Aspiring jazz saxophone students in L.A. have two popular current role models. Ben Wendel lived in L.A. and made Kneebody a thing before continuing his ascendant career in New York. Walter Smith III established himself as a next-generation version of Joshua Redman and Mark Turner before moving cross-country to L.A. The New York-Los Angeles commute is a popular one these days for jazz musicians, with former Angelenos Gerald Clayton (piano) and Dave Robaire (bass) home for the holidays. Our final New Yorker, all-star drummer Jeff Ballard, was just here with Brad Mehldau, and now he's back for more fun in the sun, down the coast from his native Santa Cruz.
Fri., Dec. 26, 9 p.m.-midnight; Sat., Dec. 27, 9 p.m.-midnight, 2014
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