Live Jazz: The Johnny Mandel Big Band at Vitello’s

By Don Heckman Studio City, CA.  It wasn’t quite Johnny Mandel’s birthday last night.  Not yet.  But it was close enough to the actual date – November 25 – to celebrate the 87th anniversary of the great composer and arranger. And the packed crowd at Vitello’s enthusiastically joined in a group singing of “Happy Birthday.” … Read More Live Jazz: The Johnny Mandel Big Band at Vitello’s

Live Jazz: Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band at Vitello’s

By Don Heckman The performance by Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band at Vitello’s Friday night was a hearty reminder of the decades when big bands were the stars of popular music.  Some of those bands – Count Basie, Duke Ellington – were firmly rooted in jazz.  Others – Sammy Kaye, Guy Lombardo – played music… Read More Live Jazz: Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band at Vitello’s

Picks of the Week: Oct. 24 – 30

By Don Heckman Los Angeles – Oct. 26. (Wed.)  Goran Bregovic Wedding and Funeral Orchestra.  Sarajevo’s wildly eclectic bandleader Bregovic leads an orchestra that combines Roma gypsy music, a brass band, strings, a male choir, Bulgarian back-up singers and traces of rock into an inimitable evening of mind-bending music.   Disney Hall.   (323) 8502000. – Oct.… Read More Picks of the Week: Oct. 24 – 30