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Polyrhythmically Diverse 

Gabriel Alegría Afro-Peruvian Sextet and other picks

Wednesday, Feb 28 2007
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Trumpeter Alegría and his crew bring a new kind of fusion.

Peruvian trumpeter Gabriel Alegría’s fine Nuevo Mundo mixes straight-ahead jazz and subtle Afro-Peruvian polyrhythms (think classic Miles and Susanna Baca’s criollo sounds). At REDCAT he’ll front his all-Peruvian sextet, with tenor sax, guitar, bass, drums and Freddy “Huevito” Lobatón on some distinctly Peruvian percussion, including cajon (a wooden box), quijada (a donkey’s jaw, scraped) and zapateo criollo (percussive dancing). It will be a fascinating glimpse into how jazz is fusing with regional music around the world. The group plays Wed., March 7, 8:30 p.m.; tickets are $20 ($16 students). (213) 237-2800.

Local jazz fans remember Ludvig Girdland, the very talented violinist from Sweden. Tragically injured last year by a drunken driver, he’s now unable to speak or play. Former bandmates — including the highly expressive pianist Josh Nelson — will perform at this combination fund-raiser and tribute-CD release party to help pay the medical bills. Standing in for Girdland is impassioned NYC jazz-violin virtuoso Christian Howes (check out christianhowes.com for his story). This will be a bittersweet, beautiful and hard-swinging event. At Pierre’s Fine Pianos, 11039 W. Pico Blvd., W.L.A., on Sat., March 3. The $35 donation includes a CD; for more info, e-mail george@risingjazzstars.com.

And the United Trombone Summit is here. Composed of the great Slide Hampton (pick up Mellow-dy if you can find it), Steve Turre (check out his brilliant Steve Turre album for some great ’bone and conch blowing) and young Andrae Murchison, the group plays the Jazz Bakery Fri.-Sun., March 2-4. Across town, Zane Musa blows some intense alto sax (and a little soprano) at Charlie O’s, Sat., March 3, while baritones Adam Schroeder and Jack Nimitz duel at Sangria, Wed., March 7. Rhode Island red-hot alto and tenor Greg Abate makes a West Coast appearance at Crowne Plaza on Thurs., March 8. And pianist Otmaro Ruiz brings his imaginative takes on jazz and South American rhythms to the Baked Potato on Wed., March 7 — a perfect nightcap after Gabriel Alegría at REDCAT.

Singer Mark Miller’s Dreamer With a Penny is a real charmer; check him out (with pianist Jane Getz and amazing bassist Jennifer Leitham) at Il Moro, Fri., March 2. The always-entertaining Cross Hart Jazz Experience brings some fine young singers into the act at Charlie O’s, Wed., March 7. And one of the great vocalists, Kurt Elling, begins a stint at Catalina on Thurs., March 8.

Finally, the downtown loft scene should dig the subdued eclecticism of Wayne Horvitz & Sweeter Than the Day at Cafe Metropol, Fri.-Sat., March 2-3. But if the hipsters want more fire, there’s bassist Richard Giddens’ group with outstanding saxist Matt Otto and NYC drummer Tomas Fujiwara at Land on 2nd Street on Mon., March 5.

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