Picks of the Week: Nov. 22 – 28

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Nov. 22. (Mon.)  Judy Wolman’s Thanksgiving Sing-a-longGreat American Songbook. Here’s a chance to be thankful for Cole Porter, the Gershwins, Rodgers & Hart, etc.  While having a lot more fun singing than you ever could in the shower.  Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

– Nov. 23. (Tues.)  Jimmy Branley Quartet.  Drummer Branley combines versatility, musicality and a rare degree of subtlety in his playing.  He usually displays those skills for other leaders.  This time, he’s the front man.  With Walter Smith, saxophone, Dennis Hamm, piano and Jorge Sawa, bass.  Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

John Pisano

– Nov. 23. (Tues.)  John Pisano Guitar Night.  Every guitar night is a night worth experiencing.  And this one’s no exception, with Pisano exchanging musical ideas with the busy, veteran guitarist Jim Fox. Bassist Bob Bain keeps the rhythm cooking. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

– Nov. 24. (Wed.)  Ron Kalina.  Jazz on the harmonica isn’t something one hears frequently.  So don’t miss Kalina – an authentic jazz harmonica player – in this too-rare club appearance.  Backing him, the solid duo of bassist Pat Senatore and guitarist Barry Zweig.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.  http://www.vibratogrilljazz.com

– Nov. 24. (Wed.) 17th Annual Turkey Bash.  Featuring Evan Stone and the Translucent Ham Sandwich Band. Don’t let their whimsical title fool you.  The Ham Sandwich Band has some interesting things to say musically.   Steamers (714) 871-8800.

– Nov. 26 & 27. (Fri. & Sat.)  Jack Sheldon Orchestra celebrating Jack’s Birthday.  Sheldon, the Southland’s own trumpet-playing, vocalizing, sardonic raconteur, turns 79 on the 30th.  Help him celebrate.  Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

– Nov. 27. (Sat.)  Janis Mann.  Mann’s deep, dark-toned voice and far-ranging musical ideas bring new life to everything she sings.  She’s backed by John Heard, bass, Roy McCurdy, drums, tba piano.  An additional benefit: the performance celebrates McCurdy’s birthday.  Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058.

Anna Mjoll

– Nov. 28. (Sun.)  Anna Mjoll.  Iceland’s gift to smooth and sultry jazz singing displays her skill with the subtleties of the Great American Songbook.  Backing her: Ed Zach, piano, Pat Senatore, bass, Bob Leatherbarrow, drums.   Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

San Francisco

– Nov. 26 – 28. (Fri. – Sun.)  Tuck & Patti.  The inimitable guitar and voice duo continue their 11 year tradition at Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.

– Nov. 26 – 28. (Fri. – Sun.)  Ahmad Jamal.  Miles Davis credited Jamal with his use of rhythmic time, and the veteran pianist is still demonstrating the essentials of how to swing.  Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

New York

– Nov. 23 – 25. (Tues. – Thurs.)  Monty Alexander Quintet.  Pianist Alexander continues to invest his impressive jazz chops with a healthy seasoning of sounds and rhythms from his native Jamaica.  With singer James De FrancisBirdland.   (212) 581-3080.

– Nov. 23 – 28. (Tues. – Sun.)  Ken Peplowski/Bucky Pizzarelli Quintet.  Clarinetist Peplowski and guitarist Pizzarelli, masters of their instruments and their musical art, team up for a seminar in world class jazz.  Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.   (212) 258-9595.

Kendra Shank

Nov. 26 (Fri.)  Kendra Shank.  Vocalist Shank, always a fascinating performer, always opening new musical possibilities, is never better than she is when she’s in a cozy room with empathic musical backing.  Her partners are Ben Monder, guitar, Cameron Brown, bass, Tony Moreno, drums.  55 Bar. (212) 929-9883.

– Nov. 26 – 28. (Fri. – Sun.)  Bill Charlap Trio.  Continuing his exploration of the still unrevealed possibilities of the jazz piano trio, Charlap embarks into new territories with the support of Peter Washington, bass and Kenny Washington, drums.  The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.

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