Picks of the Week: Feb. 23 – Mar. 1

By Don Heckman


– Feb. 28. (Sat.)   Chris Botti performs with the Boston Pops Orchestra, conducted by Keith Lockhart,  at Boston’s Symphony Hall.  He’s joined by a stellar array of guests including Josh Groban, Yo-Yo Ma, Sting, John Mayer and Steven Tyler.   7 p.m. in most areas, but check your local stations.  PBS.

Los Angeles

Lou Donaldson

– Feb. 24 – 26. (Tues. – Thurs.)  Lou Donaldson Quartet.  The veteran altoist cruises freely though the waters of bop and post-bop.  Jazz Bakery  (310) 271-9039.  www.jazzbakery.com.  Also at Yoshi’s in Oakland, Feb. 28 – Mar. 1. (see below)

– Feb. 25. (Wed.)  The Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Sextet.  Drummer Gibbs showcases his always swinging, cutting edge ensemble.  DSteamers.  (714) 871-8800  www.steamersjazzcafe.com.

– Feb. 25 – Mar. 1. (Wed. – Sun.)  The music of Philip Glass.  “The Book of Longing”  A song cycle based upon the poetry and images of Leonard Cohen receives its Southern California premiere performances.  Garrison Theater, Scripps Performing Arts Center, Scripps College.  (909) 607-8668.  http://www.cmc.edu/gould/

– Feb. 26. (Thurs.)  Jazz Expression! The young jazz players of Freedom 4U, a youth-oriented non-profit that provides creative arts programs, perform in concert.  The second hour is an open jam session for any youth – 13 – 20 years of age – who wishes to participate and shows up with an instrument.  Free to the public.  Trump National Golf Club, Rancho Palos Verdes.  6:30 – 8:30  p.m..  (310) 897-5043.  www.freedomcommunity.com.

Jane Monheit

– Feb. 26 – Mar. 1) Thurs. – Sun.)  Jane Monheit applies her glorious voice to selections from her latest CD, “The Lovers, the Dreamers and Me.”  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  www.catalinajazzclub.com.

– Feb. 27. (Fri.)  Julie Fowlis. She comes from Scotland’s distant Hebridean Islands, and sings in Scottish Gaelic.  But the expressiveness of her voice is one of the enchanting marvels of contemporary folk music.  McCabes’s. (310) 828-4497   http://www.mccabes.com

– Feb. 27 – Mar. 1. (Fri. – Sun.)  Kenny Barron Trio.  Barron’s been everyone’s A-list pianist for decades.  But the full range of his lyrical imagination is at its best with his own trio.  Jazz Bakery  (310) 271-9039.  www.jazzbakery.com.

– Feb. 27. (Fri.)  Afro Cuban All-Stars.  Bolero, Cha Cha Cha, Salsa, Rumba, Danzón, and Timba music – expect to hear them all from the Grammy-nominated ensemble. Cerritos Center.  (562) 467-8818  www.cerritoscenter.com

Bill Tapia

– Feb. 28. (Sat.)  Bill Tapia.  The remarkable Hawaiian ukulele player and singer celebrates his 101st birthday with yet another entertaining performance.  (And whatever it is that he drinks should be bottled and sold under the “Fountain of Youth” label.)  The Grand Annex, San Pedro.  (310) 833-4813.  http://www.grandvision.org.

– Mar. 1. (Sun.)  Add Polish singer Aga Zaryan to the growing list of gifted European jazz singers.  Hopefully, she’ll sing her touching interpretation of Abby Lincoln’s “Throw It Away.”  Favoring a guitar sound in her back-up groups, she’ll perform with the versatile Larry Koonse, bassist Darek Oles and drummer Munyungo Jackson. Only one set, at 4 p.m., and she shouldn’t be missed.  The Jazz Bakery  (310) 271-9039.  www.jazzbakery.com.

Corky Hale with Billie Holiday

– Mar. 1. (Sun.)  Corky Hale.  Corky was one of the pioneers of the still-rarely heard jazz harp.  But she’s a gifted pianist as well, with a colorful, eclectic career that includes backing Billie Holiday.  Add her gently swinging, jazz-tinged vocals, her knack for finding the heart of a song,  and expect an entertaining musical evening.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.  www.vibratogrilljazz.com

San Francisco

– Feb. 27 – Mar. 1. (Fri. – Sun.)  Randy Weston’s African Rhythms Trio.  Weston’s music was described, with good cause, by Langston Hughes as “an ebb and flow of sound seemingly as natural as the waves of the sea.” Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.  www.yoshis.com

– Feb. 28 – Mar. 1.  (Sat. & Sun.)  Lou Donaldson. The veteran altoist cruises freely though the waters of bop and post-bop.  Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.  www.yoshis.com.

New York City

– Feb. 24 – Mar. 1. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Spanish Harlem Orchestra.  Pianist and Music Director Oscar Hernandez’s l3 piece ensemble revives and contemporizwes the glories of “old school New York ‘salsa dura’.” The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592. http://www.bluenote.net/newyork/index.shtml.

Ann Hampton Callaway

– Feb. 24 – Mar. 1. (Tues. – Sun.)  Ann Hampton Callaway.  The versatile singer/pianist Callaway presents material from her new CD, “At Last,” with tunes reaching from Joni Mitchell to Cole Porter.  Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola. (212) 258-9595.  www.jalc.org/dccc

– Feb. 24 – 25. (Tues. & Wed.)  Aaron Parks. At 25, the highly praised pianist’s resume includes substantial stints with Terence Blanchard, as well as a growing list of his own outings.  Jazz Standard  (212) 576-2252.  http://www.jazzstandard.net/red/index.html

– Feb. 25 – 28. (Wed. – Sat.)  Gary Peacock, Marc Copland and Bill Stewart. It’s an unlikely, but intriguing combination – veteran bassist Peacock, with Copland – who started out as a saxophonist, switching to piano when he was 25 – and the young A-list drummer Stewart.  Should produce some compelling music.  Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.  www.birdlandjazz.com.

monk-town-hall-cd– Feb. 26. (Thurs.)  Charles Tolliver.The Thelonious Monk Orchestra at Town Hall, 1959: Reviving a Landmark.” Trumpeter Tolliver celebrates the epic late /50s performance with a set of new transcriptions of Hall Overton’s large ensemble charts. It’s an event not to be missed.  Town Hall. (212) 997-1929.   http://www.the-townhall-nyc.org

– Feb. 27. (Fri.)  Jason Moran “In My Mind, Monk at Town Hall, 1959.” The gifted young pianist Moran has created a multi-media piece based on the Monk Town Hall performance, including Monk selections for an eight piece band, photos by Eugene Smith and never-before-heard recordings of Monk and Hall Overton.  Town Hall. (212) 997-1929. http://www.the-townhall-nyc.org

San Diego

Amina Figarova

– Feb. 26. (Thurs.)  Amina Figarova Sextet. Atheneum Music and Arts Library. Pianist Figarova, born in Azerbaijan, based in the Netherlands, is composing an impressive catalog of selections embracing her 21st century interpretation of the jazz mainstream. San Diego Atheneum. (858) 454-5872 www.ljathenaeum.org.

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