Picks of the Week: Dec. 10 – 16

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Sascha's Bloc
Sascha’s Bloc

– Dec. 11. (Tues.)  Sascha’s Bloc. A talented band of Eastern European musicians display their boundary-less jazz skills, spiced with touches of traditional sounds. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.     (310) 474-9400.

– Dec. 11. (Tues.)  Chamber Music.  Members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic perform a program devoted to the works of four of the 18th century’s most vital composers: Bach, Haydn, Mozart and Zelenka.  Disney Hall. (323) 850-2040.

Robert Davi
Robert Davi

– Dec. 12 & 13.  (Wed. & Thurs.)  Robert Davi Sings Sinatra.  The woods are filled with Sinatra simulators, but Davi – with the voice and skill to bring it off – captures the Old Blue Eyes musical essence in his own unique fashion.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.     (310) 474-9400.

– Dec. 13. (Thurs.)  Phil Ranelin and Tribe Renaissance.  Trombonist/bandleader/educator Ranelin has been at the cutting edge of jazz since the ‘70s, still continuing to explore the music from fascinating new perspectives.  The Blue Whale.  (213) 620-0908.

Lee Ritenour
Lee Ritenour

– Dec. 13 – 16. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Lee Ritenour Band featuring Mike Stern.  Guitarists Ritenour and Stern, coming at jazz from far-ranging perspectives, blend their differing musical visions into a compelling evening of high flying improvisations. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

– Dec. 14. (Fri.)  A Cappella Madness Christmas ConcertInner Voices and The Cleanup Crue.  A pair of the Southland’s finest a cappella singing ensembles celebrate the holidays with thrilling vocal harmonies.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Nancy Sanchez
Nancy Sanchez

– Dec. 14. (Fri.)  Nancy Sanchez.  Jazz singer Sanchez brings the flavors of her Mexican roots to an entertaining vocal style that easily crosses genres. Steamer’s. (714) 871-8800.

– Dec. 16. (Sun.)  The Ron Jones Influence Orchestra.  There are many fine big bands in Los Angeles, but Jones takes the usual instrumentation further, with a 22 piece ensemble that includes a French horn section.  Expect to hear some fascinating sounds.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

– Dec. 16. (Sun.)  Bach Magnificat.  The superb singers of the Los Angeles Master Chorale offer a classic Christmas program combining Bach’s marvelous Magnificat, first performed on Christmas Eve 1723, and Vivaldi’s Gloria. Disney Hall.  (213) 972-7282.


Cedar Walton
Cedar Walton

– Dec. 13 – 16. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Cedar Walton Trio.  Walton has been a first call pianist for years.  Here’s a welcome opportunity to hear him in the spotlight with his own trio.  Jazz Showcase.   (312) 360-0234.

New York

– Dec. 11 – 16. (Tues. – Sun.)  Medeski, Martin & Wood.  The adventurous trio performs with a sequence of guest artists, including Aiyb Dieng, Nels Cline, Marc Ribot, Bill Evans and Marty Ehrlich.  Contact club for schedule.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

– Dec. 13 – 16. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Kenny Barron/Dave Holland Duo. A pair of players who would be welcome in anyone’s rhythm section get together for a compelling jazz journey together. Jazz Standard.    (212) 576-2232.


Dena DeRose
Dena DeRose

– Dec. 14 & 15.  (Fri. & Sat.)  Dena DeRose.  Pianist/singer DeRose, one of the best jazz vocalists of her generation, hasn’t received quite the attention her talents deserve.  She’ll perform with the Danish trio of saxophonist Benjamin Koppel, bassist Jesper Lundgaard and drummer Alex Riel Jazzhus Montmartre.    (+45) 70 15 65 65.


– Dec. 11 – 13. (Tues. – Thurs.)  The Three Ladies of Blues.   A trio of fine blues artists – Joanne Bell, Harriet Lewis and Mary Thompson – display their soulful wares individually and collectively in an engaging program of the blues.  Blue Note Milano.     02.6901 6888.


– Dec. 10 – 13. (Mon. – Thurs.)  The Ron Carter Big Band.  Versatile bassist/composer Carter takes a break from his stellar rhythm section work to showcase his arranging and composing skills with a large jazz ensemble.  Blue Note Milano.  03-5485-0088.

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