Ali Jackson, drums.

The Jazz Standard.    (212) 576-2232.


Kyle Eastwood

- April 20 – 23. (Wed. – Sat.)  The Kyle Eastwood Band.  Bassist Eastwood has moved well beyond his identity as Clint Eastwood’s son, and into a well-earned presence as an imaginative, musically adventurous jazz artist.  Ronnie Scott’s.    020 7439 0747.

Picks of the Week: July 6 – 11

July 6, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Arturo Sandoval

- July 6. (Tues.)  Arturo Sandoval’s Big Band.  The versatile Sandoval showcases his trumpet playing, piano playing, percussion and vocals in the company of a powerful large ensemble,  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- July 6. (Tues.) A Glorious Celebration. The Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Master Chorale launch the 2010 classical season at the Bowl with a program of works by Handel, Haydn, Vivaldi and Poulenc.  The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

- July 6. (Tues.)  The Kate Reid Trio. Singer/educator Reid takes time away from the classroom for a practical application of her vocal skills. Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

- July 7. (Wed.)  Femi Kuti, Terence Blanchard, Richard Bona, Lula Washington Dance Theatre.  Hollywood Bowl. 2010 Jazz at the Bowl opens the season by reaching out to display the wide array of sounds, rhythms and movements that co-exist comfortably under the jazz umbrella. Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

Kellye Gray

- July 8. (Thurs.)  Kellye Gray.  San Francisco based Gray is as impressive with her riffing up-tempos as she is with her poignant ballad interpretations.  She’s backed by Otmaro Ruiz, Hamilton Price and Jimmy BranleyCrowne Plaza. (310) 642-7500.

- July 8. (Thurs.)  Kristin Korb.  Bassist Korb has moved from her role as a first call sideperson into the spotlight as a charismatic singer/instrumentalist. Steamers. (714) 871-8800.

- July 9. (Fri.)  John Proulx.  Impressive as a jazz pianist, Proulx has been displaying considerable vocal ability as well.  This time out, he plays and sings selections from his Chet Baker tribute CD Baker’s Dozen: Remembering Chet Baker. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- July 9. (Fri.) “Music in the Zoo.” World Music Night. The summer music season at the Zoo begins with an entertaining gumbo of world music performances.  On the bill: John Bilezikjian (Middle Eastern), the Marieve Harrington Band (French), Billy Mitchell presents World Music Featuring Marisa Kosugi (Japanese) and “Cui Cui” Rangel” (Mexican), Incendio (Salsa), Paddy’s Pig (Irish), Espino (Latin) and Masanga Marimba (Zimbabwean).  The Los Angeles Zoo.  6 p.m.   (323) 644-6042.

- July 9. (Fri.)  Yes.  Peter Frampton.  The Grammy Award winning progressive rock band Yes and the eclectic Frampton were a pair of the most ground-breaking musical artists of the seventies.  And they’re still going strong, with Frampton showcasing selections from his just-released CD Thank You Mr. ChurchillGreek Theatre (323) 665-3125.

Bill Holman (photo by Lesley Bohm)

- July 9. (Fri.)  Bill Holman Orchestra. An innovative composer and arranger for large jazz ensembles, Holman has been an utterly original stylist for more than five decades.  Far too rarely heard in person, the 80-something jazz icon leads a collection of L.A.’s finest in a program guaranteed to delight the senses and nourish the musical mind.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- July 9. (Fri.)  Bill Cantos. Singer/pianist/songwriter Cantos spends a lot of time making other performers sound good.  Here’s a chance to hear him in action with his own fine songs.  The Culver Club in the Raddison.   (310) 649-1776 ext. 4137.

- July 9 & 10. (Fri. & Sat.)  Todd Murray.  Romantic balladeer Murray’s title for this latest show is Croon, which gives a pretty good indication of the engaging style he brings to material from the Great American Songbook.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- July 9 – 11 (Fri. – Sun.)  A Beatles Celebration. Classic Beatles songs performed by a stylistically diverse line-up of singers, including Patti Austin, Joe Jackson, Rob Laufer, Betty LaVette, Brian Stokes Mitchell.  Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.  Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

- July 10. (Sat.)  Chris Botti.  Botti’s rich-toned trumpet, fluent improvisations and imaginative way with a ballad have established him as one of the jazz world’s most popular artists.  And watch out for Katharine McPhee, whose electrifying singing has the potential to steal a show from anybody.  Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-3125.

- July 10. (Sat.)  Steve Wilson Quartet. Alto saxophonist Wilson has been receiving – with good reason — critical notices identifying him as one of the important new jazz arrivals. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- July 10. (Sat.)  Kayhan Kalhor.  Persian kamancheh virtuoso performs a program of traditional and improvised music from Iran and Turkey.  He’s backed by Turkish master baglama player, Erdal ErzincanGrand Performances.  (213) 687-2159.

Susie Hansen

- July 11. (Sun.)  The Susie Hansen Latin Jazz Band.  The dynamic five-string electric violinist, her exciting band and her irresistibly rhythmic Latin Jazz for dancing begin an every-Sunday gig at the Sage Restaurant and Lounge in Whittier with a celebration of the release of her new CD, Representante de la SalsaSage Restaurant and Lounge. (562) 945-1204.

- July 11. (Sun.)  The Phil Norman Tentet. Performing material composed and arranged by some of the Southland’s finest writer’s Norman’s Tentet revives the cool West Coast jazz sound into a briskly swinging contemporary experience.  Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- July 11. (Sun.)  The Steve Miller Band. The platinum-selling Steve Miller Band hit #1 with their first single, then topped it with the ever-memorable “Fly Like An Eagle.”  Their most recent effort, “The Town and the City” affirmed that the Band is still in rare and entertaining form.  Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-3125.

San Francisco

- July 5 & 6. (Tues. & Wed.) Richard Bona. The African bass master has been using his mesmerizing blend of traditional African sounds with contemporary jazz elements to set new standards for his instrument. Tues.:Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.  Wed.: Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

- July 10. (Sat.)  Paul McCartney. Sir Paul brings his current group into a Beatles-sized venue – the official home of the San Francisco Giants.  Expect to hear some nostalgic classics.  AT&T Park.  San Francisco.

San Diego

Pete Escovedo

- July 9 & 10.  (Fri. & Sat.)  Pete Escovedo. 75th Birthday Celebration.  After demonstrating his potent rhythmic wares at the Playboy Jazz Festival, Escovedo and his talented offspring continue the joyous celebration of his extraordinary life and music.  Anthology, San Diego.  (619) 595-0300

New York

July 6 – 10. (Mon. – Sat.)  Louis Hayes Quintet Veteran drummer Hayes leads a stellar group – alto saxophonist Vincent Herring, trumpeter Jeremy Pelt, pianist Rick Germanson and bassist Richie Goods in a tribute to his old boss with “The Cannonball Adderley Legacy.” Birdland. (212) 581-3080.

July 6 – 11. (Mon. – Sun.)  Enrico Pieranunzi.  The Italian pianist’s superb playing provides convincing evidence of the growingly global reach of first rate jazz artistry. Village Vanguard (212) 255-4037.

- July 6 – 11. (Mon. – Sun.)  Ben E. King.  The great ‘60s and ‘70s soul singer – the composer of “Stand By Me” — still knows how to find the heart of a song. The Blue Note. l (212) 475-8592.

Picks of the Week: Dec. 21 – 27

December 21, 2009

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Lady Gaga

- Dec. 21 – 23. (Mon. – Wed.) Lady Gaga. Performance as pop art reaches a new level in Lady Gaga’s ‘The Monster Ball’ — a multimedia artistic experience she describes as the first-ever ‘pop electro opera.’ Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE. (213) 763-6030.

- Dec. 22. (Tues.) Marilyn King. Still singing from her heart, the soloist with the King Sisters celebrates Christmas with a too-rare club appearance. Upstairs at Vitellos. (818) 769-0905.

- Dec. 22. (Tues.) Chuck Berghofer’s Midnight Jazz Band. With Gary Foster, alto sax, Tom Rainier, piano, Peter Erskine, drums. With four of the Southland’s veteran jazz players on hand, the Midnight Band always seems to find amazing new musical adventures whenever they get together. Charlie O’s. (818) 989-3110.

- Dec. 22. (Tues.) Zane Musa Quartet. Alto saxophonist Musa has been a cutting edge player since he was still a teen-ager, and he just keeps getting better. Spazio. (818) 728-8400.

- Dec. 22. (Tues.) “Holidays with Sweet Honey in the Rock.“ The Grammy winning a cappella vocal group brings simmering African rhythms and lush harmonies to a program of holiday celebration. Disney Hall.

- Dec. 23. (Wed.) “A Creole Christmas” with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Expect Crescent City classics interwoven with Christmas standbys and the Preservation players’ irresistible second line swing. Disney Hall.

- Dec. 23. (Wed.) Josh Nelson and Pat Senatore Duo. A musically stimulating meeting of the generations, between pianist Nelson’s youthful versatility and bassist Senatore’s sturdy rhythmic drive. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- Dec. 23. (Wed.) Dave Koz Smooth Jazz Christmas Tour. Alto saxophonist Koz celebrates the 12th Anniversary of his annual smooth and mellow romp through the musical highlights of Christmas. Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal City Walk.

New Shanghai Circus

- Dec. 26 – 31. (Sat. – Thurs.) The New Shanghai Circus. If there’s a manipulation of the human body that can’t be done, the Shanghai artists haven’t encountered it yet. But what’s really amazing is the fact that their astonishing acrobatics are always done with deceptive ease and utterly engaging artistry. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. (562) 916-8501.

San Francisco

- Dec. 26 & 27. (Sat. & Sun.) Sharon McNight. “Twisted Christmas: An Orthodox Druid’s View of the Holidays.” The title says it all. McNight is witty, sardonic, hilarious and a sneakily talented singer. The Rrazz Room. (415) 394-1189

- Dec. 26 – 28. (Sat. – Mon.) Arturo Sandoval All-Star Band. Trumpeter/pianist/percussionist Sandoval is always a joy to hear, especially when he’s backed by an all-star Latin band. Featuring Horatio “El Negro” Hernandez, Giovanni Hidalgo, Rebecca Mauleon and others. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.

- Dec. 26 – 28, (Sat. – Mon.) Jonathan Butler. South African singer/guitarist Butler has been a standout since his 1987 Grammy-nominated hit, “Lies.” And he’s still one of soul/smooth jazz’s most dynamic performers. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.

New York

Freddy Cole

- Dec. 22 – 26. (Tues. – Sat.) Freddy Cole. He plays piano, sings softly and leads a trio that includes guitar and bass. And his name is Cole. But although Freddy does have some of the qualities of his older brother Nat “King” Cole, the spirit, imagination and interpretion that he brings to his music is all his own. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.

- Dec. 22 – 27. (Tues. – Sun.) Cedar Walton Quartet. Pianist Walton continues a two week run at the Vanguard, with the added participation of  saxophonist Vincent Herring joining David Williams, bass and Willie Jones III, drums. Village Vanguard. (212) 255-4037.

- Dec. 23. (Wed.) Lew Soloff & The Latin Ensemble. Trumpeter Soloff takes a foray into Latin jazz, backed by Pedro Martinezk, timbales, Axel Tosca, keyboards, Alvaro Benavides, bass and Jhair Sala, congas. But whatever Soloff plays, expect him to be swinging hard, from the first note to the last. 55 Bar. ( 212 ) 929-9883.

- Dec. 24. (Thurs.) A Child’s Christmas in Wales. A highly praised film version of the classic poem in which a reading by Thomas is illustrated by photographic sequences of life in an actual Welsh Village. Marvin Lichtner conceived, photographed and produced. (Full disclosure: I wrote the music that accompanies Thomas and the visual images.) The Metropolitan Museum of Art. 12 noon – 12:30 p.m. Free with Museum admission. (212) 535-7710.


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