Picks of the Week: Nov. 30 – Dec. 5

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Dec. 1. (Wed.) A Celtic Christmas.  Irish Storyteller Tomaseen Foley creates a traditional night before Christmas, filled with dancing, music-making and holiday joy.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. (562) 916-8501.

John McLaughlin

– Dec. 1. (Wed.)  John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension. The ever-exploratory guitarist performs with a group reaching across genres, styles and generations: multi-instrumentalist Gary Husband on percussion and keyboards, Mark Mondesir on drums and Etienne Mbappe, a young Cameroonian, on bass.  A UCLA Live concert at Royce Hall.   (310) 825-2101.

– Dec. 1 & 2. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Raga Bop Trio.  With Steve Smith, drums, George Brooks, saxophone and Prasanna, guitar and vocals.  The name says it all for this high octane trio that cruises convincingly in the territory between Indian ragas and bebop.  Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

Jackie Ryan

– Dec. 3. (Fri.) Jackie Ryan.  She’s one of a kind, a vocal artist who’s traveled her own musical path, escorting her many fans through one unique musical adventure after another.  Making one of her too-rare performances in the Southland, she sings with pianist Jon Mayer, bassist Carlito Del Puerto and drummer Dean KobaThe Culver Club for Jazz at the Radisson L.A. West Side Hotel.   (310) 649-1776 Ext. 4137.

– Dec. 3 & 4. (Fri. & Sat.)  6th Annnual Filipino-American Jazzfest. The list of impressive jazz artists with Filipino roots grows longer every year.  Highlight of this year’s Jazzfest is a CD release celebration on Saturday for jazz singer Charmaine Clamor’s stellar new CD, Something Good. Also on the schedule, Abe Lagrimas, Annie Brazil, Johnny Alegre, JP Maramba, Bo Razon and introducing Carlo David Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

– Dec. 4. (Sat.)  “Holiday on Broadway” Raymond Saar, Diane Ketchie, Valerie Perri and Scott Harlan celebrate the holidays with a program of festive music from Broadway, film and television, with a few whimsical twists and seasonal classica.  CSUN Valley Performing Arts Center.  Plaza del Sol Performance Hall.  (818) 677-3000.

– Dec. 4 (Sat.)  “Music and Conversations” A convivial interface between classical music, jazz and interesting people.  Featuring Susan Greenberg, flute, Alyssa Park, violin, Timothy Loo, cello, Delores Stevens and Alan Broadbent, piano, Putter Smith, bass.  Performing the music of Ravel, Brahms and Jane Brockman, with jazz improvisations by Broadbent and Smith.  Music and Conversations.  High Profile Productions, Culver City.  (310) 876-1188.

Bill Cunliffe

– Dec. 4. (Sat.)  Bill Cunliffe.  At 8 p.m.: “A Jazz Compass Christmas” featuring Cunliffe’s piano with drummer Joe LaBarbera, guitarist Larry Koonse and bassist Tom Warrington playing selections from their Jazz Compass CD Snowfall.  At 9 p.m.  The Bill Cunliffe Big Band, playing holiday and jazz selections, including the Grammy-winning West Side Story. With special guest vocalist, Daniela SpagnoloVitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

– Dec. 4 (Sat.)  Tapestry.  The elegant sound of the four voices of Tapestry soars through a collection of music illuminating the common ground between Christian, Jewish, Muslim and Tibetan cultures.  Presented in the atmospheric setting of the St. Basil Catholic Church. Chamber Music in Historic Sites.   (213) 477-2929.

– Dec. 4 & 5. (Sat. & Sun.) Symphonic Mariachi ChristmasJose Hernandez and Latin Grammy nominated Mariachi del Sol join with Sinfonia Mexicana in an evening of grand arrangements of Mexico’s holiday classics.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 916-8501.

Alice Coltrane

– Dec. 5. (Sunday) Alice Coltrane Tribute.  The life, music and philosophy of the late pianist and musical and spiritual explorer is celebrated by a diverse line up of musical artists: McCoy Tyner, Kyp Malone, Nels Cline, Han Bennink, Daniel Carter, Michael White & Leisei Chen, Radha Botofasina, Flying Lotus and special guests.   A UCLA Live concert at Royce Hall.   (310) 825-2101.

– Dec. 5 & 12. (Sundays) Los Angeles Childrens’ Chorus.  The 25th Annual Winter Concert by an enthusiastic collection of children, aged 6 to 18, singing the music of 20 composers from 10 nations.  Pasadena Presbyterian Church.  http;//http://www.lachildrenschorus.org.  (626) 793-4231.

San Francisco

– Dec. 3 – 5. (Fri. – Sun.)  Ravi Coltrane Quartet.  Saxophonist Coltrane has moved far beyond the shadow of his iconic father, into an expressive and adventurous musical world of his own making.Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

– Dec. 3 – 5. (Fri. – Sun.)  Mike Stern Band. Guitarist Stern, one of his instrument’s most eclectic stylists, performs with a group of equally enterprising players: trumpeter Randy Brecker, drummer Dennis Chambers and bassist Anthony JacksonYoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

New York

– Nov. 30 – Dec. 4. (Tues. – Sat.)  Frank Wess Quintet.  Approaching his 88th birthday, Wess is still one of the flute’s most masterful practitioners, as well as a tenor saxophonist who keeps the spirit of early bebop alive.  He performs with special guest Kenny Barron and Roni Ben Hur, guitar, Victor Lewis, drums, Santi Debriano, bass.  Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

Fred Hersch

– Nov. 30 – Dec. 5 (Tues. – Sun.)  Fred Hersch, solo piano. After enduring a life threatening two months in a coma in 2008, Hersch literally had to work his way back to playing the piano again.  And he did so magnificently, as his listeners will realize in these evenings of challenging, but expressive, solo performances.  Village Vanguard.  (212) 255-4037.

Dec. 2 – 5 (Thurs. – Sun.)  Tango Meets Jazz Festival. The tenth annual celebration of the linkages between American jazz and the music often called Argentina’s blues.  Featuring Latin Grammy winning Pablo Ziegler with his Quartet.  With guest stars tenor saxophonist Prometheus Jenkins (you’ll immediately know who it is when you see him) and violinist Regina Carter. Jazz Standard. (212) 576-2232.

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