The Monterey Jazz Festival is this weekend, and even though it’s hundreds of miles north, you can still feel its effects in our town. Everyone is up there playing, listening, hanging or playing golf with Clint Eastwood, and things are a little quiet here. Fewer musicians, fewer fans, fewer press people and hangers-on. Two of the coolest gigs here don’t even happen till the end of the week, after they’ve done their thing at Monterey. Thus the Dave Brubeck Quartet is at the Cerritos Center For the Arts on Thursday. Unlike all those Kind of Blue tributes this year Brubeck’s celebrating the half-century mark of his Time Out, with its “Take Five,” maybe the most famous jazz song ever. Paul Desmond composed the thing, of course, but he’s long gone, as is his whole approach to the horn. Sonny Rollins and Trane (and Ornette even) kind of changed the template about that time, leaving the Desmonds and Charlie Rouses and even Stan Getzes off a lot of bandstands anymore. Which is kind of sad. But we digress. This is a Brubeck thing, his night, his music, his swinging quartet, his studious, well-mannered, virtuosic and ever-creative approach to jazz piano. CCFA is a great venue, too, comfortable, terrific sight lines, strange looking; it’ll be a great night.
Also down from Monterey, the John Patitucci Trio begin a stand at Catalina’s on Thursday. His newest, Remembrance, is a brilliant slice of a pianoless trio. His bass chops, of course, never bore — there are so many ideas, and cool ways to make those ideas sound — and Brian Blade is always brilliant on the drums. And saxist Joe Lovano is just completely in his element here. The album doesn’t really break any new ground stylistically (but, then, what does these days? We all sit here waiting for the next messiah to change music for all time again, and either there ain’t one or we just can’t hear it), but it certainly makes beautiful the often harsh art of the pianoless trio. Recommended.
If you’re downtown on Friday and have the afternoon off drop by Angelus Plaza (255 S. Hill St., 213-623-4352) for timbalero Bobby Matos’ Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble. They hit at 2 p.m. to slam some tunes and go jazz-deep on others, often getting to the proverbial core. Afterward Maurice Spear’s BoneSoir do their trombone thing at LACMA at 6 p.m. You’d be amazed at just how loud, swinging and funky a slew of trombones can be, with or without Robert Preston. And that night at Charlie O’s trumpeter James Smith plays with the John Heard Trio. You’ve seen James cook red hot with the CJS Quintet; check him out on his own here. The Nick Mancini Collective are at Alvas Showroom way down in San Pedro on Saturday at 8 p.m. (1417 W. 8th St., 800-403-3447). We’ve been fans of Mancini’s vibes playing, arranging and live attitude for quite a while now. He invariably mans his Collective with exceptional players, and this time there’s the thrilling pianist Otmaro Ruiz along with clarinetist John Tegmeyer, bassist Greg Swiller, and the way different drummer Nate Wood. Nice space, this place. On Monday, there’s the interesting pairing of trumpeter Carl Saunders and tenor Chuck Manning at Charlie O’s. We’ve never heard the two together, and Manning certainly has the right touch on his keys to match Saunders’ solo flights. Drummer Jason Harnell has an exceptional quartet at Spazio on Wednesday with guitarist Larry Koonse, pianist Adam Benjamin and bassist Ryan McGillicuddy, a very creative bunch. Young pianist Mahesh Balasooriya is at the Lighthouse on Thursday. If you are down near there you need to see this cat play. And trombonist Andy Martin plays some of the finest trombone you’ve ever heard, at Vitello’s on Thursday.
Finally, as if to rub in just how exciting and creative Brooklyn is — and what the hell all you kids are not doing out here — there are a couple more fascinating combos from the borough in town this week. Doing that crazy mesh of jazz and Balkan Gypsy jazz music and whatever is Slavic Soul Party. We are digging their new Taketron. You will not be hearing it on KKJZ anytime soon, as this seems to annoy some people. But Klezmatics and John Zorn fans take note: Plenty of those scales and time signatures you love. They’re at the Echo on Wednesday. And the far more jazz-rock East West Quintet appear on Thursday at 11 p.m. at the Bootleg Theater (2220 Beverly Blvd., 213-389-3856). This is noisy stuff, deliberately aiming at a rock band energy/volume, and if that curdles the blood (and deafens the ears) of the older straight-ahead fans, it makes a lot of the younger, sometime jazz fans raised on rock & roll quite happy.
(Brick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)