CD Review: Dave Stryker’s “Messin’ With Mister T”

By Devon Wendell What could be better than guitarist Dave Stryker and his famed organ trio (Jared Gold: Hammond B3 organ, and McClenty Hunter: drums with Mayra Casales guesting on Percussion) paying tribute to Stryker’s ex-employee and mentor, the legendary tenor sax giant Stanley Turrentine? On Messin’ With Mister T (Strikezone), Stryker has assembled an… Read More CD Review: Dave Stryker’s “Messin’ With Mister T”

Live Jazz: A Christmas Card to the Sensational Sidemen of Paul McDonald’s Big Band

By Norton Wright A jazzhead pal living in Europe just e-mailed me asking if he could find some big-band jazz in America when he comes vacationing this summer. Without hesitation I replied that lucky for us Los Angelinos, L.A. has become the nation’s showplace center for an abundance of jazz orchestras. Our treasures include Gerald… Read More Live Jazz: A Christmas Card to the Sensational Sidemen of Paul McDonald’s Big Band

Live Jazz: the Bob Mintzer and Bill Cunliffe Big Bands

By Don Heckman Anyone who doubts the excitement, the imagination and the contemporary vitality of big band jazz should have been at Vitello’s last weekend.  Over the course of Friday and Saturday nights, two stellar ensembles – the Bob Mintzer Big Band and the Bill Cunliffe Big Band – offered invigorating reminders of the still-potent… Read More Live Jazz: the Bob Mintzer and Bill Cunliffe Big Bands

Jazz With An Accent: New CDs from Vince Mendoza, David Murray Cuban Ensemble and Sammy Figueroa

By Fernando Gonzalez Vince Mendoza Nights of Earth (Horizontal) Set to a generous, wide-angled perspective, and paced by smart, observant details, Nights on Earth plays like The World According to Vince. In some ways, it suggests a personal summation of his career thus far: a deep knowledge of American music vernacular and European classical music,… Read More Jazz With An Accent: New CDs from Vince Mendoza, David Murray Cuban Ensemble and Sammy Figueroa

Live Jazz: Chris Botti, Bobby McFerrin and the Yellowjackets at the Hollywood Bowl

By Don Heckman Chris Botti made his third consecutive L.A. appearance in July Wednesday night.  This time, he was at the Hollywood Bowl, following July concerts in 2009 and 2010, almost to the day, at the Greek Theatre. And this performance, like the earlier ones, defined why Botti has become the music world’s best selling… Read More Live Jazz: Chris Botti, Bobby McFerrin and the Yellowjackets at the Hollywood Bowl