Let's take off at a gallop, since there's a lot of it, beginning with veteran drummer Clayton Cameron's sextet at LACMA on Friday. No word on the lineup, but Cameron has the habit of drumming with some pretty great company, so we're betting this will be pretty damn good. On Saturday ya gotta love the Dale Fielder Quartet at the Hollywood Studio Bar & Grill (in Gower Gulch, Sunset at Gower) with Fielder on God knows how many saxophones (but best on the bari), pianist Jane Getz, bassist Bill Markus and drummer Thomas White. This is very tough stuff, big and energetic and uncompromising, but nice on the ballads too. $10.
Gary Foster is the flip of that, he has one of the most flawless tones on the alto, pure cool; he's at Vibrato on Saturday with another perfectionist player, pianist Alan Broadbent. (And Foster's also at Charlie O's on Tuesday with Chuck Berghofer.) Drummer Mark Z Stevens' trio has been laying it down at the Desert Rose (1700 Hillhurst Ave. in Los Feliz) on Saturdays, and this weekend he's got wonderful jazz accordionist Frank Marocco. Tenor Chuck Manning is with the John Heard Trio at Charlie O's on Saturday, and alto/soprano Zane Musa at Vibrato on Tuesday. Stick around Vibrato for the last set and Zane will probably go nuts.
On Wednesday at Charlie O's, NYC vibist Tyler Blanton does his state of the art take on jazz. Thursday's really special, with pianist Jon Mayer's trio with the great team of bassist Chris Connor and drummer Roy McCurdy and guest tenor Pete Christlieb at the Café 322. Highly recommended. We also like the trio of pianist Christian Jacob, bassist Kevin Axt and drummer Ray Brinker at Vitello's, and the very high energy drummer Mike Stephans' Reunion Band featuring saxist Bob Sheppard at Charlie O's, is another solid pick. And check this out, Della Reese celebrates her 80th at Catalina's on Thursday. Talk about classic.
Also Thursday, timbalero Bobby Matos has his Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble at the LAX Crowne Plaza. We've been hearing a lot from Bobby lately — he's the local point man for the people protesting Neil Portnow's clueless decision to dump the Latin Jazz Grammy. He's got a good band (who've made several fine albums), we especially dig the room given to tenor Pablo Calogero (with a sound that reminds of early, wild Gato Barbieri) and to Daniel Weinstein, who doubles on trombone and violin (and writes some great tunes). Pianist Theo Saunders is his usual inspired self, and the percussionists roll on nicely. $15 minimum. And that same night across town Johnny Polanco y su Conjunto Amistad get the crowd moving at the Autry Museum, 7-9 p.m. Check out Johnny's expansive tres playing.
Wednesday at the Troubadour is the extraordinary Malian band Tinariwen, about whom every desert cliché has been written by rock critics already. All we'll say is we are absolute suckers for these guys, and highly recommend their albums if you like your Malian sounds cut through with earthy blues and a “Memo From Turner” kind of Stones groove, or if you've ever felt the eerie pull of gnawa. And while we do not encourage the use of illegal substances of any kind whatsoever, if you should somehow catch a whiff of hash in the air, breathe deep and listen.
We don’t encourage the wearing of feathers either, or those manic hip shimmies that make a man’s eyes bounce around their sockets like pinballs. But hell, if it’s samba what can you do? And you’ll get samba in spades when Brazilian singer Diogo Nogueira is at the Roxy this Friday. He’s the star act at this year’s Brazilian Summer Festival, and the samba will be thoroughly authentic and played by Brazilian players that know how to do it. Lots of local percussionists and befeathered dancers, too, as always, and when the music is fired up and the bar good the crowd just loses it. We recall one of these bashes on a humid night at the Ford Amphitheatre some years ago. Bossa nova this wasn’t. The silver haired band was frantic, unstoppable — we’re talking Ramones’ tempos on acoustic instruments for what seemed like hours.
The crowd sang every word, and in key. By the end of the night it was complete mayhem, the audience was an ecstatic mob, belting out the lyrics, jumping up and down, hugging strangers. Grandmas were running up and down the steps utterly out of their minds, and the stage was awash in dancers. Apparently this is normal. Maybe in the confines of the Roxy, the people will restrain themselves. Details at braziliannites.com.
(Brick can be reached at email@example.com.)