Picks of the Week: April 7 – 12

By Don Heckman

 Los Angeles

 – April 7. (Tues.)  Saxophonist Rickey Woodard’s hard swinging, adventurous playing is the perfect opening act for this new jazz room.  Bar Melody – Bar & Grill.  (310) 670-1994.  www.barmelodyla.com.

 – April 8. (Wed.)  Katya and Marielle Labeque and Mayte Martin..  “De Fuego y de Agua”  The elegant, pianist siblings join Catalonian singer Martin in an unlikely encounter between Spanish classical music and traditional flamenco. UCLA Royce Hall. (310) 825-2101.  www.uclalive.org

 – April 8. (Wed.)  Santa Barbara’s Mellonie Irvine brings her warm-toned, briskly swinging vocals to an appearance at Hollywood’s premiere jazz room. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  www.catalinajazzclub.com.  

 – April 8. (Wed.) Manhattan Transfer. The intrepid quartet continue adding to their expanding definition of the glories of vocal quartet jazz. Cerritos Center.  (562) 467-8818  www.cerritoscenter.com

 April 8 – 11. (Wed. – Sat.)  Steve Coleman Sextet.  Cutting edge alto-saxophonist Coleman and his equally adventurous sextet slice open the box of contemporary jazz possibilities. The Jazz Bakery  (310) 271-9039.  www.jazzbakery.com.

 April 9. (Thurs.)  Lila Downs.  The Mexican-American’s startlingly diverse eclecticism is on full display in her Grammy-nominated CD, “Shake Away.”  Expect to hear everything from Fleetwood Mac and Lucinda Williams to Downs originals.. UCLA Royce Hall. (310) 825-2101.  www.uclalive.org

 – April 10 & 11. (Fri. & Sat.) Leonard Cohen.  The poet/singer/songwriter returns, selling out concert-sized venues wherever he goes.  And with good reason.  He’s one of the true ’60s/’70s originals.   Nokia Theatre. (213) 763-6030.   http://www.nokiatheatrelalive.com  

 – April 12. (Sun.)  Jennifer Leitham Trio.  Left-handed bass playing, delivered with dancing, swinging enthusiasm and imagination. Lighthouse Café.  (310) 376-9833.  www.lighthousecafe.net.

 San Francisco

 – April 8. (Wed.)  Take 6. A cappella meets the lush, moving harmonies of contemporary jazz in the always startling music of this remarkable ensemble. Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.  www.yoshis.com

 New York City

 – April 7 & 8. (Tues. & Wed.)  Allan Harris: Songs of Strayhorn. And what songs they are, starting with “Lush Life,” written – incredibly – when Strayhorn was still a teen-ager.  Harris brings the right sort of panache to a collection of music that deserves a far wider hearing.  Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola. (212) 258-9595.  www.jalc.org/dccc  

 – April 9 – 12. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Jimmy Scott & the Jazz Expressions. You haven’t really heard the full possibilities of a ballad until you’ve  heard it sung by Scott, at one of his glacial, but utterly captivating tempos.  Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola. (212) 258-9595.  www.jalc.org/dccc  

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