Picks of the Week: May 24 – 30

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– May 24. (Mon.) Sopranos and StringsBrad Dechter and Roger Neumann, soprano saxophones, Graham Dechter and Jim Fox, guitars and Chuck Nenneker, bass. The instrumentation makes for an evening of intriguing sounds, enhanced by the father and son presence of Brad and Graham Dechter.  Charlie O’s.    (919) 994-3058.

Ann and Nancy Wilson

– May 24. (Mon.)  An Evening With HeartAnn and Nancy Wilson. The talented duo are back on the scene, talking about their career and performing songs from the upcoming CD, Red Velvet Car, their first studio recording in six years.   Grammy Museum. 1.800.745.3000.

– May 24. (Mon.) Slide FX Trombone Tentet. Here’s another of the week’s intriguing jazz instrumentations – six trombones (four tenor and two bass) and rhythm.  Call it Kai  and J.J. multiplied by five.  Steamers.  (714) 871-8800.

– May 25. (Tues.)  Seth McFarlane and The Ron Jones Influence Jazz Orchestra.  Not only has Seth McFarlane created the hit TV show Family Guy. He also has a special interest in singing the songs of the Frank Sinatra/Nat “King” Cole era – which he’ll do with the Influence Jazz Orchestra (on the 2nd set only).  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

– May 26. (Wed.)  Bob Mintzer and Bob Sheppard Quintet.  ————> Two of the Southland’s most versatile saxophonists go head to head.  Expect improvisational fireworks.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

– May 26. (Wed.)  Carol Robbins, Larry Koonse and Pat Senatore.  It’s an all-strings jazz set.  And an unusual combination of strings, at that, with Robbins’ harp, Koonse’s guitar and Senatore’s bass – three of the Southland’s versatile, veteran jazz artists.   Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

– May 26 – 30. (Wed. – Sun.)  The Lion King.  Disney’s award winning musical, based on the 1994 animated film, has had an extraordinary theatrical life – the 8th longest running show in Broadway History.  But no need to take a red-eye to Manhattan to savor the music by Elton John and Tim Rice, not when this fine production runs for nearly a week at OCPAC’s Segerstrom Hall.   (714) 556-2787.

Denise Donatelli

– May 27. (Thurs.)  Denise Donatelli. A night with jazz singer Donatelli’s vocals in the cozy atmosphere of Charlie O’s is always something to savor.  But this event should be even better, with Donatelli celebrating her birthday.  Hopefully the audience will send her a “Happy Birthday” singalong.  Charlie O’s.    (919) 994-3058.

– May 27 – 30. (Thurs. – Sun.)  David Sanborn Trio, featuring Joey DeFrancesco.  The blues fly in all directions when these two masters get together on the stage – De Francesco’s groove-heavy Hammond B-3 propelling Sanborn’s alto into stratospheric excursions.  Don’t miss these guys.  Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

– May 29. (Sat.)  Tower of Power. Average White Band. War.  Three of the hottest horn-driven rock, blues and crossover bands of the ‘70s match their greatest hits on the same stage.  Expect dancing in the aisles. The Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-5857.

Eric Reed

– May 29. (Sat.) Eric Reed Trio.  Pianist Reed was already working with Wynton Marsalis while he was still in his teens, back in the late ‘80s.  And he’s been on an upslope ever since, working with Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Clark Terry and many others, as well as leading his own stellar groups.  Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

– May 29. (Sat.)  Regina Carter “Reverse Thread.” The always adventurous Carter surrounds her soaring violin with the intriguing combination of Yacouba Sissoko’s kora, Will Holshouser’s accordion, Chris Lightcap’s bass and Alvester Garnette’s drums and percussion.  The Grammy Museum Sound Stage.  A Jazz Bakery Moveable Feast. (310) 271-9039.

– May 29 & 30. (Sat. & Sun.) Cajun Creole Music Festival. There’ll be blues of every imaginable sound and hue at this entertaining, two-day outdoor festival.  Among the highlight artists: The Soul of John Black, Elvin Bishop, the Mannish Boys, the Delta Groove All-Star Blues Review, a long line of Cajun Creole artists and much more. Cajun Creole Music Festival.  Rancho Santa Susana Community Park.  Simi Valley.    (805) 517-900.

– May 30. (Sun.)  The John Daversa Big Band. Trumpeter Daversa squeezes his adventurous big band into the up close and personal performance space of the Baked Potato.   (818) 980-1615.

San Diego

– May 29 & 30.  (Sat. & Sun.)  Jane Monheit. Blessed with one of the jazz world’s most warm and engaging voices, Monheit is also an imaginative singer with a lyrical knack for telling a musical story.  Anthology.  San Diego.   (619) 595-0300.

San Francisco

Wesla Whitfield and Mike Greensil

– May 25 – 29. (Tues. – Sat.)  Wesla Whitfield and the Mike Greensill Trio. Cabaret/jazz singer Whitfield and her husband, pianist Greensill, are among the definitive musical actsin the Bay area’s plethora of fine vocal talent.  Rrazz Room.  (415) 781-0306

– May 28 – 30. (Fri. – Sun.)  Benny Green Trio.  Pianist Green has worked with Betty Carter and Art Blakey, Freddie Hubbard and Milt Jackson, and been a protégé of Oscar Peterson.  He’s emerged from that experience as a major jazz pianist, especially listenable when he’s working with the likes of bassist Peter Washington and drummer Kenny WashingtonYoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

– May 29 & 30. (Sat. & Sun.)  Mose Allison.  The bard of the bayou celebrates the release of his first CD – The Way of the World – in 12 years. He’ll be backed by Pete Magadini and Bill Douglass. Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

– May 29 – June 1. (Sat. – Tues.)  Roberta Donnay Jazz Trio. Donnay’s singing has a bit of the coyness of Blossom Dearie, a trace of  the poignancy of Billie Holiday and a whole lot of her own unique way with a phrase.  She hasn’t yet received the visibility she deserves, but Donnay’s worth hearing at every opportunity. The Union Room @ Biscuits & Blues.   (415) 292-2583.

New York

– May 24. (Mon.)  Beat Kaestli.  The Swiss-born vocalist, whose sound is sometimes reminiscent of Kenny Rankin, has the potential to emerge as a high level jazz artist.  Zinc Bar.  NYC.  (212) 477-9462.

– May 25 – 29. (Tues. – Sat.)  Joe Lovano Quartet.  Saxophonist Lovano has assembled a cross-generational quartet that brings together a foursome of world class talent.  With pianist Steve Kuhn, bassist George Mraz and drummer Willie Jones III. Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

– May 25 – 30. (Tues. – Sun.)  Ahmad Jamal.  Miles Davis once said that he learned a lot about jazz time from Jamal.  And it’s easy to believe whenever the iconic pianist sets up one of his irresistible grooves.  Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

Phil Woods

– May 27 – 30. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Phil Woods Quintet.  The veteran bopster positions his soaring alto saxophone alongside the articulate trumpet lines of Brian Lynch, backed by the solid rhythm team of pianist Bill Mays, bassist Steve Gilmore and drummer Bill GoodwinDizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.  (212) 258-9595.


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