Picks of the Week: April 24 – 28

April 24, 2013

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Barbara Morrison

Barbara Morrison

– April 24. (Wed.) Barbara Morrison.  A legend in her own right, the versatile Ms. Morrison celebrates the music of the iconic Ella Fitzgerald.  She’ll be backed by pianist Stuart Elster, bassist Pat Senatore and drummer Lee SpathVibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

-April 24. (Wed.)  Miles Evans Big Band.  Gil Evan’s trumpet-playing son (and Miles Davis namesake) keeps his father’s superb music alive, while taking it into compelling new musical areas.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (223) 466-2210.

– April 25.  (Thurs.)  Cat’s Birthday Bash. Singer Cat Conner celebrates with an evening of prime jazz.  Her special guests include singer Lee Hartley and woodwind master Gene “Cip” Cipriano, with stellar backing provided by pianist Christian Jacob, bassist Chuck Berghofer and drummer Steve SchaefferVitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

– April 25. (Thurs.)  Nutty.  Seven piece Nutty is a one of a kind band, applying their ‘Mashups” style to a blend of “jazz and rock ‘n’ roll, served up with a swinging, old school Vegas swagger.” They perform at L.A.’s elegant new jazz room.  H.O.M.E.  l  (310) 271-4663.

Rita Coolidge

– April 25 – 27. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Rita Coolidge. Grammy-winning singer Coolidge – know as “Delta Lady” after Leon Russell wrote the song for her – is still, at 67, a convincing vocal practitioner in the pop and soft rock genres.   Catalina Bar & Grill.  (223) 466-2210.

– April 26. (Fri.) An Evening with Medeski, Martin & Wood.  M, M & W have been exploring new genre combinations – jazz funk, jazz fusion, avant-jazz, etc. – for two decades.  And they’re still working at the cutting edge.  CAP UCLA at Royce Hall.   (310) 825-2101.

– April 26 – 28. (Fri. – Sun.)  Bringuier and Thibaudet with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  An evening of French delights.  French conductor Lionel Bringuier and French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet perform a program of Ravel and Saint-Saens.  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

– April 27. (Sat.)  Larry Koonse – Alan Pasqua Duo.  Two of the Southland’s most highly praised players, first call rhythm section experts and superb soloists in their own right, get together in a duo setting.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

– April 28. (Sun.)  The Susie Hansen Latin Jazz Band.  She’s a blonde girl from the mid-West who plays violin, but Hansen has been providing some of L.A.’s most authentic and dynamic Latin jazz, salsa and swing for more than two decades.  She’ll be joined by guest vocalist Valerie Petersen. Be prepared to dance in the aisles.  The Huntington Beach Art Center.  www.huntingtonbeachartcenter.org  (714) 536-5258.

San Francisco

Chick Corea

Chick Corea

– April 25 – 28. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Chick Corea & the Vigil.  Always in search of newly expressive music, the inimitable Corea performs with his newest band, featuring saxophonist Tim Garland, bassist Hadrien Feraud, guitarist Charles Altura and drummer Marcus GilmoreYoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.

New York City

– April 25 – 27. (Thurs. – Sat.) Celebrating Duke EllingtonWynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra explore their deeply insightful understanding of the classic Ellington musical canon.  Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Rose Theatre.    (212) 258-9595.


– April 27. (Sat.)  Gato Barbieri. Veteran Argentine saxophonist Barbieri has moved across genres from the free jazz of the ‘60s to his Latin jazz specialties of the ‘70s and beyond. He’ll no doubt play his hit version of his music for the film Last Tango In Paris.    Regatta Bar.   (617) 661-5000.


Avishai Cohen

Avishai Cohen

– April 28 (Sun.)  Avishai Cohen, Omer Avital and Iago Fernandez Camano. Critically praised Israeli trumpeter Cohen performs in a true international jazz trio with bassist Omer Avital and drummer Iago Fernandez CamanoBlue Note Milano.    +39 02 6901 6888.


– April 28 & 29. (Sun. & Mon.)  The Toshiko Akiyoshi Jazz Orchestra featuring Lew Tabackin.  Pianist/composer Akiyoshi and her husband, saxophonist Tabackin return to Japan to perform with Akiyoshi’s superb big jazz band. Blue Note Tokyo.   +81 3-5485-0088.

Picks of the Week: Nov. 1 – 6

November 1, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Hilary Hahn

– Nov. 1. Tues.)  Hilary Hahn.  The musically insightful violinist performs an intimate recital accompanied by pianist Valentina Lisitsa.  On the program: Bach, Beethoven and Brahms.  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

– NOv. 1 & 2. (Tues. & Wed.)  Barb Jungr.  English singer Jungr’s versatility is revealed in her highly personal vocal style as well as her broad choice of material.  In her latest album, The Man in the Long Black Coat, she brings new perspectives to a program of Bob Dylan songs.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

– Nov. 2. (Wed.)  Patty Peterson.  She comes from a family whose musical connections reach into every style and genre.  But Minnesota’s Peterson is a unique vocal stylist with a thoroughly original musical view.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

Anthony Wilson

– Nov. 2. (Wed.)  Anthony Wilson Quartet. He’s in the top list of desirable sideman guitarists, and has been enhancing Diana Krall’s rhythm section for a decade.  But he’s also a superlative player and composer in his own right.  Here he is in the spotlight.  Royal/T.

– Nov. 3. (Thurs.)  Deborah Pearl  “Souvenir of You”  Pearl has written lyrics for some of Benny Carter’s finest music, and interprets them in a manner that would surely have pleased the old master.  Click HERE to read a previous iRoM review of Pearl’s Carter program.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

– Nov. 4. (Fri.) Vinny Golia Quintet. He’s one of the Southland’s most eclectic jazz artists, applying the sounds of his various woodwinds to improvisational music that knows no genre boundaries. LACMA.   (323) 857-6000.

– Nov. 4. (Fri.) Cyndi Lauper.  With 30 million records sold since she was first just a girl who wanted to have fun, Lauper has matured into a full-fledged entertainer, her skills reaching comfortably from singing and songwriting to acting and writing.  Along the way she’s won a Best New Artist Grammy award, Emmy awards, American Music awards and a lot more.  Club Nokia.     (213) 765-7000.

Billy Childs

Nov. 5. (Sat.)  Billy Childs Jazz Chamber Ensemble.  Pianist/composer Childs has been successfully discovering ways to apply the principles of chamber music to the subtleties of jazz improvisation. Every performance, as a result, is a musical adventure.   To read a previous iRoM review of the Childs Jazz Chamber Ensemble click HERE.   Vitello’s.     (818) 769-0905.

– Nov. 5. (Sat.)  Earl Scruggs.  At 87, banjoist Scruggs – already the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award – continues to gift audiences with the bluegrass music he defined with the likes of Bill Monroe and Lester Flatt.  He’s a true iconic figure of American music.  Don’t miss this rare chance to hear him.   UCLA Live at Royce Hall.    (310) 825-2101.

– Nov. 5 (Sat)  The King’s Singers.  The celebrated English vocal ensemble cruises smoothly through music reaching from the 16th century to contemporary sounds – and does so with authenticity, accuracy and – at times – with humor.  Valley Performing Arts Center.  (818) 677-3000.

The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra

– Nov. 5 & 6. (Sat. & Sun.) The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra performs the Bach Brandenburg Concertos. Any opportunity to hear one of the classic Bach Brandenburgs is a good one.  But the chance to hear all six of these remarkable works is something not to be missed.  For this memorable event, the LACO will be led by violinist Margaret Bajer.  The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.    Sat.: The Alex Theatre.  Sun. Royce Hall.  (213) 622-7001.

– Nov. 5 & 6. (Sat. & Sun.)) Don Preston Trio.  Keyboardist Preston may be best known for his stint with the Mothers of Invention.  But he’s had a richly creative, prolific career – both before and after the Mothers – exploring music ranging from straight ahead and cutting edge jazz to many areas of pop and rock.   He performs Sat. at South Pasadena Music Center and Conservatory.  Sun. at Alva’s Showroom in San Pedro.

– Nov. 6. (Sun.)  “Bill in Brazil.”  Always in search of expressive areas to explore, pianist/composer Bill Cunliffe leads his quartet in an excursion through the classic rhythms of samba, the bossa nova and beyond.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

– Nov. 6. (Sun.)  Wynonna.  Wynonna Judd’s country music stardom traces back to the early ‘80s and her partnership with her mother, Naomi Judd, in the duo they simply called the Judds.  On her own, she’s continued to have a stellar career.  The Valley Performing Arts Center.  (818) 677-3000.

San Francisco

Omar Sosa

– Nov. 4 & 5 (Fri. & Sat.)  Omar Sosa Quartet.  Cuban-born pianist/composer Sosa continues to seek and find intriguing common ground between jazz and a plethora of world and pop music forms.  Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.


– Nov. 1 & 2. (Tues. & Wed.)  Omar Sosa Quartet.  See above.  Jazz Alley.    (206) 441-9729.


– Nov. 3 – 6. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Tom Harrell Quartet.  Trumpeter/flugelhornist/composer Harrell has a resume reaching across every area of jazz, from the big bands and small ensembles, playing every contemporary jazz style.  And, at 65, he’s continuing to do so with imagination and enthusiasm.  Jazz Showcase.     (312) 360-0234.

New York

Chick Corea

– Nov. 1 – 27. (Tues. – Sun.)  Chick Corea begins a nearly month long residency at the Blue Note with a stunning survey of the broad, seemingly endless horizons of his extraordinary musical career.  This first week begins with Return To Forever Unplugged (Tues. & Wed.) The Chick Corea/Gary Peacock/Brian Blade Trio (Thurs.) and the Five Peace Band (Fri. – Sun.)  There are always a multitude of reasons to be in New York City, but this month of memorable Corea performances is one of the best. Let’s hope they’re all recorded for those of us not fortunate enough to be there. The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

– Nov. 1 – 6. (Tues. – Sun.)  Sextet Three Cohens.  Celebrating the release of their new Anzic Records  album – appropriately titled Family — clarinetist/saxophonist Anat, soprano saxophonist Yuval and trumpeter Avishai reveal their impressive jazz skills in everything they play.  Village Vanguard.   (212) 255-4037.

– Nov. 1 – 6. (Tues. – Sun.)  Django Reinhardt Festival.  Featuring Dorado Schmidt.  Here it is again, the annual celebration of the the great French jazz artist with Schmitt, another Gypsy guitarist, in the spotlight.  Guests during the week also include clarinetist Ken Peplowski, trumpter Dominick Farinacci and others.   Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

– Nov. 4. (Fri.) Opera ShortsThe Remarkable Theatre Brigade, ever eager to support the cause of new music, presents a program of 10 ten minute operas, all by living composers. Among those represented are Jake Heggie, William Bolcom, Davide Zannoni and Tom Cipullo.  Subject matter includes a sardonic look behind the scenes at I Love Lucy to a  barnyard where animals discuss politics.  Weill Recital Hall.   (212) 247-7800.


Stacey Kent

– Nov. 1 – 4. (Tues. – Fri.)  Stacey Kent.  A Grammy nominated, American-born vocalist, Kent has spent much of her career living in England and thoroughly establishing herself as an international jazz figure.  She’s currently celebrating the release of her latest album, Dreamer in Concert, her first non-studio album, recorded at La Cigale in Paris.    Ronnie Scott’s.    020 7439 0747.


– Nov. 1 – 4. (Tues. – Fri.)  Toshiko Akiyoshi Quintet.  Approaching her 82nd birthday, Japanese-born pianist/composer/bandleader Akiyoshi continues to affirm the authentic jazz credentials she first displayed when she was discovered by Oscar Peterson in the early ‘50s.  She’ll perform with her husband, saxophonist Lew TabackinBlue Note Tokyo.  03-5485-0088.

Billy Childs photo by Tony Gieske.

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: Oct. 19 – 24

October 19, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Oct. 19 (Tues.)  Robert Glasper Trio.  More than most of his contemporaries, pianist Glasper has found ways to compatibly combine hip-hop, rock and r & b elements with his solid jazz skills.  Catalina Bar & Grill. http://www.catalinajazzclub.com (323) 466-2210.

– Oct. 19. (Tues.)  Henry Franklin’s Big 70th Birthday Celebration.  Bassist Franklin, universally called “The Skipper,” hits 70 with plenty of creative fuel in the tank.  Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058.

Ravi Shankar

THIS CONCERT HAS JUST BEEN CANCELED.  THE PHILHARMONIC HAS ANNOUNCED IT HAS BEEN POSTPONED BECAUSE OF ILLNESS.  TICKET-HOLDERS SHOULD CONTACT THE PHILHARMONIC FOR FURTHER INFORMATION. – Oct. 20. (Wed.)  Ravi Shankar 90th Birthday Celebration. The man who virtually defines Indian classical music and the sitar for listeners both serious and casual, performs with the companionship of his gifted, sitar-playing daughter, Anoushka Shankar.   Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

– Oct. 20. (Wed.)  John Williams.  The superb, Grammy-winning guitarist performs original compositions as well as the works of Villa-Lobos and the Paraguayan guitarist/composer Agustin Barrios Mangore.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts (562) 916-8501.

– Oct. 20 – 23.  (Wed. – Sat.)  Billy Cobham.  The eclectically versatile, veteran drummer offers selections from his far-reaching album, PalindromeCatalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

Denise Donatelli

– Oct. 21. (Thurs.)  Denise Donatelli.  Always a pleasure to hear, Donatelli celebrates the release of her stellar new album, When Lights Are Low.  Featuring Geoffrey Keezer, pianist/arranger, Peter Sprague, guitar, Hamilton Price, bass, Rob Lockart, sax and Marvin “Smitty” Smith, drums.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

– Oct. 21. (Thurs.)  Patrick Berrogain’s Hot Club Combo.  French-born guitarist Berrogain revives the musette and the gypsy jazz tradition of Django Reinhardt.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

– Oct. 21. (Thurs.)  Jimmy Branley Quartet.  First call drummer Branley, whose expertise reaches from Cuban rhythms to straight ahead jazz, steps into the spotlight with his own ensemble.  Charlie O’s. (818) 994-3058.

– Oct. 21. (Thurs,.)  John Mayer Quartet.  Pianist Mayer keeps bebop alive with his own imaginative ideas and driving sense of swing  He performs with Doug Webb, saxophone, Chris Conner, bass and Roy McCurdy, drums.  Crowne Plaza Brasserie Jazz Lounge. (310) 642-7500.

Taj Mahal

– Oct. 22. (Fri.)  Taj Mahal and special guest Vieux Farka Toure. The great, veteran blues and roots artist shares the stage with the equally compelling blues of Mali’s singer/guitarist Toure.  A UCLA Live concert at Royce Hall.   (310) 825-4401.

– Oct. 22. (Fri.)  Hiroshima.  30th Anniversary Concert.  The group that blended world music and jazz into an amiable sound that lifted it to smooth jazz stardom, celebrates the start of its fourth decade.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.   (562) 916-8501.

– Oct. 22. (Fri.) Avishai Cohen Quintet.  Bassist Cohen leads his “Aurora” Project Quintet in a program of music that finds common ground between jazz and some compelling world music sounds.  Vocalist Karen Malka and oud player Amos Hoffman are featured, with pianist Shai Maestro and percussionist Itamar Doari.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast at the Musicians Institute Concert Hall.   (310) 271-9039.

– Oct. 22. (Fri.)  Louis Van Taylor Band. Taylor’s saxophone and woodwind sounds have been heard with everyone from Ray Charles to Kool and the Gang and the Gerald Wilson Orchestra.  LACMA.  (323) 857-6000.  Also Oct. 29 at Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058

– Oct. 22. (Fri.)  Open Hands.  It’s a modest title for a group of L.A. all-stars: bassist Abraham Laboriel, Sr., saxophonist Justo Almario, drummer Bill Maxwell and keyboardist Gregg MathiesonBaked Potato.   (818) 980-1615.

– Oct. 22 & 23. (Fri. & Sat.) Walt Weiskopf.  Tenor saxophonist Weiskopf’s resume reaches from Steely Dan to the Buddy Rich Band.  But he’s at his best when he’s displaying his enviable talents in front of his own quartet. With Bevan Manson, piano, Tom Warrington, bass and Dick Weller, drums.  Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

– Oct. 22 – 24 (Thurs. – Sun.)  The Los Angeles PhilharmonicCharles Dutoit conducts the Philharmonic in Berlioz’ lush Romeo and Juliet.  With the LA Master ChoraleDisney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

Grant Geissman

– Oct. 23. (Sat.)  Grant Geissman’s Cool Man Cool Band. Guitarist Geissman describes his current gig as “Cool music I like to play, with cool people I like to play with.”  Expect cool results.  Spaghettini.   (562) 596-2199.

– Oct. 24. (Sun.) Miles Evans Band. Gil Evan’s son, trumpeter Miles Evans continues on his mission to “pick up where Gil Evans, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Jaco Pastorius and Rashied Ali left the notes on the page.”  Catalina Bar & Grill.(323) 466-2210.

– Oct. 24. (Sun.)  The Mozart Classical Orchestra. Ami Porat conducts the MCO in a performance of the Mozart Symphony No. 33, the Bach Sinfonia Op.3 No. 2 in C Major and the Haydn Cello Concerto in C Major, performed by Timothy Landauer.  Performing Bach, Haydn and Mozart.  Irvine Barclay.  Irvine Barclay Theatre.  (949) 854-4646.

San Diego

– Oct. 21. (Thurs.)  Stanley Clarke & Hiromi.  Bassist Clarke and keyboardist Hiromi continue to develop their musically provocative relationship.  Anthology.  (619) 595-0300.

San Francisco

Lavay Smith

– Oct. 20. (Wed.)  Cherry Poppin’ Daddies and Lavay Smith & The Red Hot Skillet Lickers.  Swing is alive and well in the hands of the Daddies (who just celebrated their 20th anniversary) and the glamorous jazz divadom of the entertaining Lavay and her players.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

– Oct. 20 & 21. (Wed. & Thurs.) Avishai Cohen. Bassist Cohen leads his “Aurora” Project Quintet in a program of music that finds common ground between jazz and some compelling world music sounds.  Vocalist Karen Malka and oud player Amos Hoffman are featured, with pianist Shai Maestro and percussionist Itamar Doari. Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

New York

– Oct. 19 – 23. (Tues. – Sat.)  Jane Monheit. The Grammy-nominated Monheit brings her svelte sound and intimate interpretations to Birdland just in time to celebrate the release of her new CD, Home. Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

George Wein

– Oct. 19 – 24. (Tues. – Sun.)  George Wein & The Newport All Stars.  Wein, who probably enjoys playing piano at least as much as he likes to produce concerts, celebrates his 85th birthday with the supportive musical companionship of trumpeter Randy Brecker, saxophonist Lew Tabackin, guitarist Howard Alden, bassist Rufus Reid, drummer Lewis Nash & Some Very Special GuestsDizzy’s Club Coca Cola (212) 258-9800.

Picks of the Week: Aug. 24 – 29

August 24, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Aug. 24. (Tues.) Sarah Chang.  The gifted young violinist takes on the fascinating musical demands of the Shostakovich Violin Concerto No. 1, The Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Slatkin,  plays the Shostakovich Symphony No. 5The Hollywood Bowl. (323) 850-2000.

– Aug. 24. (Tues.)  Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra. The Southland’s always compelling contribution to the top tiers of big band jazz makes an infrequent club engagement. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

– Aug. 24. (Tues.) Otmaro Ruiz Quartet.  Versatile pianist Ruiz shares his views of Latin jazz with the talented vibraphonist, Nick Mancini.  Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058.

Monica Mancini

– Aug. 25. (Wed.) Gershwin Across America.  What could be more entertaining than a warm summer night at the Hollywood Bowl, listening to the timeless melodies of Gershwin sung and played by a cast of musical all-stars.  Featured artists include Monica Mancini, Jason Mraz, BeBe Winans, Nancy Wilson, St. Vincent, Shelly Berg, Arturo Sandoval, Tom Scott, Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band and others.  The Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

– Aug. 25. (Wed.)  Dale Fielder Angel City Quartet.  Saxophonist Fielder leads his quartet in an evening dedicated to a tribute to Wayne Shorter as well as selections from his own Suite ClarityCatalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.  .

– Aug. 25. (Wed.)  Larry Goldings Quintet.  Film music is on the menu for pianist Goldings, who leads his players – guitarist Anthony Wilson, trumpeter Josh Welchez bassist Gabe Noel and drummer Kevin Kanner in a program of music by the likes of Bernard Hermann, Henry Mancini, Nino Rota, Leonard Bernstein and more.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

Norah Jones

– Aug. 25. (Wed.)  Norah Jones. She burst onto the music scene with almost no advance warning.  And she’s been spreading her wings musically ever since, revealing the broad, eclectic reach of her performing, playing and composing skills. The Greek Theatre.   (323) 665-3125.

– Aug. 25 & 26. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Jeremy Siskind.  The talented young pianist offers a tribute to Oscar Peterson, backed by guitarist Graham Dechter and bassist Will Snyder.  Wed. at Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.  Thursday at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

– Aug. 26. (Thurs.)  BeatlesfestLed Zepagain. It’s tribute night on the Pier, with the sounds of the Beatles and Led Zeppelin spreading musical memories in every direction.   Twilight Dance at the Santa Monica Pier.   (310) 458-8900.

– Aug. 26. (Thurs.)  Peter Erskine and Friends. Expect high quality, world class jazz whenever drummer Erskine is leading the way.  And once again he’s got a band that knows how to deliver it. With Alan Pasqua, piano, Derek Oles, bass and Bob Mintzer, saxophones.  Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

– Aug. 26. (Thurs.)  Galway Plays Mozart.  Flutist John Galway – his instrument’s most visible performer — plays the Mozart Flute Concerto No 2, as well as Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun and Piston’s Incredible Flutist Suite.  The Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Leonard Slatkin, offers the Overture to Mozart’s The Magic FluteThe Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

Frank Sinatra, Jr.

– Aug. 26 – 29. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Frank Sinatra Jr.  The Sinatra sound is alive and well in the voice and the style of son Frank, Jr.   At a time when Sinatra imitators are showing up everywhere, it’s good to hear the music coming from such an original source.  (323) 466-2210.    Catalina Bar & Grill.

– Aug. 27. (Fri.)  Cyndi Lauper. With 13 Grammy nominations, a pair of Emmys and a ton of MTV awards, Lauper continues to sustain musical stardom that reaches back to her hits of the ‘80s.  Her guest stars are New Orleans’ Allen Toussaint and guitarist David RhodesThe Greek Theatre.   (323) 665-3125.

– Aug. 27. (Fri.)  Dena DeRose. It took injuries to her hands to convince DeRose that she had vocal skills to match the quality of her piano playing.  Fortunately recovered, she now does both.  What she doesn’t do very often, however, is make Southland appearances.  So don’t miss this one.  Crowne Plaza Hotel.   (310) 642-7500.

– Aug. 28. (Sat.)  The Turtle Island Quartet.   The ever-adventurous Turtle Islanders perform music from their new CD, Have You Ever Been… — featuring the music of Jimi Hendrix and founder/composer in residence David BalakrishnanGrand Performances.  (213) 687-2190.

Charmaine Clamor

– Aug. 28. (Sat.) Charmaine Clamor.  The Philippines’ gift to the world of jazz singing gets better and better with every performance, spreading her extraordinary musical versatility in all directions.  Hopefully she’ll offer a glimpse into the songs on her soon to be released new album, Something Good. And this time out, it won’t cost a penny to hear and see this world class artist at the  Levitt Pavilion in a free concert in MacArthur Park.   (213) 384-5701

– Aug. 28. (Sat.)  Jeri Brown.  Brown, whose voice is one of the jazz world’s most remarkable instruments, takes a break from her teaching activities in Canada to make a very rare Southland appearance.  If you haven’t heard her yet, you should start now.  Café Metropol.   (213) 613-1537.

– Aug. 28. (Sat.)  Ashley Maher.  Imagine the lyrical depths of Joni Mitchell embraced by the vital rhythms of Africa, and it still won’t quite describe the songs and singing of Maher, who deserves far more attention than she has received.  She performs with Haiti’s Jean-Paul.  The Kara Mack Band opens.  The Talking Stick, Venice.

– Aug. 28 & 29. (Sat. & Sun.)  Idyllwild Jazz in the Pines.  A great way to spend a late Summer weekend – an entertaining program of music in a delightful outdoor setting.  Featured artists include Tom Scott, Kenny Washington, Oscar Hernandez and David Benoit.  But there’s much more, from the Peter Sprague String Consort and the Jeff Tower Big band to Henry Franklin, Yves Evans, Graham Dechter and many others.  The inimitable Bubba Jackson is the master of ceremonies.  Idyllwild Jazz in the Pines.

= Aug. 29. (Sun.) Kleber Jorge.  Brazilian singer/guitarist Jorge, former lead guitarist with Sergio Mendes,  has also performed with everyone from Dori Caymmi to John Patitucci.  He celebrates the opening of a new Sunday brunch series at the Tiato Market Garden Cafe in Santa Monica.   (310) 866-5228.

San Francisco

– Aug. 24 & 25. (Tues. & Wed.)  Lenny White and Anomaly. Drummer White celebrates the release of Anomaly, his first album in ten years,  Determined to “put the rock back into jazz-rock,” he thoroughly succeeds in the task.  For a review of his performance at Catalina Bar & Grill last weekend, click here.   Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

Bob Dylan

– Aug. 25. (Wed.)  Bob Dylan and His Band. A rare and special event.  And it begins with what will surely be a virtual “happening” outside the theatre before the show begins.  Why?  Because all tickets are general admission and will be sold only on the day of the show.  $60, cash only, no credit cards, and no advance tickets will be sold.  Box office and doors open at 5:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show.  Line-ups will be allowed no earlier than noon on the day of the show.  The Warfield, San Francisco.

Aug. 26 – 28. (Thurs. – Sat.) John Zorn.  A three night Zorn festival.  On Thursday he performs in a duo with composer Terry Riley; on Friday he plays Alhambra love songs at 8, and is joined by the Aleph Trio at 10; on Saturday he appears with the Rova Saxophone QuartetYoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

New York

– Aug. 24 – 28. (Tues. – Sat.) Richie Bierach.  Pianist Bierach, a favorite of Stan Getz and Chet Baker, among others, performs with trumpeter Randy Brecker, violinist Gregor Huebner, bassist George Mraz and drummer Billy HartBirdland.  (212) 581-3080.

-Aug. 24 – 29. (Tues. – Sun.)  Saxophone Summit: Salute to James Moody.  Special guests: Tues. — Chris Potter; Wed. – Eric Alexander and Antonio Hart; Thurs – Jimmy Heath; Fri. – Lew Tabackin; Sat. – Ada Rovatti; Sun. – Joe LovanoThe Blue Note. (212) 475-8592

– Aug. 24 – 29. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim. An evening of works by the man who created some of the most memorable songs of the late 20th century. Performed expertly by The Trio Da Paz, with Joe Locke, Harry Allen and Maucha AdnetDizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.   (212) 258-9595.

Lee Konitz

– Aug. 26 – 29. (Thurs. – Sun.) Lee Konitz.  The veteran alto saxophonist, one of the jazz world’s true original artists, displays his extraordinary improvisational skills in the company of the alternating rhythm section teams of Ethan Iverson/Larry Grenadier (Thurs. & Sun.) and Reid Anderson/Jorge Rossy (Fri. & Sat.)  Iridium.   (212) 582-2121.

– Aug. 26 – 29. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Gerald Clayton Quintet. Rapidly rising young pianist Clayton expands his trio with a pair of equally promising young instrumentalists – trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire and alto saxophonist Logan RichardsonThe Jazz Standard. l (212) 576-3323.

Picks of the Week: June 29 – July 4

June 29, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Sally Kellerman

-June 30. (Wed.)  Sally Kellerman. Hot Lips is back. And, as convincing as she was in M*A*S*H, she’s even more so as a singer, crafting tunes simmering with traces of jazz, folk, soul and country.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

– June 30. (Wed.)  Open Hands.  One of the Southland’s authentic all-star jazz ensembles, featuring the invigorating bass work of Abraham Laboriel and the dynamically versatile tenor saxophone of Justo Almario, with Greg Mathieson, keyboards and Bill Maxwell, drums.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

– June 30. (Wed.)  Kevin Eubanks Group. He’s no longer on the air with Leno, but Eubanks is still one of the most listenable guitarists in jazz.  And on this gig you won’t have to worry about being interrupted by a commercial break. Baked Potato.  (818) 980-1615.

– June 30. (Wed.) Nancy Sanchez.  She may have been a mariachi singer as a teen-ager, but Sanchez is now an intriguing, up and coming jazz vocalist who comfortably combines some pop and crossover elements in her coolly expressive vocalizing.  Steamers. (714) 871-8800.

Linda Ciofalo

– July 1. (Thurs.)  Linda Ciofalo. With an appealing voice and a perky rhythmic manner, Ciofalo is the right interpreter for the Johnny Mercer tunes on her brand new CD, Dancing With Johnny.  She’s backed by pianist Otmaro Ruiz, bassist John Belzaguy and drummer Jimmy Branley.  Crowne Plaza. (310) 642-7500.

– July 2. (Fri.)  Charles Owens Quartet. The versatile Owens can play any saxophone, in almost any style, and do it with utter believability.  But the best time to hear him is on a gig like this, when he’s up front, doing everything his own way.  The Culver Club in the Raddison.   (310) 649-1776 ext. 4137.

– July 2 – 4. (Fri. – Sun.)  July 4th Fireworks SpectacularVince Gill, with twenty Grammy Awards and more than 22 million albums sold, is the perfect headliner for the annual pyrotechnical celebration.  Expect to hear such country hits as “I Still Believe In You” and “One More Last Chance.”  Hollywood Bowl.    (323) 850-2000.

– July 3. (Sat.)  Ira Nepus and Friends.  Trombonist, Nepus, one of L.A.’s fine first-call players, steps into the spotlight with his own group.  And the set will be even more highlighted by the engaging vocals of Bonnie Bowden.  Willy’s BBQ and Grill.  Agoura Hills.   (818) 991-7227.

San Francisco

– June 29 & 30 (Tues. & /Wed,)  Joyce (Joyce Moreno) The Brazilian singer/guitarist is keeping the bossa nova flame still burning, while adding her own more contemporary tunes to programs rich with the rhythms of Rio. Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

– July 4. (Sun.) Kiosk.  There’s something appropriate about the presence of the highly praised Iranian rock band, Kiosk, at Yoshi’s on Independence Day.  Prevented from performing in public in their native land (because of “inappropriate” lyrics), they re-formed outside Iran and now perform around the globe.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

New York

Lew Tabackin and Toshiko Akiyoshi

– June 29 – July 3. (Tues. – Sat.) Lew Tabackin & Toshiko Akiyoshi Quartet. The husband and wife team, innovative figures in the contemporary jazz world for decades, make a too-rare live appearance.  They’re backed by bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Mark TaylorBirdland. (212) 581-3080.

June 29 – July 4. (Tues. – Sun.)  Fourplay.  Grammy-nominated Fourplay – Bob James, Chuck Loeb, Nathan East and Harvey Mason – have successfully created an audience-pleasing crossover jazz style without sacrificing any of their substantial array of pure jazz skills. The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

Picks of the Week: May 3 – 9

May 3, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Jeanie Brandes

– May 4. (Tues.)  Jeanie Brandes.  Songs from Brandes’ new CD, Kisses You Awake will be on the agenda for Brandes’ crystalline voice and elegant phrasing.  She’s backed by Bryan Bromberg, Shelly Markham and Tom ZinkasCatalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

– May 4. (Tues.)  Jonny Blu.  He’s a unique musical canaries, an American singer who has been a star in China, singing in Mandarin.  And he’s just as good with the classic American songbook.  Vibrato (310) 474-9400.

– May 5. (Wed.)  Cinco de Mayo CelebrationLouis Cruz Beltran. The dynamic drummer/singer celebrates the holiday in an irresistible evening of rhythm and song. Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

– May 5. (Wed.)  Susie Hansen Latin Jazz Band.  The body-moving rhythms of Hansen’s dynamic ensemble are applied to tunes from her soon-to-be-released new CD, the appropriately titled Representante de la SalsaAtomic Ball Room, Irvine.   (914) 250-3332.

– Jan. 6. (Thurs.) Julie Kelly.  Kelly’s dulcet tones and brisk rhythms are supported by the stellar backing of Bill Cunliffe, Chris Collangelo and Kendall Kay. Charlie O’s.    (919) 994-3058.

Gustavo Dudamel

– May 6 – 8.  (Thurs. – Sun.)  Los Angeles Philharmonic.  An evening of dramatic music directed by the equally dramatic hands of Gustavo Dudamel: Tchaikovsky’s Symphony #6 (Pathetique) and the Dvorák Cello Concerto, with soloist Alisa WeilersteinDisney Hall.

– May 7. (Fri.)  Charlie Shoemake and “Sounds of Shearing” Vibist Shoemake brings the classic Shearing sound back to life, recalling some of the classics, applying it to new repertoire.  Culver Club Radisson Hotel. Culver Club Raddison.

– May 7. (Fri.)  Rique Pantoja & Friends.  Brazilian pianist Pantoja leads a band that can easily cover all aspects of the jazz meets Brazilian rhythms style.  Bob Sheppard, Abraham Laboriel, Luis Conte and Russ MillerVitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

– May 7. (Fri.)  Shelly Berg Trio.  Jazz pianist and jazz educator Berg takes a hiatus from his academic duties in Miami for a one-nighter in Fullerton.  He’s backed by Chuck Berghofer and Greg FieldSteamers.   (714) 871-8800.

Katayoun Goudarzi

– May 7.  (Fri.) SaffronA Celebration of Rumi. A rich blending of atmospheric music with readings from the sensual poetry of Rumi.  The engaging voice of reader Katayoun Goudarzi is accompanied by the playing of Sujaat Husain Khan, Tim Ries, Kevin Hayes, Satoshi Takeishi and Abhimann Kaushal.   The Skirball Center.   (310) 440-4500.

– May 8.  (Sat.) Patti LaBelleAshford & Simpson.  A Mother’s Day Concert celebrates the maternal blessings with a classic collection of soul and r & b sounds. Gibson Amphitheatre.   (818) 622-4440.

– May 9. (Sun.) Raymond de Felitta Trio.  Pianist de Felitta is a legitimate show business mult-hyphenate.  In addition to this convincing keyboard work, he is an Academy Award-nominated independent filmmaker and writer.  His most recent film, City Island, received First Place Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival.  Vibrato.  (310) 474-9400.

– May 9. (Sun.)  Judy Wexler. KJAZZ Mother’s Day Brunch. The singing’s great, the food is great, and the atmosphere is great.  Mother should be very happy to be here. KJAZ’s Helen Borgas hosts. Twist Restaurant at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.   (562) 985-2999.

San Diego

– May 7. (Fri.)  Eldar. The young prodigy jazz pianist from Kyrgyzstan, now 23, has matured into a top level improvisational artist.  Anthology, San Diego.   (619) 595-0300.

Farah and Strunz

– May 8. (Sat.)  Strunz & Farah. The veteran two-guitar team (from Iran and Costa Rica) are producing some of the finest music of their long career together.  Click here to read an iRoM review of a recent L.A. appearance. Anthology, San Diego.   (619) 595-0300.

San Francisco

– May 6 & 7. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Christian McBride and Inside Straight.  Everybody’s favorite bassist, adept at almost any given style, leads his own, appropriately titled straight ahead quintet.  Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

– May 7 – 9. (Fri. – Sun.)  Rachelle Ferrell.  A voice with no apparent limits ranges easily across styles, from blues and gospel to some convincing jazz singing.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

New York

Chick Corea

May 4 – 9. (Tues. – Sun.)  Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez and Paul Motian“Further Explorations of Bill Evans” Corea must be serious about the quest to dig into the rich lode of Bill Evans music.  He’s performing with a pair of players – bassist Gomez and drummer Motian – who spent a lot of time on the bandstand with Evans.   The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

– May 5 – 8. (Wed. – Sat.)  Umbria Jazz. Unfortunately trumpeter Enrico Rava, the headliner for this presentation of high level Italian jazz, had an accident and can’t make the gig.  He’s been replaced by close associate Dan Kinzelman (sax and clarinet), along with Gianluca Petrella (trombone) Giovanni Guidi (piano), Pietro Leveratto (bass) Fabrizio Sferra (drums), and the quality level is still something special to hear.  Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

Kenny Garrett

– May 5 – 8. (Wed. – Sat.) Kenny Garrett Band. Alto saxophonist Garrett takes time off from the Five Piece Band to apply his free orbiting style to a collection of his own music.  Iridium.  (212) 582-2121.

– May 5 – 9. (Wed. – Sun.) The Julliard Jazz Orchestra examines some classic jazz repertoire in a program devoted to  “The Music of Mary Lou Williams and Duke Ellington”  with special guests Kenny Barron (Wed. & Thurs.) and Lew Tabackin (Fri. – Sun.)  Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.   (212) 258-9800.

– May 6 – 9. (Thurs. – Sun.) Mulgrew Miller and Wingspan. Pianist Miller and his small band, Wingspan, have produced some of the jazz world’s most appealing sounds over the past three decades.  The current group features Antonio Hart, Steve Nelson, Duane Eubanks, Ivan Taylor and Rodney Green. Jazz Standard. (212) 576-2232.


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