By Don Heckman
– May 3. (Tues.) Leon Russell. One of the great iconic figures of the golden era of rock makes a rare local appearance in a relatively small venue. There’ll also be a special performance by Booker T. Jones. The El Rey. (323) 936-6400.
– May 3. (Tues.) Emil Richards, Mike Lang, Abraham Laboriel, Joe Porcaro. A quartet of L.A.’s finest, veteran jazzmen get together to provide a few effortlessly swinging lessons in the benefits of bebop and beyond. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
— May 4 & 5. (Wed. & Thurs.) Josh Nelson’s “Kansas City-L.A Project. Pianist Nelson leads Hermon Mehari, trumpet, Bob Reynolds tenor saxophone, Ben Leiffert, bass and Zack Albetta, drums in a colorful musical excursion. Wed. at Steamers in Fullerton (714) 871-8800
and on Thursday at the Blue Whale Bar in Los Angeles. (213) 620-0908.
– May 4 – 8. (Wed.- Sun.) Roy Hargrove Quintet. Trumpeter Hargrove is playing in every imaginable setting these days, but it’s always a special pleasure to hear him in a straight ahead, jazz quintet performance. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.
– May 5. (Thurs.) Cinco de Mayo at the Conga Room. For the sheer joy of music and movement, there’s no better place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo than the Conga Room. And it’s especially sizzling this year with the electro music of Maria Daniela y Su Sonido Lasser, the three piece, electro-pop party band, Cosmopolitan and L.A.’s own Son Jarocho collective, Las Cafeteras. The Conga Room. (213) 745-0162.
– May 5. (Thurs.) Jon Mayer. Here’s another performance by a quartet of the Southland’s finest veteran jazzers. Expect the mood to be swinging and the sounds to be memorable. With Rickey Woodard, tenor saxophone, Chris Conner, bass, Roy McCurdy, drums. LAX Jazz Club at the Crown Plaza LAX. (310) 258-1333.
– May 5 – 7. (Thurs. – Sat. ) Ravel with the Pacific Symphony. Conductor Carlos Miguel Pietro leads the Pacific Symphony in a journey across the Iberian peninsula via the music of Albeniz (Iberia), Sarasate (Carmen Fantasy), De Falla (The Three Cornered Hat) and Ravel (Bolero and Tzigane. Violinist Philippe Quint solos. Segerstrom Center for the Arts. (714) 556-2787.
– May 6. (Fri.) Shirley McLaine. It’s hard to know what to expect from any given appearance by the fascinating Ms. McLaine. But there’s no doubt she’ll share some of her film moments with some revelations about her life, career and interests in spirituality. Valley Performing Arts Center. (818) 677-8800.
– May 6 & 7. (Fri. & Sat.) The Mikado. One of Gilbert & Sullivan’s most entertaining musical delights, performed by the New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. (562) 916-8501.
– May 7. (Sat.) Ceu. Brazilian singer Ceu comfortably steps across genres – Brazilian music, pop, rock, jazz – in a single bound. El Rey. 323) 936-6400.
– May 7. (Sat.) Wavefest. The 15th annual Wavefest has morphed into something more than music to relax to. There’ll be a lot more energy than that, and a lot more interest, too, in a program featuring Roberta Flack, KEM, Macy Gray and Sheila E. & the E. Family. The Greek Theatre. (323) 665-5857.
– May 8. (Sun.) Alan Broadbent and Pat Senatore. Pianist Broadbent and bassist Senatore have played with just about everyone in their long productive careers. Here’s a chance to hear them exchanging musical ideas in an elegant, laid back setting. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.
– May 8. (Sun.) Cameron Carpenter. Carpenter isn’t just a brilliantly virtuosic organist, he’s also a charismatic entertainer who understands how to balance his astonishing technical displays with interpretive authenticity. In this performance he finds the heartbeat of Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture and Prelude and Fugue in G minor. Disney Hall. (323) 650-2000.
– May 5 – 8. (Thurs. – Sun.) The Crusaders. Joe Sample, Wayne Henderson and Wilton Felder, three of the original Jazz Crusaders, revive their unique blend of jazz, soul, bop, blues and groove. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.
– May 7. (Sat.) Yanni. One of the most popular international artists in the world, Yanni’s lyrical piano playing, combined with his warm and fuzzy orchestrations have sold more than 20 million albums worldwide. The Warfield. (415) 345-0900.
May 5 – 8. (Thurs. – Sun.) Keiko Matsui. Keyboardist Matsui was one of the first artists to make the most of the fertile territory between smooth jazz, fusion and New Age, and do so with a subtly appealing undercurrent of swing. Jazz Alley. (206) 441-9729.
– May 3 – 8. (Tues. – Sun.) Omar Sosa. Cuban pianist/composer Sosa’s Afri-Lectric Quintet finds fascinating common ground with special guest Benin-born guitarist Lionel Loueke. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.
– May 3 – 8. (Tues. – Sun.) The Julliard Jazz Quintet. A cross-generational jazz quintet that balances scholarly know-how with inventive swing. With Ron Carter, bass, Rodney Jones, guitar, Frank Kimbrough, piano, Carl Allen, drums and Ron Blake, saxophone. Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola. (212) 258-9800.
– May 4. (Wed.) Danny Aiello. He’s given one memorable film performance after another – including a pair of Academy Award nominations along the way. But Aiello’s singing chops are every bit as impressive. The New York Times called it right when it said “Aiello has the bounce of his idols Bobby Darin, Frank Sinatra and Louis Prima, and the throaty lyricism of another idol, Tony Bennett.” The Iridium. (212) 582-2121.
– May 6 & 7. (Fri. & Sat.) Azar Lawrence Quintet. Tough tenor Lawrence applies his muscular style to an encounter with the equally dynamic Eddie Henderson, trumpet, Benito Gonzalez, piano and Billy Hart, drums. Blues Alley. (202) 337-4141.
– May 5. (Thurs.) The Mahavishnu Project. Drummer Gregg Bendian leads his sturdy band of players in the performance of the original Mahavishnu Orchestra’s complete Visions of the Emerald Beyond. John McLaughlin offers his support: “To hear you guys playing those tunes in such an unbelievable way is quite amazing.” The Regatta Bar. (617) 395-7757.
– May 5 – 8. (Thurs. – Sun.) The Eric Alexander/Harold Mayburn Quartet. Fiery saxophonist Alexander combines his hard driving, fast fingered skills with the veteran bop chops of pianist Mayburn. Jazz Showcase. (312) 360-0234.
May 2– 4. (Mon. – Wed.) Pharoah Sanders Quartet. Adventurous, Grammy-winning tenor saxophonist Sanders continues the exploratory journeys he began in the avant-garde ‘60s. Ronnie Scott’s. 020.7439.0747
May 8. (Sun.) The Atomic Mr. Basie. Led by Pete Long,the Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Orchestra, with its stellar assemblage of U.K. jazz talent, performs the complete program from Basie’s classic 1957 album. Ronnie Scott’s. 020.7439.0747
May. 6. (Fri.) The Kora Jazz Trio. Keyboardist/composer Abdoulaye Diabate, kora player Djeli Moussa Diawara and percussionist Moussa Sissokho are creating a compelling fusion of the Mandinka tradition and the free flying, improvisational qualities of jazz. New Morning. 01 45 23 51 41.