By Don Heckman
– Mar. 22. (Tues.) Lisa McClowry. Eclectic singer McClowry –nominated for International Vocalist of the Year in the 2011 Wave Awards — ranges freely across pop, rock, jazz and folk boundary lines. She’ll be backed by a group that features guitarist/singer/Grammy winning songwriter Jim Peterik. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
– Mar. 22. (Tues.) Alfredo Rodriguez Trio. The brilliant young Cuban pianist, a protégé of Quincy Jones, returns to Vibrato a year after he made his first impressive debut at the Bel Air club. Click HERE to read an iRoM review of that performance. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.
– Mar. 22. (Tues.) Barry Manilow in Concert. Singer/pianist/songwriter Manilow, one of the icons of American pop, performs on a program supporting the work of the Reprise Theatre Company. Royce Hall. http://www.uclalive.org/calendar/event_detail.asp?id=111 (310) 825-2101.
– Mar. 23. (Wed.) Andre Watts. A prodigy at the age of nine, pianist Watts has matured into a gifted artist, especially adept at interpreting the dramatic piano repertoire of Franz Liszt. In this performance, he concentrates completely upon Liszt compositions. Performing a program of Liszt. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. (562) 916-8501.
– Mar. 23. (Wed.) Chuck Berghofer’s Midnight Jazz Band. Bergohofer could easily have included “All-Star” in the name of this stellar ensemble. With Berghofer, bass, Gary Foster, saxophones, Terry Trotter, piano, and Joe LaBarbera, drums, expect to hear imaginative jazz improvising at its best. Charlie O’s. (818) 994-3058.
– Mar. 24. (Thurs.) The Lori Bell Quartet. Flutist Bell leads her group in a celebration of pianist Dave MacKay’s birthday. They’re backed by the solid rhythm team of Bob Magnussen, bass and Paul Kreibich, drums. LAX Jazz Club at the Crown Plaza LAX. (310) 258-1333.
– Mar. 24 – 27. (Thurs. – Sun.) Christian McBride Quartet. The versatile, musically imaginative bassist makes one of his rare L.A. club appearances in the company of Steve Wilson, alto saxophone, Warren Wolf, vibes, Peter Martin, piano and Carl Allen, drums. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.
– Mar. 24 – 27. (Thurs. – Sun.) Kurt Masur, Sarah Chang and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Masur’s sturdy, dependable baton leads the L.A. Phil in a program of 19th century classics by Mendelssohn, Brahms and Dvorak. The gifted young violinist Sarah Chang performs the Brahms Violin Concerto. Disney Concert Hall. (213) 972-7211.
– Mar. 25. (Fri.) Michael Wolff Quartet. Pianist Wolff’s adventurous career resume includes a long run as the bandleader on the Arsenio Hall Show, a co-starring role with his two sons on The Naked Brothers television series and the leadership of his musically eclectic Impure Thoughts group. This time out, he displays his solid, straight ahead jazz talents in the solid company of Bob Sheppard, saxophones, John B. Williams, bass and Mike Clark, drums. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.
– Mar. 25. (Fri.) Tord Gustavsen Ensemble. Norwegian pianist Gustavsen, bassist Mats Eilertsen and drummer Jarle Vespestad illuminate the piano trio lineage reaching through Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett with a unique blend of European subtleties and classic improvisational drive. The Skirball Center. (310) 440-4500.
– Mar. 25. (Fri.) David Crosby and Graham Nash. The classic sounds of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young simmer with strikingly engaging authenticity in the still enchanting singing and playing of two iconic musical figures of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Long Beach Terrace Theatre. (562) 436-3636.
– Mar. 26. (Sat.) Jim Hall Quartet. The veteran guitarist celebrates his 80th birthday (a few months late) in a far too rare appearance in Los Angeles. He’ll be backed by a generation crossing ensemble: alto saxophonist Greg Osby, bassist Steve Laspina and drummer Joey Baron. A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast concert at Musicians Institute Concert Center. (310) 271-9039.
– Mar. 26. (Sat.) Leni Stern. Singer guitarist Stern has been described as “Marlene Dietrich borrowing Billie Holiday’s phrasing.” And that doesn’t begin to fully portray the far-reaching musical interests of Stern, who also brings a rich affection for African roots music to her own inventive vocal and instrumental explorations. The Blue Whale. (213) 620-0908.
– Mar. 26. (Sat.) Tom Peterson and Don Rader Quartet. Saxophonist Peterson and trumpeter Rader are first call players for every kind of jazz setting, from small groups to big bands. But here they step to the front of the stage to stretch out in their own musical setting. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.
– Mar. 26. (Sat.) Acoustic Africa. Habib Koite, Oliver Mtukudzi. Afel Bocoum. The return of Acoustic Africa in a second incarnation showcases the imaginative sounds of the guitar in African music. Koite, a superstar from Mali, Mtukudzi, the best-selling artist in Zimbabwe, and Bocoum, a Malian traditionalist perform with the companionship of a traditional African band. A UCLA Live concert at Royce Hall. (310) 825-2101.
– Mar. 27. (Sun.) “Awakening: Spring and Otherwise.” Singer Susan Krebs hosts an afternoon of music & song, poetry & spoken word. With Rich Eames, Jerry Kalaf, Ken Wild and special guests Chuck Manning, Cory O’Brien and projectionist Marc Rosenthal. The Skylight Theatre. 3 p.m. (702) 582-8587.
– May 22 – 27. (Tues. – Sun.) The Bill Charlap Trio. Scion of a musical family, pianist Charlap has taken his family’s creative torch and carried it into ever-fascinating new musical territories. He performs with Peter Washington and Kenny Washington. Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola. (212) 258-9800.
– May 22 – 27. (Tues. – Sun.) Charlie Haden’s Quartet West with Haden, bass, Ernie Watts, saxophones, Alan Broadbent, piano and Rodney Green, drums, celebrates its 25th anniversary, as well as the release of their new CD, Sophisticated Ladies. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.
– Mar. 23 & 24. (Wed. & Thurs.) Jeff Lorber Fusion. When keyboardist Lorber formed his group Fusion in the late seventies, he created a model that eventually led to contemporary jazz and smooth jazz. But Lorber himself has always retained his connection with the solid jazz skills at the heart of his music. Iridium. (212) 582-2121.
– Mar. 25. (Fri.) Jon Irabagon. Saxophonist Irabagon, winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition has been fully authenticating that achievement in the past two years, forging an impressive personal musical pathway. He performs in the demanding bass and drum format, backed by bassist John Hebert and drummer Mike Pride. Cornelia St. Café. (212) 989-9319.
– Mar. 27. (Sun.) Jazz Guitars Meet Hendrix. Jimmy Hendrix has always been an inspiration and a challenge to jazz guitarists. Here, a pair of guitarists deeply inspired by Hendrix — Sheryl Bailey and Vic Juris – take on the incendiary challenges of his music. They’re backed by Lincoln Goines, bass and Anthony Pinciotti, drums. 55 Bar. (212) 929-9883.
– Mar. 24. (Thurs.) “How Sweet the Sound” With Jane Siberry, Barbara Higbie and Linda Tillery. “Sweet” will only begin to describe the sounds, rhythms and emotions produced by this extraordinary trio of musicians: Siberry, the hit-making (“Calling All Angels”) singer/songwriter; Grammy-nominated pianist and long-time Windham Hill star Higbie; and Tillery, leader of the Cultural Heritage Choir, percussionist and a masterful blender of soul, blues, gospel and jazz. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.