Picks of the Week: Dec. 21 – 26

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Bob Mintzer

– Dec. 21. (Tues.)  Bob Mintzer Big Band.  Saxophonist Mintzer is also a masterful big band arranger and composer.  Expect fireworks from his assemblage of L.A.’s finest players.  Click HERE to read an earlier review of the Mintzer Big Band.   Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

– Dec. 21. (Tues.)  The Manhattan Transfer “Christmas Show. The Transfer singers are a joy to hear, no matter the setting or the circumstances.  But when they’re doing holiday songs, it’s sheer musical magic.  Don’t miss this one.  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

– Dec. 21. (Tues.)  Jennifer York Quartet and Friends. Bassist and television personality York leads her solid contemporary jazz group in an evening of seasonal songs.  Special guest Jonathan Dane adds his soaring trumpet lines to the mix.  Baked Potato.  (818) 980-1615.

– Dec. 21. (Tues.) Chris Colangelo Quartet.  Bassist Colangelo’s group invests hard driving jazz improvisations with irresistible rhythmic swing.  Featuring Benn Clatworthy, tenor saxophone, Otmaro Ruiz, piano, Alex Acuna, drums.  Charlie O’s. (818) 994-3058.

– Dec. 22. (Wed.)  Tony Guerrero Quartet.  Trumpeter Guererro leads a stellar ensemble in an evening of holiday classics in a briskly swinging jazz setting.  With saxophonist Robert Kyle, drummer Matt Johnson and Dave Siebels on the B-3 organ.  Steamer’s. http://www.steamerscafe.com (714) 871-8800.

April Williams

– Dec. 23. (Thurs.) Eileen Ivers  ”An Noillag: An Irish Christmas”.  Ivers and her blue fiddle celebrate the holiday in true Irish fashion with a stageful of musicians, singers and dancers.  Disney Hall. (323) 850-2000.

– Dec. 23. (Thurs.)  “Holiday Hang” with the Williams – Williams & Berghofer Group.  Singer April Williams joins Don Williams, drums, Chuck Berghofer, bass, Larry Koonse, guitar, Bob Sheppard, saxophones and flute, and various guests in a laid-back, jam session evening of holiday jazz. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

– Dec. 24. (Fri.)  Christmas Eve at Vibrato is a non-stop banquet of solid jazz.  From 6:30 to 8:30, pianist/singer Gaea Schell leads her trio in an engaging blend of vocals and instrumentals.  At 9p.m., veteran saxophonist Don Menza takes the stage for a straight ahead jazz romp, backed by the Pat Senatore TrioVibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

San Francisco

– Dec. 22. (Wed.)  Dan Hicks and his Hot Licks. The unique Hicks musical gumbo of  jazz, pop, rock, blues and musical fun has been entertaining audiences for several decades.  To read a recent iRoM review of Hicks and the Licks, click HEREYoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

– Dec. 22 – 24. (Wed. – Fri.)  Pharoah Sanders.  Tenor saxophonist Sanders is viewed by many as an inheritor of the envelope-stretching John Coltrane style of the mid-‘60s.  But Sanders offers much more, as well, amplifying the style with his own adventurous musical ideas. Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

New York

– Dec. 21 – 25. (Tues. – Sat.) It’s “A Swinging Birdland Christmas” with the delightful voice of Hilary Cole, the stylings of  Jim Caruso, and the backing of pianist Billy Stritch and violinist Aaron Weinstein enlivening a program of traditional holiday songs.  Birdland. (212) 581-3080.  To read a recent iRoM review of a Hilary Cole performance click HERE.

– Dec.. 21 – 26. (Tues. – Sun.)  Chris Botti.  Hard working, musically imaginative, always entertaining trumpeter Botti continues his marathon, 21-straight day run at the Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

– Dec. 22 – 26. (Wed. – Sun.)  4 Generations of Miles.  A quartet of players, all of whom have been with Miles Davis in past decades, get together to celebrate their musical legacy.  Featuring Mike Stern, Sonny Fortune, Buster Williams, Jimmy CobbIridium.   (212) 582-2121.

– Dec. 23. (Thurs.) Matt Wilson’s Christmas Tree-O.  Drummer Wilson leads his trio in a performance of selections from their new Palmetto album of the same title.  Wilson is joined by Jeff Lederer, saxophones and Paul Sikivie, bass.  Cornelia Street Café (212) 989-9319

Bob Mintzer photo by Tony Gieske.

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