By Don Heckman
– Aug. 17. (Wed.) Joni’s Jazz. With Herbie Hancock, Chaka Khan, Kurt Elling,Wayne Shorter, Tom Scott, Cassandra Wilson, etc. Hancock’s fascination with Joni Mitchell’s music resulted in the 2008 Grammy winning Album of the Year, River. Here he goes again, with a stellar line up to illuminate Mitchell’s compelling songs. Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.
– Aug. 17. (Wed.) The Go-Go’s. Thirty years after Beauty and the Beast, the Go Go’s return, proving in bright, living color that their ‘80s successes were more than just a passing California fancy. The Greek Theatre. ts (323) 665-5857.
– Aug. 18. (Thurs.) Jeff Colella/Pat Senatore/Kendall Kay Trio. Three veteran players — who spend most of their time as sidemen, making other leaders sound great – join together to display their impressive individual and collective skills. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.
– Aug. 18. (Thurs.) Thomas Mapfumo and the Blacks Unlimited. He’s called the “Lion of Zimbabwe” with good reason. Mapfumo’s remarkable voice and his hook-oriented songs transcend boundaries, resulting in a truly global musical expression. The Skirball Center. (31) 440-4500.
– Aug. 18. (Thurs.) Friends of Barbara. Dana Bronson presents a benefit concert in support of the great jazz/blues vocalist Barbara Morrison, who is experiencing serious health problems.Call the club for the line-up of performers. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.
– Aug. 18 & 19. (Thurs. & Fri.) Death Cab For Cutie. They may have initially been best known for their cutting edge videos, but DCFC also provide that a good band can actually break through as an indy, even before being signed by a major label. The Greek Theatre. (323) 665-5857.
– Aug. 19. (Fri.) Anthony Wilson Quintet. Guitarist Wilson has worked a lot with Diana Krall. But he’s even more impressive, with his own group, playing his own break-out compositions. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
– Aug. 19. (Fri.) Wilson Phillips. They’ve been together only intermittently since they burst on the scene in 1990 with a parade of hit songs. But now the offspring of Brian Wilson and John and Michelle Phillips are getting together again, displaying their impressive, inherited musical skills. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. (562) 916-8501.
– Aug. 20. (Sat.) Rique Pantoja & Friends. With friends like Abraham Laboriel, Ernie Watts, Alex Acuna and Mitchell Long on stage with him, Pantoja will no offer an evening of definitive Latin jazz with a distinctly Brazilian slant. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
– Aug. 16 & 17. (Tues. & Wed.) Sophie Milman. Russian-born, Canadian singer Milman made an impressive debut in 2004 with her first album. Expect to hear some selections from her upcoming new release, In the Moonlight. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.
– Aug. 18 – 21. (Thurs. – Sun.) Spyro Gyra. Before there was smooth jazz, there was Spyro Gyra. The band’s 25 albums, reaching back to the ‘70s, defined the blend of r&b, flunk and instrumental pop that has come to be known as the smooth jazz genre. Jazz Alley. (206) 441-9729.
– Aug. 16 – 20. (Tues. – Sat.) The Masters Quartet: Steve Kuhn, Dave Liebman, Steve Swallow and Billy Drummond. One couldn’t find a more appropriate label for this quartet of extraordinary veteran players. To make it even better, they’ve performed together often in the past in many musical settings, so expect musical magic. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.
– Aug. 16 – 21. (Tues. – Sun.) “Tribute To Ray Brown.” Christian McBride and Dee Dee Bridgewater. Bassist McBride and singer Bridgewater honor Brown’s extraordinary skills as a bassist and as an astute accompanist to some of the great jazz vocalists. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.
– Aug. 16 – 21. (Tues. – Sun.) “The Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Stan Getz.” With Trio Da Paz, Joe Locke, Harry Allen and Maucha Adnet. It’s an unusual assemblage – the Brazilian authenticity of Trio Da Paz and singer Maucha Adnet with the straight ahead jazz chops of Locke and Allen. Should make for an intriguing musical evening. Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. (212) 258-9800.
– Aug. 16 – 20. (Tues. – Sat.) The Wynton Marsalis Quintet. The chances to hear the Marsalis Quintet in a club setting are rare – in London and elsewhere. Tickets may be hard to come by, but it’s worth doing whatever you can to experience Wynton in an intimate performance arena. Ronnie Scott’s. 020 7439 0747.
Herbie Hancock photo by Tony Gieske.