The Luckman Jazz Orchestra’s Tribute to Eddie Harris is happening this Saturday under the stars on the Luckman Street of the Arts at Cal State Los Angeles. No word from leader Charles Owens on what he has worked up, but anyone lucky enough to have witnessed just what Owens can do with, say, “Cold Duck Time” will know that he uncovers things within that most of us never knew were there — and here he’s got this all-star orchestra to work with. Owens’ own solos on whatever reed he’s picked up (he plays them all) get pretty crazy, so Eddie Harris’ nonconformist experimentation is a natural fit. Highly recommended, and it’s free. Call (323) 343-6600 for specifics (and reservations). It kicks off at 6:30 p.m.
Another hot local player, tenor Doug Webb, is at Charlie O’s on Friday (with Jon Mayer on piano) and Sunday, with the tough quartet of pianist Joe Bagg, bassist Jeff Littleton and drummer Lorca Hart. And the inimitable Med Flory is there with his supersaxed Jazz Wave on Monday. Bird solos arranged for massed brass make for tight, tight ensemble work at breakneck tempos. Exciting stuff.
Things tend to go kinda nuts on weekends at the Foundry on Melrose, especially when drummer Zach Harmon (dig the groovy tie) and pianist Josh Nelson (who’s there on Friday) really start to stretch. For sheer hard boppery, check out the Donovan-Muradian Quartet at the Café 322 on Friday. And pianist Harold Land Jr. is at Spazio’s on Friday, playing some of his father Harold Land’s lesser-known compositions, while saxist Carol Chaikin, who absolutely cooks, is there Monday, with Otmaro Ruiz on piano.
NY tenor Dan Pratt is at Vibrato on Friday, and at the way-cool but underpublicized Pasadena Jazz Institute on Saturday. Pratt’s great band consists of trombonist Alan Ferber, organist Jared Gold and drummer Mark Ferber; check out “Nancy (With the Laughing Face)” at danpratt.com — especially that street-busking sax feel on the opening. Beautiful. The L.A. Jazz Collective presents guitarist Steve Cotter and his band at the Café Metropol on Friday. And on Thursday the Nicholas Payton Quintet are at LACMA’s Bing Auditorium, “celebrating the influence of Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker on legendary painter Jean-Michel Basquiat.” Not sure what that means exactly, but it sounds cool, and Payton is such a great trumpeter he could celebrate paintings of dogs playing poker and you’d still dig it.
Drummer Antonio Sanchez’ Migration (with tenor David Sanchez and alto Miguel Zenon) is at the Jazz Bakery on Wednesday and Thursday. (Check out Zenon’s Awake — a favorite here.) And for something off-the-wall Latin, hit Chicha Libre at the Japanese American National Museum at 1st and Central in Little Tokyo on Thursday at 6:30. Chicha Libre do an updated take on Peruvian chicha, a style of psychedelic cumbia that sprouted in the ’60s. Makes one wonder where the hell this decidedly unAmazonian bunch of Brooklynites ever heard the stuff. And their new ¡Sonido Amazonico! is terribly infectious.
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Of course, there’s also some craziness:
Exquisite Corpse II (“L.A.’s only surrealist Improvisational concert”) is at the Schindler House (835 N. Kings Road in WeHo) at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. Improvisers of various backgrounds come together, including underground players like guitarist Joe Baiza and cornetist Dan Clucas alongside Dwight Trible. Cool. (See www.soundnet.org.) Or New York loft madness from Rudder, a young four-piece heavy-jazzy noisy outfit that plays the Baked Potato on Saturday and Sunday. Even crazier, the Herb Alpert Creative Music Series on Saturday and Sunday at REDCAT (underneath the Walt Disney Concert Hall at 2nd and Hope streets downtown) features CalArts avant-garde trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith with his Silver Orchestra on Friday and his Golden Quintet (with pianist Vijay Iyer) on Saturday. Friday’s bill also features brilliant pianists-composers Anthony Davis and Amina Claudine Myers in their own out outfits; Saturday includes the Persian Lian Ensemble.
But oddest of all has to be Shakers n’ Bakers at the Café Metropol on Saturday. Let saxophonist-leader Jeff Lederer describe it himself: “The band plays reinterpretations of Shaker Vision songs, received in states of inspiration by members of the Shaker religious sect during the years 1837-47, revamped free-jazz style.” (They’re also playing Sunday afternoon at the Mark Taper Auditorium. See festivalofsacredmusic.org for details.)
(Brick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)