Picks of the Week: July 27 – Aug. 2

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– July 28. (Tues.) Regina Spektor. The Soviet-born singer/songwriter manages to combine influences from Ani DiFranco, Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith, Edith Piaf — as well as her own unique personal history — into one of the more offbeat contemporary pop styles. The El Rey. (323) 936-6499

Jessica Polaskey and John Pizzarelli

– July 29 – Aug. 2. (Wed. – Sun.) John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molaskey. Musically, they’re constantly engaging — a blend of instrumental swing and delightful vocalizing. Add in the humor and byplay between this attractive couple and expect an evening of irresistible entertainment. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

– July 30. (Thurs.) Gadji-Gadjo. Accordionist Melanie Bergeron leads the Quebec-based band in their L.A. premiere, performing a colorful array of Roma and klezmer-based music Skirball Cultural Center. (310) 440-4500.

– July 30. (Thurs.) The Anthony Wilson Trio and Nonet and the L.A. Jazz Collective. The Hammer Museum’s JAZZPOP series outdoes itself with this far-reaching display of the Southlands fine, young jazz talent. Not to be missed. Hammer Museum. (310).443-7000.

– July 31. (Fri.) Bruce Forman. He’s been highly praised by no less an expert on jazz guitar than Barney Kessel. And Forman, a versatile guitarist/educator — who is also a published novelist (“Trust Me”) — deserves that praise and more. Steamers. (714) 871-8800

galison cowboy
William Galison

– July 31. (Fri.) William Galison has been called “the most original and individual of the new generation of harmonica players” by Toots Thielemanns. Like Toots, he also plays the guitar (along with soprano sax and various other instruments). Galison’s resume includes gigs with, among others, Sting, Barbra Streisand, Chaka Khan, Ruth Brown and a creative partnership with Madeleine Peyroux. He’s backed by pianist Otmaro Ruiz, clarinetist John Tegmeyer, bassist Greg Swiller and drummer Nate Wood with special guest pianist Adrianne Duncan. Pasadena Jazz Institute. http://www.pasjazz.org. (626) 398-3344.

– July 31 – Aug. 2. Guys and Dolls. The Frank Loesser musical, one of the certified classics of the Broadway musical stage, receives an inimitable Hollywood Bowl treatment. The star-studded cast includes Jessica Biel, Ellen Greene, Scott Bakula, Beau Bridges and Brian Stokes Mitchell. Kevin Stiles conducts the Hollywood Bowl Orchesatra, and director Richard Jay Alexander and choreographer Donna McKechnie lead the same creative team that produced last summer’s highly praised production of Les Miserables. Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

– Aug. 1. (Sat.) Stacy Rowles. Combine her Jimmy Rowles genes with her own impressive talents, and trumpeter/vocalist Stacy is always a pleasure to hear. This time out, shes backed by the Pat Senatore trio. Vibrato. (310) 474-9400.eo

Leo Kottke
Leo Kottke

San Francisco

– July 29 – 31. (Wed. – Fri.) Leo Kottke. A guitarist’s guitarist since the release of his first major label album, “Mudlark,” in 1971, Kottke is making his first appearance at Yoshi’s. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.


– July 30 – Aug. 2. (Thurs. – Sun.) Monty Alexander Trio. Straight ahead jazz piano trio playing at its best, further enlivened by the rich Caribbean undercurrent that flows through everything Monty touches. Jazz Alley. ( 206) 441-9729.

New York

– July 28. (Tues.) Alfredo Rodriguez. The young Cuban pianist, a protege of Quincy Jones, performed recently at the Playboy Jazz Festival, displaying imagination, technique and adventurousness of a major new arrival on the jazz scene. The Jazz Standard (212) 576-2252.

– July 28 – Aug. 2. (Tues. – Sun.) Bob James and Earl Klugh. The veteran duo celebrate the 30th anniversary of their Grammy-winning album, One on One. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.

Lou Donaldson

– July 29 – Aug. 1. (Wed. – Sat.) Lou Donaldson Quartet. He may have started out as a disciple of Charlie Parker, but Donaldson’s been laying down his own groove-driven, bop-tinged alto saxophone style for decades. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.

– August 1 & 2. (Sat. & Sun.) The Caramoor Jazz Festival. This’ll be a weekend to remember for fans of jazz piano. It doesn’t get much more divers than this lineup:, Jean-Michel Pilc, Cedar Walton, Randy Weston, Gerald Clayton, Chuchito Valdes, Junior Mance and Cyrus Chestnut. Singers Luciana Souza and Dianne Reeves add some vocal variety. Caramoor Jazz Festival (914) 232-5035.


– July 31. (Fri.) Tim Reis. The Rolling Stones Project. After touring the world with the Rolling Stones, Reis knows the music of Jagger and Richard well. He performs music from his album, The Rolling Stones Project, illuminating such classic numbers as “Honky Tonk Women,” “Gimme Shelter” and “Ruby Tuesday” from a jazz perspective. The Regatta Bar. Cambridge. (617) 395-7757


Joan Baez

Highlight- August 1 & 2. (Sat. & Sun.) George Wein’s Folk Festival 50. Wein virtually invented the concept of summer jazz and folk festivals. And still does it better than almost anyone. His celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first Newport Folk Festival is a great example. Characteristically, Wein has created an event to be remembered, assembling a brilliant line-up that includes, among others, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, Arlo Guthrie, Judy Collins, Ramlin’ Jack Elliott, Mavis Staples. George Wein’s Folk Festival 50. Fort Adams State Park, Newport, Rhode Island. (800) 514-3849. .


– July 31. (Fri.) Dave Liebman. He’s close to home for this gig, but saxophonist Liebman’s creative imagination knows no boundaries. He’s backed by pianist Phil Markowitz, bassist Tony Marino, and drummer Mike Stephans. The Dearhead Inn. Delaware Water Gap, PA. (570) 424-2000.


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