Picks of the Week: September 1 – 6

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Sept. 1. (Tues.) Herb Alpert and Lani Hall. Trumpeter Alpert and vocalist Hall discuss their remarkable careers (individually and as a couple) and offer a few of the new slants on standards that make up the program in their impressive new live CD, “Anything Goes.” Grammy Museum.

Tessa souter new– Sept. 1 & 2. (Tues. & Wed.) Tessa Souter. She’s not out on the West Coast very often, so fans of world class jazz vocalizing shouldn’t miss this opportunity to hear Souter’s unique ability to find new musical pleasures in familiar songs. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

– Sept. 2. (Wed.) Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke & Lenny White. Chaka Khan, Jean Luc Ponty, Bill Connors. John Scofield and the Piety Street Band. Corea leads a trio that represents 3/4 of Return To Forever, but with a very different musical perspective. Khan, Ponty, Connors and Scofield add more diversity to one of the summer jazz series most intriguing events. The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

– Sept. 3. (Thurs.) An Evening with Patti Smith. The Twilight Dance Series at the Santa Monica Pier closes the 2009 season with an appearance by the pioneer poet of punk. Twilight Dance Series.  (310) 458-8901.


– Sept. 3 – 6. (Thurs. – Sun.) The 15th Annual West Coast Jazz Party. It’s always one of the don’t-miss musical events of the year, and this year is no exception. From the various indoor and outdoor venues at the Irvine Marriott to the delightful Sunday jazz cruise on the Hornblower Yacht Entertainer, it’s a great TWerry Gibbsway to spend a holiday weekend. Featured performers include Ken Peplowski, the Four Freshmen and Five Trombones, Terry Gibbs, Ernie Andrews, Houston Person, Gary Foster, Peter Erskine, Larry Koonse, Tom Rainier, Byron Stripling, Paul Smith, Marilyn Maye, the Frank Capp Juggernaut Orchestra, and such special events as a Guitar Summitt (w. Mundell Lowe, Mimi Fox and Ron Eschete) and a Tribute to Rosemary Clooney with Debby Boone, Irvine Marriott Hotel and the Hornblower Yacht Entertainer. West Coast Jazz party. (949) 759-5003.

– Sept. 4 – 7. (Fri. – Mon.) The Sweet & Hot Music Festival. And here’s another Banu Gibsondon’t-miss holiday weekend jazz party. The title is right on target — tons of New Orleans, Swing, Mainstream and Straight Ahead jazz presented via virtually non-stop music in eight different venues. The performers include Yves Evans, Jack Sheldon, Gonzalo Bergara, Jennifer Leitham, Herb Jeffries, Banu Gibson, Night Blooming Jazzmen and Janet Klein (with many others), as well as as “Tribute to the King Sisters” (w. Marilyn King), “Prez Conference”, and “Tribute to Johnny Mandel,” plus nightly Midnight Jazz sets.   Too bad the West Coast Jazz Party and the Sweet & Hot Music Festival can’t scedule their equally fascinating productions on consecutive weekends.  The L.A.X. Marriott Hotel. Sweet & Hot Music Festival.   (909) 983-0106.Gina Saputo

– Sept. 4. (Fri.) Gina Saputo. In a crowded field of young female jazz singers, Saputo’s soaring vocals and rhythmic lift suggest that she’s ready to step up from the pack. Steamers.  (714) 871-8800.

– Sept. 4. (Fri.) Denise Donatelli. A warm, seductive sound, the instincts of a true story teller, and the kind of swinging phrasing that stamps her as a true jazz artist — Donatelli’s the real deal. And no better place to hear her than in the laid back vibe of the Southland’s ultimate jazz bar and restaurant. Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058

– Sept. 4 – 6. (Fri. – Sun.) Mort Sahl and Dick Gregory. One of the most unusual bookings of this or any other season. But a jazz club’s the right place for them — Sahl and Gregory work with the sort of improvisatory spontaneity and rhythmic propulsion that are essential to the finest jazz. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.


– Sept. 6 – 7. (Sun. & Mon.) Angel City Jazz Festival. The second installment of this Billy Childsadventurous Festival now takes place in the airy outdoor setting of the Ford Amphitheatre. And the line-up is an impressive collection of some of the contemporary jazz world’s most cutting edge artists and ensembles. The line up includes Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy, Bennie Maupin and Dolphyana, Billy Childs Jazz Chamber Ensemble, Alex Cline’s Band of the Moment, Larry Goldings Trio, Wayne Horvitz’s Gravitas Quartet. Larry Karush, Dwight Trible, Satoko Fuji and more. Ford Amphitheatre. Angel City Jazz Festival. (323) 461-3673.

San Diego

– Sept. 3. (Thurs.) Alponse Mouzon. Drummer Mouzon leads his Jazz Project (with Eric Marienthal, Byron Miller, Dean Brown and John Beasley) in a benefit concert for Doctors Without Borders. Anthology Club & Restaurant. (618) 595-0300.

San Francisco

– Sept. 3 & 4.. (Thurs. & Fri.) The Blind Boys of Alabama. The multiple Grammy winn ers continue to be one a gospel act that never fails to bring soulful enlightenment to everything they sing. Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.


– Sept. 3. (Thurs.) Chicago Jazz Ensemble. Jon Faddis leads this always-compelling repertory ensemble in a tribute celebrating the Benny Goodman Centennial. Guest artist is Buddy DeFranco. the clarinetist who took the instrument from Goodman’s swing into the realm of bebop. Pritzker Pavilion, Millenium Park, Chicago.


– Sept. 4 – 7. (Fri. – Mon.) Detroit International Jazz Festival. Detroit’s often minimized reputation as a long-time center for world class jazz is affirmed in the superlative line-up for this year’s festival. One of the featured elements is the inclusion of jazz families: Hank Jones, remembering Thad and Elvin; the Clayton brothers; Dave Brubeck and Brubeck brothers;sheila-jordan John and Bucky Pizzarelli; Larry and Julian Coryell; the Heath brothers; Pete and Juan Escovedo; Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express; and T.S. Monk with “Monk on Monk.” But there’s much more — Wayne Shorter, Sheila Jordan, Chick Corea, Stefon Harris, Christian McBride, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gretchen Parlato, Bennie Maupin, Alfredo Rodriguez, Charles McPherson, the Gerald Wilson Orchestra, Geri Allen, Janis Siegel and others. The Detroit Jazz Festival.

New York

– Sept. 1 – 5. (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. Birdland.  (212) 581-3080

– Sept. 1 – 6. (Tues. – Sun.) Kenny Werner Quintet. Here’s an all-star ensemble if there ever was one: Randy Brecker, David Sanchez, Scott Colley and Antonio Sanchez, no doubt proving Werner’s principles about the value of spontaneity. The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592

– Sept. 4 – 6. (Fri. – Sun.) Dr. Lonnie Smith. It’s always a blues and jazz organ bonanza when Dr. Lonnie plays. But it’ll be even better this time, with the backing he’ll get from guitarist Dave Stryker and drummer Bill Stewart. The Jazz Standard.  (212) 576-2232

– Sept. 5. (Sat.) Roberta Piket. “Improvised Chamber Music” is what pianist Piket calls her music, careful to avoid any genre limitations. She performs with veteran avant-gardist Perry Robinson on clarinet, Lisle Ellis, bass and Peter Nilson, drums. Ibeam. Brooklyn.


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