Picks of the Week: August 25 – 30

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Aug. 25. (Tues.) Placido Domingo and yo_yo_ma1Yo-Yo Ma and the L.A. Philharmonic. What a combination. Domingo conducts Tchaikovsky’s dramatic Symphony No. 5 and Ma plays Dvorak’s controversial, but compelling, Cello Concerto. Hollywood Bowl (323) 850- 2000.

– Aug. 25. (Tues.) Dana Bronson. Singer/pianst Bronson usually performs in cabaret and hotel venues. Here’s a chance for him to open up his repertoire in the Southland’s premiere jazz setting. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210

– Aug. 25. (Tues.) John Pisano’s Guitar Night continues to be one of the Southland’s most dependable jazz destinations. This week Pisano hosts guitarist John Chiodini, bassist John Hughart and drummer Enzo Tedesco, Spazio.

– Aug.. 25. (Tues.) The Sam Most Trio with organist Joe Bagg and drummer Mark Ferber. The veteran Most was one of the first jazz flutists, but he’s also an impressive exponent of the cool tenor saxophone style. Bar Melody. (310) 670-1994.

Gambarini and Moody– Aug. 26. (Wed.) Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band. Here it is — one of the Bowl’s major jazz highlights of the summer. In addition to the sizzling Gillespie band, the evening also includes the irrepressible James Moody, the irresistible Roberta Gambarini, the Roy Hargrove Big Band and Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band. The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000

– Aug. 27. (Thurs) An Evening with Terence Blanchard. The trumpeter/composer discusses his new CD, “Choices,” his film composing and his educational work with Robert Santelli, the Grammy Museum’s Executive Director, before playing selections from “Choices” with his full band. The Grammy Museum. (213) 765-6800.

– Aug. 27. (Thurs.) Theo Saunders Sextet. Pianist Saunders has assembled a sterling ensemble to perform selections emphasizing his belief that a musician should “Play what you hear, not what you think you hear.” The group includes Zane Musa, alto and soprano saxophones, Chuck Manning, tenor and soprano saxophones, David Dahlsten, trombone, Jeff Littleton, bass and Tony Austin, drums. Vibrato. (310) 474-9400.

– Aug. 27. (Thurs.) Dewey Ernie-Ron Eschete 4-Tet. Ernie, a songwriter’s singer, has been placing all of his considerable story-telling skills at the service of American songs for decades. He’s in particularly supportive circumstances whenever he works with his long time associate, the versatile guitarist, Eschete. Steamers. (714) 871-8800

– Aug. 27 – 29. (Thurs. – Sat.) Pharoah Sanders Quartet. Sanders keeps the adventurousness of the 60s alive in a tenor saxophone style that nonetheless always expresses itself in utterly contemporary fashion. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

– August 28 – 29. (Fri. & Sat.) Liza Minnelli. The diva of divas makes her return to the Bowl after a recent induction into the venue’s Hall of Fame and the conclusion, in January, of her hit Broadway show. Expect the kind of entertainment fireworks that only Minnelli can trigger. The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000

SaraG_promo_2 Aug. 28 & 29. (Fri. & Sat.) Sara Gazarek. The ever-adventurous Gazarek displays her boundary-less vocal skills in a pair of performances with the German group triosence and guitarist Vitally Zolotov. On Friday at Cafe Metropole. (213) 613-1537. On Sat. at Irvine Barclay Theatre. (949) 854-4646-

– Aug. 28 & 29. (Fri. & Sat.) The Jazz All-Stars: Patrice Rushen, piano, John B. Williams, bass, Ralph Penland, drums. The label might seem a little presumptuous, but not when it’s applied to players like Rushen, WIlliams and Penland. On Saturday night’s special guest, Billy Valentine joins the Stars on vocals. Spazio. (818) 728-8400

– Aug. 29. (Sat.) Ernie Andrews and Dori Caymmi. The Grammy Museum Jazz Bakery show. It’s accurately described as “Blues to Bossa” and no one can illuminate those categories better than Andrews and Caymmi. The performance is also another reminder that the Jazz Bakery is still alive and well, looking forward to opening in a brand new venue. The Grammy Museum. (213) 765-6800.

San Diego

– Aug. 28 & 29. (Fri. & Sat.) Strunz andStrunzFarah Farah. They’ve been around since world music was more a generalization than a category, and the two-guitar duo continue to combine their Costa Rican (Strunz) and Iranian (Farah) roots into a mesmerizing two-guitar musical blend. Anthology. (619) 595-0300.

San Francisco

August 28 – 30. Outside Lands Music & Art Festival. There’s a ton of musical action for every taste in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park this weekend. Among the highlights: on Friday — Pearl Jam, Thievery Corporation, Tom Jones, Zap Mama; on Saturday — the Dave Matthews Band, Black Eyed Peas, The Mars Volta, Jason Mraz, Os Mutantes, Trombone Shorty; on Sunday — Tenacious D, M.I.M., Ween, Modest Mouse, Lucinda Williams, Robert Randolph. And many, many more. San Francisco Golden Gate Park Outside Lands Music & Art Festival.

New York

– Aug. 25. (Tues.) Sachal Vasandani, Billboard praised the young singer’s first CD as “a superb debut of distinctive originals and intelligent makeovers that teem with a fresh vitality.” His second Mack Avenue CD is due out in September. The Jazz Standard. (212) 576-2252

hankjones– Aug. 25 – 29. (Tues. – Sat.) Hank Jones Trio + Special Guests. The ninety-something Jones, still playing like a veteran youngster, demonstrates that he can trade riffs with anyone. He’ll be performing with Armand Hirsch (guitar 8/25-29), Terrell Stafford (trumpet, 8/25) Eric Alexander (tenor saxophone, 8/26) Joe Wilder (trumpet (8/27), Ravi Coltrane (tenor saxophone (8/28), Frank Wess (tenor saxophone/flute (8/29), George Mraz, bass. Willie Jones III or Quincy Davis, drums. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.

– Aug. 25 – 30. (Tues. – Sun.) Paul Motian, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell. It doesn’t get much more stellar than this combination, and it will be fascinating to hear how these three creative individualists find improvisational common ground. (Their booking — for two weeks — also includes Sept. 1 – Sept. 6.) The Village Vanguard. (212) 255-4037.

– Aug. 26. (Wed.) Julia Dollison and Kerry Marsh: “The Music of Maria Schneider.” When Dollison and Marsh told Schneider they were planning to do vocal versions of her big band music, she thought they were crazy. But they persuaded her otherwise, and here’s an opportunity to hear their remarkable vocal transformations live. Jazz Standard. (212) 576-2252

– Aug. 28 (Fri.) Kendra Shank. With a kendra-shanktalent that can find the beating heart of any song — whether it comes from the pop or jazz worlds or elsewhere — Shank is a singer who reveals something special in every performance. 55 Bar. (212) 929-9883.

Washington, D.C.

– Aug. 27 – 29. (Thurs. – Sat.) John Surman Quartet. With Jack DeJohnette, drums, Drew Gess, bass, John Abercrombie, guitar. Surman’s duo performances with DeJohnette have been extraordinary experiences. The addition of Gess and Abercrombie should make the encounters even more fascinating. Blues Alley. (202) 337-4141.

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