Picks of the Week: Dec. 14 – 20

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Dec. 14. (Mon.) Larry Goldings and Anthony Wilson. The launch of Organ Night at Vitello’s and it’s hard to think of a pair of players who could do it better. Red Carpet Jazz Serries. Upstairs at Vitellos. (818) 769-0905.

Andy Williams

– Dec. 14 – 16. . (Mon. – Wed.) An Andy Williams Christmas It doesn’t exactly harken back to “Father Knows Best,” but it comes close. Still, sentimentality comes into its own during the holidays, and Williams has always done it well. The Cerritos Center. (562) 916-8501.

– Dece. 15. (Tues.) Pete Christlieb’s Small and Tall Band Christileb (Tall) and his wife, trombonist Linda (Small) are at it again with their swinging little band. Spazio. (818) 728-8400.

– Dec. 16. (Wed.) Inner Voices. Julie Delgado, soprano; Sheri Izzard, tenor; Michael Mishaw, baritone; Morgan Ames, alto/arranger and Shelby Flint, soprano bring their exquisite harmonies and extraordinary vocal skills to an irresistible collection of Christmas classics. Red Carpet Jazz Serries. Upstairs at Vitellos. (818) 769-0905.

– Dec. 17. (Thurs.) Dewey Erney and the Ron Eschete Trio. Veteran vocalist Ernie teams up with the superb backing of Eschete to survey some of the classics from the American Songbook. Crown Plaza Brasserie Lounge. (310) 642-7500.

– Dec, 17, (Thurs.) Denise Donatelli. The warm voice and atmospheric stylings of Donatelli place her in the top group of singers who should be heard at every opportunity. Red Carpet Jazz Serries. Upstairs at Vitellos. (818) 769-0905.

Mike Stern

– Dec.. 17 – 20. (Thurs. – Sun.) Mike Stern Quartet. w. Dave Weckl, Randy Brecker and Tom Kennedy. A quartet of players who skim easily from imaginative mainstream to hard grooving blues and funk. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

– Dec. 18. (Fri.) The Cunninghams. The veteran duo, with Don on vocals, vibes and percussion and Alicia on vocals keep alive the Jackie and Roy tradition of engaging, bop-tinged vocal stylings.. The Culver Club in the Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Westside. (310) 649-1776.

– Dec. 18 & 19. (Fri. & Sat.) Ozomatli. The classic L.A. band, blending jazz, salsa, funk, reggae and hip hop into a brew that could only have come from the Southland’s simmering cultural melting pot. Club Nokia.

Renee Olstead

– Dec. 19. (Sat.) “The Nutcracker Swings: A Cool Jazz Christmas.” A benefit concert for the Pasadena Jazz Institute featuring the Pasadena Jazz Orchestra, Red Whige & Bluezz All Stars, Sacred Nation Gospel Choir, the P.J. Junior Super Stars, with special appearances by Victor Vener, Sylvia St. James, James Torme and Renee Olstead. The Pasadena Convention Center. (213) 765-7000

– Dec. 19. (Sat.) Bobbi Page & Dream Street. With an instrumentation that includes cello, violin, bassoon, guitar, bass percussion and the lush vocal sounds of Bobbi Paige Dream Street produces an irresistibly romantic blend of acoustic sounds. Red Carpet Jazz Serries. Upstairs at Vitellos. (818) 769-0905.

– Dec. 19. (Sat.) Mike Melvoin Trio. Pianist Melvoin’s playing never fails to be intriguing, but it always seems to peak when he’s in the company of regular companions Tony Dumas on bass and Ralph Penland on drums. Don’t miss this opportunity. Spazio. (818) 728-8400.

– Dec. 20. (Sun.) John Campbell/Pat Senatore Duo. Pianist Campbell and bassist Senatore, a pair of versatile players, experienced with every imaginative style, come together to produce their own uniquely appealing sounds. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

San Francisco

Charlie Hunter

– Dec. 15 – `17 (Tues. – Thurs.) and 18 – 20. (Fri. – Sun.) Charlie Hunter. Guitarist Hunter leads his quintet in his “10th Anniversary Home For The Holidays” program. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Doug Wamble joins him at the San Franicsco dates. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600. Tues. – Thurs. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200. Fri. – Sun.)

– Dec. 16 – 17. (Wed. – Thurs.) Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra and the Pacific Boys Choir. Bassist Shelby backs the talented young singers of the Grammuy-winning PBC in an engaging program of holiday music. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200

New York

Roy Haynes

– Dec. 15 – 19. (Tues. – Sat.) Roy Haynes “Fountain of Youth” Band. Given his ever vital drumming, Haynes undoubtedly knows more about the Fountain of Youth than most people. Go hear him demonstrate it in person. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.

– Dec. 15 – 20. (Tues. – Sun.) The Cedar Walton Trio. For decades one of jazz’s A-list pianists, Walton is always a pleasure to hear when he’s on his own, working his way through his intriguing compositions. He appears with David Williams, bass and Willie Jones III, drums. Village Vanguard. (212) 255-4037.

Dec. 15 – 20. (Tues. – Sun.) The Music of Lucky Thompson. The sound of the star-crossed saxophonist – still one of the bop era’s under-appreciated icons – performed by Eric Reed, piano, Victor Goines, tenor saxophone, Reuben Rogers, bass, Rodney Green, drums. Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. (212) 258-9800.

Chris Botti

– Dec. 15 – Jan. 3. Chris Botti. Trumpeter Botti’s playing deservedly draws a crowd. But this time out he’s setting remarkable new attendance records, with a three week, seven-days-a-week residency, including Christmas and New Year’s Eve. If you can still find a ticket, grab it. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592

– Dec. 17 – 20. (Thurs. – Sun.) Steve Wilson Ensemble. Always opened to new conceptual ideas, altoist Wilson ‘s “The Zawinul Project” explores the far-reaching compositions of the late, great keyboardist. With Jeremy Pelt, trumpet, Danny Grissett, piano, Ugonna Okegwo, bass, Lewis Nash, drums. The Jazz Standard. (212) 447-7733.


– Dec. 19 & 20. (Sat. & Sun.) The Peterson Family . Three generations of the Peterson clan – whose members have performed with everyone from Prince and Bob Dylan to Dave Sanborn, Donny Osmond and Anita Baker (to name only a few). They celebrate their 22nd year of holiday performances as a family, led by the piano of eighty-something matriarch Jeanne Arland Peterson. The Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant. Minneapolis. (612) 332-5299.


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