Picks of the Week: May 11 – 17

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– May 13. (Wed.) Mumiy Troll. The Russian rock band has been around since the ‘80s, paid their dues during the Soviet era, and emerged as one of the most popular Russian groups of the ‘90s and beyond. The Roxy. (310) 276-2222.

– May 13 – 16. (Wed. – Sat.) Ann Hampton Callaway. She sings, plays piano and writes songs, and does it all with a musicality that combines a big, pliant voice with layers of rich, creative subtlety. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.


– May 14, 15 and 26. (Thurs., Fri. and Tues. ) Stephanie Haynes. One of the Southland’s finest jazz vocal artists for years, Haynes has been spending a lot of time living in Vegas lately. So grab one of these opportunities to experience the pleasures of her warm, velvet-textured sound. At Jazz at the Crowne Plaza on Thurs., May 14. At the Sheraton L.A. Downtown on Friday, May 15 and at Bar Melody on May 26. (310) 216-5861. Info: In-House Music.

– May 14. (Thurs.) Bob Sheppard Quartet. He can play just about any style requested, on soprano, alto and tenor saxophones. But Sheppard is best heard fronting his own group, roving the far reaches of his own colorful creative imagination. Charlie O’s. (818) 994-3058.

Otmaro Ruiz

– May 14. (Thurs.) Otmaro Ruiz Quartet. Venezuelan pianist/composer Ruiz still hasn’t received the attention that his talent deserves. Here’s an opportunity to hear him, in an attractive new venue in the Valley, performing with the stellar ensemble of tenor saxophonist Ben Wendell, bassist Greg Swiller and drummer Jimmy Branly. The evening opens with the lyrical vocals of Brazilian singer/songwriter/pianist Catina Deluna. LA Modern Jazz Series at the Whitefire Theatre, Sherman Oaks. (323) 251-0748.

HIGHLIGHT – May 14 – 17. ( Thurs. – Sun.) Jane Bunnett and the Spirits of Havana bring authenticity, ambience and pure excitement to their take on Afro Cuban jazz. Jazz Bakery (310) 271-9039.

– May 15. (Fri. & Sat.) The 2009 Spring Jazz Series at Pasadena’s Boston Court Performing Arts Center features the scintillating duo of Dave MacKay and Lori Bell on Friday, and the probing music of the Bill Cunliffe Trio on Sat.. (626) 683-6883.

– May 15 – 17. (Fri. – Sun.) The Hyatt Regency Newport Beach Jazz Festival. Smooth jazz rules Newport’s early summer breezes with performers such as Dave Koz, Warren Hill, Jeff Lorber, Jeffrey Osborn, Rick Braun, Candy Dulfer, Peter White, Sax Pack, Jazz Attack,Guitars and Sax and more. (949) 729-6057.

HIGHLIGHT – Saturday, May 16

latin jazz all stars
Jose Rizo's Latin Jazz All-Stars

The 2nd Annual Latin Jazz Festival showcases a stellar line up of performers. Among them, The Caribbean Jazz Project Reunion with Dave Samuels & Paquito D’Rivera , Jose Rizo’s Jazz on the Latin Side All-Stars, Kenny Burrell & Hubert Laws, Charlie Sepulveda and the Turnaround. The Greek Theatre. (323) 665-5857.

– May 16. (Sat.) The Rose Ensemble. Early music comes vividly to life in the hands of the Rose Ensemble. Expect to hear everything from 17th century Russian Orthodox motets and medieval Latin chants to double choir works from the Polish Renaissance. The Getty Center. (310) 440-7300.

Sara Gazarek
Sarah Gazarek

– May 16. (Sat.) Sarah Gazarek’s great potential as an interpretive jazz vocalist has been expanding lately into the singer/songwriter realm. Her singing is well placed in the hip, downtown artists’ district ambience of Café Metropol. (213) 613-1537.

– May 17. (Sun.) Judy Wolman’s “Sing! Sing! Sing!” With “Big Band Tribute. This will be the Sunday afternoon singalong’s final celebration of the Big Band era at the Jazz Bakery. On the program: “String of Pearls,” “Moonlight Serenade,” “In the Mood,” and, of course, “Sing! Sing! Sing!” The Jazz Bakery (310) 271-9039.

Dana Point

– May 16 & 17. (Sat. & Sun.) The Doheny Blues Festival. Twenty-six performances on three stages by a line-up of blues artists that includes B.B. King, Brian Setzer & the Nashvillains, the Derek Trucks Band, The Keb’ Mo’ Band, Elvin Bishop, Sharon Jones, John Hammond and others. The Doheny State Beach, Dana Point. (949) 360-7800.

San Francisco

– May 13 & 14. (Wed. & Thurs.) The Charnett Moffett Trio, featuring drummer Will Calhoun and pianist Stephen Scott. Moffett’s adept handling of upright bass, piccolo bass and fretless electric bass guitar produces a cunning array of free-spirited music. Yoshi’s Oakland. . (510) 238-9200.

HIGHLIGHT – Friday, May 15 through Sunday, May, 17


The SFJAZZ Spring Season rolls into high gear with a set of compelling musical events. On Fri., adventurous pianist Brad Mehldau does a solo set. On Sat., Mehldau partners with drummer Matt Chamberlain. On Sun., the African-born jazz duo of guitarist Lionel Loueke and bassist Richard Bona combine to explore their unique, instrumental and vocal visions of bayond-booundaries contemporary jazz.. SFJAZZ at the YBCA Forum. (415) 398-5655.

– May 15 – 17. (Fri, – Sun.) The Joe Sample Trio. From the Jazz Crusaders through his extensive solo career, pianist Sample has been a worthy jazz headliner for more than four decades. He performs with his son, bassist Nick Sample and New Orleans drummer Johnny Vidacovich. Yoshi’s Oakland. . (510) 238-9200.

New York City


– May 12 – 17. (Tues. – Sun.) The always-surprising, ever-adventurous Bill Frisell matches musical ideas with bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wollesen. The Village Vanguard (212) 255-4037.

– May 12. (Tues.) . Russian born pianist/composer/producer, Misha Piatigorsky, winner of the 2004 Thelonious Monk Composers performs with his Octet, and the high-voltage, eclectic vocals of Emily Braden. Iridium. (212) 582-2121 Competition. Iridium Jazz Club. (212) 582-2121.

– May 13 – 16. (Wed. – Sat.) The Heath Brothers Quartet. The remaining two musical members of the Heath brothers – tenor saxophonist Jimmy and drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath– carry on the family tradition of world class jazz. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.

HIGHLIGHT – Wednesday, May 13 through Sunday, May 17

Chano 1
Chano Dominguez

Catalan Days, Barcelona Nights. The most interesting, and promising, trend in jazz this past decade has been its globalization. Or, more precisely, the glocalization of jazz. After all, players, composers and arrangers in Europe or Latin America are no longer trying to emulate their American counterparts but rather, are increasingly approaching jazz as a toolbox from which they take whatever devices they need to operate on and transform their indigenous styles. The festival Catalan Days, Barcelona Nights offers a chance for a close hearing of several remarkable artists. A few personal favorites: pianist Chano Dominguez (this is what Bill Evans might have sounded like had he been born in Cadiz, Spain); saxophonist Llibert Fortuny; drummer Marc Miralta (who has been working effectively at a flamenco jazz fusion for some time) and pianist, and former drummer, Jordi Rossy (yes, that Jordi Rossy). The Jazz Standard. (212) 576-2232.

– Pick by Fernando Gonzalez.

Washington, D.C.

Dee Dee Bridgewater

– May 14 – 16. (Thurs. – Sat.)The Mary Lou Williams Women in Jazz Festival. Kennedy Center. The 14th annual celebration of women in jazz features performances by Dee Dee Bridgewater, Esperanza Spalding, Anat Cohen, Janis Siegel, Hailey Niswanger, Annette Aguilar, Sherrie Maricle, Anne Drummond, Carmen Lundy and the Maria Schneider Orchestra. The Kennedy Center. (800) 444-1324.


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