By Don Heckman
– Feb. 15. (Tues.) Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. The JLCO under Marsalis has firmly established itself as the definitive jazz repertory big band, performing programs that keep the spirit of large ensemble jazz – from Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson to the present – alive and kicking. Disney Hall. Disney Hall. (323) 850-2000.
– Feb. 15. (Tues.) Strunz and Farah. The dangerous duo of high powered guitar playing, Strunz and Farah match their fast fingered virtuosity with spirit and imagination. Click HERE to read an earlier iRoM review of Strunz and Farah. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.
– Feb. 15. (Tues.) Matisyahu. Every performance by Matisyahu is a banquet of international styles, from reggae and Judaic hymns to Middle Eastern rhythms and American pop. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. (805) 449-2787.
– Feb. 16. (Wed.) Gregory Porter. The rapidly rising, Grammy-nominated jazz vocal star makes a rare Southland appearance. Check him out now, while his star is in the ascendancy. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.
– Feb. 17. (Thurs.) CJS Quintet. “A Dexter Gordon Tribute” Saxophonist Chuck Johnson and trumpeter James Smith lead their quartet in a tribute to the music of the dynamic tenor saxophonist. LAX Jazz Club at the Crown Plaza LAX. (310) 258-1333.
– Feb. 17 – 20. (Thurs. – Sun.) Newport Beach Jazz Party. It’s a cornucopia of traditional and mainstream jazz. Highlight artists include Anat Cohen, Bill Cunliffe, Ron Eschete, Benny Green, John Clayton, Tamir Hendelman, Bob Mintzer, Lewis Nash, Ken Peplowski, Houston Person, Jack Sheldon, Barbara Morrison, Tom Rainier, Eric Reed and a lot more. Along with a rare appearance by songwriter/singer Alan Bergman. Newport Beach Jazz Party. (949)759-5003.
– Feb. 18. (Fri.) The Borodin Quartet, the Red Quartet and Dwight Trible. The Los Angeles Concert Seasons Series debuts with an extraordinary musical encounter between the Russian classical Borodin String Quartet, the off-beat Red Quartet (a combination of cello, violin, guitar and vocals), the idiosyncratic but fascinating vocal improvisations of Trible and eclectic sounds of DJ Mando Fever. Santa Monica Bay Women’s Club.
– Feb. 18 & 19. (Fri. & Sat.) Larry Goldings Organ Trio. Goldings plays anything with a keyboard impressively. But he’s especially gripping when he’s digging into a Hammond B-3, and even more so when he’s backed by the stellar playing of Peter Bernstein, guitar and Bill Stewart, drums. Vitello’s. \ (818) 769-0905.
– Feb. 19. (Sat.) Frank Marocco Quartet. Accordionist Marocco, who celebrated his 80th birthday in January, performs selections from his new CD with alto saxophonist Jon Whinnery (back in action after a bout with cancer), bassist John Gianelli and drummer Kendall Kay. Giannelli Square of Northridge. (818) 772-1722.
– Feb. 19. (Sat.) Jazz and the Orchestra. Pianist/composer/arranger John Beasley and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Joshua Weilerstein in an original concert production illustrating jazz in small ensemble and large orchestral settings, as well as the subtleties of scatting and improvisation. 11 a.m. Pre-concert workshops for children at 10 a.m. The program is repeated on Sat., Feb. 26. Disney Hall.\ (323) 850-2000.
– Feb. 20. (Sun.) Alan Broadbent/Pat Senatore Duo. The rumor is out that Broadbent, one of the Southland’s most gifted pianists (and arrangers) may be moving to another area. So don’t miss this chance to hear him in an intimate musical setting, accompanied only by bassist Senatore. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400. \
– Feb. 20. (Sun.) “A Tribute To Billie Holiday” Barbara Morrison, Corky Hale and Tricia Tahara. Pianist/harpist Hale brings the solid accompaniment style she used in her gigs with Holiday to a set of Lady Day songs performed with versatile vocalists Morrison and Tahara. The Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center. (310) 330-0178.
– Feb. 20. (Sun.) Phil Norman Tentet. Norman’s big little band revives the cool, inner-moving musical groove of the West Coast jazz of the ‘50s, spicing it with a few contemporary seasonings as well. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
– Feb. 20. (Sun.) Fred Katz. Skirball Center. Cellist and master musician Katz returns to the Skirball after his performance last summer – his first in more than two decades. He will be joined by his son, flutist Hyman Katz, bassist Richard Simon, plus special guests the Flying Pisanos — guitarist John Pisano and vocalist Jeanne Pisano. The Skirball Center. (310) 440-4500.
– Feb. 20. (Sun.) Sing! Sing! Sing! “Academy Award Winning Songs: The Early Years” There’ll be plenty of memories coursing through the room at this week’s singalong, with a collection of songs harking back to the days when Academy Award winning songs really were songs to remember. Sing!Sing!Sing! at Keyboard Concepts . (310) 990-2405.
– Feb. 20. (Sun.) Al Di Meola and World Sinfonia. Guitarist Di Meola and his ensemble kick off their 2011 tour with familiar items from his catalog as well as selections from his upcoming album Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody. The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. (949) 496-8930.
– Feb. 15. (Tues.) Anat Fort. New York based, Israel-born pianist Fort is finally beginning to attract some much deserved attention beyond her Manhattan base. She and her trio will be playing selections from her highly praised, recently released album, And if. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.
– Feb. 16 & 17. (Wed. & Thurs.) Bill Frisell and Vinicius Cantuaria. An unlikely pair of guitarists – featuring Frisell’s jazz Americana and Cantuaria’s percussively exciting Brazilian style — get together for what should be a pair of unpredictable but utterly compelling evenings of music. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.
– Feb. 15 – 17. (Tues. – Thurs.) McCoy Tyner Trio with vocalist Jose James. Together they revisit the classic musical partnership of John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman. The Blue Note. http://www.bluenote.net/newyork/schedule/index.shtml (212) 475-8592.
– Feb. 15 – 19. (Tues. – Sat.) Oregon. It’s hard to believe, but true, that Oregon is now celebrating its 40th year. And the music on their new album, In Stride, affirms that their blend of classical, jazz and world music elements is as intriguing as ever. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.
– Feb. 15 – 19. (Tues. – Sat.) Eric Gillett. “Widescreen: Songs From & About the Movies” Gillett’s warm baritone and emotive style have the power as well as the subtlety to fill a cabaret room. This time out, his show combines movie songs with music from theater and contemporary pop. Feinstein’s at the Regency. (212) 339-4095.
– Feb. 17. (Thurs.) Roscoe Mitchell 70th Birthday concert. The veteran avant-gardist woodwind artist celebrates, first via a duo improvisation with electronic music pioneer David Wessel, then with his own quartet, featuring pianist Dave Burrell, bassist Henry Grimes and drummer Tani Tabbal. Roulette (Concert Space). (212) 219-8242.
– Feb. 18 – 27. The Portland Jazz Festival. The ten day Portland Jazz Festival is a true city event, with more than 120 programs taking place at locations around town. Leading the stellar line up of featured artists is bassist/singer Esperanza Spalding, (right) winner of this year’s Best New Artist Grammy. She is the first jazz artist to receive the coveted award.
The balance of the program reaches impressively across genres and generations. Among the highlights: the SF JAZZ Collective, Regina Carter, Joshua Redman, Dave Frishberg, Don Byron, Nik Bartsch, Randy Weston, The Three Cohens (Anat, Avishai and Yval), as well as a round up of fine jazz talent from Portland and the Northwest…. and much, much more. The Portland Jazz Festival. (503) 228-5299.
Wynton Marsalis and Esperanza Spalding photos by Tony Gieske.