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Front and Central Avenue: The World Stage Jazz Festival

The second of the triad of festivals celebrating L.A. homegrown jazz history takes place this Sunday. Sandwiched between the Central Avenue and Watts Towers festivals, the World Stage Jazz Festival is a relative newcomer, inspired by the legacy of Horace Tapscott and Billy Higgins and the World Stage. This year’s bill includes the Roy McCurdy Quartet, the Gathering with reedman Jesse Sharps, a quartet led by tenor George Harper (with vocalist Karen Evans on a few numbers), pianist Nate Morgan’s Swingin ‘N Exile, and Bobby Matos & his Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble. It’s a strong lineup. If the Central Avenue fest is really a party and Watts Towers a bit of a be-in, the Leimert Park bash is deep, with a lot of focus on The Tradition. This year, the festival will honor Gerald Wiggins, the legendary pianist who recently passed at age 86. The event runs Sunday from noon to 7 p.m. in the parking lot at the corner of 43rd Street and Degnan Boulevard in Leimert Park (right down from the World Stage). It’s all free — and there’s lots of free parking too. For info, call (323) 290-6565.

Dwight Trible tore it up at the L.A. Jazz Collective minifest in Little Tokyo a couple of Thursdays ago. His over the top was over the top, and when Kamau Da’oud read pieces on Bird and Prez and Lady Day it was so real you could feel it. Seriously. Funny how some people fled while the rest were transfixed. You get Dwight or you don’t. And if you don’t, you ought to. No one said this music was supposed to be easy. You can sit in your favorite chair and feel warm and comfy now when you listen to, say, A Love Supreme ... but you couldn’t back then. So get out and dig Dwight Trible — he’s at the Bakery on Sunday night.

The L.A. Jazz Collective has been putting on a lot of events at the Pasadena Jazz Institute (which is a great club that needs to do a much better job of publicizing its cool self), and this Friday they have young, big-toned saxist Robby Marshall (running the gamut, from solo to nonet and all points in between) and pianist Brian Friedland’s Big Band. Adventurous stuff ... and more proof of the vitality of the up-and-comer jazz scene in Los Angeles. And on Wednesday the PJI has the exceptional Ben Wendel Group. Wendel’s ideas (on the tenor and compositionally) always seem to work out just right, and he’s got a killer band: pianist Josh Nelson, bassist Hamilton Price and drummer from another planet Nate Wood, plus guitarist Anthony Wilson. Speaking of writers ... Wilson’s composition “Vertigo” was a centerpiece at the Hollywood Bowl tribute to his father, Gerald Wilson. Hopefully it’ll get recorded soon — fascinating stuff.

Plenty of Latin flavor on the stages this week. Luis Conte Cuba L.A. plays at Hollywood & Highland on Tuesday. Excellent Cuban reedman Yosvany Terry’s quartet is at the Jazz Bakery beginning Wednesday. Katia Moraes plays with Pure Samba at LACMA on Saturday (and with Sambaguru at La Ve Lee on Friday and again with Pure Samba at Zanzibar in Santa Monica on Thursday) if you dig the real Brazilian thing. Jose Rizo’s always-awesome Jazz on the Latin Side All-Stars are at the Ford Amphitheatre on Thursday. The dancing in the aisles will give the ushers headaches (not that we condone dancing in the aisles.) And Cuban jazz-pianist Chuchito Valdés, with Bebo and Chucho’s DNA coursing through his fingers, brings his quartet to California Plaza on Saturday.


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


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