By Don Heckman
– Dec. 28. (Tues.) Gerald Clayton Trio. Grammy nominated pianist Clayton has moved rapidly from being an upcoming L.A. prodigy to an emerging new jazz star. He’s based in New York City now, so don’t miss this fairly rare opportunity to hear him back in the Southland. Steamers. (714) 871-8800
– Dec. 28. (Tues.) Mitchel Forman Quartet. Versatile keyboardist Forman’s credits reach from the Mahavishnu Orchestra and Wayne Shorter to Manhattan Transfer, Pat Metheny and beyond. But it’s always fascinating to hear him leading his own musical aggregation. Vibrato. (310) 474-9400.
– Dec. 28 – Jan. 2. (Tues. – Sun.) Jane Monheit. What better time to hear the gorgeous voice of Monheit than during the holiday season, especially when she’ll be singing songs from her lovely new album, Home. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.
– Dec. 30. (Thurs.) Joe La Barbera Quintet. The drummer everyone likes to hear in the rhythm section, LaBabera steps out front to lead the stellar ensemble of Bob Sheppard, Clay Jenkins, Tom Warrington and John Campbell. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
– Dec. 30. (Thurs.) Janis Mann Quartet. Mann’s latest album, Blow Away, is a compelling display of classic standards sung in richly atmospheric interpretations. Here’s a chance to hear them performed live. Charlie O’s. (818) 994-3058.
– Dec. 29. (Wed.) The Tubes. The wildly theatrical band of the ‘70s and ‘80s is still breaking out of the envelope, with the unique voice of Fee Waybill leading the way. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.
– Dec. 29. (Wed.) Roberta Donnay Jazz Trio. Singer Donnay takes a break from her gig as a member of Dan Hicks’ Hot Licks to showcase her impressive jazz vocal skills. The Union Room at Biscuits and Blues. (415) 292-2583.
– Dec. 27 – Jan. 2. Chris Botti. Trumpeter Botti’s holiday month musical marathon continues. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.
Dec. 28 – 31. (Tues. – Fri.) The Bad Plus. Contemporary, cutting edge piano jazz is alive in the hands of this musically vibrant trio. Village Vanguard. (212) 255-4037.
(Fri., Dec. 31)
Baked Potato. Don Randi & Quest bring in the New Year at their home base with a line up of special guests. (818) 980-1615.
Catalina Bar & Grill. Jane Monheit. Continuing her week-long run (through Sunday) with a holiday celebration. (323) 466-2210.
Charlie O’s. Don Menza, Tom Ranier, John Heard and Roy McCurdy. Saxophonist Menza fronts a stellar ensemble of L.A. jazz veterans. (818) 994-3059.
Chateau Ballroom. Susie Hansen Latin Jazz Band. Hansen’s electric violin and rhythm happy ensemble provide the perfect setting to salsa in the New Year. 213-746-4490
Chaya Brasserie. “Roaring 20’s New Year’s Eve.” John Reynolds and the Blue Four, featuring singer Molly Ryan. (310) 859-8833.
Culver Club Radisson Hotel. Ernie Andrews struts his inimitable musical way into the New Year. (310) 649-1776. Ext. 4137.
Steamers. The Chris Williams Sextet. Canadian-born singer/percussionist Williams leads his rhythmically energized sextet in a holiday celebration. (714) 871-8800.
Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. Barbara Morrison keeps the blues and everything else alive, this year and every year. (310) 474-9400.
Vitellos. Nutty. An evening of classic Frank Sinatra Ratpack frivolity and jazz to bring in the New Year. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
Walt Disney Hall. Kristin Chenoweth. Emmy and Tony award winner Chenowith celebrates the arrival of 2011 with a back up crew of singers, dancers and musicians, performing selections from Glee, Promises, Promises, Wicked and a lot more. (323) 850-2000.
Yoshi’s Oakland. Lalah Hathaway. Soulful stylist Hathaway brings emotional life to everything she sings. Hopefully she’ll include her Grammy-nominated “Forever, For Always, For Love.” (510) 238-9200.
Yoshi’s San Francisco. Dianne Reeves. Reeve’s sumptuous voice will be ably backed by the superb ensemble of Peter Martin, Romero Lubambo, Reginald Veal and Terreon Gully. (415) 655-5600.
Birdland. The Birdland Big Band directed by Tommy Igoe and featuring the warm-toned vocals of Hilary Kole top off a rare week-long run with a climactic, bring-in-the-New-Year set. (212) 581-3080.
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. “Celebration in Swing” It’s an apt title for a performance by the all-star ensemble of Cyrus Chestnut, Benny Green, Jimmy Heath, Nicholas Payton, Dezron Douglas and Willie Jones, III. (212) 258-9800.
Iridium. The Mike Stern Band with Victor Wooten, Dave Weckl and Bob Malach. And here’s another all-star ensemble determined to celebrate the New Year in hard swinging fashion. (212) 582-2121.
Jazz Standard. Dr. Lonnie Smith Big Band. Dr. Lonnie, who usually works in trio format, displays his dynamic style in a roaring, big band setting. Jazz Standard. (212) 447-7733.
Village Vanguard. The Bad Plus. The trio of Ethan Iverson, Reid Anderson and Dave King continue to expand the envelope of the jazz piano trio. (212) 255-4037.