Picks of the Week: Aug. 18 – 23

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Aug. 18. (Tues.) John Altman Quartet. The English saxophonist/composer has a line of credits reaching from Monty Python to bebop (with all stops in between). And with pianist Mike Lang, bassist Harvey Newmark and drummer jennifer LeighamFrank De Vito on hand, he has the backing to support his every musical move. Charlie O’s (818) 994-3058.

– Aug. 20. (Thurs.) Jennifer Leitham. The Southland’s prima singing, left-handed bassist makes her last appearance as an Angeleno before moving to the New York City area. The presence of her regular sidekicks Josh Nelson, piano, and Randy Drake, drums, should make for a poignantly swinging evening. Cafe 322. (626) 836-5414.

– Aug. 20. (Thurs.) Flexible Reality. It would be hard to beat this instrumentation for an evening of intriguing sounds, with Richard Todd on French horn, Charlie Bisharat on violin, Frank Marocco on accordion, Michael Valerio and Abraham Laboriel on bass and Alex Acuna on drums. But beyond that, each of these guys is a first rate player, so this is one not to miss. Give April Williams credit for bringing increasingly fine programming to this Studio City venue. Vitello’s Upstairs (818) 769-0905.

– Aug. 21. (Fri.) Mel Martin Band with Don Friedman. Here’s one of the most interesting pairings of the summer — versatile woodwind/saxophone artist Martin and the versatile, veteran pianist Friedman in what promises to be a fascinating musical encounter. Bassist John Heard and drummer Lorca Hart provide solid support. The Culver Club in the Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Westside. (310) 649-1776.

Diana Krall

– Aug. 21 – 22. (Fri. & Sat.) Diana Krall and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Krall sings and plays selections from her “Quiet Nights” collection of bossa nova tunes with the L.A. Phil. under the very able direction of Alan Broadbent. In the opening half of the program, the Philharmonic, directed by Benjamin Wallfisch performs selections by Mexican composer Arturo Marquez. The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

– Aug. 22. (Sat.) Carmen Lundy. The gifted and still far too unrecognized singer appears with the dynamic backing of pianist Billy Childs, bassist Ryan Cross and drummer Lorca Hart. Expect musical magic. The Culver Club for Jazz. The Culver Club in the Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Westside. (310) 649-1776.

– Aug. 23. (Sun.) Smooth Summer Jazz. It used to be called the JVC Festival, but this new label provides a more accurate description of melodiously rhythmic music on the program. Featured acts are Dave Koz, Brian Culbertson, Peabo Bryson, George Duke, Tower of Power and Doc Powell. The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

Country Joe Aug. 23. (Sun.) Woodstock Tribute. It’s a weekend after the 40th anniversary of the legendary concert in the fields, but this tribute performance will be no less memorable, given the line-up. True, most of the bands are not exactly what they were in 1969, but there’s no denying the nostalgia that will be in the air when the familiar melodies begin to roll from Jefferson Starship, 10 Years After, Canned Heat and Big Brother and the Holding Company, with the inimitable Country Joe McDonald as the host. The Greek Theatre.

– Aug. 23. (Sun.) Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Band. Drummer Gibbs and his six piece band (playing 40 different instruments) bring rhythmic drive and improvisational enthusiasm to a performance of all the original music from their latest CD on RKM Records, “Moving On.” Spazio. (818) 728-8400.

San Francisco

– Aug. 20 – 22. (Thurs. – Sat.) Brass, Bows and Beats. A Hip Hop Symphony by Adam Theis and the Jazz Mafia Symphony. The first performance by Theis’ 40 piece ensemble at the Palace of Fine Arts was an s.r.o. event. And the work, with its extraordinary compatible assemblage of seemingly disparate musical genres, clearly deserves more performances. Here’s an opportunity to hear it live and up close. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.

– Aug. 21 – 23. (Fri. – Sun.) Chuck Mangione. The flugelhorn-playing Mangione has been defining melodic jazz for decades, and he shows no signs of slowing down. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200. .

New York

– Aug. 18 – 23. (Tues. – Sun.) Kevin Eubanks. Here’skevin_eubanks a chance to hear Eubanks’ fine guitar live and in person, playing full tunes rather than interstitial segments on a late night television talk show. He’s aided by Marvin “Smitty” Smith, drums, Rene Camacho, bass, Bill Pierce, saxophone, ad Gerry Etkins, keyboards. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592. .

– Aug. 19 – 22. (Wed. – Sat.) Richie Beirach Quintet. A veteran of gigs with Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Dave Liebman and others, pianist Beirach leads a stellar group of players: Tim Hagans, trumpet (8/19 only), Randy Brecker, trumpet (8/20-22), George Mraz, bass, Billy Hart, drums, Gregor Huebner, violin. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.

Aug. 20 – 23. (Thurs. – Sun.) Joanne Brackeen Quartet with special guest Eddie Gomez. The irresistibly swinging music of pianist Brackeen has been praised — justifiably — by everyone from Bill Evans to Tony Bennett. In addition to Gomez, her first rate band includes Ravi Coltrane, tenor saxophone, Adam Cruz (8/21 only) and E.J. Strickland, drums (8/20, 8/22 & 8/23). The Jazz Standard. (212) 576-2252.

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