Picks of the Week: Feb. 5 – 10

February 5, 2013

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles 

Sally Kellerman

Sally Kellerman

– Feb. 6. (Wed.)  Sally Kellerman.  The inimitable Ms. Kellerman is back, this time with an evening of Valentine’s Day songs in a program titled, appropriately, “Love.”  Don’t miss it.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

– Feb. 7 – 10. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Robben Ford. Guitarist Ford, who moves easily across boundaries from blues to jazz and beyond, celebrates the imminent release of his new album, Bringing It Back Home.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (223) 466-2210.

– Feb. 8. (Fri.)  Bill Cunliffe Big Band“Bach to the Future.”  Grammy-winning and Grammy-nominated pianist/composer/arranger Cunliffe leads his big band in his jazz imagining of Bach’s Goldberg Variations.  Later, starting at 9:30 p.m., pianist John Campbell will perform in a new Vitello’s weekly event — Piano Night in the downstairs dining room.   Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

– Feb. 8 & 9. (Fri. & Sat.)  Rhythm of the Dance.  Irish step dancing in all its colorful variations, delivered by an expert company of dancers.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts  (562) 916-8501.

Wayne Shorter

Wayne Shorter

– Feb, 9. (Sat.)  Wayne Shorter Quartet with Esperanza Spalding and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.  Saxophonist/composer Shorter presents the world premiere of a work for Esperanza and the L.A. Phil, commissioned by the Philharmonic.  Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.  www.laphil.com

– Feb. 9. (Sat.)  Rob Lockhart Quartet.  Versatile saxophonist Lockhart, an A-list sideman, steps into the spotlight.  He’s backed by pianist Josh Nelson, bassist Pat Senatore and drummer Mark FerberVibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

– Feb. 9 & 10. (Sat. & Sun.)  The Russian National Ballet Theatre. One of Russia’s finest ballet companies presents a pair of classics.   Sat.: Sleeping Beauty.  Sun.: CinderellaValley Performing Arts Center.    (818) 677-3000.

– Feb, 10. (Sun.)  Ann Hampton Callaway.  “The Streisand Songbook”  Pianist/singer Callaway, who moves easily from jazz to pop to cabaret, offers a program of songs associated with Barbra Streisand.  Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

San Francisco

– Feb. 7 – 10 (Thurs. – Sun.).  Dave Holland.  Bassist Holland displays his far-reaching musical versatility in four unique programs.  Thurs: Solo.  Fri.: Duo with Kenny Barron.  Sat.: Quintet.  Sun.: Dave Holland PrismSFJAZZ at Miner Auditorium.     (866) 920-5299.

Washington D.C.

Joshua Redman

Joshua Redman

– Feb. 7 – 10 (Thurs. – Sun.)  Joshua Redman.  The always adventurous, Grammy-nominated saxophonist stretches the musical genre-boundaries in search of new and compelling improvisational ideas.  Blues Alley.   (202) 337-4141.

New York City

– Feb. 5 – 9.  (Tues. – Sat.)  Lou Donaldson Organ Quartet.  He’s one of the still active iconic jazz saxophonist, performing this time in the grooving environment of an organ quartet.  Birdland.    (212) 581-3080.

– Feb. 5 – 10. (Tues. – Sun.)  Ron Carter Quartet.  Carter is not only a brilliant bassist and composer, he’s also a stimulating leader who knows how to assemble an imaginative jazz group.  This time out, he’s with pianist Renee Rosnes, drummer Payton Crossley and percussionist Rolando Morales-MatosThe Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.


Marianne Faithfull

Marianne Faithfull

– Feb. 9. (Sat.)  Marianne Faithfull and Bill Frisell.  It’s a fascinating combination.  Pop star/actress Faithfull has been an iconic figure since the ‘60s.  Versatile guitarist Frisell seems determined to try something new in every outing.  The combination should be intriguing.   New Morning.   01 45 23 51 41.


– Feb. 7 & 8. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Leszek Mozdzer/Lars Danielsson Duo.  The names may be unfamiliar to English-speaking jazz fans, but pianist Mozdzer and bassist Danielsson play together with a spirit of jazz togetherness that reaches beyond the limits of languages. Jazzhus Montmartre.    (+45) 70 263 267.


– Feb. 7 – 9.  )Thurs. – Sat.)  Billy Cobham. Veteran drummer Cobham has assembled a band of players from France and England into a collective of true international jazz.   Blue Note Milano.    02.690 16888.


Monty Alexander

Monty Alexander

– Feb. 8 & 9. (Fri. & Sat.)  Monty Alexander: The Harlem-Kingston Express.  It’s a perfectly named band, with Jamaica-born pianist Alexander blending his impressive jazz playing with the traditional sounds and rhythms of his roots. Blue Note Tokyo.   03-5485-0088.

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Sally Kellerman, Wayne Shorter and Joshua Redman  photos by Tony Gieske.

Live Jazz: The Ron Carter Quartet and the Robert Glasper Trio at Royce Hall.

October 30, 2012

By Don Heckman

Ron Carter made one of his far too rare Southland appearances Saturday night in a CAP UCLA performance at Royce Hall.  His quartet starred in a long show that also included an extended set by the Robert Glasper Trio.

As the most recorded bassist in jazz history, it would be hard to find a significant jazz artist that Carter hasn’t recorded with.  But it’s equally fascinating to hear him in action in a musical setting of his own.  His adventurous musical ideas have been on display in dozens of recordings under his leadership.  And the group he brought to Royce – with pianist Renee Rosnes, drummer Payton Crossley and percussionist Rolando Marales-Matos – offered an intriguing view of the many colors in Carter’s musical palette.

The Ron Quarter Quartet

His musical choices were far ranging — from Brazil to Miles Davis to some compelling stops in between.  One of the most unexpected was a Carter solo version of “You Are My Sunshine,” a remarkable display of his mastery of the bass, both as an instrument and as the voice of his improvisational imagination.

Another memorable moment traced to a lovely exchange between Carter and the always-imaginative Rosnes on “My Funny Valentine,” heightened by a passage featuring her Chopin-tinged embrace of the melody.

From a completely different perspective, much of what the Carter Quartet played was delightfully illuminated by Marales-Matos vast array of hand (and beyond) percussion.  Which he used to produce every imaginable percussive sound, from tiny snips, clicks and rustles to rushing roars and rumbles.  Add to that the stirring rhythmic lift of Crossley’s approach to the jazz drum kit.

To Carter’s credit, he clearly recognized the uniqueness of what Marales-Matos and Crossley had to offer, and freely allowed them to make their unique contributions to the music.  The result was yet another entry in the colorful catalog of Carter groups.

Robert Glasper

Pianist Robert Glasper, opening the show with his trio – with Derrick Hodges, bass and Mark Colenburg, drums – has been receiving rave reviews from much of the jazz critical community.  For the most part, the praise has been related to his efforts to blend his far-reaching jazz chops with an interest in various pop, rock, rap and hip-hop elements.

One could argue whether there’s any real compatibility in that mélange.   But what seemed more compelling to me about the Glasper trio was the virtually symbiotic interaction between the three players.  The piano trio has had many manifestations in jazz – some more successful than others.  And the Glasper trio is doing a convincing job of expressing their own vocabulary in a still-evolving fashion.  It will be worth watching – and listening – over the next few years to hear how effectively Glasper, Hodges and Colenburg  translate that vocabulary into a significant entry in the evolution of the piano jazz trio.

Photos courtesy of CAP UCLA

Picks of the Week: June 5 – 10

June 5, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– June 5. (Tues.)  “And Then She Wrote.”  Peter Marshall, Carol Welsman, Calabria Foti.  Five time Emmy Award-winning Marshall (Yes, he sings, too) is joined by the lovely singer/instrumentalists Welsman and Foti in an evening of great standards written by women. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

– June 5. (Tues.)  Corliss Dale and Lou Forestieri.  Pianist/arranger  Forestieri’s impressive resume reaches from Stanley Clarke to Mel Torme and beyond.  He and his singing wife Dale have released a pair of impressive albums of standards; Fascinating Rhythms and Crazy Rhythm.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.     (310) 474-9400.

– June 6. (Wed.)  The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses.  The music from one of the most popular video games of all time is performed by a full orchestra.  The program features music based on story lines from “Ocarina of Time,” “The Wind Waker,” “Twilight Princess” and “A Link to the Past.” The Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-5857.

Fabiana Passoni

– June 7. (Thurs.) Fabiana Passoni.  Her sultry vocals have earned Passoni the title of Best Brazilian Singer Living in the U.S. from the Brazilian International Press.  Despite the difficult interruptions of a three year battle with cancer, her musical journey has continued to discover new areas of creativity.  She’ll be backed by a ten piece band featuring the stellar presence of, among others, pianist Bill Cantos and guitarist Kleber Jorge. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.    (310) 474-9400.  Also at Yoshi’s San Francisco on Sun. (See below.)

– June 7 – 9. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Freddy Cole Quartet.  If the voice sounds familiar, don’t be surprised.  He’s Nat Cole’s younger brother, and he’s fashioned those memorable vocal timbres into an appealing style all his own.  At a time when engaging male jazz singers are in short supply, don’t miss the chance to hear Cole in action.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

– June 7 – 9. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Peter Cetera.  If the name doesn’t instantly ring a bell, think “Chicago.”  And, no, not the city, the great rock group of the ‘70s that rode to fame on Cetera’s memorable vocals.  Segerstrom Center for the Arts.     (714) 556-2787.

– June 8. (Fri.) Primus.  For nearly three decades Primus has been stretching the envelope in the style of Frank Zappa and Pink Floyd.  Also on the bill, Fishbone, a high visibility presence in L.A.’s alternative rock scene since the ‘80s.  Greek Theatre.   (323) 665-5857.

Ernie Watts

– June 8. (Fri.)  Ernie Watts.  Grammy-winner Watts’ versatile saxophone playing has been heard over the past four decades on more than 500 recordings in the company of artists reaching from Cannonball Adderley to Frank Zappa.  And he’s still going strong.  LACMA.    (323) 857-6000.

– June 8. (Fri.) Big Phat BandGordon Goodwin’s collection of L.A. all-stars perform selections from his always-swinging book of originals and re-invented standards.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

– June 10. (Sun.)  Los Angeles Master Chorale. Tribute to Gorecki.  The superb voices of the LAMC close the season with a trio of sonically mesmerizing works by the great Polish composer, as well as the Brahms motet for chorus, Schaffe in mir, Gott, ein rein Herz.  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

– June 10. (Sun.)  Chickenfoot.  All-star rock group Chickenfoot – Joe Satriani, Kenny Aronoff, Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar – arrive in support of their latest album, Chickenfoot III.  Also on the bill – Black Stone Cherry. Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-5857.

San Francisco

Rick Braun

– June 8 – 10.  (Fri. – Sun.)  Rick Braun. Trumpeter/vocalist Braun, following in the Chet Baker footsteps, combining his warm and amiable vocals with an appealingly melodic trumpet style.  Yoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.

June 10. (Sun.)   Fabiana Passoni.  Brazilian singer Passoni makes her second California appearance this week.  See above L.A. entry for more details.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.    (415) 655-5600.

Washington D.C.

– June 8 – 10.  (Fri. – Sun.)  Kenny Garrett. Cutting edge alto saxophonist Garrett’s early roots trace to a five year stint with Miles Davis’ electric bands.  But he’s traveled his own path since then, fully apparent in his latest album, Seeds From the Underground.  Blues Alley.  http://bluesalley.com/events.cfm  (202) 337-4141.

New York

Karrin Allyson

– June 5 – 9. (Tues. – Sat.)  Karrin Allyson. Twenty years after her debut album, I Didn’t Know About You, was released, Allyson continues to set standards for what great jazz singing can and should be – via her superb musicality, rich sense of swing and her utterly engrossing storytelling abilities.  Birdland.    (212) 581-3080.

– June 5 – 10. (Tues. – Sun.)  Renee Rosnes Quartet.  Pianist Rosnes, always a jazz adventurer, checks out fascinating territories with the world class companionship of Steve Nelson, vibes, Peter Washington, bass and Lewis Nash, drums.  Village Vanguard.   (212) 929-4589.

– June 5 – 10. (Tues. – Sun.)  Dudka Da Fonseca & Helio Alves.  “Samba, Jazz and the Music of Jobim”  An evening revealing, in delightfully rhythmic fashion, the creatively compelling links between jazz and the music of Brazil. With Anat Cohen, Claudio Roditi, George Mraz and Maucha Adnet.  Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.    (212) 258-9800.

– June 7 – 10. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Charles McPherson. Alto saxophonist McPherson has been convincingly carrying the torch for bebop since he performed on the soundtrack of Clint Eastwood’s 1988 Charlie Parker film, Bird.   Jazz Standard.   (212) 576-2232.


Danilo Perez

– June 6 (Wed.)  Danilo Perez.  Panama-born pianist/composer/educator Perez’s career arc reaches from intimate musical relationships with Dizzy Gillespie to Wayne Shorter.  With a lot of stops in between, thoroughly establishing himself as one of the influential jazz voices of his generation.  Ronnie Scott’s.   020 7439 0747.

Picks of the Week: April 4 – 8

April 4, 2012

 By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Kyle Eastwood

– April 4. (Wed.)  Kyle Eastwood.  Bassist Eastwood came to jazz from a highly supportive background.  His father is actor/director/composer/pianist and jazz lover Clint Eastwood.  And Kyle has transformed that lineage into an impressive jazz career of his own.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

– April 4. (Wed.) Otmaro Ruiz.  Venezuela-born pianist Ruiz’s diverse skills have taken him across the spectrum from areas of pop, rock, fusion and straight ahead jazz.  This time out, he’s in an airy duo setting with bassist Pat SenatoreVibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

– April 4. (Wed.) Kait Dunton.  Gifted young composer/pianist Dunton celebrates at a CD release party for Mountain Suite, a collection of works amply illustrating her impressive compositional skills.  Her stellar ensemble includes John Daversa, trumpet, Bob Mintzer, tenor sax, Darek Oles, bass, Peter Erskine, drums.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Anthony Wilson

– April 4. (Wed.)  Anthony Wilson.  Versatile guitarist/composer Wilson takes a break from his busy touring schedule with a four night – every Wednesday – residency at the Blue Whale.  For this opening night Part l, he will perform with bassist John Clayton, drummer Jeff Hamilton and special guest pianist Champian FultonBlue Whale.  (213) 620-0908.

– April 4 – 7. (Wed. – Sat.)  The Blues Brothers. The original cast from London’s West End production of the hit musical based on the characters created by Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi.  Irvine Barclay Theatre.    (949) 854-4646.

– April 5. (Thurs.)  Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.  The ever-entertaining programming of the LACO has come up with an especially intriguing idea for this installment of their Westside Connections series.  “Music and the Culinary Arts” is the theme, with performances of works by Saint-Saens, Martinu and Ravel, and conversation from chef/restaurateur Susan Feniger.  The Broad Stage.   (213) 622-7001 x1.

– April 5 – 7. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Diane Schuur.  The one and only “Deedles,” as she is known to fans and friends, makes one of her infrequent night club appearances.  Don’t miss this chance to hear her up close and personal in the pleasant environs of Catalina Bar & Grill.  Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

Ted Nash

– April 6. (Fri.)  Ted Nash.  Saxophonist/composer/arranger Nash, well known from his high visibility appearances with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, makes a rare L.A. Appearance to feature music from his new quartet The Creep.  He’ll perform with trumpeter Ron Horton, bassist Paul Sikivie and drummer Ulysses Owens. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

– April 6. (Fri.)  Carolina Chocolate Drops.  The Grammy-winning Chocolate Drops are keeping alive the tradition of high spirited old South string bands.   The Mexo-Americana folk duo David Wax Museum open the show.  UCLA Live.   (310) 825-2101.

– April 6. (Fri.) Sara Serpa. Portugal-born singer Serpa has established herself, in a few brief years, as one of New York City’s most innovative new vocalists, capable of moving freely and creatively in sync with instrumentalists.  No wonder Ran Blake described her as “the magical voice.” Blue Whale.    (213) 620-0908.

Barbara Morrison

– April 7 & 8. (Sat. & Sun.) The Barbara Morrison Performing Art Center Big Band Easter Weekend.  A collection of the Southland’s fine big band players get together for an Easter Weekend celebration, featuring the ever-engaging vocals of  Barbara Morrison herself with the big bands of Rod Harris and John Stephens. BMPAC.   (310) 462-1439.

San Francisco

– April 4. (Wed.)  Brass Menazeri.  San Francisco based, the Menazeri nonetheless cruises energetically – and often authentically – through the Roma-based music of Serbia, Macedonia, Greece, Bosnia and beyond. Be prepared to dance. Yoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.

– April 7. (Sat.) Hermeto Pascoal.  A vital figure in Brazilian music since the ‘60s, multi-instrumentalist/composer Pascoal, a dramatic figure whenever he steps on stage, was a leader in the blending of jazz and the rhythms of Brazil.  He rarely appears in the Bay area, so don’t miss this one.  SFJAZZ.  Palace of Fine Arts Theatre.   (866) 920-5299.

Charmaine Clamor

– April 8. (Sun.)  Charmaine Clamor.  She has come to be known as the Queen of Jazzipino, and her innovative blending of jazz with Filipino traditional music has produced some extraordinary results.  But Clamor’s remarkable talents reach beyond labeling into some of the most compelling jazz vocalizing of recent memory.  Appropriately, she debuts her new show, “Hallelujah: A Celebration of Rebirth,” on Easter Sunday.  The Rrazz Room.   (415) 394-1189.

 New York

– April 3 – 8. (Tues. – Sun.)  Ron Carter Quartet.  One of the great veterans of contemporary jazz, bassist Carter has played on more than 2,000 recordings.  And he brings youthful vitality and imagination to everything he does.  His quartet includes Renee Rosnes, piano, Payton Crossley, drums, Rolando Morales-Matos, percussion. The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

– April 7. (Sat.)  Ellery Eskelin Trio New York.  Eskelin’s bold, muscular tenor saxophone is showcased in the similarly brawny setting provided by Gary Versace, organ and Rudy Royston, drums.  The Cornelia St. Cafe.  http://corneliastreetcafe.com/performances.asp  (212) 989-9319.


– April. 7. (Sat.)  The African Jazz All-Stars.  A musical collective including players from South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria and beyond, the All-Stars pride themselves on their unique blend of African rhythms, funk and high energy soloing. Ronnie Scott’s.    020 7439 0747.


Gretchen Parlato

April 4. (Wed.)  Gretchen Parlato. In a crowded field of female jazz singers, with more arriving every day, Parlato continues to hold her own as an utterly unique talent.  At her best, she invests every song with compelling musicality and intimate lyricism.  Blue Note Milano.    02 69 01 68 88.


– April 5. (Thurs.)  Alan Broadbent Trio. The names on pianist/composer Broadbent’s resume – Charlie Haden, Chet Baker, Irene Krall, Sheila Jordan, Woody Herman and many others – attest to the remarkable breadth of his abilities.  But an intimate setting with his own trio is the best way to hear the full range of Broadbent’s engaging creativity.  The A-Trane.    030 / 313 25 50.

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Anthony Wilson photo by Bob Barry.

Picks of the Week: March 6 – 11

March 6, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

John Pisano

– Mar. 6. (Tues.)  John Pisano’s “Guitar Night.” Pisano takes his ever-entertaining, ever-popular  “Guitar Night” to a new venue.  To celebrate the move, the featured guest is veteran guitarist Mundell Lowe.  Lucy’s 51. Toluca Lake.  (818) 763-5200.

Mar. 6. (Tues.)  The Gonzalo Bergara Quartet.  Guitarist Bergara and his crew bring Django Reinhardt’s gypsy jazz firmly into the 21st century.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

– Mar. 6. (Tues.)  Hod O’Brien and Stephanie Nakasian.  Pianist O/Brien is one of the authentic beboppers, continuing to mine the still rich sounds and rhythms of bop for new musical discoveries.  Here, he also backs his wife, singer Nakasian. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

– Mar. 6. (Tues.)  The CJS Quintet in a “Tribute to Dexter Gordon.”  The CJS Quintat, always eager keep mainstream jazz alive and swinging, explore the muscular music of Dexter Gordon.  CJS is Chuck Johnson, saxes, James Smith, trumpet, Koji Ono, piano, Trevor Ware, bass, Kenny Elliott, drums. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

– Mar. 6 – 11. (Tues. – Sun.)  Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. Dance at its finest is a fundamental aspect of every performance by the Ailey dancers.  Three programs are offered, featuring Ailey classics and contemporary works.  Check website for schedule.   Segerstrom Hall  (714) 556-2787..

Jeffrey Kahane

Mar. 7. (Wed.)  Jeffrey Kahane and members of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra present a 15th Anniversary Celebration of Kahane’s tenure as Director of the LACO.  The program showcases Kahane’s far reaching skills as a pianist in the Bach French Suite, the Brahms Piano Trio No. 1, a broad selection of Chopin works and a new Gabriel Kahane composition.  Disney Hall.    (323) 850-2000.

– Mar. 7. (Wed.)  Tull, Korb, Proulx. An evening featuring a sterling trio of jazz instrumentalist/singers – drummer Dave Tull, bassist Kristen Korb, pianist John Proulx.  To read a recent iRoM review of a Proulx performance, click HEREVitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

Nellie McCay

– Mar. 9. (Fri.)  Nellie McKay.  Singer, pianist songwriter McKay is one of a kind, making every performance into a compelling creative adventure.  To read an iRoM review of a recent McKay performance, click HERE. Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

– Mar. 10. (Sat.)  Cecelia Coleman Quartet. L.A. native Coleman, who has been living in New York, returns to remind us of the intriguing qualities of her piano style. She performs with trumpeter Steve Huffsteter, bassist Pat Senatore and drummer Ramon Banda.   Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

– Mar. 11. (Sun.)  Billy Childs Quartet and the Kronos QuartetBill Frisell’s Beautiful Dreamers.  A fascinating evening of jazz and jazz-oriented chamber music.  The Childs Quartet and Kronos play individual sets and then combine to perform a Childs composition.  Frisell opens the show with the engaging sounds of his guitar, viola and drum trio.  Disney Hall.   (323) 850-2000.

San Francisco

– Mar. 8 & 9.  (Thurs. & Fri.) Patricia Barber. Pianist, singer, songwriter Barber brings emotional and intellectual illumination to everything she plays and sings — whether it’s from the Great American Songbook or her own folio of works. Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

– Mar. 10. (Sat.)  Lynne Arriale Trio.  Pianist Arriale combines an airy harmonic imagination with a briskly effervescent rhythmic feeling.  Yoshi’s San Francisco. .  The trio also appears at Jazz Alley in Seattle on Mar. 13 & 14.   (206) 441-0729.

– Mar. 10. (Sat.)  “Salute to Toots Thielemans.”  A stellar assemblage of players,  led by harmonica player Gregoire Maret, come together to celebrate the life and work of the one and only Toots.  The group also includes Oscar Castro-Neves, guitar, Kenny Werner, piano and Airto Moreira, percussion.  Herbst Theatre.  An SFJAZZ 2012 Spring Season event.  Salute to Toots Thielemans.  (866) 920-5299.


David Sanchez

– Mar. 8 – 11. (Thurs. – Sun.)  David Sanchez Quartet. Puerto Rican-born Sanchez, one of the finest saxophonists of his generation, enhances his inventiveness with traces of his Caribbean roots.  Jazz Showcase (312) 360-0234.

New York

– Mar. 6 – 11. (Tues. – Sun.)  Freddy Cole Sextet.  Cole’s conversational vocal style is backed by the richly melodic improvising of saxophonist Harry Allen in a showcase of Cole’s new album, Talk To Me. Dizzy’s Club Coca Cola.   (212) 258-9800.

– Mar. 6 & 7. (Tues. & Wed.)  Edmar Castaneda, Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Miguel Zenon.  Expect musical fireworks from this encounter between Castaneda’s fiery harp playing, Rubalcaba’s adventurous piano work and Zenon’s far-ranging saxophone playing.  The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.


– Mar. 8. (Thurs.)  Dino Saluzzi, Anja Lechner and Felix Saluzzi Trio. The trio of prominent Argentine musical artists – bandoneonist Dino Saluzzi, his saxophonist brother Felix Saluzzi and cellist Anja Lechner – assemble to play selections from their fine ECM album, Navidad de Los Andes.  A-Trane.   030/313 25 50.


Lou Donaldson

– Mar. 7 – 10. (Wed. – Sat.)  Lou Donaldson. The playing of veteran alto saxophonist Donaldson, still in rare form at 85, provides a compelling link to the bebop era of Charlie Parker and Sonny Stitt.  Blue Note Tokyo.   03-5485-0088.


– Mar. 10. (Sat.)  The Ron Carter Quartet. Bassist Carter, who has played with virtually every major jazz artist of the past five decades, steps out with a group reflecting his own musical thinking: pianist Renee Rosnes, percussionist Rolando Morales-Matos and drummer Payton Crossley.  The Blue Note Milan

John Pisano photo by Bob Barry.

Nellie McCay poto by Tony Gieske.

Picks of the Week: Oct. 11 – 16

October 11, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Oct. 11. (Tues.)  John Pisano’s Guitar Night.  It’s a Los Angeles jazz institution, combining veteran guitarist Pisano with some of the Southland’s (and the world’s) finest guitarists.  This week, he’s trading riffs with Pat Kelley.  Vitello’s.     (818) 769-0905.

– Oct. 11 – 13. (Tues. – Thurs.)  HIT Week.  Italian pop music in its many forms makes a three day stop in L.A.  And there’s a lot to hear.  On Tues. at Catalina Bar & Grill: Erica Mou and Nicola Conte.  Wed. at the El Rey: Apres la Classe and Caparezza.  Thurs. at The Key Club: Casino Royale and SubsonicaHIT Week in L.A. 

Daniela Mercury

– Oct. 13. (Thurs.)  Daniela Mercury.  One of Brazil’s true musical superstars, singer/dancer Mercury balances the creation of memorable hit records with live performances simmering with dynamic excitement. The Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-5857.


– Oct. 13 – 16. (Thurs. – Sat.)  James Carter. There isn’t a saxophone – from soprano to bass – that Carter can’t make music with.  And impressive music at that, ranging from driving bebop to irresistible blues, with all stops between.   Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

– Oct. 14. (Fri.)  Lesa Terry Quartet.  Dr. Lesa Terry is a jazz/classical violinist, educator, composer and scholar.  And when she gets on stage with her quartet, she brings it all together into a fascinating musical mélange.  Jazz at LACMA.   (323) 857-6000.

Barbara Morrison

– Oct. 14 & 15. (Fri. & Sat.)  Barbara Morrison.  Recovering from severe medical problems, Morrison – one of Southland jazz’s crown jewels – does what she does best: bring life and vigor to everything she sings.  She’ll be celebrating Steamer’s 17th anniversary.  Steamer’s.     (714) 871-8800.

– Oct. 15. (Fri.)  Bryan Ferry.  Roxy Music’s Ferry makes his first solo U.S. tour in a decade, celebrating the release of his current studio album, Olympia.  Expect to hear new songs from the album, as well as Ferry’s take on tunes by Tim Buckley and Traffic.  The Greek Theatre.    (323) 665-5857.

– Oct. 15 & 16. (Sat. & Sun.)  The Los Angeles Chamber OrchestraJeffrey Kahane conducts the LACO in an engaging program of music, featuring soprano Karina Gauvin performing works by Benjamin Britten.  The ensemble also plays Dvorak’s Nocturne in B Major and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 3.  Sat. at the Alex Theatre.  Sun. at Royce Hall.  (213) 622-7001.  The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra.

San Francisco

– Oct. 11 & 12. (Tues. & Wed.)  Stanley Jordan Trio.  No one plays the guitar quite like Jordan, who taps the strings, producing sounds more pianistic than guitar-like.  And he does so with imagination and swing.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.    (415) 655-5600.

Steve Kuhn

– Oct. 13. (Thurs.)  Steve Kuhn.  Solo piano.  The list of names on Kuhn’s resume is a virtual history of the last fifty years of jazz.  Adept and creative in any style, he’s rarely heard in a solo setting.  So don’t miss this opportunity to hear his improvisational artistry in its most intimate form.  Yoshi’s Oakland.    (510) 238-9200.


– Oct. 11 & 12. (Tues. & Wed.)  Oregon.  Before world music was a genre, Oregon was blending elements from around the globe with jazz, producing one of the authentically original improvisational styles of the last four decades.  And they’re still at it.  Jazz Alley.    (206) 441-9729


– Oct. 13 – 16. (Thurs. – Sun.) Robert Glasper Trio.  Pianist Glasper continues to draw young listeners by finding ways to explore straight ahead jazz from a contemporary perspective.  Jazz Showcase.   (312) 360-0234.

Washington, D.C.

– Oct. 13 – 16. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Jonathan Butler.  South African singer/songwriter/guitarist Butler has been delighting audiences with his sweet-sounding voice and energetic guitar work since the mid-‘80s.  Blues Alley.     (202) 337-4141.

New York

Pat Metheny

– Oct. 11 – 16. (Tues. – Sun.)  An Evening with Pat Metheny. Guitarist and musical innovator Metheny gets back to basics in a week of improvisational adventure, with bassist Larry Grenadier as his only companion.  The Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

– Oct. 11 – 16. (Tues. – Sun.)  Renee Rosnes.  Always a pleasure to hear, Rosnes’ dynamic piano work is in first rate company here, with the presence of vibist Steve Nelson, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Lewis NashDizzy’s Club Coca Cola.    (212) 258-9800.

– Oct. 13 – 16. (Thurs. – Sun.) Vinicius Cantuaria.  Brazilian guitarist Cantuaria started out as a percussionist, and it shows in the intensely passionate rhythms of his playing style.  The Jazz Standard.    (212) 576-2232.

– Oct. 15. (Sat.)  Joshua Redman and Brad Mehldau Duo.  Saxophonist Redman and pianist Mehldau, two of the true jazz superstars of their generation, celebrate the 25th anniversary of the jazz program at the New School.  Tishman Auditorium.  (212) 229-54-88.


Cedar Walton

– Oct. 11 & 12. (Tues. & Wed.)  The Cedar Walton Quartet. Veteran jazz pianist Walton, now 77, has played with an iconic, all-star list of great jazz artists.  Listen to one set and you’ll understand why he’s been in such demand.   Ronnie Scott’s.    020 7439 0747


– Oct. 11. (Tues.)  The Billy Cobham Quartet. Drummer Cobham was one of the driving forces of jazz fusion, and he’s still going strong.  New Morning.   01 45 23 51 41.


– Oct. 11 & 12. (Tues. & Wed.) Kurt Rosenwinkel’s Time Machine.  Guitarist Rosenwinkel expands his musical horizons with a band that features saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo, bassist Eric Revis, drummer Nasheet Waits and Rosenwinkel doubling on piano.  A-Trane.    030 / 313 25 20.


Oct. 14 – 16. (Fri. – Sun.)  Sophie Milman.  Young Russian/Canadian singer Milman has been successfully finding a prominent place for her intriguing style amid the currently crowded field of female jazz vocalists.  Blue Note Tokyo.    03-5485-0088.

Picks of the Week: Oct. 4 – 10

October 4, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Oct. 6. (Wed.) Josh Nelson.  The Music of the 60s’ Blue Note Albums. Pianist Nelson takes on some of the classic themes from the great Blue Note catalog.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

– Oct. 6. (Wed.) Carol Robbins Quartet.  It’s an evening with many strings attached – from the rare jazz sounds of Robbins’ harp to the always swinging guitar of Larry KoonseVibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

– Oct. 6. (Wed.) Emil Richards-Joe Porcaro Quartet. The jazz heat gets turned up high whenever vibist Richards and drummer Porcaro get together with dynamic pianist Mike Lang and the rhythmic drive of bassist Abraham LaborielCharlie O’s.   (81) 994-3058.

Elaine Miles

– Oct. 6. (Wed.)  Elaine Miles.   A warm embracing voice and an intuitive way with a song are Miles’ special gifts.  She sings with guitarist John Chiodini, bassist Jim Hughart and drummer Kendall Kay.   Steamers.   (714) 871-8800.

– Oct. 7. (Thurs.) Disney Hall Opening Night Concert and GalaGustavo Dudamel kicks off the new season with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the bel canto singing of Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez, the music of Rossini and a selection of works by South American composers. Disney Hall.  (323) 8502000.

– Oct. 8. (Fri.)  Ernie Watts Quartet.  The Southland’s saxophone player for all seasons steps into the spotlight to display his extraordinary musical versatility.    LACMA.  (323) 857-6000.

– Oct. 8. (Fri.) An Evening with Judy Collins. One of the great songbirds of pop and folk music, At 71, she’s an honored icon and a persistent social activist.  But her latest album, Paradise, affirms that she can also sing a song with the same mesmerizing intensity of her work in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Broad Stage. (310) 434-3200.

– Oct. 8. (Fri.)  The Trio.  If any three musicians deserve the all embracing title of “The Trio,” its Terry Trotter, Chuck Berghofer and Peter Erskine, whose togetherness defines what can happen when three gifted players get together to make music.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

– Oct. 8. (Fri.)  The Canadian Tenors with Due Voci.  The four Canadian tenors each bring a unique quality to the colorful mixture of classical and pop songs that is making them one of the concert world’s hottest acts.  Opening for them – the equally dynamic voices of Due Voci – Kelly Levesque and Tyler Hamilton.  Club Nokia.   (213) 765-7000.

Roslyn Kind

– Oct. 8 & 9. (Fr. & Sat.)  Roslyn Kind.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Roslyn Kind may be Barbra Streisand’s kid sister, but she’s a stunning talent in her own right.  Expect to be completely captivated by the stories she tells with her songs.  Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

– Oct. 8 – 10. (Fri. – Sun.)  The Color Purple.  It’s called “The Musical about Love,” and both the music and the script bring Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel to vivid life.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts. (562) 916-8501.

– Oct. 9. (Sat.) Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band.  Here’s a troupe that reaches way back, redolent with echoes of the folk sounds that preceded the rock revolution of the ‘60s.  McCabe’s.   (310) 828-4497.

– Oct. 9. (Sat.)  Gary Foster.  In an era of busy-fingered saxophonists, altoist Foster sustains the tradition of finding the music inside the line, the swing inside the rhythm.  He performs with the Pat Senatore TrioVibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400. 

– Oct. 9. (Sat.)  Divas Simply Singing.  Sheryl Lee Ralph’s annual presentation of the latest stars of diva-dom returns with a stirring line up of talent.  Among this year’s divas: Teena Marie, Ledisi, Loretta Devine, Jenifer Lewis, Gloria Loring, Jody Watley, Chaka Khan, Patti Austin and much more.  The Saban Theatre.  (323) 655-0111.

Reorge Kahumoku

– Oct. 9. (Sat.)  George Kahumoku, Jr. and the Masters of Hawai’ian Music. Slack key guitarist Kahumoku celebrates the vibrant history of Hawaiian music in the company of guitarist Dennis Kamakahi, singer Uncle Richard Ho’opi’i and steel guitarist Bobby InganoIrvine Barclay Theatre.   (914) 854-4646.

– Oct. 9. (Sat.) John Abercrombie Quartet.  Breakout contemporary jazz guitarist Abercrombie is joined by violinist Mark Feldman, bassist Thomas Morgan and drummer Joey Baron as the Angel City Jazz Festival wraps its 2010 series with a Jazz Bakery Movable Feast. The Musicians Institute Theatre.

– Oct. 9. (Sat.) Shake, Rattle & RollGreatest Hits of Fifties and Sixties Celebration. The Cruisin’ Oldies Show Band, fronted by Mark Curran and Tom Haney revive memories reaching from Elvis Presley to Chubby Checker, songs embracing “Rock ‘Round the Clock,” “All Shook Up,” “The Twist” and much more.  Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza Forum Theatre.   (805) 449-2787.

– Oct. 9 & 10. (Sat. & Sun.)  Peter Smith’s Live Recording Project.  Pianist Smith leads the fine ensemble of Allen Mezquida, saxophonist Kamasi Washington, vibist Nick Mancini, singer Patrice Quinn, guitarist Jacques Lesure, bassist Trevor Ware, and drummer Clayton Cameron in a pair of intimate, live recording performances.  Alvas Showroom.   (800) 403-3447.

Nikki Yanofsky

– Oct. 10. (Sun.) Nikki Yanofsky. Teen-aged Canadian jazz vocalist Yanofksy has been attracting attention wherever she performs.  Her musicality, charisma and jazz intuition display all the characteristics of a potentially major talent. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

San Francisco

– Oct. 5. (Tues.)  Mel Martin Big Band.  Saxophonist Martin, one of the Bay area’s most adventurous resident jazz artists, fronts a large ensemble performing his envelope-stretching music. Yoshi’s Oakland= (510) 238-9200.

– Oct. 5 & 6. (Tues. & Wed.)  Renee Rosnes. Canadian-born pianist has thoroughly established herself as one of the innovative artists of her generation, performing with everyone from Wayne Shorter to James Moody. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.

Oct. 10. (Sun.)  Third SF Filipino American Jazz Festival.  The surprising compatibility between jazz and Fililpino musical culture is on full display in this annual event.  Headliners include singer/pianist Primo Kim, vocalists Jo Canion, Charito and Sandra Lim Viray.   Yoshi’s San Francisco= (415) 655-5600.

New York

– Oct. 5 – 10.  (Tues. – Sun.)  Jason Moran and the Bandwagon.  Pianist Moran showcases the skills that made him one of this week’s recipients of a McArthur “genius” award.  Village Vanguard.   (212) 929-4589.

– Oct. 5 – 10.  (Tues. – Sun.)  Kenny Barron Quintet. Everyone’s A-list jazz pianist steps out with his own ensemble.  Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.   (212) 258-9595.

Gato Barbieri

– Oct. 8 – 10. (Fri. – Sun.)  Gato Barbieri.  Tenor saxophonist Barbieri’s long, checkered career has reached from the avant-garde years of the ‘60s through his Grammy-winning score for The Last Tango In Paris to more recent smooth jazz outings.  But whichever of his musical persona’s turn up for this appearance, the results will be compelling.The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.

– Oct. 7 – 9. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Kenny Garrett Band. Versatile, musically probing alto saxophonist Garrett follows up on his live album, Sketches of MD with a performance at the venue where the CD was recorded.  Iridium. (212) 582-2121.

– Oct. 10. (Sun.)  Lionel Loueke Trio. Benin’s gift to contemporary jazz guitar matches his singular sound and style with an equally intriguing approach to jazz vocals. Iridium.   (212) 582-2121.


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