Picks of the Week: April 10 – 15

April 10, 2012

By Don Heckman

 Los Angeles

Carol Welsman

– April 12. (Thurs.) Carol Welsman. Traveling the world is at the heart of singer/pianist Welsman’s engaging new CD, Journey. She celebrates its release with an evening’s sampling of the rich, emotionally far-reaching songs from the album. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

– April 11. (Wed.) Pacifica Quartet. The talented young, Grammy-winning players of the Pacifica Quartet take on a challenging, era-leaping program of quartets by Beethoven and Shostakovich. Royce Hall. A UCLA Live program.  (310) 825-2101.

– April 11. (Wed.) Oz Noy. The Israeli-born guitarist’s iconoclastic jazz view is enhanced by the presence of drummer Dave Weckl and bassist Darryl Jones. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

– April 11. (Wed.) Anthony Wilson . Versatile guitarist Wilson showcases his far-reaching skills in the second week of his four-performance, month long residency. Blue Whale.  (213) 620-0908.

– April 11. (Wed.) The Soweto Gospel Choir. South Africa’s inspirational, 26 voice vocal ensemble makes a return appearance at Disney in a performance rich with color, melody and jubilant energy. Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

– April 12. (Thurs.) Lisa Hilton. Pianist/composer Hilton’s new recording American Impressions, features her deeply considered, impressionistic compositions, inspired by everyday American life. Her stellar band includes saxophonist JD Allen, bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Nasheet Waits. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

Chris Botti

– April 12 & 13. (Thurs. & Fri.) Chris Botti. Trumpeter Botti, the best-selling instrumental jazz artist, and now a Los Angeles resident, takes a break from his virtually non-stop global touring for an Orange County appearance. Segerstrom Center for the Arts.  (714) 556-2787.

– April 13. (Fri.) Brian Auger Organ jazz trio. Veteran keyboardist Auger’s long career traces b.ack to his influential ’70s jazz-rock band, Oblivion Express. His current band features his son, Karma Auger, on drums with Dan Lutz on bass. Baked Potato.  (818) 980-1615.

– April 14. (Sat.) Chris Walden Quintet. Grammy-nominated composer/arranger/bandleader Walden takes a break from his studio activities to feature his trumpet and flugelhorn in a small group setting. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

– April 15 (Sun.) Seth McFarlane and the Ron Jones Orchestra. The creator of Family Guy steps into the vocal spotlight, backed by the swinging Ron Jones ensemble, to offer his take on the Sinatra/King Cole/Dean Martin song book. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

San Francisco

Benny Golson

– April 11 – 13. (Wed. – Fri.) Benny Golson Quintet featuring Nnenna Freelon. It’s a jazz pairing to remember – Golson’s hardy tenor saxophone and classic jazz tunes matched with Freelon’s scintillating way with a jazz vocal. The Rrazz Room.  (415) 394-1189.

– April 12. (Thurs.) Peggy Seeger. The offspring of a great American musical family – her siblings are Pete and Mike Seeger – Peggy is a compelling performer of American and European folk, while continuing the family’s activist traditions. Freight & Salvage.  (510) 644-2020.

– April. 13 – 15. (Fri. – Sun.) The Bad Plus. The adventurous Bad Plus players – pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer David King – continue their efforts to redefine the creative elements of the jazz piano trio. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.


– April 12 – 15. (Thus. – Sun.) Miguel Zenon. Winning a MacArthur “genius” award hasn’t slowed down Zenon’s creative advances as one of the finest jazz alto saxophonists of his generaion. Jazz Showcase.  (312) 360-0234.

 New York

– April 10 – 15. (Tues. – Sun.) Vijay Ayer Trio. Pianist/composer Ayer blends elements from his Indian background, his far-reaching compositional interests and his straight-ahead jazz skills into compelling musical results. No wonder he’s a critics’ favorite. Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

– April 11. (Wed.) Pilc-Bona-Hoenig. The full names of the members of this impressive trio are Michel Pilc (piano), Richard Bona (guitar) and Ari Hoenig (drums); together, they blend powerful individual skills into an innovative ensemble blend. 55 Bar. (212) 929-9883.


Gerald Clayton

– April 14. (Sat.) The Gerald Clayton Trio. Hearing his Dad, bassist John Clayton, and his uncle, saxophonist Jeff Clayton, when he was first discovering the wonders of jazz clearly had a significant impact on Gerald Clayton, who has rapidly established himself as a rising young star. The Regatta Bar.  (617) 395-7757.


– April 14. (Sat.) Halie Loren. Singer/songwriter Loren still isn’t as visible as her impressive talents deserve. But she clearly impressed iRoM reviewer Brian Arsenault. Click HERE to read his review of her new recording.  Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill. (514) 931-6808.


– April 10 – 12. (Tues. – Thurs.) Michel Legrand. The great French artist Legrand is an ultimate hyphenate, with a career reaching from film music and song writing to theatre, film and production. Add to that his always listenable jazz piano work. This is one of his rare club appearances – do whatever it takes to obtain a ticket. Ronnie Scott’s.,  020 7439 0747.


– April 12. (Sat.) Defne Sahin. Singer/songwriter Sahin, born in Berlin to Turkish parents, found her way into jazz as an expression of her quest for the open spaces of musical freedom. Her latest recording features songs based on the writing of Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet. A-Trane. 030 / 313 25 50.


– April 10 – 12 (Tues. – Thurs.) Jane Monheit and Ivan Lins. Could anyone ask for a more delightful musical partnership than this – the gorgeous timbres and intimate interpretive style of Monheit and the memorable songs and uniquely personal singing of Lins. They should take this show on the road in the U.S., too. Blue Note Tokyo. 03-5485-0088.

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Chris Botti photo by Tony Gieske.

Picks of the Week: Nov. 29 – Dec. 4

November 29, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles


– Nov. 30. (Wed.)  Sting. One of the iconic masters of popular song makes a rare Southland appearance as part of his extended, “Back To Bass” tour.   The  Wiltern.     (877) 686-5366.

– Nov. 30. (Wed.)   The Ron McCurdy Collective.  Trumpeter/educator McCurdy blends his soaring trumpet sounds with the lush harmonies of the four-voice Collective.  Catalina Bar *& Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

– Nov. 30 – Dec. 4. (Wed. – Sun.)  The Blue Man Group.  The blue-skinned, multi-media specialists blend comedy, music, technology into an evening of sheer audio-visual excitement.  Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.   (805) 449-2787.

– Dec. 1. (Thurs.)  Chris Walden Quintet.  Arranger/composer/conductor/trumpeter Walden, a true musical multi-hyphenate, takes a break from his large ensemble chores to lead a quintet of stellar L.A. players: featuring saxophonist Rob Lockhart, pianist Josh Nelson and bassist Pat Senatore. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

– Dec. 1 – 4. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Mike Stern Band.  Always an exciting, compelling player in his own right, guitarist Stern takes it up to an even higher level when he’s working – as he is here – in the company of players such as drummer Dave Weckl, bassist Richard Bona and saxophonist Bob Franceschini Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

Mike Melvoin

– Dec. 2. (Fri.).  A Celebration of 50 Years of the Music of Mike Melvoin. A much deserved tribute to pianist/composer/activist Melvoin – a vital figure in the jazz and music world and a supporter of aid for musicians and entertainers for decades.  Participants include pianist Mike Lang, singer David Basse, saxophonist Pete Christlieb, bassist Jim Hughart, drummer Ralph Penland and more. Culvers Club For Jazz.  6161 W. Centinela Ave.  Inside the Double Tree Hotel.  Presented by In-House Music.

– Dec. 2 (Fri.)  The Shanghai Quartet.  Together since the mid-‘80s, the highly praised Chinese string quartet performs the Mozart Quartet No. 17 (“The Hunt”) and Schubert’s Quartet No. 15 in the beautifully atmospheric setting of the Doheny Mansion.  A Da Camera Society “Chamber Music in Historic Sites” program.    (213) 477-2929.

– Dec. 2 (Fri.)  “Holiday Doo-Wop.”  An evening of sheer doo-wop nostalgia, featuring The Crystals, Johnny Tillotson, Kenny Vance & the Pianotones, and Cleve Duncan (from the Penguins).  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.   (562) 916-8501.

– Dec. 3. (Sat.) Holiday Wonders: Festival of Carols.  The Los Angeles Master Chorale.  Disney Hall.  It’s one of the great holiday musical blessings – a program of favorite Christmas carols, performed by one of the world’s finest vocal ensembles.  Disney Hall.    (323) 850-2000.

Jane Birkin

– Dec. 3. (Sat.)  “An Evening With Jane Birkin.”  The image of ‘60s mod style, singer/actress Jane Birkin had a long, passionate, professional and personal relationship with iconic French singer Serge Gainsbourg. Her performance recalls the drama of their connection and the impact it had upon the ‘60s and ‘70s.   Luckman Fine Arts Complex.   (323) 343-6600.

San Francisco

– Dec. 1 – 4.  (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra.  The rhythms will be provocative, and there’ll be a great desire to get up and salsa.  But Latin jazz great Palmieri also adds an irresistible seasoning of jazz to almost everything he plays.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.


Benny Green

– Dec. 1 – 4 (Thurs. – Sun.)  Benny Green Trio. Pianist Green has been carrying the banner for straight ahead, bebop-driven jazz in his dynamic playing since he was an emerging jazz star in the ‘80s.  And he’s still at it.   Jazz Showcase.   (312) 360-0234.

New York

– Dec. 1. (Thurs.) Shane Endsley and the Music Band.  Versatile trumpeter Endsley was a founder of the Grammy nominated band, Kneebody.  But his colorful resume includes gigs reaching from Ani DiFranco and Pearl Jam to Steve Coleman and Slavic Soul Party.  For this gig, he leads a group that includes pianist Uri Caine, bassist Harish Raghavan and drummer Justin Brown. Cornelia St. Café.   (212) 989-9319.


– Dec. 1. (Thurs.)  Jackson Browne.  Veteran rock singer/songwriter Browne takes up the cause of Occupy Wall St. with a live performance in Zuccotti Park at 1 p.m.  Also on the program — the California band Dawes.  Zuccotti Park at Liberty Plaza between 6th Ave. & Broadway.  Backpacks, camping gear and large bags are reportedly not permitted. 

– Dec. 1 – 4. (Thurs. – Sun.)  “Tango Meets Jazz Festival.”  For the 11th year in a row, the Festival explores the surprisingly compatible common ground between tango and jazz.  This time out, the featured performers are nuevo tango master Pablo Ziegler with his quartet, jazz vibraphonist Joe Locke and jazz violinist Regina CarterThe Jazz Standard.    (212) 576-2232.

– Dec. 2 & 3.  (Fri. & Sat.)  Tudo Isto E Fado (“All This Is Fado”). Like American blues, Argentine tango and Brazilian samba, the fado is deeply rooted in the emotional expressiveness of its native culture.  Here, in two extraordinary nights of music, every aspect of fado – from  historical to contemporary – is on full display.  Performers include: On Fri.: Lisboa Soul and Camane.  On Sat.: Deolinda and Amalia Hoje.   The Gilman Opera House at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.    (718) 636-4100.

– Dec. 4. (Sun.)  Bobby Avey Quartet. Winner of the Thelonious Monk Competition for Composition in 2011, pianist Avey is a certified emerging jazz star.  His impressive group includes MacArthur “genius” award winner, Miguel Zenon on saxophone, bassist Thomson Kneeland and drummer Marcus Gilmore. Cornelia St. Café.    (212) 989-9319.


Jeff Lorber

– Dec. 2 (Fri.)  Jeff Lorber Fusion.  Keyboardist Lorber’s original fusion band virtually defined the crossover styles that led to contemporary groove jazz, smooth jazz and more.  But Lorber’s music – past and present – has also always simmered with swinging jazz authenticity.  Expect the same, from a group that includes saxophonist Eric Marienthal, bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Gary Novak A-Trane.    030 / 313 25 50.


– Dec. 1 – 4. (Thurs. – Sun.)  David Sanborn.  Not only does alto saxophonist Sanborn have one of the most unique sounds in jazz, he also has one of the most influential.  Transforming the blues styles of Hank Crawford and David “Fathead” Newman, he’s been among the most imitated saxophonists of the past four decades.  The Blue Note Tokyo.   03-5485-0088.

Picks of the Week: Mar. 8 – 13.

March 7, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Corky Hale

– Mar. 8. (Tues.)  Corky Hale and Friends.  “I’m Glad There Is You.”  Pianist, harpist, singer and imaginative producer Hale assembles most of the cast of prime talent on her album I’m Glad There Is You. The impressive line up includes Sally Kellerman, Ariana Savalas, Tricia Tahara and Brenna Whitaker, backed by Jeff Lass and Jim DeJulioCatalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

– Mar. 8. (Tues.)  Chris Walden Big Band.  The Grammy nominated Walden Big Band play some of their leader’s newly-crafted, jazz-driven arrangements of classic film music.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400. 

– Mar. 9. (Wed.)  Jackson Browne.  Singer/songwriter Browne wrote some of the most memorable songs of the singer/songwriter era.  And he’s still performing them with the emotionally moving qualities they had several decades ago.  The Fred Kavli Theatre in the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.  (805) 449-2787.

– Mar. 10. (Thurs.)  Angela Carole Brown. Versatile singer Brown has done everything from voiceovers, movie cues and jingles to back up for artists such as Josh Groban.  Here’s a chance to hear her own estimable skills alive and up close. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

– Mar. 10. (Thurs.)  Ana Gazzola.  Brazilian born Gazzola is frequently seen as part of the duo (with Sonia Santos) Brasil Brazil.  This time out, singing and playing sax, she leads her own Brazilian jazz-tinged quartet.   Jazz at the LAX Jazz Club.  LAX Jazz Club at the Crown Plaza LAX.  (310) 258-1333.

Gustavo Dudamel

– Mar. 10 – 13. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Dudamel conducts Tchaikovsky.  The Los Angeles Philharmonic under Gustavo Dudamel performs three single movement works inspired by Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and The Tempest.  Preceding each work, selections form the plays will be read by Orlando Bloom, Malcolm McDowell, Matthew Rhys and Anika Noni Rose Disney Hall. (323) 850-2000.

– Mar. 11. (Fri.)  A Sixties Evening.  An evening overflowing with nostalgia for the irresistible music of a memorable decade.  Featured acts include Gary Lewis & the Playboys, as well as the lead singers with the Outsiders, the Buckinghams, the Archies and the CufflinksCerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 916-8501.

– Mar. 11. (Fri.)  Swing, Swing, Swing.  It’s a swing era evening packed with talent.  TV actor and singer James Darren headlines, along with Las Vegas entertainer/mujsician Pete Barbutti, the Gene Krupa Tribute Band and the Swingtime Dancers. The Fred Kavli Theatre in the Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.   (805) 449-2787.

Sheila Jordan

– Mar. 11 & 12. (Fri. & Sat.)  Sheila Jordan.  Here’s one of the special events of the year, featuring one of the jazz vocal art’s most incomparable performers in two different nights of music and memory.  On Fri. night Jordan will share her personal stories through song, while author/singer Ellen Johnson reads excerpts from Jordan’s upcoming biography Jazz Messages: The Sheila Jordan Story. On Sat. night she’ll perform a concert of the songs that have made her one of the classic jazz vocalists.  Pianist Alan Pasqua, bassist Darek Oles and drummer Peter Erskine back Jordan on both nights.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

– Mar. 11 – 13  (Fri. – Sun.)  Oleta Adams. Soulful singer Adams displays her lush sound, gospel-driven phrasing and intimate style in one of her too-infrequent Southland appearances.  Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

Bale Folclorico da Bahia

– Mar. 12. (Sat.)  Bale Folclorico da Bahia.  The colorfully garbed performers from Bahia make their Los Angeles debut with an evening of physically dynamic, erotically charged dances and passionately rhythmic music.  The featured work will be the U.S. premiere of Sacred Heritage.  Wilshire Ebell Theatre.  A Brazilian Nites production.   (818) 566-1111.

– Mar. 13. (Sun.) All Star Spring Jazz Fest.  Celebrate the approaching arrival of Spring with a mid-day jazz program honoring pianist Tom Garvin.  Also on the full bill of music: the Bill Holman Big Band, Sue Raney, Alan Broadbent, Tom Ranier, Bob Sheppard, Madeline Eastman and more.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

San Francisco

– Mar. 11 & 12. (Fri. & Sat.)  Albita.  Grammy and Emmy winning Cuban singer/actress Albita has been transfixing audiences since she arrived in the U.S. in the early ‘90s.  Most recently, she starred in the musical “The Mambo Kings,” but she is an electrifying night club performer, as well.Yoshi’s Oakland (510) 238-9200.

New York

Chris Potter

– Mar. 8. (Tues.)  The Potter Binney Group.  A pair of contemporary jazz’s most gifted saxophonists —  Chris Potter and David Binney — team up for an evening of stimulating musical interaction.  They’ll be backed by David Virelles, keyboards, Eivind Opsvik, bass and Dan Weiss, drums.  55 Bar.   (212) 989-9883.

– Mar. 8 – 13. (Tues. – Sun.)  Ann Hampton Callaway. Her lush sound, adept musicality and intimate storytelling abilities one of the contemporary jazz world’s finest – if not as acknowledged as she should be – singers.  She’s backed by pianist Bill Cunliffe, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Tim Horner Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.   (212) 258-9800.

– Mar. 10. (Thurs.) Alan Pierson and Alarm Will Sound. “1969.” The Beatles and composer Karlheinz Stockhausen never managed to fulfill their plan to get together for a joint concert in the ‘60s.  But here’s a staged event, with music and dialog, imagining what that encounter – along with the added presence of the music of Luciano Berio, Leonard Bernstein and others — might have sounded and looked like.  NY Premiere.  Zankel Hall (212) 247-7800.

Mose Allison

– Mar. 10 – 13. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Mose Allison Trio.  A true Mississippi original, singer/songwriter/pianist Allison has been combining the blues, the bayou and his own unique lyrical and musical imagination to jazz since the late ‘50s.  The Jazz Standard.  (212) 447-7733.

Live Jazz: The Chris Walden Band with Tierney Sutton at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.

September 9, 2010

By Tony Gieske

Waiting for the great Chris Walden band to begin its performance at Vibrato Tuesday, that old Louis Jordan classic “Coleslaw” kept going through my head.

Chris Walden

Down in Arkansas
They call it coleslaw…

It wasn’t because of anything on the dinner plates on the tables of the waiting listeners; you don’t order coleslaw in Vibrato, no sir! And it certainly didn’t apply to the work of the Walden band. When the last notes of  the much-honored leader’s concluding three movement symphony had quit sounding, you could be sure there was no coleslaw on anyone’s mind, least of all mine. It had all been super high-class stuff.

No, by the end I was thinking about Kurt Marti, to whom the symphony was dedicated. After the standards and originals marched by, adorned with devastating solos by cats like Ron King, the trumpet player, and Rob Lockart, the tenor man, and interspersed with silvery vocals by Tierney Sutton, I found Marti’s hedgehogs on my mind.

Why should I praise
the heart of the hedgehogs?

So wrote Marti, a renowned Swiss theologian of ordinarily elevated diction, in an uncharacteristic bit of lyric verse about why he wrote. Lyricists, the Reformation authority wrote, “are driven by pleasure or dismay, ambition or despair.. they write into an anonymous sphere….”

Tierney Sutton

As Tierney coolly and sweetly sang “Smile,” advising the Vibrato patrons to do so through their pain and sorrow,  I wondered if  Charlie Chaplin was driven by ambition or despair, and I doubted that his sphere was anonymous.

Me, I was driven by admiration for the far-reaching palette upon which the Hamburg-born Walden drew, not to mention the millions of  practice hours the players drew on to make it all effortlessly work.

Sometimes, as the flutes, muted trumpets or trombones and guitar blended, I thought of Claude Thornhill.   But then there’d be an intricate jump tune like “Moment’s Notice” that took me back to Boyd Raeburn. And you couldn’t help recalling Gunther Schuller’s Third Stream all night long, particularly in the ambitious three-parter “Film Noir,” another Marti dedication.

The heart of a woman, the heart of a man is larger
But they strictly refuse
To step into my poems

And that,  wrote Marti, is why he sticks with the hearts of  hedgehogs.  Me, I sing  of  coleslaw.

Photos by Tony Gieske.  To read and see more of Tony’s jazz essays and photos at his personal web site click HERE.

Picks of the Week: Sept. 7 – 12

September 7, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Tierney Sutton

– Sept. 7. (Tues.)  Chris Walden’s Big Band with Tierney Sutton.  The combination of Walden’s well-crafted arrangements, a band full of L.A.’s finest players, and the superb musicality of Sutton’s vocals should make for a memorable, entertaining  evening.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

– Sept. 9. (Thurs.) Music of the Dance. The Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Bramwell Tovey, explores music created for the dance stage, including Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. The evening’s special event features the Diavolo Dance Theatre in a newly commissioned work set to John Adams’ Fearful SymmetriesThe Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

– Sept. 9. (Thurs.)  Salaam Ensemble.   Music of the Near and Middle East is the specialty of the Salaam players, who bring authenticity to their rendering of selections from Persian, Arabic, Turkish and Armenian traditions.  Levitt Pavilion.  Free concert in MacArthur Park.  (213) 384-5701.

– Sept. 9. (Thurs.)  Phil Norman Tentet.  It’s West Coast cool jazz revisited in the contemporary setting of Norman’s stellar Tentet.  Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

– Sept. 9. (Thurs.)  Bruce Babad’s Jazz Cadre.  Alto saxophonist Babad, a first call sideman, steps into the spotlight as a leader, backed by Joe Bagg, piano, Dr. Joe Jewell, guitar, Roger Shew, bass, Matt Johnson, drums.  Steamers.  (714) 871-8800.

– Sept. 10. (Fri.) Sheryl Crow.   Nine-time Grammy award winner Crow leads a new band in a performance showcasing 100 Miles From Memphis, her new, eighth top-ten album.  Also on the bill, singer-songwriter Colbie CaillatThe Greek Theatre.   (323) 665-3125.

Maria de Barros

– Sept. 10. (Fri.)  Maria de Barros.  Although she’s often associated with the morna songs of Cape Verde, de Barros’ musical versatility and charismatic stage presence are the qualities of a world class performer.  Don’t miss this one – it’s one of the bargains of the week.  The Levitt Pavilion.  A free concert in MacArthur Park.   l (213) 384-5701.

– Sept. 10. (Fri.)  Janis Siegel. The Manhattan Transfer’s Siegel makes a rare, solo night club appearance.  Superb as an ensemble singer, she’s equally entrancing in her own unique musical persona. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

– Sept. 10. (Fri.)  Dave Pell & Med Flory Jazz Quintet. Two of the Southland’s finest veteran jazz saxophonists display their wares.  Expect a combination of musical fun and fireworks. The Backroom at Henri’s (818) 348-5582.

– Sept. 10. (Fri.)  Richie Cole & Alto Madness.  Bebop lives in Cole’s energized alto saxophone, backed by a sextet that somehow manages to produce the drive and the power of a big jazz band.  The Culver Club at the Radisson.   (310) 649-1776 ext. 4137.

Les McCann

– Sept. 10. (Fri.)  Les McCann with the Javon Jackson Quintet.  Iconic jazz pianist McCann receives the 2nd “LA Jazz Treasure” award. Hopefully he’ll also perform a few of his classics with the Jackson Quintet. LACMA.   (323) 857-6000.

– Sept. 10 & 11. (Fri. & Sat.)  Freda Payne.  She brings a stage to life no matter what she’s singing, but she’ll undoubtedly be even more vibrant when she gives her own musical spin to songs associated with Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  .

– Sept. 10 – 12. (Fri. – Sun.)  Pink Martini.  The Fireworks Finale of the 2010 Hollywood Bowl season features the eclectic stylings of Oregon’s entertaining Pink Martini.  Accompanied by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, conducted by Thomas Wilkins, the program will no doubt range from French chanson and Argentine Tango to meringue, bolero and Pink Martini’s own version of vintage lounge.  Also on the bill, singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright.   The Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.

– Sept. 11. (Sat.)  Don Preston Tribute Concert. A collection of adventurous players – from LA. And beyond – celebrate the life and music of keyboardist Preston.  Among the participants: Tony Levin, Roberto Miranda, Putter Smith, Bobby Bradford, Alex Cline, Bunk Gardener, Vinnie GoliaSouth Pasadena Music Center and Conservatory.  (626) 403-2300.  

– Sept. 12. (Sun.)  Jacqui Naylor.  Her engaging vocals slip and slide easily across boundaries, bringing imagination and emotion to jazz, pop, folk and all stops in between.    Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

– Sept. 12. (Sun.)  Opera & Broadway Gala“Music of the Night.” It’ll be a grand banquet of songs, from favorite arias to some of the most celebrated musical theatre melodies.  Featuring soprano Demetra George and tenor Eduardo Villa with Music Director Frank Fetta. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

– Sept. 12. (Sun.)  5th Annual Brazilian Day in L.A.  A celebration of everything Brazilian – which is a lot, embracing art, dance, music, cuisine and much more.  Performers include the samba funk group Muamba, singer Renni Flores and the samba/pagode band Sambajah.  The gardens of the Page Museum.  Free.  5th Annual Brazil Day.

San Francisco

Issac Delgado

– Sept. 10 – 12 (Fri. – Sun.)  Issac Delgado with Freddy Cole.  It’s an unusual but intriguing combination: a live presentation of a new album from Cuba’s superstar Delgado recreating – with Cole’s aid – 12 Spanish songs originally sung by Nat “King” Cole.  Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

New York

– Sept. 7 – 11. (Tues. – Sat.)  Steve Kuhn, Dave Liebman, Steve Swallow, Billy Drummond.  Four great jazz veterans, all still at their peak performance levels, bringing the wisdom of experience to everything they play. Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

– Sept. 7 – 12. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Count Basie Orchestra .  The hits will just keep coming from this current installation of the Basie ensemble.  Their performance at the Hollywood Bowl a few weeks ago affirmed the vitality of their dedication to the classic Basie canon. ( Click HERE to see a review of that performance.)  Special guest, Ledisi, will fill in the vocal chores.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

Picks of the Week: August 3 – 9

August 3, 2009

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Aug. 4. (Tues.) Chuck Berghofer’s Midnight Jazz Band. Whenever bassist Berghofer steps into the leader’s role, you can count on the fact that he’ll be surrounded by world class players. And the Midnight band is no exception, with Gary Foster on alto sax, Tom Ranier on piano and Joe La Barbera on drums. Charlie O’s. 994-3068.

– Aug. 4. (Tues.) Jean Shy. Jazz, Blues, Gospel, Pop, Rock — Jean Shy does it all, investing every note she sings with her own inimitable sense of soul. Bar Melody. (310) 670-1994.


Gil Evans and Miles Davis

– Aug. 5. (Wed.) “Miles Davis/Gil Evans: Still Ahead.” Trumpeters Terence Blanchard and Nicholas Payton take on the difficult task of playing the Miles Davis roles in the now classic orchestrations created by Gil Evans for the recordings Porgy and Bess, Sketches of Spain and Miles Ahead. The all-star cast also includes drummer Jimmy Cobb, bassist Christian McBride, drummer Peter Erskine and saxophonist/tubaist Howard Johnson. Vince Mendoza conducts and Miles Evans (Gil Evan’s son) is the music director. The Hollywood Bowl. (310) 850-2000.

– Aug. 5. (Wed.) Frank Potenza. Guitarist, educator (at USC) and protege of Joe Pass, Potenza takes an evening away from the classroom to display his briskly swinging style in an organ trio setting with B-3 master Joe Bagg and drummer Ryan Doyle. They’ll be playing selections from the album Old, New, Borrowed & Blue. Steamers. (714) 871-8800.

– Aug. 5. (Wed.) John Proulx. Pianist/singer performs selections from his new CD, Baker’s Dozen: Remembering Chet Baker. Featuring trumpeter Ron Stout, bassist Chuck Berghofer and drummer Joe LaBarbera. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

– Aug. 6. (Thurs.) David Sanborn. Alto saxophonist Sanborn — whose sound and style impacted a generation of young saxophonists — makes a rare local club appearance in the Los Angeles suburb of Agoura Hills. Canyon Club. (805) 583-6700.

Estaire Godinez

Estaire Godinez

– Aug. 6. (Thurs.) Estaire Godinez. She plays wildly diverse percussion, she’s a passionate singer, and she brings dynamic electricity to every song she touches. All of which should make for an exciting night in Bel Air. Vibrato. (310) 474-9400

– Aug. 6. (Thurs.)) Wild Magnolias. Mardi Gras in August. The Magnolias combine roots New Orleans music with wildly colorful, on-stage flamboyance. The Skirball Center, (310) 440-4500

– August 7. (Fri..) Lyle Lovett and Madeleine Peyroux. The perfect match of a pair of popular music’s most idiosyncratic performers. Impossible to lock into any single genre, Lovett and Peyroux always offer compelling performances. The Greek Theatre. (Also at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Sun. Aug. 9.)

Langlang with Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock and Lang Lang

– Aug. 7 & 8. (Fri. & Sat.) Herbie Hancock and Lang Lang with the L.A. Philharmonic. Two titans of the contemporary piano world display their very different musical orientations. Let’s hope there’s an opportunity for them to jam together (if they can agree on what to play). The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

– Aug. 7 – 9. (Fri. – Sun.) 22nd Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival. Funk, fusion, crossover and jazz pop in the spotlight with Patti Austin, Norman Brown, David Sanborn, Ledisi, Les McCann, Hiroshima, Ramsey Lewis, Paul Brown, Marc Antoine and numerous others. The Long Beach Jazz Festival. Lagoon Park. http://www.longbeachjazzfestival.com. (562) 424-0013.

Tanya Tagaq

Tanya Tagaq

– Aug. 8. (Sat.) Tanya Tagaq. Tagaq, who has worked frequently with Bjork, is a Canadian Inuit who specializes in the difficult, but always fascinating to hear, throat-singing style. Based in Inuit traditions, she has transformed the style into a strikingly contemporary expression. Solo a cappella artist Hyperpotamus opens the bill. Grand Performances. (213) 687-2190

– Aug. 9. (Sun.) Chris Walden celebrates the 10th anniversary of his Big Band. Special guests include Carol Welsman, Tierney Sutton, Courtney Fortune and Christopher Cross. With possible Surprise guest appearances by Michael Bolton and David Foster. 8 p.m. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-22110.

– Aug. 9. (Sun.) The Lanny Morgan 6. Alto saxophonist Morgan leads his contemporary bebop band of trumpeter Bob Summers, tenor saxophonist Doug Webb, pianist Tom Ranier, bassist Chuck Berghofer and drummer Steve Schaeffer. The Lighthouse Café. (310) 376-9833.

– Aug. 9. (Sun.) “A Tale of Two Princes: Prince William “Buddy” Colette and Prince Charles Mingus.” The music of both composers will be performed, and guest artists will sit in to honor Buddy Colette’s 88th birthday. 11 a.m. brunch. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

San Francisco

– Aug. 3. (Mon.) Elin, Rising jazz star Elin has been drawing rave reviews from New York and Miami to Peru and the Canary Islands. Born in Sweden to Peruvian and Irish parents, her comfortable multi-culturalism brings a rich colorful diversity to her music. Brazilian vocalist. Opening for her — San Diego’s talented young vocalist Sacha Boutros. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200


Charlie Haden

– Aug. 7 – 9. (Fri. – Sun.) Charlie Haden leads his Quartet West in a celebation of his 72nd birthday weekend. With pianist Alan Broadbent, tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts and drummer Rodney Green. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.

San Jose

– Aug. 7 – 9. (Fri. – Sun.) The San Jose Jazz Festival. Featuring Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Wild Magnolias, Denise Donatelli, Pete Escovedo, Bill Henderson, Allen Toussaint, Winard Harper, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Lionel Loueke and dozens of others. All in all, there will be over a hundred concerts on nine stages throughout the three days of the Festival. With prices as low as $15 a day ($10 on Friday). with children 12 and under free, it is surely one of the best musical bargains of the summer, anywhere. San Jose Jazz Festival. (408) 288-7557.

New York

Tessa Souter

Tessa Souter

– Aug. 3. (Mon.) Tessa Souter. One of the few exceptional standouts in the crowded field of female jazz singers, Souter performs material from her about-to-be-released CD, Obsession. Her live performances are far too rare, so don’t miss this one. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592

– Aug. 4 – 6. (Tues. – Thurs.) Greg Osby, Playboy magazine’s “Jazz Artist of the Year,” leads his sextet — vocalist Sara Serpa, guitarist Nil Felder, pianist Frank LoCrasto, bassist Matt Brewer and drummer John Davis — in selections from the album, 9 Levels. The Village Vanguard. (212) 255-4037.

– Aug. 6 – 9. (Thurs. – Sun.) Ernestine Anderson Quartet. At 80-something, Anderson brings a lifetime of atmospheric insight to each phrase, making her performances into virtual master classes in the art of jazz singing. She’s backed by tenor saxophonist Houston Person, whose 30 plus years with Etta Jones taught him something about jazz singing, as well. Jazz Standard. (212) 576-2252.


CLaudia Acuna 2

Claudia Acuna

– Aug. 7. (Fri.) Claudia Acuna discovered jazz in her native Chile and — even though her last CD, En Este Momento, featured Spanish language songs — her jazz skills continue to grow, enhanced by the velvet sound of her voice. the rhythmic lift of her phrasing, and an unerring way with a lyric. RegattaBar. Cambridge. (617) 395-7757.

– Aug. 7. (Fri.) Leny Andrade. The always-swinging Brazilian jazz/bossa nova singer performs with the Cesar Camargo Mariano/Romero Lubambo guitar duo. Sculler’s. (617) 562-4111

Washington, D.C.

– Aug. 6 – 9. (Thurs,. – Sun.) Freddy Cole. There’s a trace of the same Cole family vocal timbre in his voice that was present in his brother Nat Cole. But Freddy is very much his own man, singing with the interpretive qualities of a jazz master. Blues Alley. (202)337-4141


Judy_Carmichael piano

Judy Carmichael

– Aug. 3 – 15. (Mon. – Sat.) (except for the 9th.) Judy Carmichael will be adding vocals to her versatile piano stylings in a performance celebrating her new CD, Come and Get It. The Boisdale of Belgravia. London.


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