By Devon “Doc” Wendell Tony Gieske was right there amongst the greats that I grew up worshiping. He had photographed, Interviewed, or reviewed the masters like John Coltrane, Lee Morgan, Thelonious Monk, and Dizzy Gillespie to name just a few. His stellar career spanned over half a century. As a student at NYU, I used… Read More An Appreciation: Devon Wendell and Don Heckman Remember Tony Gieske
By Tony Gieske Billy Childs comes right out and admits it: He was inspired by Laura Nyro. He liked her collaboration with Alice Coltrane on Christmas and the Beads of Sweat. And so he formed the Jazz Chamber Ensemble, which also has at its nucleus, piano, acoustic guitar, and harp. A version of this he… Read More Live Jazz: The Billy Childs Jazz Chamber Ensemble at Vitello’s
By Tony Gieske I’d like to thank a guy on YouTube who saved me the trouble of thinking up a lead for this review of Phil Upchurch’s set at Vitello’s the other night. “One of the few guitarists to take really scary chances when playing and leave you on the edge of your seat,” the… Read More Live Jazz: Phil Upchurch and Sonya Maddox-Upchurch at Vitello’s
By Tony Gieske It’s a Churchillian task to write about Nellie McKay‘s performance Saturday at Catalina’s. There she stood in all her Debbie Reynolds-ness, offering a figurative “blood, toil, tears and sweat,” among other exudations, in a skit that rivalled the works of Imogene Coca, Fran Leibowitz, Dorothy Parker, Fran Landesman or Alice Ghostley, with… Read More Live Music: Nellie McKay at Catalina Bar & Grill
By Tony Gieske No need to add encomia to the already overloaded resume of the great Jane Harvey, who transformed Catalina’s into a hip little branch of the Apple the other night. She probably could have gotten by with just singing her resume, this lady. (Lorraine Feather could have written the music.) Harvey might have… Read More Live Jazz: Jane Harvey at Catalina Bar & Grill
By Tony Gieske You wouldn’t figure that an event honoring the late Billy Higgins would have drawn a full house to Catalina’s on a Sunday night. We here in musician-creamy Los Angeles understand that Higgins — always smiling! — was the go-to guy if you wanted to record with a cat who was there mainly… Read More Live Jazz: KPFK 90.7’s First Annual Hero Award Tribute to Billy Higgins at Catalina Bar & Grill
By Tony Gieske Let’s talk about that undermeditated topic, lighting. The lighting at Vibrato’s voluminous listening room, for instance, is without stain and healthy, which is to say clean and well. Equally clean and well lighted, if you’ll forgive the segue, was the Steve Huffsteter big band, a precision ensemble that played the room last… Read More Live Jazz: The Steve Huffsteter Big Band at Vibrato Grill Jazz…etc.