By Don Heckman
– May 24. (Tues.) A Tribute to Gene Harris. This is as close as live music gets to the irresistible sounds of the late Gene Harris’ Quartet. Pianist Bradley Young takes the lead role, backed by a trio of alumni from the original Harris ensemble – Luther Hughes, bass, Paul Kreibich, drums, Frank Potenza, guitar. Charlie O’s. (818) 994-3058.
– May 24 – 29. (Tues. – Sun.) The Royal Danish Ballet. With a history dating back to 1748, the company has longevity and maturity on it side, whether performing classics or new works. Program I (Tues. & Wed.) features new works by Nordic choreographers. Program II (Fri. – Sun.) presents a new production of August Bournonville’s classic Napooli. Segerstrom Center for the Arts. (714) 556-2787.
– May 25. (Wed.) Bob Sheppard Quartet. Everyone’s first-call jazz saxophonist steps in the leader’s spotlight for once, backed by the solid playing of John Beasley, piano, Darek Oles, bass, Steve Hass, drums. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
– May 25. (Wed.) Lisa Hilton. Pianist Hilton’s lyrical, highly personal style has been described by Down Beat magazine as “A deeply expressive style of coaxing sounds from keys.” Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.
– May 26. (Thurs.) Nicholas Payton. “Happy 85th Birthday Miles Davis” Expect to hear some of the great classics of contemporary jazz when trumpeter Peyton celebrates what would have been Miles’ 85th birthday. A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center. (310) 271-9039.
– May 27. (Fri.) Anna Mjoll. Iceland’s gift to contemporary jazz vocalizing brings her unique style to songs that reach easily across the jazz boundaries. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.
– May 27. (Fri.) Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience. Drummer Bonham leads a dedicated tribute band in a powerful evening of Led Zeppelin songs, accompanied by atmospheric video and light shows. The Greek Theatre. (877) 686-5366.
– May 28. (Sat.) War and Tower of Power. They’re back. Two of the definitive crossover rockbands of the seventies make their annual Summer appearance at the Greek Theatre. (877) 686-5366.
– May 26. (Thurs.) Laurie Antonioli. Singer Antonioli is a rare talent, too rarely seen beyond the Bay area. She’ll hopefully do material from her recent album, American Dreams. Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse, Berkley. (510) 644-2020.
– May 27. (Fri.) Rickie Lee Jones. Veteran singer/songwriter Jones, a compelling performer for more than three decades, will revisit songs from her debut album, 1979’s Rickie Lee Jones and 1982’s Pirates. An SFJAZZ Spring Season event at Davis Symphony Hall. (866) 920-5299.
– May 27 – 29. (Fri. – Sun.) Hiroshima. Genre boundaries mean nothing to the versatile members of Hiroshima, who have been blending Asian, Latin and jazz elements for more than three decades. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.
– May 28. (Sat.) Tony Bennett. Still going strong at 84, Bennett’s every performance is a definitive display of how to bring jazz-tinged life to the Great American Songbook. An SFJAZZ Spring Season event at Davis Symphony Hall. (866) 920-5299.
– May 24 & 25. (Tues. & Wed.) Bucky Pizzarelli Trio. The master of the seven string guitar continues, at 85, to provide some object lessons in jazz guitar to younger generations of players (and listeners). Jazz Alley. (206) 441-9729.
– May 26 – 29. (Thurs. – Sun.) Miguel Zenon Quartet. Alto saxophonists, one of the most original saxophone voices of his generation, has already had his impressive skills acknowledged with a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant. Jazz Showcase. (312) 360-0234.
– May 24 – 29. (Tues. – Sun.) Stanley Clarke. A bass players’ bassist and musicians’ musician, Clarke, who recently celebrated his 60th birthday brings creative enlightenment to everything he plays. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.
– May 26 – 29. (Thurs. – Sun.) Cedar Walton, Javon Jackson, Peter Washington, Lewis Nash. The list of names tells you all you need to know – that this will be an all-star evening of prime jazz. Iridium. (212) 582-2121.
– May 26. (Thurs.) Roseanna Vitro. Always adventurous, jazz singer Vitro’s latest album, is a creatively convincing exploration of the songs of Randy Newman. Blues Alley. (202) 337-4141.
– May 27 & 28. (Fri. & Sat.) Tania Maria. Ronnie Scott’s. Veteran Brazilian singer/pianist Tania Maria authentically blends Brazilian rhythms with urban blues and pop, hip-hop and funk. Ronnie Scott’s. 020 7439 0747.
– May 27. (Fri.) Ron Carter Trio. The iconic acoustic bassist Carter performs with his superb Golden Striker trio – guitarist Bobby Broom and pianist Mulgrew Miller. Blue Note Milano. 02 69 01 68 88.
– May 25. (Wed.) Gretchen Parlato. One of the most imaginative of the new generation of young singers performs material from her new CD, The Lost and Found. New Morning.
– May 23. (Mon.) Cheryl Bentyne. Taking a break from her Manhattan Transfer chores, singer Bentyne displays her far-reaching jazz vocal skills. Blue Note Nagoya. 052-961-6311. To read a recent iRoM review of Cheryl Bentyne click HERE.
Rickie Lee Jones and Stanley Clarke photos by Tony Gieske.