Brck's Picks: Hard-Ass Jazz
Tenor Chuck Manning is back at Charlie O's on Saturday. We just saw him with Mat Marucci at Jax and what a couple sets that was, with Marucci's propulsive, rolling, explosive drumming and Manning's furious, rollicking blasts of smart post-bop or whatever it is we're calling all that post-Trane saxophonery now. Manning has the ballsy John Heard Triobehind him here. Quite a night.
Bassist Chris Colangelo has a quartet at Charlie O's on Tuesday. Colangelo released Elaine's Song late last year; while doing the liner notes we listened to the thing over and over and over and didn't want to hear it again ever. But another copy appeared in the mail and we spun it and man, what a beautiful record it is: John Beasley (did he win that Grammy yet?) on piano, Bob Sheppard and Benn Clatworthy taking turns on tenor, and Colangelo's bass lines are strong but surprisingly sensitive (for a guy from Philly, anyway). Great stuff.
Live it's all that but tougher, since Charlie O's is an old-fashioned hard-ass jazz room. (In the old days in NYC and Chicago, jazzmen were tough as hockey players, as many a guy who couldn't play his ax discovered in the alleys out back.) And while no one gets hurt at Charlie O's — too many lawyers at the bar — you don't wanna be too sensitive on that stage. John Heard hates that wimpy shit. Colangelo's gigs are always highly recommended, since they are never less than outstanding. Hell, probably the best jazz in town all night. We'd lay money on that. Not much money (we're really cheap), but enough to make the point.
Pianist Don Preston and reedman Elliot Levin play Alva's in San Pedro on Saturday at 8 p.m. Yes, weirdo rock fans, he is that Don Preston, and he and Levin have Bobby Bradford aboard for this one, so this could get really wild. We dig Bradford, one of those out cats but one solidly in the tradition of horn players going back to Louis Armstrong himself. It's $20, but you can bring your own wine, cerveza, a flask of Jameson, etc. BYO food as well — just nothing too garlicky or disgusting. Great room, too.
Kenny Burrell is back at Catalina on Friday and Saturday, and he still delivers. Larry Goldings has his piano trio at Vitello's on Saturday, highly recommended. The Daniel Rosenboom Sextet is a pick Thursday at the Blue Whale. Bassist Luther Hughes & the Cannonball Coltrane Project are at the Crowne Plaza LAX on Thursday, and this repertory project, based on the material from that one Trane and Cannonball album, has transformed itself into a living band full of good original tunes and solid players (especially alto Bruce Babad). Hard-bop fans will dig it.
Dan Schnelle plays a lot of the local gigs Kevin Kanner and Zach Harmon can't make, which tells you how good a drummer he's become. He's got a quartet at the Lighthouse on Thursday, and he'll have some excellent younger players with him. Say hi to Gloria Cadena — she has done such a beautiful job keeping her husband's spirit alive in this legendary spot. Man, do we miss Ozzie. Some passings hit harder than others.
Bassist Michael Papilo has a little trio scene happening at the South Beverly Grill (122 S. Beverly Drive in Beverly Hills, 310-550-0242). We've yet to go, probably because we've had a hang-up about Beverly Hills ever since Keith Morris sang that song in The Decline of Western Civilization, but it's time to outgrow all that and see how the richer 20 percent likes their jazz. Besides, they have 85 percent of the money and maybe they'll buy us a drink. Or a house. The jazz runs 6-10 p.m. nightly, and Papilo is joined by terrific players like Robby Marshall, Matt Politano, Brian Carmody, Dennis Hamm, Gary Fukushima, Adam Benjamin and a mess of others. Sounds like the kind of scene that happens weekends at the Foundry on Melrose.
We were surprised to see that the Wednesday jam sessions at Club 1160 are on again, this time featuring the Josh Welchez Quintet. We've been digging Josh's playing and writing for some time, and his quartet has that edgy downtown vibe that we love. Things happen from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., and the room has a ceiling so low that any jazz writer over 6 foot 4 slams his head a couple times and hopes no one notices. It's in the Hotel Hollywood that used to be the Ramada (1160 N. Vermont, between Sunset and Santa Monica boulevards, 323-315-1845). And the Blue Whale (which has a very high ceiling but a knee-high bar) hosts Kevin Kanner's jam session on Tuesdays. Mandatory for jazz fans, that one.
(Brick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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