By Don Heckman
– Nov. 30. (Wed.) Sting. One of the iconic masters of popular song makes a rare Southland appearance as part of his extended, “Back To Bass” tour. The Wiltern. (877) 686-5366.
– Nov. 30. (Wed.) The Ron McCurdy Collective. Trumpeter/educator McCurdy blends his soaring trumpet sounds with the lush harmonies of the four-voice Collective. Catalina Bar *& Grill. (323) 466-2210.
– Nov. 30 – Dec. 4. (Wed. – Sun.) The Blue Man Group. The blue-skinned, multi-media specialists blend comedy, music, technology into an evening of sheer audio-visual excitement. Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza. (805) 449-2787.
– Dec. 1. (Thurs.) Chris Walden Quintet. Arranger/composer/conductor/trumpeter Walden, a true musical multi-hyphenate, takes a break from his large ensemble chores to lead a quintet of stellar L.A. players: featuring saxophonist Rob Lockhart, pianist Josh Nelson and bassist Pat Senatore. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.
– Dec. 1 – 4. (Thurs. – Sun.) The Mike Stern Band. Always an exciting, compelling player in his own right, guitarist Stern takes it up to an even higher level when he’s working – as he is here – in the company of players such as drummer Dave Weckl, bassist Richard Bona and saxophonist Bob Franceschini. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.
– Dec. 2. (Fri.). A Celebration of 50 Years of the Music of Mike Melvoin. A much deserved tribute to pianist/composer/activist Melvoin – a vital figure in the jazz and music world and a supporter of aid for musicians and entertainers for decades. Participants include pianist Mike Lang, singer David Basse, saxophonist Pete Christlieb, bassist Jim Hughart, drummer Ralph Penland and more. Culvers Club For Jazz. 6161 W. Centinela Ave. Inside the Double Tree Hotel. Presented by In-House Music.
– Dec. 2 (Fri.) The Shanghai Quartet. Together since the mid-‘80s, the highly praised Chinese string quartet performs the Mozart Quartet No. 17 (“The Hunt”) and Schubert’s Quartet No. 15 in the beautifully atmospheric setting of the Doheny Mansion. A Da Camera Society “Chamber Music in Historic Sites” program. (213) 477-2929.
– Dec. 2 (Fri.) “Holiday Doo-Wop.” An evening of sheer doo-wop nostalgia, featuring The Crystals, Johnny Tillotson, Kenny Vance & the Pianotones, and Cleve Duncan (from the Penguins). Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. (562) 916-8501.
– Dec. 3. (Sat.) Holiday Wonders: Festival of Carols. The Los Angeles Master Chorale. Disney Hall. It’s one of the great holiday musical blessings – a program of favorite Christmas carols, performed by one of the world’s finest vocal ensembles. Disney Hall. (323) 850-2000.
– Dec. 3. (Sat.) “An Evening With Jane Birkin.” The image of ‘60s mod style, singer/actress Jane Birkin had a long, passionate, professional and personal relationship with iconic French singer Serge Gainsbourg. Her performance recalls the drama of their connection and the impact it had upon the ‘60s and ‘70s. Luckman Fine Arts Complex. (323) 343-6600.
– Dec. 1 – 4. (Thurs. – Sun.) The Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra. The rhythms will be provocative, and there’ll be a great desire to get up and salsa. But Latin jazz great Palmieri also adds an irresistible seasoning of jazz to almost everything he plays. Yoshi’s San Francisco.
– Dec. 1 – 4 (Thurs. – Sun.) Benny Green Trio. Pianist Green has been carrying the banner for straight ahead, bebop-driven jazz in his dynamic playing since he was an emerging jazz star in the ‘80s. And he’s still at it. Jazz Showcase. (312) 360-0234.
– Dec. 1. (Thurs.) Shane Endsley and the Music Band. Versatile trumpeter Endsley was a founder of the Grammy nominated band, Kneebody. But his colorful resume includes gigs reaching from Ani DiFranco and Pearl Jam to Steve Coleman and Slavic Soul Party. For this gig, he leads a group that includes pianist Uri Caine, bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Justin Brown. Cornelia St. Café. (212) 989-9319.
– Dec. 1. (Thurs.) Jackson Browne. Veteran rock singer/songwriter Browne takes up the cause of Occupy Wall St. with a live performance in Zuccotti Park at 1 p.m. Also on the program — the California band Dawes. Zuccotti Park at Liberty Plaza between 6th Ave. & Broadway. Backpacks, camping gear and large bags are reportedly not permitted.
– Dec. 1 – 4. (Thurs. – Sun.) “Tango Meets Jazz Festival.” For the 11th year in a row, the Festival explores the surprisingly compatible common ground between tango and jazz. This time out, the featured performers are nuevo tango master Pablo Ziegler with his quartet, jazz vibraphonist Joe Locke and jazz violinist Regina Carter. The Jazz Standard. (212) 576-2232.
– Dec. 2 & 3. (Fri. & Sat.) Tudo Isto E Fado (“All This Is Fado”). Like American blues, Argentine tango and Brazilian samba, the fado is deeply rooted in the emotional expressiveness of its native culture. Here, in two extraordinary nights of music, every aspect of fado – from historical to contemporary – is on full display. Performers include: On Fri.: Lisboa Soul and Camane. On Sat.: Deolinda and Amalia Hoje. The Gilman Opera House at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. (718) 636-4100.
– Dec. 4. (Sun.) Bobby Avey Quartet. Winner of the Thelonious Monk Competition for Composition in 2011, pianist Avey is a certified emerging jazz star. His impressive group includes MacArthur “genius” award winner, Miguel Zenon on saxophone, bassist Thomson Kneeland and drummer Marcus Gilmore. Cornelia St. Café. (212) 989-9319.
– Dec. 2 (Fri.) Jeff Lorber Fusion. Keyboardist Lorber’s original fusion band virtually defined the crossover styles that led to contemporary groove jazz, smooth jazz and more. But Lorber’s music – past and present – has also always simmered with swinging jazz authenticity. Expect the same, from a group that includes saxophonist Eric Marienthal, bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Gary Novak. A-Trane. 030 / 313 25 50.
– Dec. 1 – 4. (Thurs. – Sun.) David Sanborn. Not only does alto saxophonist Sanborn have one of the most unique sounds in jazz, he also has one of the most influential. Transforming the blues styles of Hank Crawford and David “Fathead” Newman, he’s been among the most imitated saxophonists of the past four decades. The Blue Note Tokyo. 03-5485-0088.