Let's start with some people we talked about last week, since they're in the clubs this week, too. The Café Metropol this Friday is an ideal venue for drummer Matt Slocum, intimate enough for the hip to truly dig what he's doing and not too expensive, either. He's a great drummer, Slocum, with splendid timing, dynamics and ideas; he's a master of the current sense of swing. He has pianist Josh Nelson and bassist Dan Lutz again, and it'll be more than solid. The John Beasley Circle are at Vitello's on Saturday. We're digging Vitello's — the room, the vibe, the price ($10 cover and $13 minimum). We saw this outfit there last month, and bassist Ian Martin and drummer Oscar Seaton were a perfect match for Beasley's powerful style. He's from Louisiana, so you hear a lot of that innate funkiness, and you can hear a lot of time with Freddie Hubbard in there, too. It's beautiful stuff, virtuosic without basking in it. Things get pushed, dark passages are explored, and Beasley finds jazz in unexpected places — like some of the madder Piazzolla — where you'd never expect it to be. He has vocalist Dwight Trible again, too — call for reservations. We went on about saxman Dale Fielder last week, too, so if you missed him, you can see his fine Angel City Quartet 7 p.m. Thursday at the Bar Melody (9132 S. Sepulveda Blvd., 310-670-1994). Alto Richie Cole has been in town a lot lately, which is always good, as his bebop pyrotechnics on the horn are always a thrill. He's at Alva's in San Pedro on Saturday, it's $20 and bring your own. We have certainly not gone on enough about pianist Bill Cunliffe. He's an extraordinary musician, one who gets more than the usual respect from his fellow players, and actually won a goddamn Grammy (not just one of those nominations but the real thing). His Imaginacion is at Vibrato on Saturday. There's no cover, no minimum. And our very favorite jazz digs Charlie O's has the usual solid lineup of the regulars this week. Trumpeter Scotty Barnhart is there Friday and Chuck Manning on Saturday, both with the John Heard Trio. Heard drives hard and Manning just explodes with that rhythm team. Trumpeter Carl Saunders is there Tuesday, tenor Don MenzaThursday, both are brilliant. Hard to go wrong at this place.
Guitarist Larry Coryell was already mixing jazz improv, rock energy and sitar playing with the seminal jazz-rock Free Spirits back in the mid-'60s, and his Bombay Jazz continues in that mold, though with the sophistication of a lifetime of playing. He's at Largo (366 N. La Cienega Blvd., 310-271-9039) on Sunday. From that same creative era, ex–Mothers of Invention player Don Preston (an inspired and underrated jazz keyboardist) and reedman Bunk Gardner are at the Hollywood Studio Bar and Grill on Wednesday doing who knows what, but it'll be fun. On Monday trumpeter/EVI player John Daversa's Small Band are downtown at Seven Grand (515 W. 7th St., 213-614 0737), and players include Robby Marshall on sax and more electronics, Brandon Coleman on keys, even veteran drummer Gene Coye. They will certainly be bending the rules, and if that is your thing, then we heartily recommend Seattle's Reptet on Tuesday at the Echo Curio (1519 Sunset Blvd., Echo Park, 213-977-1279). This young sextet is a wonderful example of what happens when skilled players listen to a lot of Sun Ra and decide anything goes, as long as it's good. We've seen them once, at Jax: They roared through three sets of complex but catchy material with fervent soloing, exciting ensemble passages, jokes, improv, ridiculous costumes and a tendency to periodically just up and march through the joint. The Jax crowd loved it, the jazzers, the drunks, the confused normal people, everybody. They have a couple great CDs and a terrific seven-inch single (yes, a single). Echo Curio is an ideal venue for them, a spare, mostly chairless storefront gallery with a great, bohemian vibe, a $5 cover and a liquor store across the street. It'll be easy to find, as there'll probably be a bunch of horn players and a dude pounding a bass drum marching around on the sidewalk.
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