You might not believe this, but never-say-die jazz impresario Rocco Somazzi (currently of the Café Metropol) is throwing a jazz festival right here in the middle of Hollywood this Monday — up on Barnsdall Hill no less, and all day even. It’s the Angel City Jazz Festival, and inside the theater things kick off with pianist/composer Motoko Honda performing her improvisational work “Los Angeles 2008” with local fringe stars (such as violinist Jeff Gauthier and reedman Vinny Golia), and composer/guitarist Elliott Sharp performs his LP The Velocity of Hue. Down from Seattle comes Wayne Horvitz’s Sweeter Than the Day. There’s our own Alan Pasqua Quartet (the pianist with bassist Darek Oles, drummer Peter Erskine and saxist Bob Mintzer). There’s Japan’s Satoko Fujii Ma-Do, and the esteemed Arthur Blythe (his quintet includes pianist Nate Morgan). NYC pianist Andy Milne and harmonica player Gregoire Maret doing who knows what (never can tell with New York jazzers). There’s saxist Ian Rapien with a quartet, and finally a killer organ trio, Option 3, with Hammond player Joe Bagg, guitarist Jamie Rosenn and drummer Mark Ferber breaking a lot of rules.
Then out on the lawn there’s Both Sides Now, a Kneebody project (including Adam Benjamin, Kaveh Rastegar, Nate Wood, Shane Endsley, Garrett Smith); while bassist Nick Rosen brings over high energy with his excellent band. Guitarist Leni Stern with her African players (talking drums, kora, oud, doumbek — if you dig the sounds of Mali you’ll really dig this). There’s the Nick Mancini Collective (his vibes and killer band including the great pianist Otmaro Ruiz), the Robby Marshall Project (the young, powerful saxophonist’s radical electric band) and — check this out — the Nels Cline Quintet playing the music of Jimmy Giuffre. How cool is that?
Plus all kinds of live art, great food, good beer and one of the best views in the city. Tickets are $35, VIP are $50 (gets you best seats plus backstage access to hang). Parking is in the Barnsdall lot or on the street. We heartily recommend this one, and let’s hope Rocco has begun a tradition. (The Angel City Jazz Festival is at Barnsdall Art Park, 4800 Hollywood Blvd., on Monday. See angelcityjazzfestival.com for all the details.)
And there’s the complete opposite at the Sweet & Hot Music Festival this Friday through Monday, which is nostalgic, unpretentious, casual, and features some killer jams. On tap this year are Jack Sheldon, Ernie Andrews, trumpeter Warren Vaché, Ernestine Anderson, Howard Alden, a rare appearance by John Altman (who absolutely cooks on the curved soprano!), Gil Bernal, Herb Jeffries, Dave Koonse, and a zillion others in a swirl of concerts and jam sessions big and small from noon each day till past midnite — all over at the Los Angeles Airport Marriott Hotel. It’s a helluva lot of fun. (No hipster cachet required, either.) It’s also a blast seeing what jazz fans look like after they’ve retired and the kids are long gone — the hair gets long, the beards reappear, suits and cares tossed in the garbage. (See sweethot.org for all the details.)
And at 6 p.m. on Sunday at the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre it’s the ninth annual Lady Jazz Concert. This year the long deserving pianist Karen Hernandez is the honoree, and the lineup includes greats such as bassist Nedra Wheeler, saxist Carol Chaikin, harpist/pianist Corky Hale, and more.
Also of note: On Friday, Dale Fielder (with Jane Getz on piano) is at Vibrato. On Sunday Chuck Manning is at Spazio and Benn Clatworthy is at Charlie O’s — see if you can hit both to experience some very inventive, contrasting tenor playing. Trombonist Isaac Smith is at the Bakery on Tuesday, while guitarists Anthony Wilson and Chico Pinheiro bring their bossa-jazz quartet to the Bakery beginning Wednesday; their Nova has been in our CD player for some time now. If you dug the Angel City soiree you’ll dig the Bad Plus, who kick off their power-driven stand at Catalina’s on Thursday, the same night that trumpeter Clay Jenkins and saxist Bob Sheppard front the Joe La Barbera Quintet at Charlie O’s.
Oscar Castro-Neves celebrates Bossa Nova at 50 at the Hollywood Bowl on Wednesday, and with him are Eliane Elias, Ivan Lins, Maria Rita (Elis Regina’s daughter, which you can sure hear), Luciana Souza and more. Finally, there’s an Andy Palacio tribute with the Garifuna Collective at California Plaza this Friday.
(Brick can be reached at email@example.com.)