By Don Heckman
– May 30. (Wed.) Gene Cipriano. “The World According to ‘Cip” Veteran saxophonist Cipriano, backed by a band of L.A.’s veteran jazz artists, in an evening of stories and song. His stellar band includes trombonist Dick Nash, pianist Tom Ranier, bassist Trey Henry and drummer Ralph Humphrey. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
– June 1 & 2. (Fri. & Sat.) Steve Smith and Vital Information. Former Journey drummer Smith has been leading the crossover jazz ensemble Vital Information for nearly three decades. And the band continues to be one of the most accomplished musical pathfinders in contemporary jazz. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.
– June 2. (Sat.) Chris Botti. Trumpeter Botti is the world’s best selling jazz artist and with good reason. Not only is he a player with a uniquely personal sound, inventive ideas and a brisk sense of swing – he’s also a performer who knows how to create a connection with his audience. The Greek Theatre. (323) 665-5857. Click HERE to read a recent iRoM review of a Botti performance.
– June 2. (Sat.) John Daversa Quartet. Versatile trumpeter Daversa channels his impressive abilities as a composer/instrumentalist into the improvisational setting of his quartet. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.
– June 2. (Sat.) Grupo Falso Baiano. The San Francisco based group cruises through traditional and contemporary choro music, blending their dynamic interpretations with a cross-genre seasoning of jazz, flamenco and beyond. LACMA. (323) 857-6000.
– June 2. (Sat.) Johnny Mandel Big Band. The great composer/arranger/songwriter makes one of his rare appearances, leading a stageful of L.A.’s finest players in a program of his lush, atmospheric charts. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905. Click HERE to read a recent iRoM review of a Mandell performance.
– June 3. (Sun.) Phil Norman Tentet. Little/big band West Coast jazz of the ‘50s is alive, in briskly swinging contemporary fashion, in the music of the Tentet. Pasta Sunday at Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905. Click HERE to read a recent iRoM review of a Tentet performance.
– May 31. (Thurs.) Eliyahu & the Qadim Ensemble. Ney flutist Eliyahu leads an ensemble performing music ranging across the entire Middle East: Arabic, Jewish, Turkish Sufi, Armenian, Ladino, Moroccan and beyond. The Qadim’s players include Rachel Valfer Sills on oud and vocals, Faisal Zedan on Arabic percussion, and Gari Hegedus on Turkish saz and oud. Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse. (510) 644-2020.
– May 31 – June 3. (Thurs. – Sun.) The Pat Martino Trio. Guitarist Martino’s remarkable recovery from a near fatal brain aneurysm in 1980 has been astonishing. His most recent album, Undeniable: Live at Blues Alley hit #1 on the jazz charts. Jazz Showcase. (312) 360-0234.
– May 29 – June 2. Tues. – Sun.) Dee Dee Bridgewater. The superb jazz vocalist has had seven Grammy nominations and three wins, as well as a Tony award for her appearance in The Wiz. This time out she shares a celebration of her 62nd birthday with her listeners. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.
– June 3. (Sun.) Jane Ira Bloom. “All Ballads.” Bloom, who has been quietly defining an appealing use of the soprano saxophone in contemporary jazz, offers an evening of instrumental balladry. Cornelia St. Café. (212) 989-9319.
– May 31 – June 2. (Thurs. – Sat.) The Ronnie Laws/Tom Browne band. A pair of veteran players who know all the ins and outs of jazz with a funk accent. They’re backed by pianist Jason Rebello, bassist Karl Rasheed and drummer Will Calhoun. Ronnie Scott’s. 020 7439 0747.
– June 1. (Fri.) Joan Armatrading. British born, three time Grammy nominee Armatrading has been working the crossover areas between pop, jazz and the blues since the late ‘60s. And she’s still doing it impressively. New Morning. 01 45 23 51 41.
– June 3 – 6. (Sun. – Wed.) Jim Hall Trio. He’s every guitarist’s favorite player – and a lot of other instrumentalists’ favorite, as well. Pat Metheny has described Hall, and with good reason, as “the father of modern jazz guitar. He performs with Scott Colley, bass and Joey Baron, drums. Blue Note Tokyo. 03-5485-0088.
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Photos of Chris Botti, Johnny Mandel and Dee Dee Bridgewater by Tony Gieske.