Picks of the Week: June 17 – 20

By Don Heckman

The Picks of the Week are late this week — the result of last weekend’s busy coverage of the Playboy Jazz Festival.  But better late than never, and here are my selections for at least the last part of the week.

Los Angeles

– June 17. (Thurs.) Braziliato. An evening of entertaining Brazilian sounds with the vocals of Frank Zattoli and Roberto Montero backed by the body-moving rhythms of bassist Pat Senatore and drummer Enzo Todesco. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

Janis Mann

– June 7. (Thurs.) Janis Mann Quartet. She’s a jazz singer in the classic sense, applying her own rich imagination to a style resonating with qualities of Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058.

– June 17 – 20. (Thurs. – Sun.) Keiko Matsui. Keyboardist Matsui was one of the pioneers of the smooth jazz movement. But she has always been more than that, her elegant playing enlivened by subtle traces of mainstream jazz. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

Donna Summer

– June 18. (Fri.) Opening Night at the Hollywood Bowl. The 2010 summer season begins with a program honoring Donna Summer, the Carpenters and Jean-Yves Thibaudet. Herb Alpert and Angela Bassett will serve as presenters. Performances by the inductees (with Richard Carpenter ). Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

– June 8. (Fri.) Otmaro Ruiz Quartet. One of the Southland’s jazz treasures, Venezuelan pianist/composer Ruiz still hasn’t received the attention that his impressive talent deserves. Here’s a chance to hear him in action at one of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s free jazz events. LACMA. 6 p.m.  (323) 857-6000.

– June 18 & 19. (Fri. & Sat.) Eddie Daniels. The jazz clarinet has been a sometime thing in recent decades. But not for Daniels, who has kept the instrument’s jazz presence very much alive. He’s not in town often, so don’t miss this opportunity to hear what he does with one of the music world’s most expressive instruments, backed by the inimitable trio of pianist Tom Ranier, bassist Tom Warrington and drummer Joe La Barbera. (And let’s hope Ranier brings his clarinet, as well, for a spontaneous duet with Daniels.) Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

Julio Iglesias

– June 19. (Sat.) Julio Iglesias. The “Starry Night” world tour of Iglesias — one of the world’s most popular entertainers — arrives in the Southland. Expect to hear a ton of hits from the man who has sold more records in more languages than any performer in history. The Grove of Anaheim.  (714) 712-2700.

– June 19. (Sat.) Dakah Hip Hop Orchestra. The dyamic instrumentation and cross-over talents of the Dakah players are applied to a new work titled Gangsta Wagner. And, that’s right, it’s an acknowledgment of “the Ring‘s sinister side and marries it to L.A.” Grand Performances.  (213) 687-2159.

– June 19. (Sat.) Ernie Watts. Last weekend, Watts’ performance with Kurt Elling was one of the highlights of the Playboy Jazz Festival. Here he is, fronting his own group, his inventive playing on full display as he celebrates the release of his new CD, Four Plus Four. Café Metropol.  (213) 613-1537.

– June 19. (Sat.) Marian Petrescu with Kevin Axt and Bill Wysaske. Petrescu is a technical wizard, as virtuosic a pianist as jazz has seen since the salad years of Oscar Peterson. At his best, he reaches beyond the fast-fingered excursions into a stylistic identity that blends his Eastern European roots with a deep understanding of the jazz mainstream. Pierre’s Fine Pianos.

– June 20. (Sun.) Anna Mjoll. Iceland’s gift to jazz singing knows how to combine her solid sense of swing with an engaging way with a song. Vibrato. (310) 474-9400.

Baaba Maal

– June 20. (Sun.) KCRW World Festival. Baaba Maal, Playing For Change, Tinariwen, Fool’s Gold. The world music series at the Bowl begins with the sort of eclectic mix of acts that characterizes most of the series’ summer schedule. All are intriguing, with Maal and Tinariwen particularly worthy of musical attention. Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

San Diego

– June 18. (Fri.) Tierney Sutton, Hubert Laws and Larry Koonse. Vocalist Sutton takes a break from her usual ensemble to explore some new territory with saxophonist Laws and guitarist Koonse. It should make for adventurous results. Anthology, San Diego.  (619) 595-0300.

San Francisco

– June 16 & 17. (Wed. & Thurs.) James Carter Organ Trio. Saxophonist Carter reaches into his far-reaching familiarity with the full range of jazz styles and takes on the blues-drenched organ trio genre. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.

– June 20 – 21. (Sun. & Mon.) Sharon McNight. Tony Award-winning McNight moves with utter ease from the musical theatre stage to the intimacy of cabaret. And she does it with wit and whimsy matched with superb vocal skills. Rrazz Room.  (415) 394-1189.

New York

– June 16 – 20. (Wed. – Sun.) Fred Hersch Trio. Pianist Hersch has been impressively exploring new attitudes toward the classic jazz piano trio setting for most of his lengthy career. And as he does so, he keeps making fascinating new discoveries. Village Vanguard.  (212) 255-4037.

Vijay Iyer

– June 16 – 20. (Wed. – Sun.) Dizzy Gillespie All Star Big Band. The Gillespie big band sound — virtually a jazz genre in itself — is alive and kicking in this stellar collection of players. Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

– June 16 – 19. (Wed. – Sat.) Vijay Iyer Trio. Pianist Iyer, who’s been receiving growing praise from audiences and critics alike, was chosen Musician of the Year in this week’s Jazz Journalists Association Awards. Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.


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