Picks of the Week: Oct. 4 – 9

October 3, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Patti Lupone

– Oct. 4. (Tues.) Patti Lupone. The versatile, two-time Tony Award winning artist presents “Gypsy in My Soul,” a set of songs illuminating her life on and off stage.  Royce Hall.    (310) 825-2101.

– Oct. 5 & 6. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Further (Phil Lesh and Bob Weir)  The spirit of the Grateful Dead still lives in the playing of Lesh and Weir.  Expect to hear familiar classics and experience an irresistible Grateful Dead jam.  Greek Theatre.    (323) 665-5857.

– Oct. 6. (Thurs.) Patty AscherBossa, Jazz ‘n’ Samba.  Sao Paulo’s Ascher lays it all out in the title of her approach to Brazilian music.  Richly experienced in both Brazilian music and jazz, she combines the two in her own uniquely appealing fashion.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

– Oct. 6. (Thurs.)  Trombone Shorty and Orleans Ave. Trombone Shorty (who also plays scintillating trumpet) has brought Hollywood Bowl crowds to their feet at Playboy Jazz Festivals.  Here’s a chance to experience that energy up close and personal.  The El Rey.    (323) 936-6400.

– Oct. 6. (Thurs.)  Fabiana Passoni. It’s a great night for Brazilian music in L.A.  Passoni has survived challenging health problems to establish a fascinating, utterly unique blend of Brazilian and American musical forms.   Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

– Oct. 7. (Fri.)  Tamela D’Amico with the Pat Longo Big Band.  Multi hyphenate D’Amico – a jazz singer, actress, director and producer – takes a break from her other activities to display her appealing interpretations of American songbook classics, backed by Longo’s stirring big band charts.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson

– Oct. 7. (Fri.)  Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson.  A pair of country music’s iconic figures get together for a rare and, no doubt, wonderful tour through their well known classics.  Greek Theatre.    (323) 665-5857.

– Oct. 7. (Fri.)  Kevin Mahogany.  At a time when male jazz singers have been in relatively short supply, Mahogany continues to apply his rich sound and easygoing swing to everything he sings.  Culver’s Club for JazzAt the Double Tree L.A. Westside Hotel.   (310) 649-1776 Ext. 4137.

– Oct. 7. (Fri.)  Amanda McBroom and Lee Lessack.  A classic night of cabaret, at its very best.  McBroom’s expressive storytelling finds the inner heart of everything she sings; Lessack adds appealing interpretations from his own, different, but appealing perspective.  Ford Amphitheatre.  (323) 461-3673.

– Oct. 9. (Sun.)  Josh Nelson & Pat Senatore Duo.  An intriguing cross generational encounter, between pianist Nelson’s vibrant, thoughtful style and Senatore’s richly mature foundation.  Call it an evening of deep musicality. Vibrato Jazz Grill…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

San Francisco

– Oct. 5. (Wed.)  Mingus Amungus.  Bay area-based Mingus Amungus continue to be one of the most effective celebrants of Charles Mingus’ music, bringing it to life in a way that would surely have pleased Mingus himself.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

Baaba Maal

– Oct. 5 & 6. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Baaba Maal.  Senegalese master Maal performs an unplugged and impromptu set of his music, after a discussion of his life and times with music journalist Chris Salewicz.  Yoshi’s Oakland.  /show/2112  (510) 238-9200.


– Oct. 6 – 9.  (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Family Stone.  Original members of Sly & the Family Stone revive some of the biggest hits of the seventies – “I Want To Take You Higher,” “Everyday People” and “Dance to the Music” among them.  Jazz Alley.  (206) 441-9729.


– Oct. 6 – 9. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Eric Alexander with the Harold Mabern Quartet. Hard-driving, intensely articulate saxophonist Alexander finds the right backing for his powerful style in pianist Mabern.  Jazz Showcase.    (312) 360-0234.

New York

– Oct. 4 – 9. (Tues. – Sun.) Italian Jazz Days.  The Anthony Ciacca Quintet. One of the highlights of a weeklong celebration of the prominent role Italian jazz musicians have played in the expansion of contemporary jazz.  With trumpeter Dominic Farinacci, saxophonist George Garzone, guitarist Steve Kirby and Special GuestsDizzy’s Club Coca Cola.    (212) 258-9800.

– Oct. 7 – 9. (Fri. – Sun.)  Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein, Bill Stewart. An All-Star Organ trio would be the proper label for this impressive group of young players, as they bring new delights to one of jazz’s classic instrumental formats.  Jazz Standard.    (212) 576-2232.

Washington D.C.

Roy Hargrove

– Oct. 5 – 9. (Wed. – Sun.)  The Roy Hargrove Quintet. Grammy-winning trumpeter Hargrove’s busy schedule reaches from his big band to solo outings.  And, especially, to his excursions across the length of contemporary jazz with his own quintet.  Blues Alley.   (202) 337-4141.


– Oct. 7 & 8. (Fri. & Sat.)  Robert Glasper. Pianist Glasper has established himself as a musical voice capable of reaching across genre boundaries to attract young audiences to jazz.  His current group features Derrick Hodge, bass, with Mark Colenburg, drums.  The Regatta Bar.    (617) 661-5000.


– Oct. 6. (Thurs.)  Pat Martino. Guitarist Martino had to literally learn to play his instrument again after a brain aneurysm in 1980.  Incredibly, he did so with astonishing success, thoroughly establishing himself as one of the principal creative voices among the large array of contemporary jazz guitarists.  New Morning.  01 45 23 51 41.


Carol Welsman

– Oct. 4. (Tues.)  Carol Welsman with Ken Peplowski and the Benny Goodman Orchestra. Pianist/singer Welsman is a superb jazz artist in her own right. Here, she takes a different role, performing many of Peggy Lee’s familiar Swing Era hits with the Goodman Orchestra.  Nakano Sun Plaza.   03 3388 2893.

– Oct. 6 – 8. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Tania Maria.  Grammy-nominated, Brazil-born singer/pianist Maria has been a dynamic figure in the crossover area between jazz and Brazilian music since the ‘70s.  And she’s still going strong.  Blue Note Tokyo.    03 5485 0088.

Picks of the Week: April 19 – 25

April 19, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Pat Metheny

– April 19. (Mon.)  Pat Metheny.  The ever-adventurous, all-star guitarist has put together a computerized, remote control ensemble that allows him to play all the instruments in his band. The Orchestrion TourDisney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

– April 19. (Mon.) Larry GoldingsOrgan Night.  The B-3 rules on Monday nights at Vitellos, and Goldings is the guy who takes it to the limit..  Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

– April 19. (Mon.)  The Ed Vodicka Big Band. Multi musical hyphenate Vodicka takes a night off from composing, arranging, conducting and producing to lead his own big jazz band.  Vocal chores will be handled by the versatile cabaret jazz singer, Marlene VerPlanck Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

– April 20. (Tues.)  Strunz and Farah. The guitar duo were among the first artists to fit into the emerging world music genre, via the musical encounters between Costa Rican Strunz and Iranian Farah.  Vibrato.   (310) 474-9400.

– April 20.  (Tues.)  RATT. The Southland’s own hard rock, glam metal band is back again, ready to release a new CD, Infestation, and a new video.  The Key Club.  (310) 274-5800.

– April 21. (Wed.)  Suezenne Fordham Jazz Trio.  Veteran pianist/composer Fordham continues to find creative potential in the 3rd Stream concept, blending classical and jazz into a unique musical entity.  Glendale Noon Concerts.  First Baptist Church of Glendale.   (818) 242-2113.

Regina Carter

– April 22.  (Thurs.)Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour.  The MJF’s own all-star jazz band – Kenny Barron, Regina Carter, Kurt Elling, Russell Malone, Johnathan Blake and Kiyoshi Kitagawa – display some of  the world class musicality that’s always present every September in Monterey.  UCLA Live. Royce Hall.    (310) 825-2101.   Also April 24 at Orange County Performing Arts Center .  (714) 556-2787.

– April 22. (Thurs.) Ana Moura. Portugal’s young, gifted fado singer has been bringing passionate, new perspective to the classic song form.  Skirball Center. g (310) 440-4500.

– April 22. (Thurs.)  Lizzy Williams Band.  The multi-talented singer/songwriter/actress performs with virtuoso guitarist David Williams, drummer Laura Bilobeau, bassist Chief and iRoM’s very own Devon “Doc” Wendell on harmonica.  The Green Room Lounge at the Viper Room.  (310) 358-1881.

– April 22 – 24. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Dick Gregory. Still one of the world’s great humorists, Gregory has an unerring eye and ear for detecting cant, pretentiousness, hubris and arrogance in public figures, nailing them with a sardonic phrase or an imaginative story. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

– April 23 & 24. (Fri. & Sat.)  World premiere of Dice Thrown, a contemporary opera composed by John King using aleatoric techniques pioneered by John Cage.  Musical direction by Marc LowensteinCalArts Walt Disney Modular Theatre.

– April 24. (Sat.)  Ron King. The versatile trumpeter, a mainstay with almost every big band in town, takes a break to display his chops as a fine jazz soloists.  Backing him — the John Heard TrioCharlie O’s. (919) 994-3058.

Benny Golson

– April 24. (Sat.)  Benny Golson. Tenor saxophonist Golson has composed some memorable jazz standards.  But he’s an equally convincing an improviser with a personal sound and an adventurous imagination.  Jazz Bakery Moveable Feast.  Grammy Museum Sound Stage.   (310) 271-9039.  He’s also at Anthology in San Diego on Friday (see below).

– April. 24. (Sat.)  Christine Ebersole. Tony Award-winning Broadway musical star Ebersole has had an equally stellar career in film, television and cabaret.  She brings all that, and more, to her far-ranging collection of songs and stories.   CSUN Performing Arts Center.  (818) 677-1200.

– April 25. (Sun.)  Sing! Sing! Sing! Remembering Jerome Kern. Judy Wolman’s entertaining Sunday singalong celebrates the richly diverse songbook by the legendary composer of Show Boat – and much, much more. The Victorian Mansion.  Sing! Sing! Sing! (310) 990-2405.

– April 25. (Sun.)  Shelly Berg – Greg Abate Quartet. Pianist Berg takes time off from his teaching and administrative duties at the University of Miami to get together with saxophonist Abate, bassist Darek Oles and drummer Peter Erskine in the intimate setting of a home in the Hollywood Hills.   A-Frame Jazz. (310) 659-9169.  By reservation only.

Gail Pettis

– April 25. (Sun.)  Gail Pettis.  An impressive new jazz singer from out of the Northwest is drawing a lot of attention.  And there’s no better place to hear her special way with a song than at the KJAZZ Sunday Champagne Brunch hosted by the inimitable Bubba Jackson at Twist Restaurant in the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.  (562) 985-2999.

San Diego

– April 23. (Fri.) Benny Golson.  The day before his gig in the Jazz Bakery’s Moveable Feast series, Golson brings his muscular tenor saxophone and memorable song book to Anthology in San Diego.   (619) 595-0300.

– April 24. (Sat.)  Ronnie Laws.  Smooth jazz comes alive with soul whenever Laws picks up his horn.  No wonder he’s had a long string of Top 40 albums and and singles.  Anthology San Diego.  (619) 595-0300.

San Francisco

James Moody

– April 22 – 25. (Thurs. – Sun.)  In the Mood For Moody: A Tribute to James Moody.  Moody’s been recovering from health problems and won’t be able to make this stellar tribute.  But there’ll be plenty of all stars to fill in the gaps: including Frank Wess, Joey DeFrancesco, Nnenna Freelon, Randy Brecker, Jon Faddis and others.  Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

– April 25. (Sun.)  Charles Lloyd New QuartetTale of a Cloud.  Lloyd always surrounds himself with extraordinary players, and his New Quartet is no exception, eoyj Jason Moran, piano, Reuben Rogers, bass and Eric Harland, drums.  SFJAZZ at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre.  (866) 920-5299.

New York

-April 20 – 21. (Tues. & Wed.) Rudresh Mahanthappa and Bunky Green. A pair of alto saxophonists from different generations and different styles get together.  Expect to see and hear musical sparks.  Jazz Standard.   (212) 576-2232.

Geri Allen

– April 20 – 25. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Geri Allen Quartet.  The superb, and too little acknowledged pianist challenges her skills by leading a quartet overflowing with talent and imagination: Ravi Coltrane, saxophones, Joe Sanders, bass, Jeff “Tain” Watts, drumsVillage Vanguard.   (212) 255-4037.

April 20 – 25. (Tues. – Sun.) Michel Camilo Trio.  With Charles Flores, bass, Cliff Almond, drums.  The Blue Note.  Pianist Camilo has released eighteen recordings, garnering a Grammy Award, two Latin Grammy Awards, two Grammy nominations and an Emmy Award.  He obviously should be heard at every opportunity.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-0049.

– April 20 25. (Tues. – Sun.) George Coleman Quintet.  Veteran saxophonist Coleman leads a group that positions him in the front line with the fast-fingered young saxophonist Eric Alexander and the crisp, articulate piano work of Harold Mabern. Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.  (212) 258-9595.

Picks of the Week: Jan. 11 – 17

January 11, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles


– Jan. 12. (Tues.)  John Pisano’s Guitar Night“A Tribute to Joe Pass” with Frank Potenza and many others. Pisano’s Tuesday night guitar jams have been one of the Southland’s most dependably engaging jazz gigs for years.  Now Pisano – and his talented

John Pisano

guests – are moving to Vitello’s, a club that seems made for the up close intimacy and musical sharing that have always been part and parcel of Pisano’s weekly encounters with the world’s finest jazz guitarists.  He kicks off his new run with a tribute to Joe Pass, in the company of Frank Potenza and – no doubt – a long line of guest stars.  And if the club is too jammed for you to get in – which is always a possibility – the gigs will be webcast, live, on the “Live at Vitello’s” broadcast series at Network ConcertsThe Red Carpet Jazz Series.  Upstairs at Vitellos.  (818) 769-0905.


– Jan. 12. (Tues.)  Barbara Morrison.  Name it and she can sing it.  Blues, ballads, jump songs.  And she’ll do it with enough style, imagination and swing to make you think you’re hearing a song for the very first time.  Catalina Bar & Grill.    (323) 466-2210.

– Jan. 13. (Wed.)  Ann Farnsworth. Pianist and singer Farnsworth, who also teaches at U.S.C., isn’t heard as much as her impressive talents – as instrumentalist and vocalist – warrant.  She performs with Alphonso Johnson, bass and Ndugu Chancler, drums.   Spazio. (818) 728-8400.

– Jan. 14. (Thurs.)  Dale Fielder and the Angel City Quartet.  Fielder is a multi-saxophonist.  That means that he doesn’t just double on different saxophones, he understands and expresses the unique qualities of each – from soprano and alto to tenor and baritone.  He celebrates the release of a new CD, Stellar Moments Crown Plaza Brasserie Jazz Lounge.  (310) 642-7500.

Robin McKelle

– Jan. 14. (Thurs.)  Denise Donatelli. Any place is a good place to hear the velvet sound and enticing phrasing of  Donatelli’s enticing vocals.  But at Charlie O’s there’s the added benefit of hearing her in an amiable, music-comes-first setting.  Charlie O’s.(818) 989-3110.

– Jan. 15. (Fri.)  Robin McKelle.  A third place finisher in 2004’s Thelonious Monk Vocal Jazz Competition, McKelle spends a lot of time in Europe, where her intriguing singing has earned her a dedicated following.   The Culver Club in the Radisson.  (310) 649-1776.

– Jan. 15 – 17. (Fri. – Sun.)  Joey DeFrancesco.  The contemporary master of the B-3 always seems to get the feet tapping and the bodies moving with a little extra groove when he performs in one of his favorite rooms. Steamers. (714) 871-8800.

– Jan. 16. (Sat.)  Julie Newsome.   Jazz singer Newsome is another artist who still hasn’t been heard as much as she should.   It’s time for jazz fans in her native L.A. to give more attention to the warm sound and lyrical interpretations of  this appealing vocalist.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

– Jan. 16. (Sat.)  Steve Huffsteter.  Trumpeter Huffsteter’s played with everyone and periodically leads his own big band.  This time out, he’s in a more intimate, small group setting, his lyrical playing backed by the Pat Senatore Trio Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

Mamak Khadem photo by Afshin Javadi

– Jan. 16 – 17. (Sat.  & Sun.)  Mamak KhademThe Sounds of L.A. The warm, dark timbres of Khadem’s voice draw the listener into an intimate relationship with the ecstatic qualities of Persian music and poetry.  Comfortable with contemporary, as well as traditional, idioms, she is an artist whose performances are too rare.  Don’t miss this two-night opportunity to hear her in the acoustic clarity of the Getty Center’s Williams Auditiorium.  Free, with reservations required.  The Getty Center.  (310) 440-7300.

Mose Allison

– Jan. 16 & 17. (Sat. & Sun.)  Mose Allison.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast. The venerable (82) Allison – the “William Faulkner of jazz” hasn’t been recording lately, so lovers of his irresistibly entertaining music should take advantage of every opportunity to hear him.  Here’s a chance to do exactly that, while supporting the continuing – and much–needed – presence of the Jazz Bakery in L.A. cultural life. A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast.  Largo at the Coronet Theatre.   (310) 271-9039

– Jan. 17. (Sun.)  The Wessex Consort“Musical Gems of the Polish Renaissance and Early Baroque.” The five talented members of the Consort bring their versatile mastery of period instruments to a fascinating program of music rarely heard in such authentic performances.  With the Holborne Consort and soprano Krysta Close.  Church of the Good Shepherd, Beverly Hills.  The Wessex Consort.

San Francisco

Valarie Pettiford

– Jan. 14 – 17. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Robben Ford. Guitarist Ford’s music is rooted in the blues, but he doesn’t hesitate to expand his musical interests when the circumstances are right.  As they should be when he’s backed by guitarist Michael Landau, bassist Jimmy Haslip and drummer Gary Novak Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.

– Jan. 17. (Sun.)  Valarie Pettiford. Triple threat – stage, screen and television – Tony-nominated Pettiford has the voice, the style and the drama to bring any crowd to its feet.  Here she performs a concert of signature songs by Musical Director Ron Abel and lyricist Chuck Steffan. The Rrazz Room.   (415) 394-1189,

New York

Jan. 12 – 17  (Tues. – Sun.)  Fred Hersch Trio.  There are dozens of piano jazz trios, but only one led by Hersch, who is one of the uniquely imaginative creative pianists of the last few decades.  He performs here with the excellent support of Drew Gess, bass and Paul Motian, drums.  The Village Vanguard.  (212) 255-4037.

– Jan. 12 – 17.  (Tues. – Sun.)  The Joe Sample Trio.   Sample has come a long way since founding the Jazz Crusaders nearly five decades ago, building a busy solo career, and further developing his reputation as an always-entertaining jazz pianist.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

– Jan. 13 – 17. (Wed. – Sun.)  The Jazz Masters Quintet. A set of performances to remember, by a band of veteran all-stars: Bobby Hutcherson, vibes, Cedar Walton, piano, David Williams, bass, James Spaulding, alto saxophone and Al Foster, drums.  And stick around for the Matt Slocum Trio with pianist Gerald Clayton at the late set. Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.  (212) 258-9595.

Alessandra Belloni

– Jan. 15 – 17. (Fr. – Sun.)  George Coleman Quartet.  It’s a busy week for jazz veterans in the New  York city clubs.  And Coleman – whose lengthy resume includes a too-rarely acknowledged, but musically memorable stint with the Miles Davis Quintet in 1963-64.  He appears here with the equally veteran Harold Mabern, piano and Ray Drummond, bass.  His son, George Coleman, Jr., plays drums.  Jazz Standard.   (212) 576-2232.

– Jan. 15 – 18. (Fri. – Mon.)  Alessandra Belloni and I Giullari Di Piazza in Tarantella! Spider Dance.  Dancer Belloni and her companions present a compelling, New Year mystical celebration in honor of Dionysus, the myth of the Tarantula and Spider Woman, with aerial, fire and stilt dancers, acrobats and a techno tarantella trance dance.  Theatre For the New City.  (212) 254-1109.


– Jan. 15. (Fri.)  The Chicago Jazz Ensemble with Jon Faddis“The Great Summit: The Music of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington” Trumpeter Faddis leads his sterling ensemble of Chicago’s finest in a celebration of the music of two iconic jazz figures.  The Harris Theatre for Music and Dance. (312) 334-7777.


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