Live Jazz: The Johnny Mandel Big Band

March 18, 2013

By Don Heckman

Johnny Mandel was at Vitello’s again Saturday night, leading a big band at the venue for the third time in a year.  Despite the familiarity of the music – or, perhaps, because of it — one couldn’t ask for better evidence of the long term quality of his achievements, as a composer, an arranger and a songwriter.

As in the previous appearances, the program was largely divided into two sets, with the first including most of the best-known Mandel classics, the second exploring some of his less familiar works.  In both sets, the music was utterly compelling, performed in dynamic fashion by an enthusiastic assemblage of Los Angeles’ finest players.

Johnny Mandel

Johnny Mandel

At 87, leading the musicians from behind a music stand positioned in front of the saxophone section, Mandel touched upon the many high points of his extraordinary career.  They came in engaging fashion, one memorable melody after another: “The Shadow of Your Smile,” played lyrically by trumpeter Carl Saunders; the theme music from “I Want To Live,” featuring the baritone saxophone of Bob Efford; the lovely film song, “Emily”; “Suicide is Painless” (the theme song from “M*A*S*H”).

Add to that Mandel’s fiery flag waver, “Not Really the Blues,” originally written for the Woody Herman Band, a quirky chart for the Artie Shaw Band inspired by the Crazy Cat cartoon show, and an equally hard swinging arrangement of “Centerpiece.”  And let’s not forget Mandel’s gift for writing classic song melodies: including a gorgeous arrangement of his “Close Enough For Love, written with Paul Williams, performed here with saxophonist Steve Wilkerson in the solo role; and an equally lyrical “Where Do You Start,” composed with the lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman.

Looking back over my previous reviews of the Mandel big band appearances at Vitello’s, I can see the potential for redundancy in my comments.  But there was no redundancy in the music.  Mandel’s originals, along with his arrangements, sound fresh and new each time they’re played.  And the pleasures of hearing them were aided by a stellar array of world class musicians.

Johnny Mandel leads his band

I won’t make a simple list of them.  But, in addition to those I’ve already mentioned, I can’t overlook the fine solo and section efforts of trumpeters Ron Stout, Bob Summers and Adolfo Acosta, trombonists Ira Nepus, Scott Whitfield, Phil Teele and Ryan Porter, and the extraordinarily versatile offerings of saxophonists/flutists/clarinetists Carol Chaikin, Keith Fiddmont and Ricky Woodard.  And, of course, the propulsive foundation provided by pianist John Campbell, guitarist John Chiodini, bassist Chuck Berghofer and drummer Zach Albetta (playing the Mandel book for the first time).

So, as it turned out, three performances in a year were not too many. Not for Mandel’s music, which is always a delight to experience in bold, living colors.  Here’s looking forward to his next Vitello’s appearance with his Big Band – hopefully as a celebration of Johnny Mandel’s 88th birthday in November, along with the publication of his biography, which is reportedly in the works.

Photos by Faith Frenz.

Picks of the Week: Mar. 12 – 17

March 12, 2013

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Wynton Marsalis with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

Wynton Marsalis with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

– Mar. 12. (Tues.) Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.  Marsalis and his JLCO players continue to bring life to the past, the present and the future of big band jazz.  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

Mar. 12. (Tues.) Allison Adams Tucker.  “Women in Jazz.”  Jazz singer Tucker performs with a gifted, all-female ensemble – Kait Dunton, piano, Sherry Luchette, bass, Tina Raymond, drums and Lori Bell, flute.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

– Mar. 13. (Wed.)  Lou Marini.  New York-based veteran saxophonist Marini makes a rare L.A. appearance backed by a stellar array of players.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Lynda Carter

Lynda Carter

– Mar. 14. – 16.  (Thurs. – Sat.)  Lynda Carter. She’ll probably always be known as Wonder Woman, but Carter is an appealing singer, as well, with a convincing interpretive style.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (223) 466-2210.

– Mar. 15 – 17. (Fri. – Sun.)  Ambrose Akinmusire.  Trumpeter Akinmusire has been receiving critical accolades and winning polls lately.  Here’s a great opportunity to hear him in action and make your own evalulation.  Blue Whale.   (213) 620-0908.

– Mar. 16. (Sat.)  Johnny Mandel Big Band. Veteran arranger/composer Mandel showcases selections from his rich collection of classic arrangements and original works for big jazz band. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Kenny Rogers

Kenny Rogers

– Mar. 17. (Sun.)  An Evening with Kenny Rogers.  Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the music of Grammy-winning, hit-making veteran singer/actor/songwriter Rogers.  Valley Performing Arts Center.    (818) 677-8800.

– Mar. 17. (Sun.)  Carol Robbins, Larry Koonse and Pat Senatore. An all-strings evening of music, featuring the fascinating timbres and jaunty swing of Robbins’ harp, Loonse’s guitar and Senatore’s bass. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

San Francisco

– Mar. 12 & 13.  (Tues. & Wed.)  “Miles Smiles”  A super-group of Davis alumni, including trumpeter Wallace Roney, organist Joey DeFrancesco, guitarist Larry Coryell, bassist Darryl Jones and drummer Omar Hakim, recall the Miles era.  Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.


Leo Kottke

Leo Kottke

– Mar. 12 & 13. (Tues. & Wed.)  Leo Kottke. Virtuosic, finger-picking guitarist intersperses his 6- and 7-spring playing with humorous, between-tunes monologues.  Jazz Alley.   (206) 441-9729.

New York City

– Mar. 13 – 17. (Wed. – Sun.)  Brazilian Jazz All-Stars.  Bossa nova and the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim will be authentically performed by an all-star aggregation of Brazilian artists: Duduka Da Fonseca, percussion, Romero Lubambo or Vic Juris, guitar, Claudio Roditi, trumpet, Helio Alves, piano, Maucha Adnet, voice, Hans Glawishnig, bass.  Iridium.   (212) 582-2121.

– Mar. 15 & 16. (Fri. & Sat.)  Charlie Musselwhite.  Blues harmonica player Musselwhite, a veteran of the fertile blues and rock happenings of the ‘60s, is still going strong at 69.  He is alleged to be the model for Dan Aykroyd’s character in The blues Brothers.  Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.   (212) 258-9595.


– Mar. 14. (Thurs.)  “Birth of the Cool.”  The Richard Shepherd Nonet celebrates the music from Miles Davis’ iconic Birth of the Cool recording, plus classics from Kind of Blue and Milestones.  Ronnie Scott’s.    +44 20 7439 0747.


Brad Mehldau

Brad Mehldau

– Mar. 15 & 16. (Fri. & Sat.)  Brad Mehldau and Mark Guiliana.  Mehldau steps away from his classically oriented acoustic jazz with Mehliana – an electric funk duet project with drummer Guiliana.  Blue Note Milano.   +39 02 6901 6888


– Mar. 12 & 13. (Tues. & Wed.) Kenny Barron Trio. High on the list of every major jazz artist’s first-call pianists, Barron is also a compelling, musically adventurous player in his own right – especially when he’s working with his trio.  Blue Note Tokyo.    +81 3-5485-0088.

Live Jazz: The Ron Jones Jazz Influence Orchestra with April Williams at Vitello’s

December 18, 2012

By Don Heckman

On the way home from Disney Hall Sunday, the traffic on the 101 magically – and unexpectedly —  opened up, and we suddenly realized we could reach Vitello’s just in time to catch the second set by the Ron Jones Jazz Influence Orchestra.

Call it an unusual sequence – from the Christmas music of Bach and Vivaldi, performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale, to a big jazz band in action.  And “big” is precisely the right word for this organization, which expands the usual 17 to 18 piece big band instrumentation to 22 players, including a French horn section.

Add to that the announcement the evening would include an extremely rare performance by singer April Williams, whose management of Vitello’s Upstairs Jazz Room has established one of the Southland’s important new jazz venues.

April Williams with the Ron Jones Jazz Influence Band

April Williams with the Ron Jones Jazz Influence Band

Combined, it was all too good to miss.

Vitello’s was jammed when we arrived, the tables and booths overflowing with listeners, as the Jones players filled the stage from one side of the room to the other. Fortunately we found a nook where we could sit, drink some wine, and prepare to expand our evening of Christmas music from Baroque to bebop.

Not all bebop, that is.  But plenty of it in the vigorous soloing of players such as saxophonists Fred Selden, Pete Christlieb, Doug Webb and Gene Cipriano, pianist Alan Steinberger, trumpeter Bob Summers and trombonist Bob McChesney.

Most of the music in the set, however, was dedicated to Christmas songs, arranged to apply the rich tonal resources and jazz-driven rhythms of the 22 piece ensemble to the familiar canon of Christmas classics.,

“It Came Upon A Midnight Clear” arrived in a lushly harmonized medley with “Silent Night.”  Contrastingly, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” surfaced with a briskly jaunty rhythmic underpinning, driven by Dave Tull’s energetic drumming.

Thad Jones’ lovely “A Child Is Born” was next.  It hasn’t become a Christmas classic yet, but it should.  Especially via the beautifully arranged version by the Jones Influence Orchestra, with musically touching contributions from pianist Steinberger.

Johnny Mandel’s Grammy- and Academy Award-winning “The Shadow Of Your Smile” generated yet another perspective. Not exactly a Christmas item, it added a unique touch to the fascinating program via an arrangement featuring the fine French horn playing of Tawnee Lillo and Jean Marinelli.

The performance peaked with the arrival of April Williams on stage with a puckish smile on her face, clearly in the mood to have fun.  And she did, singing Steve Allen’s “Cool Yule,” making the most of lyrics announcing the arrival of St. Nick:

           “From Coney Island to The Sunset Strip
           Somebody’s gonna make a happy trip
          Tonight, while the moon is bright.”

Clearly enjoying every moment she had with the backing of the Jones Jazz Influence Band, April topped off the number with a call for everyone to:

“Have a Yule that’s cool
Yeah, a cool Yule.”

It was the perfect climax to an evening that had begun with Bach and Vivaldi and wound up with big band jazz, all of it illuminating the far-ranging musical inspiration that Christmas has created over the centuries.  And there’s still another week and a half to hear even more Christmas music before the joyous day arrives.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

To read the iRoM review of the Los Angeles Master Chorale at Disney Hall click HERE or scroll up.

Live Jazz: Cat Conner and Gene “Cip” Cipriano at the Out Take Bistro

December 16, 2012

By Don Heckman

Studio City, CA.  Jazz performances don’t get any more up close and personal than the bi-weekly appearances of Cat Conner and Gene “Cip” Cipriano at the Out Take Bistro in Studio. City.  At their performance on Friday night, singer Conner and saxophonist/clarinetist Cipriano, with the aid of guitarist Jim Fox, were comfortably ensconced in a convenient corner of the venue’s main room, surrounded by clustered tables and enthusiastic listeners positioned virtually within an arm’s reach of the musicians.

The trio made the most of the intimacy, singing and playing with the sort of rich expressiveness one might experience at a living room jam session.  And with less than two weeks until Christmas, Cat and Cip further enhanced the mood of musical intimacy with a program overflowing with holiday songs.

Cat Conner and Gene ("Cip") Cipriano

Cat Conner and Gene (“Cip”) Cipriano

Among the highlights: Cat’s fun-loving take on “Merry Christmas, Baby,” her warm reading of “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” and the whimsically instructional behavioral warnings of “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town.”  Add to that Irving Berlin’s classic “White Christmas,” sung with the too-rarely heard, scene-setting verse.

Here, as elsewhere in a pair of generous sets, Cat’s interpretations were rich with musical eloquence.  The sweetness of her sound, combined with her gently swinging rhythmic phrasing, recalled some of the big band girl singers of the ‘40s and ‘50s —  Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney and Dinah Shore among them.  But always done from Cat’s unique creative perspective.

She sang Johnny Mandel’s “Emily” accompanied only by Fox’s fluent guitar lines.  On other tunes – “Caravan” among them – she dueted with the laid back, woody tones of Cip’s persuasive clarinet lines.  The far-ranging program also featured her equally engaging interpretations of a pair of  familiar Johnny Mercer/Henry Mancini items – the film song, “Charade” and the Academy Award winning “Days of Wine and Roses” – as well as an unusual view, with lyrics, of Sonny Rollins’ “St. Thomas.”

Cat Conner, Gene "Cip" Cipriano, Jim Fox and Dick Nash

Cat Conner, Gene “Cip” Cipriano, Jim Fox and Dick Nash

And there was more, all of it done with Fox’s guitar work providing  superb, on the spot arrangements.  Add to that Cip’s atmospheric counterlines on clarinet and tenor saxophone.  Further enhancing the program, the group was joined – halfway through the set — by trombonist Dick Nash, whose buoyant style was a dynamic addition to the evening’s instrumental versions of tunes such as “Georgia On My Mind” and “Bye Bye Blackbird.”

Call it an appealing way to hear first rate jazz artists in a cozy, appropriately spontaneous setting.  Cip and Cat’s performance schedule calls for appearances at the Out Take Bistro every other Friday night.  And if you can’t wait another two weeks to hear them in action with their gifted musical associates, check out Cat’s debut CD, Cat Tales, which also features the presence of the gifted pianist/producer, the late George Mesterhazy in one of his last performances.

Live Jazz: The Johnny Mandel Big Band at Vitello’s

November 18, 2012

By Don Heckman

Studio City, CA.  It wasn’t quite Johnny Mandel’s birthday last night.  Not yet.  But it was close enough to the actual date – November 25 – to celebrate the 87th anniversary of the great composer and arranger.

And the packed crowd at Vitello’s enthusiastically joined in a group singing of “Happy Birthday.”  The gift giving of the evening, however, came from Johnny, who pleasured his fans with a grand selection of his music, performed by a big band collective of the Southland’s finest players.

Over the course of the evening’s two sets, the music – all of it arranged and/or composed by Mandel – offered a fascinating overview of the many rich, diverse accomplishments in his more than six decade career.

Mandel led his big band from a position in front of the saxophones, music stand positioned in front of him as he stood, laid back and relaxed, between two guests’ tables.  Introducing each song, he recalled many of the circumstances behind the composing or arranging of many pieces.

Johnny Mandel

The opening number, “Centerpiece,” immediately illustrated Mandel’s ability to impart a big band arrangement with all the loose-limbed swing of a small ensemble.  And he was particularly aided in that accomplishment by the Basie-like groove of the rhythm section – pianist Bill Cunliffe, guitarist John Chiodini, bassist Dave Stone and drummer Bernie Dresel.

A pair of follow-up pieces added more slants on the Mandel musical perspectives: First, “Not Really the Blues,” an irresistible big band firestorm originally written for the Woody Herman band. Next, shifting gears completely, a gorgeously orchestrated rendering of his classic movie theme, “Emily.”

The Johnny Mandel Big Band

More film themes surfaced with “Black Night Gown” and “I Want To Live” from the Susan Hayward film of the same title (the latter featuring the baritone saxophone of Bob Efford).  Add the unforgettable ballad, “The Shadow of Your Smile,” featuring the mellow trumpet of Carl Saunders, and “Suicide is Painless,” the theme song for M*A*S*H, and a briskly swinging “Cinnamon and Cloves,” written by Mandel and Alan Bergman.

And let’s not overlook the impressive soloing from all sections of the Mandel band: a tenor saxophone battle between Pete Christlieb and Steve Wilkerson; stellar alto saxophone and flute work from Carol Chaikin and Sal Lozano; some superb trombone soloing from Bill Watrous and the entire trumpet section – including Saunders, Bob Summers, Ron Stout and Pete De Siena; pianist Cunliffe’s crisp comping and the propulsive but subtle drumming of Dresel.

As an added attraction, Wilkerson, playing clarinet, his wife Andrea Baker playing guitar and singing, offered jazz-tinged readings of “I Cover the Waterfront” and “Avalon.”

In addition to the Happy Birthday finale, the big band wrapped with a beautifully textured version of Mandel’s Academy Award-nominated “A Time For Love.”  It was an appropriate ending to a memorable evening, from an artist whose creative accomplishments have profoundly affected – and continue to affect – the world of music, in the U.S. and beyond.

Photos by Bonnie Perkinson.

Live Music: Alan Bergman at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.

November 16, 2012

By Don Heckman

Bel Air, CAAlan Bergman made one of his too-rare club appearances Wednesday night in an utterly captivating performance at Herb Alpert’s Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   It’s always a pleasure to hear songwriters do their own music.  And even more fascinating when the songwriter is as fine a performing artist as Bergman.  In his mid eighties, his voice is still young and warm, his phrasing alive with interpretive expressiveness.

Alan Bergman

Of course it helps that Bergman and his wife Marilyn have written some of the most extraordinary song lyrics of the past few decades.  Working with such stellar composers as Michel Legrand, Marvin Hamlisch, Johnny Mandel, Dave Grusin and others, the couple has produced Academy Award and Golden Globe Award songs.  In 1983 three of their songs were included among the five Academy Award nominees.

Performing before a packed house crowd sprinkled with music and film world celebrities, Bergman presented the same relaxed demeanor he usually displays in his occasional live appearances.  Backed by the superb accompaniment of pianist Bill Cantos and bassist Kevin Axt, he led an intriguing musical tour through the far-reaching Bergman songbook (as well as the offbeat addition of a hilarious Cantos song, “Everybody’s on the Phone,” sung by its composer.)

Starting the set, Bergman noted that it would be an evening of love songs – of love in all its many manifestations.  And he delivered on the promise — not surprisingly, since love is the primary topic of so many of the Bergman songs.  But there was more, too – much more.

The first two songs, the jaunty “Nice and Easy,” followed by the poignant intimacy of  “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?, ” immediately revealed the creative depths of the Bergman’s love lyrics.

Alan Bergman

Other, equally far ranging tunes included the cri de coeur of “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” the stunning sequence of images in “The Windmills of Your Mind” and the unabashed expressiveness of “That Face” (actually written by Alan Bergman as a love song to Marilyn Bergman).

Add to that such breakout hits as “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” and “Memories (The Way We Were).”

And there was some new material as well, including the whimsical description of the Bergmans’ working relationship – “One Washes, One Dries” – the rap style of “The Lord Made Woman,” and a gorgeously melodic partnership with composer Roger Kellaway on “A Place That You Want To Call Home.”

Mentioning some of the gifted composers he and Marilyn have worked with, Alan offered a brief but illuminating thought about their process, as lyricists.  “The words are on the tips of the notes,” he said.  “And we have to find them.”

That they’ve done precisely that was amply clear in the program of songs he sang.  While each of those songs is fully capable of standing on its own, his readings – for this listener – are the definitive versions.  I’ve heard Alan do a similar program several times in the past.  But on this night his performance was exquisite, lovingly grasping the fullness of each song, finding the magic linkages between the words and “the tips of the notes.”

Photos by Bobby Colomby.

Picks of the Week: Nov. 14 – 18

November 14, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

David Sanborn

– Nov 14. (Wed.)  David Sanborn.  Alto saxophonist Sanborn is the star of pop jazz, r & b and crossover.  But at the heart of his playing is a deep involvement with the essential elements of straight ahead jazz.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

– Nov. 14. (Wed.) Alan Bergman.  In partnership with his wife, Marilyn Bergman, Alan has written the lyrics for some of the most memorable songs of the past five or six decades.  And they’re often best heard in his own quietly lyrical interpretations.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

– Nov. 14. (Wed.) Barbara Cook. Tony Award-winning singer/actress Cook celebrates her long, productive career – she was 85 in October – with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a program of great American song. Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

– Nov. 15 – 18. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Steve Tyrell.  A highly successful producer before he embarked on a singing career of his own, Tyrell has emerged as a vocalist with an appealing, jazz-driven style enhanced by the warmth of his Texas roots. Catalina Bar & Grill  (323) 466-2210.

Janis Paige

– Nov. 16. (Fri.)  Janis Paige. If you remember the movie musicals of the ‘50s, then you’ll remember Paige from such films as Silk Stockings and Please Don’t Eat The Daisies.  Decades in musical theatre and television followed, and the 90 year old Paige is still a delightfully effective vocal artist.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

– Nov. 16. (Fri.) Cip & Cat.  Saxophonist Gene Cipriano (Cip) and  vocalist Cat Conner (Cat), backed by guitarist John Chiodini with special guest trombonist Dick Nash celebrate their fifth anniversary together and their first anniversary at the venue.  Out Take Bistro.       (818) 760-1111.

– Nov. 16 – 18. (Fri. – Sun.)  The Los Angeles Philharmonic.  An evening rich with musical variations.  The Phil, conducted by Rafael Fruhbeck de Burgos, performs Haydn’s Symphony No. 6 and Cello Concerto in C, Albeniz’s Suite Espanola and Ravel’s Bolero Disney Hall.    (323) 850-2000.

Johnny Mandel

– Nov. 17. (Sat.) Johnny Mandel Big Band.  Composer, arranger, band leader and songwriter, Mandel’s resume includes stints with Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Peggy Lee and many more.  At 86, Mandel is now best heard leading his own band, playing his own well-crafted arrangements and compositions. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

– Nov. 17. (Sat.)  Buika.  Spanish singer Buika, a native of Equatorial Guinea, who sings flamenco with an appealing blend of soul music and jazz rhythms, makes a rare Southland appearance.  Luckman Fine Arts Complex.    (323) 343-6610.

– Nov. 18. (Sun.)  Quattro.  The four talented members of Quattro – cellist Giovanna Clayton, violinst Lisa Dondlinger, guitarist Kay-Ta Matsuno and percussionist Jorge Villanueva (all of whom also sing) – have written and arranged all the diverse works they describe as Popzzical music. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

– Nov. 18. (Sun.)  Jackson Browne. He’s been writing memorable songs since the ‘70s, still producing prime selections.  He’s joined in this performance by Sara Watkins, Jonathan Wilson and other special guests.  Valley Performing Arts Center.    (818) 677-3000.

– Nov. 18. (Sun.) The Los Angeles Master Chorale performs Monteverdi’s Vespers.  This will be a concert to remember, with the gorgeous voices of the LAMC applying their magical touch to the lush vocal lines of Renaissance polyphony.  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

San Francisco

Ornette Coleman

– Nov. 17. (Sat.) Ornette Coleman.  Since his arrival on the international jazz scene in the late ‘50s, Coleman’s compositions and alto saxophone playing have been among the music’s most persistently exploratory voices.  An SFJAZZ event at the Herbst Theatre.   (866) 920-5299.

New York

– Nov. 18 & 19. (Sun. & Mon.)  An Intimate Evening with Stanley Jordan Solo. Jordan’s remarkable mastery of the guitar tap-on style has provided him with a virtual orchestral instrument.  And he makes the most of it.  The Iridium.    (212) 582-2121.

– Nov. 19. (Mon.)  Sheila Jordan and Steve Kuhn Duo. Their history together goes back decades.  And they continue to make music together with a symbiotic creative togetherness.  The performance celebrates Sheila’s 84th birthday.  The Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

Washington  D.C.

– Nov. 15 – 18. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Tuck & Patti.  Guitarist Tuck and singer Patti have been together for nearly three decades.  And their deeply intimate musical and personal relationship seems to improve and mature like fine wine.  Blues Alley.  (202) 337-4141.


– Nov. 16. (Fri.)  John Scofield Trio.  Always on the search for new ideas, guitarist Scofield gets down to the absolute jazz basics with his current trio.  New Morning  01 45 23 51 41.


Judy Niemack

– Nov. 16. (Fri.)  Judy Niemack & Jay Clayton2 Voices Flying.  Niemack, a constantly captivating singer, bringing musicality, imagination and interpretive excellence to everything she touches, teams up with the equally adventurous and inventive Clayton.  A-Trane.    030/313 25 50.


– Nov. 16. (Fri.)  Tony Levin.  “Stick Men”.  Bassist Levin, who’s worked with a stellar list of artists in virtually every genre, steps out front with his own vocals.  He’ll be backed by drummer Pat Mastelliotto and touch guitarist Markus ReuterBlue Note Milano.    +39.02.69016888.


– Nov. 18 & 19. (Sun. & Mon.)  Michel Camilo and Tomatito. The dynamic duo of pianist Camilo and flamenco guitarist Tomitito come together with a magical blend of jazz and traditional Spanish music.  The Blue Note Tokyo.   03.5485.0088.


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