By Don Heckman
– July 18. (Wed.) The Chris Walden Big Band with special guest Tierney Sutton. Walden takes a break from his busy schedule of studio arranging and composing to lead his always dynamic big band. And it will be especially fascinating to hear the versatile Ms. Sutton singing in a setting very different – but no doubt equally compelling — from that of her own band. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
– July 18 – 21. (Wed. – Sat.) John Pizzarelli Quartet. He plays the guitar, he sings, he’s as witty and humorous as a stand-up comic. And he does it all with warm amiability. If all that isn’t enough, check out his ear-grabbing scatting in unison with his fast-fingered guitar soloing. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.
– July 19. (Thurs.) Joshua Bell and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The gifted violinist performs the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto and joins up with Edgar Meyer to perform the bassists Double Concerto for Violin and Double Bass. The Philharmonic, under Ludovic Morlot, also plays Weber’s Der Freischutz and Oberon overtures. The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.
– July 19. (Thurs.) Nick Mancini. Vibes artist Mancini, one of L.A.’s busiest studio players, takes a break to showcase his own Mancini Collective. And what better way to hear first rate jazz than in Descanso Gardens. Bring a blanket, picnic food and friends for a laid-back, relaxed musical evening. Seating on a first come basis. Descanso Gardens. (818) 949-4200.
– July 19. (Thurs.) Judi Silvano. One never knows what to expect from singer/composer Silvano other than the certainty that she will offer an evening of music that constantly intrigues and entertains. She’ll be working with pianist Theo Saunders, bassist Pat Senatore and drummer Kendall Kay. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.
– July 20. (Fri.) The Josh Nelson Group. Pianist Nelson is in the vanguard of the Southland’s most gifted young jazz artists, releasing his first recording at 19. This time out he’s stretching the envelope in the company of guitarist Larry Koonse, trumpeter John Daversa and live sci-fi video art. The Blue Whale. (213) 620-0908.
– July 20 & 21. (Fri. & Sat.) Smokey Robinson. Blessed with superb songwriting skills and one of the most warm and soothing voices in all of pop music, it’s no wonder Robinson has long been called the King of Motown. The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.
– July 21. (Sat.) The Gift: the stellar assemblage of pianist Alan Pasqua, saxophonist Bob Sheppard, drummer Peter Erskine and bassist Darek Oles offer the gift of their world class accompaniment as a belated birthday present to singer April Williams, in the room she has established as one of L.A.’s best jazz venues. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
– July 21. (Sat.) The Pasadena POPS with Marvin Hamlisch and Michael Feinstein. Conductor Hamlisch and the POPS open the summer season with a program featuring the master of the Great American Songbook. The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. The Pasadena Symphony and Pops. (626) 793-7172.
– July 22. (Sun.) Leo Kottke. Veteran guitarist Kottke is an entertaining artist, illuminating his vocals with humorous monologues. But it is his impressive, finger-picking guitar playing that is the centerpiece of his performances. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.
– July 17 – 22. (Tues. – Sun.) Igor Butman & the Moscow State Jazz Orchestra. Saxophonist/bandleader Butman is the Wynton Marsalis of Russia, using his connections with the power elite to support the growing presence of jazz in his country. His Orchestra includes some of Russia’s finest players. Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola. (212) 258-9800.
– July 18. (Wed.) A CIM Faculty Concert. Four cutting edge improvisational artists from the Center for Improvisational Music — pianist Andy Milne, trumpeter Ralph Alessi, bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Tom Rainey – will perform works by all members of the group. The Cornelia St. Café. (212) 989-9319.
– July 19. (Thurs.) An Enchanted Evening: The Songs of Richard Rodgers. “Enchanted” is the right word to describe an evening of Rodgers performed by the ensemble of Bill Charlap, piano / Barbara Carroll, piano & vocals / Sachal Vasandani, vocals / Warren Vaché, cornet /Jon Gordon, alto sax / John Allred, trombone / Jay Leonhart, bass / Sean Smith, bass / Tim Horner, drums. The 92nd St. Y. (212) 415-5500.
– July 20 & 21. (Fri. &. Sat.) The Stanley Clarke/Stewart Copeland Band. A pair of world class jazz individualists – bassist Clarke and drummer Copeland – combine their unique visions into an irresistible blend of jazz, fusion and rock with an occasional tinge of classical. They’re joined by keyboardist Ruslan Sirota and guitarist Brady Cohen. Ronnie Scott’s.
– July 21. (Sat.) The Christian Scott Quintet. Trumpeter Scott has been a vital new figure on the jazz scene since his first album, Rewind That, was released in 2006. He’ll no doubt feature pieces from his latest album, Christian aTunde Adjua. arrival in New Morning. 01 45 23 51 41.
– July 21. (Sat.) Esperanza Spalding. Winner of the Best New Artist award in the 2011 Grammys, bassist/singer Spalding has been crossing genres ever since. She has modeled her career, she says, on those of Madonna and Ornette Colema. Blue Note Milan. 02.69.01.68.88.
– July 19 – 21. (Thurs. – Sat.) Dionne Warwick. Iconic pop singer Warwick was one of the big hit-makers of the rock era. Best known for association with songwriters Burt Bacharach and Hal David, she is a five-time Grammy winner (plus seven other nominations). And she’s still going strong. Blue Note Tokyo. 03.5485.0088.