Picks of the Week: June 16 – 21

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– June 17. (Wed.) Zap Mama. Maria Daulne’s cross-cultural musical collective heads into town on the crest of their new, appropriately titled recording, “ReCreation.” El Rey. (323) 936-6400

– June 17 (Wed.) Ana Egge. The remarkable singer/songwriter is quickly establishing herself as one of the most uniquely adventurous voices in contemporary songwriting. Lucinda Williams calls her the “folk Nina Simone.” Hotel Café.

– June 17 – 20. (Wed. – Sat.) Christian McBride and Inside Straight. Bassisst McBride’s current band returns to the acoustic environment of straight ahead jazz on the new, eponymously titled album, “Inside Straight.” Expect to hear echoes of hard bop in a 21st century seting.. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

Kathleen Grace

– June 18. (Thurs.) The Kathleen Grace Band with special guest Kristin Korb. Grace has been applying her melifluous sound and crisp phrasing to her own tunes lately. And the presence of Korb should trigger a few sounds from their Diva Den ensemble, as well. Steamers. (714) 871-8800

– June 18. (Thurs.) Frank Potenza. The versatile guitarist/educator takes a break from his duties as a Professor in USC’s Thornton School of Music to celebrate his latest CD, “Old, New, Borrowed and Blue.” He’s backed by Michael Carr on Hammond B-3 organ and Steve Barnes on drums, The Muckenthaler Cultural Center Jazz Festival. (866) 411-1212.

– June 19. (Fri.) Bill Cunliffe Latin Jazz Ensemble. Name a musical style and there’s a safe bet that Cunliffe can play and compose for it authentically – none more so than when he dips into his Latin grooves. Upstairs at Vitello’s (818) 769-0905.

– June 19. (Fri.) Brazilian Samba and Bossa Nova Party. Nobody gives a Brazilian party any better than Brazilian Nites. Their first major event of the summer features singer Diogo Nogueira, a Latin Grammy Nominee, and the innovative, jazz and bossa nova-tinged stylings of pianist Marcos Ariel. Ford Amphitheatre (818) 566-1111.

– June 19. (Fri.) Andre Rieu. You’ve seen him on PBS – dapper, smiling, leading his orchestra of elegantly garbed players in one memorable classical theme after another. Here’s the chance to experience it all live. Nokia Theater Live. Nokia Theatre. (213) 763-6030.

– June 19. (Fri.) Don Randi & Quest. The proprietor of the only jazz club ever founded upon a baked potato takes the stage at his own room. Beyond his entrepreneurship, keyboardist Randi’s been a staple of the L.A. music scene for nearly five decades. He leads a six piece band.. The Baked Potato. (818) 980-1615.

– June 19. (Fri.) Hollywood Bowl Opening Night 2009. And a grand night for singing, at that, with the voices of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Josh Groban, Trisha Yearwood, Angelique Kidjo, Frederica von Stade and Roger Daltrey on the program. Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

Goran Bregovic

– June 19 – 20. (Fri. – Sat.) Goran Bregovic’s Wedding and Funeral Orchestra. Well-known in the Balkans as a film composer and rock musician, Bregovic’s pet ensemble is this diverse band of musicians and singers, whose music roves freely across the many imaginative sounds and rhythms of the area. UCLA Royce Hall. Also Sunday at SFJAZZ. Herbst Theatre. (415) 398-5655.

– June 20 (Sat.) Janis Mann. The musically adventurous, lyrically evocative Mann performs with the sterling trio of pianist Tamir Hendelman, bassist Christoph Luty and drummer Roy McCurdy. Spazio. (818) 728-8400.

– June 20. (Sat.) The CJS Quintet. Chuck Johnson’s driving tenor saxophone leads the way in his quintet’s insistent determination to keep hard bop alive. The World Stage. (323) 293-2451.

– June 21. (Sun.) Chris Bennett. She may have had major visibility during her disco linkage with Girogio Moroder, and a different kind of attention as a smooth jazz queen. But Bennett also has a secret life as a convincing jazz singer. Hopefully it will reveal it self tonight. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

– June 21. (Sun.) Femi Kuti & the Positive Force. The first KCRW World Festival event of the season opens with Afrobeat superstar Femi Kuti, his irresistibly rocking band and guest stars Santigold and Raphael Saadiq. Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

San Francisco

Bucky Pizzarelli
Bucky Pizzarelli

– June 16 – 17. (Tues. & Wed.) Bucky Pizzarelli and Benny Green. The master of the seven string guitar goes mano a mano with the pianist who loved Oscar Peterson. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.

– June 18 – 21. (Thurs. – Sun.) Eddie Palmieri and the Pan-Caribbean All-Stars. Leave it to Palmieri to put together an all-star band that really does have all-stars – saxophonist David Sanchez, trumpeter Brian Lynch, conguero Giovanni Hidalgo, bassist Carlos Henriquez and drummer Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.

New York City

– June 15. (Mon.) Sophie Milman. The critically praised, Russian-born jazz singer celebrates the release of her new CD, “Take Love Easy.” The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.

– June 16. (Tues.) “A Tribute to Oscar Peterson” With pianist Marian Petrescu, guitarist Andreas Oberg, bassist David Finck and drummer Adam Nussbaum. If anyone can offer a convincing Peterson tribute, it’s the Romanian keyboard wizard Petrescu. Jazz Standard (212) 576-2252.

– June 16 (Tues.) Arve Henriksen and Jan Bang. The two Norwegian musicians – with Henriksen playing trumpet and Bang providing live sampling and remixing – produce an array of sounds that challenge the imagination. Le Poisson Rouge.

jane monheit
Jane Monheit

– June 16 – 21. (Tues. – Sun.) Jane Monheit. Don’t let the sumptuous timbres of her voice fool you – Monheit has the heart, the rhythm and the spirit of a jazz singer. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.

– June 16 – 21. (Tues. – Sun.) Renee Rosnes Quartet. There’s a good reason why pianist Rosnes has been an A-list pianist for two decades, performing with, among others, Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, J.J. Johnson, James Moody and more. And that reason will become apparent before she finishes her first number, backed by saxophonist Rich Perry, bassist Peter Washington, and drummer Lewis Nash. The Village Vanguard. (212) 255-4037.


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