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Pacific Heights

The Filipino Jazz Festival happens again this weekend — Friday, Saturday, Sunday — at the Catalina Bar & Grill. Headlining this year is “Jazzipino” (who came up with that?) singing sensation Charmaine Clamor, whose way hiply titled Flippin’ Out blends some well-done standards and some interpretations of traditional tunes from the Philippines sung in a beautiful, jazzy Tagalog. She’s very effective live too, long and sultry and classic. Also on the bill are ukulele/vibes/drums ace Abe Legrimas (and hearing Bird on the uke is a trip), jazz vocalists Mon David and Arthur Manuntag, both from Manila; Chicago pianist Toti Fuentes; the young Seattle-based pianist Victor Noriega and young NYC alto saxist Julius Tolentino, both of whom have been making a splash; and our own Tateng Katindig, who plays some beautiful and hard swinging jazz piano. This celebratory event is a hit every year, so call for reservations.

There’s another collection of talent at “A Night with Origin Records” on Friday, put on by the Seattle-based label and the Pasadena Jazz Institute (at the newly reopened and liquor licensed PJI headquarters at the Paseo Colorado). Featuring Seattleites such as trumpeter Thomas Marriott, drummers Matt Jorgensen and John Bishop. Added in are some of our own: the nicely balanced brace of saxmen Rob Lockhart,Kim Richmond, David Sills and Matt Otto, plus 2nd Street pianist Gary Fukushima (with more to be added) on Friday. This looks to be a night of serious straight ahead and post bop and has to be one of the picks of the week.

And for some more massed local talent there’s arranger Tom Kubis’s traditional “AKubis Xmas” show Sunday at the Jazz Bakery, and the band is all local allstars. Jack Sheldon singing “The Twelve Days of Christmas (My Agent Gave to Me)” is worth the price of admission alone. And Med Flory’s Jazz Wave return to Charlie O’s on Monday. His got a stack of new arrangements and pulls out a lot of the old Supersax charts as well, and this collection of veteran players makes the most of it. (He also fronts a quartet at Charlie O’s on Thursday). And pianist David Garfield is hosting his 10th Annual Carlos Vega Memorial Concert on Saturday at the Musician’s Institute (1665 McCadden Place on Hollywood) on Saturday night. Among the many players in the house will be Carlitos del Puerto, Larry Klimas, Alex Ligertwood and many more regulars, from the hard jamming Baked Potato/Le Ve Lee scene, plus famed rock session drummer Jim Keltner.

The Moutin Reunion Quartet (three quarters French and one quarter American saxist Rick Maritza) are at the Jazz Bakery through Saturday and are a pretty adventurous bunch without every really going too far out (and you have to love the interplay between the twin brothers Moutin on bass and drums). Over at the Café 322 in Sierra Madre the Bobby Bradford Motet do their monthly gig; though he’s gone far out many times in the past (those sessions with John Carter!), here cornetist Bradford restrains himself just a bit and the music is never out there. But man, he lets his players do some pretty wonderful things. And at the Café Metropol on Saturday violinist Jeff Gauthier brings his excellent quartet, featuring guitarist Tom McNalley, bassist Steuart Liebig and drummer Alex Cline. It’ll bring back fond memories of all those Cryptonights a while back.

If you’re in the mood for some beautiful trumpet this Friday, there’s Kye Palmer at Spazio and Richard Grant at the World Stage. Both Palmer (who, besides his current Tonight Show gig, did a long stint with Poncho Sanchez) and Grant (a Leimert Park regular) play beautifully crafted solos, long on melody and perfection and spare notes placed just right. Also on Friday, New York altoist Pete Yellin is at Charlie O’s, while another excellent melodic trumpeters, Don Rader (who’s up from Down Under for a bit), is there on Saturday. If you want to check out some of our local faves and see what we’ve been prattling on and on about, then tenor Pete Christlieb is at the Back Room on Friday and back at Charlie O’s on Thursday and is great in both places; tenor Benn Clatworthy is at Vibrato on Friday and trumpeter Steve Huffsteter (another fave local player with a beautifully melodic style) plays Saturday (get there for the later sets). Alto and soprano saxist Zane Musa — he’s one intense musician — never fails to blow us away at Charlie O’s on Sunday; while the classic L.A. trumpeter Jack Sheldon is back at Charlie O’s on Tuesday. And bassist/vocalist Kristin Korb is a jazz delight; she brings her trio (with pianist Llew Matthews) into the Café 322 on Thursday.

If you’re looking for Latin jazz check out Spazio: Frank Fontaine (long time tenor with Bobby Matos among many) is there on Monday, and the Francisco Aguabella Quintet (with the intense soloing of tenor Benn Clatworthy) is there on Thursday. And there’s no going wrong ever with Jose Rizo’s Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars who just cook like their lives depended on it. They’ll be playing the Latin Jazz Tuesday at Vibrato, and the house will be digging it. Afterall, Rizo’s bunch are a world class afro-cuban jazz outfit, and from the Left Coast no less.

—Brick Wahl


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