By Don Heckman
– April 17. (Tues.) Robert Davi. The warm, expressive sound, brisk rhythms and lyrical phrasing recall Frank Sinatra. But Davi is no Sinatra imitator. Inspired by Ol Blue Eyes, Davi has taken the style and shaped it into his own creative identity. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.
– April 17. (Tues.) “Fat Tuesday” Jazz Nights – celebrating “the amazing jazz roots of the Big Easy” – begin at the LAX Jazz Club every Tuesday night. Opening the celebration in the right style – jazz/blues vocalist Sweet Baby Jai. (310) 258-1333.
– April 18. (Wed.) Anthony Wilson. Guitarist Wilson’s third installment in his month-long, Wednesday night residency at the Blue Whale finds him in the first rate musical companionship of guitarists Larry Koonse, John Storie and Jeffrey Stein. Blue Whale. (213) 620-0908
– April 18. (Wed.) The Bob Sheppard Group opens“Live at the Federal.” One couldn’t have asked for a better choice to open the doors at a new L.A. Jazz venue than saxophonist/composer Bob Sheppard. Impresario April Williams has promised that the inviting new room, on the second floor of the Federal Bar & Restaurant in the heart of North Hollywood’s NoHo district, will feature “live fusion jazz, funk and big band sounds. Sheppard won’t have a big band – at least not this time – but he’ll be covering the other styles in his usual energetic fashion. Expect this to be the start of something special. The Federal. (818) 980-2555 Ext, 2.
– April 19. (Thurs.) Judy Wexler’s Birthday Bash. Numbers don’t count when it comes to a singer with a spirit as youthful and imaginative as Judy Wexler. So wish her a happy birthday and then sit back and let her provide an evening of delightful musical gifts. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
– April 19 – 21. (Thurs. – Sat.) Lynda Carter. She may be best known as Wonder Woman, but Carter is an appealing singer, as well. Hopefully, she’ll offer some of the songs from her latest album, Crazy Little Things, a blend of standards, pop and country. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.
– April 20. (Fri.) Lorraine Feather. In addition to her versatile vocal skills, Feather is a brilliant lyricist, who has written lyrics for instrumental pieces by Duke Ellington, Fats Waller and other jazz greats. Her latest album, Tales of the Unusual, is a compelling display of her ability to bring life to familiar musical themes. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
– April 21. (Sat.) Kate McGarry. She’s been described as having “the soul of a folk singer and the facility of a jazz instrumentalist.” And the proof is there for all to hear on her new CD, Girl Talk. Blue Whale. (213) 620-0908
– April 21. (Sat.) Anoushka Shankar. The daughter of legendary Indian sitarist. Ravi Shankar, Anoushka has slowly moved beyond the encompassing shadow of her powerful father to become an impressive interpreter of Indian classical music in her own right. Luckman Fine Arts Complex (323) 343-6600. Also at Irvine Barclay on April 22. (Sun.) (949) 854-4646.
– April. 22. (Sun.) Melissa Morgan. Climaxing a week in which Vitello’s has been bursting with impressive female jazz singers, the talented young Morgan arrives with a stellar band, ready to display some of the blues-driven material on her almost completed new CD. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
– April 22. (Sun.) John Daversa Big Band. Baked Potato. Trumpeter/composer/arranger Daversa offers a too-rare opportunity to hear his adventurous excursions into new, big jazz band timbres, textures and rhythms. The Baked Potato. (818) 980-1615.
– April 22. (Sun.) Joan and Marcus Belgrave. Veteran trumpeter Belgrave, who’s played with everyone from Ray Charles and Charles Mingus to Tony Bennet and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra does a gig featuring the soothing, sexy vocals of his wife, Joan Belgrave. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.
– April 22. (Sun.) Mike Lang. Pianist/composer Lang’s credits reach from Ray Charles and Lee Konitz to film scores by Henry Mancini, Elmer Bernstein and beyond. Add to that the material he’s composed for Stan Getz, Herb Alpert and others. But the full extent of Mike’s skills is best revealed in the sort of gig he’s playing this weekend — an “Up Close and Personal” performance with the sole accompaniment of bassist Michael Valerio. A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast at the Music Den at Keyboard Concepts. Sherman Oaks. (310) 271-9039.
-April 22. (Sun.) Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. “Kahane 2.” The celebration of music director Jeffrey Kahane‘s 15th anniversary with LACO climaxes with a performance featuring the music of his son, Gabriel Kahane. In addition, the Orchestra showcases its remarkable versatility with performances of Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 and Charles Ives’ Three Places In New England. UCLA Live at Royce Hall. (310) 825-4401.
– April 22. (Sun.) Charles Lloyd New Quartet. Saxophonist/flutist Lloyd continues to take an ever exploratory musical path — one of jazz’s great innovators since the ’60s and still going strong. In addition to his New Quartet, Lloyd will be joined by Maria Farantouri, the remarkable Greek vocalist featured on Lloyd’s latest ECM abum, Athens Concert. An SFJAZZ. 2012 Spring Season concert at the Herbst Theatre. (866) 920-5299.
– April 17 & 18. (Tues. & Wed.) Tuck & Patti. It’s a simple combination – guitar and voice. But what guitarist Tuck and singer Patti – partners in music and life – make of it is sheer musical beauty. Jazz Alley. (206) 441-97
– April 17. (Tues.) Lainie Cooke. At a proud sixtysomething, Cook still hasn’t receive either the visibility or the accolades that her vocal imagination deserves. But her passionate performances should be heard at every opportunity. Cornelia St. Cafe. (212) 989-9319.
– April 17 – 22 (Tues. – Sun.) Joshua Redman Trio. Tenor saxophonist has been taking on the challenge of the basic trio format – without a harmony instrument – and succeeding admiraby. Here he performs with Matt Penman, bass and Greg Hutchinson, drums. The Village Vanguard. (212) 929-4589.
– April 17 – 22 (Tues. – Sun.) The Jim Hall Quartet featuring Julian Lage. One of the iconic figures of jazz for decades, guitarist Hall teams up with young prodigy Lage for a cross generational musical encounter. They’re backed by Scott Colley, bass and Joey Baron, drums. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.
– April 20. (Fri.) Luciana Souza and Romero Lubambo Brazilian Duo. It doesn’t get much more Brazilian than the irresistible musical combination of the versatile vocalist Souza and the equaly eclectic guitarist Lubambo. Regatta Bar. (617) 661-5000.
– April 19 – 22 (Thurs. – Sun.) Keiko Matsui. A pioneer in the smooth jazz realm, keyboardist Matsui has been leading the way in the crossover style with her gentle groove and colorful harmonies for decades. Blues Alley.(202) 337-4141.
– April 16 – 21 (Mon. – Sat.) Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. The only performer to knock the Beatles out of a #1 chart position (way back in the ’60s), Fame, now a virtual pop legend, is still a dynamic performer. Ronnie Scott’s. 020 7439 0747
– April 20. (Fri.) Brian Blade and Music from Moma Rosa. One of the most highly praised jazz drummers of his generation, Blade has taken a giant leap into a new area, as a guitarist and singer’/songwriter, with a group of songs inspired by his grandmother. New Morning. 01 45 23 51 41.
– April 17. (Tues.) The Fly Trio. Like Joshua Redman, saxophonist Mark Turner and Fly – Larry Grenadier, bass and Jeff Ballard, drums – are exploring the minimalist horn and rhythm format founded by Sonny Rollins decades ago. They’ll perform selections from their ECM album Sky & Country. A-Trane. 030 / 313 25 50.
– April 18 – 21. (Wed. – Sat.) Marcus Miller Sextet. Bassist/composer Miller – a major participant in the Miles Davis fusion bands, continues the exploratory tradition with his own sextet. Blue Note Milano. 02.69.01.68.88.
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Bob Sheppard and Charles Lloyd photos by Tony Gieske.