Here, There & Everywhere: A Weekend at Vitello’s

November 13, 2013

By Don Heckman

Studio City, CA. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. An evening of well prepared Italian food, fine wine and even finer music at Vitello’s is a great way to experience world class jazz.

And this past weekend offered a superb opportunity to all that and more. On Friday night by the Bill Holman big band, on Saturday by the stellar musical combination of singer Lee Hartley, the iconic veteran keyboardist Les McCann and the Alphonse Mouzan band, and on Sunday by jazz vocalist Judy Wexler.

Start with the Bill Holman Band. As always for a Holman gig, the stage was overflowing with a collection of the Southland’s finest players. Not surprising, since the appeals of Holman’s superb charts are a virtually irresistible drawing point that always attracts the best musicians.

For this performance, there was an even more tempting aspect – one that undoubtedly appealed to both players and listeners. What was it? It was an opening set devoted to Holman’s memorable arrangements of Thelonious Monk tunes first heard on the Holman Grammy Award-winning album Brilliant Corners: The Music of Thelonious Monk.

Bill Holman conducts his band

Bill Holman conducts his band

The results were extraordinary, and fully apparent to anyone who’s heard the album. From the classic Monk ballad, “Round Midnight” to the title track and the swinging “Rhythm-A-Ning” to the driving blues of “Straight No Chaser” the music unfolded with one marvelous jazz episode after another.

Bill Holman

Bill Holman

As if that wasn’t enough, Holman finished the set with some equally sterling charts of originals and standards – like the Monk tunes, brought to life with vividly creative intensity. Bottom line, Holman once again displayed his mastery of the big band format that is the virtual symphonic ensemble of 20th and 21st century American music.

Regrettably, I couldn’t make it to the Lee Hartley Saturday night show. And the loss was mine. I’d heard Lee Hartley sing before on an earlier Vitello’s show with Les McCann, and every note was worth hearing. To check out my review of that performance click HERE. Unfortunately I haven’t heard Alphonse Mouzon’s band in a long time. I’ll have to make up for that on a future gig.

Judy Wexler

Judy Wexler

Sunday night’s performance was a creatively textured appearance by singer Judy Wexler, in which the diminutive but musically gifted jazz vocalist presented a selection of songs from her latest album “What I See.” Backed by the solid accompaniment of a seven piece band that included trumpeter Ron Stout, trombonist Scott Whitfield, guitarist Larry Koonse, pianist Jeff Colella, bassist Chris Colangelo and drummer Steve Hass. She emphasized the far-reaching aspects of her interpretive versatility in a program of songs written by or associated with the likes of King Pleasure, Benny Carter, Rickie Lee Jones, Richie Havens. And she made the most it all, balancing her well-developed skills as an actress with her equally impressive musical way with a song.

* * * * * * **

Photos by Faith Frenz.

Here, There & Everywhere: Jazz at the Federal

April 23, 2012

This post is part of the Jazz Journalists Association’s international “Blogathon.”

By Don Heckman

It’s always a significant event when a new room for jazz opens. Whether it’s small or large, daily or weekly, it’s still something to acknowledge, at a time when existing music venues are struggling to survive and new arrivals are in short supply.

So I was glad to be part of an enthusiastic crowd at the Federal Bar and Restaurant in North Hollywood’s NoHo district last Wednesday, when April Williams kicked off her Jazz at the Federal. In its beginning stages, it will only be scheduled for Wednesday nights, But given the success that hard-working April has had with her Upstairs at Vitello’s jazz programs, it’s a fair expectation that she’ll do similarly well with her Federal programs. At least one hopes so.

Underscoring her desire to program first rate jazz – ranging from big bands and straight ahead jazz to funk and TK – the opening night headliner was the Bob Sheppard’s stellar quintet, with the leader on soprano and tenor saxophones, John Beasley on piano and keyboards, Tim Lefebvre on bass and Steve Hass on drums.

The program ranged from Sheppard originals to a line by Freddie Hubbard (once an employer of both Sheppard and Beasley), And the ensemble interaction during the more intricately arranged passages was first rate. But the musical focus of the evening had less to do with complex charts than with some prime, showcase playing from the two principal soloists, Sheppard and Beasley.  World class players with impressive resumes, both have enhanced the bands of leaders with far broader visibility. But each can stand on his own – as they did this night – as avid improvisational adventurers. And with the equally intrepid support of Lefebvre and Hass the musical expeditions journeyed through one fascinating musical territory after another.

All this took place in the Federal’s large, high ceilinged second floor – a space alternately recalling a Greenwich Village jazz club of the ’60s and a timeless French cellar bistro. Although the brick walls and exposed beams tended to muddy low tones somewhat, it was a problem that sound reinforcement can resolve. Otherwise, the room is an amiable audio location.

When April Williams begins to present her continuing shows in May, Jazz at the Federal will begin to establish itself as the jazz destination it has all potential for becoming. The schedule forecast includes Arturo Sandoval’s 20 piece big band, the jazz funk of Bernie Dressel’s supercharged instrumental/vocal band, Bern, and Grammy winning Gordon Goodwin’s 18 piece Big Phat Band.

Only time – and the audiences – will tell, of course, but the future of Jazz at the Federal looks promising. Let’s hope the room and its programs become well attended additions to the rich diversity of jazz in Los Angeles.

For more information about April Williams’ Jazz at the Federal, click HERE.


Live Music: Billy Childs Jazz-Chamber Ensemble at Vitello’s

April 2, 2012

By Don Heckman

Once upon a time there was something called Third Stream.  No one agreed on exactly what it was, but almost everyone had an opinion about it.  The most common consensus was that Third Stream was a new kind of music, one that combined elements of jazz and classical music.  Two streams blending in a Third Stream.  Get it?’

But most of the time the blending seemed to go awry.  A big, thick-textured classical segment would slowly be superseded by a walking jazz bass.  Improvisation would break out for a while, and then more classical textures returned. Two Streams flowing along, sometimes intermingling, more often not.  Maybe that’s why Third Stream faded into the distant horizon, one of the obscure byways in the obscure histories of both the other Streams.

Why all this looking back?  Because of the performance by pianist/composer Bill Childs’ Jazz-Chamber Ensemble at Vitello’s Saturday night.  The very name of the ensemble suggests a possible connection with Third Stream.  But only in name alone.  Because Childs’ works represented one of the rare examples of what Third Stream might have been, maybe should have been.  And even that association doesn’t accurately describe the extraordinary qualities of music that accepts no fixed definitions, no limitations of genre — music that was expressive only of the far reaching imaginations of the composer and the players.

Billy Childs

In addition to the impressive program of Childs’ works, that task was accomplished superbly by the Jazz-Chamber Ensemble players – guitarist Larry Koonse, saxophonist/flutist Bob Sheppard, harpist Carol Robbins, bassist Hamilton Price and drummer Steve Hass, with the additional aid of the Calder String Quartet.

Most of the music traced to a pair of recent Childs albums, Jazz- Chamber Music, Vol. 1. Lyric and Autumn: In Moving Pictures Jazz-Chamber Music Vol. 2 , each of which contained a Grammy-winning composition.  Opening with a unique recasting of Bill Evans’ “Waltz For Debby” (featuring rich, articulate soloing from harpist Robbins), the program proceeded to include such idiosyncratically titled Childs compositions as “Man Chasing the Horizon,” “The Red Wheelbarrow” and “Hope, in the Face of Despair” as well as a work commissioned by the Monterey Jazz Festival and another unique arrangement, this time of the traditional English ballad, “Scarborough Faire.”

Words fail in an effort to describe the complexities and the subtleties of Childs’ musical imagination, which is far-reaching.  But several aspects in this performance should be mentioned.  The first harkens back to my original comment about Third Stream music.  Child’s works did not simply place genres side by side.  Instead, they found a common creative ground reminiscent of Rumi’s “community of the spirit.”

Similarly, Childs also chose his own way of dealing with elements from both genres.  His approach to unusual meters, for example, always followed the path of rich musicality.  Instead of pounding out a repeated 7/4, 9/4 or whatever, his metric shifts were organic, never arbitrary, flowing and shifting through a piece as part of its inner tapestry.  The propulsion of Price and Hass, brilliantly linking rhythmic foundations with rhythmic movement, was essential to that process.

Add, as well, the visual and emotional components that were inherent to Childs’ musical conceptualizing.  If any label applies to much of his music, it’s one that he himself favors – contemporary impressionism, a view that is often underscored by the titles he chooses for his works, as well as by their atmospheric visual imagery.

Equally important, there was the interfacing between improvisation and through-composed sections.  With superb improvisers such as Koonse and Sheppard — as well as his own inventive playing — soaring through the composed tonal densities of the Calder Quartet players, Childs succeeded thoroughly in his quest to create music with the capacity to come alive, in a constantly changing form, in every performance.

But don’t call it Third Stream.  Just call it great.

* * * * *

Billy Childs photo by Tony Gieske.

Live Jazz: Janis Siegel at Vitello’s

September 25, 2011

By Don Heckman

Janis Siegel was back at Vitello’s Friday night, a little more than a year since her last gig at the Studio City jazz spot.  And it was a welcome return.  Although her extraordinary vocal skills have been on display for decades with the Manhattan Transfer, her solo performances have been rare – too rare.

She was backed – as she was a year ago – by the flawless support of pianist Alan Pasqua, bassist Darek Oles and drummer Steve Hass, offering a set of tunes that mixed familiar standards with lesser known, but always compelling material.  The choices were the selections of an ever-curious creative imagination, searching for songs that allowed full rein to her superb interpretive skills.

Siegel opened, for example, with Lorraine Feather’s wryly humorous “I Know the Way to Brooklyn.”  The result was win-win: an opportunity for Siegel to display her sardonic side; and a message to listeners to check out more songs from Feather’s delightful catalog of works.

Another, similarly offbeat selection – “A Small Day Tomorrow” – came from the inimitable Bob Dorough.  And the bruised mercies of Susan Werner’s “I Can’t Be New” was an additional example of Siegel’s ability to find and interpret unusual material from seemingly unlikely sources.  Then, with perfect programming timing, she followed with the classic “This Is New” by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin.

Siegel’s equally admirable capacity to find the heart of a standard was on full display with “I Hear Music” – done in unusual fashion as a sultry ballad – and a pair of equally familiar items, “Close Your Eyes” and “You Don’t Know What Love Is” performed with the sole accompaniment of Oles’ rich and supple bass sounds.

As if that collection of atmospheric readings wasn’t enough, Siegel also slipped on her scat singing cap from time to time, most notably with “Jeepers Creepers,” a groove-driven “The Man I Love” and a trumpet simulation on “Gee Baby, Ain’t I Good To You.”  And, for once, it was a pleasure to hear a vocalist improvising inventive, swinging scat lines that actually charted the harmonies of a tune, rather than simply skimming the white notes.

Impressive, all of it.  The work of someone who brings so much mastery of craft to everything she sings, that her expressive spotlight can focus, unerringly, upon the music itself.  Like last year’s performance, this was a memorable event.  Let’s hope that another year doesn’t have to pass before Siegel returns with a mesmerizing,  new evening of song for Southland jazz fans.

To check out the iRoM review of Janis Siegel’s 2010 appearance at Vitello’s click HERE.

Live Jazz: Judy Wexler at Vitello’s

August 7, 2011

Judy Wexler’s Jazz and Wistful Romance Warm Vitello’s

By Norton Wright

Judy Wexler, a diminutivel 4’10” package of big singing talent wow’d a rapt and sold-out audience at Vitello’s on Saturday night reprising all twelve songs on her latest CD, Under A Painted Sky. It was an emotionally moving evening, for no contemporary songstress does jazz takes on wistful or unrequited love stories like Judy. And her choice of material was both extraordinarily well researched and brave; this Vitello’s evening was not for those expecting a usual boppy romp through the Great American Song Book.

“How High The Moon” was nowhere to be found. Rather, Judy got to us early with Abbey Lincoln’s achingly beautiful composition “And How I Hoped For Your Love,” a gem rarely heard and recounting the poignant tale of love found and then suddenly lost… Soon after, there was a bluesy song by long-forgotten composer/lyicist Sunny Skylar in which an older woman longing for her younger lover, wistfully nudges him on with her plea “Don’t Wait Too Long.”

You are the summer and I am the autumn
Don’t wait too long
Your song’s beginning while mine’s nearly sung
Don’t wait too long

At which point the house realized that it was in for a night of unique jazz and drama. Judy’s selection of songs may occasionally get you weepy, especially if you’re in love — or were once but no longer.

Calling on her early career skills as a stage and TV actress, Judy explores lyrics like a screenwriter finding the heart in his/her screenplay’s dialog — and the story emerges: words and jazz music combined to move the human heart. This Vitello’s evening was like going to the movies at a Laemmle Theater for stories of substance intimately and touchingly told.

And part of Judy’s storytelling was her superb quintet, Alan Pasqua (piano & arrangements), Bob Sheppard (soprano & tenor saxes), Larry Koonse (guitar),  Darek Oles (bass), and Steve Hass (drums). There is such confidence and patience in this band, they play together seamlessly, give one another space to solo, and they support and meld with Judy as only special friends can do. The night’s performance, a tad long at 1 hour and 40 minutes of demanding, almost non-stop singing, was musically whole and satisfying: compelling material, Judy’s warm vocal style, and a quintet that was great to listen to whether backing her or soloing on its own.

Interesting to note the difference between Judy’s live performance at Vitello’s and listening to the same songs on her just-released Under A Painted Sky CD. Her live, Vitello’s performance moved quickly. At ease and comfy with this jazz cabaret crowd, she leavened the evening with some well-selected mood changers like Shirley Horn’s up-tempo “The Great City” with its urgent “Killer Joe”-evoking, piano opening.  And her playful lyric about skinny dipping on a tropical Pacific isle while waiting for “An Occasional Man” was a hoot.

But do take your time listening to Judy’s CD — all of it — in more leisurely fashion to fully experience  emotionally-layered lyrics that merit many, many, many repeated hearings — much like looking at Picasso’s paintings and finding something new every time. Get this Judy Wexler CD and continue discovering — and thanks to Vitello’s for showcasing live versions of the music on the CD so well.

To read a Q & A with Norton Wright in which he discusses his jazz-inspired paintings click HERE.

Picks of the Week: August 2 – 7

August 2, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

– Aug. 2 (Tues.) Yes and Styx. Two of the classic rock franchises — still going strong — team up for a display of some of the archetypal music of the ’70s and ’80s. The Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-5857.

Jessica Molasky and John Pizzarelli

– Aug. 3 – 7. (Wed. – Sun.) John Pizzarelli and Jessica Molasky. Collectively and individually, the married team of singer/guitarist Pizzarelli and vocalist Molasky make for one of the jazz world’s most entertaining acts. Capable of generating the humor of the great husband and wife teams of the past, they also bring a rare blend of musicality to their singing and playing that is uniquely their own. Catalina Bar & Grill. (323) 466-2210.

– Aug. 3 – 7. (Wed. – Sun.) Clarinet Fest 2011. Everything you ever wanted to know about the clarinet, or hear about the clarinet will undoubtedly take place in this large assemblage of programs and seminars. Clarinet ensembles of every stripe will perform.  Among the many highlights are performances on Sunday by the Eddie Daniels Quintet and the Clare Fischer Clarinet Choir. But there are numerous others, from many other parts of the world. Clarinet Fest 2011 in the Valley Performing Arts Center at CalState Northridge.

– Aug. 4. (Thurs.) Ron Kalina’s Birthday Bash. Versatil jazz harmonica player Kalina — who also plays piano, leads a celebratory evening of music to remember. He’s backed by vibist Gino Antonachi, bassist Pat Senatore and drummer Ryan Doyle. Vibrato Jazz Grill…etc.  (310) 474-9400.

– Aug. 4. (Thurs.) Hippiefest. The annual installment of music from the peace, love and rock ‘n’ roll generation returns for the sixth time. The headliners are Dave Mason (Traffic), Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad), Rick Derringer, Felix Cavaliere’s Rascals and Gary Wright. The Greek Theatre.  (323) 665-5857.

– Aug. 4. (Thurs.) Yemen Blues. The Skirball’s always entertaining, free Sunset Concerts continue with an appearance by a band that produces a steaming gumbo of music spiced with elements of jazz, blues, Jewish melodies and African grooves. Don’t plan to sit still when this band starts to kick it. Skirball Center.  (310) 440-4500.

Annie Sellick

– Aug. 6. (Sat.) Annie Sellick. Her bold, assertive style, blended with occasional touches of vulnerability make Sellick an appealing singer — one whose work warrants a wider hearing than she seems to be receiving. Steamers.  (714) 871-8800.

– Aug. 6. (Sat.) Judy Wexler. Critically praised jazz vocalist Wexler celebrates the release of her third CD, Under A Painted Sky, backed by some of the stellar players on the album — pianist/arranger Alan Pasqua, guitarist Larry Koonse, saxophonist Bob Sheppard, bassist Darek Oles and drummer Steve Hass. Vitello’s.  (818) 769-0905.

San Francisco

– Aug 5 – 7. (Fri. – Sun.) Los Van Van. It’s been more than four decades since Juan Formell organized the fusion Cuban band Los Van Van. Expanding on the traditional charanga style, instrumentally as well as the choice of material, he created a band that continues to provide musical thrills at every performance. Yoshis Oakland.  (510) 238-9200.

Turtle Island String Quartet

– Aug. 7. (Sun.) Turtle Island String Quartet. When the Turtle Islanders first posited the notion that the members of a string quartet — if they possessed the right blend of talent and imagination — could play with the creative liberation of a jazz group, it seemed a radical idea. (Despite the fact that their goal also included reviving the improvisation that had been for centuries a fundamental part of classical music as well.) But they’ve made their case convincingly, winning Grammy awards and opening an expressive pathway that more ensembles should explore. Yoshi’s San Francisco.  (415) 655-5600.


Aug. 4 – 7. (Thurs. – Sun.) Bill Frisell. Ever on the trail of another musical idea, Frisell’s Beautiful Dreamers features violinst Eyvind Kang and drummer Rudy Royston in a challenging, but potentially productive musical setting. Jazz Alley.  (206) 441-9729.


Charles McPherson

Aug. 4 – 7. (Thurs. – Sun.) Charles McPherson. It’ll be an evening of Charlie Parker revisited when McPherson steps on stage. But not in an imitative sense. McPherson’s connection with Parker is inspirational, and the results are always musically compelling. Jazz Showcase.  (312) 360-0234.

New York

-Aug. 2 – 4. (Tues. – Thurs.) McCoy Tyner expands his usual trio format to a quintet featuring the two saxophone front line tenorist Ravi Coltrane and alto Gary Bartz. And it’s hard to imagine a more compatible assemblage of world class players. Birdland.  (212) 581-3080.

– Aug. 3. (Wed.) The Center for Improvisational Music. Trumpeter Ralph Alessi, alto saxophonist Tim Berne, pianist Kris Davis, bassist Michael Formanek and drummer Gerald Cleaver — present and former faculty members — celebrate the 10th anniversary of the School for Improvised Music’s pioneering work in the exploration of the art of improvisation. Cornelia St. Cafe.  (212) 989-9319.


Claire Martin

– Aug. 4 (Thurs.) Claire Martin. She’s often described as England’s best jazz singer, which may well be true. But Martin is more than that — a versatile performer with the capacity to find the inner life of whatever she sings in whatever style. She appears with the Richard Rodney Bennett/Bobby Wellins Quartet. Ronnie Scott’s.  020 7439 0747.


– Aug. 2 – 5. (Tues. – Fri.) Joyce with special guest Sergio Santos. Singer/songwriter Joyce — who now occasionally also uses her last name, Moreno, has been a highly visible figure in Brazilian music since the MPB era. Still an engaging performer, she appears here with the gifted guitarist/songwriter/singer Santos, whose talents are still too little known in the U.S. The Blue Note Tokyo.  03-5485-0088.

Picks of the Week: May 24 – 29

May 24, 2011

By Don Heckman

Los Angeles

Gene Harris

– May 24. (Tues.)  A Tribute to Gene Harris.  This is as close as live music gets to the irresistible sounds of the late Gene Harris’   Quartet.  Pianist Bradley Young takes the lead role, backed by a trio of alumni from the original Harris ensemble – Luther Hughes, bass, Paul Kreibich, drums, Frank Potenza, guitar.  Charlie O’s.   (818) 994-3058.

– May 24 – 29. (Tues. – Sun.)  The Royal Danish Ballet. With a history dating back to 1748, the company has longevity and maturity on it side, whether performing classics or new works.  Program I (Tues. & Wed.) features new works by Nordic choreographers.  Program II (Fri. – Sun.) presents a new production of August Bournonville’s classic Napooli.  Segerstrom Center for the Arts.    (714) 556-2787.

– May 25. (Wed.) Bob Sheppard Quartet.  Everyone’s first-call jazz saxophonist steps in the leader’s spotlight for once, backed by the solid playing of  John Beasley, piano, Darek Oles, bass, Steve Hass, drums.  Vitello’s.    (818) 769-0905.

– May 25. (Wed.)  Lisa Hilton. Pianist Hilton’s lyrical, highly personal style has been described by Down Beat magazine as “A deeply expressive style of coaxing sounds from keys.”  Catalina Bar & Grill.  (323) 466-2210.

– May 26. (Thurs.)  Nicholas Payton“Happy 85th Birthday Miles Davis”  Expect to hear some of the great classics of contemporary jazz when trumpeter Peyton celebrates what would have been Miles’ 85th birthday.  A Jazz Bakery Movable Feast at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center.    (310) 271-9039.

Anna Mjoll

– May 27. (Fri.)  Anna Mjoll.  Iceland’s gift to contemporary jazz vocalizing brings her unique style to songs that reach easily across the jazz boundaries.  Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc. (310) 474-9400.

– May 27. (Fri.) Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Experience.  Drummer Bonham leads a dedicated tribute band in a powerful evening of Led Zeppelin songs, accompanied by atmospheric video and light shows.  The Greek Theatre.    (877) 686-5366.

– May 28. (Sat.) War and Tower of Power.  They’re back.  Two of the definitive crossover rockbands of the seventies make their annual Summer appearance at the Greek Theatre. (877) 686-5366.

San Francisco

– May 26. (Thurs.)  Laurie Antonioli.  Singer Antonioli is a rare talent, too rarely seen beyond the Bay area.  She’ll hopefully do material from her recent album, American DreamsFreight & Salvage Coffeehouse, Berkley.   (510) 644-2020.

Rickie Lee Jones

– May 27. (Fri.)  Rickie Lee Jones. Veteran singer/songwriter Jones, a compelling performer for more than three decades, will revisit songs from her debut album, 1979’s Rickie Lee Jones and 1982’s Pirates.  An SFJAZZ Spring Season event at Davis Symphony Hall.   (866) 920-5299.

– May 27 – 29. (Fri. – Sun.)  Hiroshima.  Genre boundaries mean nothing to the versatile members of Hiroshima, who have been blending Asian, Latin and jazz elements for more than three decades.  Yoshi’s Oakland.   (510) 238-9200.

– May 28. (Sat.) Tony Bennett. Still going strong at 84, Bennett’s every performance is a definitive display of how to bring jazz-tinged life to the Great American Songbook.  An SFJAZZ Spring Season event at Davis Symphony Hall.   (866) 920-5299.


– May 24 & 25. (Tues. & Wed.)  Bucky Pizzarelli Trio. The master of the seven string guitar continues, at 85, to provide some object lessons in jazz guitar to younger generations of players (and listeners).   Jazz Alley.   (206) 441-9729.


– May 26 – 29. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Miguel Zenon Quartet. Alto saxophonists, one of the most original saxophone voices of his generation, has already had his impressive skills acknowledged with a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant.  Jazz Showcase.    (312) 360-0234.

 New York

Stanley Clarke

– May 24 – 29. (Tues. – Sun.)  Stanley Clarke.  A bass players’ bassist and musicians’ musician, Clarke, who recently celebrated his 60th birthday brings creative enlightenment to everything he plays.  The Blue Note.    (212) 475-8592.

– May 26 – 29. (Thurs. – Sun.)  Cedar Walton, Javon Jackson, Peter Washington, Lewis Nash.  The list of names tells you all you need to know – that this will be an all-star evening of prime jazz.  Iridium.    (212) 582-2121.

Washington D.C.

– May 26. (Thurs.)  Roseanna Vitro.  Always adventurous, jazz singer Vitro’s latest album, is a creatively convincing exploration of the songs of Randy Newman.  Blues Alley.    (202) 337-4141.


– May 27 & 28. (Fri. & Sat.)  Tania Maria.  Ronnie Scott’s. Veteran Brazilian singer/pianist Tania Maria authentically blends Brazilian rhythms with urban blues and pop, hip-hop and funk.  Ronnie Scott’s.  020 7439 0747.


– May 27. (Fri.) Ron Carter Trio.  The iconic acoustic bassist Carter performs with his superb Golden Striker trio – guitarist Bobby Broom and pianist Mulgrew Miller.   Blue Note Milano.    02 69 01 68 88.


Gretchen Parlato

– May 25. (Wed.)  Gretchen Parlato. One of the most imaginative of the new generation of young singers performs material from her new CD, The Lost and Found. New Morning.

Nagoya, Japan

– May 23. (Mon.)  Cheryl Bentyne.  Taking a break from her Manhattan Transfer chores, singer Bentyne displays her far-reaching jazz vocal skills.  Blue Note Nagoya.    052-961-6311.  To read a recent iRoM review of Cheryl Bentyne click HERE.

Rickie Lee Jones and Stanley Clarke photos by Tony Gieske.


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