Damn, man … there’s so much great jazz around town this week that choosing the best seems impossible. We’ll select a few here, but you’ll find plenty more marked “GO” in the listings. So for starters, we’ll recommend Peter Erskine at LACMA on Friday. Erskine played the drums alongside Jaco in Weather Report way back when, but he’s been mellowing a tad with his trio, veering into the straight-ahead and environs. He had settled in nicely with bassist Dave Carpenter, but Carpenter up and left us just like that, leaving a big hole where a great player and nice guy used to be. Gaps like that aren’t easily filled, not right away, so Erskine has called in a bunch of other players for this date, with Tom Warrington on bass and saxist Bob Sheppard, as well as his regular pianist, Alan Pasqua. Quite an outfit. And on Sunday at 2 p.m., these players and many more (Bill Cunliffe, Larry Koonse and Joe La Barbara among them) will get together at the Jazz Bakery for a tribute to Carpenter. There’ll be jamming and memories. “We’re trying to keep the event loose,” Erskine says, “imagining the way that Dave might have liked it …”
Pasqua’s own Jazz Collective will be at Hollywood & Highland on Tuesday. His Anti-Social Club (on Cryptogramophone) somehow slipped by our ears when we first got it last year, but we can’t get enough of it now. It’s that post-bop sound we dig, and seeing this outfit make that music outside at H&H in front of God and elephants and everybody will be cool.
Saxist Charles Owens will be at the Hollywood Park Casino on Tuesday — and this ought to be a perfect setup for him. Plenty loose. Drummer Marcus L. Miller’s Freedom Jazz Movement is at the St. Elmo Village Art Center (4830 St. Elmo Dr., L.A.) on Saturday, 2-5 p.m.; it’s free, too. And Pat Senatore’s birthday bash is at Vibrato on Tuesday.
Pianist Chuchito Valdes continues his tour of the megalopolis with an afternoon gig at LACMA on Saturday and then at the happening Pasadena Jazz Institute later that night. Sunday too — but if you’ve got $75, you can attend the 5 p.m. PJI fund-raiser gig featuring Chuchito’s band and emceed by no less than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. You get to hang with the man, get your picture taken and just stare upward, starstruck. Or play it jazz cool, like you hang with NBA stars at jazz gigs all the time. Check out www.pasjazz.org for the details.
Tenor Chuck Manning plays with trumpeter Sal Marquez at Vibrato on Friday, and with the Donovan-Muradian Quartet at the Farmers Market (always a fun gig) on Thursday. Pianist Josh Nelson (check out his excellent debut, Let It Go) is all over: with bassist Matt Cory’s trio (with rad drummer Zach Harmon) at the way-hip Foundry on Friday and Saturday, with bass meistress Jennifer Leitham (celebrating her new Left Coast Story) at Charlie O’s on Tuesday; with drummer Lorca Hart at Sangria on Wednesday. Probably at the cooking Mint sessions on Monday, too.
Ahimsa’s German jazzers (guitar, piano, some sax) and South Indian musicians (including some splendid violin) combine into a remarkably cohesive whole — the best melding of these two utterly alien musical civilizations we’ve heard in a while. We’ve been spinning their What Is the Nature of Spirit for weeks. They’re at the Skirball on Thursday. That same night, NYC’s The Cheap Landscape (who do crazy, fascinating stuff with cumbia), zocaloZue (who do cool things with Mexican son) and our own La Santa Cecilia (more beautiful takes on son, etc.) play the Japanese American National Museum in Little Tokyo. Not jazz, no, but there is a whole world of music out there between the Rio Grande and Tierra del Fuego (not to mention our own Eastside), and it’s not sitting still. Listen …
(Brick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)