Picks of the Week: Feb. 19 – 24.

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Ron Kobayashi
Ron Kobayashi

– Feb. 20 (Wed.)  The Ron Kobayashi Trio.  Versatile pianist Kobayashi’s resume reaches from Mel Torme and Margaret Whiting to Teddy Edwards and Kenny Burrell.  Here he’s on his own and in the spotlight.  Steamers.

– Feb. 20. (Wed.) Monk’estra.  A Big Modern Jazz Band.  John Beasley.  Pianist/composer/arranger Beasley displays his imaginative musical wares with a big band featuring the works of Thelonious Monk.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Larry Goldings
Larry Goldings

– Feb. 21/ (Thurs.)  Larry Goldings Piano Trio.  He’s an impressive jazz organist, but this time Goldings applies his keyboard skills to the classic jazz piano trio.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

– Feb. 21 – 24. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Dudamel, Shaham and the Los Angeles Philharmonic with German Romanticism.  Dudamel and violinist Shaham dip into the rich, emotionally textured music of the Romantic era.  On the program — Wagner: Music from Gotterdammerung; Brahms: Violin Concerto; Schuman: Symphony No. 3 (“Rhenish). Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

– Feb. 22 – 24.  (Fri. – Sun.)  The New West Symphony and violinist Rachel Barton Pine.  The New West Symphony presents another weekend of music across the Southland.  Boris Brott conducts Ms. Pine and the NWS in Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major, followed by Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3 (Eroica).  Performances take place:  Fri. at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center.   Sat. at Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.  And Sunday at Santa Monica’s Barnum Hall.   (805) 497-5800.

Bebe Neuwirth
Bebe Neuwirth

– Feb. 23. (Sat.)  Bebe Neuwirth.  Stories With Piano.  You know her from her long run on the hugely successful sitcom, Cheers.  But Neuworth’s also an appealing cabaret singer and dancer.  Scott Cady, piano.  Valley Performing Arts Center.    (818) 677-3000. 

– Feb. 23. (Sat.)  Cecilia Coleman Quartet.  Pianist Coleman, a much-favored Southland jazz regular before moving to New York, Coleman makes a rare L.A. appearance.  She performs with Steve Huffsteter, trumpet, Pat Senatore, bass and Kendall Kay, drums.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

– Feb. 23. (Sat.) Robert Randolph presents the Slide Brothers.  With special guests: the Otis Taylor Band. The pedal steel guitar in all its glory, led by master player Randolph and the four Slide Steel Brothers.   CAP UCLA at Royce Hall.

– Feb. 23. (Sat.) The Los Angeles Chamber OrchestraJeffrey Kahane, multi-talented Music Director of the LACO, opens the evening with an in-depth discussion of Beethoven’s Piano Concerto #4 at the Orchestra’s annual “Discover” concert.  In the second half, he conducts the work from the piano.  Ambassador Auditorium.  (626) 354-6407.

Trevor McShane
Trevor McShane

 – Feb. 23. (Sat.)  Trevor McShane.  His real name is Neville Johnson, and he’s also one of the entertainment world’s highly regarded attorneys, as well as an ambitious performer.  He describes his songs as rock-folk-country-pop, but a more accurate description would be a contemporary singer/songwriter in the classic mode of James Taylor, Kris Kristofferson, etc.  McSHane/Johnson will be joined by Lloyd Price and the Fleetwoods’ Gretchen ChristopherMcCabes.     (310) 821-5858.

– Feb. 23. (Sat.)  Roadwork Ahead.  Featuring Bill Mays, piano, Peter Sprague, guitar, Bob Magnusson, bass, Jim Plank, drums.  Pianist/composer Mays is well known for his accompaniment work.  But he’s also a prime jazz artist on his own.  He’s not in L.A. often, so take this opportunity to check him out. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

San Francisco

Cassandra Wilson
Cassandra Wilson

– Feb. 21 – 23.  (Thurs. – Sat.)  Cassandra Wilson. Blessed with a warm and intimate voice, Wilson makes the most of it with her intimate, musical story-telling skills. Yoshi’s San Francisco.

Portland, Oregon

Steve Kuhn
Steve Kuhn

Feb. 20 – 24.  (Wed. – Sun.)  The Portland Jazz Festival.  Always one of the best-planned, best-programmed jazz events of the year, the Festival continues to offer some irresistible music.  But it sells out fast.  Still available for this week: On Wed. Matt Wilson’s Arts & Crafts.  On Fri. A Tribute to Art Blakey including Javon Jackson, Bobby Watson, Curtis Fuller and more.  Also on Fri., the Steve Kuhn Trio.  On Sat., Steven Bernstein’s Sex Mob.  On Sun., Nancy King.  Check the PDX website for complete information.  The Portland Jazz Festival.  (503) 228-5299.


– Feb. 19 & 20. (Tues. & Wed.)  Jack DeJohnette Quartet featuring Don Byron.  Jazz Alley. Drummer DeJohnette has found the perfect reed player for his Quartet in the imaginative playing of the versatile Byron.  Jazz Alley.

New York

– Feb. 21 – 24. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Benny Green Trio.  He’s played with everyone, and with good reason – his ability to bring captivating inventiveness to his jazz mainstream style.  Green With Georgos Antoniou, bass, Kenny Washington, drums.  Jazz Standard.


Billy Cobham
Billy Cobham

– Feb. 20 – 24.  (Wed. – Sun.)  The Billy Cobham Band: Tales From the Skeleton Coast. The always dynamic drumming of Billy Cobham celebrates his latest album with an electrifying band including two keyboards, violin, guitar and steel pans.  Ronnie Scott’s.    +44 (0)20 7437 5081.


– Feb. 22 (Fri.)  The Bjorn Ingelstam 5Tet.  “Tribute to Lee Morgan.”  Trumpeter Ingelstam leads a quintet of Denmark’s finest young players in a tribute to the iconic jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan.  Jazzhus Montmartre.    (+45)70 263 267.


– Feb. 20 (Wed.)  The Bill Charlap Trio. He comes from a highly successful musical family closely associated with the musical theatre.  But Charlap’s focus has been, and continues to be the jazz piano that he plays with complete authenticity. The Blue Note Milano.    02.6901 6888.



– Feb. 20. (Wed.)  Noa and Gil Dor.  The irresistible Israeli musical partnership of singer Noa and guitarist Dor enhance their intimate musical togetherness with the string quartet of Vincenzo Di Donna and Luigi Di Maio, violins, Gerardo Morrone, viola, Anonio Di Francia, cello.    Teatro Jolly di Palermo.  091.6376336.


– Feb. 22 – 24. (Fri. – Sun.)  Fourplay.  Grammy-nominated Fourplay has had some personnel changes in the guitar chair over the past two decades.  But the addition of Chuck Loeb to the regulars – keyboardist Bob James, bassist Nathan East and drummer Harvey Mason – has invigorated the band’s always lively style.  Blue Note Tokyo.    +81 3-5485-0088.


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