Brick's Picks: Just Like It Was in the '30s | Music | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Brick's Picks: Just Like It Was in the '30s 

Thursday, Jul 28 2011
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The 16th annual Central Avenue Jazz Festival is our fave local jazz fest, and it happens this weekend. Saturday highlights include the extraordinary Pan Afrikan People's Arkestra's tribute to Horace Tapscott, the always-awesome tenor Kamasi Washington and The Next Step, and the explosive Pete Escovedo Orchestra. Sunday opens strong with the young Jazz America paying tribute to Buddy Collette, and then Mr. Central Avenue himself, Ernie Andrews, is followed by hard-grooving blues organist Deacon Jones. Next is a very modern take on Brazilian music from Katia Moraes & Sambaguru (with Carlitos del Puerto filling in on bass), and finally the bash's traditional closer, the Gerald Wilson Orchestra. You know how damn good this band is, right? Well, they're likely even better here, just feet away from the Dunbar Hotel where Gerald played with Jimmy Lunceford in the 1930s. Back then the avenue was lined with clubs stocked with incredible music, despite the fact that 51 weeks a year there's no hint any of that ever happened. See centralavejazz.org; the event runs Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., on Central Ave. between 42nd and 43rd, and it's free.

If ya got any legs left Saturday night, get yourself out to Charlie O's for Charles Owens, who blows sax like a madman. Or go up the hill to Vibrato, where tenor Chuck Manning jams with trumpeter John Diversa (whose Contemporary Big Band does the Baked Potato on Sunday). Or head to Café 322 in Sierra Madre, where tenor Doug Webb plays straight-ahead with passion. On Thursday at 5:30, saxist Bob Sheppard does the summer concert thing at Descanso Gardens ($8), while across town that night the great drummer Roy McCurdy's quartet is at the Crowne Plaza. In Glendale, the highly recommended Jazz Legacy with Frank Strazzieri do Jax.

Extraordinary pianist Tigran Hamasayan shares the bill at California Plaza on Saturday night with Armenia's exceptional Shoghaken Ensemble. Tigran's set will be solo for the most part; an experience in itself. Expect a lot of music from his upcoming A Fable — which we've only listened to a zillion times. And expect a jam with Shoghaken too. With Tigran's chops, flair, artistry and imagination, this is ultra-highly recommended. And check with the Foundry on Melrose on Friday, just in case he pops in for an insane performance. He does that. The spontaneity of youth, ya know.

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Tuareg guitarist Omara "Bombino" Moctar does MacArthur Park's Levitt Pavilion on Friday night, and if you dig Tinariwen you'll dig this. On the same stage Sunday is Sexteto Tabala, laying down the Afro-Colombian groove in a drum-heavy style that sounds positively atavistic compared to the sophisticated Afro-pop coming out of West Africa. We love their stuff. And Pete Escovedo's Orchestra are at Hollywood & Highland on Tuesday and will blow those concrete elephants clean out onto the Boulevard.

Thursday is nuts: Bob Wills meets Dizzy in Cow Bop at Café 322, for starters. Plus a mess of Latin, including Poncho Sanchez at Pasadena's Levitt Pavilion, and the greatest salsa band in the world, Los Van Van, at the Conga Room (pricey but so worth it). Then there's Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca at the Autry Museum. It's $10 if you're not a member, but the vibe, bars and band make this one worth it.

Read the rest of our picks at laweekly.com.

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

Just saw John Turturro's Passione, and talk about a revelation. We barely knew anything about Neapolitan music; Dean Martin, Lou Canova, pizza parlor juke boxes ... that was about it. Who knew that back in ancient, messed-up, photogenic Naples could be found the real thing. Not even the hippest radio stations played the stuff. That bothered Turturro. He loves this music. So he did one of those things that must drive Hollywood agents utterly mad: He took a film crew over there and shot 23 songs by 23 different acts in 23 different locations in 21 days and, man, you gotta see the results. There isn't a performance that isn't stellar, and the passion and intensity is so stirring you'd have to be a hardened cynic not to be moved. The tunes run the artistic gamut from street singers to classic love songs to art songs to operatic numbers to very Neapolitan rap, rock and even reggae. Turturro limits his screen time to a couple street interviews (and one freaky dance); mostly he just narrates, sparingly. He doesn't edit the tunes all to hell and no storyline bogs the thing down. It's just music and locations and people — no heavy analysis, no dreadful critics, and unlike Buena Vista Social Club, no American players sitting in and tainting everything. Nope. This is the best music flick we have seen since Calle 54, and to be honest, we liked this even more. Go see it. Buy the soundtrack. You'll be making pasta and singing "O Sole Mio" to your dog, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. PassioneFilm.com has all the details.

Just saw John Turturro’s Passione, and talk about a revelation. We barely knew anything about Neapolitan music; Dean Martin, Lou Canova, pizza parlor juke boxes … that was about it. Who knew that back in ancient, messed-up, photogenic Naples could be found the real thing. Not even the hippest radio stations played the stuff. That bothered Turturro. He loves this music. So he did one of those things that must drive Hollywood agents utterly mad: He took a film crew over there and shot 23 songs by 23 different acts in 23 different locations in 21 days and, man, you gotta see the results. There isn’t a performance that isn’t stellar, and the passion and intensity is so stirring you’d have to be a hardened cynic not to be moved. The tunes run the artistic gamut from street singers to classic love songs to art songs to operatic numbers to very Neapolitan rap, rock and even reggae. Turturro limits his screen time to a couple street interviews (and one freaky dance); mostly he just narrates, sparingly. He doesn’t edit the tunes all to hell and no storyline bogs the thing down. It’s just music and locations and people — no heavy analysis, no dreadful critics, and unlike Buena Vista Social Club, no American players sitting in and tainting everything. Nope. This is the best music flick we have seen since Calle 54, and to be honest, we liked this even more. Go see it. Buy the soundtrack. You’ll be making pasta and singing “O Sole Mio” to your dog, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. PassioneFilm.com has all the details.

(Reach Brick at Brickjazz@yahoo.com.)

 

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