By Don Heckman
– Oct. 20. (Tues.) Kelly Mittleman. A former journalist and correspondent for NPR and CBS, Mittleman is also a songwriter of striking originality and a singer with a sound and style all her own. She makes her West Coast debut in this one-nighter at Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210. .
– Oct. 21 – 23. (Wed. – Fri..) Andrea Wolper. Versatile singer/actress/writer Wolper brings her atmospheric interpretations to every song she sings – including her own. She rarely performs in the Southland, but this week Wolper appears in several locations. None, unfortunately, are in L.A. But she can be heard at Dizzy’s Jazz in San Diego (Wed.); Jazz at the Merc in Temecula (Thurs.); Time in a Bottle Wine Merchants in Redlands (Fri.).
– Oct. 22. (Thurs.) Bela Fleck, Zakir Hussain, Edgar Meyer. Three players from utterly different musical backgrounds make a seemingly unlikely combination, with Fleck’s banjo, Hussain’s Indian percussion and Meyer’s bass coming together to affirm music’s utter universality. UCLA live at Royce Hall. (310) 825-4401
– Oct. 22. (Thurs.) Joe La Barbera Quartet. Versatile drummer La Barbera steps out front to lead his own band. And what a band it is: Bob Sheppard, reeds, Clay Jenkins, trumpet, Bill Cunliffe, piano, Tom Warrington, bass. Vitellos Restaurant. (818) 769-0905.
– Oct. 22. (Thurs.) Denise Donatelli. A honey and whiskey sound, a rhythmic lift and a boundless musical imagination – that’s Donatelli. Crown Plaza Brasserie Jazz Lounge. (310) 642-7500.
– Oct. 23. (Fri.) Omara Portuando. In her first U.S. tour since 2004, Portuando – a veteran Cuban artist who first came to the attention of American audiences with the Buena Vista Social Club – is, at 78, still singing the history of Cuban music. UCLA live at Royce Hall. (310) 825-4401
– Oct. 23. (Fri.) Phil Ranelin & Tribe Renaissance. Trombonist Ranelin has discovered a wealth of interesting timbres, harmonies and sheer energy in his trombone, woodwinds and rhythm Tribe Renaissance. The Culver Club in the Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Westside. (310) 649-1776.
– Oct. 23 – 25. (Fri. – Sun.) Lee Ritenour. “Captain Fingers” – so called for both his technical skill and his musical virtuosity – continues to find new jazz adventures. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.
– Oct. 24. (Sat.) Gal Costa. She’s been a star of Brazilian music since the days of Tropicalismo. Costa’s skills as a singer are beyond time and style, a uniquely authentic expression of the heart and soul of Brazil. UCLA live at Royce Hall. (310) 825-4401
– Oct. 24. (Sat.) Lavay Smith and Her Hot Skillet Lickers. Don’t let the name fool you. Smith sings blues and Swing Era tunes with impressive authenticity, and the Skillet Lickers back her with Basie style rhythms. CSUN Performing Arts Center (818) 677-1200.
– Oct. 24. (Sat.) Larry Goldings. Goldings brings a world of experience and an ever curious musical imagination to his unique approach to both piano and organ. He’ll be backed by Bob Sheppard, tenor sax, Gabe Noelk bass, Charles Ruggerio ,drums. Spazio. (818) 728-8400.
– Oct. 23 – 25. (Fri. – Sun.) Billy Cobham and Friends. Drummer Cobham performs in the company of a solidly contemporary, all-star band: Patrice Rushen, piano, Donald Harrison, alto sax, Lew Soloff, trumpet, Essiet Okon Essiet, bass. Yoshi’s Oakland. . (510) 238-9200. .
– Oct. 22 – 25. (Thurs. – Sun.) David Sanborn. Sanborn has been too rarely credited for the fact that he is the most stylistically influential alto saxophonist of the past two or three decades. Aspects of his sound and phrasing can be heard in the work of most altoists under the age of 40. Here’s a chance to hear the original, in his debut performance at Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.
– Oct. 20 – 24. (Tues. – Sat.) Phil Woods Quintet. Still one of the great bebop players, Woods’ alto saxophone is teamed up with Brian Lynch, trumpet, Bill Mays, piano, Steve Gilmore, bass and Bill Goodwin, drums. Birdland. (212) 581-3080
– Oct. 20 – 25.(Tues. – Sun.) Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars. It’s a bit of a stretch to call all this line-up “Gillespie Alumni,” but there’s no denying their love for, and understanding of, Dizzy’s musical canon. The All-Stars include James Moody, tenor sax, Roy Hargrove, trumpet, Roberta Gambarini, vocals, Steve Davis, alto sax, Cyrus Chestnut, piano, John Lee, bass, Lewis Nash, drums. Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.
Oct. 21 – 25. (Wed. – Sun) Joshua Redman Trio. Redman displays his extraordinary skills in the most difficult of horn soloist settings, performing with Matt Penman, bass and Greg Hutchinson, drums. Jazz Standard. (212) 447-7733.