Picks of the Week: Mar. 20 – 25

By Don Heckman Los Angeles – Mar. 21. (Wed.)  Zana Messia and the Balkan Soul Orchestra. Yugoslavian singer-songwriter Messia celebrates the release of her new album, Balkan Soul, featuring the arching melodies and gypsy rhythms of her songs.  Guest  performers will reportedly be in attendance as well.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905. – Mar. 21. (Wed.)  Zakir… Read More Picks of the Week: Mar. 20 – 25

Live Jazz: The Johnny Mandel Big Band at Vitello’s

By Don Heckman Vitello’s was packed to the gills Saturday night.  And with good reason.  Johnny Mandel was making one of his rare appearances, leading an assemblage of Southland jazz all-stars in an evening surveying his long, productive career as a composer, arranger and songwriter. At 86, recovering from hip problems and walking with a… Read More Live Jazz: The Johnny Mandel Big Band at Vitello’s

CD Review: Mark Abel’s “The Dream Gallery: Seven California Portraits”

Mark Abel The Dream Gallery: Seven California Portraits (Delos Records)  By Brian Arsenault When you live in Maine as I do, the whole North American continent away, California is a dream, a myth.  Endless summers, movie stars, L.A. freeways, L.A. Woman.  Haight-Ashbury and noir novels from Raymond Chandler to Robert Crais.  It’s there somewhere over… Read More CD Review: Mark Abel’s “The Dream Gallery: Seven California Portraits”