Picks of the Weekend: Jan. 30 – Feb. 2

January 30, 2014

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Stanley Clarke

Stanley Clarke

– Jan. 30 – Feb. 1 (Thurs. – Sat.) Stanley Clarke Trio and the Harlem Quartet. Eclectic bassist and band leader Clarke blends his always-fascinating trio work with the unique sounds of the Harlem
Quartet. Catalina Bar & Grill (223) 466-2210.

– Jan. 30. (Thurs. Lauren Kinhan. A CD Release party for a young singer with a voice to remember. Vitello’s (818) 769-0905.

– Jan. 31. (Fri.) Billy Childs Electric Band. Pianist/composer Childs’ versatility runs the complete gamut of jazz genres. This time out, it’s all electric. The Blue Whale.  (213) 620-0908.

Hilary Hahn

Hilary Hahn

– Jan. 31. (Fri.) Hilary Hahn and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Russian conductor Andrey Boreyko leads violinist Hahn and the L.A. Phil in a program of Nordic music by Sibelius, Nielsen and Swedish composer Anders Hillborg. Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

– Jan. 31. (Fri.) Gina Saputo. A rising star if there ever was one, Saputo’s vocals are the product of a compelling young talent. Steamer’s.  (714) 871-8800.

Gary Foster

Gary Foster

– Feb. 1. (Sat.) Gary Foster Quartet. Saxophonist Foster has been one of L.A.’s prime first call players for years. Here, he’s in action fronting his own band. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc (310) 474-9400.

– Feb. 2. (Sun.) The Webb All-Stars. All-Stars is an appropriate title for a band featuring Doug Webb, saxophones, Mitch Forman, keyboards, John Ziegler, guitar, Jimmy Earl, bass, Danny Carey, drums. The Baked Potato.  (818) 980-1615.


Bill Frisell

Bill Frisell

– Jan. 30 – Feb. 2. (Thurs. – Sun.) Bill Frisell’s “Guitar in the Space Age.” Always on the crest of trying something new, Frisell’s latest effort features Greg Leisz, Tony Scherr and Kenny Wollesen. Jazz Alley,  (206) 441-9729.

Washington D.C.

– Jan. 29. (Wed.) Diane Marino. The warm and engaging voice of singer Marino offers a performance celebrating the relese of her latest CD, Loads of Love. Blues Alley.  (202) 337-4141.

New York City

John Abercrombie

John Abercrombie

– – Jan. 30 – Feb. 1. (Thurs. – Sat.) John Abercrombie Quartet. Guitarist Ambercrombie does a convincing job of blending fun, fusion and straight ahead bebop. The Jazz Standard.  (212) 447-7733.


– Jan. 30 – 31. (Thurs & Fri.) Dado Moroni: “The Legacy of John Coltrane.” An international all-star jazz ensemble commemmorates the incomparable music of the great John Coltrane. Featuring pianist Moroni from Italy, vibist Joe Locke from the U.S., tenor saxophonist Max Ionata and bassist Marco Panascia from Italy, and drummer Morten Lund from Denmark. Jazzhus Montmartre.  +45 31 72 34 94.


Billy Cobham

Billy Cobham

= Jan. 30 – Feb. 1. (Thurs. – Sat.) Billy Cobham Spectrum 40. Drummer Cobham’s crisply rhythmic Spectrum features the guitar work of Dean Brown, the keyboards of Gary Husband and the bass of Ric Fierabracci. Blue Note Milano.  +39 02 6901 6888.

Picks of the Week: July 30 – Aug 4

July 30, 2013

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Dr. John

Dr. John

– July 31. (Wed.)  Props to Pops: Dr. John’s Tribute to Louis Armstrong. An entertaining blend of old and new jazz, tinged with a New Orleans touch.  Featured guests include Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terence Blanchard, Arturo Sandoval and more.  The Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

– July 31. (Wed.)  Tom Ranier Trio.  Pianist Ranier takes a break from his busy studio work to showcase his impressive jazz skills.  He’ll be backed by Abe Laboriel, bass and Steve Schaeffer, drums.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

– Aug. 2. (Fri.)  Chicago, The Band. The Grammy winning, multi-platinum band from the ‘60s is going strong.  Expect to hear such hits as “Just You ‘n’ Me,” “25 Or 6 To 4,” “Saturday In The Park,” “You’re The Inspiration” and more.  The Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-5857.

– Aug. 2. (Fri.)  Tony Bennett.  Bennett’s in his ‘80s, but he is still one of the great performers, singing at the top of his game. Don’t miss this one. Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

– Aug. 2 & 3. (Fri. & Sat.)  Arturo Sandoval Big Band.  He plays magnificent trumpet, exciting percussion, impressive piano and sings, as well.  Hopefully he’ll be doing all that with his stellar big band. Catalina Bar & Grill.(223) 466-2210.

– Aug. 2 & 3. (Fri. & Sat.)  Julie Esposito.  The versatile Ms. Esposito takes a break from her attorney responsibilities to sing an autobiographical program of songs written in her lifetime.  The selections embrace pop, Broadway and contemporary jazz, from Sondheim to Nilsson and beyond.  The Gardenia.  (323) 467-7444.

– Aug. 3. (Sat.)  Diana Ross.  Like Tony Bennett, Ross – on the cusp of 70 — continues to sing superbly.  She, too, is an artist who should be heard at every opportunity.  Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

– Aug. 3. (Sat.)  Gary Foster Quartet.  Alto saxophonist Foster has been a first call player for decades.  But he’s also a jazz artist of the first rank. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

– Aug. 3. (Sat.) Trevor McShane.  Ssinger/songwriter McShane, aka Neville Johnson, is an attorney who has been pursuing his musical ambitions since the release of his first album in 2000.  Witz End.  (310) 395-4792.

– Aug. 3. (Sat.)  Gipsy Kings.  They’ve been developing their unique approach to new flamenco music, spiced with pop, salsa and rumba since the ‘70s. The Greek Theatre.    (323) 665-5857.

San Francisco

Cheryl Bentyne

Cheryl Bentyne

– Aug. 4. (Sun.)  Cheryl Bentyne Trio.  Back in action after some difficult medical problems, Bentyne displays her far-reaching musical skills with her own trio before heading back to her long-time gig with the Manhattan Transfer.  Yoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.


– Aug. 2 – 4. (Fri. – Sun.)  John Pizzarelli Quartet with Bucky Pizzarelli. Here’s a rare opportunity to hear talented father and son in action.  Dad Bucky has been a much-admired guitarist for decades; son John continues to follow in Dad’s footsteps, adding his own fine vocal skills to the mix.   Jazz Alley.    (206) 441-9729.

New York City

– July 30 – Aug. 3.  (Tues. – Sat.)  Pablo Ziegler’s “Tango Conexio with Special Guest Stefon Harris should result in the discovery of some intriguing connections between jazz and tango. Birdland.    (212) 581-3080.

– Aug. 1. (Thurs.)  Susan Werner. Singer/songwriter Werner applies her wry humor and passionate voice to a celebration of her new CD, Hayseed — a collection of songs dedicated to her parents, grandparents and great grandparents, paying tributes to farmers everywhere.  Joe’s Pub.  (212) 539-8778.


Joao Bosco

Joao Bosco

– Aug. 1. (Thurs.)  Joao Bosco.  Guitarist/composer Bosco’s playing has been described – with good cause – as among the most auspicious in Brazilian music.” Paris New Morning.    +33 1 45 23 51 41.


– Aug. 2 & 3. (Fri. & Sat.)  Kenny Barron and George Mraz.  It’s a rare and promising musical encounter between two of the jazz world’s most gifted, veteran artists.  They’re not together often, so don’t miss this one.  Jazzhus Montmartre.    +45 31 72 34 94.





– Aug 1 & 2. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Joyce. Singer/songwriter Joyce (who occasionally performs using her last name – Moreno – as well) has been pioneering the amiable linkages between jazz and Brazilian music since the late ‘60s.   Tokyo Blue Note.   +81 3-5485-0088.



..* * * * * * * *

Dr. John photo by Tony Gieske.

Arturo Sandoval photo by Bonnie Perkinson.

Cheryl Bentyne photo by Faith Frenz.

Live Jazz: The Gary Foster Quartet at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.

June 10, 2012

By Don Heckman

It’s always a good night at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. when the club’s Music Director, bassist Pat Senatore, books some of L.A.’s finest players for a laid-back, quasi-jam session performance.  On Friday night, it was a quartet led by alto saxophonist/flutist Gary Foster, with pianist Tom Ranier, drummer Ramon Banda and Senatore.  In two sets of far-ranging tunes, they affirmed – as happens so often at Vibrato – the skill and imagination that courses through the Southland’s impressive community of resident jazz artists.

Gary Foster

Foster will be the first to acknowledge that his playing contains traces of sound and substance influenced by his close friend and occasional musical companion, Lee Konitz.  But what he does with those qualities is completely his own – a style rich with melody, even in briskly swinging up-tempos, enhanced by articulate, always intriguing rhythmic phrasing.

Ranier’s style, equally expressive, underscored by his classical roots – was the perfect creative counter for Foster, made even more empathic by the fact that Ranier is also a saxophonist and clarinetist in his own right.

The program of material, seemingly selected on the fly, ranged from familiar Songbook standards to a few jazz classics (many of which were equally indebted to chord changes from standards).  The Johnny Mercer/Jimmy Van Heusen classic “I Thought About You” was the opener, a perfect vehicle for Foster to demonstrate his warm tone and lyrical phrasing.  Other, similarly memorable ballads followed: Tadd Dameron’s “If You Could See Me Now”; Heusen and Johnny Burke’s “It Could Happen To You”; and a lovely bossa nova from Clare Fischer, featuring Foster’s soaring flute lines.

Faster lines were delivered with crisp, enthusiastic drive, underscored by Senatore’s solid, in-the-pocket bass lines and Banda’s percussive enthusiasm.  Among the most memorable: Ranier and Foster motoring in unison through a fast-fingered Konitz-Marsh line based on the chord changes of “Out Of Nowhere”; a Tadd Dameron bebop classic – “Hot House” – based on the changes of “What Is This Thing Called Love?”

A well balanced program, in other words, performed by a quartet of players thoroughly capable of bringing it to full musical life.  And fully characteristic of the sort of first rate jazz that can be found on almost any given night at Vibrato.  Now, if we could just persuade the crowd at the bar to pay as much attention to the music as they do to each other…

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.


– 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


– 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.


– 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.

Picks of the Week: July 5 – 10

July 5, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Ernie Andrews

– July 6. (Wed.)  The Ernie Andrews Quartet. The stylish, versatile Andrews – as convincing with a ballad standard as he is with the blues — performs with the bebop-driven alto saxophone of Richie Cole, and the stellar rhythm section of Art Hllary, piano, Richard Simon, bass and Ralph Penland, drums.  “Sunset Jazz at Newport.”   The Rose Garden of the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel and Spa.  (949) 759-5003.

– July 6. (Wed.)  Chieli Minucci.  Guitarist/composer/producer divides his time between his Grammy nominated contemporary jazz group Special EFX and his busy schedule as an A-list sideman and composer for television and film.  He makes his first Special EFX appearance at the Baked Potato with special guest, keyboardist Lao TizerBaked Potato.    (818) 980-1615.

– July 6. (Wed.)  Quattro.  With four skilled player/singers – Giovanna Clayton, cello, Lisa Dondlinger, violin, Kayta Matsuno, guitar and Jorge Villanueva, percussion – and an unusual instrumentation, Quattro is all set to produce an evening of fascinating sounds. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

– July 7. (Thurs.)  The Fred Horn Quintet“A Tribute to Horace Silver.”  The inimitable Brick Wahl describes saxophonist Horn’s Silver tribute with a single, laudatory word: Cool.  And Brick, as usual, is right on target.  LAX Jazz Club in the Crowne Plaza LAX Hotel.    (310) 642-7500.

– July 7. (Thurs.) Bobbi Page & Dream Street.  Singer Page receives beautifully textured support from the lush timbres and subtle swing of Dream Street.  It’s a great combination.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

– July 8. (Fri.)  The 18th Annual Brazilian Summer Festival.  Call it Carnaval in the Summertime.  A celebration of the irresistible rhythms of Brazil — samba, frevo, bossa nova, batucada.  Headlining the festivities — Grammy winner Diogo Nogueira, the singing offspring of a family of samba artists.  Also on the program, the dynamic music of Chalo Eduaro’s “Brazilian Beat” band and the shimmering costumes and energetic choreography of the Brazilian Nites Samba Dancers.  A Brazilian Nites production at the Roxy Theatre.  (818) 566-1111.

– July 8 & 9. (Fri. & Sat.)  Steely Dan.  The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famers perform two separate, but equally compelling programs.  On Friday night they perform Aja and their greatest hits.  On Saturday, a fan-voted set list.  Greek Theatre.  Special guest Sam Yahel.    (323) 665-5857.

Nellie McKay

– July 9. (Sat.)  Nellie McKay.  The seemingly limitless talents of McKay – singer, pianist, songwriter, actress, satirist and more – are currently focused on an inventive musical reconstruction of the 1958 film, I Want To Live. Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

– July 9. (Sat.)  Gary Foster/Alan Broadbent Quartet. It’s a combination that’s guaranteed to produce jazz at its finest.  Foster’s saxophone playing and Broadbent’s piano come from the same imaginative perspective.  And, with Broadbent planning to move to New York, he should be heard at every opportunity.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

– July 9 & 10. (Sat. & Sun.)  The Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles“Totally: Our ‘80s Show”  The vocally adept, musically eclectic singers of the GMCLA call up plenty of memories with a program of songs by Cindy Lauper, Michael Jackson,  Depeche Mode, Pat Benatar and more.   The Avalon Hollywood.    (424) 239-6514.

San Francisco

– July 8 – 10 (Fri. –Sun.)  Michael Franks. It’s been more than three decades since Franks’ “Popsicle Toes” and “Lady Wants To Know” announced the arrival of a skilled new singer/songwriter witj a distinct jazz orientation.  And he’s still going strong. Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

New York

– July 5. (Tues.)  Leni Stern.  Guitarist Stern showcases her fascination with African rhythms with an ensemble that comfortably crosses the boundaries between jazz and Africa.  55 Bar.   (212) 929-9883.

Carmen Lundy

– July 8 – 10.  (Fri. – Sun.)  Carmen Lundy.  The many musical gifts of Lundy have been apparent for years.  But she’s never put them quite as prominently up front as she does on her latest album, Solamente, on which she plays all the instruments, sings all the songs and has written most of the music.  She is truly one of a kind. The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.


– July 7 – 10. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Mose Allison. The bayou philosopher manages to sneak a bit of home grown wisdom into most of his songs.  And he does so with memorable melodies, buoyant swing and an ever present sense of humor.  Jazz Alley.  (206) 441-9729.  (206) 441-9729.


– July 7 – 10. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Judy Roberts Trio.  Chicago’s favorite female jazz singer/pianist  gets together with frequent musical companion, saxophonist/flutist Greg FishmanJazz Showcase  (312) 360-0234.


Jeff Lorber

– July 6. (Wed.)  Jeff Lorber Fusion. Keyboardist Lorber’s pioneering Fusion group of the ‘70s and ’80 set the pattern for many of the contemporary jazz groups to follow.  But none did it any better than the music Lorber has produced, then and now.  Ronnie Scott’s  020 7439 0747.


– July 6 & 7. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Bitches Brew Beyond.   Trumpeter Wallace Roney’s mastery of the Miles Davis trumpet style makes him the ideal candidate for this re-imagining of the classic Bitches Brew material.  Further enhancing the authenticity, Vince Wilburn, Jr. (Davis’ nephew) is in the drum chair.   New Morning. 


– July 8 – 10. )Fri. – Sun.)  Bob James Trio.  Keyboardist James takes a break from his heavy schedule with Fourplay to dig into a straight ahead, piano jazz trio set.  He’ll also feature bassist Shadu ShahBlue Note Tokyo.  03 5485 0088.

Picks of the Week: April 5 – 10

April 4, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Junko Onishi

– April 5. (Tues.)  Junko Onishi Trio.  Japanese pianist Onishi confirms her return to jazz action last year after a performance break of nearly a decade.  She kicks off her American tour tonight with the backing of the sterling rhythm team of bassist Dwayne Burno and drummer Gregory Hutchinson.   Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323)466-2210  (Also at Yoshi’s Oakland on April 6.)

– April 5. (Tues.)  Ostad Abbos Kosimov.  Traditional Uzbek and Tajik Percussion Music and Dance. Percussionist Kosimov is one of the world’s masters of the doyra frame drum.  He is joined by the CalArts Persian and World Music ensembles, as well as members of his own Abbos Ensemble in an exploration of the music of Uzbekistan.  Tara Pandeya adds the sensual movements of Central Asian dance.  REDCAT (213) 237-2800.

– April 5. (Tues.)  Lorenzo Lamas.  You may remember him as Jane Wyman’s evil stepson in Falcon Crest. But Lamas (yes, from that family) is also an effective musical purveyor of the romantic side of cabaret.  Vibrato Grill Jazz… (310) 474-9400. 

Kenny Burrell

– April 6. (Wed.) Kenny Burrell Jazz Heritage All Stars.  For once, the label “All-Stars” has real significance.  Veteran guitarist/educator Burrell puts it all together with trumpter (and also educator) Bobby Rodriguez, saxophonist Justo Almario, drummer Clayton Cameron and more.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

– April 6. (Wed.)  The Kronos Quartet. The creatively eclectic, Grammy winning string quartet celebrates composer Steve Reich’s 75th birthday with the performance of a newly commissioned work.   Segerstrom Center for the Arts.   (714) 556-2787.

Salif Keita

– April 6. (Wed.)  Salif Keita. The voice of Keita, with its soaring tones, penetrating sound and inspiring rhythms, is one of the great glories of African popular music.  The Conga Room.  (213) 745-0162.

– April 6. (Wed.) Blue Lou Marini.  Veteran New York saxophonist Marini makes one of his rare West Coast appearances, performing with trumpeter Walt Fowler, pianist John Campbell, bassist Chuck Berghofer, drummer Peter Erskine and special guests.  Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

– April 7. (Thurs.)  Big Willie’s Burlesque.  Busy drummer Willie McNeil’s Quartet lays down some classic backbeat sounds to inspire the irresistible moves of dancer Carolina Cerisola.   They call it “old school burlesque with a cutting edge, Latin, new school vibe.”   The Edison Downtown.  (213) 613-0000.

– April 7. (Thurs.) V. R. Smith Sextet.  It’s a Smith Family Night.  With vocalist V.R. Smith backed by the band of her husband, bassist Putter Smith with Gary Foster alto saxophone, Chuck Manning, tenor saxophone, Jim Szilagyi, piano and Tim Pleasant, drums.  Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

– April 7 – 10. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Rachelle Ferrell.  Blessed with one of the most impressive voices in the jazz vocal world, Ferrell is also a uniquely appealing song stylist.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  .

Arlo Guthrie

– April 8. (Fri.)  Arlo Guthrie and Friends.  Folk music patriarch returns to UCLA, this time with his “Journey On” tour, featuring his son, Abe Guthrie and the folk-rock trio The Burns SistersUCLA Live.  Royce Hall. (310) 825-2101.

– April 9. (Sat.)  Jazz Fundraiser for Japan.  Vitello’s April Williams has assembled an impressive collection of the Southland’s finest jazz artists for a 12 hour fundraiser for Japan.  Among the participants: Alan Pasqua, Peter Erskine, Bob Mintzer, Darek Oles, Alex Acuna, the Wayne Bergeron Big Band, Denise Donatelli, Joe La Barbera, Larry Koonse, Tom Warrington, Bob Sheppard and many more.  11 a.m. to 11 p.m.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

– April 9. (Sat.) Plas Johnson.  Although he’s been a vital member of the Southland jazz community for decades, Johnson is best known for his memorable solo work on “The Pink Panther” theme.  But he’s got a lot more than that to offer.  He’ll be playing with pianist Tom Ranier, bassist John Giannelli and drummer Fritz WiseGiannelli Square.  (818) 772-1722.

– April 9. (Sat. ) Wind Soloists of New York and Pedja Muzijevic. The superb wind instrumentalists of this much praised ensemble join with pianist Muzijevic to perform a dynamic program of works by Beethoven, Saint-Saens, Prokofiev and Poulenc.  And they’ll do so in the elegant Pompeian Room of the Doheny Mansion.  The Da Camera Society.  (213) 477-2929.

– April 10 (Sun.)  Greta Metassa.  Seattle-based singer Metassa is far less known than she should be.  In this rare Southland appearance, she’ll deliver her beautifully crafted vocals  in a plush, private mini concert hall in Beverly Hills.   Hopefully, she’ll include songs from her latest CD, I Wanna be Loved.” Backing her: the world class rhythm section of pianist Mike Garson, bassist Clipper Anderson and drummer Bob Leatherbarrow.  To book seats, click on Resonance Records.   Address will be given when the reservation is made.

San Francisco

– April 6. (Wed.)  Junko Onishi Trio.  Japanese pianist Onishi confirms her return to jazz action last year after a performance break of nearly a decade.  She’ll be backed by the sterling rhythm team of bassist Dwayne Burno and drummer Gregory HutchinsonYoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.

Madeleine Peyroux

– April 8. (Fri.)  Madeleine Peyroux.  Moving beyond the Billie Holiday musical frame that had narrowed her music for too long, Peyroux is now finding her own way, as unique musical persona and an intriguing songwriter.  SF Jazz Spring Season.  Palace of Fine Arts Theatre.   (415) 398-5655.

– April 9. (Sat.)  Max Raabe and the Palast Orchester.  The music of the twenties and thirties comes vividly back to life in the hands of Raabe and his extraordinarily versatile musicians.  Always as musically provocative as they are entertaining, they’re one of a kind. SFJAzz Spring Season.  Paramount Theatre, Oakland. .

– April 10. (Sun.)  The Asaad Brothers Da Volta as Raizes” Offspring of a famouns musical family, the two guitar duo of the Asaad brothers play everything from Bach transcriptions and gypsy jazz to Brazilian samba and the music of the Middle East.  SFJAZZ Spring Season. Palace of Fine Arts Theatre.  (415) 398-5655.

New York

Toshiko Akiyoshi

– April 4 (Mon.) Fund Raising Concert For Japan. The New York jazz community steps up to play a concert in support of the beleaguered people of Japan. Toshiko Akiyoshi; Cecil Bridgewater; Sam Burtis; Jerry Dodgion; Roy Hargrove; Tom Harrell; Barry Harris; Fred Hersch; Rene Manning; Earl McIntyre; Jimmy Owens; Rufus Reid; Marvin Stamm; Lew Tabackin; Kenny Werner and many othersThe Village Vanguard.  (212) 255-4037.

– April 5 – 10. (Tues. – Sun.)  Toots Thielemans with Kenny Werner and Oscar Castro-Neves.  As if that weren’t enough, Werner will also do a set each night with his Quintet featuring Lionel Loueke and Miguel ZenonThe Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.

– April 8. (Fri.)  Rudresh Mahanthappa’s “Gama.” With David Fiuczynski, guitar, Francois Moutin, bass and Dan Weiss, drums.  Altoist Mahanthappa and Fiuczynski have been working together lately in Jack DeJohnette’s band.  Here they dip into some of the fascinating improvisational territory between jazz and Indian music.  Cornelia St. Café.  (212) 989-9319.

Picks of the Week: Mar. 22 – 27

March 21, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Lisa McClowry

– 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 Hallhttp://www.uclalive.org/calendar/event_detail.asp?id=111 (310) 825-2101.

Andre Watts

– 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.

Sarah Chang

– 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.

Leni Stern

– 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.

Oliver Mtukudzi

– Mar. 26. (Sat.)  Acoustic AfricaHabib 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 RosenthalThe Skylight Theatre. 3 p.m.   (702) 582-8587.

New York

– 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 WashingtonDizzy’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.

Jeff Lorber

– 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.

San Francisco

– 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.


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