It's awards season and even the Jazz Critics Guild got in on the red-carpet action. You never see Joan Rivers in a jazz club, though. Or a lot of critics even. Just jazz fans. Friday in Little Tokyo might be interesting: Drummer Kevin Yokota pops back into town to lead a solid quartet gig at the Blue Whale. He has one of our fave young saxists with him, Robby Marshall, and the stuff will have that fresh downtown vibe. And maybe Saturday night we'll pick up a bottle and haul down to Art Pepper's young digs in San Pedro to catch John Tegmeyer at Alva's. Jazz clarinetists are a rare thing anymore, and youngjazz clarinetists are nearly extinct, so this cat has the field in this town to himself. He plays the thing beautifully, swings like mad, and thrives in any setting we've seen him in.
We feel at home at Charlie O's out in the Valley, where tenor Don Menza will be on Saturday. Powerful player, this cat, a veteran of everything. Further out in the Valley at Giannelli Square (19451 Londelius St., Northridge; 818-772-1722), the Alan Broadbent Trio throw a CD release party on Saturday for his Grammy-nominated (actually, a solo on it is) Live at Giannelli Square. $25 ($15 students). Recommended. Then again, we might just pop in to Jax in nearby Glendale for trumpeter Elliott Caine, who always tears it up at this joint.
Sunday we go to Mass all day.
On Monday we have two choices, either the still-underrated Bill Holman Big Band at Vitello's, or drummer Jimmy Branly's quartet at Charlie O's. Both outfits will be filled with the appropriate best — Holman's with guys who can handle his tricky arrangements and still swing their asses off, Branly's with players handy at edgy post-bop and the newest Latin rhythms. Maybe we can hit both. On Wednesday at Charlie O's there's the high-powered hard bop of the Tony Inzalaco Quintet with the killer lineup of saxist Benn Clatworthy, trumpeter Nolan Shaheed, bassist Chris Colangelo and pianist Vicki von Eps, or Teka Brazilian Jazz at Vitello's with pianist Otmaro Ruiz. Flip a coin.
Trumpeter and Monk Institute grad-done-good Dontae Winslow has a quartet at Vibrato on Wednesday with pianist Josh Nelson, which ought to be good (and probably packed), or you can jump off the deep end with the Vinny Golia Trio at Royal/T (8910 Washington Blvd., Culver City; 310-559-6300). On Thursday Cow Bop are at the Café 322 — guitarist Bruce Forman utterly mystifies the jazz purists with this project, which as we've said before is an uncanny and completely natural fusion of Western swing and bebop. It works for us.
Saxist Bob Sheppard will mystify the non-jazz folk (and some of the jazz folk even) with his ideas at Charlie O's on Thursday. Brilliant stuff. And saxist Kenny Garrett kicks off a stand with his quartet at Catalina's on Thursday; it's highly recommended, but more about this next week.
And thought we'd plug a little presentation by jazz historian Steve Isoardi at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Jefferson Branch Library (2201 Jefferson Blvd., L.A.; 323-734-8573). Isoardi assembled an astonishing collection of interviews for his classic Central Avenue Sounds, which remains the book to have on L.A. jazz history. Buddy Collette, Clora Bryant, Marshall Royal, Gerald Wilson, Gerald Wiggins, Lee Young (Lester's brother), Britt Woodman, Jackie Kelso, Horace Tapscott and others, all in their own words. It's brilliant. Alas, most are gone now, but not all (indeed, Kelso still blows some beautiful sax with Wilson), and don't be surprised if some are there. It's free, too.
(Brick can be reached at email@example.com.)