Picks of the Week: Feb. 8 – 14

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Jennifer York Quartet

– Feb. 9. (Tues.)  The Jennifer York Quartet.  Bassist and TV personality York leads a band that crosses smoothly from contemporary to mainstream jazz.  The evening will be further enlivened by the always impressive singing of special guest Chris BennettCatalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

– Feb. 9.  (Tues.)  John Pisano Guitar NightBarry Zweig, who has played with everyone from Peggy Lee and Don Ellis to Buddy Rich and Natalie Cole,  partners with Pisano in this laid-back, entertaining format.  Vitello’s (818) 769-0905.

– Feb. 10. (Wed.)  Masters of Persian Music Kamancheh (spike fiddle) player  Kayhan Kalhor and Hossein Alizadeh, a master of the lute-like tar and setar are joined by classical vocalist Hamid Reza Nourbakhsh in a program of Persian traditional and classical music.   Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.   Also Friday, Feb. 12  at the Irvine Barclay Theatre (see below).

Emil Richards

– Feb. 11. (Thurs.)  Emil Richards/Joe Porcaro Quartet.  Vibist/percussionist Richards has played on the soundtracks of nearly 2000 films and TV shows creating such memorable sounds as the the finger snaps on the Addams Family show, the bongos on the original Mission Impossible show and the xylophone on The Simpons.  Here he partners with Porcaro, a veteran of gigs with Gerry Mulligan, Frank Sinatra, Madonna and more.  Backing them, the similarly experienced pianist Mike Lang and bassist Abraham LaborielCharlie O’shttp://www.charlieos.com (919) 994-3058..

– Feb. 11. (Thurs.)  The Paul Kreibich Quartet with guest vocalist Tony GallaA Pre-Valentine’s Day Party.   Drummer Kreibich has been a rhythm section mainstay with Ray Charles, Carmen McRae, Mose Allison and more.  Galla’s lyrical singing harkens back to the days of the great Italian balladeers — a perfect voice for the romance of Valentine’s Day.   The Kreibich Quartet also includes saxophonist Roger Neumann, pianist Marty Harris and bassist Kirk Smith.  The Brasserie Jazz Lounge in the  Crowne Plaza LAX Hotel.  (310) 642-7500.

Ken Peplowski

– Feb. 11 – 14. ( Thurs. – Sun.)  “For the Love of Jazz” Newport Beach Jazz Party. The Southland’s first major jazz event of the year.  Highlights include the Sinatraland Orchestra, Ken Peplowski’s Big Band and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.  Saturday night Valentine’s Dance, Sunday Valentine’s Day Brunch with Bill Henderson and Byron Stripling. The Heath Brothers Quartet. The long list of participants includes Dave Frishberg, Ken Peplowski, Jackie Ryan, Houston Person, Lewis Nash, Rickey Woodard, Holly Hofmann, Bill Cunliffe, Ron Eschete, Tamir Hendelman and dozens of others.  Newport Beach Jazz Party.  (949) 759-5003.

– Feb. 11 – 14 (Thurs. – Sun.) & Feb 18 – 21 (Thurs. – Sun.)  Steve Tyrell.  Catalina’s has become a virtual second home for the American Songbook stylings of the mellow-voiced Tyrell. Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

– Feb. 12. (Fri.)  Dave Pell & Med Flory Quintet.  Veteran saxophonists Pell and Flory revive the compelling sounds of an alto and tenor front line.  The Back Room at Henri’s.  (310) 348-5582.

– Feb. 12.  (Fri.)  Masters of Persian Music Kamancheh (spike fiddle) player  Kayhan Kalhor and Hossein Alizadeh, a master of the lute-like tar and setar are joined by classical vocalist Hamid Reza Nourbakhsh in a program of Persian traditional and classical music.  Irvine Barclay Theatre.  (949) 854-4646.

Denise Donatelli

– Feb. 12. (Fri.)  Denise Donatelli. Always a pleasure to hear, Donatelli is at her best when she’s in a superlative musical setting.  As she is here, with pianist Otmaro Ruiz, bassist Hamilton Price and drummer Aaron Serfaty. Spazio.   (818) 728-8400.

– Feb. 12 – 13.  (Fri & Sat.) Adam Rudolph and the Go: Organic Orchestra. Adventurous percussionist/composer Rudolph presents an evening of cutting edge music, performed by a remarkable, 26-piece enssemble of winds, percussion and strings.  Electric Lodge, Venice.   (310) 306-1854.

– Feb. 12 – 13. (Fri. & Sat.).  La Traviata.  Teatro Lirico D’Europa perform Verdi’s tragic opera of frustrated love and selfless sacrifice.  In Italian with English supertitles.  Cerritos Center.  (582) 916-8501.

– Feb. 12 – 13. (Fri. & Sat.)  Alex Acuna. The versatile drummer/percussionist celebrates the release of his “Jungle City” CD leading a Weather Report-styled trio (with keyboardist Jan Gunnar Hoff and bassist Per Mathisen).  Vitello’s (818) 769-0905.

– Feb. 13. (Sat.)  Tessa Souter.  English jazz vocalist — by way of New York City — brings her engaging interpretation of standards and jazz classics to a Jazz Bakery Moveable Feast. She’s backed by Jason Ennis, guitar, Hamilton Price, bass, Kevin Kanner, drums.  To read an iRoM review of Souter’s last L.A. appearance, click here. Ivy Substation, Venice.  Jazz Bakery.   (310) 271-9039.

Katja Rieckermann

– Feb. 13. (Sat.)  Katja Rieckermann Quartet.  The German tenor saxophonist has been touring and recording with Rod Stewart for the past several years. Her resume also includes gigs with, among others, Al Green, Carole King, Reba McEntire, Tom Scott and Randy Newman. Vibrato Grill Jazz… etc.   (310) 474-9400.

– Feb. 14. (Sun.)  Gershwin Sings GershwinAlexis Gershwin and the Harry James Tribute Band.  A chance to hear Gershwin songs performed by a singer in the direct lineage.  Alexis is the niece of George and Ira Gershwin.   Cerritos Center.   (582) 916-8501.

San Francisco

– Feb. 9. (Tues.) Maria Volonte.  The sweet-voiced singer/guitarist from Argentina begins with classic tango, expanding it into musical visions of her own.  The Rrazz Room.   (415) 394-1189.

– Feb. 12 – 14. (Fri. – Sun.)  Mavis Staples.  No one finds the heart of gospel in rhythm and blues as impressively as the still mesmerizing veteran of the Staples Singers.   Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

New York

Gerald Clayton

– Feb. 9 – 14. (Wed. – Sun.) The Gerald Clayton Trio.  Pianist Clayton, now in his mid-twenties, has been one of the most electrifying young jazz talents since he was still a teen-ager.  And he keeps gettng better.  He performs with Joe Sanders, bass and Justin Brown, drums.  Village Vanguard.  (212) 255-4037.

– Feb. 9 – 14. (Wed. – Sun.)  The David Sanborn Quartet featuring Joey DeFancesco. Call this pairing the perfect combination for finding the heart of the blues in contemporary jazz.   The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

– Feb. 10. (Thurs.)  Steve Kuhn and Ravi Coltrane Duo.  Veteran pianist Kuhn once created magic with John Coltrane.  Now he’s recalling the formula with the elder Coltrane’s gifted saxophone-playing son.   Jazz Standard.   (212) 576-2232.

Hilary Kole

– Feb. 10 – 14. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Hilary Kole.  Kole’s singing reaches well beyond the usual vocal interpretations of standard songs.  In her gifted hands, they are transformed into compelling new musical short stories.  To read an iRoM review of Kole’s recent L.A. appearance click here.   Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

– Feb. 11 – 14. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Rene Marie.  Marie has been an utterly unique jazz vocalist, insisting upon doing a song her own way, since she first arrived on the scene a decade ago.   Jazz Standard. (212) 576-2232.


Feb. 11 – 14 (Thurs. – Sun.)  Mindi Abair.  Contemporary jazz saxophonist Abair has a track record reaching from the Backstreet Boys and Josh Groban to Lee Ritenour and Keb’ Mo’, producing a series of Top 10 hits on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz charts.  As if that wasn’t enough, she also plays the flute, sings and writes songs.  Jazz Alley.   (206) 441-9729.

Washington, D.C.

– Feb. 11 – 14. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Jerry “The Ice Man” Butler.  Butler, the original lead singer in the Impressions, now divides his time between his still-potent, still-cool singing, and his  political activities  as a Cook County [Illinois] Board Commissioner    Blues Alley.   (202) 337-4141.


– Feb. 11 – 16.  (Thurs. – Tues.)  Sauti Za Busara Zanzibar.   An international festival celebrating East African music.  The long list of artists includes performers from South Africa, Senegal, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Egypt, Suriname, Uganda, Zanzibar and beyond.  Admission is free to all East African residents before 5 p.m. Tel: 255 24 223 2423.  Sauti Za Busara Zanzibar.


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