Picks of the Week: Sept. 16 – 20

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Sept. 16. (Wed.) Dominick Farinacci. The twenty-something Farinacci has been making waves lately as an emerging new trumpet star. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

peter_erskine_8– Sept. 16. (Wed.) Peter Erskine, Alan Pasqua and Darek Oles. Listen to this gifted trio of jazz masters in one of their too-rare performances, and you’ll wish that their busy schedules would allow them to play more frequent gigs. Upstairs at Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

– Sept. 16 – 20 (Wed. – Sun.) Viva Mexico Festival L.A. A celebration of the 199th anniversary of Mexican independence via theatre and popular and classical music events, many of them free to the public. Among the musical artists performing at the California Plaza and Hancock Park: Omar Torrez, Oscar Chavez y Los Morales, Kinky, Viola Trigo, Conjunto Hueyapan and Banda Santa RosaViva Mexico Festival L.A. (213) 368-2728.

– Sept. 17. (Thurs.) Soulive. The jazz/funk/pop/reggae group’s many manifestations now seem to have morphed once again back to an instrumental context. But whatever form they take, they’re always interesting to hear. The El Rey. (323) 936-6400.

– Sept. 18. (Fri.) Kool and the Gang. More than forty years on the scene, the band — performing with two original members, continue to display their winning combination of fun, pop, r&b and soul. The Cerritos Center.  (562) 916-8501.

– Sept. 18. (Fri.) Carol Bach-y-Rita with Sambalicious. A singer with the moves of a dancer and an engaging vocal style, Bach-y-Rita performs with the right group to explore her love of Brazilian music. The Culver Club for Jazz.  (310) 649-1776.

– Sept. 18 & 19. (Fri. & Sat.) The Gipsy Kings. Call it rumba Catalonia, call it rumba flamenca, whatever the label, the surging, rhythm driven guitar sounds and stirring vocals of the Kings continue to be among the great pleasures of world music. The Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-3125.MedeawithAnnetteBening-prv

– Sept. 18 – Oct. 18. Medea (w. Annette Bening). Bening has always been something more than just another pretty film star, and she affirms her dramatic skills in the Euripides classic — UCLA Live’s first theatrical production, directed by Lenka Udovicki. The Freud Playhouse, UCLA. (310) 825-4491

– Sept. 20. (Sun.) “India Calling.” With Malkit Singh, Anoushka Shankar, the Ravi Shankar Centre Ensemble, Kailish Kher’s Kallasa, Rhythm of Rajasthan. An evening jam-packed with an overview of the stunning length and breadth of Indian music and dance. The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 436-2827.

– Sept. 20. (Sun.) Julie Kelly Quartet. Kelly’s love of jazz, combined with her ability to bring new life to old songs, is present in everything she sings. Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058.

San Francisco

– Sept. 16 – 18 (Wed. – Fri.) Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Lenny White. Two thirds of Return to Forever return to action. Corea, Clarke and White, however, are a different entity from RTF, producing compelling, more mainstream-oriented, displays of world lizz_wrightclass contemporary jazz. Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200

– Sept. 19 & 20. (Sat. & Sun.) Lizz Wright. The ever-fascinating Wright, with her warm sound and intimate singing style, will no doubt showcase some material from her most personal album yet, “The Orchard.” Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.


– Sept. 18 – 20. (Fri. – Sun.) The Monterey Jazz Festival. Not just the longest-running jazz festival, MJF is arguably — year in and year out — one of the best jazz festivals in the world, bearing the label “Jazz” proudly via its choice of programming. Among this year’s highlights in a remarkably rich line-up — Randy Brecker, Joe Lovano, Conrad Herwig, Esperanza Spalding, theMJF All-Stars, John Scofield, Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, Hank Jones, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Dave Brubeck, Jason Moran, Chick Corea, Lennie White, Stanley Clarke, Brian Blade, John Patitucci and much, much more. The Monterey Jazz Festival.  (831) 373-3366.

New YorkRavi Coltrane

Sept. 15 – 20 (Tues. – Sun.) Ravi Coltrane Quartet. He may be the son of one of jazz’s most iconic saxophonists, but Ravi Coltrane has been emerging lately as a vital innovative artist in his own right. The Village Vanguard.  (212) 255-4037.

Sept. 16 – 20 (Wed – Sun.) Marlena Shaw with Sherrie Maricle and the Diva Jazz Orchestra. The veteran jazz vocalist gets together with Maricle’s stirring, all-female big band as part of the Fifth Annual Diet Coke Women Inn Jazz Festival. Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.  (212) 258-9595.

Sept. 17 – 20 (Thurs. – Sun.) Richard Bona Group. Cameroonian bassist/singer Bona — whose work with Joe Zawinul, Joni Mitchell and others has established new musical standards of versatility — leads a seven piece band. Hopefully, he’ll introduce a tune or two from his new CD, “The Ten Shades of Blues,” scheduled for release in mid-October. The Jazz Standard. (212) 576-2232.


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