Half the players in this town seem to be on the summer festival circuit right now, trucking around Europe, being feted and spoiled and fed and paid and everything, but that doesn’t for a minute mean there ain’t great jazz happening throughout our greater hipsterpolitan area. For starters, there’s all the regulars we keep raving about, like Nick Mancini at the Pasadena Jazz Institute, Jack Sheldon at Cafe 322, saxist Benn Clatworthy (with pianist Nate Morgan) at Charlie O’s, or trumpeter Elliott Caine at the Biltmore downtown — all on Friday. And mighty tenor Don Menza wails at Charlie O’s on Saturday. And saxist Bob Sheppard is such an artist; he’s at Spazio on Sunday, the same night that pure West Coast bop altoist Lanny Morgan joins drummer Paul Kreibich at Charlie O’s. The younger players are out in force too, like pianist Josh Nelson (a regular at the Foundry’s exciting weekend sessions), with drummer Lorca Hart at Culver City’s Radisson Hotel on Wednesday, and with drummer Kevin Kanner at the Jazz Bakery on Thursday. And there ain’t nobody we’ve heard on the planet today like Zane Musa — he plays alto and soprano like he’s trying to purge the demons right outta them. He’s at Charlie O’s on Wednesday. Don’t forget all the weeknight jam sessions. The kids in this town are hot.
Bassist Henry Franklin’s quartet plays some intense sets at the Lighthouse on Sunday from 11 a.m. Wake up with a couple of their bloodies, maybe check out some of the local scenery strutting by, and dig the Skipper’s jazz. Trombonist Phil Ranelin is at the West Lounge atop the Angeles Hotel in Westwood on Monday. ’Nuff said. Bay Area saxist Mel Martin joins up with NYC pianist Don Friedman (along with locals Darek Oles and Roy McCurdy) at the Crowne Plaza on Thursday for some state-of-the-straight-ahead art. And we really dig vocalist Mon David, who’s at Spazio on Saturday. This man’s technique is ingenious, swinging, daring in places, cool in others. He’s with fellow Manila transplant and stellar pianist Tateng Katindig. And for more of that blues on Luzon, Charmaine Clamor’s Flippin’ made waves last year with its blend of jazz standards and Filipino classics, sung in a subtly swinging Tagalog. It’s landed her on stage in the World Music Concert Series in MacArthur Park this Thursday.
It’s summertime, and if the living ain’t so easy anymore, the clave’s jumping, and timbales are nigh. Bobby Matos’ Afro-Cuban Jazz Band is at the Farmers Market on Friday, and he’s always a blast there. Bud Powell–influenced pianist Bill Cunliffe’s Imaginacion do LACMA on Saturday, the Banda Brothers do Hollywood & Highland on Tuesday, and the genuinely legendary Francisco Aguabella is at the Autry Museum on Thursday (with Benn Clatworthy going nuts on tenor too). All those are all free (or damn close). And then there’s Brazil … from which Katia Moraes recently returned with a new musical vision she’s calling Brazilian Organic and Percussion Sounds, which sounds perfectly mysterious. She’s at La Ve Lee on Friday. If you’d rather get to the roots — sambas, choros — terrific mandolinist and fiddler Ted Falcon is at the Skirball on Saturday, and we highly recommend it even at the ungodly of hour of noon. If you like your roots with some accordion, massed drums and befeathered, oscillating women (and who doesn’t?), then don’t miss the Brazilian Summer Festival aboard the Queen Mary this Sunday at 5 p.m. Braziliannites.com has the details. Speaking of massed drums, the 100-strong TaikoProject will be scaring the bejesus out of the neighbors at the Ford Amphitheatre Friday and Saturday night. (Wonder if there’ll ever be a 100-strong ElvinJonesProject. Just an thought.)
And fate has decreed that two particularly exciting concerts of Middle Eastern and Indian music shall both happen on Saturday, halfway across the basin from each other. DJ Cheb i Sabbah’s latest, Devotion, is a remarkable blend of various Indian music, and he has a live band playing it. Pakistani sufi vocalist Riffat Siltana and Afghan virtuosos Salar Nader (tabla) and Homayun Sakhi (the lutelike rubab) are also on this great bill, kicking off Summer Sessions in the Getty Center’s Museum Courtyard on Saturday, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. And famed Alberian rai singer Rachid Taha is at California Plaza that same night, at 8 p.m. Both are free, and neither require reservations or passports or Homeland Security permission — or anything. But you’ll have to pick one. Lovers of Cape Verdean sounds can catch the batuque of Tcheka at the Skirball on Thursday. It’s not jazz, but it’s good for jazz fans to stretch their ears now and again.
And so sorry to hear about bassman Dave Carpenter. All those chops, all that coolness … just 48 and poof he’s gone. Damn, man. The scene grieves.
(Brick can be reached at email@example.com.)