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The History Channeler

The Bobby Bradford Mo’tet ?and other jazz picks

Trumpeter Bobby Bradford has long thrived on the avant edges of L.A. jazz. There were two stints in Ornette Coleman’s quartet; first replacing Don Cherry and later being replaced by Freddie Hubbard. And he spent some years laying down mellow lines for John Carter’s out-there clarinet to wrap around. Bradford has a great sound, edgy in places, warm and burnished in ballads, and — like many of the radical trumpeters (think Lester Bowie) — just oozing jazz horn history. He teaches that history at Pasadena City College; local avant-garder Dan Clucas discovered the technique of Rex Stewart and Bubber Miley in Bradford’s class — names you scarcely hear anywhere. As a teacher, the man opens up a century of jazz. And as leader of The Mo’tet he does the same . . . a lot of old New Orleans and swing mixed in with the Ornette and beyond. Look for 2003’s Live at LACMA; it veers off the beaten swing track, but what a gorgeous ride. Propelled along by William Jeffrey’s slightly loose syncopation, Bradford’s trumpet blows about in a muggy breeze, the trombonist parades by blatting and smearing, and on “Sideman,” Chuck Manning plays one incredibly beautiful extended solo. Then “She” gets eerily Eastern . . . Sat., Feb. 10, at Café 322 will be similar — some good pasta, a little vino and a nice room swelling to the sounds of jazz not explored nearly enough anymore.

Saxophonists Rickey Woodard, Jeff Clayton, Keith Fiddmont and Charles Owens blow out the Jazz Bakery at the Sunday matinee, Feb. 11. Exuberant saxophonist Justo Almario celebrates a birthday at Charlie O’s on Fri., Feb. 9, followed by Herman Riley the next night. Riley also blows some wonderful blues with the Ernie Andrews Quintet at the Palmira Sunday brunch on Sun., Feb. 11. Ernie’s been singing his mix of jazz and blues since Central Avenue, and he still doesn’t take any jive.

Downtown, the exciting guitarist Leni Stern brings her band to Café Metropol on Fri., Feb. 9; the grooving Nick Mancini Collective is there on Sat., Feb. 10. In Little Tokyo, under-recognized saxophonist Matt Otto leads a quartet on Mon., Feb. 12, at Land on 2nd Street, and saxist Robby Marshall’s quartet features the exceptional pianist Tigran Hamasyan on Thurs., Feb. 15.

Expect state-of-the-art Latin jazz when NYC pianist Edsel Gomez (with bassist Darek Oles) brings his cubist (as in art) compositions to Catalina on Mon., Feb. 12. The ever-imaginative Billy Childs and his Jazz Chamber Ensemble continue their stand at the Jazz Bakery through Sun., Feb. 11. The Phil Norman Tentet plays Catalina on Tues., Feb. 13, and the even bigger Bruce Lofgren Jazz Orchestra plays the very popular Big Band Mondays at Charlie O’s on Feb. 12.

—Brick Wahl