By Don Heckman
– June 29. (Mon.) Tim Garland’s Lighthouse Trio. Saxophonist Garland’s remarkable accomplishments reach from orchestral works to choir music to commissions for an African dance company and pairings with Chick Corea. Hearing him with his Lighthouse Trio reveals the inner essence of his art. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210 .
– July 1 – 3. (Wed. – Fri.) Vital Information with Steve Smith. Drummer Smith’s interests in percussion reach around the globe and across musical genres. And Vital Information – with Smith, bassist Baron Browne, guitarist Vinny Valentino and keyboardist Tom Coster – cover most of those bases in their always-changing sets. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210
– July 2. (Thurs.) “Playing for Change.” The 25th Annual Twilight Dance Series at the Santa Monica Pier opens with the live band version of the startling “Playing for Change” phenomenon that has rapidly moved from the #1 rated YouTube video to a Top 10 release of their 2-disc CD/DVD. Santa Monica Pier Twilight Dance Series. And if you haven’t seen the YouTube video, with its marvelous revelation of the power of music, you should Here it is:
– July 2 – 4. (Thurs. – Sat.) The Hollywood Bowl’s annual Fireworks Spectacular. Featuring John Fogerty with the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by John Morris Russell. Fogarty’s reportedly working on a new country album, but the Bowl audience no doubt will expect a large serving of such Creedence Clearwater Revival hits as “Susie Q” and “Proud Mary.” The fireworks, as always, will be spectacular. Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.
– July 3. (Fri.) Viver Brasil. “Feet on the Ground/Aiye.” A spectacular evening of sight and sound, with the invigorating songs of Katia Moraes and the high-spirited, roots rhythms and dancing of the amazing artist in the Viver Brasil company. Ford Amphitheatre. (323) 461-3673.
Highlight: July 3 (Fri.)
It’s a great night for jazz canaries in L.A., with three impressive ladies offering their very different, but utterly compelling views of the art of jazz vocalizing at locations across the Southland. (Ahh…for a personal helicopter).
Jackie Ryan. The ever-fascinating, multi-lingual Ryan has emerged, in the past few years as a singer with a stunning blend of creative imagination, musicality and captivating story-telling abilities. She arrives in town celebrating the upcoming release of her latest album, the 2-CD “Doozy” (Openart Records). (Full disclosure: I wrote the liner notes for the set.) She’s at the Culver Club at the Radisson. (310) 649-1776. To sample Jackie Ryan’s recordings, click here.
Carol Welsman. Across the county, Canadian singer/pianist Welsman applies her superb blend of voice and instrument to a repertoire that is as imaginative and far-reaching as any vocalist on the scene. (Maybe even more so.) Blessed with a whisper-in-your-ear warm sound and a rich harmonic sense, she uses them both to bring a compelling lyricism to her songs. Let’s hope she includes some of the engaging selections from her as yet unreleased tribute to Peggy Lee. Steamers. (714) 871-8800. To sample Carol Welsman’s recordings, click here.
Susan Krebs. Meanwhile, out in the Valley, Krebs brings to her songs her belief that “Being a jazz gardener is really about the art of becoming…whether working with plants or music or with oneself.” Her outdoors fascination reaches up to jazz-in-flight, as well, in her album, “Jazz Aviary,” which features such classics as “Baltimore Oriole,” “Skylark,” and, of course, “Ornithology,” She’s backed by pianist Theo Saunders, bassist Ryan McGillicuddy and drummer Sinclair Lott. Spazio. (818) 728-8400 To sample Susan Krebs’ recordings, click here.
– July 4. (Sat.) Shin Hae Chul and N.E.X.T. The South Korean pop star and his band make a rare American appearance. A liberal political icon as well as a musical headliner, often compared to John Lennon, he is one of the founders of the country’s contemporary Kpop genre. The Ford Amphitheatre. (323) 461-3673.
– July 2 – 5. (Thurs. – Sun.) Mose Allison & Bob Dorough. What a treat – two of the deans of hip jazz vocalizing, on the same stage. The Mississippi blues meet cool urban sophistication. Dorough also does a matinee on Sunday featuring selections from his “Schoolhouse Rock.” Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.
– July 2 – 5. (Thurs. – Sun.) Gerald Albright. The multiple Grammy-nominated saxophonist brings jazz authenticity to the too-often tepid waters of the smooth and contemporary jazz styles. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600
New York City
– June 29. (Mon.) Ravi Coltrane & Jack DeJohnette with guests: “A Benefit for JazzReach.” Talk about an opportunity to make a contribution to something worthwhile, and experience some remarkable music in the process – here it is. Two of the jazz world’s most adventurous players, taking an exploratory road together. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.
– June 30. (Tues.) Terese Genecco & Her Little Big Band. Retro swing comes alive in the hands of the energy-packed Geneco and her irresistibly swinging seven piece band. Also on the bill, Scott Barbarino & the Bev-Naps re-imagine a combination of Dean Martin-revisited with a doo-wop, a capella vocal group.. The Iridium. (212) 582-2121. (Also the last Tuesday of every month.)
– June 30 – July 5. (Tues. – Sun.) Anat Cohen. “Clarinet work: Benny Goodman and Beyond. “ It’s been a long time since the clarinet has had an advocate as convincing as the gifted Cohen. Although her work on tenor and soprano saxophones is always a joy to hear, her love for the clarinet, combined with the ability to bring its rich resources of sound to life, is one of the pleasures of the 21st century jazz scene. It’ll be intriguing to hear what she does with Goodman. The Village Vanguard. (212) 255-4037
– July 1 – 4. (Wed. – Sat.) Lew Tabackin & Toshiko Akiyoshi Quartet. The gifted couple – with Tabackin’s envelope-stretching saxophone work and Toshiko’s compositionally structured piano have long been – and continue to be – models of new vista jazz improvisation. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.
– June 30 – July 12. The Montreal Jazz Festival. There are those who fervently believe that the Montreal Fest is North America’s finest music event. And they may be right (although I’d have to place the Monterey Jazz Festival at a similar level). But with settings placed in and around a beautiful city, and a line up like this, it’s hard to go wrong: Ornette Coleman, Oliver Jones, Joe Cocker, Al Jarreau, Jeff Beck, Jackson Brown, Buddy Guy, Tony Bennett, Brian Setzer, Burning Spear, Melody Gardot, Charlie Haden, Jamie Cullum, Al Di Meola, Joshua Redman, Chris Botti, Esperanza Spalding, Dave Brubeck, Madeleine Peyroux and more. The Montreal Jazz Festival. (888) 525-0515
– July 2 – 5. (Thurs. – Sun.) The Rothbury Festival. Rothbury describes its mission as a “commitment to harnessing the spirit of the music festival community into a durable social movement.” A lot of performers and fans agree, especially when the Festival is placed in an amiable outdoor setting, and the program includes The Dead, Bob Dylan, String Cheese Incident, Willie Nelson, the Black Crowes, Ani DiFranco, Matisyahu, Femi Kuti and more. The Rothbury Festival. At the Double JJ Ranch in Rothbury, Michigan.