Picks of the Week: May 12 – 18

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

John Pisano
John Pisano

May 14. (Tues.) John Pisano’s Guitar Night. With Ron Eschete, Chuck Berghofer and Kendall Kay. John Pisano’s Guitar Night performances have been a vital destination for jazz guitar fans for years. And they just keep getting better and better. Viva Cantina (818) 8452425.

May 14. (Tues.) Marcos Ariel & Justo Almario Duo. A pair of Latin jazz’s finest practitioners get together for an evening of memorable music. The Blue Whale. (213) 620-0908.

– May 15. (Thurs.) Eden Alpert’s Birthday Celebration. Herb Alpert’s daughter hosts an entertaining birthday party featuring a rare appearance in L.A. By international DJ Lorenza Calamandrei and other special guests. Happy Birthday, Eden!! Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

– May 15. (Thurs.) Danny Freyer. Jazz vocalist Freyer celebrates the release of his new CD Must Be Love. Described as having :Dean Martin looks and a Sinatra voice,” Freyer is an intriguing new talent. Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

– May 15 (Thurs.) Cheryl Barnes. The talented Ms. Barnes may be best known for her role in Milos Forman’s 1979 film version of Hair. Since then, Cheryl’s considerable vocal skills have been getting netter and better. H.O.M.E.  (310) 271-4663.

– May 16. (Fri.) Andy Martin with the Pat Senatore Trio. Trombonist Martin, a favorite choice of most musicians, is equally favored by most jazz fans who’ve heard him in action. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

– May. 16. (Fri.) The Bob Mintzer Big Band. Saxophonist/composer/arranger Mintzer is one of contemporary jazz’s finest big band writers. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear his large ensebmle work. Jazz at the Cap. (818) 990-2001.

Billy Childs
Billy Childs

– May 17. (Sat.) Billy Childs Ensemble. Pianist/composer Childs is always a compelling performer. It’s not clear which of his various ensembles he’ll be leading for this date. But he always provides a unique musical experience for his listeners.The Blue Whale.  (213) 620-0908.

– May 17. (Sat.) Bob Sheppard with the Pat Senatore Trio. Multi-woodwind instrumentalist Sheppard’s impressive resume encompasses every aspect of jazz and beyond. He’s often seen playing in someone’s back up band. But here’s a chance for him to step into the spotlight, backed by Pat Senatore’s stellar trio. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

– May 18. (Sun.) Buddy Rich Big Band. Featuring Gregg Potter on drums. The always swinging arrangements of the Rich big band are showcased in dynamic living color, with Potter sitting in the Rich drum chair. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (223) 466-2210.

San Francisco

Herbie Hancock
Herbie Hancock

– May 17 & 18. (Sat. & Sun.) Herbie Hancock. A gala celebration of the artistry of Herbie Hanock on May 16 climaxes with performances by Hancock himself, backed by a stellar band of world class jazz artists. An SFJAZZ event at Miner Auditorium.  (866) 920-5299.


– May 15 – 17. Thurs. – Sat. The Kenny Barron Trio. Piano master Barron is every major jazz artist’s first choice for their rhythm section. And he’s even more special when he leads his own trio. Ronnie Scott’s.  +44 (0)20 7439 0747.


– May 18. (Sun.) Bill Evans’ Soulgrass. Multi-skilled saxophonist/keyboardist/vocalist Evans and his’group Soulgrass know how to get into a deeply swinging groove. A-Trane.  030 / 313 25 50.


Mike Stern
Mike Stern

– May 14 – 16. (Wed. – Fri.) The Mike Stern Trio. Featuring Tom Kennedy and Steve Smith. Versatile guitarist Sternm adept at jazz, blues, funk and beyond, leads a trio with equally hard driving skills. The Blue Note Milan.  +39 02 6901 6888.


– May 16 – 18. (Fri. – Sun.) Kirk Whalum. Saxophonist Whalum is a master of funk and groove jazz. Expect the room should be rocking for this one. The Blue Note Tokyo.  03 5485 0088.


John Pisano photo by Bob Barry.

Billy Childs photo by Bonnie Perkinson

Herbie Hancock photo by Faith Frenz





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