By Don Heckman
– Mar. 9. (Mon.) Bill Holman Big Band. Holman is arguably one of the great, innovative arranger’composers of his – or of any – generation. With big band nights becoming difficult to maintain in the current economy, here’s a rare opportunity to hear Holman’s amazing charts up close and personal. Charlie O’s. (818) 994-3058. www.charlieos.com
– Mar. 11. (Wed.) Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette. Twenty-five years together, and this trio of jazz veterans continues to find new wonders in the piano trio format. UCLA Royce Hall. (310) 825-2101. www.uclalive.org. Also Saturday, Mar. 14 at U.C. Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall.
– Mar. 12 (Thurs.) Denise Donatelli. A dark, enchanting voice, an intuitive ability to tell a musical story, and ineffable rhythmic drive. All the qualities one looks for in a fine jazz vocalist. Charlie O’s. (818) 994-3058. www.charlieos.com
– Mar. 12 – 15. (Thurs.- Sun.) David Sanchez. Puerto Rican-born tenor saxophonist Sanchez is arguably one of his instrument’s top creative players. Jazz Bakery. Jazz Bakery (310) 271-9039. www.jazzbakery.com.
– Mar. 13 – 14. (Fri. & Sat.) Nnenna Freelon. The six-time Grammy nominated Freelon sings with what the L.A. Times has described as “exquisite musicality and an unerring sense of swing.” Pepperdine Center for the Arts, Smothers Theatre. (310) 506-4522 http://arts.pepperdine.edu. .
– Mar. 13 – 14. (Fri. & Sat.) Patrice Rushen & Ndugu Chancler. Versatile pianist Rushen and drummer-for-all-seasons Chancler partner with tenor saxophonist Justo Almario and bassist Tony Dumas in an evening of jazz classics. Spazio. (818) 728-8400. www.spazio.la/jazz.php
– Mar. 13 – 15. (Fri. – Sun.) SFJAZZ Collective. Joe Lovano, Dave Douglas, Stefon Harris, Miguel Zenon, Robin Eubanks, Renee Rosnes, Mat Penman, Eric Harland. An impressive collection of all-stars – including alto saxophonist and MacArthur genius award winner Zenon – provide the best possible representation for the San Farnicsco Jazz Festival’s far-ranging programming. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210. www.catalinajazzclub.com.
– Mar. 14. (Sat.) Dave Mackay, Peter Erskine, John Giannelli. Pianist Mackay’s resume reaches from Sonny Stitt and Bobby Hackett to Don Ellis and Chet Baker. Working with bassist Giannelli and drummer Erskine opens the possibility for hard swinging post bop, tempered by lyrical balladry. Giannelli Square. (818) 772-1722. www.giannellisquare.com..
– Mar. 15. (Sun.) Mike Melvoin Trio. In a week rich with piano trio gigs, don’t overlook Melvoin, working with bassist Tony Dumas and drummer Ralph Penland. Melvoin’s skills, reaching from jazz and pop through classical music, are extraordinary. But his most unique gift is an ability to bring creative authenticity to everything he plays. Spazio. (818) 728-8400. www.spazio.la/jazz.php
– Mar. 15 & 16. (Sun. & Mon.) Rhiannon, Otmaro Ruiz, Abraham Laboriel, Alex Acuna. Live Recording. Bay area vocal artist is – like Bobby McFerrin – an ever-curious adventurer in every area of vocal expression. Her appearances in L.A. are far too rare, making this two-night session of live recording a not-to-be-missed musical event. L.A. Sound Gallery, Burbank. (310) 317-4292. email@example.com.
– Mar. 10 & 11. (Tues. & Wed.) David Sanchez. Yoshi’s Oakland. Yoshi’s Oakland. . (510) 238-9200. www.yoshis.com. Also at the Jazz Bakery, Mar. 12 – 15. (See above)
– Mar. 10 – 15. (Tues. – Sun.) John Zorn. Saxophonist, composer and MacArthur fellow Zorn conducts a five night residency at Yoshi’s San Francisco. Each night features different ensembles performing Zorn’s works. Among the participants – the Masada String Trio, guitarist Marc Ribot, cellist Erik Friedlander, percussionist Cyro Baptista, drummer Joey Baron and others. And there’s a Special Offer, too: Buy tickets for any John Zorn show using the password: zorn and receive a gift certificat of equal value good for tickets at either Yoshi’s. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600. www.yoshis.com
Mar. 14 (Sat.) Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock and Jack DeJohnette. U.C. Berkley Zellerbach Hall. (510) 642-9988. http://www.calperfs.berkeley.edu.
New York City
– Mar. 10 & 11. (Tues. & Wed.) Denny Zeitlin Trio with Buster Williams, bass and Matt Wilson, drums. Zeitlin’s career as a psychiatrist hasn’t minimized his five decades as a consistently envelope-stretching pianist, still seeking and finding new areas of expression within the piano trio format. Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola. (212) 258-9595. (www.jalc.org/dccc
– Mar. 11 – 14. (Wed. – Sat.). Steve Kuhn, Eddie Gomez and Al Foster. There’s not much in the world of jazz that hasn’t been seen, experienced or played by this trio of veteran jazz artists. Kuhn’s piano playing has evolved over the years from youthful hard bop through avant-garde jazz, while always maintaining his own voice – a voice that has matured into strikingly imaginative musical mastery. Birdland. (212) 581-3080. www.birdlandjazz.com.
– Mar. 12 – 15. (Thurs. – Sun.) Phil Woods Quintet. Classic bebop still lives in the effervescent playing of alto saxophonist Woods. He performs with the stellar companionship of Brian Lynch, trumpet; Bill Mays, piano; Steve Gilmore, bass; Bill Goodwin, drums. Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola www.jalc.org/dccc
– Mar. 12 – 15. (Thurs. – Sun.) The Odean Pope Saxophone Choir featuring James Carter. Pope’s nine saxophone choir produces one of contemporary jazz’s most extraordinary sounds. Add saxophone master Carter to the mix and the multi-reed banquet becomes even more delectable. Blue Note. (212) 475-8592. http://www.bluenote.net/newyork/index.shtml.