Keeping the GAS (Great American Songbook) Flame Burning

July 15, 2015

“How Long Has This Been Going On?”

 

Roger Crane, Song Scout

By Roger Crane, the Song Scout

 

 

  BACKGROUND / DISCUSSION

“How Long Has This Been Going On?” is an early song (1927) composed by the Gershwin brothers that expresses the delight of a first kiss. George was blessed to have a brother who was a brilliant wordsmith. In the 2001 Listening to Classic American Popular Song (YALE Press) writer Allen Forte devotes eight pages of in-depth analysis of Ira’s lyrics to “How Long,” praising the song’s integration of lyrics, rhythm and harmony. George and Ira wrote the song as a duet for Adele Astaire (Fred’s sister) and Jack Buchanan in the Broadway production Funny Face. It was not used in that show but quickly added as a solo number in Flo Ziegfeld’s 1928 Rosalie. It didn’t quickly catch on but became a standard after Peggy Lee recorded it with the Benny Goodman orchestra. Interestingly, Audrey Hepburn sang the song in the 1957 film version of Funny Face (see link below). So, it came about that this lovely ballad at last returned to the place of its intended origins and is now firmly entrenched as an entry in the Great American Songbook (GAS) canon. .

RECORDINGS

Many of the better vocalists have recorded this song, including Ella Fitzgerald, Ray Charles, Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, Cher, Cassandra Wilson, Mose Allison and Mel Torme, just to cite a few names. Since songs from the 1920s tend to sound quaint to modern ears, modern day jazz artists, other than the trad bands, often exclude songs of this era. But “How Long” is a notable exception. It does not date and is perfectly malleable with chords that are appealingly open, uncluttered and innovative. Enjoyable instrumental jazz recordings include saxophonists Coleman Hawkins, Dexter Gordon, Al Cohn and Scott Hamilton (with some British jazz players). The great Louis Armstrong cut a recording as did guitarist Joe Pass and pianists Tommy Flanagan and Bill Charlap. Trombonist J.J. Johnson, who recorded (and composed) many ballads, included “How Long” on a 1954 recording with fellow trombonist Kai Winding.

A Few Sample Recordings

Sarah Vaughan, 1957.  Thankfully Vaughan includes Ira’s lengthy but well-written verse. She is accompanied by the Hal Mooney orchestra.

Audrey Hepburn, also 1957. Nothing wrong with a grand voice (such as the great Sarah) but the last thing you need to “sell” a song is great “chops.” Audrey’s voice is small, pitch maybe a bit ambiguous. But she sings with heart and her sound arrests attention. Hepburn understands that some lyrics are better whispered than declaimed.

Carmen McRae, 1981. Carmen is that rarity, a pure jazz singer who gives as much attention to lyrics as to music. Below is a version recorded live at Bubba’s, accompanied by only Marshall Otwell’s piano.

Lee Wiley, 1939.  The recording quality is a bit poor but certainly not Wiley’s singing. She was the first vocalist to record a series of songs by a single composer (that is, the concept of a “songbook” album). Perhaps the best of these is the Gershwin tribute which produced a touching version of this romantic song.


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Last but not least, an Instrumental link, Ben Webster, 1967. The great Webster could do it all – swing hard or break your heart with a ballad. Here he is in balladic mode, accompanied by Kenny Drew-piano, Alex Riel-drums and the great NHOP (Niels Henning Orsten Pedersen) at his bass. Big Ben is so relaxed you can almost hear him smiling.

You may wish to also investigate Peggy Lee’s recording with Goodman which was in 1941. Sarah Vaughan recorded “How Long” a second time in 1978 with Oscar Peterson. Chet Baker, who had impeccable taste in tunes, included this song on his 1958 It Could Happen to You album. In 1962 Webster also recorded a thoughtful rendition of “How Long” with Sweets Edison. Pianist Brad Mehldau is always worth a listen and he included this song on his Art of the Trio CDs (volume 5 of that beautifully crafted series)

All the Best, Roger, the Song Scout
and the Inimitable Benevolent Guardian of Song


Picks of the Weekend: May 3 – 5 in Los Angeles

May 3, 2013

By Don Heckman

Electricity and internet problems in iRoM land prevented the posting of a full week of International Picks.  But now we finally have enough power and web access to list some Picks of the Weekend here in L.A.  Next week, Picks of the Week will be back on track with our global overview.

Los Angeles

Billy Childs

Billy Childs

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– May 3. (Fri.)  Billy Childs Allstar Jazz.  Pianist Childs is constantly in search of new musical adventures.  His All Star Jazz Group, with bassist Jimmy Johnson, drummer Joey Heredia and saxophonist/flutist Katisse Buckingham is his latest jaunt into new creative territory.  The Baked Potato.   (818) 980-1615.

– May 3. (Fri.)  Brandon Fields.  He’s been a first-call session saxophonist for decades, with a resume filled with stellar relationships.  But Fields is a fine jazz artist in his own right, which will be self-evident in this headlining gig, backed by bassist Pat Senatore, drummer Mark Ferber, and pianist tba. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. http://www.vibratogrilljazz.com  (310) 474-9400.

– May 3 & 4. (Fri. & Sat.)  Andy Garcia and the Cine Son All Stars.  An Academy Award-nominated actor, director and writer, Garcia has also had a fascinating parallel career as a convincing Latin jazz percussionist and musician.  Here’s one of the rare opportunities to see him in high powered musical action. Catalina Bar & Grill. http://www.catalinajazzclub.com  (323) 466-2210.

Lang Lang

Lang Lang

– May 3 – 5. (Fri. – Sun.)  Dudamel, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Lang Lang.  It’s a world-class combination, performing Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concert No. 1. and Carl Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4.   Disney Hall. http://www.laphil.com/tickets/dudamel-and-lang-lang/2013-05-02  (323) 850-2000.

– May 3 – 5. (Fri. – Sun.)  Deana Martin. She’s had a career as an actress and a singer, with a top selling workout video.  But her father’s memory is most present in her engaging singing style.  This time out, she celebrates that relationship with “Deana Sings Dino: A Tribute to Her Father.”  Pianist/arranger John Proulx conducts.  Vitello’s.  http://www.vitellosrestaurant.com  (818) 769-0905.

– May 4. (Sat.)  Brad Mehldau and The Bad Plus with special guest Joshua Redman. Three of the contemporary jazz world’s most cutting edge musical entities get together for a compelling evening of wide open improvisational exploration.  A CAP UCLA concert at Royce Hall.  http://cap.ucla.edu  (310) 825-4321.

– May 5. (Sun.)  The Playboy Jazz Festival’s Free Community Concert in Beverly Hills.  Featuring the New Jump Blues Band with Antonio Fargas.  He’s best known for his role as Huggy Bear in Starsky and Hutch¸but he’s currently leading the New Jump Blues band in their dynamic romps through jazz, blues, calypso and a lot more.  Also on the bill: the Beverly Hills High School Jazz Band under the direction of Bill Bradbury.  The Beverly Hills Civic Center Plaza.  Playboy Festival Hotline: (310) 450-1173.  http://www.playboyjazzfestival.com/events2013.html

Gerald Wilson

Gerald Wilson

– May 5. (Sun.) Gerald Wilson Orchestra.  94 year old Gerald Wilson is still a compelling band leader, inspiring vitality and swing in his large jazz ensemble whenever he steps to the front of the stage and gives a down beat. Hear him at every opportunity, and anticipate the pleasures of his memorable compositions and arrangements as well.  Catalina Bar & Grill. http://www.catalinajazzclub.com  (323) 466-2210.

– May 5. (Sun.)  2nd Annual Los Lobos Cinco de Mayo Festival. The Greek Theatre 2013 schedule begins with a spectacular line-up of Southland favorites, Los Lobos, Robert Randolph, Los Super 7, Willie G of The Midnighters.  The full day of music and celebration begins at 3 p.m.  The Greek Theatre.  http://www.greektheatrela.com/events/event_details.asp?id=2516  (323) 665-5857.

* * * * * * *

Billy Childs photo by Bonnie Perkinson.


Picks of the Week: Mar. 12 – 17

March 12, 2013

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Wynton Marsalis with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Wynton Marsalis with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

– Mar. 12. (Tues.) Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.  Marsalis and his JLCO players continue to bring life to the past, the present and the future of big band jazz.  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

Mar. 12. (Tues.) Allison Adams Tucker.  “Women in Jazz.”  Jazz singer Tucker performs with a gifted, all-female ensemble – Kait Dunton, piano, Sherry Luchette, bass, Tina Raymond, drums and Lori Bell, flute.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

– Mar. 13. (Wed.)  Lou Marini.  New York-based veteran saxophonist Marini makes a rare L.A. appearance backed by a stellar array of players.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Lynda Carter

Lynda Carter

– Mar. 14. – 16.  (Thurs. – Sat.)  Lynda Carter. She’ll probably always be known as Wonder Woman, but Carter is an appealing singer, as well, with a convincing interpretive style.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (223) 466-2210.

– Mar. 15 – 17. (Fri. – Sun.)  Ambrose Akinmusire.  Trumpeter Akinmusire has been receiving critical accolades and winning polls lately.  Here’s a great opportunity to hear him in action and make your own evalulation.  Blue Whale.   (213) 620-0908.

– Mar. 16. (Sat.)  Johnny Mandel Big Band. Veteran arranger/composer Mandel showcases selections from his rich collection of classic arrangements and original works for big jazz band. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers

– Mar. 17. (Sun.)  An Evening with Kenny Rogers.  Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the music of Grammy-winning, hit-making veteran singer/actor/songwriter Rogers.  Valley Performing Arts Center.    (818) 677-8800.

– Mar. 17. (Sun.)  Carol Robbins, Larry Koonse and Pat Senatore. An all-strings evening of music, featuring the fascinating timbres and jaunty swing of Robbins’ harp, Loonse’s guitar and Senatore’s bass. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

San Francisco

– Mar. 12 & 13.  (Tues. & Wed.)  “Miles Smiles”  A super-group of Davis alumni, including trumpeter Wallace Roney, organist Joey DeFrancesco, guitarist Larry Coryell, bassist Darryl Jones and drummer Omar Hakim, recall the Miles era.  Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

Seattle

Leo Kottke

Leo Kottke

– Mar. 12 & 13. (Tues. & Wed.)  Leo Kottke. Virtuosic, finger-picking guitarist intersperses his 6- and 7-spring playing with humorous, between-tunes monologues.  Jazz Alley.   (206) 441-9729.

New York City

– Mar. 13 – 17. (Wed. – Sun.)  Brazilian Jazz All-Stars.  Bossa nova and the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim will be authentically performed by an all-star aggregation of Brazilian artists: Duduka Da Fonseca, percussion, Romero Lubambo or Vic Juris, guitar, Claudio Roditi, trumpet, Helio Alves, piano, Maucha Adnet, voice, Hans Glawishnig, bass.  Iridium.   (212) 582-2121.

– Mar. 15 & 16. (Fri. & Sat.)  Charlie Musselwhite.  Blues harmonica player Musselwhite, a veteran of the fertile blues and rock happenings of the ‘60s, is still going strong at 69.  He is alleged to be the model for Dan Aykroyd’s character in The blues Brothers.  Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.   (212) 258-9595.

London

– Mar. 14. (Thurs.)  “Birth of the Cool.”  The Richard Shepherd Nonet celebrates the music from Miles Davis’ iconic Birth of the Cool recording, plus classics from Kind of Blue and Milestones.  Ronnie Scott’s.    +44 20 7439 0747.

Milan

Brad Mehldau

Brad Mehldau

– Mar. 15 & 16. (Fri. & Sat.)  Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana.  Mehldau steps away from his classically oriented acoustic jazz with Mehliana – an electric funk duet project with drummer Guiliana.  Blue Note Milano.   +39 02 6901 6888

Tokyo

– Mar. 12 & 13. (Tues. & Wed.) Kenny Barron Trio. High on the list of every major jazz artist’s first-call pianists, Barron is also a compelling, musically adventurous player in his own right – especially when he’s working with his trio.  Blue Note Tokyo.    +81 3-5485-0088.


Picks of the Week: Oct. 2 – 7

October 1, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Emmylou Haris

– Oct. 2. (Tues.)  An Evening with Emmylou Harris and Her Red Dirt Boys.  Grammy winning country music icon Harris possesses one of the pop/country world’s finest voices.  Hopefully she’ll apply it to some of the memorable songs from her catalog of classics.  CAP UCLA  Royce Hall.    (310) 825-2101.

– Oct. 2. (Tues.) Josh Nelson and Pat Senatore Duo.  Rising young pianist Nelson and veteran bassist Senatore play together with some regularity.  And the results are always a pleasure – fascinating musical encounters between players a generation or so apart who nonetheless find common creative ground. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.    (310) 474-9400.

Cheryl Bentyne and Mark Winkler

– Oct. 2. (Tues.)  Mark Winkler and Cheryl Bentyne“West Coast Cool.”  They’re back.  The Winkler/Bentyne Cool Jazz Road Show.  They’ll once again celebrate, in high spirited song, their affection for cool jazz and its legendary practitioners. Click HERE to read a recent iRoM review of the dynamic duo.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

– Oct. 4. (Thurs.)  Arnold McCuller.  Singer McCuller’s resume includes long associations as a back up singer with the likes of James Taylor, Phil Collins, Bonnie Raitt and numerous others.  But he’s also a superb up front vocalist as well.  Here he is, making a rare appearance in the spotlight.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.     (310) 474-9400.

– Oct. 4 – 7. (Thurs. –  Sun.)  Dudamel conducts Beethoven. Norwegian pianist Leif Ove Andsnes joins Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic beginning in a three-year presentation of Beethoven’s music for piano and orchestra, including the five numbered concertos and the Choral Fantasy. Disney Hall.     (323) 850-2000.

Marcus Miller

– Oct. 4 – 7. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Marcus Miller Band. A much admired string bassist – both acoustic and electric – a bass clarinetist, producer and arranger, Miller’s musical vision is always focusing on new ideas.  Expect this time out to once again hear him open the door to illuminating jazz perspectives.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

– Oct. 5. (Fri.)  Doc Severinson and the San Miguel Five.  He may not be leading a big band anymore, but Severinson still has a firm grip on his trumpet.  This time out, he’ll be urged on by the Latin jazz rhythms of the San Miguel Five.    Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. (562) 916-8501.

Les McCann and Lee Hartley

– Oct. 5. (Fri.)  Lee Hartley.  The versatile Hartley ranges freely from jazz and pop to gospel.  She’ll perform with the Eric Reed Trio featuring Les McCann.  Looks like an evening with some interesting potential.  Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

– Oct. 5 & 6. (Fri. & Sat.)  Akram Khan Company“Vertical Road.”  One of the most honored choreographers of his generation, Khan has assembled dancers from Asia, Europe and the Middle East to perform his “Vertical Road,” to a score by Nitin SawhneyCAP UCLA  Royce Hall.       (310) 825-2101.

– Oct. 6. (Sat.)  Chick Corea, Gary Burton and the Harlem String Quartet. Long time musical partners, pianist Corea and vibraphonist Burton have been seeking new musical adventures together since the early ‘70s.  On this evening, their explorations will be aided by the Harlem String Quartet.   Valley Performing Arts Center.     (818) 677-3000.

Bob Mintzer

– Oct. 6. (Sat.)  Bob Mintzer, Alan Pasqua, Darej Oles and Ignacio Berroa.  That list of names could represent a law firm.  But no firm with these guys, who are among the Southland’s jazz elite, coming together to challenge themselves and each other.  Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

– Oct. 5 – 7. (Fri. – Sun.)  The Angel City Jazz Festival 2012.  The Angel City Festival once again presents a set of concerts underscoring the extent of the Southland’s extraordinary population of world class jazz artists.  Add to that the participation of several major international artists and the ACJF is rapidly establishing its creds as a major musical event.  On Friday, the Anthony Lucca Quintet and the Phil Ranelin Jazz Ensemble perform at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.  On Saturday, Anthony Wilson, Larry Goldings and Jim Keltner are at REDCAT.  On Sunday, Peter Erskine’s New Trio, the Mark Dresser Quintet, the Ambrose Akinmusire Quintet and the Archie Shepp Quartet perform at the Ford Amphitheatre.  With more to come next week.   The Angel City Jazz Festival.

– Oct. 7. (Sun.)  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.  The LACO offers its own participation in Royce Hall’s opening week with a program of Ravel, Beethoven and more.  In addition to the Ravel Piano Conerto in G Major and the Beethoven Violin Concerto in D Major, there will be West Coast premieres of new compositions by Andrew Norman and James MathesonCAP UCLA Royce Hall.    (310) 825-2101.

San Francisco

– Oct. 3 & 4. (Wed. & Thurs.)  An Intimate Evening with Helen Reddy.  The hit-making Australian singing star returns to performing after a decade hiatus.  Eager listeners will hope to hear songs such as “I Am Woman,” “I Don’t Know How To Love Him,” “Delta Dawn” and more. Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

Chicago

– Oct. 4 – 7). (Thurs. – Sun.)  Benny Green Trio.  Pianist Green is one of the mainstays in the effort to find new jazz territory without abandoning the jazz homeland.  Jazz Showcase.    (312) 360-0234.

New York

Jim Hall

– Oct. 2 – 6. (Tues. – Sat.)  Jim Hall Quartet.  Hall has been described as “the reigning master of the jazz guitar” by the Wall St. Journal.  And while there are a lot of things I’d disagree with the Journal about, this isn’t one of them.  The ever-fascinating Hall will be in the company of alto saxophonist Greg Osby, bassist Steve Laspina and drummer Joey Baron Birdland.     (212) 581-3080.

– Oct. 2 – 7. (Tues. – Sun.)  John Scofield Trio.  Guitarist Scofield is always searching for new musical environments.  And he’s found a winner this time, in the stellar team of bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Bill StewartThe Blue Note.     (212) 475-8592.

– Oct. 5 & 6. (Sat. & Sun.)  Brad Mehldau: Solo.  A solo performance by Mehldau is always a compelling musical experience, ranging across the full extent of his classically-trained, jazz-invested skills.  The Allen Room in Jazz at Lincoln Center.    (212) 258-9800.

London

Hiromi

– Oct. 4 – 6. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Hiromi: The Trio Project.  Hiromi’s virtuosic piano playing combines with her imaginative musical vision to suggest a new view of the classic jazz piano trio.  She performs with bassist Steve Smith and drummer Anthony Jackson Ronnie Scott’s.    20 7439 0747.

Paris

– Oct. 3. (Wed.)  Randy Weston’s African Rhythms Trio.  Pianist/composer Weston has written a few jazz classics – “Hi-Fly” and “Little Niles” among them.  And he’s equally dedicated to the African music at the roots of jazz, exploring them in performances of ensembles such as his African Rhythms Trio.  New Morning.   01 45 23 51 41.

Berlin

– Oct. 4. (Thurs.)  The Al Foster Quartet.  Drummer Foster has been a high visibility presence in the bands of Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Herbie Hancock and Joe Henderson.  But he’s also been the effective leader of his own groups.  This one includes Wayne Escoffery, saxophones, Adam Birnbaum, piano, Doug Weiss, bass.  A-Trane.    030/313 25 50.

Milan

– Oct. 4 & 5. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Scott Henderson, Dennis Chambers and Jeff Berlin. Here’s high energy jazz rock of the most intense order.  Henderson, Chambers and Berlin are all instrumental virtuosi in their own right.  Together, they’re sheer excitement.  Blue Note Milano 02.69016888.

Copenhagen

Gretchen Parlato

– Oc. 4 & 5. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Gretchen Parlato Quartet.  Always her own person, eager to find her own pathway in partnership with instrumentalists, singer Parlato is performing with a collective fully capable of sharing her creative explorations. With Taylor Eigsti, piano, Burmiss Travis, bass, Kendrick Scott, drums.  Jazzhus Montmartre.  (+45) 70 15 65.

Tokyo

– Oct. 6 & 7. (Sat. & Sun.)  Composer, pianist, songwriter Michel Legrand has been having an impact on contemporary music for decades.  This time out, he’s celebrating his 80 birthday.   Blue Note Tokyo.     03.54850088.


Picks of the Week: May 15 – 20

May 15, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Jack DeJohnette

– May 15 – 20. (Tues. – Sun.)  Jack DeJohnette, Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke celebrate Jack’s 70th birthday. It would be hard to ask for a more stellar trio than this.  Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear three authentically iconic jazz artists performing together.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

– May 16. (Wed.)  Gary Foster/Tom Ranier Quartet.  And speaking of stellar, here’s a quartet — including Putter Smith, bass and Joe LaBarbera, drums – that shines pretty brightly, as well.  They may be based solely in L.A., but they’ve got world class jazz credentials..  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

– May 16. (Wed.)  Bern.  Drummer Bernie Dresel leads his 12 piece, supercharged, funk-driven band in an evening at the Valley’s newest jazz room.  The Federal.   (818) 980-2555.

– May 17. (Thurs.)  Annie Trousseau.  This multi-lingual world music sextet is led by Colombian/America singer/songwriter Ana Maria Lombo in a program reaching from Edith Piaf to Antonio Carlos Jobim. Vibrato.    .(310) 474-9400.

Barbara Cook

May 19. (Sat.)  Barbara Cook. Tony Award-winning (for Music Man) Cook has been concentrating on cabaret and concert music for the past four decades.  And, at 84, she is still a captivating singer.  Valley Performing Arts Center.  (818) 677-3000.  The Valley Performing Arts Center regretfully announces that due to an unexpected reaction to medication, Barbara Cook has been forced to postpone her performance originally scheduled at the Valley Performing Arts Center Great hall on Saturday, May 19, 2012.  This concert has been rescheduled to Saturday, June 30, 2012 at 8 pm.  Tickets for the May 19 date will be honored on June 30.  Requests for refund must be made to the VPAC box office by June 5.

– May 19. (Sat.)  Elaine Stritch“Singin’ Sondheim…One Song at a Time.”  One of the great, charismatic Broadway performers, Stritch makes her Disney Hall debut with what will surely be a memorable program.  Disney Hall.    (323) 850-2000.

 

– May 19. (Sat.) Luckman Jazz OrchestraA Tribute to Charlie Parker.  The LJO pays much deserved tribute to alto saxophonist Parker, one of the two or three most powerfully influential figures in the history of jazz.  Luckman Performing Arts Center. (323) 323-4600.

San Francisco

– May 18 – 20.  (Fri. – Sun.)  The Brad Mehldau Trio. Firmly established as a vital, influential pianist, Mehldau’s current group – with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard — has set high standards for the contemporary jazz piano trio.  An SFJAZZ 2012 Spring Season event at the YBCA Forum.  (866) 920-5299.

Roy Haynes

Washington, D.C.

– May 17 – 20. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Roy Haynes Fountain of Youth Band. The name is well chosen for drummer Haynes, who – at 87 – continues to superbly lead groups consisting of players young enough to be his grand children.  Blues Alley.   (202) 337-4141.

New York

– May 15 – 19. (Tues. – Sat.)  Joey DeFrancesco Trio with special guest George Coleman. It’s a great combination – the effervescent B-3 organ drive of DeFrancesco with the solid, blue-inflected saxophone of Coleman.   Birdland.    (212) 581-3080.

– May 16 – 19. (Wed. – Sat.)  Brian McKnight and the Duke Ellington Orchestra. The rich, golden voice of McKnight surrounded by the incomparable Ellington Orchestra timbres – should make for a great musical evening.  McKnight’s  The Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

– May 17 – 20. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Gil Evans Centennial Project.  Directed by Ryan Truesdell.  A different Evans program will be presented on each night by a prime New York big band, reaching from Evans’ work for the Claude Thornhill Band to his own recordings in the ‘50s and ‘60s.  The Jazz Standard/red/index.html  (212) 576-2232.

London

– May 16 – 18. (Wed. – Fri.)  Al Di Meola World Sinfonia.  Always versatile, moving across stylistic areas with ease, guitarist Di Meola’s current group cruises affectingly through lush harmonies and stirring world rhythms.  Ronnie Scott’s.   020 7439 0747.

Lynne Arriale

Berlin

– May 16. (Wed.)  The Lynne Arriale Trio featuring Benny Golson.  Pianist Arriale and veteran composer and saxophonist Golson get together for some lively, cross-generational jazz.  A-Trane.    030 / 313 25 50.

Milan

– May 17 & 18. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin. Guitarist Ritenour and keyboardist/composer Grusin are long time musical companions, recording and playing together frequently over the yeas.  Hopefully they’ll offer some selections from their superb Two Worlds album. The Blue Note Milano.    02.69.01.68.88.


Picks of the Week: Jan. 4 – 8

January 3, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Jan. 4. (Wed.)  Kris Bowers.  22 year old pianist Bowers, a graduate student at Julliard, was the winner of the Thelonious Monk Piano Competition in 2011.)  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

Jon Mayer

– Jan. 5. (Thurs.)  Jon Mayer Quintet.  Veteran pianist Mayer, whose resume includes gigs with the likes of Chet Baker, Sarah Vaughan, John Coltrane and the Manhattan Transfer, leads the all-star assemblage of saxophonist Bob Sheppard, trumpeter Steve Huffsteter, bassist Chris Conner and drummer Roy McCurdy.  LAX Jazz Club in the Crowne Plaza Hotel.  (310) 258-1333.

– Jan. 5. (Thurs.  Alan Ferber Quartet.  Versatile trombonist/educator Ferber, a Down Beat poll winner, makes a rare Southland appearance.  He performs with pianist Josh Nelson, bassist Pat Senatore and his twin brother Mark Ferber on drums.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

Tierney Sutton

 

– Jan. 6. (Fri.)  The Tierney Sutton Band.  Together for nearly two decades, the Sutton Band, with Tierney’s rich-hued voice surrounded by an irresistible instrumental embrace, is one of the jazz world’s most musically appealing ensembles.  Expect to hear some selections from the TSB’s remarkable new album, American Road.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

 

 

– Jan. 7 & 8. (Sat. & Sun.)  Barbara Morrison.  Despite her recent medical difficulties, Morrison is courageously back in action, bringing insightful musical versatility to everything she sings. Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

San Rafael

– Jan. 5. (Thurs.)  Roberta Donnay Jazz Quartet.  Donnay’s stylish jazz vocalizing will be the opening entry in a newly established jazz policy at San Rafael’s sleek, 40ish night club.  George’s Nightclub.    (877) 568-2726.

Washington D.C.

– Jan 5 – 8.  (Thurs – Sun.)  Mose Allison. The sage of the bayou, always fun to hear, balances sardonic wisdom with an infectious rhythmic swing. Blues Alley.    (202) 337-4141.

New York

Cassandra Wilson

 

– Jan. 4 – 7. (Wed. – Sat.)  Cassandra Wilson. Grammy winner Wilson’s dark, seductive sound and intuitive way with a song are applied to material ranging from straight ahead jazz to pop, always delivered with fearless musicality.  The Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

 

 

– Jan. 4 – 8.  (Wed. – Sun.) Jimmy Owens: The Monk Project. Trumpeter Jimmy Owens takes on the challenging music of Thelonious Monk in the company of a world-class musical ensemble: trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, saxophonist Marcus Strickland, tuba and baritone saxophonist Howard Johnson, pianist Kenny Barron, bassist Kenny Davis, and drummer Winard HarperDizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.    (212) 258-9800.

– Jan. 4 – 8. (Wed. – Sun.)  Nicholas Payton.  Trumpeter Payton puts his far-reaching musical versatility on full display, leading his stellar quartet on Tues. – Thurs. as well as the Nicholas Payton Television Studio Orchestra on Fri. and Sat.    Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

Brad Mehldau

– Jan. 4 – 8. (Wed. – Sun.)  Brad Mehldau Trio.  Always musically compelling, regardless of the setting, pianist Mehldau kicks off the new year in the familiar creative environment of his trio, with Larry Grenadier, bass and Jeff Ballard, drums.  Village Vanguard.    9212) 255-4037.

– Jan. 5 & 6. )Thurs. & Fri.)  Tom Harrell Chamber Ensemble.  Veteran trumpeter Harrell leads an octet that supplements his jazz quintet with flute, violin and cello to explore the subtle connections between jazz, Debussy, Ravel and beyond. The Jazz Standard.    (212) 447-7733.

Tokyo

– Jan. 5 – 8. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Lalah Hathaway. Donny Hathaway’s “First Daughter of Soul” continues to produce chart-topping r & b and soul classics in the idiom of her gifted father.  The Blue Note Tokyo.    03. 5485. 0088.

Brad Mehldau photo by Tony Gieske


Picks of the Week: Oct. 11 – 16

October 11, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Oct. 11. (Tues.)  John Pisano’s Guitar Night.  It’s a Los Angeles jazz institution, combining veteran guitarist Pisano with some of the Southland’s (and the world’s) finest guitarists.  This week, he’s trading riffs with Pat Kelley.  Vitello’s.     (818) 769-0905.

– Oct. 11 – 13. (Tues. – Thurs.)  HIT Week.  Italian pop music in its many forms makes a three day stop in L.A.  And there’s a lot to hear.  On Tues. at Catalina Bar & Grill: Erica Mou and Nicola Conte.  Wed. at the El Rey: Apres la Classe and Caparezza.  Thurs. at The Key Club: Casino Royale and SubsonicaHIT Week in L.A. 

Daniela Mercury

– Oct. 13. (Thurs.)  Daniela Mercury.  One of Brazil’s true musical superstars, singer/dancer Mercury balances the creation of memorable hit records with live performances simmering with dynamic excitement. The Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-5857.

 

– Oct. 13 – 16. (Thurs. – Sat.)  James Carter. There isn’t a saxophone – from soprano to bass – that Carter can’t make music with.  And impressive music at that, ranging from driving bebop to irresistible blues, with all stops between.   Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

– Oct. 14. (Fri.)  Lesa Terry Quartet.  Dr. Lesa Terry is a jazz/classical violinist, educator, composer and scholar.  And when she gets on stage with her quartet, she brings it all together into a fascinating musical mélange.  Jazz at LACMA.   (323) 857-6000.

Barbara Morrison

– Oct. 14 & 15. (Fri. & Sat.)  Barbara Morrison.  Recovering from severe medical problems, Morrison – one of Southland jazz’s crown jewels – does what she does best: bring life and vigor to everything she sings.  She’ll be celebrating Steamer’s 17th anniversary.  Steamer’s.     (714) 871-8800.

– Oct. 15. (Fri.)  Bryan Ferry.  Roxy Music’s Ferry makes his first solo U.S. tour in a decade, celebrating the release of his current studio album, Olympia.  Expect to hear new songs from the album, as well as Ferry’s take on tunes by Tim Buckley and Traffic.  The Greek Theatre.    (323) 665-5857.

– Oct. 15 & 16. (Sat. & Sun.)  The Los Angeles Chamber OrchestraJeffrey Kahane conducts the LACO in an engaging program of music, featuring soprano Karina Gauvin performing works by Benjamin Britten.  The ensemble also plays Dvorak’s Nocturne in B Major and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3.  Sat. at the Alex Theatre.  Sun. at Royce Hall.  (213) 622-7001.  The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

San Francisco

– Oct. 11 & 12. (Tues. & Wed.)  Stanley Jordan Trio.  No one plays the guitar quite like Jordan, who taps the strings, producing sounds more pianistic than guitar-like.  And he does so with imagination and swing.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.    (415) 655-5600.

Steve Kuhn

– Oct. 13. (Thurs.)  Steve Kuhn.  Solo piano.  The list of names on Kuhn’s resume is a virtual history of the last fifty years of jazz.  Adept and creative in any style, he’s rarely heard in a solo setting.  So don’t miss this opportunity to hear his improvisational artistry in its most intimate form.  Yoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.

Seattle

– Oct. 11 & 12. (Tues. & Wed.)  Oregon.  Before world music was a genre, Oregon was blending elements from around the globe with jazz, producing one of the authentically original improvisational styles of the last four decades.  And they’re still at it.  Jazz Alley.    (206) 441-9729

Chicago

– Oct. 13 – 16. (Thurs. – Sun.) Robert Glasper Trio.  Pianist Glasper continues to draw young listeners by finding ways to explore straight ahead jazz from a contemporary perspective.  Jazz Showcase.   (312) 360-0234.

Washington, D.C.

– Oct. 13 – 16. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Jonathan Butler.  South African singer/songwriter/guitarist Butler has been delighting audiences with his sweet-sounding voice and energetic guitar work since the mid-‘80s.  Blues Alley.     (202) 337-4141.

New York

Pat Metheny

– Oct. 11 – 16. (Tues. – Sun.)  An Evening with Pat Metheny. Guitarist and musical innovator Metheny gets back to basics in a week of improvisational adventure, with bassist Larry Grenadier as his only companion.  The Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

– Oct. 11 – 16. (Tues. – Sun.)  Renee Rosnes.  Always a pleasure to hear, Rosnes’ dynamic piano work is in first rate company here, with the presence of vibist Steve Nelson, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Lewis NashDizzy’s Club Coca Cola.    (212) 258-9800.

– Oct. 13 – 16. (Thurs. – Sun.) Vinicius Cantuaria.  Brazilian guitarist Cantuaria started out as a percussionist, and it shows in the intensely passionate rhythms of his playing style.  The Jazz Standard.    (212) 576-2232.

– Oct. 15. (Sat.)  Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau Duo.  Saxophonist Redman and pianist Mehldau, two of the true jazz superstars of their generation, celebrate the 25th anniversary of the jazz program at the New School.  Tishman Auditorium.  (212) 229-54-88.

London

Cedar Walton

– Oct. 11 & 12. (Tues. & Wed.)  The Cedar Walton Quartet. Veteran jazz pianist Walton, now 77, has played with an iconic, all-star list of great jazz artists.  Listen to one set and you’ll understand why he’s been in such demand.   Ronnie Scott’s.    020 7439 0747

Paris

– Oct. 11. (Tues.)  The Billy Cobham Quartet. Drummer Cobham was one of the driving forces of jazz fusion, and he’s still going strong.  New Morning.   01 45 23 51 41.

Berlin

– Oct. 11 & 12. (Tues. & Wed.) Kurt Rosenwinkel’s Time Machine.  Guitarist Rosenwinkel expands his musical horizons with a band that features saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo, bassist Eric Revis, drummer Nasheet Waits and Rosenwinkel doubling on piano.  A-Trane.    030 / 313 25 20.

Tokyo

Oct. 14 – 16. (Fri. – Sun.)  Sophie Milman.  Young Russian/Canadian singer Milman has been successfully finding a prominent place for her intriguing style amid the currently crowded field of female jazz vocalists.  Blue Note Tokyo.    03-5485-0088.


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