Picks of the Week: Feb. 14 – 19

February 14, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Feb. 14. (Tues.)  Nedra Wheeler.  Bassist/vocalist Wheeler is a convincing performer as an instrumentalist and a singer. and she’ll no doubt be in rare form with the backing of  Lanny Hartley, piano, Clarence Webb, saxophone and Munyungo Jackson, drums.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

Spanky Wilson

– Feb. 15. (Wed.)  Spanky Wilson. With a style that runs the gamut from soul, blues and funk to warmly communicative jazz, Wilson has always been one of a kind.  She makes a rare Los Angeles appearance, backed by pianist Dennis Hamm, saxophonist/flutist Louis Van Taylor and drummer Lyndon Rochelle.  Culvers Club for Jazz.  (310) 216-5861.

– Feb. 15. (Wed.)  The Assads.  Brothers Sergio and Odair, offspring of an extraordinary family of musicians, have been performing world class duo guitar music – of every style — since the late ‘70s.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 916-8501.

– Feb. 15. (Wed.)  The John Proulx Duo.  Pianist/singer Proulx combines solidly swinging pianistic skills with a mellow voice and a rich understanding of musical storytelling.  The other half of the duo is the ever-dependable bassist Pat Senatore, whose far-reaching resume (from Stan Kenton and the Tijuana Brass to Freddy Hubbard, Joe Henderson and beyond) underscores his great creative versatility.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

– Feb. 15. (Wed.)  The Phil Norman Tentet.  West Coast jazz of the fifties, with its cool and swinging sound, is vividly alive in the music of the Tentet, enhanced by a contemporary view that convincingly blends old and new.  Click HERE to read a recent iRoM review of the Norman Tentet.   Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

Itzhak Perlman

– Feb. 16. (Thurs.)  Itzhak Perlman.  16-time Grammy winner (including a Lifetime Achievement Award), Perlman’s virtuosic skills are still in full bloom.  Performing with pianist Rohan De Silva, a frequent partner, he will play Schubert, Brahms and Prokofief.  Royce Hall.  A UCLA Live concert.    (310) 825-2101.

– Feb. 16. (Thurs.)  The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.  “Baroque Conversations: The Art of Baroque Dance.”  The LACO’s Baroque Conversations programs are both entertaining and musically illuminating, never more so than in this engaging view of the Baroque era linkages between music (by the LACO players) and dance (by dancers Jill Chadroff and Linda Tomko).  Zipper Concert Hall. (212) 622-7001.

– Feb. 16. (Thurs.) Chucho Valdes and the Afro Cuban Messengers, Poncho Sanchez and His Latin Jazz Band with Terence Blanchard.  The great Cuban pianist Valdes teams up with Sanchez and Blanchard to dig into the roots of Latin jazz via a tribute to the legendary conguero Chano Pozo and the incomparable bebop trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.   Disney Hall.    (323) 850-2000.

– Feb. 17. (Fri.)  Jessy J.  Saxophonist/singer Jessy J. mixes the hot rhythms of her Mexican heritage with her cool but intense saxophone stylings.  Hopefully she’ll hit some of the irresistible highlights from her latest album, the appropriately titled Hot Sauce, Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Bob Sheppard

– Feb. 18. (Sat.)  The Lounge Art Ensemble.  It’s an amusing name for a band, but when it comes right down to basics, it’s saxophone jazz at its finest, with Bob Sheppard taking on the challenging task of performing with only bass and drums – capably handled by Darek Oles and Peter Erskine. Sonny Rollins did it beautifully.  So will Sheppard. Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

– Feb. 18. (Sat.)  The Shoemake/Morgan Jazz Ensemble.  The “Famous Jazz Artist Series” – one of the primo jazz events of the Central Coast – begins a monthly run in Solvang.  Featured performers are Charlie and Sandi Shoemake, vibes and vocals, Lanny Morgan, alto saxophone, Joe Bagg, piano, Tony Dumas, bass and Steve Schaeffer, drums.  The Terrace Dinner Theatre. Solvang.    (805) 691-9137

San Francisco

– Feb. 16 & 17. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Leo Kottke.  He’s a guitarists’ guitarist, at the cutting edge of improvisatory acoustic guitar playing since the 70’s  Plagued by tendonitis in later years, he developed a new playing style to compensate, and he remains one of the definitive acoustic guitar masters.   Yoshi’s San Francisco.    (415) 655-5600.

– Feb. 17. (Fri.)  Enrico Rava Tribe and the John Abercrombie Trio. Italian trumpeter Rava leads an assemblage of talented young European improvisers.  And the current Abercrombie trio takes on the classic jazz organ trio sound, with B-3 star Gary Versace and drummer Adam NussbaumThe Herbst Theatre.  An SFJAZZ Spring Season event.    (866) 920-5299.

Portland, Oregon

Branford Marsalis

– Feb. 17 – 26. (Fri. – Sun.(26)).  The Portland Jazz Festival.  Rapidly becoming one of the counry’s most attractively programmed jazz festivals, Portland offers a banquet of musical delights.  This year’s line-up includes Branford Marsalis, Joey Calderazzo, Roy Haynes, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Bill Frisell, Charles McPherson, Charlie Hunter, Vijay Iyer, Enrico Rava and many more. The Portland Jazz Festival.    (503) 228-5299.  To read more about the Festival in a Q & A with Managing Director Don Lucoff click HERE.


– Feb. 16. (Thurs.)  Tim Berne. Alto saxophonist Berne has built an extensive career emphasizing the outer limites of jazz improvisation.  He celebrates the release of his new album, Snakeoil. Regatta Bar.    (617) 395-7757.

New York

Jay Clayton

– Feb. 14. (Tues.)  Jay Clayton.  With John di Martino, piano.  jazz vocal artists have been coming and going with great frequency in the last few years.  But Clayton, like Sheila Jordan, continues to be a standard of creativity that sets the pace.  One of the great originals, she should be heard at every opportunity.  Cornelia St. Café.   (212) 989-9319.

– Feb. 14 – 16. (Tues. – Thurs.  Sachel Vasandani.  Chicago-born singer Vasandani is gradually establishing himself as one of the significant voices in the relatively slim gathering of male jazz singers.  The Jazz Standard.     (212) 576-2232.

– Feb. 14 – 19.  Tues. – Sun.  David Sanborn.  The Blue Note.  One of the  most influential  alto saxophonists of the past few decades, Sanborn’s blues based, passionately vocalized sound is heard, to varying degrees, in many of the best new young saxophonists.   The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.


Steve Kuhn

– Feb 14. (Tues.)  Steve Kuhn.  Pianist Kuhn’s long, checkered career has journeyed through every aspect of jazz, from the envelope-stretching sixties to authoritative mainstream playing.  His innate lyricism was especially apparent during a long musical partnership with singer Sheila Jordan, and his solo playing reveals the true depths of his creative imagination.  New Morning.   01 45 23  51 41.S


– Feb.15 – 18.  (Wed. – Sat.)  Billy Cobham Band.  The drumming engine that propelled both the Miles Davis band and the Mahavishnu Orchestra in the ‘60s and ‘70s, Cobham remains one of the definitive masters of rock and funk-driven fusion jazz.  Ronnie Scott’s.   020 7439 0747.

Itzhak Perlman photo by Akira Kinoshita.

Bob Sheppard photo by Tony Gieske.

Picks of the Week: Feb. 2 – 7

February 2, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Anthony Wilson

– Feb. 2. (Tues.)  John Pisano Guitar Night.  With Anthony Wilson.  Guitar Nights are always good.   This should be one of the best.  Guitarist, composer and bandleader Wilson is a stunningly versatile talent.   Vitello’s (818) 769-0905.

– Feb. 4. (Thurs.) Beyond the Pale Skirball.  The Canadian band doesn’t hesitate to wrap klezmer around everything from bluegrass and jazz to reggae and funk.  (310) 440-4500.

Estaire Godinez

– Feb. 4. (Thurs.)  Estaire Godinez.  Percussionist/singer Godinez brings passionate intensity to eveerything she sings and plays.   She celebrates the release of her new CD.  Vibrato Grill Jazz… etc.   (310) 474-9400.

– Feb. 5. (Fri.)  Yamaha Piano All Star Review.  A versatile line up of pianists pay tribute to the Yamaha brand with music reaching from romantic classical to straight ahead jazz.  Performers include Anna Grinberg, Danny Holt, Milen Kirov, David Roitstein, David Rosenboom, Juris Vikovs, and Liam VineyREDCAT.  (213) 237-2800.

– Feb. 5. (Fri.)  Sony Holland.  Vocalist Holland’s intimate sound and dramatic phrasing find a perfect blend with the Theo Saunders Quartet Steamers.  (714) 871-8800.

Dave Liebman

– Feb. 5. (Fri.)  Dave Liebman.  A too-rare Los Angeles appearance by the versatile, veteran saxophonist Liebman, enhanced by the all-star Southland quartet of  Bob Sheppard, bass, John Beasley, piano, Darek Oles, bass and Joe LaBarbera, drums.  Upstairs at Vitellos.  (818) 769-0905.

– Feb. 5. (Fri.)  Laurence Hobgood Trio. Pianist Hobgood has had a lot of visibility as Kurt Elling’s musical associate, but he’s a gifted artist in his own right.  Don’t miss this rare opportunity to hear him in action.  Café Metropol. (310)  613-1537

– Feb. 5. (Fri.)  Jon Mayer Quartet. Pianist Mayer is a bop master, but he crosses comfortably into other mainstream jazz areas as well.  He’s backed by the vertain team of Ernie Watts, tenor saxophone, Chris Conner, bass, Roy McCurdy, drums.  Spazio.   (818) 728-8400.

– Feb. 5 & 6.  (Fri. & Sat.)  Strunz & Farah.  The guitar duo, with roots in Costa Rica and Iran have been stretching the limits of flamenco jazz and fusion since world music was just becoming a genre on its own. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210

– Feb. 5 & 6. (Fri. & Sat.)   Sambaguru.  When the super-heated Katia Moraes and her accomplices in Sambaguru hit the stage, the Brazilian rhythmic pyrotechnics never stop.Friday at Culver Club Raddison.  Sat. at Spazio. .   Sambaguru.

– Feb. 6. (Sat.)  Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey. They’ve gone through several incarnations since their founding in 1994, but JFJO continue to blur the boundaries between jazz, rock, funk and avant-garde.  The Mint.   (323) 954-9400

– Feb. 6. (Sat.) Lanny Morgan.  Another bebopper on the loose, alto saxophonist Morgan is also a lyrical ballad player.  He performs with the John Heard Trio.  Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058.


– Feb. 6. (Sat.)  Repast.   The Baroque instrumental trio — Amelia Roosevelt (baroque violin), John Mark Rozendaal (baroque violoncello and viola da gamba), and Avi Stein (harpsichord) — are joined by baroque violinist Claire Jolivet and soprano Nell Snaidas for an evening of music from Amsterdam.  Th performance complements the Getty’s current exhibit of drawings by Rembrandt and his students.   The Getty.   (310) 440-7300.

– Feb. 6 – 19.  (Sat. – Fri.)  Bob Barry Jazz Photography Exhibit.  Barry’s extensive jazz performance photos are on display as part of the two week Celebration of Jazz at the  Brand Library of Music and Art.   (818) 548-2051

– Feb. 7. (Sun.)  Mike Lang. The ever-versatile, always-swinging pianist appears with the solid backing of bassist Abraham Laboriel, Sr. and drummer Walter RodriguezCatalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

San Francisco

Paula West

– Feb. 2 – 28.  Paula West.  One of the Bay area’s many fine jazz vocalists, West still hasn’t received the recognition her extraordinary talent deserves.  She sings with the George Mesterhazy QuartetThe Rrazz Room.   (415) 394-1189.

– Feb. 4. (Thurs.)  John Handy. Educator and long-time cutting-edge alto saxophonist brings his admirable skills to a rare one-nighter. Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

– Feb. 4 – 7. (Thurs. – Sun)  Charisma!: The Music of Lee Morgan.  Selections from the catalog of the great jazz trumpeter are performed by the sterline ensemble of  Benny Maupin, Bill Harper, Eddie Henderson, David Weiss, Geri Allen, Dwayne Burno, Billy HartYoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

– Feb. 6. (Sat.)  Dionne Warwick.  The iconic hit-maker of the ’60s and ’70s still knows how to bring a song to life — even if it wasn’t written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.Castro Theatre. (415) 392-4500.

New York

– Feb. 2 & 3.  (Tues. & Wed.)  Dorado Schmitt‘ continues his cross-country celebration of the Django Reinhardt centennial.  This time with special guest Curtis StigersIridium.   (212) 582-0161.

Gretchen Parlato

– Feb. 2 & 3. (Tues. & Wed.)  Afinidad — the adventurous ensemble formed by Edward Simon and David Binney moves into even more colorful musical territory with special guests Gretchen Parlato, Ben Monder, Rogerio BoccatoJazz Standard. (212) 576-2232.

– Feb. 2 – 6. (Tues. – Sat.)  Oregon, the trail-breaking jazz/world music ensemble is still making superb music — forty years after its founding.  With Ralph Towner, guitar, keyboards and trumpet, Paul McCandless, woodwinds, Glen Moore, bass and Mark Walker, drums.  Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

– Feb. 2 – 7. (Tues. – Sun.)  Jimmy Heath Big Band.  Veteran saxophonist/educator Heath has been leading big bands of one sort or another for most of his long, productive musical life.  And, at 84, he’s still at it.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

– Feb. 3. (Wed.)  Mary Foster Conklin.  Somewhere between cabaret and jazz, Mary Foster has found an utterly believable musical home.  She’s always worth hearing, and never more so than at  Café Vivaldi.  (212) 691-7538.

– Feb. 4 – 6. (Thurs. – Sat.)  David Sanchez Group.  Puero Rican tenor saxophonist Sanchez has been honing and shaping his unique musical voice since he arrived on the scene.  And it just keeps getting better.   Jazz Standard. http://www.jazzstandard.com/red/index.html (212) 576-2232.

Picks of the Week: Nov. 2 – 8.

November 2, 2009

By Don Heckman

Gianni RussoLos Angeles

– Nov. 2. (Mon.) Gianni Russo. Russo, who played the role of Carlo Rizzi in The Godfather, hosts an entertaining evening featuring his vocal versions of songs from the Italian crooner era, as well as a collection of his Il Padrino Wines. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

– Nov. 4. (Wed.) Gaea Schell. Pianist/singer Schell likes to think of herself as a pianist first, and there’s no denying her solid jazz skills. But there’s something to be said, as well, for her intimate, understated vocal stylings. She performs in a duo with bassist Zach Matthews. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

– Nov. 4. (Wed.) Amanda McBroom. She may be best known for “The Rose,” but McBroom’s singing and songwriting talents reach far beyond the success of a single song. On this night, she concentrates on selections from her latest album, Chanson, singing the songs of Jacques Brel. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

– NOv. 5. (Thurs.) Milton Nascimento. One of the great icons of Brazilian popular music, Nascimento doesn’t perform often in the Southland. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear a living legend, still at the top of his form, in action. The Conga Room. (212) 749-0162.  Nascimento also appears at the San Francisco Jazz Festival on Saturday (see below).

– Nov. 5. (Thurs.) Sara Tavares. Portuguese singer Tavares is well connected to her Cape Verdean heritage, but her interests also reach out to the stirring music of Portugal, Brazil, Angola and beyond. The Skirball Cultural Center. (310) 440-4500.  Tavares also appears at the San Francisco Jazz Festival on Friday (see below).

– Nov. 5. (Thurs.) Michael Session. Alto saxophonist Session is one of the Southland’s most dynamic players, making every one of his solos into a wildly exciting improvisational journey. Crown Plaza Brasserie Jazz Lounge. (310) 642-7500.Jackie Ryan 3

– Nov. 5. (Thurs.) Jackie Ryan. There’s a good reason why Ryan’s latest album, Doozy, was at the top of the radio airplay charts for six straight weeks. And that’s because everything she sings is the product of an ear-caressing combination of skill, imagination and a marvelous sound.  Ryan performs at Largo at the Coronet Theatre in a Jazz Bakery  “Moveable Feast. (310) 271-9039.

– Nov. 6. (Fri.) Kim Richmond Ensemble. Alto saxophonist and versatile composer/arranger Richmond leads the first rate ensembles of John Daversa, trumpet, Joey Sellers, trombone, Mehesh Balisooriya, piano and Jamey Tate, drums. Vitellos Restaurant. (818) 769-0905.

– Nov. 6. (Fri.) Lanny Morgan Every performance by the veteran alto saxophonist provides a vivid reminder that bebop still lives, when it is played by a master jazz improviser such as Morgan. He’s backed by the bassist John Heard, drummer Roy McCurdy and pianist Andy Langham. Charlie O’s. (818) 989-3110.

Laurence Juber– Nov. 6. (Fri.) Laurence Juber. Grammy-winning, former member of Paul McCartney’s Wings, Juber is a guitarists’ guitarist, universally admired for both the skill and the creativity of his finger style playing.  McCabe’s (310) 828-4497.

– Nov. 6 & 7.  (Fri. & Sat.)   Esperanza Spalding. Bassist/singer Spalding is one of the rapidly rising new young jazz stars. You’ll know why after you hear her first number. OCPAC. Samueli Theatre. (714) 556-2787.   Spalding also appears at the San Francisco Jazz Festival on Thursday (see below).

– Nov. 6 & 7. (Fri. & Sat.) Jack Jones Sings the lyrics of Alan and Marilyn Bergman. The son of Allen Jones, a movie musical star, Jones works hard, and successfully, at keeping alive the tradition of big-voiced male balladeers. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210

– Nov. 6 – 8. (Fri. – Sun.) “Ramayana: An Indian Epic” The classic Indian epic, one of the world’s great legendary dramas is performed via Balinese music and dance by Gamelan Burat Wanti. REDCAT. (213)237-2800.

– Nov. 7. (Sat.) Patti Austin. If there’s a style that Austin can’t sing, it’s hard to imagine what it could be. But what really matters is that, beyond eclectic versatility, she brings wide open inventiveness to every song she touches. CSUN Performing Arts Center (818) 677-5768.

– Nov. 8. (Sun.) Betty Bryant. The always-entertaining, veteran singer/pianist celebrates her 80th birthday with a CD release party and a jazz brunch. 11 a.m. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210

ClaudiaSan Francisco

– Nov. 3. (Tues.) Claudia Acuna. She has one of the jazz vocal world’s finest voices, but what really makes Acuna special is the rich, expressive way she uses her natural abilities. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.

– Nov. 5, 6, 7 & 8.  (Thurs, Fri. ,Sat. & Sun.)  The San Francisco Jazz Festival — SFJAZZ.   Thurs: Esperanza Spalding at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre.  Fri: Sara Tavares at the Herbst Theatre.  Sat: Milton Nascimento at Nob Hill Masonic Center.  Sun: Ornette Coleman at Davies Symphony Hall.   SFJAZZ. (415) 398-5655.

– Nov. 6 – 8. (Fri. – Sun.) Jean Luc-Ponty. Cutting edge violinist Ponty has taken his instrument into adventurous new areas of expression. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.

New York

– Nov. 3 – 8 (Tues. – Sun.) Lou Donaldson Quartet. Veteran alto saxophonist Donaldson doesn’t receive the credit he deserves as one of the best of the post-Charlie Parker altoists. Village Vanguard. (212) 255-4037.

– Nov. 3 – 9. (Tues. – Sun.) Django Reinhardt Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary with a stellar line-up of talent, all inspired by Reinhardt, the gypsy jazz master. Tchavalo & Samson Schmitt, Brian Torff, Andreas Oberg, Ludovic Beier, Aurore Voilqué, Ted Gottsegan. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.

– Nov. 6 – 8. (Fri. – Sun.) Vijay Iyer Trio. American born, from Indian parents, Iyer brings an extraordinary range of musical perspectives to his always compelling piano playing. Jazz Standard. (212) 447-7733.

Picks of the Week: August 3 – 9

August 3, 2009

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Aug. 4. (Tues.) Chuck Berghofer’s Midnight Jazz Band. Whenever bassist Berghofer steps into the leader’s role, you can count on the fact that he’ll be surrounded by world class players. And the Midnight band is no exception, with Gary Foster on alto sax, Tom Ranier on piano and Joe La Barbera on drums. Charlie O’s. 994-3068.

– Aug. 4. (Tues.) Jean Shy. Jazz, Blues, Gospel, Pop, Rock — Jean Shy does it all, investing every note she sings with her own inimitable sense of soul. Bar Melody. (310) 670-1994.


Gil Evans and Miles Davis

– Aug. 5. (Wed.) “Miles Davis/Gil Evans: Still Ahead.” Trumpeters Terence Blanchard and Nicholas Payton take on the difficult task of playing the Miles Davis roles in the now classic orchestrations created by Gil Evans for the recordings Porgy and Bess, Sketches of Spain and Miles Ahead. The all-star cast also includes drummer Jimmy Cobb, bassist Christian McBride, drummer Peter Erskine and saxophonist/tubaist Howard Johnson. Vince Mendoza conducts and Miles Evans (Gil Evan’s son) is the music director. The Hollywood Bowl. (310) 850-2000.

– Aug. 5. (Wed.) Frank Potenza. Guitarist, educator (at USC) and protege of Joe Pass, Potenza takes an evening away from the classroom to display his briskly swinging style in an organ trio setting with B-3 master Joe Bagg and drummer Ryan Doyle. They’ll be playing selections from the album Old, New, Borrowed & Blue. Steamers. (714) 871-8800.

– Aug. 5. (Wed.) John Proulx. Pianist/singer performs selections from his new CD, Baker’s Dozen: Remembering Chet Baker. Featuring trumpeter Ron Stout, bassist Chuck Berghofer and drummer Joe LaBarbera. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

– Aug. 6. (Thurs.) David Sanborn. Alto saxophonist Sanborn — whose sound and style impacted a generation of young saxophonists — makes a rare local club appearance in the Los Angeles suburb of Agoura Hills. Canyon Club. (805) 583-6700.

Estaire Godinez

Estaire Godinez

– Aug. 6. (Thurs.) Estaire Godinez. She plays wildly diverse percussion, she’s a passionate singer, and she brings dynamic electricity to every song she touches. All of which should make for an exciting night in Bel Air. Vibrato. (310) 474-9400

– Aug. 6. (Thurs.)) Wild Magnolias. Mardi Gras in August. The Magnolias combine roots New Orleans music with wildly colorful, on-stage flamboyance. The Skirball Center, (310) 440-4500

– August 7. (Fri..) Lyle Lovett and Madeleine Peyroux. The perfect match of a pair of popular music’s most idiosyncratic performers. Impossible to lock into any single genre, Lovett and Peyroux always offer compelling performances. The Greek Theatre. (Also at the Santa Barbara Bowl on Sun. Aug. 9.)

Langlang with Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock and Lang Lang

– Aug. 7 & 8. (Fri. & Sat.) Herbie Hancock and Lang Lang with the L.A. Philharmonic. Two titans of the contemporary piano world display their very different musical orientations. Let’s hope there’s an opportunity for them to jam together (if they can agree on what to play). The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

– Aug. 7 – 9. (Fri. – Sun.) 22nd Annual Long Beach Jazz Festival. Funk, fusion, crossover and jazz pop in the spotlight with Patti Austin, Norman Brown, David Sanborn, Ledisi, Les McCann, Hiroshima, Ramsey Lewis, Paul Brown, Marc Antoine and numerous others. The Long Beach Jazz Festival. Lagoon Park. http://www.longbeachjazzfestival.com. (562) 424-0013.

Tanya Tagaq

Tanya Tagaq

– Aug. 8. (Sat.) Tanya Tagaq. Tagaq, who has worked frequently with Bjork, is a Canadian Inuit who specializes in the difficult, but always fascinating to hear, throat-singing style. Based in Inuit traditions, she has transformed the style into a strikingly contemporary expression. Solo a cappella artist Hyperpotamus opens the bill. Grand Performances. (213) 687-2190

– Aug. 9. (Sun.) Chris Walden celebrates the 10th anniversary of his Big Band. Special guests include Carol Welsman, Tierney Sutton, Courtney Fortune and Christopher Cross. With possible Surprise guest appearances by Michael Bolton and David Foster. 8 p.m. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-22110.

– Aug. 9. (Sun.) The Lanny Morgan 6. Alto saxophonist Morgan leads his contemporary bebop band of trumpeter Bob Summers, tenor saxophonist Doug Webb, pianist Tom Ranier, bassist Chuck Berghofer and drummer Steve Schaeffer. The Lighthouse Café. (310) 376-9833.

– Aug. 9. (Sun.) “A Tale of Two Princes: Prince William “Buddy” Colette and Prince Charles Mingus.” The music of both composers will be performed, and guest artists will sit in to honor Buddy Colette’s 88th birthday. 11 a.m. brunch. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

San Francisco

– Aug. 3. (Mon.) Elin, Rising jazz star Elin has been drawing rave reviews from New York and Miami to Peru and the Canary Islands. Born in Sweden to Peruvian and Irish parents, her comfortable multi-culturalism brings a rich colorful diversity to her music. Brazilian vocalist. Opening for her — San Diego’s talented young vocalist Sacha Boutros. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200


Charlie Haden

– Aug. 7 – 9. (Fri. – Sun.) Charlie Haden leads his Quartet West in a celebation of his 72nd birthday weekend. With pianist Alan Broadbent, tenor saxophonist Ernie Watts and drummer Rodney Green. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.

San Jose

– Aug. 7 – 9. (Fri. – Sun.) The San Jose Jazz Festival. Featuring Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Wild Magnolias, Denise Donatelli, Pete Escovedo, Bill Henderson, Allen Toussaint, Winard Harper, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Lionel Loueke and dozens of others. All in all, there will be over a hundred concerts on nine stages throughout the three days of the Festival. With prices as low as $15 a day ($10 on Friday). with children 12 and under free, it is surely one of the best musical bargains of the summer, anywhere. San Jose Jazz Festival. (408) 288-7557.

New York

Tessa Souter

Tessa Souter

– Aug. 3. (Mon.) Tessa Souter. One of the few exceptional standouts in the crowded field of female jazz singers, Souter performs material from her about-to-be-released CD, Obsession. Her live performances are far too rare, so don’t miss this one. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592

– Aug. 4 – 6. (Tues. – Thurs.) Greg Osby, Playboy magazine’s “Jazz Artist of the Year,” leads his sextet — vocalist Sara Serpa, guitarist Nil Felder, pianist Frank LoCrasto, bassist Matt Brewer and drummer John Davis — in selections from the album, 9 Levels. The Village Vanguard. (212) 255-4037.

– Aug. 6 – 9. (Thurs. – Sun.) Ernestine Anderson Quartet. At 80-something, Anderson brings a lifetime of atmospheric insight to each phrase, making her performances into virtual master classes in the art of jazz singing. She’s backed by tenor saxophonist Houston Person, whose 30 plus years with Etta Jones taught him something about jazz singing, as well. Jazz Standard. (212) 576-2252.


CLaudia Acuna 2

Claudia Acuna

– Aug. 7. (Fri.) Claudia Acuna discovered jazz in her native Chile and — even though her last CD, En Este Momento, featured Spanish language songs — her jazz skills continue to grow, enhanced by the velvet sound of her voice. the rhythmic lift of her phrasing, and an unerring way with a lyric. RegattaBar. Cambridge. (617) 395-7757.

– Aug. 7. (Fri.) Leny Andrade. The always-swinging Brazilian jazz/bossa nova singer performs with the Cesar Camargo Mariano/Romero Lubambo guitar duo. Sculler’s. (617) 562-4111

Washington, D.C.

– Aug. 6 – 9. (Thurs,. – Sun.) Freddy Cole. There’s a trace of the same Cole family vocal timbre in his voice that was present in his brother Nat Cole. But Freddy is very much his own man, singing with the interpretive qualities of a jazz master. Blues Alley. (202)337-4141


Judy_Carmichael piano

Judy Carmichael

– Aug. 3 – 15. (Mon. – Sat.) (except for the 9th.) Judy Carmichael will be adding vocals to her versatile piano stylings in a performance celebrating her new CD, Come and Get It. The Boisdale of Belgravia. London.

Picks of the Week: Feb 2 – 8

February 2, 2009

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Feb. 2. (Mon.)  Emerson String Quartet.  The veteran, eight Grammy Award-winning ensemble performs amid a major retrospective showing of the art of painter Roberta Eisenberg.  The program includes Beethoven, Ravel, Webern and Schubert.  Cal State Polytechnic.  Pomona. (310) 216-5861.  http://www.csupomona.edu/~kellogg_gallery/.


Jacky Terrasson

– Feb. 4 – 7.  (Wed. – Sat.)  Jacky Terrasson Trio.  The always-intriguing French pianist makes a rare L.A. stop.  The Jazz Bakery  (310) 271-9039.  www.jazzbakery.com.

– Feb 5.  (Thurs.)  Klezmerata Fiorentina.  How’s this for eclecticism: Four principal players from Florence’s Orchestra del Maggio Musicale, performing Ukrainian-Jewish instrumental music in an improvisatory style. Expect to hear lots of tapping feet.  Skirball Cultural Center.  (310) 440-4500.  www.skirball.org.

– Feb. 5.  (Thurs.)  Ron Eschete Trio. The master of the seven string jazz guitar in action.    Steamers. (714) 871-8800  www.steamersjazzcafe.com.


Steve Tyrell

– Feb. 5 – 8  (Thurs. – Sun.) and Feb. 12 – 15 (Thurs. – Sun.)  Singer Steve Tyrell does his unique take on the Great American Songbook.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  www.catalinajazzclub.com

Feb. 6.  (Fri.)  Master Musicians of Jajouka.  William S. Burroughs described it as the “music of a 4,000 year old rock & roll band.”  But even that colorful beat generation description misses the intensity of the Jajoukas’ music, with its plangent reeds, wailing flutes and roiling percussion.  UCLA Royce Hall. (310) 825-2101.  www.uclalive.org.   (Also Feb. 11 and 12 at Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.  www.yoshis.com.)


Orchestra Otmani

– Feb. 6.  (Fri. ) Orchestra Otmani of Fes.  A rare opportunity to hear Moroccan music in the Andalusian style.  Orchestra Otmani performs in both secular and Sufi traditions, and features the singing of 21 year old vocal prodigy Marouane Hajji.  Zipper Concert Hall at the Colburn School.  (866) 468-3399. http://www.zipperhall.com/.

– Feb. 6, 8, 13 and 15.  (Fri,, Sun., Fri. & Sun.)   Le Nozze di Figaro.  “Figaro” is always fun.  But rarely more so than in this self-described “boisterous new production” by Opera UCLA.  Schoenberg Hall. (310) 825-2101  www.arts.ucla.edu

– Feb. 6 & 7.  (Fri. & Sat.)  Another jazz saxophone weekend at Charlie O’s, with the boppish stylings of Lanny Morgan on Sat. and the Pink Panther tenor of Plas Johnson on Saturday.  Charlie O’s.  818- 994-3058.  www.charlieos.com.

– Feb. 7.  (Fri.)  An Evening with Edward Albee. The great American playwright tells how it’s done.   Royce Hall UCLA.  UCLA Royce Hall. (310) 825-2101.  www.uclalive.org.


Azam Ali

-Feb. 7.  (Sat.)  Niyaz.  The cross-cultural ensemble of singer Azam Ali, multi-instrumentalist Loga Ramin Torkian, oud player Naser Musa, tabla player Salar Nadar, bassist Miles Jay and keyboardist Ray Lee explore the surprisingly compatible linkages between Persian, Indian, Turkish and Western dance music.  The El Rey.  (323) 936-6400.  http://www.theelrey.com/.   Also Fri., Feb. 7 at Cal State Fullerton Performing Arts Center.  (714) 278-3371.   http://www.fullerton.edu/arts/events.

– Feb. 7.  (Fri.)  Rahim AlHaj and Souhail Kaspar.  Iraqi oud virtuoso AlHaj is joined by Lebanese percussionist Souhail Kaspar in a presentation of music from his latest CD, “Home Again.”  The Getty. http://www.getty.edu/.



– Feb. 8.  (Sun.) Kodo Drummers.  Disney Hall.  No that’s not the big one you hear, although it sometimes approaches the intensity of a major temblor.  It’s Japan’s Kodo Drummers, filling Disney Hall with their incomparable blend of sheer showmanship and body-shaking percussion sounds.  Walt Disney Concert Hall. (323) 850-2000.  http://www.laphil.org.

San Francisco

– Feb. 2 & 3.  (Mon. & Tues.)  Chris Hillman & Herb Pederson with John McEuen.  California country, rock and bluegrass lives.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.  www.yoshis.com.

New York City

– Feb. 3 – 8.  (Tues. – Sun.)  The perfect contemporary jazz storm: The Yellowjackets’ irrepressible beat  and Mike Stern’s take-no-prisoners guitar playing. Blue Note.  (No wonder they have two Grammy nominations.)  (212) 475-8592. http://www.bluenote.net/newyork/index.shtml.

– Feb. 4 – 7  (Wed. – Sat.)  Drummer Lewis Nash steps to the front of the stage with his own sterling quintet  (Jeremy Pelt, trumpet, Jimmy Greene, tenor saxophone, Renee Rosnes, piano, Peter Washington, bass)  Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.  www.birdlandjazz.com.

– Feb. 6.  (Fri.)  Up and coming pianist Helen Sung combines her youthful perspective with veteran bassist Ron Carter‘s ever-adventurous overview.  Rubin Museum of Art. (212) 620-5000.  www.rmanyc.org.

– Feb. 6 & 7.  (Fri. & Sat.)  Pianist Mike Melvoin, bassist Jay Leonhart and drummer Bill Goodwin make a convincing case for the fact that jazz can be simultaneously lyrical, elegant, imaginative and hard-swinging.  The Kitano.  (212) 885-7000.  http://www.kitano.com.  Also at Scullers Jazz Club in Boston on Tues., Feb. 10.  (617) 562-4111.  http://www.scullersjazz.com.

– Feb. 6 & 7.  (Fri. & Sat..)  (10:30 & 12:00 AM)  Tenor saxophonist Seamus Blake‘s envelope-stretching quintet, with pianist Dave Kikoski, guitarist Lage Lund, drummer Bill Stewart and bassist Matt Clohesy.  Smalls.  (212) 252-5091.  http://www.smallsjazzclub.com/.

Knoxville, Tennessee

– Feb. 6 – 8  (Fri.  –  Sun.) Big Ears Festival.  A cross-genre music and arts festival combining art installations, exhibitions, performance art, seminars with artists, and interactive experiences.  Confirmed artists include Philip Glass, Jon Hassell, Pauline Oliveros, and numerous others.  At locations around Knoxville, Tenn.    (865).684-1200 Ext. 2.    www.bigearsfestival.com.


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