By Don Heckman
– Mar. 13. (Tues.) Willie Nelson and Family. Legendary is a word that actually has some veracity when applied to the music and the career of superstar Nelson. He makes his first appearance at Disney Hall on a bill that also includes his family members, as well as a group led by his son, Lukas Nelson. Disney Hall. (323) 850-2000.
– Mar. 13. (Tues.) John Pisano’s Guitar Night. Pat Kelley’s the guest guitarist, celebrating his birthday in Guitar Night’s loose and swinging format. Bassist John Belzaguy and drummer Kendall Kay lay down the heat that will keep the music cooking. Lucy’s 51. Toluca Lake. (818) 763-5200.
– Mar. 13. (Tues.) Janicey Brar. Tribute to Billie Holiday “Tribute” performers – singers and musicians who take on the persona, the performing style and the image of famous artists – are far more rare in jazz than they are in popular music. But Milwaukee’s Brar, who spent years impersonating Tina Turner, is one of the exceptions. The simulation of Billie Holiday that she’s doing for this performance has been praised for its impressive musical and visual qualities. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.
– Mar. 14. (Wed.) Otmaro Ruiz. Venezuelan-born pianist/composer Ruiz moves comfortably and authentically across stylistic and genre boundaries, playing straight ahead jazz, Latin jazz, pop, rock, salsa, fusion and beyond. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400. http://www.in-housemusic.com/calendar.html
– Mar. 15. (Thurs.) Julie Kelly and Stephanie Haynes. A pair of veteran jazz singers, each with her own unique style, get together for an evening of vocal jazz magic. Neither is heard in the Southland as often as they should be, so don’t miss this chance to check out their engaging skills. LAX Jazz Club at the Crowne Plaza. (310) 258-1333.
– Mar. 15. – 17. (Thurs. – Sat.) Casablanca. Here’s the formula for a truly fascinating evening. Max Steiner’s memorable score for Casablanca performed by the Pacific Symphony under Richard Kaufman, live in sync with a big screen projection of the cinematic masterpiece. Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. (714) 556-2787.
– Mar. 16. (Fri.) The T.S. Monk Sextet. Drummer Monk, blessed with the genetic heritage of his father, Thelonious Monk, has established himself as a solid musical talent in his own right. Carpenter Performing Arts Center. (562) 985-7000.
– Mar. 16. (Fri.) Jose Rizo’s “Mongorama.” Jose Rizo’s knack for assembling solid musical aggregations continues with the nine-piece Mongorama’s exciting explorations of Mongo Santamaria’s charanga-jazz of the ‘50s and ‘60s. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
– Mar. 16. (Fri.) Frankie Valli. The ‘60s teen heartthrob, lead voice of the Four Seasons, revisits some of the iconic group’s hits – “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You.” “Sherry,” and more. Segerstrom Hall. (714) 556-2787.
– Mar. 16. (Fri.) Mingus Dynasty. More than 30 years after the passing of Charles Mingus, his music is still being kept vividly alive in the hands of the seven piece Mingus Dynasty Band. Expect to hear such classics from the large Mingus catalog as “Better Git It In Your Soul, “ “Haitian Fight Song” and Pithecanthus Erectus.” Royce Hall. A UCLA Live concert. (310) 825-2101. To read Michael Katz’s Reflections on Charles Mingus click HERE.
– Mar. 16 – 18. (Fri. – Sun.) Chuck Loeb Quartet. Guitarist Loeb celebrates the release of his CD, Plain and Simple, hewing to the title with a program of lively, hard swinging music, baked by the stellar ensemble of Mitchel Forman, keyboards, Lionel Cordew, drums and Eric Marienthal, saxophones. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.
– Mar. 17. (Sat.) Johnny Mandel Big Band. One of the true treasures of contemporary American music – reaching from jazz to film to song and beyond – Mandel makes one of his too rare club appearance, leading a band of all-stars in a program that will be filled with familiar melody and irresistible rhythm. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
– Mar. 17. (Sat.) Spectral Scriabin. Georgian pianist Eteri Andjaparidze and lighting designer Jennifer Tipton enliven composer Alexander Scriabin’s desire to blend the spectrum of colors with the full panorama of musical pitches. The performance includes excerpts from Scriabin’s Poeme Languide in B Major and the Feuillet d’Album in F-sharp Major. The Broad Stage. (310) 434-3200.
– Mar. 16. (Fri.) The Dave Grisman Quartet. Mandolinist Grisman has been one of the primary shapers of contemporary acoustic music for decades. And he’s still finding new expressive methods – currently with a group that includes bassist Jim Kerwin, flutist Matt Eakle, percussionist George Marsh and guitarist Grant Gordi. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.
– Mar. 18. (Sun.) The Uri Caine Trio. Mention an area of musical expression – from early classical to contemporary electronics to staright ahead jazz — and pianist/composer Caine has been there at one time or another. His current interest focuses on his acoustic jazz piano trio, with John Hebert, bass and Ben Perowsky, drums. The San Francisco Conservatory of Music. An SFJAZZ 2012 Spring Season Event. (866) 920-5299.
– Mar. 15 – 18. (Thurs. – Sun.) Stanley Jordan. Solo guitar. The master of the tap-on style of jazz guitar playing Jordan is always at his best in a solo setting that allows his improvisational imagination to roam freely. Blues Alley. (202) 337-4141.
– Mar. 13 – 18. (Tues. – Sun.) The Heath Brothers. Jazz history comes alive when Jimmy Heath, saxophones, Albert “Tootie” Heath, drums get together to recall the high points of their decades of jazz prominence. They’ll be backed by Jeb Patton, piano and David Wong, bass. The Village Vanguard. (212) 255-4037.
– Mar. 13 – 18. (Tues. – Sun.) Eddie Palmieri. The veteran pianist/composer/bandleader celebrates his 75th birthday. A musical pioneer virtually from the time of his appearance on the scene in the ‘50s, Palmieri has been one of the principal creative forces in the growth of Latin jazz. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.
– Mar. 15. (Thurs. ) Noa and Mira. Israeli singers Noa (Achinoam Nini) and Mira Awad are superb artists, dedicated to peaceful coexistence in their country. Singing in Hebrew, Arabic and English, Israel’s top Jewish (Noa) and Arab (Mira) singer/songwriters perform together on behalf of the Abraham Fund. The Rose Theatre at Lincoln Center. (212) 258-9800.
Mar. 17. (Sat.) Betty Buckley. Tony Award winner (for her role in Cats), Buckley also has a resume listing performances reaching from Broadway musicals to film, television and recordings. And she is especially compelling when she’s in an up close and personal night club setting, bringing utter believability to every musical story she tells. The Regatta Bar. (617) 661-5000.
Mar. 18. (Sun.) Iain Mackenzie & Swing City. Mackenzie, one of the U.K.’s favorite jazz singers uses his strong baritone and brisk sense of swing to carry the torch for the vocal tradition of Mel Torme, Nat Cole, Frank Sinatra and more. He’ll be backed by the solid drive of the eight piece Swing City band. He’ll do a pair of matinee shows – at 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Ronnie Scott’s. 020 7439 0747.
Mar. 15. (Thurs.) Miroslav Vitous. Czech-born Vitous was one of the ground breaking acoustic bassists of the ‘70s, often grouped with the likes of Scott Lafaro, Dave Holland and others. Emphasizing his compositional interests in recent years, he makes one of his rare club appearances. He’ll perform with Robert Bonisolo, saxophone and Aydin Esen, piano. Blue Note Milan. 02.69.01.68.88.
Mar. 14 – 16. (Wed. – Fri.) Billy Childs Quartet. Pianist/composer Childs takes a break from his Chamber Ensemble performances and his role in Chris Botti’s band to stretch out with the world class companionship of Steve Wilson, alto saxophone, Scott Colley, bass and Brian Blade, drums. Blue Note Tokyo. 03-5484-0088.