Picks of the Week: Jan. 7 – 13

January 8, 2013

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Ariana Savalas

Ariana Savalas

- Jan. 9.  (Wed.)  Ariana Savalas and Corky Hale.  Yes, the name “Savalas” is familiar; Ariana is the daughter of the veteran actor Telly Savalas.  But as a singer, she has an appealing style that is uniquely her own.  She’s backed by the musically supportive accompaniment of pianist/harpist Hale. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- Jan. 9. (Wed.)  Betty Bryant.  Singer/pianist Betty Bryant gives another seminar in jazz piano and vocals, as entertaining and swinging as she is musically inventive.  H.O.M.E.  Beverly Hills.   (310) 271-4663.

- Jan. 9. (Wed.)  John Beasley.  Pianist/composer Beasely begins a January residency at the Blue Whale, starting with a duo with the unique vocalist Dwight TribleThe Blue Whale.   (213) 620-0908.

- Jan. 10. (Thurs.) Gerald Wilson Orchestra. At 94, arranger/composer/bandleader Wilson still brings his Orchestra vividly to life everytime he gives the down beat on one of his memorable arrangements.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

Amadeus Leopold

Amadeus Leopold

- Jan. 10. (Thurs.)  Amadeus Leopold.  The brilliant young Korean violinist Leopold – whose original name was Hahn-Bin – applies his technical prowess and emotional imagination to a uniquely imaginative view of the classical repertoire.  CAP UCLA.  Royce Hall.

- Jan. 10. (Thurs.)  Ibrahim Maalouf Quintet. (Concert cancelled due to visa problems.) Lebanese trumpeter Maalouf effectively blends Arabic traditional sounds and rhythms with contemporary jazz funk and roots rock.  Theatre Raymond Kabbaz.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast.    (310) 271-9039.

- Jan. 11. (Fri.)  Sinne Eeg.  Highly praised Danish singer Eeg performs with the stellar backing of Larry Koonse, Peter Erskine, Darek Oles and Roger NeumannVitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Jan. 11. (Fri.)  Los Lobos. The multiple Grammy-winning band from East L.A. continues to continue to find linkages between Chicano rock, Tex-Mex, r&b and traditional Hispanic styles.  The Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.    (562) 916-8501.

Lainie Kazan

Lainie Kazan

- Jan. 11 – 13. (Fri. – Sun.)  Lainie Kazan.  Actress/singer Kazan’s checkered career reaches from understudying Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl to dozens of high visibility film roles.  But she’s also a uniquely gifted singer with a lush sound and a gift for richly emotional interpretations of the book of standards.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- Jan. 12 & 13. (Sat. & Sun.)  Steve Ross.  Puttin’ on the Ritz.  “The Music of Fred Astaire.  Singer Ross presents a cabaret show to remember, with some of the greatest songs from film musicals.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Curtis Stigers

Curtis Stigers

- Jan. 13. (Sun.)  Curtis Stigers & His Band.  Saxophonist/singer Stigers has spent most of his career emphasizing his vocal skills, producing some memorable, jazz-tinged, charting songs since the release of his self-titled, platinum debut recording in 1991.  Kirk Douglas Theatre.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast.    (310) 271-9039.

- Jan. 13. (Sun.)  Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour.  The MJF prides itself on the iconic line up of performers for the annual September Festival programs.  And here’s an equally iconic group of artists – Dee Dee Bridgewater, Christian McBride, Benny Green, Lewis Nash, Chris Potter and Ambrose Akinmusire – proudly carrying the MJF banner in the off season.  Segerstrom Center for the Arts.    (714) 556-2787.   (The Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour also performs at the Valley Performing Arts Center on Jan. 23.

San Francisco

Wesla Whitfield

Wesla Whitfield

- Jan. 9. (Wed.)  Wesla Whitfield with the Mike Greensil Trio.  Whitfield has been offering her view of the Great American Songbook for more than three decades, most often with the backing of her husband, pianist Greensil.  Together they provide an irresistible evening of memorable music.Yoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.

New York

- Jan. 10.  (Thurs.) Janis Ian.  Singer/songwriter Ian made her breakthrough with “Society’s Child” in the mid-‘60s, followed by her Grammy Award-winning “At Seventeen” in the mid-‘70s.  At 81, she’s still going strong.  City Winery.    (212) 608-0555.

- Jan. 11 & 12. (Fri. & Sat.)  The 2013 NYC Winter Jazzfest.  Six venues around Greenwich Village feature performers such as James Carter, Monty Alexander, Claudia Acuna, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Rez Abbasi and numerous others, young and mature.  The Winter Jazzfest.

Carol Welsman, Peter Marshall and Denise Donatelli

Carol Welsman, Peter Marshall and Denise Donatelli

- Jan. 11 – 14. (Fri. – Mon.) “And Then She Wrote.”  With Peter Marshall, Carol Welsman and Denise Donatelli.  Emmy Award-winner singer/actor Marshall has created an entertaining overview of the many memorable songs in the Great American Songbook written by women.  And he couldn’t have chosen a better pair of singers to join him in a delightful evening of music, dance and humor than Juno Award nominee Welsman and Grammy nominee Donatelli.   Click HERE to read an iRoM review of the Los Angeles performance of And Then She Wrote.”  The Metropolitan Room.   (212) 206-0440.

- Jan. 12 & 13. (Sat. & Sun.)  Ramsey Lewis and John Pizzarelli.  Straighten Up and Fly Right: A Tribute to Nat “King” Cole.  What a great combination: the spirited piano work of Lewis, the lively singing and guitar of Pizzarelli, and the great book of songs associated with Nat Cole.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

Washington D.C.

Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly

- Jan. 8. (Tues.)  Grace Kelly.  Korean/American alto saxophonist and singer Kelly, who just turned 20 in 2012, has firmly established herself as one of the gifted jazz artists of her generation.  Blues Alley.     (202) 337-4141.

London

- Jan. 9 & 10.  (Wed, & Thurs.)  Larry Goldings, Peter Bernstein and Bill Stewart.  Described in the ‘90s by the New York Times as the “best organ trio of the last decade,” the Goldings/Bernstein/Stewart combination continues to get better and better.  Ronnie Scott’s.   +44 (0)20 7439 0747.

Copenhagen

- Jan. 10 & 11. (Thurs. & Fri.)  “A Tribute to Anita O’Day.”   Signe Juhl and the Nikolaj Bentzon 3. Singer Juhl, backed by pianist Bentzon’s prime trio, celebrates the lively musical history of Anita O’Day.  Jazzhus Montmartre.    (+45) 70 263 267.

Milan

- Jan. 11 & 12. (Fri. & Sat.)  Tania Maria.  Grammy-nominated Brazilian singer/pianist and composer has been described as Brazil’s finest native jazz artist.  At 64, she continues to produce memorable recordings and live performances.  The Blue Note Milano.     02.6901 6888.


The Playboy Jazz Festival 2012: Sunday’s Program at the Hollywood Bowl

June 19, 2012

 

By Devon Wendell

Photos by Bonnie Perkinson

This year’s choice of performers at The 34th Annual Playboy Jazz Festival may have had both the serious jazz fan and struggling jazz musician recoiling in disgust, but even the most stubborn jazz aficionado can’t deny that fun and diversity dominated the festival.

Before covering Sunday’s highlights, we’ll follow up on Mike Katz’s Saturday review with a few additional thoughts about some of the outstanding moments in Saturday’s program.

The first is The Cos Of Good Music (Farid Barron: piano, Dwayne Burno: bass, Ndugo Chancler: drums, Tia Fuller: alto sax, Mathew Garrison: bass guitar, Ingrid Jensen: trumpet and flugelhorn, Babatunde Lea: Percussion, and Erena Terakubo on alto sax.)  Out of all of these world class musicians handpicked by Bill Cosby, it was the three women of the reeds (Fuller, Jensen, and Terakubo) who stole the spotlight.  The group’s rendition of the Ray Noble classic “Cherokee” (which helped a young Charlie Parker find his own innovative technique) was one of the greatest moments of the entire festival.   During this difficult composition, Fuller, Jensen, and Terakubo, made it apparent that they are well versed in the vocabulary of both the be-bop and hard-bop genres.  From Bird, Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis, to Phil Woods, John Coltrane and Lee Morgan, the ladies could do it all and without mere mimicking.  They had their own feminine slant to the music, which made it even more special. No male musicians at the Festival could match the virtuosity of these young women.  You would not believe that Terakubo is only 20 years old by her command, technique, and soul on the alto saxophone. Boney James (also on the bill on Saturday) could learn volumes from Terakubo.

Bill Cosby ant the Cos of Good Music

Cosby took the microphone and went into the humorous “Hikky Burr” (which Cosby had originally recorded with Quincy Jones in ’69), which gave Fuller, Jensen, and Terakubo a chance to show off their blues chops. They seemed totally at ease and didn’t sound like over-trained jazz musicians trying to play blues, which often happens on songs like this. Cosby’s vocals were playful and funny and became the perfect way to bid him farewell as Master Of Ceremonies at The Playboy Jazz Festival.

The authentic Louisiana funk of The Soul Rebels (Leo Nocentelli: guitar, Ivan Neville: keyboards and vocals, Big Chief Monk Boudreaux: vocals, Lumar Leblanc: snare drum, Derrick Moss: bass drum, Julian Gosin, Marcus Hubbard: trumpets, Paul Robertson, Corey Peyton: trombones, Erion Williams: saxophone, and Edward Lee Jr., sousaphone.) was another exhilarating part of Saturday’s show. The group’s big brass Creole soul arrangements of Michael Jackson’s “Off The Wall” and Stevie Wonder’s “I Wish” were filled with harmonic textures and rhythmic layers that made these renditions more compelling than the originals.

Seeing original Meter’s guitarist Leo Nocentelli with keyboardist Ivan Neville, performing The Meter’s classic “Hey Pocky A -Way” in this big band setting was a brilliant departure from the original recording from 1974.  Big Chief Monk Boudreaux joined the band on his topical piece “Find The Levee And Burn It Down.” And Nocentelli’s wonderfully primitive bare bones rhythm guitar chops gave this Bayou swamp boogie a Reggae groove twist.

Sunday’s lineup was an eclectic mix of jazz, fusion, blues, and even pop.  The attentive and well rehearsed Calabasas High School Band under the direction of Joshua Barroll kicked of the day’s program.

Mixing Afro-Cuban funk with reggae, KG Omulo was the perfect band for the Bowl audience. On originals such as “Moving Train,” “Quality Woman,” “Acuna” and “No Means No,” Omulo and his band sounded like a cross between Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Bob Marley And The Wailers, and early Funkadelic. Guitarist Michael Schmidt’s screaming wah-wah guitar locked in with bassist Dave Whitaker’s solid bass lines.  Omulo is also a charismatic vocalist and front man.  But it did feel as though Omulo and his band would have had a greater impact had they performed later in the day or evening.

Although the Cookers consisted of some legendary jazz players (Eddie Henderson: trumpet, Billy Harper: tenor sax, Craig Handy: alto sax and flute, David Weiss: trumpet, George Cables: piano, Cecil McBee: bass, and Billy Hart on drums), their energy and softness did anything but cook.

The Cookers (Billy Harper, David Weiss, Eddie Henderson, Craig Handy)

Harper’s composition “Capra Black,” and McBee’s “Peace Maker” sounded like Miles Smiles era modal jazz, but needed something more.  All of these seasoned musicians played strong solos but the material seemed redundant. Cables’ dynamic and inventive piano playing stood out among the rest of the group. Overall, however, the Cookers did more simmering than cooking.

Chico Trujillo brought the pace back up from the second they took the stage with their Chilean cumbia, ska, and Latin rhythms. Though the band was energetic and high spirited in its stage presence (especially lead singer Macha), the music was repetitive and sloppy.  And, though the focus was on the percussionists and lead singer, it was saxophonist Fela, and trumpeter Zorrita, along with keyboardist Joselo, who held together the band’s melodies.

Terri Lyne Carrington and bassist Mimi Jones

Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic Project played one of the most tasteful and consistently brilliant sets of the day — one of the highlights of the entire Festival. Along with Carrington on drums, the Mosaic Project consisted of Tia Fuller: alto sax, Ingrid Jensen: trumpet (both also featured on The Cos Of Good Music), Mimi Jones: bass, Patrice Rushen and Helen Sung: piano, and Linda Taylor on guitar with special guest vocalists.

Nona Hendryx added her one of a kind vocal style on her classic “Transformation” (Re-recorded on The Mosaic Project album), Gretchen Parlato (who has proven to be one of the finest vocalists in contemporary jazz) brought her sweet sultry sound to “Simply Beautiful.” The melodic interaction between pianists Rushen and Sung was astounding. Carrington’s strength as a drummer is in her subtlety. Her flourishes were so delicate behind Dianne Reeves on “Echo,” that it almost sounded as if she were laying out completely — even though if she were, the foundation would have been lost. It takes a true musical thinker to pull that off successfully.

Angela Davis’ spoken word addition to “Echo” was a startling presentation of her “New Freedom movement.”  Fuller and Jensen’s horn lines wove in and out of the melody, creating a dream-like effect that was a perfect match with Carmen Lundy’s vocals on Geri Allen’s “Unconditional Love.”  The music was hypnotic and sensual on “Soul Talk” with Dee Dee Bridgewater on vocals.  Every note between Jensen, Fuller, Rushen, Sung, Jones, and guitarist Linda Taylor was perfectly placed without losing spontaneity.

On “Show me a sign,” Carrington ended the piece with a thunderous, Art Blakey-esque drum solo.  Bill Cosby was so blown away that he took the mic and thanked Carrington on behalf of the Playboy Jazz festival, urging her to stand and take a bow.

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band

The Preservation Hall Jazz Band (Mark Braud: trumpet, vocals,band leader, Ben Jaffe: sousaphone, bass, creative director, Rickie Monie: piano, musical director, Joe Lastie Jr.: drums, Clint Maedgan: saxophone, vocals, Charlie Gabriel: clarinet, vocals, Freddie Lonzo: trombone, vocals, and Frank Demond: trombone) just may be the most traditional New Orleans sounding jazz ensemble the Festival has ever presented.  The ghost of Louis Armstrong and his Hot Fives and Sevens was felt on “Down On Bourbon Street,” “Swing That Thing,” and “Sweet Substitute.”  Braud, Gabriel, and Maedgan shared the lead vocal spots.  The concept of collective improvisation (which began in New Orleans with The Dixieland bands) was what The Preservation Hall Jazz Band was all about. Each reeds man soloed at once in a way that was orchestrated and organized but irresistibly fun and danceable.  Jaffe’s bouncing bass line on the sousaphone got the Bowl crowd up on their tipsy feet.

For the blues portion of the festival, Keb’ Mo’ and his band played a set full of whimsical R&B based urban blues like “The Whole Enchilada,” “Government Cheese,” and “One Way Home.” Though Keb’ Mo’ is know mostly for his slide guitar work, at the festival, he stuck to playing straight blues leads on a Strat, which sounded like the yuppified blues style of Robert Cray. Though a talented singer, songwriter, and guitarist, with a more than capable band, it was hard to tell one song from another during this set. There wasn’t much blues to this music.

The real excitement in his program came when Keb’ Mo’ brought out the legendary Barbara Morrison for a duet on a Chicago blues shuffle version of Bobby “Blue” Bland’s “Further On Up The Road.”  Morrison can belt out the blues like no one else and has an electrifying stage presence which was needed throughout the set.

Ramsey Lewis

The Ramsey Lewis Electric Band had this jazz/soul pioneer experimenting with a more soft jazz/ fusion sound that didn’t seem fitting.  The group’s reading of The Stylistics “Betcha By Golly Wow,” Lewis’s own “Brazilica,” Stevie Wonder’s “Living For The City” and Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Sun Goddess” (which Lewis had recorded with the band and referred to as “Wayo”) all felt flat. Tim Gant’s electric keyboards sounded too synthetic and cheesy.

Lewis sounded best (and even looked happier) when sticking to his more gospel influenced material and playing tunes that him famous — “Wade In The Water,” and his biggest hit “The In Crowd” – while alternating between acoustic piano and Fender Rhodes electric piano with ease and focus.

The Playboy Jazz Festival can and has ventured pretty far from jazz but no more so than having Robin Thicke perform on the bill. Thicke and his band brought their boy-band sounding bubblegum pop to the Bowl and there were plenty of young, screaming girls present to enjoy it.  Not much more to say about it than that.

Jack Bruce and Cindy Blackman Santana

Closing the performance was the hardest, loudest, and most creative experimental group of the entire Festival. Spectrum Road (Featuring Vernon Reid: electric guitar, Cindy Blackman Santana: drums, Jack Bruce: bass, and John Medeski on keyboards) is a newly formed tribute band to the late great drum giant Tony Williams.   The band performed material from their self titled debut album Spectrum Road such as “Vuelta Abajo,” “Where” and William’s “There Comes A Time” with Jack Bruce on vocals. The music was tight but chaotic, piercing, arrogant, skillful, and daring in all the best ways. These characteristics match Tony Williams’ playing and personality to a tee.

Reid’s fierce, frenetic guitar playing fused marvelously with Blackman Santana’s drumming which echoed that of Williams. Jack Bruce’s guttural, busy bass lines followed Blackman Santana’s bombast no matter how far out she would go.  Medeski’s B3 organ sound was the only element that didn’t always fit. It was too heavy for this already ferocious sound.

Blackman Santana and Reid were clearly the stars of the group, even facing each other for most of the set, feeding off each other’s energy. The group sounded like a combination of Sonny Sharrock’s early ‘90s instrumental experiments, mid-‘70s Santana, and Vernon Reid’s work with his band Masque, but more powerful.

Blackman Santana’s long drum solo after “Where” was one of the great moments of the festival. She never repeated an idea twice and though she was inspired by Williams, she proved to have an energy all her own, all powerful and all woman.

The band even did a cover of Cream’s “Politician” (once again, fitting for the times), in which Jack Bruce’s vocals sounded the same as they did when he performed the song in 1967.  Reid and Blackman Santana put Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker to Shame, taking this 60s psychedelic blues anthem far beyond the stratosphere.

And so another Playboy Festival has come and gone. Some may bicker about the “Lack of real jazz at the festival,” but the number of innovative artists certainly outnumbered the fluff, and there were plenty of surprises.  Most importantly, everyone was having fun, which is ultimately what this Festival is all about.


Picks of the Week: Oct. 24 – 30

October 25, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Goran Bregovic

- Oct. 26. (Wed.)  Goran Bregovic Wedding and Funeral Orchestra.  Sarajevo’s wildly eclectic bandleader Bregovic leads an orchestra that combines Roma gypsy music, a brass band, strings, a male choir, Bulgarian back-up singers and traces of rock into an inimitable evening of mind-bending music.   Disney Hall.   (323) 8502000.

- Oct. 26. (Wed.)  Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette.  Three decades together and Jarrett, Peacock and DeJohnette are still going strong, still bringing stunning improvisational illumination to everything they play.  Firmly established as one of the iconic groups of the post-bop era, they should be heard at every opportunity.  Royce Hall.  UCLA Live.    (310) 825-2101.

- Oct. 26. (Wed.)  The Thom Rotella Quartet. Guitarist Rotella has a resume covering virtually every area of the music world — from performances with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Luciano Pavarotti and Frank Sinatra, to composing for shows such as Sex and the City and China Beach and performances on the sound tracks of The Simpsons,Family Guy and much more.  Here’s a chance to hear him in an up close setting, backed by the Pat Senatore TrioVibrato Jazz Grill…etc.    (310) 474-9400.

- Oct. 26. (Wed.)  Celtic Thunder.  The five dynamic singers of Celtic Thunder are the male version of Celtic Woman, their immense popularity triggered by the blend of powerful solo work, engaging collective ensembles combined with a program of memorable Irish song.  The Greek Theatre.   (323) 665-5857.

- Oct. 26. (Wed.)  Rob Mullins Quartet.  He started out as a drummer, picked up several other instruments along the way during his prodigal career as a young professional, and wound up as a versatile pianist, composer and educator, with multiple accomplishments in all those areas.  This time out, he’s joined by a stellar ensemble: Doug Webb, reeds, Brian Bromberg, bass and Bernie Dresel, drums.  Vitello’s.     (818) 769-0905.

Inga Swearingen

- Oct. 28. (Fri.)  Inga Swearingen. You’ve probably heard Swearingen singing her uniquely personal song interpretations on the Prairie Home Companion. But her imaginative view of jazz still hasn’t received the audience her rare talent deserves.  Here’s a good chance to sample it.  LACMA.    (323) 857-6000.

- Oct. 28. (Fri.)  Apollo’s Fire Baroque Orchestra featuring Phillippe Jaroussky.  “Handel and Vivaldi Fireworks.”  At 33, Jaroussky – a French sopranist countertenor –has firmly established himself as one of the star performers of the Baroque repertoire composed for the extraordinary male soprano voices.  He sings with the highly praised, period instrument ensemble, Apollo’s Fire.  UCLA Live.

- Oct. 28 – 30. (Fri. – Sun.)  Riverdance.  Nearly two decades since it made its first appearance at a Eurovision song contest, the spectacular step dances and enchanting Irish music of Riverdance continue to delight audiences in appearances around the world.  Segerstrom center for the Arts.    (714) 556-2787.

- Oct. 28 – 30. (Fri. – Sun.)  Soka Blueport Jazz Festival.  The first festival at Soka University in Orange County has all the looks of a major jazz event.  The three days of programming are loaded with many of the Southland’s major artists as well as a healthy sampling of players from the East Coast and other parts of the world.  Fri.: The Geoffrey Keezer/Peter Sprague Band; Trio Da Paz starring singer Maucha Adnet.  Sat.: The Bert Turetzsky- Chuck Perrin Dynamic Duo; singer Tierney Sutton with pianist Mike Garson; The Charles McPherson Quintet with Gilbert Castellanos; Trio Da Paz starring clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen. Sun.: The Ron Eschete Trio; The Mike Garson Sextet starring Komel Fekete-Kovac Soka Blueport Jazz Festival, Aliso Viejo.  (949) 480-4278.

Tinariwen

- Oct. 29. (Sat.) Tinariwen. The musical collective from Northern Mali has been blending the sounds, the rhythms and the instruments of their Taureg roots with the energy and dynamism of Western rock music for more than a decade.  Luckman Fine Arts Complex.   (323) 343-6600.

- Oct. 29. (Sat.) “We Four: Celebrating Coltrane”  Javon Jackson, tenor saxophone, Mulgrew Miller, piano, Nat Reeves, bass, Jimmy Cobb, drums.  John Coltrane’s music should always be celebrated, of course.  But it’s a very special celebration, indeed, when it’s handled by four players with the credentials to do it full justice.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center.

- Oct. 30 (Sun.) Linda Eder with Tom Wopat.  Broadway and cabaret singer Eder joins her scintillating soprano with the rich baritone of actor/singer Wopat.  Valley Performing Arts Center.    (818) 677-3000.

San Francisco

- Oct. 27. (Thurs.)  Mose Allison.  The one and only musical philosopher of the bayou always has a message worth hearing.  Returning to the studio last year for The Way of the World, his first album in a decade, he was good as ever – which is very good indeed. YBCA Forum.  SFJAZZ  Festival.    (866) 920-5299.

- Oct. 28. (Fri.)   Goran Bregovic Wedding and Funeral Orchestra.  See above.  Paramount Theatre.  SFJAZZ Festival. (866) 920-5299.

Oct. 28. (Fri.)  “We Four: Celebrating Coltrane”  Javon Jackson, tenor saxophone, Mulgrew Miller, piano, Nat Reeves, bass, Jimmy Cobb, drums.  See above.  SFJAZZ Festival.  (866) 920-5299.

- Oct. 29. (Sat.) Keith Jarrett, Gary Peacock, Jack DeJohnette.  See above.  Zellerbach Hall at U.C. Berkley.  (510) 642-9988.

Chicago

Russell Malone

- Oct. 27 – 30. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Russell Malone Trio.  Guitarist Malone has devoted a good portion of his career to making other performers sound great.  But on his own, he’s even better.  Check him out and you’ll see.   Jazz Showcase.    (312) 360-0234.

New York

- Oct. 25 – 30.  (Tues. – Sun.)  Jimmy Heath’s 85th birthday celebration.  The veteran saxophonist shares a milestone birthday with a string of celebratory musical encounters.    Featuring Roy Hargrove, Antonio Hart, Steve Davis, Peter Washington, Lewis Nash and many others.  Special guest Bill Cosby appears on Tues. at the early show.  The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

- Oct. 25 – 30. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Wycliffe Gordon Quintet & Friends“Hello Pops!  The Music of Louis Armstrong.”  Trombonist Gordon’s enthusiastic playing style combines with his convincing vocals to create a musically entertaining tribute to Sachmo.  Special guest Anat Cohen (Tues. & Wed.) adds her clarinet delights.  Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.  (212) 259-9800.

Boston

- Oct. 27 & 28. (Thurs. & Fri.)  The Bad Plus.  Pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson and drummer David King have been transforming the familiar jazz piano trio into a vehicle for genre-busting musical excitement for more than a decade. Regatta Bar.    (617) 395-7757.

Berlin

THeo Bleckmann

- Oct. 27. (Thurs.)  Theo Bleckmann“Hello Earth: The Music of Kate Bush.”  A major figure in contemporary avant-garde music, singer/composer Bleckmann has performed with everyone from Laurie Anderson and Anthony Braxton to Meredith Monk and Phillip Glass.  Here he presents selections from his recently released album exploring the songs of eclectic singer/songwriter Kate Bush.  A-Trane.    030 / 313 25 50.

London

- Oct. 27 – 29. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Ramsey Lewis Electric Band. Multiple Grammy winner Lewis has been leading high visibility trios since the mid-‘50s.  This time out, he revives the electric sounds of his classic, top charting Sun Goddess album of the ‘70s.  Ronnie Scott’s.   020 7439 0747.


Picks of the Week: Aug. 23 – 28

August 23, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Aug. 23. (Tues.)  Clay JenkinsGood Signs  CD concert.  Trumpeter Jenkins celebrates the September release of his new CD with the stellar band on the album — guitarist Larry Koonse, bassist Tom Warrington and drummer Joe LaBarbera Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Aug. 24. (Wed.)  Alan Ferber Quartet. Versatile trombonist Ferber moves easily across numerous jazz styles, always with imaginative creativity.  Here he makes one of his rare Southland appearances, working with bassist Pat Senatore, pianist Josh Nelson, and his brother, Mark FerberVibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

Omara Portuondo

- Aug. 24. (Wed.)  Arturo Sandoval, Natalie Cole, the Buena Vista Social Club with Omara Portuondo and Ninety Miles, featuring Stefon Harris, David Sanchez and Christian Scott.  The Bowl sizzles with a far-ranging evening of Latin jazz in a wide array of manifestations and styles.  Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2000

- Aug. 25. (Thurs.) Theo Saunders Quartet with Dave Binney.  Pianist Saunders, a probing musical artist on his own, gets together with alto saxophonist Binney, whose career has been filled with adventurous musical explorations.   Charlie O’s. (818) 994-3058.

- Aug. 25. (Thurs.)  Mr. Vallenato.  The Skirball’s free Sunset  Concerts for 2011 close with a performance by Jorge Villarreal. a Mexican-American accordion virtuoso whose emotional romps through cumbia and vallenato music have prompted some reviewers to compare the excitement of his playing to that of the legendary Jimi Hendrix.  The Skirball Cultural Center.   Free.  Doors open at 7 p.m. for an 8 p.m. performance.  (310) 440-4500.

- Aug. 25. (Thurs.)  Ken Peplowski.  Clarinetist Peplowski has been doing an effective job of keeping the jazz clarinet alive (along with his equally impressive tenor saxophone work.  He’s backed by pianist Mike Wofford, bassist Chuck Berghofer and drummer Paul Kreibich LAX Jazz Club Crowne Plaza Hotel.    (310) 642-7500.

Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.

- Aug. 25 – 27. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr.  Married for more than forty years, McCoo and Davis continue to celebrate the entertaining music of the group that brought them together, the Fifth Dimension.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Aug. 26 & 27. (Fri. & Sat.) John Williams, Maestro of the Movies.  With one of the most impressive catalog of film scores in his resume, Williams fully deserves the “Maestro” title.  He conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a collection of his memorable music.  In an added highlight, James Taylor will be guest narrator.  Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 27. (Sat.)  Brian Wilson.  One of the rock music figures who truly warrant the label “legendary” makes a rare concert appearance.  Wilson – whose awards reach from Kennedy Center honors to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – will offer selections from many of his greatest Beach Boys hits.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.    (562) 916-8501.

San Francisco

Oliver Lake

- Aug. 25. (Thurs.)  Oliver Lake Organ Quartet.  Alto saxophonist Lake, a true Renaissance man, is also a poet, painter and performance artist.  For this appearance, he’ll focus on expanding the arena of the jazz organ quartet with organist Jared Gold, trumpeter Freddie Hendrix and drummer Chris Beck. Yoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.

Chicago

- Aug. 25 – 31. (Thurs. – Wed.)  Ira Sullivan and Friends. Eighty year old multi-instrumentalist Sullivan has always been one of jazz’s most impressive, but also elusive performers, sticking close to the Chicago area.  Here he is again in his home territory, displaying his remarkable skills as a trumpeter, saxophonist, flutist and composer.   Jazz Showcase.    (312) 360-0234.

New York

- Aug. 23 – 27. (Tues. – Sat.)  Richie Beirach Quintet. Veteran pianist Beirach burst onto the jazz scene in the early ‘70s with Stan Getz.  And his multi-layered style is still a marvel of improvisational imagination.  He performs with the cutting edge ensemble of Randy Brecker, trumpet, Gregor Huebner, violin, George Mraz, bass and Billy Hart, drums.  Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

Jon Faddis

- Aug. 23 – 28. (Tues. – Sun.)  Jon Faddis Quartet with special guests Sean Jones and Terell Stafford.  Trumpeter Faddis, a protégée of Dizzy Gillespie, does his own mentoring in the company of young trumpeters Jones and Stafford.  The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

London

- Aug. 23. (Tues.)  Buddy Greco and Lezlie Anders.  Veteran pianist/singer Greco, who turned 85 earlier this month, is still adeptly offering the blend of bop-tinged piano and soaring vocals that have characterized his music since he left the Benny Goodman band in the late ‘40s for a solo career.  He’ll perform with his wife, singer Lezlie Anders.  Ronnie Scott’s.   020 7439 0747.

Tokyo

- Aug. 23 – 25. (Tues. – Thurs.)  Ramsey Lewis Electric Band.  Pianist/keyboardist Lewis continues to tour with his five piece electric band, mixing standards and new works with material from his 1974 gold album, Sun Goddes.   The Blue Note Tokyo.   03-5485-0088.


Picks of the Week: June 14 – 19

June 14, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- June 14. (Tues.)  Motley Crue. L.A.’s heavy metal stars of the eighties (and beyond) take over the vast expanse of the Bowl for a tour through the many hits that have made them rock icons.   The Hollywood Bowl.    (323) 850-2040.

- June 15. (Wed.)  Sachel Vasandani Quartet.  At a time when male jazz vocalists are in surprisingly short supply, Vasandani is carving an intriguing musical pathway of his own.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

Angelique Kidjo

- June 16. (Thurs.)  Angelique Kidjo, Youssou N’Dour, Vusi Mahlasela.  A stellar ensemble of great African artists.  Count on them – and Kidjo in particular – to bestow an irresistible display of dynamic, musical excitement on their listeners.  The Greek Theatre.  (323) 554-5857.

- June 15. (Wed.)  Chuck Manning & Sal Marquez Quartet.  Two of the Southland’s most dependably hard swinging players team up for some straight ahead jamming.   Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- June 15 – 19.  (Wed. – Sun.)  The National Ballet of Cuba.  One of the world’s great classical ballet companies, the dancers’ performances reflect the exquisite style established by the founder, prima ballerina Alicia Alonso.  Segerstrom Center for the Arts.    (714) 556-2787.

- June 16. (Thurs.)  Mel Martin Quartet. Saxophonist Martin, who roves freely and impressively across the spectrum from bebop to avant-garde, makes a rare club stop in the Southland.  He’ll be backed by the equally versatile pianist Don Friedman, (who is also rarely seen in L.A., with bassist Tom Warrington and drummer Joe La BarberaVitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- June 16 – 19. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Hiromi.  The Trio Project.  Keyboardist Hiromi, always exploring new musical territory, has a go at the ever-changing vistas of the piano jazz trio.  She performs with bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Steve SmithCatalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

Harry Connick, Jr.

- June 17.   (Fri.) Hollywood Bowl Opening Night.  Opening nights at the Bowl are always memorable events, glowing with stars.  This year, there will be performances by 2011 Hall of Fame inductees Harry Connick, Jr. and Gloria Estefan.  Also on the program: an exclusive live sneak preview of Cirque du Soleil’s first Hollywood production, IRIS – A Journey Through the World of Cinema.  Dame Helen Mirren hosts the evening, and Andy Garcia and Hilary Swank will serve as guest presenters.  Thomas Wilkens conducts the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra The Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2040.

- June 18. (Sat.)  Filipina Ladies of Jazz.   Following up on last year’s Filipino Gentlemen of Jazz, this year’s program features a splendid array of female Filipina artists.  Pauline Wilson (of the group Seawind) headlines.  She’ll be joined by two rising young artists, Nicole David (who will duet with her father, singer Mon David) and soul jazz singer Jaclyn Rose.  They’ll be backed by the band of saxophonist Michael Paulo.   Ford Amphitheatre.     (323) 461-3673.

- June 18. (Sat.) Rickey Woodard.   Saxophonist Woodard brings high spirited, hard swinging life to every note he plays.  This time out, he’s backed by the John Heard Trio. Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

- June 18. (Sat.)  Phil Norman Tentet.  Saxophonist Norman’s eminently listenable ensemble is also a briskly swinging show case for many of the Southland’s (and the world’s) finest composers and arrangers.  Add to that a line up of all-star players, and expect an evening of memorable little big band jazz.  Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

Roseanna Vitro

- June 18. (Sat.)  Roseanna Vitro “The Randy Newman Project”  Vitro, always a fascinating jazz singer, expands her horizons with her new CD, in which she explores the far-ranging, emotionally diverse musical catalog of Randy Newman.  It’s a remarkable album, and the live performance of its selections should make for a compelling musical evening.   Jazz Bakery Moveable Feast at Musicians Institute Concert Hall.    (310) 271-9039.

San Francisco

- June 14 & 15. (Tues. & Wed.)  Paula Morelenbaum.  Singer Morelenbaum’s deep linkage to the music of her Brazilian homeland in general, and to bossa nova in particular, reaches back to her work as a young singer with Antonio Carlos Jobim in the ‘80s and ‘90s.  Yoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.

- June 18. (Sat.) Nikki Yanofsky. Still only 17, Yanofky’s recordings and live performances have convincingly established her as a rising star with extraordinary potential.   An SFJAZZ Spring Season concert at Herbst Hall.    (866) 920-5299.

Seattle

- June 16 – 19. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Ramsey Lewis“The Sun Goddess Tour.”  Keyboardist Lewis leads his electric band in a revisiting of the funk-driven sounds of his cross-over hit album, Sun Goddess.  Jazz Alley.     (206) 441-9729.

Chicago

Rudresh Mahanthappa

June 16 – 19. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Rudresh Mahanthappa.  Alto saxophonist Mahanthappa, who just received the Jazz Journalists Association Alto Saxophonist of the Year Award, His Indo-Pak Coalition, with Pakistani-American guitarist Rez Abbasi and drummer Dan Weiss is seeking, and finding, ways to synthesize jazz and the improvised musical forms of South Asia.  The results are often extraordinary.   Jazz Showcase.    (312) 360-0234.

New York

- June 14 & 15. (Tues. & Wed.)  The Dave Brubeck Quartet.  What is there to say that hasn’t already been said about the Brubeck Quartet.  Hearing the group, playing classic selections as well as new ventures, is tapping into living jazz history.  The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

- June 14 – 19.  (Tues. – Sun.)  Chris Potter Underground.  One of the most consistently imaginative saxophonists of his generation, Potter leads a band filled with similarly adventurous players – drummer Nate Smith, guitarist Adam Rogers and bassist Fima EphronVillage Vanguard.   (212) 255-4037.

- June 15 – 19. (Wed. – Sun.)  Monty Alexander and the Harlem-Kingston Express.  Pianist Alexander and his group survey the musically delightful linkages between up town jazz and the rhythms of the Caribbean.   Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.    (212) 258-9800.


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.

Detroit

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.

Chicago

- 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: Oct. 12 – 18

October 11, 2009

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Oct. 12. (Mon.)  BERN.  Drummer Bernie Dresel‘s 12 piece band of instrumentalists and singers, playing what he describes as  “supercharged horny funk” — swing their way through music ranging from Tower of Power and Stevie Wonder to Miles Davis and Steely Dan.  Cafe Cordiale in Sherman Oaks.   (818) 789-1985.

- Oct. 12. (Mon.) Diane Hubka.  Singer/guitarist Hubka will no doubt feature some selections from her recent album, “I Like It Here.”  She’s backed by pianist Joe Bagg, bassist Jeff D’Angelo and drummer Ryan Doyle. Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058

Carol Welsman black gown

Carol Welsman

- Oct. 13. (Tues.) Carol Welsman. Pianist/singer Welsman celebrates the release of  “I Like Men: Reflections of Miss Peggy Lee” — a tribute to one of Welsman’s inspirations that generates  some of her most engaging and musically intuitive interpretations.  Her tender version of “The Folks Who Live on the Hill” from the new album was just selected Pick of the Week by USA Today’s music critic, Elysa Gardner  (over Barbra Streisand, Joan Baez and Madonna).  Welsman will be backed by her usual all-star trio — guitarist Pat Kelley, bassist Rene Camacho and drummer Jimmy BranlyVibrato.Grill Jazz…etc (310) 474-9400.

- Oct. 13. (Tues.)  “Tango Night” A new twist on John Pisano’s weekly “Guitar Night” sessions.  This time he matches tango riffs with guitarist Marcello Caceres, bassist Pablo Motta and bandoneon player Coco TrivisonoSpazio (818) 728-8400.

HIGHLIGHT……………………………………

Franco Battiato

Franco Battiato

- Oct. 13 – 18. (Tues. – Sun.)  “Hit Week L.A.: The Italian Way of Life” A celebration of Italian music, art, poetry, literature and cinema. Performers include Calibro 35, Daniel Luppe, Negrita, The Niro and Linnea 77.  The week concludes on Oct. 18 with an appearance at The Broad Stage by Italian art rock icon, Franco Battiato.

Events take place at the Music Box at the Henry Fonda Theatre, The Broad Stage in Santa Monica and the Italian Cultural Institute.  Hit Week L.A.

………………………………………………….

- Oct. 14. (Wed.)  Ann Hampton Callaway and Ramsey Lewis.  It’s an attractive pairing – the lush sound of Callaway’s richly musical jazz vocalizing, and the always-swinging piano playing of the veteran Lewis. Walt Disney Concert Hall (323) 972-7211

Nikki Yanofsky 2

Nikki Yanofsky

- Oct. 14. (Wed.) Nikki Yanofsky.   Yet another young Canadian singing star on the ascendancy.  Fifteen year old Nikki is the youngest performer to ever headline her own show at the Montreal Jazz Festival.  Her repertoire reaches comfortably from Joni Mitchell and folk rock to Ella Fitzgerald and the blues, all of it done with stunning maturity..   Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.  .

- Oct. 16 & 17. (Fri. & Sat.)  “Music From the City of the Angels” John Williams conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic in a program of film music that embraces selections by  Bernard Herrmann, Erich Korngold, Andre Previn, Felix Waxman and, of course, the magic of Williams’ many classic film scores. Walt Disney Concert Hall (323 )850-2040

iva_bittova

Iva Bittova

- Oct. 17. (Sat.)  Jesse Cook.  Nuevo Flamenco guitarist Cook blends simmering Latin rhythms with smooth jazz timbres and a dynamic performing style.  The Broad Stage, Santa Monica.

- Oct. 17. (Sat.) Iva Bittová.  The Czech violinist, singer and musical iconoclast is a stirring performer, moving easily from gypsy tunes to unpredictable happenings.  The Luckman Arts Center.   (323) 363-1356.

- Oct. 17. (Sat.)  Stacy Rowles.  Blending lyrical flugelhorn playing with a lyrical singing style, Rowles performs with Jeff Collela, piano, Pat Senatore, bass and Ryan Doyle, drums.  Vibrato.Grill Jazz …etc (310) 474-9400.

San Diego

- Oct. 15. (Thurs.)  Ellen Johnson.  Performing with Rick Helzer, piano and Rob Thorsen, bass, Johnson sings the music of Charles Mingus and adds a tribute to Sheila Jordan.  Tango Del Rey.  Rancho San Diego.   (858) 581-1114.

San Francisco

Miguel Zenon

Miguel Zenon

- Oct. 15. (Thurs.)  Miguel Zenon’s “Esta Plena” The McArthur Award-winning alto saxophonist/composer and his quintet – pianist Luis Perdomo, bassist Hans Glawischnig, drummer Henry Cole and percussionist Hector “Tito” Matos — presents selections from his latest CD.. Yoshi’s San Francisco (415)  655-5600.

- Oct. 16 – 18. (Fri. – Sun.)  Cedar Walton and Friends. Walton’s mastery of bop and post bop have made him one of the first call jazz pianists for decades.  His “Friens” include tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, vibist Steve Nelson and more.  Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510)  238-9200

New York

- Oct. 13 – 15. (Tues. – Thurs.)  Dominick Farinacci  Quintet. The simpressive new young trumpet star, his career rapidly escalating performs with his quartet.  Birdland.  (212)  581-3080

Chita Rivera

Chita Rivera

- Oct. 15 – 18. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra.  Trumpeter Faddis takes a break from his work with the Chicago Jazz Ensemble to lead his own stirring big band.  The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592

- Oct 16 & 17. (Fri. & Sat.)  Chita Rivera.  The ageless dancing and singing star of Broadway musicals appears in a rare, up close and personal night club setting.  Birdland.   (212)  581-3080

- Oct. 16 – 18. (Fri. – Sun.)  The Ben Allison Band.  Bassist Allison leads his own group in selections from his envelope-stretching new album, “Think Free.”  The Jazz Standard.   (212) 576-2232


Picks of the Week: Sept. 28 – Oct. 4

September 28, 2009

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Sept. 30 (Wed.) Otmaro Ruiz and John Belzaguy Duo. Expect a musically stirring encounter between Venezuela-born Ruiz’s rich textured, Latin-tnged piano and Belzaguy’s sturdy, rhythmically versatile bass. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9499.

- Sept. 30. (Wed.) Bob Sheppard Quartet. W. Larry Koonse, guitar, Gabe Noel, bass and Joe LaBarbera, drums. Sheppard is a first call saxophonist for every imaginable style, but he’s at his best when he’s stretching out with a band of similarly gifted all-stars like this one. Upstairs at Vitello’s (818) 769-0905.

JLCO Live Tan Suits

- Oct. 1. & 2. (Thurs. & Fri.) The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. The big jazz band is America’s symphony orchestra, and the JLCO with Marsalis continue to preserve the classic repertoire while finding new ways to explore the instrumentation’s almost limitless possibilities. Thursday: The Orange County Performing Arts Center: Segerstrom Concert Hall. (714) 556-2787. Friday: UCLA Live at Royce Hall.  825-4401.

- Oct. 1 – 3 (Thurs. – Sat.) John Beasley Band featuring Nicholas Payton, Victor Bailey and Terri Lyne Carrington. Pianist/composer Beasley’s remarkable resume includes television scoring (Cheers, Star Trek, etc.), and gigs with everyone from Miles Davis and Barbra Streisand to Chaka Khan and James Brown. He’ll no doubt be playing some of the grooving funk, bop and bossa selections from his latest CD, Positootly. Catalina Bar & Grill. http://www.catalinajazzclub.com (323) 466-2210.

Terese and LBB- Oct. 2. (Fri.) Terese Genecco. San Francisco’s own Swing Diva performs with her Little Big Band and the enthusiasticc backing of legendary bongo player Jack Costanzo. The M Bar & Restaurant.  (323) 856-0036.

- Oct. 2. (Fri) Pretzel Logic. Spazio. Keyboardist Steve Chernove‘s 12 piece tribute band does a startlingly effective presentation of Steely Dan‘s remarkable music. And, since this is music that almost demands more frequent live hearing, don’t miss this opportunity to hear it in living color. Spazio.  (818) 728-8400.

- Oct. 2. (Fri.) Loggins & Messina. More than thirty-five years after Sittin In’, and four years after 2005′s Sittin’ In Again reunion tour, the dynamic duo from the ’70s are back again, spinning their always engaging way with a song. Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-3125.CSN3

- Oct. 3. (Sat.) Crosby, Stills & Nash. There’s nothing quite like the sound, the substance and the hit-making potential that characterized the partnership of these three remarkable musical talents. Forty years after the release of their self-titled debut album, their music is still alive, still relevant. (Tickets for the Sept. 23 date will be honored for this rescheduled show.) The Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-3125.

- Oct. 3. (Sat.) Marianne Faithful. The life and times of Marianne Faithful represent one of the most remarkable odysseys of the rock music, and beyond, era. Now 62, she brings a lifetime of emotional and creative complexities — ranging across her youthful connection with Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, her sundry relationships, her battles with addiction and her struggle to find her own Muse — to every performance. UCLA Live at Royce Hall.  (310) 825-4401.

- Oct. 3. (Sat.) Hafez Nazeri. Iranian composer Nazeri’s unique blend of Eastern and Western classical musics will feature his Rumi Symphony Project: Cycle One, performed by an ensemble of Iranian and American players. The highlight of the work will be the extraordinary singing of the poetry of Rumi by Shahram Nazeri (Hafez’s father) — a singer whose brilliant vocal excursions are one of the great pleasures of Iranian music. The Pantages Theatre. (800) 745-2000.

- Oct. 3. (Sat.) Frank Marocco, backed by John Whinnery, alto saxophone, John Giannelli, bass and Kendall Kay, drums, demonstrates — as he has been doing for many years — the rich, often under-rated, potential of the accordion in jazz. Gianelli Square.  (818) 772-1722

- Oct. 3. (Sat.) Bienvenido Gustavo!. He’s here. DudamelGustavo Dudamel, the much-anticipated savior of classical music in L.A. (and beyond) begins his inaugural season as the new Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic with a Target Free Community Concert at the Hollywood Bowl. The gifted young Venezuelan conducts the YOLA – EXPO Center Youth Orchestra in a performance of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, followed by a performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 by Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Other artists on the program include Andrae Crouch, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Herbie Hancock, David Hidalgo, Taj Mahal and Alfredo Gonzalez. (Although tickets are no longer available, there may be some cancellations, up to the date of the concert.) The Hollywood Bowl (323) 850-2000.

- Oct. 4. (Sun.) Mon David. Filipino singer David has already established himself as one of the rising stars in the largely understaffed arena of male jazz singing. He celebrates the release of his new CD, Coming True in the scintillating company of the Jazzipino Queen, Charmaine Clamor. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

Hubert_Laws- Oct. 4. (Sun.) La Vida Music Festival. Summer’s end brings with it one of the year’s most action-packed programs, with a cast of players reaching across the spectrum of Latin jazz. Featured artists include Hubert Laws, Pete Escovedo, Luis Cruz Beltran, Mariachi Elias Son, Robert Kyle Brazilian Band, Chris Bennett (saluting the Ladies of Latin Jazz), and Chalo Eduardo and the Brazlian Beat. The Ford Amphitheatre.  (323) 4613673.

San Francisco and the Wine Country

Oct. 1 – 3. (Thurs – Sat.) Earl Klugh. With twelve Grammy nominations and twenty-three Top Ten Billboard-charting records (including four #1s) Klugh has thoroughly established himself as one of the most listenable guitarists in contemporary jazz. Yoshi’s Oakland. .

- Oct. 2. (Fri.) Gil Scott-Heron. Poet, musician, activist, author and charismatic personality Scott-Heron’s 70s’ work had a signficant impact upon the emergence of rap and hip-hop. He has returned to performing after a series of incarcerations for alleged drug violations. The Regency Ballroom. San Francisco.  (800) 745-3000.

- Oct. 2 – 4. (Fri. – Sun) Ramsey Lewis. The entertaining, musically prolific pianist offers material from his Concord Records debut Songs From the Heart: Ramsey Plays Ramsey, released on Tuesday, Sept. 29. Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

- Oct. 3. (Sat.) Linda Kosut. San Francisco-based Linda Kosutjazz/cabaret vocalist Kosut — yet another amazing Bay Area canary — brings her skills as an actress to her insightful interpretations of songs underscored with a fusion of jazz, pop and folk. She performs in an atmospheric venue that blends the pleasures of wine and jazz. Backing her: the Max Perkoff Band (Perkoff, piano & trombone), Fred Randolph, bass and Ranzel Merritt, drums). Silo’s Jazz Club. Napa, California. (707) 251-5833.

New York

- Sept. 28 & 30. (Tues. & Wed.) Mike Stern Trio. Stern, for decades one of contemporary jazz’s most versatile guitarists, rarely has time in his busy schedule to do a gig like this — with a solid trio in the intimate setting of one of Manhattan’s ultimate jazz bars. So don’t miss this one. He performs with bassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Lionel “King” Cordew. 55 Bar.

karrin_allyson_2l- Sept. 29 – Oct. 4. (Tues. – Sun.) Karrin Allyson displays her eclectic musical tastes, swinging rhythms and engaging personality in the Diet Coke Women in Jazz Festival. Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola (212) 258-9800.

- Sept. 29 – Oct. 4. (Tues. – Sun.) Conrad Herwig and “The Latin Side of Miles and Coltrane.” Trombonist Herwig digs into the surpriaingly substantial catalog of Latin rhythms simmering through the music of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Special guest Eddie Palmieri adds his own inimitable  enhancements. The Blue Note.


Picks of the Week: August 3 – 9

August 3, 2009

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

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

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

gil-evans-and-miles-davis

Gil Evans and Miles Davis

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

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

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

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

Estaire Godinez

Estaire Godinez

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

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

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

Langlang with Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock and Lang Lang

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

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

Tanya Tagaq

Tanya Tagaq

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

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

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

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

San Francisco

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

hjf_2008-charlie_haden-2

Charlie Haden

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

San Jose

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

New York

Tessa Souter

Tessa Souter

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

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

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

Boston

CLaudia Acuna 2

Claudia Acuna

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

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

Washington, D.C.

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

London

Judy_Carmichael piano

Judy Carmichael

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


Picks of the Week: Jan. 12 – 18

January 12, 2009

Los Angeles

- Jan. 13. (Tues.) Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Jazz Sextet. The title says it all: Alegria and his players showcase a rhythmically vital Latin jazz that takes a path that is different, but no less compelling, than the more familiar accents of Afro-Cuban and Brazilian music. The Jazz Bakery  (310) 271-9039.  www.jazzbakery.com

- Jan. 15 (Thurs.) and 17 (Sat.)  The Alan Parsons Live Project. Parsons, the veteran producer, musican, engineer and hit maker (with the original Alan Parsons Project) performs in a new context, without former partner Eric Woolfson.  On Thurs. at The Grove of Anaheim. (714) 712-2700. http://www.thegroveofanaheim.com; on Sat. at The House of Blues (Hollywood)  .

eldar

Eldar

- Jan. 15 – 17. (Thurs. – Sat.) Pianist Eldar Djangirov, once a child prodigy, now a mature and gifted jazz pianist.  With his trio. The Jazz Bakery  (310) 271-9039.  www.jazzbakery.com

- Jan. 15 – 18. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Cutting edge alto saxophonist Kenny Garrett keeps stretching the improvisational envelope.  With his quartet.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  www.catalinajazzclub.com

pizzarellil-and-molaskey

Jessica Molaskey and John Pizzarelli

- Jan. 15 – 18. (Thurs. – Sun.)  John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molasky.  The jazz world’s most entertaining vocal couple cross easily from jazz to cabaret to Broadway.  Samueli Theatre, Orange County Performing Arts Center..(714) 556-ARTS. www.ocpac.org.

- Jan. 16. (Fri.) Fretwork.  Described as “the finest viol consort on the planet,” Fretwork performs a program celebrating the 350th birthday anniversary of Henry Purcell.  Soprano Clare Wilkinson joins the tribute, mostly dedicated to songs, operatic selections and fantasias.  In the sumptuous setting of the Los Angeles City Hall Council Chambers.  The Da Camera Society.  Chamber Music in Historic Places. 213.477.2929.  http://www.dacamera.org.

- Jan. 16. (Fri.)  Interpreti Veneziani.  The chamber ensemble from Venice creates atmospheric settings of music from the Baroque era.  Included in the program – selections from Vivaldi, Geminiani, Corelli and De Falla.  The Cerritos Center.  (562) 467-8818  www.cerritoscenter.com

justo-almario

Justo Almario

- Jan. 16 & 17.  Jazz saxophone weekends at Charlie O’s continues with Justo Almario (Fri)  Don Menza (Sat.), with the John Heard Trio.   Charlie O’s.  (818) 994-30 58.  www.charlieos.com

- Jan. 16 & 17. (Fri. ( Sat.)  Joey DeFrancesco keeps the jazz organ tradition alive and cooking.  Steamers.  (714) 871-8800  www.steamersjazzcafe.com.

- Jan. 17 & 18. . (Sat. & Sun.)  Andy Statman.  A master of both the mandolin and the clarinet, Statman finds common ground between klezmer, jazz and bluegrass.. The Getty. Williams Auditorium.  (310) 440-7300  http://www.getty.edu.

San Diego

marilyncrispell

Marilyn Crispell

- Jan. 17. (Sat.)  Marilyn Crispell. Exploratory pianist Crispell reaches deeply into boundary-less areas of improvisation. Atheneum Music and Arts Library. (858) 454-5872 www.ljathenaeum.org.  Also at the Jazz Bakery in Los ‘Angeles on Jan. 18.  The Jazz Bakery  (310) 271-9039.  www.jazzbakery.com

San Francisco

- Jan. 13  – 14. (TK)  John Abercrombie Organ Quartet. Straight ahead, down home and swinging.  With organist Gary Versace, tenor saxophonist Jerry Bergonzi and drummer Adam Nussbaum.  Oakland. . (510) 238-9200.  www.yoshis.com

- Jan. 14. (Wed.)  Les Yeux Noir. The dynamic, violin playing brothers Eric and Olivier Slabiak, leading a sextet – named after “The Black Eyes,” a gypsy tune favored by Django Reinhardt – that finds the common ground between gypsy, klexmer and jazz.  Yoshi’s Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.  www.yoshis.com

jeremypelt

Jeremy Pelt

- Jan. 15. (Thurs.)  Jeremy Pelt. Down Beat’s Rising Jazz Trumpet Star for five years in a row.  Think Freddie Hubbard with traces of Lee Morgan, filtered through Pelt’s own far-ranging musical imagination. Yoshi’s Oakland. . (510) 238-9200.  www.yoshis.com

- Jan. 15 – 18. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Ramsey Lewis. He’s won three Grammys, has seven gold records, four honorary doctorates and was recently named an NEA Jazz Master.  But Lewis is still at his best when he’s digging into the grooves of such hits as “The In Crowd” and “Hang On, Sloopy.” Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.  www.yoshis.com

- Jan. 17 – 18. (Sat. & Sun.)  James Moody.  No one swings, sings and brings as much joy to jazz as Moody does.  Yoshi’s Oakland. . (510) 238-9200.  www.yoshis.com

New York City

- Jan. 12. (Mon.)  Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band.  Featuring Slide Hampton (trombone), Jimmy Heath (tenor saxophone), Roy Hargrove (trumpet), Claudio Roditi (trumpet), Antonio Hart (alto saxophone, flute), Steve Davis (trombone), Roberta Gambarini (vocals), Cyrus Chestnut (piano), John Lee (bass), Willie Jones III (drums),  The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592. http://www.bluenote.net/newyork/index.shtml.

john-and-jeff-clayton

Jeff and John Clayton

- Jan. 13 – 18. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Clayton Brothers Quintet. Bassist John and alto saxophonist Jeff make a convincing jazz case for sibling revelry.  Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola. (212) 258-9595.  www.jalc.org/dccc

- Jan. 13 – 18. (Tues. – Sun.)  Delfeayo Marsalis’ “A Tribute to Elvin Jones.”  Trombonist Marsalis recalls the influence of the innovative drummer.  The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592. http://www.bluenote.net/newyork/index.shtml.


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