Brick's Picks: We Go to Playboy Jazz Festival for the Music
The Gerald Wilson Orchestra is at Catalina on Sunday. We raved about his show there last time, but it was actually better than we even raved it would be. He was a force of nature and the band was incredible. So we raved again afterward. And we're raving again now. If ya got the bread, go to this, people; it is, hands down, the gig of the week. End of rave.
LACMA's happening Friday with saxist Charles Owens, whom we rave about all the time. Be there. And you know summer's on for real when the Playboy Jazz Festival rolls into the Hollywood Bowl. OK, some of you ain't into it at all, with all the smoove acts and noisy fans and general un-seriousness of the whole thing. And yeah, it's hard to be all intellectual and purist when someone's passing you a plate of ribs or dancing like a fool or strutting by in next to nothing. We realize there are no breaks between bands to contain the talking, that Cosby can go on and on, and yeah, a lot of those people wouldn't know Lee Konitz from a hole in the ground. But hey, it's a helluva party.
Our picks Saturday are the wild Eddie Palmieri Salsa Orchestra, the brilliant live all-star SF Jazz Collective (Stefon Harris, Avishai Cohen, Greg Osby, David Sanchez, Robin Eubanks and Eric Harland), and Bill Cosby's own all-stars with Geri Allen, George Bohanon, main man Ndugu Chancler, the great Anat Cohen, Babatunde Lea and Ambrose Akinmusire (who just scored a dream of a story by Chris Barton in the L.A. Times.) Plus Dianne Reeves; The Roots (with special guest Terence Blanchard); the Rebirth Brass Band with Donald Harrison Jr.; and others.
Our Sunday highlights will be the Lee Konitz New Quartet (shut the hell up for this one, people); Geri Allen and Timeline Band; Peewee Ellis & Fred Wesley & Busi Mahlasela's African Tribute to James Brown; pianist Bill Cunliffe & the Renaissance Big Band (who have smoked Vitello's a couple times) and salsero Carlos Varela. Plus Buddy Guy, guitarists John Schofield & Robben Ford, and others. 3-11 p.m. both days and tickets are $20 and up. See playboyjazzfestival.com or call (310) 450-1173.
OK, let's talk jazz in small venues like God intended. We're suckers for straight-ahead purists Donovan Muradian Quintet at Café 322 on Friday. They have Chuck Manning (and usually trumpeter Kye Palmer). Saxist Louis Van Taylor soared with Phil Ranelin last week and is at Charlie O's on Saturday. Tenor great Pete Christlieb is at the Desert Rose in Los Feliz on Saturday. The undersung Helen Sung plays piano at Vibrato on Saturday. Pianist Peter Smith (with saxist Allen Mesquida, bassist Trevor Ware and drummer Dan Schnelle) is at the Lighthouse at 11 a.m. (ahem) on Sunday. Sigmund Fudge (guitarist Jamie Rosenn, keyboardist Joe Bagg, bassist Ryan McGillicuddy and drummer Jason Harnell) get kinda weird at the Baked Potato on Sunday. Energetic tenor Doug Webb's at Typhoon (at the Santa Monica Airport) on Tuesday. Tenor Chuck Manning and trumpeter Sal Marquez make a perfect team — they're at Vibrato on Wednesday, while amazing Zane Musa is there on Thursday. Chuck Manning is back at Charlie O's on Thursday. And we'll rave again about carioca Katia Moraes with Sambaguru. They both oughta be world-famous and not even talk to jazz critics anymore. They're at Vitello's on Friday and you will dig it utterly. Even you jazz snobs and smarter-than-everybody avant garde people. Really.
(Brick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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