Brick's Picks: David Arnay Performs A Charlie Brown Christmas Live 

Wednesday, Dec 17 2008

Charlie O’s has a solid seven straight nights of killer jazz music this week, every one a pick. If you can manage to do all your shopping in the vicinity of Victory and Woodman, you can just kinda pop in on your way home every night. (There’s a 7-Eleven nearby, a liquor store, always a yard sale or two in the area — that should work.) It kicks in hard with tenor Ernie Watts on Friday; if you’ve heard his latest, the live To ThePoint, you know what’s in store. On Saturday, tenor Pete Christlieb takes over with that shiny horn of his and blows solid, swinging stuff. (His classic, Apogee, is a terrific stocking stuffer.) On the Sabbath cometh Benn Clatworthy, a player who wanders off the blues map as often as not, looking over edges, soloing through unknown territories, smacking into unseen walls. Check out The Decider, a succinct display of his chops. For Big Band Monday they brought in the great Med Flory’s JazzWave, whose massed brass and reeds playing Bird solos they render into large ensemble arrangements without dropping the tempo an iota. On Tuesday it goes deep again, with Theo Saunders’ quintet, built around his imaginative Monkish-McCoy-flavored constructions, which let soloists go some serious places. Great jazz. The trumpet players wind up the week with Jack Sheldon on the night before Christmas and Carl Saunders grinching up Christmas night itself.

But there’s plenty of jazz around town at the other spots, too. The ClaytonBrothers (with trumpeter Terrell Stafford) conclude their Jazz Bakery stand this Friday and Saturday. Also Friday at the Pasadena Jazz Institute (in the Paseo Colorado), pianist David Arnay puts together a quartet for his annual take on Vince Guaraldi’s ACharlie Brown Christmas. Out in Sierra Madre on Friday the hard charging Donavan-Muradian Quintet do their monthly rave-up at Cafe 322, with trumpeter Kye Palmer and tenor Chuck Manning feeding off the energy of each other’s solos. In Hollywood on Saturday, guitarist Bruce Forman is with the Matt Cory Trio at the Foundry. We love the spot, and Forman makes jazz guitar especially exciting. On Sunday at the Baked Potato it’s 3ish, another of the oddly dubbed outfits that emerges periodically from the richly talented ranks of the LA Jazz Collective. This one features saxist Matt Otto (whose sound of late is a real fave around here) with bassist Ryan McGillicuddy and drummer Jason Harnell. In between those two, the groove will be very nice — and doubtless spacey as well. On Monday, pianist Otmaro Ruiz is at Spazio with his quartet. He’s a stunning player, a daring composer and never fails to get the most out of his soloists as they grapple with the rhythmic complexities of his Pan-American inspirations. Very exciting stuff.

If you swingers can swing it cash-wise, take the family to see the Count Basie Orchestra’s Christmas concert at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on Monday. It’ll be family-friendly and heavy on the brass. So Merry Xmas to all you jazzbos. Remember: Keep the music hot and the eggnog loaded, and everyone’ll be happy.

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(Brick can be reached at brickjazz@yahoo.com.)

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