Picks of the Weekend on the Left Coast

By Don Heckman Los Angeles, California     – April 24. (Fri.) Damien Rice.  Highly praised Irish singer/songwriter Rice celebrates the release of his latest CD, My Favourite Faded Fantasy, already receiving rave international reviews. The Greek Theatre.   (323) 665-5857. – April 24. (Fri.) Pete Christlieb Quartet. Saxophonist Christlieb has been a first call player… Read More Picks of the Weekend on the Left Coast

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

By Don Heckman On the way home from Disney Hall Sunday, the traffic on the 101 magically – and unexpectedly —  opened up, and we suddenly realized we could reach Vitello’s just in time to catch the second set by the Ron Jones Jazz Influence Orchestra. Call it an unusual sequence – from the Christmas… Read More Live Jazz: The Ron Jones Jazz Influence Orchestra with April Williams at Vitello’s

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

By Don Heckman Studio City, CA.  It wasn’t quite Johnny Mandel’s birthday last night.  Not yet.  But it was close enough to the actual date – November 25 – to celebrate the 87th anniversary of the great composer and arranger. And the packed crowd at Vitello’s enthusiastically joined in a group singing of “Happy Birthday.” … Read More Live Jazz: The Johnny Mandel Big Band at Vitello’s

Live Jazz: The Bill Holman Big Band Upstairs at Vitello’s

By Don Heckman Bill Holman and his big band made one of their rare but always welcome Southland appearances Friday night at Vitello’s.  And, with a packed house listening avidly to every note, Holman once again displayed his remarkable mastery of the big band format. One could make a good case for big band instrumentation… Read More Live Jazz: The Bill Holman Big Band Upstairs at Vitello’s

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

By Don Heckman Vitello’s was packed to the gills Saturday night.  And with good reason.  Johnny Mandel was making one of his rare appearances, leading an assemblage of Southland jazz all-stars in an evening surveying his long, productive career as a composer, arranger and songwriter. At 86, recovering from hip problems and walking with a… Read More Live Jazz: The Johnny Mandel Big Band at Vitello’s

Picks of the Week: Feb. 6 – 12

By Don Heckman Los Angeles – Feb. 7. (Tues.)  Misha Piatigorsky and Sketchy Black Dog.  Winner of the 2004 Thelonious Monk Composers’ Competition, Piatigorsky applies his adventurous composition and piano playing skills within the offbeat string quartet sounds of the Sketchy Black Dog. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. http://www.vibratogrilljazz.com  (310) 474-9400. – Feb. 7. (Tues.)  Guitar Night. … Read More Picks of the Week: Feb. 6 – 12

Picks of the Week: Nov. 29 – Dec. 4

By Don Heckman Los Angeles – Nov. 30. (Wed.)  Sting. One of the iconic masters of popular song makes a rare Southland appearance as part of his extended, “Back To Bass” tour.   The  Wiltern.     (877) 686-5366. – Nov. 30. (Wed.)   The Ron McCurdy Collective.  Trumpeter/educator McCurdy blends his soaring trumpet sounds with the lush harmonies… Read More Picks of the Week: Nov. 29 – Dec. 4