Picks of the Week: Sept. 25 – 29

September 25, 2013

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Joe Pass

Joe Pass

– Sept. 25. (Wed.)  A Joe Pass Tribute.  The great jazz guitarist’s life is celebrated with a screening of the jazzumentary, A Not So Average Joe, followed by a live performance featuring Frank Potenza, John Pisano, Jim Hughart and Colin BaileyCatalina Bar & Grill.

– Sept. 26. (Thurs.) Pat Senatore Trio. Veteran bassist Senatore plays with a different band almost every night at Vibrato. This time he applies his versatility to the jazz trio setting with Josh Nelson, piano and Mark Ferber, drums. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

Isabel Rose

Isabel Rose

– Sept. 26. (Thurs.) Isabel Rose. Jazz/cabaret singer Rose has been compared to everyone from Peggy Lee to Ann-Margret and Bette Midler. She’ll introduce some new songs from her album Trouble in Paradise. The Mint.  323) 954-9400.

– Sept. 26 – 29. (Thurs. – Sun.) Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein and Bill Stewart. Expect a great jazz evening listening to this trio of world class players in action. Vitello’s.

– Sept. 27. (Fri.) Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell. Singer Harris and guitarist/songwriter Crowell first got together as musical associates in the mid-’70s. Here, they revive their long creative partnership. Valley Performing Arts Center. (818) 677-8800

– Sept. 28. (Sat.) Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette, Gary Peacock. They’re one of jazz history’s great ensembles, continuing to bring imaginative ideas to the classic piano jazz trio. Royce Hall.  (310) 825-0768.

Gerald Wilson

Gerald Wilson

– Sept. 29. (Sun.) The Gerald Wilson Orchestra. Composer/arranger/bandleader Wilson may be 95 years old, but he’s still going strong, still a masterful model of jazz creativity. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

– Sept. 29. (Sun.) Symphonic Jazz Orchestra Free Family Concert. The far-reaching skills of the SJO are on full display in a free concert aimed at all ages. The Carpenter Performing Arts Center.  (310) 876-8130.

 San Francisco

– Sept. 26 – 29. (Thurs. – Sun,) Regina Carter. Jazz violinist Carter performs a four day sequence of far ranging music. On Thurs. with Jenny Scheinman and Sara Caswell. On Fri. with the Pablo RZiegler Quartet. On Sat. with Kenny Barron. And on Sun. with Carla Cook & SFJAZZ High School All-Stars. SFJAZZ Miner Auditorium.  (866) 920-5299.


Ravi Coltrane

Ravi Coltrane

– Sept. 26 – 29. (Thurs. – Sun.) Ravi Coltrane Quartet. Following in the footsteps of his father – John Coltrane – saxophonist Ravi has gradually, and successfully, begun to establish his own independent creative style. Jazz Alley.  (312) 360-0234.

 New York City

– Sept. 25 – 29. (Wed. – Sun.) Chick Corea and the Vigil. After seasoning his new band in an international tour, Chick showcases it for American audiences. The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

– Sept. 26 – 29. (Thurs. – Sun.) Vinicius Cantuaria Quintet. Brazilian guitarist /singer Cantuaria started out as a percussionist, and his rhythmic skills continue to bring propulsive swing to his guitar work. The Jazz Standard. http://jazzstandard.net/red (212) 576-2232.


– Sept. 27 & 28. (Fri. & Sat,.) The Rebirth Brass Band. Thirty years after they were founded, New Orleans’ Rebirth Brass Band continues to sustain the musical memories of the classic jazz brass band style. Ronnie Scott’s+44 (0)20 7439 0747.


Patti Austin

Patti Austin

– Sept. 27. (Fri.) Patti Austin. A protege of Quincy Jones, who was her godfather, the musically eclectic Austin brings imaginative perspectives to whatever style she’s singing.  Blue Note Milano. +39 02 6901 6888.


– Sept. 28. (Sat.) Eddie Gomez Trio. Bassist Gomez, a prominent musical associate of Bill Evans in the ’60s and ’70s, sustains the piano jazz trio style on an international basis with Swedish pianist Stefan Karlsson and American drummer Billy Drummond. Jazzhus Montmartre.  +45 31 72 34 94.

* * * * * * * *


Alessandra Belloni’s Rhythm is the Cure Percussion Workshop

By Faith Frenz

Alessandra Belloni

Alessandra Belloni

Alessandra Belloni is an Italian shaman dancer, singer, performer and healer extraordinaire. This week, she’s in Los Angeles for one of her biannual visits. Among her various activities, she will share — by instruction and performance — her unique talent and understanding of the ancient rituals of the tarantella Spider Dance. Alessandra presents the chants and songs sung as devotion to the Black Madonna (tracing to the ancient rites for the Earth Goddess Cybele), an ancient female healing tradition which uses a powerful tambourine style combined with singing and dancing.

I had the pleasure of taking her brief workshop last week at the North Hollywood Remo Recreational Center, where she has her own line of signature series tambourines made by Remo. Alessandra is a small, intensely sensual and beautiful woman, devoted to her goal of sharing these ancient devotionals around the world for their healing gifts. She is a gifted teacher of a very challenging ritual which taps into the essence of femininity.

 Alessandra has a packed schedule here in Los Angeles with numerous opportunities to experience her passionate performance and healing energy. And I urge everyone who reads this to choose an opportunity to witness her up close and personal: 

– Sept. 27. (Fri.) Tarantata at the Goddess Temple Orange County.  (949)651-0564 or (714) 392-0558.

– Sept. 28 (Sat.) DAY OF THE DRUM, WATTS TOWERS FESTIVAL,11:30 a.m. Los Angeles Watts Towers.   213.847.4646

– Sept. 29. (Sun.)  Tarantata at Hollywood Feast of San Gennaro  12:00 p.m.

– Oct. 1. (Tues.) Rhythm is the Cure Percussion Workshop at CalArts.  (661) 255-1050

We will be doing an iRoM Q&A with Alessandra during her stay this week, so look for it in the next few days. There is so much to learn from this amazing woman.

For more information about Alessandra Belloni click HERE to check her website.


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.


– 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.



– 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.


– 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.


– 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.


– 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.


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.


– 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.

Katz of the Day: Reflections on Mountain Dew

March 9, 2012

By Michael Katz

The revelation that Stephen Colbert is really a folkie at heart wasn’t all that surprising, if you follow his show. Still, as a retired camp counselor, it was a kick to see him with Don Fleming, Emmylou Harris and Elvis Costello last night, listening to old reel to reel tape recordings from the collection of folklorist Alan Lomax. Being the possessor of innumerable Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary albums, I was well aware of Lomax and the roots of the music that extend back to Woody Guthrie and beyond. But when they returned from a commercial break to actually sing, it was an old Appalachian folk tune that was way up on the North Star Camp hit list of the 60’s and ‘70s: “Mountain Dew.” I won’t say that Emmylou and Elvis sang it in the same way that a bunch of kids from mostly well-to-do Jewish homes did around the campfire, but still:  Gimme some of that good old mountain dew, mountain dew, and them that refuse it are few (Are few!) You’ll feel no pain, while it drives you insane…

Okay, you get the picture.

Stephen Colbert

If I were to pick the three songs that we sang most from that genre, I would go with “Mountain Dew,” “Shanty Town” (It’s only a shanty, in old Shanty Town… The roof is so slanty, it touches the ground…) and “Goodnight Irene.” The latter, written by Leadbelly, became a sort of emblem for us in the mid-seventies, thanks to one particular counselor with a large collection of Woody Guthrie albums – I’ll just call him “Tom” — and to this day when I hear “Goodnight Irene” I still think of a couple hundred campers and counselors on the last night of camp, holding hands, rocking gently in the cool Wisconsin night.

So of course, when Colbert and friends came back from the last commercial break, they were singing “Goodnight Irene,” with Costello on the uke and Colbert along on guitar and vocals. You can hear the whole song:

Diana Krall

Now I have to admit I’m still a little sore at Elvis Costello for up and marrying Diana Krall, extinguishing a torch that I’d been carrying since I’d seen her on a Tuesday night at a half-empty Jazz Bakery in 1995, singing from her Only Trust Your Heart CD, long before anyone knew of her. I flashed forward to a night at Catalina’s in Hollywood, not too long after that. I’d come to see pianist Benny Green’s group. It was Ray Brown’s birthday, and he was in the crowd. The great bassist being one of Diana’s mentors, she had slipped in unannounced for the celebration. She was sitting alone at the bar for what seemed to be the longest time, and I tried to gather enough courage to walk over and introduce myself. If I had only known she would eventually fall for a guy who could sing all the verses of “Mountain Dew.”  And play “Goodnight Irene” on the ukulele. I could do that! (Well, not the ukulele part.)

Well, the rest is history. Diana and Elvis got married in a castle in England. I now envision them sitting in front of the hearth, on a foggy, windswept night, sipping imported moonshine and singing the chorus to Shanty Town: I’d give up a palace, if I were a king. It’s more than a palace, it’s my everything…

Okay, maybe not.

But I can still do all the verses to “MTA,” if anyone’s listening.

* * * * *

To read more reviews and posts by Michael Katz click HERE.

Click HERE to visit Michael Katz’s new personal blog, Katz of the Day.

Picks of the Week: Sept. 26 – Oct. 2

September 27, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Herbie Hancock

– Sept. 27. (Tuesday)  Opening Night Gala at Disney Hall.  The new season kicks off with a performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, performed by the stellar combination of Herbie Hancock, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.  Also on the program, An American in Paris and the Cuban Overture. Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

– Sept. 27. (Tuesday).  Barbara Morrison Benefit.  Another opportunity to help one of Southland jazz’s greatest jazz vocal treasures in her hour of need.  Morrison’s medical expenses – the result of surgery associated with diabetes – have escalated, and she needs support.  The program of performers is unannounced at the moment.  Check with the club for details.  Vibrato Jazz Grill…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

– Sept. 27. (Tues.)  Emmylou Harris and her Red Dirt Boys.  12-time Grammy winner Harris brings rich expressiveness to everything she sings – whether interpreting other songwriters’ works or her own emotionally illuminating songs.  Also on the program – special guests Patty Griffin and Buddy Miller. The Greek Theatre.

– Sept. 28. (Wed.)  Marilyn Scott.  Veteran singer Scott has moved easily across the boundaries between jazz and pop, creating expressive pleasures wherever she goes.  She performs with Jimmy Haslip, Mitch Forman, Gary Novak and Mike Miller.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

– Sept. 29. (Thurs.)  “Stormy Weather: The Lena Horne Project”  Mary Wilson of the Supremes applies her elegant vocal skills to songs associated with the legendary actress/singer,  James Gavin narrates material from his Horne biography, accompanied by rare audio and video clips.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast.  The Musicians Institute.  (310) 271-9039.

Ravi Shankar

– Sept. 29. (THurs.)  Ravi Shankar.  The pioneer of Indian classical music, Pandit Shankar has been – since the ‘50s – bringing the subtle, complex, but immensely engaging music and rhythms of ragas and talas to Western audiences.  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

– Sept. 29 – Oct. 1. (Thurs. – Sat.) Tierney Sutton Band. Note that the title is not “Tierney Sutton and her Band.”  Because Sutton’s long term relationship with pianist Christian Jacob, bassists Trey Henry and Kevin Axt and drummer Ray Brinker has been one of complete musical (and practical) togetherness.  The results show up in every expressive note the band plays (and Sutton sings).  The performance celebrates her new recording – American Road, a compelling tour through musical Americana.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

– Sept. 30. (Fri.)  Bill Cantos. He sings, and plays piano with the kind of subtle support that delights any one who works with him – especially singers. Add to that Cantos’ skill at crafting original songs with the sensitivity and rich lyricism of the Great American Songbook.  He’ll be in the company of his wife — singer/pianist Mari Falcone, bassist Hussain Jiffry and drummer Michael ShapiroVitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Esperanza Spalding

– Sept. 30. (Fri.)  Esperanza Spalding. “Chamber Music Society.”   Singer/bassist Spalding is the hottest property in jazz after her 2011 Grammy award for Best New Artist.  But there’s a depth of art in her musicality that reaches well beyond her current visibility.  Still in her twenties. Spalding’s career looks to be long and fulfilling – for her, for her listeners and for jazz.  The Orpheum Theatre.    (877) 677-4386.

– Sept. 30 – Oct. 2. (Fri. – Sun.)  The Angel City Jazz Festival.  On Friday: The Nick Mancini Trio with Otmaro Ruiz and the Edgar Castaneda Trio with Andrea Tierra at Zipper Hall in the Colburn School of Music.  On Saturday: The Pan Afrikan People’s Arkestra, Satoko Fujii & Natsuki Tamura, The Kandinsky Effect and Rudresh Mahanthappa & Samdhi at the Ford Amphitheatre.  On Sunday: For People in Sorrow – an Homage to Alex Cline, and the Roscoe Mitchell Trio at REDCAT.  The Angel City Jazz Festival.

– Oct. 1. (Sat.)  The Strawbs and the Zombies.  Original Zombies members Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone headline the 2011 incarnation of the sixties hit-makers.  The pop-rock Strawbs, who have passed through numerous editions since the sixties are also n the bill. The Canyon Club. (818) 879-5016.

– Oct. 2. (Sun.)  The New Directions Veterans Choir.  Made up of formerly homeless veterans of American military services, the Choir has appeared on America’s Got Talent, at the White House, on YouTube and numerous television shows.  Even more importantly, the members have found the choir to be a vehicle to help them find the help they need.  They are currently recording their first album, produced by veteran singer/arranger/a cappella expert Morgan Ames.    Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

San Francisco

James Carter

– Sept. 30 – Oct. 2. (Fri. – Sun.)  James Carter Organ Trio. Master of a full range of saxophones, Carter sets up in the blues driven environment of the classic jazz organ trio format. Yoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.


– Sept. 27 – 29. (Tues. – Thurs.)  James Farm.  Joshua Redman, Aaron Parks, Matt Penman, Eric Harland. Redman’s too modest to describe James Farm as an all-star ensemble, but that’s what it is – a quartet made up of four of the contemporary jazz world’s most musically adventurous artists.  Jazz Alley.     (206) 441-9729.


– Sept. 29 – Oct. 2. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Eric Reed. Pianist Reed spent some of his growing up years in L.A.  But, after Wynton Marsalis discovered him, while still a teen-ager, his career took off on a rising arc – everyone’s A-list piano player of choice. Jazz Showcase.    (312) 360-0234.

New York

– Sept. 27 – Oct. 1. (Tues. – Sat.)  The Music of Bud PowellEthan Iverson, piano, Tim Hagans, trumpet, Greg Osby, alto saxophone, Joey Baron, drums, Lonnie Plaxico, bass, perform the music of one of bebop’s Olympian figures.  Expect to hear such classics as “Tempus Fuget,” “Un Poco Loco,” “Bouncin’ With Bud” and more. Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

Daryl Sherman

– Sept. 27. (Tues.) Daryl Sherman.  Gifted singer/pianist Sherman brings wit, lyrical insights and musicality to everything she does.  This time she ushers in Rosh Hashanah with Cab Calloway’s “A Bee Gezindt” (“Abi Gezunt” ).  Don’t Tell Mama.      (212) 757-0788.

– Sept. 28 – Oct. 2. (Wed. – Sun.)  The Coca Cola Generations in Jazz Festival: Gerald Wilson and the Julliard Jazz Orchestra.  The Legacy Suite, with Anthony Wilson and Eric Otis.  Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.  (212) 258-9800.

– Oct. 2. (Sun.)  Creole Choir of Cuba.  Cuban only begins to describe this musical melting pot of singers/instrumentalists from the Camaguey.  Descendants of Haitians, they have created music rich with Cuban rhythms – the son and salsa – and Creole melodies, underscored by rich African chants and dance movements.  This is their first American tour.  Symphony Space.    (212) 864-5400.


– Sept. 30 – Oct. 1. (Fri. & Sat.)  Kenny Barron.  The lyrical, imaginative pianist has a resume reaching from Freddie Hubbard and Bobby Hutcherson to Stan Getz and Ella Fitzgerald.  But he’s best heard on his own, when his soaring melodies and pastel harmonies are front and center. Regatta Bar Jazz.    (617) 395-7757.


– Sept. 30 – Oct. 2.  Gunther Schuller. The full scope of composer/writer/educator/French horn player Schuller is hard to imagine.  His commentaries on jazz, classical music, ragtime and French horn technique have had a powerful influence throughout the music world.  His extensive activities (including several compositions that led the way during the Third Stream era) have earned him such recognitions as a Pulitzer Prize, a MacArthur “genius” award and acknowledgment as an NEA Jazz Master.  Schuller’s long weekend appearance at the University of Miami Frost School of Music includes: Friday: a lecture in Clarke Recital Hall; Sat: a concert featuring Schuller’s Concerto No. 1 for Horn; Sun. The Frost Chamber Players, with Schuller conducting his new composition Quintet for Horn and Strings  Gunther Schuller at the University of Miami.      (305) 284-4940.


Roberta Gambarini

– Sept. 27. (Tues.) Roberta Gambarini.  She may have been born in Italy, but Gambarini’s mastery of jazz singing stamps her as a world class original, regardless of origin.  Whether she’s finding the emotional heart of an American Songbook standard or scatting with the most fleet, swinging precision since the salad days of Ella Fitzgerald, she should be heard, at every opportunity.  Ronnie Scott’s.   020 7439 0747.


– Sept. 26 – Oct. 3. (Mon. – Mon.)  Natalie Cole.  Very much Nat “King” Cole’s daughter, Natalie Cole cruises the same eclectic musical waters, a convincing pop artist who has no difficulty dipping into the rhythms of jazz.  Blue Note Tokyo.    03-5485-0088.

Herbie Hancock photo by Faith Frenz.

Esperanza Spalding photo by Tony Gieske.

Picks of the Week: June 23 – 28

June 22, 2009

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles


Mundell Lowe

– June 23. (Tues.) John Pisano and Mundell Lowe. Always one of the Southland’s most pleasing jazz evenings, Pisano’s Guitar Night this week features a musical encounter with one of the masters of the art of jazz guitar. Spazio. (818) 728-8400.

– June 23. (Tues.) Yanni. One of the founders of the atmospheric, New Age piano style, Yanni — now wearing short hair and no mustache — is drawing devoted crowds with his new “Voices” tour. Nokia Theatre. (213) 763-6030.

– June 24. (Wed.) Emmylou Harris, Shawn Colvin, Patti Griffin, Buddy Miller. The show is billed as “Three Girls and Their Buddy,” and the title is right on target. Expect lots of engaging songs. The Greek Theatre.

– June 25. (Thurs.) Andy Garcia and the Cineson All Stars. Actor Garcia is never happier than when he’s jamming on the bongos with some world class Latin musicians – and the Cineson All Stars have more than a few. The Conga Room. (213) 749-0162.

Kenny Burrell

Kenny Burrell

– June 25. (Thurs.) Tom Warrington, Larry Koonse and Joe La Barbara. Class, musicality, inventiveness and swing – they’ll all be on the bill when this fine trio steps on stage. Upstairs at Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

– June 25 – 28. (Thurs. – Sun.) Kenny Burrell Quartet. Kenny would probably resist being described as a jazz icon, but that’s what he is. And when he takes a break from his teaching duties at UCLA to play a club gig, no one should miss the opportunity to hear him, still at the top of his form. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

– June 26. (Fri.) Steve Huffsteter. Trumpeter Huffsteter’s beautifully lyrical style keeps him on everyone’s A-list. His graceful lines will be backed by the able support of the Pat Sentore Trio. Vibrato. (310) 474-9400.

– June 26. (Fri.) Mark Winkler. The celebration of Winkler’s new CD, “Till I Get It Right” continues. But Winkler – as good a songwriter as he is – always likes to spread his musical net widely. He’ll reportedly be doing some Bobby Troup and Laura Nyro, and inside word has it that Janis Mann will join him on a song or two. The Gardenia. 7066 Santa Monica Blvd. (323) 467-7444.

– June 26. (Fri.) The Four Freshmen. Before there were the Beach Boys, before there were the Hi-Los, there were the Four Freshman, singing gorgeous harmonies on tunes such as “It’s a Blue World.” Sixty-one years after the group first got together, the personnel has changed. But the lush vocal sound remains the same. Culver Club in the Radisson Hotel Westside. (310) 649-1776.  Also at Steamers on Sunday, June 28.  (714) 871-8800.

– June 26. (Fri.) Aretha Franklin. The Queen of Soul makes her first appearance in 31 years at the The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

– June 27. (Sat.) ABBA the music and Super Diamond. The hits will just keep on coming from this pair of tribute bands — Waterloo doing ABBA, and Super Diamond singing the Neil Diamond songbook. The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

Julie Kelly

Julie Kelly

– June 28. (Sun.) Julie Kelly. The versatile, always entertaining Kelly applies her vocal stylings and her guitar to “A Night in Brazil,” with pianist Otmaro Ruiz, bassist Tom Warrington, drummer Devin Kelly and percussionist Walter Rodriguez. Charlie O’s.

San Francisco

– June 22 – 23. (Mon. & Tues.) “Go Left Fest: Where Creative Arts Collide” The inaugural event of a festival celebrating jazz adventurousness. With the extraordinary line up of Marshal Allen, Roswell Rudd, the Myra Melford/Mark Dressor Duo, Matthew Shipp, Joe Morris, Sunny Murray and more. Yoshi’s SanFrancisco.

– June 25 – 28. (Thurs. – Sun.) Pharoah Sanders Quartet with Zakir Hussain. A potentially fascinating encounter between two superb musical individualists. Yoshi’s San Francisco.

New York City

– June 23 – 27. (Tues. – Sat. ) John Pizzarelli and Pizza Party. I don’t know if they’ll be serving pizza, but there will be plenty of Pizzarelli talent on stage, led by the always musical, always witty John Pizzarelli – plus Dad Bucky Pizzarelli, brother Martin Pizzarelli, and wife Jessica Molaskey. Birdland. (212) 581-6500.

– June 23 – 28. (Tues. – Sun.) The 3 Cohens Sextet. Okay, so it’s a week for family jazz ensembles. And here’s another great one; clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen, saxophonist Yuval Cohen and trumpeter Avishai Cohen. With Aaron Goldberg, piano Matt Penman, bass, Greg Hutchinson, drums. The Village Vanguard. (212) 255-4037.


Mary Foster Conklin

– June 28 (Sun.) Mary Foster Conklin. She’s a jazz singer in cabaret disguise, her skills apparent in a new recording, “Blues For Breakfast: Remembering Matt Dennis.” Conklin appears accompanied only by guitarist Tony Romano, a setting guaranteed to give full rein to her vocal story telling. Nios Restaurant in the Muse Hotel. Also July 5, 12 and 19.


– June 27 – 28. (Sat. & Sun.) Friehofer’s Jazz Festival. There’s no better way to spend an early summer afternoon than on the lawn at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, enjoying the entertaining lineup Friehofer’s has assembled. Featured acts includ Patti Labelle, George Benson, Gary Burton Quartet featuring Pat Metheny, Jimmy Cobb’s So What Band with a Kind of Blue Tribute, a Time Out Tribute with Dave Brubeck, Kendra Shank, and SMV (with Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten). Saratoga Performing Arts Center. (518) 587-3330.

Picks of the Week: April 27 – May 3

April 27, 2009

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– April 28. (Tues.) The Trio: Terry Trotter, Peter Erskine, Chuck Berghofer. The label might seem a little prepossessive in some hands, but not with these guys, whose playing defines the notion of interactive musical intimacy. Charlie O’s. (818) 994-3058 http://www.charlieos.com.

– April 29. (Wed.) Mitch Forman Trio, with Darek Oles and Gary Novak. Forman and his associates offer a another approach to the piano trio, reaching into areas of free-flying expressionism. Spazio. (818) 728-8400. www.spazio.la/jazz.php

– April 29. (Wed.) Jon Mayer Trio. Mayer’s worked with just about everyone who values sterling piano backing. On his own, he’s even better, finding new riches in the treasure trove of post bebop jazz. Steamers. (714) 871-8800 http://www.steamersjazzcafe.com.

– April 29 – May 2. (Wed. – Sat.) Dave Valentin – Bill O’Connell A pair of always swinging, Latin jazzers present selections from their new CD, “Triple Play.” Jazz Bakery (310) 271-9039. www.jazzbakery.com.


Sonny Rollins

– April 30 (Thurs.) Sonny Rollins. The master at work. One of the remaining iconic figures of jazz, of course, but beyond that an improviser with an unparalleled capacity to stretch the limits of imaginative jazz invention. Samueli Theatre Orange County Performing Arts Center. http://www.ocpac.org.

– April 30. (Thurs.) Miles Mosley. Bassist Mosely continues his popular residency at the Edison, turning on the crowds with what he describes as “Cadillac Funk.” The Edison. (213) 613-0000. www.edisondowntown.com. (Also May 14 and May 28).

– April 30. (Thurs.) Charles Owens Quartet. Woodwind specialist Owens still hasn’t found a jazz style that he can’t master. Which makes for entertaining performances, no matter what he’s playing The Lighthouse Café. (310) 376-9833. www.thelighthousecafe.net


Chuck Loeb

– May 1 – 3. (Fri. – Sun.) The Chuck Loeb Trio w. Dave Weckl and Brian Bromberg. Contemporary crossover jazz from three of its masters. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210. www.catalinajazzclub.com.

– May 3. (Sun.) Celtic Spring. The Wood family band of Irish musicians range freely across the Celtic universe, offering selections from Ireland and Scotland to Cape Breton and Nova Scotia. Cerritos Center. (562) 467-8818 www.cerritoscenter.com

– May 3. (Sun.) Playboy Jazz Festival Free Community Concert. Johnny Polanco Y Su Conjunto Amistad, Maurice Spears and Bonesoir. The Playboy Festival kicks off its always entertaining series of free concerts with a sunny afternoon of piquant Latin jazz and briskly swinging, straight ahead trombone sounds. Expect to groove. The Beverly Hills Civic Center. 3 to 5 p.m. Free. (310) 450-1173. www.playboyjazz.com.

San Francisco


John Handy

May 3. (Sun.) Mingus Dynasty with special guest John Handy — a musical match-up not to be missed. SFJAZZ Festival. Palace of Fine Arts Theatre. San Francisco.

New York City

– April 27 (Mon.) Ari Hoenig Trio w. Jean-Michel Pilc and Francois Moutin. The combination of drummer Hoenig, pianist Pilc and bassist Moutin always ignites cutting edge jazz pyrotechnics. Small’s (212) 252-5091. http://www.smallsjazzclub.com

– April 28 – May 3. (Tues. – Sun.) Samba Jazz and the Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim. Duduka Da Fonseca, Helio Alves, Claudio Roditi, Maucha Adnet, Toninho Horta & special guest Eddie Gomez. With a line-up like this, it’s a fair bet that Jobim would have loved every minute. Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola. (212) 258-9595. www.jalc.org/dccc

– April 28 – May 3. (Tues. – Sun.) Barry Harris Trio with Ray Drummond and Leroy Williams. Bebop at its best; nobody does it better. The Village Vanguard. (212) 255-4037. www.villagevanguard.com.


Karrin Allyson

– April 29 – May 2. (Wed. – Sat.) Karrin Allyson. The always fascinating Allyson perfroms selections from her latest CD, “Imagina: Songs of Brazil.” Birdland. (212) 581-3080. www.birdlandjazz.com

New Orleans

April 27 – May 3. ( Mon. – Sun.) New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The line-up for this massive event speaks for itself. To mention only a few scheduled artists: Tony Bennett, Doc Watson, Bonnie Raitt, Esperanza Spalding, Randy Brecker, John Scofield, Nicholas Paytojn, Emmylou Harris, Dr. John, Bon Jovi, the Neville Brothers, Neil Young, and dozens of others.(504) 522-4786. www.nojazzfest.com


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 255 other followers