Picks of the Week: Sept. 13 – 18

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Sept. 13. (Tues.)  Mozart’s Requiem.   The Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Master Chorale, conducted by Bramwell Tovey, perform the masterpiece work, appropriately, two days after the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.  The Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

Carol Chaikin

– Sept. 14. (Wed.)  Carol Chaikin quartet.  Saxophonist/flutist Chaikin was often identified, early in her career, as a jazz rarity – a high quality female horn player.  But she’s past that now, fully deserving of attention for her first rate playing. regardless of her gender.  She’ll be backed by the Pat Senatore trio. Vibrato Jazz Grill…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

– Sept. 15. (Thurs.) String Theory. The multi-media performance group transforms their performing space into an instrument in itself, filled with strings and sound and visual producing devices.  Video projections and songs are added by special guest David Poe.  Ford Amphitheatre.  (323) 461-3673.

– Sept. 15. (Thurs.)  Los Van Van.  One of the great Cuban bands, Los Van Van have been generating rhythmic chills in ecstatic crowds for decades.  They don’t make many club appearances in the U.S., so don’t miss this one.  The Conga Room.  (213) 745-0162.

– Sept. 15. (Thurs.)  Friends of Jeff Golub All Star Benefit Concert.  Veteran contemporary jazz guitarist Jeff Golub has lost his eyesight, triggering mounting medical costs.  This special performance is a fund-raiser to help out; 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the Jeff Golub Medical Fund.  The impressive list of musicians who have made a commitment to perform at the event includes Mindi Abair, Alonzo Bodden (comedian), Rick Braun, Brian Culbertson, Richard Elliott, Jeff Lorber, Jeff Golub, Eric Marienthal, Phillipe Siasse, Peter White, Kirk Whalum, John Waite, Michael Lington, Boney James, Henry Butler, David Peck, and more.  Hyatt Regency Newport Beach.  Information and ticket sales click HERE.

– Sept. 15. (Thurs.)  Eliane Elias.  There’s never been any doubt about Sao Paulo-born Elias’ extraordinary skills as a jazz pianist.  But her new album, Light My Fire, thoroughly authenticates her equally impressive abilities as a singer.  Performing in a brilliantly produced set of songs, she brings stunning new perceptions to every thing she sings, from the incredibly atmospheric title track to an unexpected, but delightful version of Paul Desmond’s “Take Five.”  Zipper Hall, Colburn School.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast(310) 271-9039.

Bill Holman

– Sept. 16. (Fri.)  Bill Holman Big Band. One of the truly unique and original voices in big jazz band arranging and composing, Holman creates music that is both engaging and complex.  No wonder musicians love to play his charts, to participate and be surrounded by the textures that flow from his remarkable imagination.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

– Sept. 16 – 19. (Fri. – Sun.) Fireworks Finale: A Night at the Moulin Rouge: A Magical Evening in Paris.  The Fireworks Finale for the 2011 Bowl season is a dazzling array of music and dance from the City of Light.  Thomas Wilkins conducts the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the Paris Combo adds cabaret sounds and the Dancers from the Moulin Rouge spice it all with their high kicks and colorful costumes. The Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

– Sept. 17. (Sat.)  Don Henley. A founding member of the Eagles, Henley’s solo career has also generated a string of memorable hits.  Also on the bill, three-time Grammy Award winner Lucinda Williams.  The Greek Theatre.    (323) 665-5857.

Louie Cruz Beltran

– Sept. 17. (Sat.)  Third Annual LAVida Music Festival. Master percussionist and dynamic entertainer Louie Cruz Beltran and his Jazz Orchestra headline the third LAVida Festival in celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month.  Also on the bill: multi-platinum recording artist Al B. Sure, the Mariachi Divas, Fuego Flamenco, Chalo Eduardo and comedienne Kiki MelendezThe Ford Amphitheatre.   (323) 461-3673.

– Sept. 18. (Sun.)  Andy Garcia and the Cineson All Stars Band.  He’s a much honored actor with a highly visible career, but Garcia is also an enthusiastic drummer who expresses his deep love for jazz and Latin rhythms whenever he has the opportunity.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.


– Sept. 16 – 18.  The Monterey Jazz Festival.  The longest-running and arguably one of the finest jazz festivals in the world kicks off its 54th edition on Friday.  For a complete Guide to the Festival and how to enjoy it, click HERE. Also information and access to tickets from the Festival website click HERE.

San Francisco

– Sept. 14. (Wed.)  Jai Uttal.  A pioneer in blending the sounds of East and West within the Indian call and response music known as “kirtan,” Uttal has assembled an eleven piece ensemble of singers and instrumentalists.  The music, as Uttal explains it, is designed to “create bridges, to unite hearts and cultures.” Yoshi’s San Francisco.    (415) 655-5600.

– Sept. 16 – 18. (Fri. – Sun.)  Eliane Elias.  Pianist/singer Elias continues her West Coast tour, celebrating the release of her latest album, the mesmerizing Light My Fire.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.


Branford Marsalis

– Sept. 15 – 18. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Branford Marsalis. He may not be as well known to non-jazz fans as his brother Wynton, but saxophonist Branford Marsalis has thoroughly established himself as one of the most original jazz instrumentalists of his generation.  Jazz Alley.    (206) 441-9729.

New York

– Sept. 12 – Jan. 1. Follies.  The new revival of Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman’s 1971 classic musical opened Monday night to rave reviews from the critics. “A vigorous heart now beats at the center of this revitalized revival,” says the New York Times.   “A Tony Awards front-runner” adds the Los Angeles Times.  (It’s also worth noting that one of the most dynamic members of the cast is Susan Watson, whose husband, Norton Wright, is an occasional and much valued contributor to this site.)  The Marquis Theater.  (877) 250-2929.

– Sept. 13 – 17. (Tues. – Sat.)  The Lee Konitz & Tomasz Stanko Quintet. Lee Konitz’s remarkable history reaches back to a performance at Birdland’s opening night, Dec. 16, 1949.  This time, happily recovered from some recent health problems, he’s partnering with the atmospheric trumpet playing of Poland’s Stanko.  Expect a magical evening of music. Birdland.    (212) 581-3080.

– Sept. 13 – 18. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Brecker Bros. Band Reunion: Randy Brecker, Mike Stern and Dave Weckl. It won’t be the same without the presence of the sadly departed Michael Brecker, but the music by this stellar ensemble will always be a provocative display of contemporary jazz.  With Ada Rovatti, saxophone, George Whitty, keyboards, Will Lee, bass and Oli Rockberger, vocals & keyboards.  The Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

Miguel Zenon

– Sept. 15 – 18. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Miguel Zenon Quartet. Alto saxophonist Zenon has deservedly won prestigious awards from the Guggenheim and MacArthur foundations for the compelling originality of his musical vision.   Jazz Standard.    (212) 576-2232.


– Sept. 15 – 17. (Thurs. – Sat.) Pee Wee Ellis.  From Jazz to Funk and Back. It’s the perfect title for an evening of irresistibly rhythmic stylings from the saxophonist who earned his early credentials backing James Brown. Ronnie Scott’s.    020 7439 0747.


– Sept. 14 – 17. (Wed. – Sat.) Dave Koz and Peabo Bryson.  Two of the best established icons of smooth jazz take their instrumental prowess and soaring vocals to the Far East.   Blue Note Tokyo.

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