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Brick's Picks: Never Mind the Oogie Oogies, Here's Positootly 

Thursday, Jan 6 2011
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Ya know, we've been dissing the Grammys for a long time, probably since "Boogie Oogie Oogie" back in 1979. "Boogie Oogie Oogie." We feel like an idiot just typing it, yet the NARAS folks decided it was the greatest thing ever in 1979. Maybe you had to be there.

But check out the jazz nominees that year. Thad Jones, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Dexter Gordon, Al Cohn, Woody Shaw, Phil Woods, Stan Getz, Oscar Peterson, Sarah Vaughan, Eddie Jefferson, Tito Puente, Eddie Palmieri, Mongo — you get the idea. Heavy cats. The jazz Grammys used to mean something real. And still do this year. We have no idea who votes for these things (rumor has it they're somewhere deep in the Vatican), but we're digging most of the stuff they selected this year, little of which is smooth jazz.

Our personal fave, though, has to be John Beasley's Positootly, which has been spinning in our player for ages. It's a killer. Had we bothered to assemble a Best of 2010 list like real critics do, Positootly would have been on it, near the top. And we've been knocked out by Beasley's playing for a long time, as a leader or comping behind others — since we first saw him at Charlie O's ages ago. So we're really amped about his Blue Whale gig on Saturday. He has saxist Bennie Maupin aboard, and the interplay between these two should make for some deep and wild and soulful improvisation. They'll no doubt be performing material off the album, and their stretching will leave a mark on you for a long time. Be there.

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You could be at the Blue Whale all week, in fact. Friday has the young piano phenom Austin Peralta (whom you see regularly in the hothouse jazz jams at the Foundry on Melrose), while on Wednesday it's the little-known (but not for long) drummer Tina Raymond's 3TET with wonderful tenor saxist Matt Otto. On Thursday there's the exceptional quartet of drummer Jason Harnell, guitarist Larry Koonse, pianist Larry Goldings and bassist Ryan McGillicuddy.

Charlie O's is great all week, too. Tenor fans will dig Louis Van Taylor on Friday. He plays seriously hard bop. So does the great Rickey Woodard, there on Saturday. Both are backed by the John Heard Trio. Beloved guitarist Barry Zweig has quite a quartet on Monday with pianist Llew Matthews, bassist Luther Hughes and drummer Kevin Kanner. On Wednesday it's the terrific alto/soprano Zane Musa, and on Thursday it's the solid, inspired, excellent Henry Franklin Quartet. A very good week for both joints.

You'll see some of those guys across town this week, too: Matt Otto and Jason Harnell join guitarist Jamie Rosenn for a Joe-less Shoe gig at the Baked Potato on Sunday; Larry Koonse is this week's guest at John Pisano's Guitar Night on Tuesday at Vitello's; and on Thursday Louis Van Taylor is at the Crowne Plaza LAX (with pianist Llew Matthews), the same night that Pat Senatore, God bless him, has taken a chance and booked Tina Raymond's 3TET into Vibrato on Thursday. If you're down Hermosa way, fired-up tenor Doug Webb is at the Lighthouse.

Extraordinary vocalist Dwight Trible has his quartet at the KRST Unity Center of African Spiritual Science (7825 South Western Ave., at 78th Place) at 7 p.m. on Saturday, and on Sunday he'll be performing a benefit for the World Stage at the Bryant Temple AME (2525 West Vernon Ave.) 5-6:30 p.m. Each has a $20 cover. Either gig is highly recommended.

We just heard that the passionate, Trane-inspired tenor Azar Lawrence is at the Seabird Lounge (730 E. Broadway in Long Beach) on Saturday. There's a cover. And at the Royal/T in Culver City (8910 Washington Blvd.) on Wednesday at 8 p.m., it's the Daniel Rosenboom Septet (trumpeter Rosenboom with Gavin Templeton, Brian Walsh and Vinny Golia on all manner of woodwinds, plus bassist Dominic Thiroux and drummer Caleb Dolister). You know that'll be edgy and wild and jazz.

On Wednesday at the Royal/T it's pianist Vicky Ray & the Eclipse Quartet performing Morton Feldman's Piano and String Quartet. You know that'll be weird or arty or something. Stanley Clarke will be performing at the Musicians Institute (1655 N. McCadden Place, Hollywood, 323-337-9042) on Saturday, 8 p.m. It's free, we believe, but don't be so damn cheap and cough up a donation, since it benefits his scholarship fund and many of you used to listen to Spectrum when you were young and longhaired and stoned (last summer?).

And movie stars don't really need a plug from us, but Andy Garcia and the CineSon All Stars kick out a classic Cuban jam session at Catalina's on Saturday. Players include Danilo Lozano, Alberto Salas, Orestes Vilato, Justo Almario and loads of others. We saw a lot of these players, including Garcia, at an Orestes Vilato gig in the same room a year or so back and they kicked ass. In clave, even.

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

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