Picks of the Week: Mar. 29 – April 3

March 28, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Bill Cantos

– Mar. 30 (Wed.)  Bill Cantos Quartet. Pianist/singer/songwriter Cantos is a first call rhythm section player.  But he’s also a gifted performer in his own right, a songwriter whose works have the feel and the quality of the Great American Songbook. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.  

– April 1. (Fri.)  Dale Fielder. Veteran saxophonist Fielder moves comfortably, and authentically, across all four of the basic saxophones, from baritone to soprano in a style that is as entertaining as it is instrumentally impressive.   Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400. 

– April 2. (Sat.)  The Pink Floyd Experience. A high intensity, live audio-visual recreation of the legendary ‘70s band.  The performance features a complete recreation of the 1977 album, Animals, in its entirety.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.   (562) 916-8501.

– Mar. 31. (Thurs.)  Joe LaBarbera Quintet.  LaBarbera, everybody’s A-list drummer steps into the leader’s role with four of the Southland’s most gifted players: pianist Bill Cunliffe, saxophonist Bob Sheppard, trumpeter Clay Jenkins and bassist Tom WarringtonVitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

Lynda Carter

– Mar. 31 – April 2. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Lynda Carter. Many may still think of Carter as TV’s Wonder Woman. But in the decades that have passed since the show went off the air, she’s thoroughly established herself as a convincing musical artist.  Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210

– April 1 – 3. (Fri. – Sun.)  Ades and StravinskyThomas Ades conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a performance of Stravinsky’s Concerto for Two Pianos, Les Noce, and his own multi-media composition, In Seven Days.  Also in the performance: pianists Katia and Marielle Labeque, Nicholas Hodges and Gregory DeTurck, the Pikrovsky Ensemble and video artist Tal RosnerWalt Disney Concert Hall.   (213) 972-7211.

– April 2. (Sat.)  Bill Frisell Trio. An extremely versatile guitarist, Frisell leads a trio – with bassist Tony Scherr and drummer Kenny Wolleson in a performance matching their live music to visual projections reaching from Buster Keaton to contemporary filmmaker Bill Morrison.  A UCLA Live concert at Royce Hall.   (310) 825-2101.

– April 3. (Sun.)  Takacs Quartet with Nobuyuki Tsujii.  The Takacs Quartet bring understanding and authenticity to Bartok’s String Quartet No. 1 and Haydn’s String Quartet No. 59.  They will be joined in the second half by pianist Tsujii in a performance of Schumann’s Piano Quintet. A UCLA Live concert at Royce Hall.   (310) 825-2101.

Branford Marsalis

– April 3. (Sun.) Branford Marsalis Quartet and the Terence Blanchard Quintet.    A pair of the most highly visible players on the contemporary jazz scene share the same state.  Hopefully, they’ll find a spot to do something together, as well. Renee and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.   (714) 556-2787.

San Francisco

– April 1 – 3. (Fri. – Sun.)  Stanley Clarke.  The bassists’ favorite bassist takes some time off from his role in Chick Corea’s Return to Forever IV to display his virtuosic musical wares. Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

– April 2. (Sat.)  John Santos.  Percussionist, band leader and five time Grammy nominee Santos, a master of Latin traditional music, continually finds compelling relationships between jazz and Latin rhythms.   An SFJAZZ concert at Herbst Theatre. (415) 398-5655.

New York

Michel Legrand

– Mar. 29 – April 3. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Michel Legrand Trio. French pianist and composer Legrand has written the scores for dozens of classic films, collaborated with Alan and Marilyn Bergman on some equally classic songs and won three Oscars and five Grammys.  He’s also an appealing jazz pianist who rarely performs in clubs, so don’t miss this one. The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

– Mar. 29 – April 3. (Tues. – Sun.)  Two Skirts and a ShirtRene Marie, Carla Cook and Allan Harris. Three of  the jazz world’s unique and entertaining vocal stylists team up for an evening of wit, sass and song.   Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.   (212) 258-9800.

– April 1. (Fri.) Malaby/Motian/Sanchez/Monder.  Saxophonist Tony Malaby, drummer Paul Motian, pianist Angelica Sanchez and guitarist Ben Monder join up in a dynamic, cross-generational jazz encounter.  The Cornelia St. Café (212) 989-9319.

Picks of the Week: Aug. 30 – Sept. 5

August 30, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Karen Lovely

– Aug. 31. (Tues.)  The Karen Lovely Band. Rising vocal star Lovely is applying her powerful singing to classic blues, richly investing the  styles of the ’30s and ’40s — Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, etc. — with her uniquely contemporary perspective.   Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

– Aug. 31. (Tues.)  Lisa Hilton. Jazz pianist Hilton leads her quartet — saxophonist J.D. Allen, bassist Gregg August and drummer Rudy Royston —  focusing on her playing and her compositions in a performance that will no doubt include some selections from her recently released CD, Nuance. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  .

– Aug. 31. (Tues.)  John Altman. He’s been a visible factor in jazz and pop music for decades, as a composer, arranger, producer and conductor.  But Altman’s also an impressive alto saxophonist as well.  Hear him in one of the Southland’s most laid back jazz settings.  Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

– Aug. 31. (Tues.)  Yuval Ron EnsembleSeeker of the Truth. The Ron Ensemble performs ecstatic music of the Sufi and Jewish traditions, with the Whirling Dervish Aziz and sacred dance artist Maya Karasso.  Also on the program, the vocals of Maya Haddi and the qawwali singing of Pakistan’s Sukhawat Ali KhanSeeker of the Truth.  Morgan-Wixson Theatre, Santa Monica.    Info: (818) 505-1355.

– Aut. 31. (Tues.)  John Pisano’s Guitar Night.  With Howard Alden.  You may not recognize Alden by sight, but you’ve heard his playing if you saw Woody Allen’s Sweet and Lowdown, in which it was dubbed over Sean Penn’s air guitar.  Vitello’s. (818) 769-0905.

Herbie Hancock

– Sep. 1. (Wed.)  Herbie Hancock Seven Decades – The Birthday Celebration. The Hollywood Bowl’s jazz highlight of the summer season.  The program includes selections from Hancock’s new crossover album,  The Imagine Project.  Among his stellar companions for the night: Wayne Shorter, India.Arie, Jack DeJohnette, Zakir Hussain, Juanes, Esperanza Spalding, Lisa Hannigan, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi and others.  The Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000.  Click HERE to read Herbie Hancock’s conversation with iRoM about the making of  “The Imagine Project.”

– Sept. 2. (Thurs.) Leonard Bernstein’s Candide.  A Los Angeles Philharmonic concert staging of Bernstein’s operetta featuring singers Anna Christy, Alek Shrader and Richard Suart with the LA Master ChoraleThe Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

– Sept 2. (Thurs.)  Dr. John and the Lower 911.  New Orleans rhythms take over the Santa Monica Pier for a dynamic summer evening.  Dancing, if there’s room, is optional, but probably irresistible.  With Eddie Baytos and the Nervis BrothersTwilight Dance at the Santa Monica Pier.  (310) 458-8900.

– Sept. 2. (Thurs.)  Gail Pettis.  She spends most of her time in her Seattle orthodontist’s office, but Pettis has all the qualities of a breakout jazz vocalist.  She’s not here often, so don’t miss the opportunity to hear her.Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400. 

Gaea Schell

– Sept. 1 & 2. (Wed, & Thurs.) Gaea Schell Quartet Pianist/singer Schell, whose vocals are intimately blended with her articulate piano work, makes a pair of appearances, backed by bassist Essiet Essiet at Vibrato , (310) 474-9400, on Wednesday, and with Essiet, saxophonist Chuck Manning and drummer Sylvia Cuenca at the Crowne Plaza Brasserie Jazz Lounge,  (310) 642-7500, on Thursday.

– Sept. 2 – 5. (Thurs. – Sun.) Mary Wilson You know her from her chart busting performances with the Supremes, and Wilson continues to honor that legacy.  But she’s also emerged as a talented, jazz and blues artist in her own right.  Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.  .

– Sept. 3 & 4. (Fri. & Sat.)  Earth, Wind & Fire celebrate their 40th anniversary, performing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and FireworksThe Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

– Sept. 3 – 6. (Fri. – Mon.)  Sweet & Hot Music Festival.  The 15th installment of this annual event celebrates the great jazz mainstream – from up tempo swing to seductive blues and balladry.  Featured artists include  Ernestine Anderson, Herb Jeffires, Banu Gibson, Jack Sheldon Orchestra, The Mills Brothers, Harry Allen, Howard Alden and dozens of others.  Over 200 musicians performing at eight different locations in 180 events, with four dance floors encouraging fancy footwork. .  LAX Marriott Hotel.  Sweet & Hot Music Festival.   (909) 983-0106.

Louie Cruz Beltran

– Sept. 5. (Sun.)  La Vida Music Festival.   An evening of music celebrating L.A.’s rich array of Latin musical cultures.  With Louis Cruz Beltran, Poncho Sanchez.  Real Tango, the Mariachi Divas, Robert Kyle’s Brazilian Quartet and Chalo Eduardo’s Brazilian BeatTommy Hawkins hosts.  Ford Amphitheatre. (323) 461-3673

– Sept. 6. (Mon.) Fantasea One Labor Day Yacht Party.  A mini-cruise and barbeque with four decks of live entertainment, DJs, games, free barbeque, cabanas and more.  Departing from Marina Del Rey at 4 p.m., returning at 8 p.m.  (310) 821-5371.   8th Annual Labor Day Yacht Party.

San Francisco

– Aug. 31 – Sept. 1. (Tues. – Thurs.) Jacky Terrasson.  France’s Terrason burst onto the jazz stage in 1993 as the winner of the Thelonious Monk Piano Competition.  And he didn’t stop there, receiving a pair of Grammy nominations and a string of awards inhis native country.  Always compelling, he makes few West Coast appearances.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600. 

– Sept. 2 – 4 (Thurs. – Sat.)  Marlena Shaw. She’s been crossing genre boundaries – from jazz to soul, disco and beyond – since the mid-‘60s.  And she’s still in rare form.  The Rrazz Room.   (415) 394-1189.

– Sept. 3 – 5. (Fri. – Sun.)  Kenny Burrell Quintet.  Veteran guitarist/educator Burrell leads the scintillating ensemble of saxophonist Tivon Pennicott, bassist Roberto Miranda, pianist Mike Wofford and drummer Clayton Cameron.  To read a recent iRoM review of the Burrell Quintet click HEREYoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.


Roy Haynes

– Sept. 3 – 6. (Fri. – Mon.)  31st Detroit International Jazz Festival.  This year’s event has as stellar a line up as any jazz festival of the year.  But the price is right for this one.  Here are some of the highlight performers: Roy Haynes and his Fountain of Youth Band, Maria Schneider, Branford Marsalis, Myra Melford, Freddy Cole, Ledisi, Mulgrew Miller & Kenny Barron Duo, Ray Brown Tribute, Danilo Perez, Tower of Power,  Ernie Andrews, Kurt Elling, Ernie Watts, Tower of Power, Gerald Wilson, The Manhattan Transfer and much more.   Free Event.  Detroit International Jazz Festival. At locations in downtown Detroit.


– Sept. 2 – 5. (Fri.- Sun.)  The 32nd Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, presented by CareFusion.  Another grat Midwest jazz festival, also priced for everyone’s pocketbook.  Here are some of the high points of a line up that also includes an array of Chicago-based talent of all ages.  Brad Mehldau, Henry Threadgill, Kurt Elling, Rene Marie, Ramsey Lewis, Chuchito Valdes, Brian Blade Fellowship Band, Charisma with a Lee Morgan Tribute, Ted Sirota.  Free Event.  At locations throughout Chicago.  Chicago Jazz Festival (312) 427-1676.   (313) 447-1248.

New York

– Aug. 31 – Sept. 1 (Tues. & Wed.) Jimmy Scott.  He’s been one of jazz, soul and r&b’s most unique stylists since he first arrived on the scene.  Still a master of interpretation, he performs here in the companly of jazz harmonica player Gregoire MaretThe Blue Note (212) 475-8592.

Leny Andrade

– Aug. 31 – Sept. 4. (Tues. – Sat.)  Leny Andrade“Return to Birdland: Bossas, Boleros and Jazz.” Andrade’s ability to illuminate the natural jazz roots of bossa nova has made her one of Brazil’s finest jazz vocal artists.  Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

– Aug. 31 – Sept. 5. (Tues. – Sun.)  Paul Motian, Joe Lovano, Bill Frisell.  It’s as all-star as it gets, with three masters of their art working in spontaneous tandem.  Don’t miss this one.  Village Vanguard.   (212) 255-4037.

– Sept. 1. (Wed.)  “Endangered Species; The Music of Wayne Shorter” The Irididium opens Big Band Month with a performance by the Wayne Shorter Tribute Big BandDavid Weiss leads the ten piece ensemble in a program surveying music from the full breadth of Shorter’s remarkable catalog of compositions.  Iridium.   (212) 582-2121.

– Sept. 2 – 5. (Wed. – Sun.)  Tuck & Patti.  They started out as a definitive jazz voice and guitar duo, and they continue to bring imagination and musicality to everything they perform.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

Picks of the Week: May 10 – 16

May 10, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– May 11. (Tues.)  John Pisano’s Guitar Night .  Larry Koonse, the guitarist who can play almost anything, takes a break from making everyone else sound great, and steps onto center stage alongside Steve Cardenas.  Vitello’s.  http://www.vitellosrestaurant.com (818) 769-0905.

– May 12. (Wed.)  Chuck Berghofer’s Midnight Jazz Band.  Featuring Gary Foster and Terry Trotter. A group of L.A.’s (and the world’s) fine jazz veterans remind us of the pleasures of classic improvising.  Charlie O’s.    (919) 994-3058.

– May 12. (Wed.)  Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars.  Organized in a refugee camp, using battered old instruments, the All-Stars have emerged as an engaging collection of genre-crossing world musicians.  The Roxy.

– May 12. (Wed.) Ron Kalina.  Harmonica is one of the rare jazz instruments, but Kalina brings it impressively into the jazz mainstream.  He’s backed by the Pat Senatore Trio.  Vibrato.   (310) 474-9400.

Sally Kellerman

– May 13. (Thurs.)  Sally Kellerman.  She may be best known for her role as Hot Lips Houlihan in the film M*A*S*H, but Kellerman’s also a jazz singer with convincing musical credentials.   Vitello’s.

– May 13 – 15. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Earl Klugh Quartet. Guitarist Klugh brings both listenability and musical authenticity to the smooth jazz/fusion jazz genres. Catalina Bar & Grill  http://www.catalinajazzclub.com (323) 466-2210.

– May 14. (Fri.)  Thom Rotella Quartet.  Expect musical sparks to fly when guitarist Rotella digs into his straight ahead jazz roots with the all-star quartet of Theo Saunders, Rickey Woodard, Kevin Brandon, Roy McCurdy Culver Club Radisson Hotel.  (310) 649-1776 Ext. 4137.

Michael Wolff

– May 14. (Fri.)  Michael Wolff.  Vitello’s.  He was the leader of the band on the Arsenio Hall Show, and pianist Wolff co-stars with his two sons, Nat and Alex on Nickelodeon’s Naked Brothers Band.  But he’s also a first rate jazz pianist in his own right.  And he’ll no doubt be at his best, working with the superb musical companionship of Bob Sheppard, Brian Bromberg and Michael Barsimento. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

– May 14. (Fri.)  “Wavefest.” Don’t let the “Wave” title fool you.  This is a program that reaches across several musical genres, all of them appealing.  With Michael McDonald, Chaka Khan, Poncho Sanchez, Mindi Abair and more.  The Greek Theatre. (323) 665-5857.

– May 14. (Fri.) Dave Pell & Med Flory Quintet.  Pell and Flory find new life in the alto & tenor front line sound.  They’ll also be joined by talented young tenor saxophonist Chloe FeoranzoBack Room at Henri’s.   (818) 348-5582.

– May 14. (Fri.)  Kristin Korb.  Bassist/vocalist Korb shows off her versatile skills with the supportive backing of Llew Matthews and Paul Kreibich.   Hip Kitty. (949) 447-6700.

Alyssa Graham

– May 14 & 15. (Fri. & Sat.)  Alyssa Graham. The warm voice and intimate style of Graham has been compared – with good reason, to Helen Merrill, Karen Carpenter and other fine vocal models.  Café Metropol.  (213) 613-1537.

– May 15. (Sat.)  Patti Lupone. “Matters of the Heart.” The gifted Lupone moves effortlessly from the big stage of musical theatre to the short story songs of Randy Newman, Brian Wilson, Stephen Sondheim, Joni Mitchell and others.   Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

– May 15. (Sat.)  Dwight Trible and John Beasley. Pianist Beasley’s far-ranging musical imagination provides the perfect setting for Trible’s equally adventurous vocalizing. Boston Court Theatre.  Pasadena.  Jazz Bakery Moveable Feast (310) 271-9039.

– May 16. (Sun.)  Sonny Rollins.  He’s inarguably one of the jazz world’s major iconic figures.  And he’s still fully capable of creating magic every time he picks up his horn.  Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

– May 16. (Sun.)  Nedra Wheeler. Wheeler’s performed with everyone from Ella Fitzgerald to Ravi Coltrane.  But it’s always fun to hear her upfront, doing her thing with her own group.  And no better place to do it than the pleasant setting of a KJAZZ Sunday Brunch.  Twist Restaurant at the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.   (562) 985-2999.

Bill Cosby

– May 16. (Sun.) Bill Cosby.  Cosby has always been much more than a joke-telling comedian.  His story-telling, his slice of life memories, his capacity to riff on a theme are the verbal equivalents of a world class jazz performance. Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  (562) 916-8500.

– May 16. (Sun.)  Mitch Forman All-Star Jazz Band. The title is well-chosen.  Forman the real thing as a keyboardist.  And his associates are fully up to his level: Walt Fowler, trumpet, Brandon Fields, saxophone, Ernest Tibbs, bass, Joel Taylor, drums and Munyungo Jackson, percussion.  The Baked Potato.   (818) 980-1615.

– May 16. (Sun.)  Denise Thimes. The pride of St. Louis brings her unique style – with her transformative touches of Carmen McRae, Ella Fitzgerald and others – to a far too-rare appearance in the Southland.  A Frame Jazz.   (310) 659-9169.

San Diego

– May 14. (Fri.)  Spyro Gyra.  Smooth jazz and fusion have always been too limiting a labels for a band with the ability to stretch easily into bebop and the mainstream, as well. Anthology.   (619) 595-0300.

– May 15. (Sat.)  Richie Havens.  Approaching seventy, Havens can still set a stage on fire with the power of his strummed guitar and his inimitable voice.  Let’s hope he sings “Freedom.”   Anthology.   (619) 595-0300.

San Francisco

– May 11 & 12. (Tues. & Wed.)  Stanley Clarke Band, featuring Hiromi.  Bassist Clarke and pianist Hiromi have discovered a surprisingly compatible musical connection between their individually diverse styles. Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.   Also May 13 & 14 (Thurs. & Fri.) at Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

Wesla Whitfield

– May 11 – 16. (Tues. – Sun.)  Wesla Whitfield and the Mike Greensill Trio. “We’re In The Money.” A couple in music and life, Whitfield and Greensill have been defining the contemporary cabaret art since they first got together in the ‘80s.  They’ll perform songs from films such as An American In Paris, Meet Me In St. Louis, The Wizard of Oz and more. The Rrazz Room.  The Rrazz Room. (415) 394-1189.

New York

– May 11 – 16. (Tues. – Sun.)  The trio of Chick Corea, Eddie Gomez, Paul Motian cover a lot of territory in six short days.  On Tues. – Thurs they appear with Joe Lovano, Greg Osby, John Scofield, Hubert Laws.  (Check with club for schedule).  On Fri. – Sun. they delve into the fascinating area of  “Further Explorations of Bill Evans.”  Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

– May 11 – 16. (Tues. – Sun.)  Nnenna Freelon. Multi-Grammy nominee Freelon celebrates the release of her new Concord album, Homefree. Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola. (212) 258-9595.

– May 13 – 16. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Andy Bey Trio. At a time when jazz is flooded with a wave of female singers, Bey carries the torch for the male side of the art, doing so with an incomparably individual sound and style.  Jazz Standard.   (212)  576-2232.

Maria Raducanu

– May 15. (Sat.)  “Wall To Wall Behind the Wall.” An all-day program of Eastern European music from the end of WWI, through the Cold War to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.  Compositions by Shostakovich, Penderecki, Lutoslawski, Part, Bartok and many others, will be performed by the St. Petersburg Chamber Philharmonic and Poland’s Silesian String Quartet.  Also on the program – a performance by Romanian jazz singer Maria Raducanu and a Russian jazz set by Lanny Myers, Clare Daly, Mary Ann McSweeney and Greg Joseph The Peter Jay Sharp Theatre at Symphony Space. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.  Free.    (212) 864-5400.

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.

Picks of the Week: Mar. 15 – 21

March 15, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Keith Jarrett

– Mar. 15. (Mon.) Keith Jarrett Solo.  Jarrett’s solo performances — revelatory journeys through his ever imaginative musical mind — don’t take place very often.  So don’t miss this rare opportunity.  Disney Hall. (323) 850-2000

– Mar. 16. (Tues.)  John Pisano’s Guitar Night.  Every Guitar Night is a winner, and this one’s a highlight, featuring 7-string master Ron Eschete with the solid backing of bassist Chris ConnerVitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

– Mar. 17.  (Wed.)  The Anonymous 4“A Medieval Ladymass.” The Grammy-winning quartet perform the richly atmospheric polyphony and chant of the 13th and 14th centuries.Disney Hall.

– Mar. 18. (Thurs.)  Stephen Stills.  Going strong at sixty-five, Stills has a deep catalog of music — from Buffalo Springfield and Crosby, Stills & Nash to his own solo outings — from which to choose.  As well, no doubt, as his still vibrant new songs.  The Music Box at the Fonda.  (323) 464-0808.

– Mar. 18. (Thurs.) Ashley Maher.  Singer/songwriter/dancer Maher celebrates the release of her new album, Amina, with a concert and party.  Her songs and her singing find creative ground between jazz, African music and pop via simmering rhythms, arching melodies and lyrics reminiscent of the intimacy of Joni Mitchell.  She’s backed by pianist Otmaro Ruiz, drummer Walter Rodriguez, saxophonist Katisse Buckingham, guitarist Marcelo Caseras, bassist Dante Pascuzzo and percussionist Magatte SowThe Talking Stick in Venice.   (310) 450-6052.

– Mar. 18. (Thurs.)  Julie Newsome.  Vocalist Newsome brings jazz to the far west suburbs, backed by Karen Hammack, keyboard, Chris Colangelo, bass, Jack Le Compte, drums.   Famous Sports Bar,  Thousand Oaks.  (805) 497-4669.

– Mar. 18 – 21.  (Thurs. – Sun.)  Rachelle Ferrell.  With octaves of range and a voice as pliable as warm taffy, Ferrell’s vocal excursions across the boundaries of pop and rock are fascinating to hear.   Catalina Bar & Grills.  (323) 466-2210.

Chris Bennett

– Mar. 19. (Fri.)  Chris Bennett‘s versatile, genre-leaping style conjurs up musical magic with her “Girl Talk” Band. Featuring Sarah Underwood, saxophone, Sacha DuPont, piano, Jennifer York, bass and Suzanne Morissette, drums.  Jazz at the Radisson.  (310) 649-1776.

– Mar. 19. (Fri.)  Bern.  Drummer Bernie Dresel’s played with just about everyone.  But he seems to have most fun when he’s propulsively driving his own eclectic, three-singers, four-horns band, Bern.
Spazio.  (818) 728-8400.

– Mar. 19. (Fri.)  Don Rader with the John Heard Trio.  Veteran trumpeter Rader’s resume embraces gigs with Woody Herman, Count Basie, Maynard Ferguson, Ella Fitzgerald and dozens of others.  Here, he’s out in front, doing it his own way.  Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058.

– Mar. 19. (Fri.)  Donovan. The folk/rock/pop troubadour performs with his daughter, Astrella Celeste in a benefit concert for the David Lynch Foundation.  Also on the program: Jack Maness (Sublime), Z (The Like), The Global Sound Lodge, Amrita Sen, Danny Saber and others.  Mathew St. Patrick (of Six Feet Under) hosts.   El Rey.   (323) 936-5657

– Mar. 20. (Sat.) Jeff Elliot All-Stars.  Trumpeter Elliot has assembled a group fully deserving the “All-Star” label, featuring pianist Les McCann and percussionist Airto MoreiraSpazio.  (818) 728-8400.

– Mar. 20. (Sat.)  Gilberto Gil“The String Concert.” The great Brazilian singer/songwriter/guitarist appears with a sterling ensemble featuring his son, guitarist Bem Gil and the gifted cellist Jaques Morelenbaum. Brazilian Nites at Royce Hall.  Tickets from Ticketmaster.

Al Jarreau

– Mar. 21. (Sun.) Al Jarreau and Dee Dee Bridgewater.   A pairing to remember: two singers who blend irresistibly entertaining vocal styles with authentic jazz chops.   Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

– Mar. 21. (Sun.) Willie Jones III.  With Donald Vega, Gilbert Castellanos & Hamilton Price.  Drummer Jones steps to the front of the stage to lead an impressive ensemble of Southland talent,  performing in an amiable, Hollywood hills setting.  A-Frame Jazz.  (310) 659-9169

– Mar. 21. (Sun.) Josh Nelson & Pat Senatore.  The generation-crossing duo of pianist Nelson and bassist Senatore always has something musically fascinating to say.  Their appearances are relatively rare, so don’t miss this one.   Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.


Julia Dollison and Kerry Marsh

– Mar. 16. (Tues.)  Julia Dollison and Kerry Marsh CD Release Concert.    The Music of Maria Schneider.  Dollison and Marsh have accomplished the remarkable task of creating vocal renderings of Schneider’s mesmerizing instrumental music.  With Sacramento State Vocal Jazz. Music Recital Hall, Capistrano Hall, Sacramento State Campus.   Click here for more information (916) 278-5155.

San Francisco

– Mar. 16 & 17. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Gil Scott-Heron and Friends.   Before there was rap and hip hop, there was Scott-Heron’s spontaneous poetry.  And few of his successors have come close to the depth and the innate musicality of his work.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

– Mar. 17. (Wed.)  Rrazz Room Second Anniversary and Benefit for Haiti.  A long line up of stellar performers give their all for a worthwhile cause.  Including  Lucie Arnaz, Sarah Dash, Marilou Henner, Thelma Houston, Miki Howard, Stefanie Powers. Linda Purl, Paula West, Wesla Whitfield and more.  Rrazz Room.  (415) 394-1189.

Pete Escovedo

– Mar. 18 – 20. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Pete Escovedo and his Orchestra.  The Latin jazz percussionist and bandleader has been defining the music for decades.   On this lively outing he features his sons, Juan and Peter Michael Escovedo. Rrazz Room.   (415) 394-1189

– Mar. 19. (Fri.) Altan.  The Irish supergroup’s performances provide convincing evidence of the rich, emotional timelessness of traditional Celtic music.    Zellerbach Auditorium at U.C. Berkeley.  (510) 642-9988

New York

Mar. 16 – 21. (Tues. – Sun.)  Paul Motian, Jason Moran and Greg Osby.  Decades of musical experience, much of it on the cutting edge, come together in this fascinating musical encounter.  Village Vanguard.   (212) 255-4037.

Roy Haynes

– Mar. 17 – 21. (Wed. – Sun.)  Roy Haynes 85th Birthday Celebration.  W. Kenny Garrett & Bill Cosby (17), Roy Hargrove & Christian McBride (3/18), Chick Corea (3/19 & 3/20) TBA (3/21). A great week of music, celebrating the continuing vitality (musically and otherwise) of the man who seems to know the secret to the Fountain of Youth.   The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

– Mar. 18 – 21. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Russell Malone Quartet. Malone’s eclectic skills have played a significant role in building a number of musical careers other than his own.  But he’s a major talent in his own right.   He performs here with pianist Rick Germanson, bassist Tassili Bond and drummer Johnathan Blake.   Jazz Standard.  (212) 576-2232.

– Mar. 20.  (Sat.)  Daughters of Cybele. Dancer/musician Alessandra Belloni leads a “Celebration of  Women’s History Month and the Spring Equinox” St. James Chapel.  Cathedral of St. John the Divine.  (212) 316-7540.


Mar. 19 – 21. (Fri. – Sun.)  Seventh Annual Detroit Django Reinhardt Festival.  With the Hot Club of Detroit adding their musical tribute to the Reinhardt centennial year   Special guests: guitarist Howard Roberts and clarinetist/saxophonist Anat CohenHot Club of Detroit.

Picks of the Week: Feb. 23 – 28

February 23, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Feb. 23. (Tues.)  John Proulx. At a time when male jazz singers are in the minority, Proulx, a fine jazz pianist, is carving a vocal identity of his own.  He performs with trumpeter Warren Luening, bassist Chuck Berghofer and drummer Joe LaBarbera Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

– Feb. 23. (Tues.)  Guitar nightJohn Pisano with Howard Alden. This week Guitar Night features a swinging, straight ahead encounter between a pair of masters of the art.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

Alan Pasqua

– Feb. 24. (Wed.)  Alan Pasqua, Peter Erskine, Darek Oles. The hugely versatile, ever inventive pianist Pasqua takes a break from his academic responsibilities as head of the jazz program at U.S.C. for a rare club date.  It doesn’t happen often, so don’t miss this get together with drummer Erskine and bassist Oles.  Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

– Feb. 25. (Thurs.)  Teka and the New Bossa Trio. Santa Barbera-based, Brazil-born Teka brings her guitar and her contemporary versions of classic bossa nova to the Crown Plaza Brasserie Jazz Lounge.  (310) 642-7500. 

– Feb. 26. (Fri.)  Al Di Meola. Guitarist Meola’s multi-faceted career reaches from classic Return to Forever outings to his own unique take on flamenco and the blues,  House of Blues.   (323) 769-4600

Annie Selleck

– Feb. 26. (Fri.)  Annie Selleck. Vocalist Selleck is a little bit country, a little bit rock and a whole lot jazz. Jazz at the Radisson.  (310) 649-1776.  Also Feb. 27 (Sat.) at Steamers.  (714) 871-8800 and Feb. 28. (Sun.)  Spazio.  (818) 728-8400.

– Feb. 26. (Fri.) Tamir Hendelman Trio.  Pianist Hendelman brings a new perception to his view of the piano trio while in the company of the articulate drumming of Lewis Nash and the extraordinary versatility of Italian bassist Marco Panascia. (They’ll also be recording a CD for Resonance Records this weekend.) Spazio. (818) 728-8400.

– Feb. 26 & 27. (Fri. & Sat.)  Jack Sheldon Orchestra. Sheldon always guarantees an evening of fine jazz trumpet, engaging vocals and irrepressible humor.  But he’s even better when he does all that backed by the energy and drive of his big band.  Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

– Feb. 27. (Sat.)  David Binney Quartet. Alto saxophonist Binney is one of the cutting edge players on his instrument, performing with the likes of Gil Evans and Jim Hall, founding the groups Lost Tribe and Lan Xang.  CSUN Performing Arts Center.   (818) 677-1200

– Feb. 27. (Sat.)  Don Menza. Tenor saxophonist, arranger and educator Menza’s resume reaches from Stan Kenton and Maynard Ferguson to Elvin Jones and Leonard Cohen, with all stops in between.  Here’s a chance to hear his imaginative playing in the pleasant environs of Charlie O’s, backed by the John Heard Trio.  Charlie O’s.   (919) 994-3058.

Sheila Jordan

– Feb. 27. (Sat.)  Sheila Jordan. There’s no jazz singer quite like Sheila Jordan.  Charlie Parker, she says, was her inspiration. And he was. But the musicality she brings to every note she sings, her mesmerizing ability to find the inner story of a song, her irresistible rhythmic lift, are all her own, all the product of one of jazz vocal history’s most inimitable talents.  She doesn’t come out to L.A. often, so don’t miss this opportunity. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

– Feb. 28. (Sun.)  Vardan Ovsepian Duo.  Armenian-born pianist Ovsepian – like Brad Mehldau and Uri Caine — has been seeking, and finding, linkages between jazz and classical music. Vibrato.   (310) 474-9400.

– Feb. 28. (Sun.)  Mark Isham and Houston Street. Trumpeter Isham’s been so busy with film scoring (credits on over 50 films) that his intriguing instrumental work has been heard far too rarely.  He performs here with his band Houston Street, featuring Jeff Babko, keyboards, Tom Brechtlein, percussion and Doug Lunn, bass.  Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

Angelique Kidjo

– Feb. 28. (Sun.)  Angelique Kidjo. Benin’s pride brings everything she has to every performance.  She finds common ground between traditional music and international pop without losing the best qualities of either.  And she does so with a dynamism that lights up the stage the moment she appears.  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

– Feb. 28. (Sun.)  Earthworm Ensemble. Folk, rock, New Orleans and funk, performed for kids and parents by L.A. folk and roots musicians in songs about earthworms, trains, birds and a superhero team of Bear and Dog. The group celebrates the release of their new CD, appropriately titled Earthworm Ensemble McCabes.   (310) 828-4497.



Frode Haltli and Trygve Seim

– Feb. 24 – 28. (Wed. – Sun.) 2010 Portland Jazz Festival The major jazz festival season kicks off with the weather-defying Portland Jazz Festival.  The internationalist theme of this year’s event will be underscored in a Friday panel discussion titled Is Jazz Dead (Or Has It Moved To A New Address)? as well as by the presence of world class Norwegian jazz artists — pianist Christian Wallumrad, saxophonist Trygve Seim and accordionist Frode Haltli.  Other headliners include Dave Douglas and Brass Ecstasy, the Dave Holland Quintet, Luciana Souza, the Mingus Big Band, Pharoah Sanders. the jazz rock piano trio In the Country, and several dozen jazz groups from the Northwest and beyond.  Events take place at the Crystal Ballroom, the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, the Newmark Theatre, the Hilton Hotel and Norse Hall.  Free programs are also offered at various locations around Portland.   The 2010 Portland Jazz Festival.  (503) 228-5299.


San Francisco

Vusi Mahlasela

– Feb. 23. (Tues.)  Vusi Mahlasela. The voice of the South African revolution in the ‘80s, Mahlasela has since become known as “The Voice,” for the uniquely appealing timbres of his voice, combined with his ability to blend seemingly unlikely traditional and contemporary sounds. Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

– Feb. 23 & 24. (Tues. & Wed.)  Jimmy Scott & The Jazz Expressions.  Scott’s high, soaring head tones and his glacial ballad tempos have made him one of jazz’s most idiosyncratic, but immensely appealing vocalists.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.

– Feb. 25 – 27. (Thurs. – Sat.)  David Sanborn with special guest Joey DeFrancesco.  Blues to the utmost when these two masters of the form get together, with Sanborn’s vocal-like high harmonics bouncing off DeFrancesco’s rumbling, propulsive B-3 organ rhythms.  Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

New York

Joe Lovano

– Feb. 23 – 28. (Tues. – Sun.)  Joe Lovano.  Lovano celebrates Village Vanguard’s 75th Anniversary Week with a performance by his Us Five ensemble, a band that takes post-bop beyond the avant-garde and well into the 21st century.  Bassist/singer Esperanza Spaulding is a featured guest.  Village Vanguard (212)  255-4037.

– Feb. 23 – 28. (Tues. – Sun.)  Bill Frisell, Ron Carter and Paul Motian. A trio of veteran jazz artists, each of whom has moved through every imaginable area of musical expression.  The question will be where they find common ground.  And the answer will no doubt provide some compelling music. The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

– Feb. 23 – 28. (Tues. – Sun.)  Christian McBride Big Band. The ever versatile bassist/composer moves into the large ensemble territory he began to explore with his remarkable concert work, “The Movement Revisited.” And these big band charts will no doubt offer further affirmation of his ability to expand his talent into every imaginable jazz genre.    http://jalc.org (212)  258-9800.

– Feb. 24 – 27. (Wed. – Sat.)  Lou Donaldson Organ Quartet. Still going strong, still finding the funk in the organ quartet format, Donaldson’s bebop-driven alto playing should be required listening for every young player who takes on the instrument. Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

Lionel Loueke

– Feb. 25 – 28. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Lionel Loueke, Massimo Biolcati and Ferenc Nemeth.  The combination of Benin’s guitarist/singer Loueke, bassist Biolcati (born in Sweden, raised in Sweden and Italy), and Hungarian drummer Nemeth, provide solid musical evidence of the emergence of the 21st century as the era of international jazz.  Jazz Standard.   (212) 576-2232.


– Feb. 25 – 28. (Thurs. – Sun.)  The SFJAZZ Collective.  With the establishment of the SFJAZZ Collective, San Francisco now has a resident jazz ensemble as important to, and representative of the Bay area as the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra is to New York City.  The current ensemble includes Mark Turner (tenor saxophonist), Miguel Zenon (alto saxophone/flute), Avishai Cohen (trumpet), Robin Eubanks (trombone), Stefon Harris (vibes/marimba), Edward Simon (piano), Matt Penman (bass) and Eric Harland (drums).  Jazz Alley.   (206) 441-9729.

Picks of the Week: Dec. 7 – 13

December 8, 2009

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Dec. 8. (Tues.)  Dominick Farinacci.  Trumpeter Farinacci’s debut U.S. CD, Lovers, Tales and Dances, announced the arrival of an impressive new young jazz artist.  He makes one of his rare Southland appearances for one night only.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.    (310) 474-9400.

– Dec. 8. (Tues.) Charles Lloyd, Joshua Redman, Exene Cervenka, Michael McClure, Kurt Elling, others.  A compelling line-up of artists have been gathered together for one of the most intriguing evenings in the Philharmonic’s  West Coast, Left Coast series: A Night of the Beats. Disney Hall.

– Dec. 9. (Wed.)  The Irish Tenors. Holiday Show.  What better way to celebrate the holiday season than with the soaring voices of the three Irish tenors singing holiday songs.    The Cerritos Center.   (562) 916-8501.

Bebel Gilberto

– Dsec. 9. (Wed.)  Bebel Gilberto with DJ Lara Gerin.  The daughter of  Joao Gilberto — who virtually invented the sound and the rhythm of bossa nova — and singer Miucha,  Bebel Gilberto has carved out an impressive career in her own right, bringing her contemporary, Brazilian-tinted  vision to international pop music.   Music Box @ the Fonda. (323) 464-0808.

– Dec. 9. (Wed.)  Flexible Reality.  The instrumentation alone makes this a fascinating musical ensemble.  The players — Richard Todd, French Horn, Charlie Bisharat,  violin, Frank Marocco, accordion, Michael Valerio and Abraham Laboriel, basses and Alex Acuna, drums – make it even better.  Red Carpet Jazz Serries.  Upstairs at Vitellos. (818) 769-0905.

– Dec. 9 – 13. (Wed. – Sun.)  Roy Hargrove Quintet.  Versatile trumpter Hargrove, who’s been leading a big band lately, shows up this time with his briskly swinging quintet.   Catalina’s. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

– Dec. 10. (Thurs.)  Alan Pasqua, Peter Erskine, Darek Oles, Bob Mintzer.  The Pasqua/Erskine trio with the late Dave Carpenter was one of the Southland’s finest jazz ensembles.  With the excellent bassist Oles now in the group, the tradition of world class jazz continues, this time with the sturdy tenor saxophone of Bob Mintzer.  Red Carpet Jazz Series Upstairs at Vitellos. (818) 769-0905.

– Dec. 11. (Fri.)  Scotty Barnhart.  Trumpeter /educator Barnhart, a veteran of the Count Basie band, takes a break from his academic chores to jam with  with John Heard, bass, Roy McCurdy, drums, Andy Langham, piano.  Charlie O’s(818) 989-3110.

Molly Ringwald

Dec. 11. (Fri.)  Molly Ringwald and Plus 4. Yes, it’s the same Molly Ringwald who you remember from Pretty in Pink and Secret Life of the American Teenager.  And, yes, she can sing, too, having started from an early age with her jazz pianist father, Bob Ringwald.  Spazio.  (818) 728-8400

– Dec. 11 & 12. (Sat. & Sun.)  C.A.B. World class fusion from the guys who do it best, with Frank Gambale, guitar, Otmaro Ruiz, keyboards, Bunny Brunel, bass, Tom Brechtlein, drums.  The Baked Potato. (818) 980-1615.

– Dec. 12. (Sat.)  Bruce Forman Quartet.  Guitarist Forman brings strikingly new perspectives to the contemporary art of jazz guitar.  He plays with  Joe Bagg, organ, Pat Senatore, bass, drums tbd.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

– Dec. 12. (Sat.)  Jazz Compass.  Holiday Concert & Jazz Party from a collective of L.A.’s A-list players.  Featuring Larry Koonse, Clay Jenkins, Tom Warrington, Joe La Barbera, Bill CunliffeUpstairs at Vitellos.  (818) 769-0905.

– Dec. 12. (Sat.)  Los Angeles Master ChoraleMessiah Sing-along.   The annual must-do event for everyone who ever sang in a choir: the chance to join voices sith the extraordinary artists of the Master Chorale.  2 p.m.  Disney Hall. http://www.laphil.com

– Dec. 12 & 13. (Sat. & Sun.)  “Colors of Christmas” One of the annual holiday season’s most pleasant musical interludes, with Peabo Bryson, Sheena Easton, Jennifer Holiday and Maxi Priest.  The Cerritos Center.  (562) 916-8501.

Bill Holman

– Dec. 13. (Sun.) Marathon Jazz Party.  It’s an event to benefit the relocation of the L.A. Jazz Institute.  Three rooms of continuous music, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., with dozens of musicians — including the big bands of Bill Holman, Steve  Huffsteter, Med Flory, Kim Richmond and others — as well as raffles, auctions, door prizes, CD sales, etc.    Los Angeles Jazz Institute. LAX Marriott. (562) 985.7065.

– Dec. 13. (Sun.)  Holiday Jazz Vespers ServiceEric Kertes and Friends, with Aaron Hernandez’s hip hop commentary on today’s world.  Free will offering.  Bring a can, box or bag of food for donation to Food Pantry LAX to help those in need.  Welcoming people of all faiths, and those with no faith.  Episcopal Church of the Holy Nativity. (310) 670.4777

San Francisco

– Dec. 8 & 9. (Tues. & Wed.)  Dan Hicks & the Hot Licks.  With special guest Bob Dorough.  “Holidaze in Hicksville”  Featuring Hicks’ holiday classics “My Main Man Santa,” “A Yule That’s Cool” and “Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Christmas Card.”  As well as Dorough’s “Blue Xmas” (written with Miles Davis.  (510) 238-9200.

– Dec. 10 – 13. (Thurs. – Sun.) Guitarist Mike Stern fronts a band of world class players, as adept with tradition as they are with fusion: trumpeter Randy Brecker, drummer Dave Weckl and bassist Tom KennedyYoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.

Ahmad Jamal

– Dec. 10 – 13. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Ahmad Jamal.  A unique jazz artist, pianist Jamal influenced Miles Davis’ view of phrasing, established himself as an iconic figure, and is still out there doing his thing.  Don’t miss the chance to hear and see him in action.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600.


-Dec. 10 (Thurs.)  The Chicago Jazz Ensemble and Jon Faddis continue the 11th annual American Jazz Heritage Series with a program honoring the music of John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman and Miles Davis.  Special guests David Sanchez and Steve Wilson.  The Harris Theatre.  The Chicago Jazz Ensemble.  (312) 369-6270.

New York

– Dec. 8 – 12. (Tues. – Sat.)  Lee Konitz, Charlie Haden, Paul Motian, Brad Mehldau. Several generations of great jazz improvisers in an adventurous search for common musical ground.  Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

– Dec. 8 – 13. (Tues. – Sun.)  Eddie Palmieri y La Perfecta.  A 73rd birthday celebration for the master keyboardist of Latin Jazz,  leading his irrepressible La Perfecta.  The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.

– Dec. 8 – 13. (Tues. – Sun.)  Dave Douglas Quintet.  Trumpeter and musical explorer Douglas works with ensemble equally capable of journeying into new territory.  With Uri Caine, piano, Donny McCaslin, sax, James Genus, bass, Clarence Penn, drums.  Village Vanguard.   (212) 255-4037.

Dec. 10 – 12.  (Thurs. – Sat.)  Red Hot Holiday Stomp.  A New Orleans perspective on some classic holiday favorites.  With Wycliffe Gordon, Victor Goines, Don Vappie, Herlin RileyRose Theatre at Jazz at Lincoln Center.  (212) 258-9800.

Kim Burrell

– Dec. 10 – 13. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Tango Meets Jazz Festival.  The marriage of a pair of musical genres with a surprising number of common elements.  With pianist Pablo Ziegler and saxophonists Miguel Zenon (12/10 and 12/11) and  David Sanchez ((12/12 and 12/13).  The Jazz Standard. (212) 447-7733.

Dec. 11 – 12.  (Fri. & Sat.)  Kim Burrell, The divine diva of gospel brings the spirit of Christmas alive with her soulful, spiritual stylings.  The Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center. (212) 258-9800.


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