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Brick's Picks: Blues Cruise

Time to take a jazz spin around town again. Friday's options are spread out and require different strategies. Trombonist Phil Ranelin is doing the last of his February jazz-history series; this final is a tribute to the great Melba Liston, down at the Seabird Jazz Lounge, 760 E. Broadway, Long Beach, (562) 606-0250. That's a bit of a haul from here in Silver Lake, though we could combine it with drummer and percussionist Ndugu's second set at Bones and Blues, 10950 S. Central Ave., L.A., (323) 563-5639. Or begin the night with the Joshua Redman Trio at Catalina Bar and Grill in Hollywood. Tenor Redman is still touring behind last year's trio recording Back East, and it's a bit gutsy and high wire doing three nights without a piano — a saxophonist better be brimming with fresh ideas. Our own Chuck Manning has never been short of melodic invention himself, and you can catch him late at Vibrato up the hill in Brentwood. For something off the beaten jazz track, try guitarist Rez Abbasi at Café Metropol downtown. His Bazaar is a blast, a high-energy NYC blend of Indian and jazz strains. The music at the Metropol runs from 8 to 10 p.m., giving you ample time to hit another spot afterward, like the Pasadena Jazz Institute (in the Paseo Colorado) to see vibist Onaje Murray's tribute to the great, great Milt Jackson that they're calling, of course, "Bag's Groove." Onaje doesn't seem to get out front much, and this is something to look forward to. Or just spend the entire evening at the Back Room in Canoga Park. Tenor Pete Christlieb owns the place when he's with the John Hammond Trio; it's a nice little room with reasonable eats and incredibly cold beer. Hard to beat. (And Christlieb has his 11-piece Tall and Small Big Band over at Charlie O's on Thursday.)

You can start out your Saturday early and weird with "experimental vocalist" Anna Homler, who's at the Café Metropol at 5 p.m. Her site breathlessly explains that "encompassing music, spoken word and installation, intermedia artist Anna Homler's alternative languages extend the possibilities of meaning and communication. With a sensibility that is both ancient and postmodern..." No idea if this'll be amazing or just whatever, but it's certainly not the usual crooning. After all that avantness, you can jump on the 110 south for classy Carmen Lundy at the Jazz Bakery or take the 110 north for the Pasadena Jazz Institute to see Canadian vocalist and pianist Carol Welsman (see www.pasjazz.org for details). Or head over to the billion-dollar-plus Getty Center to see just what oil money can buy and listen to the wonderful Cape Verdean singer Maria de Barros with Congolese Ricardo Lemvo & Makina Loca. Lemvo's roots, incidentally, are in Congolese rumba (soukous), so what you have is West African rhythms transported to Cuba aboard slave ships that returned via 78 rpm records to Central Africa in the '30s, then came out to Los Angeles to mix again with Cuban sounds. And Lemvo's parents were Angolan, so there's some Afro-Portuguese twist, which is where de Barros comes in. It's an ethnomusicologist's dream — or dissertation, anyway — that is a blast to listen to. It's free, but reservations are required. Go to www.getty.edu or call (310) 440-7300. They do a second show on Sunday at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon also gives you a chance to see the swinging Nancy Kelly with the Houston Person Quartet at one of those Jazz At the "A" Frame shows up in the Hollywood Hills. Call (310) 659-9169 for info and reservations. And then head on over to the Jazz Bakery in Culver City to hear Luciana Souza (of Sao Paulo, Brazil) sing luscious bossa novas. Although there is also a Tribute to Ella downtown at the Walt Disney Concert Hall that kicks off the L.A. Phil's Jazz Series. On the bill are Ann Hampton Callaway, T.C. Carson, Ledisi, Mark Murphy, Janis Siegel and a band led by Patrice Rushen. And if you're looking for something sans singers, head out to Charlie O's for alto Zane Musa. He likes to push the concept of straight ahead to the limit.

On Wednesday pianist Keith Jarrett brings his Standards Trio with bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette to UCLA's Royce Hall in their 25th-Anniversary tour. This has probably been sold out for ages, but provided you don't mind all those funny noises of his, they make absolutely splendid jazz together (assuming none of you coughs or breathes or anything to ruin Mr. Jarrett's whole night). Also on Wednesday the brilliant (and not so easily disturbed) pianist Otmaro Ruiz returns to the Jazz Bakery on Wednesday with saxist Ben Wendel, Carlitos del Puerto and Jimmy Branly, while at Charlie O's the Tony Inzalaco Quintet celebrate the release of Real Life Real Live II with quite the band: saxist Benn Clatworthy, trumpeter Nolan Shaheed, pianist Theo Saunders, and bassist Chris Colangelo. And at the Jazz Bakery, the powerhouse trio of drummer Peter Erskine, pianist Alan Pasqua and bassist Dave Carpenter perform on Wednesday and then return with the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra on Thursday.

And thought we'd mention that the documentary Trying to Get Good: The Jazz Odyssey of Jack Sheldon (produced by KABC and Jazz Notes host Doug McIntyre) premieres this Wednesday at the Majestic Crest Theatre in Westwood. It'll be a real Hollywood red-carpet event for a classic L.A. jazz musician who used to play with Charlie Parker and Chet Baker. It's an invite-only thing, so we're just dropping this item in like J.J. Hunsecker. But you can see Jack at Jax on Thursday, and find more info on his flick at www.TryingToGetGood.com.

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