The Best Jazz Concerts to See in L.A. This Month
Kamasi Washington will blow your mind.
Friday, August 10th
Saxophonist Dale Fielder has been honking around Los Angeles for some time now. He has recently gravitated towards the underappreciated majesty of baritone saxophonist Pepper Adams. Friday's appearance in front of LACMAs 202 streetlamps will be a preview of his newest album in tribute to Adams' co-led quintet with trumpeter Donald Byrd of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Fielder's long-time rhythm section of Jane Getz on piano, Trevor Ware on bass and Don Littleton on drums could not possibly disappoint.
Sunday, August 12
Saxophonist Tia Fuller is a hard-driving composer equipped with a fiery mastery of her horn. Fuller also works as a member of Beyonce's band but she brings an inventiveness and grit that goes beyond the sequins and stilettos. The Levitt Pavillion stage, which has hosted a lot of great Sunday night jazz shows, has mostly focused on local musicians. The New Jersey-based Fuller is a rare treat and the added bonus is that the show is free.
Sunday, August 19th
The 93-year-old Gerald Wilson is a national treasure who has called Los Angeles home for a long time. If nothing else, his inviting stage presence and importance to the history of the genre makes him worth witnessing. The fact that he has one of the baddest big bands in Los Angeles and put out a tremendous Grammy-nominated album last year pretty much seals the deal.
Wednesday, August 22nd
Esperanza Spalding and Anita Baker
This is kind of a funny show. Spalding, who is making the rounds of her genre-smashing recent release Radio Music Society, is paired up with quiet storm artist Anita Baker. Maybe it isn't so funny. After all, it's two crossover successes who are in command of their sound and vision, trading notes on dominating R&B radio. This is probably a great opportunity for Spalding to reach out to an audience who still actually buy CDs.
More shows below
Powerhouse saxophonist Kamasi Washington has been blasting behind countless artists for the last ten years: Snoop Dogg (is it "Snoop Lion" now?), Raphael Saadiq and the aforementioned Gerald Wilson to name just a few. His own band and engaging arrangements have a drive that can raise the temperature of a room by 20 degrees. His appearance at the usually jazz-free Echo is a curious booking that only helps fuel rumors of an upcoming Brainfeeder release. The mind boggles.
Thursday, August 30th
Pianist Vardan Ovsepian is a frequent sight behind the Blue Whale piano. His swinging but delicate touch seems to back a band at least once a week. This performance, however, will be solo. It is a daring and rare occurrence for clubs in L.A. to book a solo pianist but Ovsepian is more than equipped for the task. For a solo show, the demand from the audience can be almost as great as the performer but this one will be well worth the effort for all involved.
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