Picks of the Week: August 11 – 16

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Aug. 11. (Tues.) John Pisano Guitar Night. Every Guitar Night — Tuesdays at Spazio — is a great night for music. And this one’s even more special, with Pisano trading licks with the versatile, imaginative Larry Koonse. Tom Warrington‘s bass keeps the dueling guitars in line. Spazio.  (818) 728-8400.

Alfredo Rodriguez
Alfredo Rodriguez

– Aug 12. (Wed.) Alfredo Rodriguez. Pianist Rodriguez, still in his early twenties, gave a brilliant performance at the Playboy Jazz Festival in June. Here he is, making his first Southland appearance since then, performing in an intimate club setting. Not to be missed by anyone curious about the new directions in jazz piano. Vibrato.  (818) 474-9400.

– Aug. 12. (Wed.) Buddy Guy, Dr. John, James Cotton. Blues on the loose. when it comes to an evening of down home, in the pocket, traditional blues of every stripe, it doesn’t get any better than this. The Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

– Aug. 12. (Wed.) Jackson Browne. The veteran singer-songerwriter arrives in the Southland as part of the summer U.S. tour supporting his latest CD, “Time the Conqueror.” An apt title, perhaps, given the fact that it coincides with his 60th birthday. Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-3125.

Omar Faruk Tekbilek
Omar Faruk Tekbilek

– Aug. 13. (Thurs.) Omar Faruk Tekbilek Ensemble. One of the great virtuosi of Middle Eastern music, Tekbilek’s performances are masterful displays, embracing his superb playing of the flute-like nay, the double reed zurna, the baglama, a long-necked lute, and various percussion instruments. The Skirball Center.  (31) 440-4500.

– Aug. 13. (Thurs.) Henry Franklin Quartet. The sterling bassist everyone calls the “Captain,” leads a hard-driving ensemble featuring saxophonist Azar Lawrence, pianist Theo Saunders, piano and drummer Ramon Banda. Charlie O’s.  994-3058.

– August 13 – 15. (Thurs. – Sat.) Buster Williams, Patrice Rushen, Cindy Blackman and Bennie Maupin. Nobody’s listed as the leader here, but with a stellar group like this — featuring Maupin’s versatile woodwinds, Rushen’s rich keyboard sounds, Williams’ sturdy bass and Blackman’s propulsive drumming — expect collective music making at its best. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

Denise Donatelli

– Aug. 14. (Fri.) Denise Donatelli. One of the jazz vocal world’s most eminently listenable talents, Donatelli still doesn’t quite get the attention her superb interpretive talents deserve. She should be at her best backed by pianist Josh Nelson, bassist Hamilton Price and drummer Kevin Kanner Spazio.  (818) 728-8400.

– Aug. 14. (Fri.) Tamir Hendelman trio with Dan Lutz, bass and Dean Koba, drums. Pianist Hendelman’s international presence, as an arranger, accompanist and gifted talent in his own right, is growing by leaps and bounds. But it’s always a pleasure to hear him on his own, backed by a pair of fine players, revealing the intimate depths of his music. The Culver Club in the Radisson.  (310) 649-1776.

– August 16. (Sun.) Gina Eckstine. The offspring of famous singers aren’t always what one hopes for. But Eckstine, whose father was Billy Eckstine, has the spunk, the spirit and the soul of her family’s patriarch. At her best, she delivers a song with the same intense ability to tell a musical story. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

– August 16. (Sun.) Take 6.  The extraordinary a cappella group — who are creating some of the most remarkable vocal moments of the decade — make a rare L.A. appearance for a concert supporting the Symphonic Jazz Orchestra’s “Music in the Schools” program.  Call it an opportunity to do something really valuable, while hearing some superb music.  At the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center, 4718 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles. Two shows, at 6:15 and 8:15 p.m.   Information click here.

San Francisco

– Aug. 14 & 15. (Fri. & Sat.) Jack Jones. He’s a living, walking, singing classic. A member of the ’50s and ’60s gang of male divos that included Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra, Vic Damone and others. Like Bennett, Jones is still going strong, still demonstrating how to bring a song to life. Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

New York

Eliane Elias

– Aug. 12 – 16. (Wed. – Sun.) Eliane Elias Trio. “Tribute To Bill Evans.” The Elias trio — with bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Adam Nussbaum — accomplish the difficult task of exploring the Evans musical lexicon while still maintaining their own unique creative identity. The Iridium. (212) 582-2121.

– Aug. 13 & 14. (Thurs. &o Fri.) Judy Wexler. With a pliable voice, a seductive sound and a stirring rhythmic drive, Wexler moves easily from story-telling balladry to briskly swinging vocalese.  Feinstein’s at the Regency.  (212) 339-4095.

– Aug. 13 – 16 (Thurs. – Sun.) Steve Kuhn Trio featuring bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Al Foster. Three masters at work, still at the top of their form, still revealing more enlightening views of the inner mysteries of jazz improvisation. The Jazz Standard.   (212) 576-2252.

– Aug. 16. (Sun.) The James Carney Group. Carney is a pianist/composer who invests his music with a compelling blend of subtle structure and expansive musical exploration. He performs at one of the city’s great jazz hang-outs with the firsr rate ensemble of Tony Malaby, tenor saxophone, Josh Roseman, trombone, Chris Lightcap, bass and Dan Weiss, drums. The 55 Bar.  (212) 929-9883.

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