Live Jazz: A Busy Friday Night at Vitello’s and the Out Take Bistro

By Don Heckman Studio City, CA.  Sometimes a music reviewer just has to do a lot in a single night – often unexpectedly.  As I did on Friday.  Even though it hadn’t actually started out that way. My schedule for the evening originally included a stop at Vitello’s  to hear the Bill Cunliffe big band… Read More Live Jazz: A Busy Friday Night at Vitello’s and the Out Take Bistro

Live Jazz: The Carol Robbins Sextet Upstairs at Vitello’s

By Don Heckman Among the many instruments listed in jazz polls as “miscellaneous,” the harp is surely one of the most rare participants. As unlikely an actual jazz voice as it may seem, however, the instrument has been played in strikingly innovative fashion by the likes of Alice Coltrane, Dorothy Ashby, Corky Hale and Betty… Read More Live Jazz: The Carol Robbins Sextet Upstairs at Vitello’s

Picks of the Week: Sept. 18 – 23

By Don Heckman Los Angeles – Sept 19. (Wed.) Catharine Russell.  Her resume includes gigs and recordings with the likes of Paul Simon, Steely Dan, David Bowie, Michael Feinstein.  But she’s very much the “real thing” according to critic Nat Hentoff.  And why not?  Her father, pianist Luis Russell, was Louis Armstrong’s music director.  Catalina… Read More Picks of the Week: Sept. 18 – 23

Live Jazz: The Chris Walden Big Band and Tierney Sutton at Vitello’s

By Don Heckman It was big band Wednesday at Vitello’s.  Like several other clubs around town – notably Steamer’s in Fullerton, Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood, Typhoon in Santa Monica and Vibrato in Bel Air – Vitello’s has worked to keep alive the tradition of large ensemble jazz. On this night, the musical centerpiece… Read More Live Jazz: The Chris Walden Big Band and Tierney Sutton at Vitello’s

Live Jazz: The Bill Cunliffe Quartet and Big Band at Vitello’s

By Don Heckman Grammy Award-winning pianist/composer/arranger Bill Cunliffe put all his talents on display Saturday night for an early celebration of the holidays.  All of which made for a broad tapestry of musicians spread across a jam-packed stage, a full house audience and a virtually non-stop program of music. The opening set was devoted to… Read More Live Jazz: The Bill Cunliffe Quartet and Big Band at Vitello’s

Live Jazz: Denise Donatelli at Vitello’s

By Don Heckman One of Denise Donatelli’s most unique characteristics as a jazz singer is her confident willingness to perform in complex musical settings with stellar jazz instrumentalists.  Her new CD, When Lights Are Low, is a good example.  Like her previous release, What Lies Within, it includes arrangements by Geoffrey Keezer that virtually translate… Read More Live Jazz: Denise Donatelli at Vitello’s

Picks of the Week: Oct. 19 – 24

By Don Heckman Los Angeles – Oct. 19 (Tues.)  Robert Glasper Trio.  More than most of his contemporaries, pianist Glasper has found ways to compatibly combine hip-hop, rock and r & b elements with his solid jazz skills.  Catalina Bar & Grill. http://www.catalinajazzclub.com (323) 466-2210. – Oct. 19. (Tues.)  Henry Franklin’s Big 70th Birthday Celebration. … Read More Picks of the Week: Oct. 19 – 24

Live Jazz: The Chris Walden Band with Tierney Sutton at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.

By Tony Gieske Waiting for the great Chris Walden band to begin its performance at Vibrato Tuesday, that old Louis Jordan classic “Coleslaw” kept going through my head. Down in Arkansas They call it coleslaw… It wasn’t because of anything on the dinner plates on the tables of the waiting listeners; you don’t order coleslaw… Read More Live Jazz: The Chris Walden Band with Tierney Sutton at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.

Live Jazz: Bill Cunliffe’s Big Band at Vitello’s

By Tony Gieske The magnificent Bill Cunliffe orchestra played an interesting encore before leaving the bandstand at Vitello’s Saturday, a classic Count Basie number that you’d think would be hard to mess up. And yet…. Not that the leader’s “One O’Clock Jump” chart wasn’t played beautifully. The five-man sax section sounded as one, and so… Read More Live Jazz: Bill Cunliffe’s Big Band at Vitello’s