Picks of the Week: Dec. 19 – 25

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Dec. 19. (Mon.)  The Klezmatics.  Somewhere between Eastern European Jewish music, ecstatic Middle Eastern sounds and the rhythmic lift and improvisations of jazz is the territory in which the Klezmatics practice their musically creative magic.  Disney Hall.

Jessica Molaskey and John Pizzarelli

– Dec. 20. (Tues.) Jessica Molaskey and John Pizzarelli A Swingin’ Christmas. One of the jazz world’s most engaging couples.  Individually and together, Molaskey and Pizzarelli bring a warm amiability, a sometimes wild sense of humor, and irresistible musicality to everything they do.   Disney Hall.

– Dec. 20. (Tues.)  The 6th Annual Broadway Christmas.  Once again, Upright Cabaret and Catalina’s celebrate the holiday with a stellar line up of Broadway stars singing a program of familiar favorites.  With Sam Harris, Lesli Margherita, Jake Simpson, Kelli Provart, Carla Renata, Arielle Jacobs and many more.  Catalina Bar & Grill.    (323) 466-2210.

– Dec. 22. (Thurs.)  Candlelight Carols.  If it’s the week before Christmas, it’s time to be a part of the annual Christmas carol singalong with pianist Judy Wolman and the Sing! Sing! Sing! Singers.  This year’s celebration takes place in the atmospheric, candle-lit setting of Santa Monica’s beautiful Victorian Mansion.  Sing! Sing! Sing!.

Nancy Sanchez

Dec. 23. (Fri.)  Nancy Sanchez.  Still young enough to be finding her way, jazz singer Sanchez is displaying all the signs of possessing a significant musical future.  Catch her now, so you can say you saw her when… Steamers.  (714) 871-8800.

– Dec. 24. (Sat.) The Tom Ranier Quartet. Ranier, always fascinating to hear, turns up the creative intensity in the company of trumpeter Steve Huffstetter, bassist Pat Senatore and drummer Dick WellerVibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.


– Dec. 22 – 23. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Tingstad and Rumbel.  An acoustic holiday celebration with the long-together duo of guitarist Eric Tingstad and oboeist Nancy Rumbel, performing seasonal songs in the warm and intimate acoustic style that has been heard on 19 albums since the mid-‘80s.  Jazz Alley.   (206) 441-9729.

New York

– Dec. 19 – Jan. 1, 2012. (Mon. – Mon.)  Chris Botti.  The hugely popular jazz trumpeter  continues his epic, three week-long string of  holiday performances, celebrating the season with two sets a night of memorable music, climaxing on the first night of the new year.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

Freddy Cole

– Dec 20 – 24. (Tues. – Sat.)  Freddy Cole.  The appealing singing and piano playing of Cole, who turned 80 in October, has been having a much-deserved rush of popularity lately, as audiences have begun to appreciate that he is far more than the younger brother of Nat “King” Cole.  Birdland.    (212) 581-3080.


– Dec. 19 – 23 (Mon. – Fri.)  Ray Gelato and the Giants.  Saxophonist/singer/bandleader and all-around entertainer, Gelato’s performances recall the upbeat, delightfully engaging music of Cab Calloway, Louis Jordan, Louis Prima and more.  The London Evening Standard, rightfully describes him as “arguably the only British jazz artist with a proper stage show.”  Ronnie Scott’s.   020 7439 0747.


– Dec. 21 – 23. (Wed. – Fri.)  The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.  One of the Southland’s great musical contributions to the world of big band jazz, the CHJO players bring their intriguing arrangements (mostly written by John Clayton) and irresistibly swinging ensemble playing to the jazz fans of Japan.  The Blue Note Tokyo.    03 5485 0088.

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