Picks of the Week: Jan. 16 – 22

January 15, 2012

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Clare Fischer

- Jan. 16. (Mon.)  Clare Fischer Big Band.  The multiple Grammy-winning composer/arranger/pianist (and more) has a resume reaching from Dizzy Gillespie and Donald Byrd to Prince and Paul McCartney, with numerous stops in between.  His own groups have reached from small to large, covering a brilliantly eclectic array of creative styles.  This time out, it’s his dynamic, colorful music for big band.  However, because Fischer is recovering from a recent heart attack, the performance will be conducted by his son, arranger/composer Brent FischerVitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

- Jan. 17. (Tues.)  Pia Zadora. Singer, actress, Golden Globe winner and Grammy nominee Zadora has always been at her best in live performances, when her natural skills as an entertainer are on full display, as they undoubtedly will be here. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

- Jan. 17 – 21. (Tues. – Sat.)  Gilad Hekselman.  Critically praised Israeli jazz guitarist Hekselman is the winner of the 2005 Gibson Guitar Competition.  This week he introduces himself to the Southland via a string of appearances around L.A., mostly with Ben Wendel, tenor saxophone, Dave Robair, bass and Ferenc Nemeth, drums.  On Tues. with John Pisano and Robair at Vitello’s.  On Wed. with the Matt Otto Quartet at the Blue Whale.  On Thurs. with his Quartet at Alva’s Showroom.  On Friday with his Trio  at Agoura High School.  And on Saturday with his Quartet at the Blue Whale.

- Jan. 19. (Thurs.) Billy Childs Electric Band.  Ever eager to take his probing musical curiosity into different territories, pianist/composer Childs takes a break from his chamber jazz ensemble to turn on the switches of his Electric Band.  The Baked Potato.  (818) 980-1615.

- Jan. 19 – 21. (Thurs. – Sat. ) Chris Minh Doky.  Danish bassist/producer Doky has thoroughly established himself – via his own groups, his producing, and the band he formed with his brother, Chris – as one of the vital players in today’s contemporary, crossover jazz scene.  His group, the Nomads, is energized by the vibrant drumming of Dave Weckl. Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Jan. 20. (Fri.) OVOCirque d’Soleil’s latest extraordinary adventure opens at the Santa Monica Pier. This time out, the company’s incredibly gifted performers, musicians and artists take on the world of insects, a world enlivened by elements that are “tender and torrid, noisy and quiet, peaceful and chaotic. ” All of which becomes even more engaging when a mysterious egg appears in their midst.  Cirque d’Soleil’s  OVO.  Under the big top at the Santa Monica Pier.

- Jan. 20. (Fri.) KALPA.  A fascinating multi-media event takes place in the wide open spaces of the Getty Center Entrance Hall Steps and Arrival Plaza.  Created by Hirokazu Kosaka, it has a score by Yuval Ron.  Performers include Tetsuya Nakamura, harmonica and Japanese circular pan flute, Yuval Ron, autoharp and electronics, Rafael Lopez-Barrentez, vocals.  The Getty Center.    (310) 440-7300.

Elis Regina

- Jan. 21.  (Sat.)  “Elis: A Celebration.”  Singer/dancer Katia Moraes has assembled a tribute to the legendary Brazilian singer, Elis Regina – an influence on Moraes’ musical growth from the time she was a teen-ager.  The event includes a photo art exhibition, a video screening, and a live performance, all focused on memories of the remarkable Elis.  Brasil Brasil Cultural Center.   (310_ 397-3667.

- Jan. 21. (Sat.) Kathleen Battle.  The gorgeous voice of soprano Battle is applied to a program of spirituals, backed by pianist Cyrus Chestnut and the Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers.  Royce Hall. UCLA Live.    (310) 825-2101.

Gretchen Parlato

- Jan. 21. (Sat.)  Gretchen Parlato.  In a jazz world populated by a continuing line of newly arriving female singers, Parlato continues to hold her own.  Applying her subtle range of vocal sounds with creative insights, telling musical stories enriched with flowing rhythms, she is a memorable performer – one of a kind. The Musicians Institute Concert Center.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast.    (310) 271-9039.

Jan. 21 – 22. (Sat. & Sun.)  New Shanghai Circus.  Acrobats, tumblers, contortionists and strong men, aerial ballet and flying trapeze acts  – and that’s just the beginning of the astonishing sights presented by this extraordinary collection of talented artists.  Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.    (562) 916-8501.

- Jan. 22.  (Sun.)  Los Angeles Chamber OrchestraMostly MozartAndrew Shulman conducts the versatile and gifted players of the LACO in Mozart’s Symphony No. 29, the Violin Concerto No. 3 (featuring violinist Nigel Armstrong) and the Walton Sonata For Strings. Royce Hall.  UCLA Live.   (310) 825-2101.


Ron Eschete

- Jan. 21. (Sat.)  Ron Eschete Trio.  Seven string guitar master Eschete joins forces with Joe Bagg, B-3 organ and piano and Paul Kreibich, drums, to generate an irresistible example of the musical pleasures of the classic jazz organ/guitar/drums trio,.  Ojai Jazz Concerts at the Ojai Valley Community Church.    (805) 746-0936.

San Francisco

- Jan. 20 – 21. (Fri. & Sat.)  Bobby Hutcherson Birthday.  The veteran vibist shares the excitement of his 71st birthday (On Jan. 27) via a musical celebration featuring a musical encounter with the impressive young vibes player, Warren WolfYoshi’s San Francisco.     (415) 655-5600.

Santa Cruz

- Jan. 19. (Thurs.)  Mads Tolling.  A Grammy-winning, former member of the Turtle Island String Quartet, Danish-American violinist Tolling offers a musical tribute to electric violin path-finder, Jean-Luc Ponty.   Kuumbwa Jazz.   (831) 427-2227.

San Diego

- Jan. 18. (Wed.)  The Family Stone. Some of the most electrically exciting music of the ‘70s is still vibrantly alive in the hands of original members of Sly’s Family Stone: Cynthia Robinson, Jerry Martini and Greg ErricoAnthology.    (619) 595-0300.


- Jan 19 – 22. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Jeff Lorber Fusion.  When keyboardist Lorber first came up with the concept of jazz fusion in the late ‘70s, it was invigorated by deep jazz roots.  As it is today, especially with a line up like this, with Randy Brecker, trumpet, Eric Marienthal, alto saxophone, Lionel Cordew, drums and Ron Jenkins, bass.  Jazz Alley.     (206) 441-9729.

Washington, D.C.

Rudresh Mahanthappa

- Jan. 19. (Thurs.)  Rudresh Mahanthappa.  Rapidly establishing himself as one of the most critically praised new voices on the jazz alto saxophone, Mahanthappa is bringing new ideas and sounds to jazz.  He’s featured here as one of four India-related jazz artists (with Sachel Vasandani, Sanjay Mishra and Rez Abbasi) appearing in the “Indian Jazz Series” from Monday through Thursday.  Blues Alley.   (202) 337-4141.


- Jan. 21. (Sat.)  Pat Martino Organ Trio. Despite a pair of career absences that took him completely away from music for more than a decade (the first due to a brain aneurysm, the second when his parents became ill) Martino – one of jazz’s most virtuosic guitarists – has continued to build a solid musical career.  Here he performs in classic organ trio setting. Regatta Bar.    (617) 661-5000.

New York

- Jan. 17 – 22. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Chris Potter Quartet.  Sometimes taken for granted, for his ability to make other groups sound compelling, tenor saxophonist Potter is nonetheless a unique talent in his own right, one who deserves every jazz listener’s full attention.  The Village Vanguard.    (212) 255-4037.

- Jan 17 – 22.  (Tues. – Sun.)  Bill Frisell, Ron Carter and Joey Baron. It would be hard to imagine a more inventively adept, musical versatile trio of players than this stellar group.  Expect something new and magical every night. The Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

Lou Donaldson

- Jan. 19 – 22. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Lou Donaldson Quartet.  At 85, alto saxophonist Donaldson is still going strong.  The traces of his early allegiance to Charlie Parker are still present, but Donaldson long ago embraced them with his own stirring improvisational methods.  The Jazz Standard.    (212) 889-2005.

- Jan. 22. (Sun.)  Carnatic Sundays.  South Indian music is on full display in this intriguing evening of music.  Karavika is a string and tabla ensemble exploring the intersection between Carnatic music and American blues, jazz and folk music. The Arun Ramumurthy Quartet features the virtuosic violin of Ramumurthy in a quartet with bass, jazz drum set and the two-headed South Indian mridangam drum.  Cornelia St. Café.    (212) 989-9319.


- Jan. 16 & 17. (Mon. & Tues.)  Carmen Lundy. Singer/songwriter/actress Lundy is a jazz rara avis, a female  vocalist who also writes her own songs.  And who does so with imaginative skill.  Add to that the fact that Lundy also finds new stories in the standard jazz songbook, bringing fascinating perspectives to material old and new.  Ronnie Scott’s.  020 7439 0747.


- Jan 17. (Tues.)  John Abercrombie and Mark CoplandSpeak To Me, the first duo recording of guitarist Abercrombie and pianist Copland, released late 2011, was a classic display of subtle, thoughtfully conceived jazz interplay at its most mesmerizing.  The Blue Note Milano.


Pat Metheny

- Jan. 20 – 28.  (Fri. – Sat.)  An Evening With Pat Metheny.  With frequent musical associate bassist Larry Grenadier on hand, inventive Metheny will no doubt offer the  full range of sounds and music – hopefully including his 42 string Pikasso guitar – he’s been exploring lately in his constant creative adventuring.   The Blue Note Tokyo.    03.5485.0088.

Ron Eschete photo by Bob Barry.

Picks of the Week: Aug. 30 – Sept. 4

August 30, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

MIchael Wolff

- Aug. 30 & 31. (Tues. & Wed.)  Michael Wolff Quartet.  Pianist and television personality Wolff does a live recording with the stellar ensemble of trumpeter/film composer Mark Isham, bassist John B. Williams and drummer Mike ClarkVitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

- Aug. 31. (Wed.)  George Benson, George Duke, Marcus Miller and David Sanborn.   It’s an evening of blues, funk, crossover and smooth jazz.  But straight ahead jazz fans can rest assured that all of these high visibility artists are also firmly rooted in traditional jazz skills.  The Hollywood Bowl.  (323) 850-2040.

Janis Mann

- Aug. 31. (Wed.)  Janis Mann Quartet.  Versatile singer Mann’s soaring vocals are underscored by solid musicality and a masterful story-telling skills.  She performs with pianist Andy Langham, bassist Chris Colangelo and drummer Roy McCurdyCharlie O’s.  (818) 994-3058.

- Sept. 1. (Thurs.)  Pat Tuzzolino.  Watching Tuzzolino in action is to marvel at his eclectic skills, as he plays a synth keyboard with one hand, a bass synth with the other, while delivering warm, engaging, hard swinging vocals.  He performs with guitarist Barry Zweig and drummer Billy PaulVitello’s.  (818) 769-0905

- Sept. 1. (Thurs.)  The Ron Eschete Trio.  Seven string guitarist Eschete manages to generate the sort of rich, harmonic textures and flowing rhythms that would seem to only be possible on a keyboard instrument. And he does so with far reaching creative imagination. Keyboardist Joe Bagg and drummer Kendall Kay will back him.  Steamer’s.    (714) 871-8800.

Charlie Haden's Quartet West

- Sept. 1 – 4. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Charlie Haden’s Quartet West.  Haden’s veteran, all-star band, one of the West Coast’s great jazz ensembles, celebrates their 25th anniversary.  And it comes at an appropriate time, with pianist/arranger Alan Broadbent moving to the New York area in the near future.  Hopefully Haden will find a way to keep the Quartet together, from time to time.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Sept. 2 – 5. ) Fri. – Mon.  Sweet & Hot Music Festival.  The 16th annual celebration of the timeless pleasures of classic jazz.  The names are too numerous to mention.  But suffice to say there’ll be over 200 musicians, 20 bands, 8 venues, 180 scheduled events and 4 dance floors – all sizzling with everything from New Orleans jazz to Swing and Bebop.  The LAX Marriott Hotel.  http://www.sweethot.org

- Sept. 3. (Sat.)  Steve Huffsteter.  Trumpeter Huffsteter’s extensive resume includes appearances with a complete lexicon of jazz and pop artists.  Much honored by his musical associates, he’s too rarely heard on his own, in the spotlight.  Here’s a great opportunity to experience the articulate subtlety of his playing.  He’s backed by the Pat Senatore Trio.  Vibrato.

San Francisco

- Sept. 1 – 3. (Thurs. – Sat.)  Ivan Lins Quartet.  Singer/songwriter/pianist Lins has been one of Brazil’s – and the world’s – great musical treasures for decades.  Like all iconic artists, he should be heard at every opportunity – especially in a musically compatible setting such as Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

New York

Ron Carter

- Aug. 30 – Sept. 4 (Tues. – Sun.)  Ron Carter Big Band.  At the pinnacle of a career that has embraced every imaginable musical setting, bassist Ron Carter celebrates the release of an album expressing his affection for classic big band jazz: Ron Carter’s Great Big Band.  His assemblage of horn-playing all stars will be backed by the solid rhythm team of Carter, guitarist Russell Malone, pianist Mulgrew Miller and drummer Willie Jones III.   Jazz Standard.    (212) 576-2232.

- Sept. 1. (Thurs.)  Roseanna VitroThe Music of Randy Newman.  Vitro’s jazz-driven exploration of the emotionally multi-layered songs of Newman has been one of the headline items of 2011’s vocal CDs.  Hopefully the Recording Academy voters will have the good sense to give it a Grammy nomination.  Here, she offers her interpretations up close and live.  The Iridium.    (212) 582-2121.

Picks of the Week: Feb. 15 – 20

February 15, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra

- Feb. 15. (Tues.)  Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. The JLCO under Marsalis has firmly established itself as the definitive jazz repertory big band, performing programs that keep the spirit of large ensemble jazz – from Duke Ellington and Fletcher Henderson to the present – alive and kicking.   Disney Hall.  Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

- Feb. 15. (Tues.) Strunz and Farah. The dangerous duo of high powered guitar playing, Strunz and Farah match their fast fingered virtuosity with spirit and imagination.  Click HERE to read an earlier iRoM review of Strunz and Farah.   Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 15. (Tues.)  Matisyahu.  Every performance by Matisyahu is a banquet of international styles, from reggae and Judaic hymns to Middle Eastern rhythms and American pop.  Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza.   (805) 449-2787.

Gregory Porter

- Feb. 16. (Wed.)  Gregory Porter.  The rapidly rising, Grammy-nominated  jazz vocal star makes a rare Southland appearance.  Check him out now, while his star is in the ascendancy.  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

- Feb. 17. (Thurs.)  CJS Quintet“A Dexter Gordon Tribute” Saxophonist Chuck Johnson and trumpeter James Smith lead their quartet in a tribute to the music of the dynamic tenor saxophonist.  LAX Jazz Club at the Crown Plaza LAX.  (310) 258-1333.

- Feb. 17 – 20. (Thurs. – Sun.) Newport Beach Jazz Party.  It’s a cornucopia of traditional and mainstream jazz.  Highlight artists include Anat Cohen, Bill Cunliffe, Ron Eschete, Benny Green, John Clayton, Tamir Hendelman, Bob Mintzer, Lewis Nash, Ken Peplowski, Houston Person, Jack Sheldon, Barbara Morrison, Tom Rainier, Eric Reed and a lot more.  Along with a rare appearance by songwriter/singer Alan Bergman.  Newport Beach Jazz Party.   (949)759-5003.

- Feb. 18. (Fri.) The Borodin Quartet, the Red Quartet and Dwight Trible. The Los Angeles Concert Seasons Series debuts with an extraordinary musical encounter between the Russian classical Borodin String Quartet, the off-beat Red Quartet (a combination of cello, violin, guitar and vocals), the idiosyncratic but fascinating vocal improvisations of Trible and eclectic sounds of DJ Mando Fever.  Santa Monica Bay Women’s Club.

Larry Goldings

- Feb. 18 & 19. (Fri. & Sat.)  Larry Goldings Organ Trio.  Goldings plays anything with a keyboard impressively.  But he’s especially gripping when he’s digging into a Hammond B-3, and even more so when he’s backed by the stellar playing of Peter Bernstein, guitar and Bill Stewart, drums.   Vitello’s\ (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 19. (Sat.)  Frank Marocco Quartet.  Accordionist Marocco, who celebrated his 80th birthday in January, performs selections from his new CD with alto saxophonist Jon Whinnery (back in action after a bout with cancer), bassist  John Gianelli and drummer Kendall KayGiannelli Square of Northridge. (818) 772-1722.

- Feb. 19. (Sat.)  Bobby Rodriguez with The John Heard Trio.  Dr. Bobby takes a break from his academic chores to display his dynamic trumpet playing.  Charlie O’s\ (818) 994-3058.

- Feb. 19. (Sat.)  Jazz and the Orchestra.  Pianist/composer/arranger John Beasley and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Joshua Weilerstein in an original concert production illustrating jazz in small ensemble and large orchestral settings, as well as the subtleties of scatting and improvisation.  11 a.m. Pre-concert workshops for children at 10 a.m.  The program is repeated on Sat., Feb. 26.  Disney Hall.\ (323) 850-2000.

- Feb. 20. (Sun.)  Alan Broadbent/Pat Senatore Duo.  The rumor is out that Broadbent, one of the Southland’s most gifted pianists (and arrangers) may be moving to another area.  So don’t miss this chance to hear him in an intimate musical setting, accompanied only by bassist Senatore.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400. \

Barbara Morrison

- Feb. 20. (Sun.) “A Tribute To Billie Holiday Barbara Morrison, Corky Hale and Tricia Tahara. Pianist/harpist Hale brings the solid accompaniment style she used in her gigs with Holiday to a set of Lady Day songs performed with versatile vocalists Morrison and Tahara. The Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center.    (310) 330-0178.

- Feb. 20. (Sun.)  Phil Norman Tentet.  Norman’s big little band revives the cool, inner-moving musical groove of the West Coast jazz of the ‘50s, spicing it with a few contemporary seasonings as well. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 20. (Sun.)  Fred Katz.  Skirball Center.  Cellist and master musician Katz returns to the Skirball after his performance last summer – his first in more than two decades.  He will be joined by his son, flutist Hyman Katz, bassist Richard Simon, plus special guests the Flying Pisanos — guitarist John Pisano and vocalist Jeanne PisanoThe Skirball Center.  (310) 440-4500.

- Feb. 20. (Sun.)  Sing! Sing! Sing!  “Academy Award Winning Songs: The Early Years” There’ll be plenty of memories coursing through the room at this week’s singalong, with a collection of songs harking back to the days when Academy Award winning songs really were songs to remember.  Sing!Sing!Sing! at Keyboard Concepts .  (310) 990-2405.

Al Di Meola

- Feb. 20. (Sun.)  Al Di Meola and World Sinfonia.  Guitarist Di Meola and his ensemble kick off their 2011 tour with familiar items from his catalog as well as selections from his upcoming album Pursuit of Radical Rhapsody. The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano (949)  496-8930.

San Francisco

- Feb. 15. (Tues.)  Anat Fort.  New York based, Israel-born pianist Fort is finally beginning to attract some much deserved attention beyond her Manhattan base.  She and her trio will be playing selections from her highly praised, recently released album, And if. Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

- Feb. 16 & 17. (Wed. & Thurs.)  Bill Frisell and Vinicius Cantuaria.  An unlikely pair of guitarists – featuring Frisell’s jazz Americana and Cantuaria’s percussively exciting Brazilian style — get together for what should be a pair of unpredictable but utterly compelling evenings of music. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200.

New York

McCoy Tyner

- Feb. 15 – 17. (Tues. – Thurs.) McCoy Tyner Trio with vocalist Jose James.  Together they revisit the classic musical partnership of John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman.  The Blue Note.  http://www.bluenote.net/newyork/schedule/index.shtml (212) 475-8592.

- Feb. 15 – 19.  (Tues. – Sat.) Oregon.  It’s hard to believe, but true, that Oregon is now celebrating its 40th year.  And the music on their new album, In Stride, affirms that their blend of classical, jazz and world music elements is as intriguing as ever.  Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

- Feb. 15 – 19. (Tues. – Sat.)  Eric Gillett“Widescreen: Songs From & About the Movies” Gillett’s warm baritone and emotive style have the power as well as the subtlety to fill a cabaret room.  This time out, his show combines movie songs with music from theater and contemporary pop.  Feinstein’s at the Regency.  (212) 339-4095.

- Feb. 17. (Thurs.)  Roscoe Mitchell 70th Birthday concert.  The veteran avant-gardist woodwind artist celebrates, first via a duo improvisation with electronic music pioneer David Wessel, then with his own quartet, featuring pianist Dave Burrell, bassist Henry Grimes and drummer Tani Tabbal. Roulette (Concert Space).     (212) 219-8242.

Portland, Oregon

- Feb. 18 – 27.  The Portland Jazz Festival. The ten day Portland Jazz Festival is a true city event, with more than 120 programs taking place at locations around town.  Leading the stellar line up of featured artists is bassist/singer Esperanza Spalding, (right) winner of this year’s Best New Artist Grammy.  She is  the first jazz artist to receive the coveted award.

The balance of the program reaches impressively across genres and generations.  Among the highlights: the SF JAZZ Collective, Regina Carter, Joshua Redman,  Dave Frishberg, Don Byron, Nik Bartsch, Randy Weston, The Three Cohens (Anat, Avishai and Yval), as well as a round up of fine jazz talent from Portland and the Northwest…. and much, much more.  The Portland Jazz Festival. (503) 228-5299.

Wynton Marsalis and Esperanza Spalding photos by Tony Gieske.

Picks of the Week: Jan. Feb. 1 – Feb. 6

February 1, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Feb. 1. (Tues.)  Jules Day.  The rising young jazz singer performs an evening of new, original music from her latest CD, Day DreamsCatalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

- Feb. 2. (Wed.)  Teka and Aaron Serfaty.  “Brazilian Jazz.” Guitarist/singer Teka and percussionist Serfaty team up with pianist Otmar Ruiz and bassist Dave Robaire to illuminate the amiable connections between jazz and Brazilian music.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 3. (Thurs.)  Tom Peterson/Alan Ferber Quartet. Saxophonist Peterson and trombonist Ferber, veterans of the recordinging studios with sounds and styles all their own, take center stage with the sterling backing of pianist Tom Ranier, drummer Kevin Kanner and bassist Pat SenatoreVibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

Sally Kellerman

- Feb. 3. (Thurs.)  Sally Kellerman. The one and only Hot Lips returns to the musical stage.  What new mysteries will be revealed?  Only long, tall Sally knows.  But you can bet they’ll be entertaining.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 3. (Thurs.)  Ron Eschete Trio.  One of the rare jazz masters of the 7-string guitar, Eschete displays his remarkable skills in the company of bassist Todd Johnson and drummer Kendall KaySteamers (714) 871-8800.

- Feb. 3. (Thurs.) Paul Kreibich’s “Salute To Gene Harris” Drummer Kreibich, a veteran musical companion of the great pianist, in an evening of engaging, briskly swinging Harris reminiscences.  With pianist Bradley Young, guitarist Frank Potenza and bassist Luther Hughes LAX Jazz Club at the Crown Plaza LAX.  (310) 258-1333.

- Feb. 3 – 5. (Thurs. – Sat.)  George Herms: “The Artist’s Life.” The Bobby Bradford Mo’tet, the Theo Saunders Group and the voice of Diana Briscoll come together for the world premiere of a free-jazz opera by one of the founders of the California school of assemblage sculpture.  Plan to experience a spontaneous extravaganza of sights and sounds.  REDCAT.  (310) 237-2800.

- Feb. 3 – 6. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Kenny Garrett Quintet. Grammy award-winning alto saxophonist Garrett has a resume reaching from Duke Ellington to Miles Davis.  This time out, he offers his envelope-stretching sounds at the front of  his own quintet.   Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- Feb. 4. (Fri.)  The Ethnic Heritage Ensemble. The E.H.E. has been celebrating the confluence of African roots and American jazz from a Chicago perspective for more than three decades.  The group’s current installment features percussionist and founder Kahil El’Zabar, trumpeter Corey Wilkes and saxophonist Ernest Khabeer Dawkins.  They perform for a Jazz Bakery Movable Feast at the Musicians Institute Concert Hall.  (310) 271-9039.

Randy Weston

- Feb. 5. (Sat..) Randy Weston. The sounds that issue from Weston’s piano playing find the essential common ground between African music and jazz by way of Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Weston himself.  A Friends of Jazz concert at  Fowler Museum,  UCLA.   (310)  206-3269.

- Feb. 5. (Sat.)  Shawn Colvin and Loudon Wainwright III. A pair of veteran singer/songwriters, each with a fascinating history, tell their irresistible musical tales of whimsy and woe.  CSUN Performing Arts.   (818) 677-8800.

- Feb. 5. (Sat.)  Michael Feinstein. The multiple platinum selling, five-time Grammy nominate singer/pianist/pop historian performs selections from his 2008 album, The Sinatra Project. Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.

- Feb. 5. (Sat.) Christian Howes Quartet.  “There’s nobody better than this guy,” said the iconic guitarist Les Paul, while praising jazz violinist Howes’ impressive blend of classical technique with a soaring improvisational imagination.  He’s backed by the equally fine support of Donald Vega, piano, Lyman Medeiros, bass, Bob Leatherbarrow, drums.  Christian Howes performs at Pierre’s Fine Pianos.  (310) 473-0600.

Billy Childs

- Feb. 5. (Sat.)  Billy Childs Chamber Jazz Ensemble with the Sonus String Quartet.  Grammy nominee Childs assembles the full company of his current jazz perspective, linking his atmospheric piano and sterling jazz ensemble with the rich timbres of the Sonus string players.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

San Francisco

- Feb. 2 – 5. (Wed. – Sat.)  The Tony Williams Lifetime Tribute BandJack Bruce, bass and vocals, Vernon Reid, guitar, John Medeski, keyboards/organ and Cindy Blackman, drums get together once again to revive the extraordinary fusion sounds of the Lifetime.  Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

Shawn Colvin

- Feb. 3 & 4. (Thurs. & Fri.)  Shawn Colvin. Two decades after she arrived on the scene from South Dakota, Grammy-winning, platinum-selling songer-songwriter Colvin still has gripping musical stories to tell. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.

New York

- Feb. 1. (Tues.) Jean-Michel Pilc, Francois Moutin and Ari Hoenig.  A trio of international players – Pilc and Moutin from France, Hoenig from Philadelphia – demonstrate the irresistible global reach of jazz.  55 Bar.  (212) 929-9883.

- Feb. 1 – 5. (Tues. – Sat.) Saxophone Summit: Joe Lovano, Dave Liebman and Ravi Coltrane. “Summit” is the right word to describe this assemblage of world class tenor and soprano saxophonists.  Don’t miss this one.  Birdland.   (212) 581-3080

- Feb 1 – 6. (Tues. – Sun.)  Aaron Goldberg Quartet.  Pianist Goldberg’s superb quartet – Mark Turner, saxophone, Reuben Rogers, bass and Eric Harland, drums display live versions of selections from his latest album, Home.Village Vanguard (212) 255-4037.

- Feb. 3 – 6. (Thurs. – Sun.)  George Coleman Quintet.  Still going strong at 75, tenor saxophonist Coleman works out his muscular tenor saxophone sounds in the company of Larry Goldings, Hammond B-3, Peter Bernstein, guitar, George Coleman, Jr., drums and Daniel Sadownick, bass.  The Jazz Standard.   (212) 576-2232.

Sally Kellerman, Billy Childs and Randy Weston photos by Tony Gieske.

Picks of the Week: Aug. 16 – 22

August 16, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Aug. 17. (Tues.) Tuesday Classics at the Bowl. Leon Fleisher plays Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand.  Pietari Inkinen conducts the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Sibelius’ Finlandia and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4The Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 17 & 18. (Tues. & Wed.)  Steve Tyrell.  Singer Tyrell continues to affirm his fascination with the classics of the Great American Songbook.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

The Neville Brothers

- Aug. 18. (Wed.)  The Neville Brothers.  It’s a night to celebrate the great musical heritage of New Orleans.  Also on the bill, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, and the Trey McIntyre Project.    The Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 18. (Wed.) Cheryl Bentyne & Mark Winkler.  The Manhattan Transfer’s Bentyne teams up with singer/songwriter Winkler to celebrate the swinging legacy of West Coast CoolCatalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.  .

- Aug. 18. (Wed.)  Chopin, Schumann and the Bliss Oboe Quintet. Music to honor the bicentennial’s of Robert Schumann and Frederic Chopin.  Glendale Noon Concerts.  At twelve noon in the Sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Glendale.  Free.

- Aug. 19. (Thurs.)  The Clare Fischer Latin Sextet. Fischer’s compositions and arrangements are always impressive, and never more so than when he’s writing in a Latin mood for the group he once called Salsa Picante. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Aug 19. (Thurs.)  Jews on Vinyl. A live performance of music linked to the exhibition, Jews On Vinyl, celebrating Jewish recorded music from the ‘40s to the ‘80s.  Featured artists include International vocalist Hedva Amrani, veteran jazz cellist Fred Katz and singer Sol Zim (“the Tom Jones of cantoral music”)  The Skirball Center.   (310) 440-4500.

- Aug. 19. (Thurs.) Henry Franklin Quartet. Bassist Franklin leads a dynamic group of Southland’s finest.  With Kasami Washington, tenor saxophone, Theo Saunders, piano, Tony Austin, drums.  Charlie O’s. (818) 994-3058.

- Aug. 20. (Fri.)  Bobby Bradford Mo’Tet with visual artist George Herms. A fascinating evening of interplay between music and visual art.  LACMA (212) 857-6000.

Carol Welsman

- Aug. 20. (Fri.)  Carol Welsman.  Singer/pianist Welsman knows how to bring a song to life, whether she’s delivering a Peggy Lee classic, a memorable bossa nova or a French chanson.  While doing so in an irresistibly swinging setting.  Boston Court Performing Arts Center, Pasadena.  Jazz Bakery Moveable Feast. (310) 271-9039.

- Aug. 20 – 21. (Fri. & Sat.)  Tchaikovsky Spectacular.  And “Spectacular” it is, with Baiba Skride playing the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto.  Adding to the music pyrotechnics, Bramwell Tovey leads the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the Capriccio Italien and concludes with  the 1912 Overture complete with fireworks and the USC Trojan Marching Band. The Hollywood Bowl.   (323) 850-2000.

- Aug. 20 – 22. (Fri. – Sun.)  Lenny White’s Anomaly. Drummer White supports his fascinating new recording, Anomaly, once again demonstrating the musical versatility that has marked his high flying career since the days with Chick Corea’s Return To Forever.   Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.  .

- Aug. 21. (Sat.)  Al Green.  The Pointer Sisters. It’s rhythm and soul night at the Greek with the Reverend Al’s legendary groove and the Pointers’ memorable hits from the ‘70s and ‘80s.  The Greek Theatre. (323) 665-3125.

- Aug. 21. (Sat.)  Ron Eschete Trio. Guitarist Eschete presents his unique, seven-string stylings in Henri’s intimate jazz room.  The BackRoom at Henri’s.   (818) 348-5582.

- Aug. 21. (Sat.)  Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. The GCLA singers celebrate their third performance at Disney Hall with a program of contemporary choral classics as well as the newly commissioned The End of It All, by John Tejada.  The program also includes the mixture of music and spoken word in the Harvey Milk Schools Project. Disney Hall.

Fiesta Argentina

- Aug. 21. (Sat.) Fiesta Argentina: Tango, Cancion de Buenos Aires.  A dynamic evening of Argentine music and dance, featuring clarinetist Zinovy Goro, flutist Pablo Goldstein, singers Esther Segovia, Osvaldo Roval, Carlos Bossio and Claudio Ortega with the Otero Dance Company. Ford Amphitheatre.  (323) 461-3673.

- Aug. 21 & 22. (Sat. & Sun.) Sunset Junction Fair. The 30th annual Sunset Junction Fair has its familiar collection of music (on five stages), arts, crafts, rides and games.  Check the website for the lengthy program of acts, but don’t overlook Saturday’s live Miles Davis Bitches Brew Remix led by Davis’ nephew, drummer Vince Wilburn, Jr. Sunset Junction Fair.

- Aug. 22. (Sun.)  Gail Pettis.  Seattle jazz singer Pettis takes time off from her orthodontics practice to showcase her first rate jazz vocal skills.  Helen Borgers hosts.  KJAZZ Sunday Champagne Brunch at the Twist Restaurant in the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.

San Francisco

Patrice Rushen

- Aug. 20 & 21. (Fri. & Sat.)  Patrice Rushen. Keyboardist Rushen makes the most of her ability to reach across the spectrum of jazz genres.  Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

- Aug. 20 – 22. (Fri. – Sun.)  Charanga Habanera.  A youthful band of Havana players mix traditional sounds and rhythms with contemporary textures in a strikingly visual presentation.  Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600.

New York

- Aug. 17 – 21. (Tues. – Sat.)  Geri Allen Trio 3.  Pianist Allen leads the stellar trio of Andrew Cyrille, Reggie Workman and Oliver Lake in a celebration of the Mary Lou Williams Centennial.  Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.


- Aug. 17 – 22. (Tues. – Sun.)  Hiromi. Japanese keyboardist Hiromi accomplishes the rare feat of juxtaposing her convincing straight ahead playing against well-crafted fusion sounds. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.

- Aug. 17 – 22. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Music of Antonio Carlos Jobim. An evening of works by the man who created some of the most memorable songs of the late 20th century. Performed expertly by The Trio Da Paz, with Joe Locke, Harry Allen and Maucha AdnetDizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.   (212) 258-9595.

- Aug. 19 – 22. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Al Foster Quartet. Veteran drummer foster leads the way with a pack of superb young jazz lions. With Gerald Clayton, piano, Chris Potter, tenor saxophone, Doug Weiss. Bass.  The Iridium.   (212) 582-2121.

Picks of the Week: June 29 – July 4

June 29, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Sally Kellerman

-June 30. (Wed.)  Sally Kellerman. Hot Lips is back. And, as convincing as she was in M*A*S*H, she’s even more so as a singer, crafting tunes simmering with traces of jazz, folk, soul and country.  Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- June 30. (Wed.)  Open Hands.  One of the Southland’s authentic all-star jazz ensembles, featuring the invigorating bass work of Abraham Laboriel and the dynamically versatile tenor saxophone of Justo Almario, with Greg Mathieson, keyboards and Bill Maxwell, drums.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- June 30. (Wed.)  Kevin Eubanks Group. He’s no longer on the air with Leno, but Eubanks is still one of the most listenable guitarists in jazz.  And on this gig you won’t have to worry about being interrupted by a commercial break. Baked Potato.  (818) 980-1615.

- June 30. (Wed.) Nancy Sanchez.  She may have been a mariachi singer as a teen-ager, but Sanchez is now an intriguing, up and coming jazz vocalist who comfortably combines some pop and crossover elements in her coolly expressive vocalizing.  Steamers. (714) 871-8800.

Linda Ciofalo

- July 1. (Thurs.)  Linda Ciofalo. With an appealing voice and a perky rhythmic manner, Ciofalo is the right interpreter for the Johnny Mercer tunes on her brand new CD, Dancing With Johnny.  She’s backed by pianist Otmaro Ruiz, bassist John Belzaguy and drummer Jimmy Branley.  Crowne Plaza. (310) 642-7500.

- July 2. (Fri.)  Charles Owens Quartet. The versatile Owens can play any saxophone, in almost any style, and do it with utter believability.  But the best time to hear him is on a gig like this, when he’s up front, doing everything his own way.  The Culver Club in the Raddison.   (310) 649-1776 ext. 4137.

- July 2 – 4. (Fri. – Sun.)  July 4th Fireworks SpectacularVince Gill, with twenty Grammy Awards and more than 22 million albums sold, is the perfect headliner for the annual pyrotechnical celebration.  Expect to hear such country hits as “I Still Believe In You” and “One More Last Chance.”  Hollywood Bowl.    (323) 850-2000.

- July 3. (Sat.)  Ira Nepus and Friends.  Trombonist, Nepus, one of L.A.’s fine first-call players, steps into the spotlight with his own group.  And the set will be even more highlighted by the engaging vocals of Bonnie Bowden.  Willy’s BBQ and Grill.  Agoura Hills.   (818) 991-7227.

San Francisco

- June 29 & 30 (Tues. & /Wed,)  Joyce (Joyce Moreno) The Brazilian singer/guitarist is keeping the bossa nova flame still burning, while adding her own more contemporary tunes to programs rich with the rhythms of Rio. Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

- July 4. (Sun.) Kiosk.  There’s something appropriate about the presence of the highly praised Iranian rock band, Kiosk, at Yoshi’s on Independence Day.  Prevented from performing in public in their native land (because of “inappropriate” lyrics), they re-formed outside Iran and now perform around the globe.  Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.

New York

Lew Tabackin and Toshiko Akiyoshi

- June 29 – July 3. (Tues. – Sat.) Lew Tabackin & Toshiko Akiyoshi Quartet. The husband and wife team, innovative figures in the contemporary jazz world for decades, make a too-rare live appearance.  They’re backed by bassist Boris Kozlov and drummer Mark TaylorBirdland. (212) 581-3080.

June 29 – July 4. (Tues. – Sun.)  Fourplay.  Grammy-nominated Fourplay – Bob James, Chuck Loeb, Nathan East and Harvey Mason – have successfully created an audience-pleasing crossover jazz style without sacrificing any of their substantial array of pure jazz skills. The Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

Picks of the Week: Mar. 15 – 21

March 15, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Keith Jarrett

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chris Bennett

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

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

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

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

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

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

Al Jarreau

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

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

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


Julia Dollison and Kerry Marsh

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

San Francisco

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

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

Pete Escovedo

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

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

New York

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

Roy Haynes

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

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

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


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

Picks of the Week: Mar. 2 – 7

March 2, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Larry Goldings

- Mar. 2. (Tues.)  Larry Goldings All-Stars.  Keyboardist Goldings is completely worth hearing on his own.  But it’ll be even better with this group of solid veteran players:  Tom Scott, saxophones, Chuck Berghofer, bass, Jeff Hamilton, drums.  Spazio.

- Mar. 2. (Tues.)  John Pisano’s Guitar Night.  Always one of the week’s best musical events, this time with Pisano trading riffs with guitarist Jamie Rosenn, guitar. Tim Pleasant, drums and Ryan McGillicuddy, bass add solid support.  Spazio.  (818) 728-8400

Anna Mjoll

- Mar. 3. (Wed.)  Anna Mjoll. Iceland’s queen of pop jazz, Mjoll blends a solid sense of swing with an engaging way with a song.   Vibrato.   (310) 474-9400.

- Mar. 4. (Thurs.)  Ron Eschete Trio.  One of the rare masters of the seven-string jazz guitar, Eschete’s harmonies are things of musical beauty. Steamers. (714) 871-8800

- Mar. 4. (Thurs.)  Chris Standring. Contemporary jazz guitarist celebrates the release of his “Blue Bolero” CD with a performance enlivened by the appearance of a string quartet.  How often does that happen at the Baked Potato?  (818) 980-1615.

- Mar. 5. (Fri.)  Experience Hendrix Tour.  The fourth edition of the tour that celebrates the life of Jimi Hendrix features, among others, Joe Satriani, Jonny Lang, Eric Johnson, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, as well as Billy Cox, the bassist with Hendrix’s Band of Gypsies.  Gibson Amphitheatre.   (818) 622-4440.

Tierney Sutton

- Mar. 5. (Fri.)  Mon David. Filipino singer David is a standout in the sparse field of male jazz vocalists, with a style all his own and a rhythmic lift in everything he sings. Vitello’s.   (818) 769-0905.

- Mar. 5 – 7. (Fri. – Sun.)  Tierney Sutton. Blessed with a beautiful voice, Sutton uses it with subtlety, musicality and a fine interpretive style. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- Mar. 6. (Sat.)  Azar Lawrence performs selections from his new CD, “Mystic Journey.”  With pianist Benito Gonzalez, trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos, bassist Tony Dumas and drummer Lorca HartAlvas Showroom, San Pedro.  (800) 403-3447.

- Mar. 6. (Sat.) A Night of Arab and Brazilian Music. Dr. A.J. Racy of the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology performs traditional Arabic music on the ney flute and the lute-like buzuq with Souhail Kaspar (darabouka/hand drum), Naser Musa (‘ud/lute), and Petro Ammar (riqq/tambourine). The program’s other half features the Samba Society, directed by Beto González, performing the partido alto and samba de terreiro of urban samba.  Guest artists include Mitchell Long (cavaco) and Kátia Moraes (vocals).  UCLA’s Schoenberg Hall.  Free.  Center For Near Eastern Studies. (310) 825-1455.

Allen Toussaint

- Mar. 6.  (Sat.) The Blind Boys of Alabama and Allen Toussaint.  Always capable of lifting an audience with their stirring gospel singing, the Blind Boys’ program will be even more enhanced by the presence of New Orleans music icon Toussaint. UCLA Live.  (310) 825-2101.

- Mar. 7 (Sun.)  CJSQ Tribute to Dexter Gordon. The Chuck Johnson and James Smith Quintet celebrate the life of the great tenor saxophonist at a brunch gig – 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.  The Lighthouse.   (310) 376-9833.

San Francisco

- Mar. 2. (Tues.)  Sacha Boutros. Latin jazz singer Boutros applies her far-ranging voice to an entertaining blend of Latin jazz, bossa nova and pop.  Rrazz Room. (415) 394-1189.

- Mar. 2 & 3. (Tues. & Wed.)  Cyrus Chestnut.   Pianist Chestnut’s range reaches from solid straight ahead jazz through soul music, gospel and – on one of his recordings – a brand new interpretation of songs associated with Elvis Presley.   Yoshi’s San Francisco.   (415) 655-5600

New York

- Mar. 2. (Tues.)  Leni Stern Quartet. Guitarist Stern recalls her time in Africa with a group in which she’s supported by bass, oud and talking drum.  55 Bar.  (212) 929-9883.

Gil Scott-Heron

- Mar. 2 & 3. (Tues. & Wed. Gil Scott-Heron and Friends. Before there was rap and hip hop, there was Scott-Heron’s spontaneous poetry.  And few of his successors have come close to the depth and the innate musicality of his work.  CD release show for “I’m Here Now.”  Blue Note. (212) 475-8592.

- Mar. 2 – 6. (Tues. – Sat.)  Monty Alexander. Alexander’s ensemble combines the sounds of a straight ahead jazz quartet with the rhythms of his native Jamaica.  The ensemble includes Santi Debriano (bass) Obed Calvaire (drums) Yotam Silberstein (guitar) and Jamaican musicians Courtney Panton (electric bass/percussion)and Karl Wright (drums).  Birdland.   (212) 581-3080.

- Mar. 4 – 7. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Toots Thielemans, harmonica. Kenny Werner, piano, Oscar Castro-Neves, guitar and Airto Moreira, percussion. That’s a line-up with something to please anyone with a taste for the finest in jazz.  Blue Note.   (212) 475-8592.

- Mar. 4 – 7. (Thurs. – Sun.) Delfeayo Marsalis. The trombone playing, record producing Marsalis leads his sextet in Charlie Parker (with a Twist)!
an imaginative look back at a great jazz icon.    Iridium.   (212) 582-2121.

Washington, D.C.

Keiko Matsui


- Mar. 4 – 7.  (Thurs. – Sun.)  Keiko Matsui. Keyboardist Matsui was one of the first – after Toshiko Akiyoshi –  of the talented female jazz keyboardists to arrive from Japan Blues Alley. She was also a pioneer in the popularity of smooth, easy listening jazz.  Blues Alley.  (202) 337-4141.

Picks of the Week: Feb. 8 – 14

February 8, 2010

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Jennifer York Quartet

- Feb. 9. (Tues.)  The Jennifer York Quartet.  Bassist and TV personality York leads a band that crosses smoothly from contemporary to mainstream jazz.  The evening will be further enlivened by the always impressive singing of special guest Chris BennettCatalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- Feb. 9.  (Tues.)  John Pisano Guitar NightBarry Zweig, who has played with everyone from Peggy Lee and Don Ellis to Buddy Rich and Natalie Cole,  partners with Pisano in this laid-back, entertaining format.  Vitello’s (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 10. (Wed.)  Masters of Persian Music Kamancheh (spike fiddle) player  Kayhan Kalhor and Hossein Alizadeh, a master of the lute-like tar and setar are joined by classical vocalist Hamid Reza Nourbakhsh in a program of Persian traditional and classical music.   Disney Hall.  (323) 850-2000.   Also Friday, Feb. 12  at the Irvine Barclay Theatre (see below).

Emil Richards

- Feb. 11. (Thurs.)  Emil Richards/Joe Porcaro Quartet.  Vibist/percussionist Richards has played on the soundtracks of nearly 2000 films and TV shows creating such memorable sounds as the the finger snaps on the Addams Family show, the bongos on the original Mission Impossible show and the xylophone on The Simpons.  Here he partners with Porcaro, a veteran of gigs with Gerry Mulligan, Frank Sinatra, Madonna and more.  Backing them, the similarly experienced pianist Mike Lang and bassist Abraham LaborielCharlie O’shttp://www.charlieos.com (919) 994-3058..

- Feb. 11. (Thurs.)  The Paul Kreibich Quartet with guest vocalist Tony GallaA Pre-Valentine’s Day Party.   Drummer Kreibich has been a rhythm section mainstay with Ray Charles, Carmen McRae, Mose Allison and more.  Galla’s lyrical singing harkens back to the days of the great Italian balladeers — a perfect voice for the romance of Valentine’s Day.   The Kreibich Quartet also includes saxophonist Roger Neumann, pianist Marty Harris and bassist Kirk Smith.  The Brasserie Jazz Lounge in the  Crowne Plaza LAX Hotel.  (310) 642-7500.

Ken Peplowski

- Feb. 11 – 14. ( Thurs. – Sun.)  “For the Love of Jazz” Newport Beach Jazz Party. The Southland’s first major jazz event of the year.  Highlights include the Sinatraland Orchestra, Ken Peplowski’s Big Band and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.  Saturday night Valentine’s Dance, Sunday Valentine’s Day Brunch with Bill Henderson and Byron Stripling. The Heath Brothers Quartet. The long list of participants includes Dave Frishberg, Ken Peplowski, Jackie Ryan, Houston Person, Lewis Nash, Rickey Woodard, Holly Hofmann, Bill Cunliffe, Ron Eschete, Tamir Hendelman and dozens of others.  Newport Beach Jazz Party.  (949) 759-5003.

- Feb. 11 – 14 (Thurs. – Sun.) & Feb 18 – 21 (Thurs. – Sun.)  Steve Tyrell.  Catalina’s has become a virtual second home for the American Songbook stylings of the mellow-voiced Tyrell. Catalina Bar & Grill.   (323) 466-2210.

- Feb. 12. (Fri.)  Dave Pell & Med Flory Quintet.  Veteran saxophonists Pell and Flory revive the compelling sounds of an alto and tenor front line.  The Back Room at Henri’s.  (310) 348-5582.

- Feb. 12.  (Fri.)  Masters of Persian Music Kamancheh (spike fiddle) player  Kayhan Kalhor and Hossein Alizadeh, a master of the lute-like tar and setar are joined by classical vocalist Hamid Reza Nourbakhsh in a program of Persian traditional and classical music.  Irvine Barclay Theatre.  (949) 854-4646.

Denise Donatelli

- Feb. 12. (Fri.)  Denise Donatelli. Always a pleasure to hear, Donatelli is at her best when she’s in a superlative musical setting.  As she is here, with pianist Otmaro Ruiz, bassist Hamilton Price and drummer Aaron Serfaty. Spazio.   (818) 728-8400.

- Feb. 12 – 13.  (Fri & Sat.) Adam Rudolph and the Go: Organic Orchestra. Adventurous percussionist/composer Rudolph presents an evening of cutting edge music, performed by a remarkable, 26-piece enssemble of winds, percussion and strings.  Electric Lodge, Venice.   (310) 306-1854.

- Feb. 12 – 13. (Fri. & Sat.).  La Traviata.  Teatro Lirico D’Europa perform Verdi’s tragic opera of frustrated love and selfless sacrifice.  In Italian with English supertitles.  Cerritos Center.  (582) 916-8501.

- Feb. 12 – 13. (Fri. & Sat.)  Alex Acuna. The versatile drummer/percussionist celebrates the release of his “Jungle City” CD leading a Weather Report-styled trio (with keyboardist Jan Gunnar Hoff and bassist Per Mathisen).  Vitello’s (818) 769-0905.

- Feb. 13. (Sat.)  Tessa Souter.  English jazz vocalist — by way of New York City — brings her engaging interpretation of standards and jazz classics to a Jazz Bakery Moveable Feast. She’s backed by Jason Ennis, guitar, Hamilton Price, bass, Kevin Kanner, drums.  To read an iRoM review of Souter’s last L.A. appearance, click here. Ivy Substation, Venice.  Jazz Bakery.   (310) 271-9039.

Katja Rieckermann

- Feb. 13. (Sat.)  Katja Rieckermann Quartet.  The German tenor saxophonist has been touring and recording with Rod Stewart for the past several years. Her resume also includes gigs with, among others, Al Green, Carole King, Reba McEntire, Tom Scott and Randy Newman. Vibrato Grill Jazz… etc.   (310) 474-9400.

- Feb. 14. (Sun.)  Gershwin Sings GershwinAlexis Gershwin and the Harry James Tribute Band.  A chance to hear Gershwin songs performed by a singer in the direct lineage.  Alexis is the niece of George and Ira Gershwin.   Cerritos Center.   (582) 916-8501.

San Francisco

- Feb. 9. (Tues.) Maria Volonte.  The sweet-voiced singer/guitarist from Argentina begins with classic tango, expanding it into musical visions of her own.  The Rrazz Room.   (415) 394-1189.

- Feb. 12 – 14. (Fri. – Sun.)  Mavis Staples.  No one finds the heart of gospel in rhythm and blues as impressively as the still mesmerizing veteran of the Staples Singers.   Yoshi’s Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

New York

Gerald Clayton

- Feb. 9 – 14. (Wed. – Sun.) The Gerald Clayton Trio.  Pianist Clayton, now in his mid-twenties, has been one of the most electrifying young jazz talents since he was still a teen-ager.  And he keeps gettng better.  He performs with Joe Sanders, bass and Justin Brown, drums.  Village Vanguard.  (212) 255-4037.

- Feb. 9 – 14. (Wed. – Sun.)  The David Sanborn Quartet featuring Joey DeFancesco. Call this pairing the perfect combination for finding the heart of the blues in contemporary jazz.   The Blue Note.  (212) 475-8592.

- Feb. 10. (Thurs.)  Steve Kuhn and Ravi Coltrane Duo.  Veteran pianist Kuhn once created magic with John Coltrane.  Now he’s recalling the formula with the elder Coltrane’s gifted saxophone-playing son.   Jazz Standard.   (212) 576-2232.

Hilary Kole

- Feb. 10 – 14. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Hilary Kole.  Kole’s singing reaches well beyond the usual vocal interpretations of standard songs.  In her gifted hands, they are transformed into compelling new musical short stories.  To read an iRoM review of Kole’s recent L.A. appearance click here.   Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

- Feb. 11 – 14. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Rene Marie.  Marie has been an utterly unique jazz vocalist, insisting upon doing a song her own way, since she first arrived on the scene a decade ago.   Jazz Standard. (212) 576-2232.


Feb. 11 – 14 (Thurs. – Sun.)  Mindi Abair.  Contemporary jazz saxophonist Abair has a track record reaching from the Backstreet Boys and Josh Groban to Lee Ritenour and Keb’ Mo’, producing a series of Top 10 hits on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz charts.  As if that wasn’t enough, she also plays the flute, sings and writes songs.  Jazz Alley.   (206) 441-9729.

Washington, D.C.

- Feb. 11 – 14. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Jerry “The Ice Man” Butler.  Butler, the original lead singer in the Impressions, now divides his time between his still-potent, still-cool singing, and his  political activities  as a Cook County [Illinois] Board Commissioner    Blues Alley.   (202) 337-4141.


- Feb. 11 – 16.  (Thurs. – Tues.)  Sauti Za Busara Zanzibar.   An international festival celebrating East African music.  The long list of artists includes performers from South Africa, Senegal, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Egypt, Suriname, Uganda, Zanzibar and beyond.  Admission is free to all East African residents before 5 p.m. Tel: 255 24 223 2423.  Sauti Za Busara Zanzibar.

Picks of the Week: Dec. 14 – 20

December 14, 2009

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

- Dec. 14. (Mon.) Larry Goldings and Anthony Wilson. The launch of Organ Night at Vitello’s and it’s hard to think of a pair of players who could do it better. Red Carpet Jazz Serries. Upstairs at Vitellos. (818) 769-0905.

Andy Williams

- Dec. 14 – 16. . (Mon. – Wed.) An Andy Williams Christmas It doesn’t exactly harken back to “Father Knows Best,” but it comes close. Still, sentimentality comes into its own during the holidays, and Williams has always done it well. The Cerritos Center. (562) 916-8501.

- Dece. 15. (Tues.) Pete Christlieb’s Small and Tall Band Christileb (Tall) and his wife, trombonist Linda (Small) are at it again with their swinging little band. Spazio. (818) 728-8400.

- Dec. 16. (Wed.) Inner Voices. Julie Delgado, soprano; Sheri Izzard, tenor; Michael Mishaw, baritone; Morgan Ames, alto/arranger and Shelby Flint, soprano bring their exquisite harmonies and extraordinary vocal skills to an irresistible collection of Christmas classics. Red Carpet Jazz Serries. Upstairs at Vitellos. (818) 769-0905.

- Dec. 17. (Thurs.) Dewey Erney and the Ron Eschete Trio. Veteran vocalist Ernie teams up with the superb backing of Eschete to survey some of the classics from the American Songbook. Crown Plaza Brasserie Lounge. (310) 642-7500.

- Dec, 17, (Thurs.) Denise Donatelli. The warm voice and atmospheric stylings of Donatelli place her in the top group of singers who should be heard at every opportunity. Red Carpet Jazz Serries. Upstairs at Vitellos. (818) 769-0905.

Mike Stern

- Dec.. 17 – 20. (Thurs. – Sun.) Mike Stern Quartet. w. Dave Weckl, Randy Brecker and Tom Kennedy. A quartet of players who skim easily from imaginative mainstream to hard grooving blues and funk. Catalina Bar & Grill (323) 466-2210.

- Dec. 18. (Fri.) The Cunninghams. The veteran duo, with Don on vocals, vibes and percussion and Alicia on vocals keep alive the Jackie and Roy tradition of engaging, bop-tinged vocal stylings.. The Culver Club in the Radisson Hotel Los Angeles Westside. (310) 649-1776.

- Dec. 18 & 19. (Fri. & Sat.) Ozomatli. The classic L.A. band, blending jazz, salsa, funk, reggae and hip hop into a brew that could only have come from the Southland’s simmering cultural melting pot. Club Nokia.

Renee Olstead

- Dec. 19. (Sat.) “The Nutcracker Swings: A Cool Jazz Christmas.” A benefit concert for the Pasadena Jazz Institute featuring the Pasadena Jazz Orchestra, Red Whige & Bluezz All Stars, Sacred Nation Gospel Choir, the P.J. Junior Super Stars, with special appearances by Victor Vener, Sylvia St. James, James Torme and Renee Olstead. The Pasadena Convention Center. (213) 765-7000

- Dec. 19. (Sat.) Bobbi Page & Dream Street. With an instrumentation that includes cello, violin, bassoon, guitar, bass percussion and the lush vocal sounds of Bobbi Paige Dream Street produces an irresistibly romantic blend of acoustic sounds. Red Carpet Jazz Serries. Upstairs at Vitellos. (818) 769-0905.

- Dec. 19. (Sat.) Mike Melvoin Trio. Pianist Melvoin’s playing never fails to be intriguing, but it always seems to peak when he’s in the company of regular companions Tony Dumas on bass and Ralph Penland on drums. Don’t miss this opportunity. Spazio. (818) 728-8400.

- Dec. 20. (Sun.) John Campbell/Pat Senatore Duo. Pianist Campbell and bassist Senatore, a pair of versatile players, experienced with every imaginative style, come together to produce their own uniquely appealing sounds. Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

San Francisco

Charlie Hunter

- Dec. 15 – `17 (Tues. – Thurs.) and 18 – 20. (Fri. – Sun.) Charlie Hunter. Guitarist Hunter leads his quintet in his “10th Anniversary Home For The Holidays” program. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Doug Wamble joins him at the San Franicsco dates. Yoshi’s San Francisco. (415) 655-5600. Tues. – Thurs. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200. Fri. – Sun.)

- Dec. 16 – 17. (Wed. – Thurs.) Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra and the Pacific Boys Choir. Bassist Shelby backs the talented young singers of the Grammuy-winning PBC in an engaging program of holiday music. Yoshi’s Oakland. (510) 238-9200

New York

Roy Haynes

- Dec. 15 – 19. (Tues. – Sat.) Roy Haynes “Fountain of Youth” Band. Given his ever vital drumming, Haynes undoubtedly knows more about the Fountain of Youth than most people. Go hear him demonstrate it in person. Birdland. (212) 581-3080.

- Dec. 15 – 20. (Tues. – Sun.) The Cedar Walton Trio. For decades one of jazz’s A-list pianists, Walton is always a pleasure to hear when he’s on his own, working his way through his intriguing compositions. He appears with David Williams, bass and Willie Jones III, drums. Village Vanguard. (212) 255-4037.

- Dec. 15 – 20. (Tues. – Sun.) The Music of Lucky Thompson. The sound of the star-crossed saxophonist – still one of the bop era’s under-appreciated icons – performed by Eric Reed, piano, Victor Goines, tenor saxophone, Reuben Rogers, bass, Rodney Green, drums. Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola. (212) 258-9800.

Chris Botti

- Dec. 15 – Jan. 3. Chris Botti. Trumpeter Botti’s playing deservedly draws a crowd. But this time out he’s setting remarkable new attendance records, with a three week, seven-days-a-week residency, including Christmas and New Year’s Eve. If you can still find a ticket, grab it. The Blue Note. (212) 475-8592

- Dec. 17 – 20. (Thurs. – Sun.) Steve Wilson Ensemble. Always opened to new conceptual ideas, altoist Wilson ‘s “The Zawinul Project” explores the far-reaching compositions of the late, great keyboardist. With Jeremy Pelt, trumpet, Danny Grissett, piano, Ugonna Okegwo, bass, Lewis Nash, drums. The Jazz Standard. (212) 447-7733.


- Dec. 19 & 20. (Sat. & Sun.) The Peterson Family . Three generations of the Peterson clan – whose members have performed with everyone from Prince and Bob Dylan to Dave Sanborn, Donny Osmond and Anita Baker (to name only a few). They celebrate their 22nd year of holiday performances as a family, led by the piano of eighty-something matriarch Jeanne Arland Peterson. The Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant. Minneapolis. (612) 332-5299.


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