Certainly one of the most exciting talents to develop in Los Angeles has been 21-year-old pianist Tigran Hamasyan, about whom excitable adjectives tend to pile in heaps. Let’s just call him a helluva piano player. He hasn’t been in town much lately, as he’s been touring Europe and everywhere. And now, alas, he leaves us to relocate in the Big Apple, where he’ll study and wow the other coast. He’s having a final blowout at the Roxy on the Sunset Strip, of all places, this Monday. His band is always great — Ben Wendel is on tenor and soprano this time, and Nate Wood is on drums. The band will no doubt be playing a lot of material off his World Passion CD, which is infused with Armenian folk themes, Russian romanticism, Monk and all Monk’s heirs — channeled through Tigran’s astonishing virtuosity. Anyone lucky enough to have caught him at the Foundry on Melrose on one of those crazy Friday or Saturday nights will not soon forget it, and he will be doing a send-off there as well on Saturday. These kids go nuts. Zach Harmon is on drums, and with the two of them in such a setting all hell usually breaks loose.
The L.A. Jazz Collective is presenting the Robby Marshall Electric Band on Monday at Seven Grand downtown. Marshall has a big, classic tenor sound, whether playing hard-charging straight-ahead or the more funky and experimental craziness. And for a great blast of heavily jazz-injected, rocked-up funk and blues, check out the very entertaining Atomic Sherpas at the Farmers Market on Friday. At the same time, though, the Bobby Bradford Mo’tet make their annual appearance at LACMA. Something about this place seems to bring out the best in Bobby and his band, which is well-documented on their live CD from a couple years ago (called Live at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art).
Zane Musa is at Vibrato on Saturday. He’ll try to hold it in early on so the rich people can talk about whatever rich people talk about, but the last two sets he’ll no doubt be going off as only Zane can. Saxist Justo Almario will hold back nothing at Charlie O’s on Friday, and just try to talk when the Frank Capp Juggernaut are going full bore there on Monday; if you like Atomic Basie, then this is for you. Tateng Katindig lays down his beautifully swinging chops at Spazio on Monday night. And pianist Jim Szilagyi has a CD-release bash at Jax on Monday. You’ve seen him with Chuck Manning lately. The semi-crazy Mitch Marcus Quintet comes down from Berkeley (they’re originally from Bloomington, Indiana) to gig the Jazz Bakery on Thursday, and we like what we’ve heard by them.
Young bassist Mike Gurrola makes some serious stuff at Café 322 on Thursday the 28th. If you’re down San Pedro way on Saturday, drop by Rosalie & Alva’s for pianist Otmaro Ruiz, with saxist Ben Wendel, bassist Greg Swiller and drummer Jimmy Branly, who’ll offer brilliant compositions and exciting playing. And Red Holloway is at Pasadena’s Levitt Pavilion on Sunday night. Nice bluesy way to run down the weekend.
On Thursday, the Sexteto Roberto Rodriguez are at Skirball; his Baila! Gitaro! Baila! features some terrific roots-based Cuban tunes, and the man loves tossing some klezmer into the mix as well. Johnny Polanco’s machine-tight Conjunto Amistad closes out the Autry’s summer season that Thursday, too, and Jose Rizo’s explosive Jazz on the Latin Side All Stars end Hollywood & Highland’s season on Tuesday. The end of summer is nigh.
One last note … the excellent documentary Anita O’Day: The Life Of a Jazz Singer is finally opening in Los Angeles at the Laemmle Music Hall in Beverly Hills this Friday. Robbie Cavolina and Ian McCrudden have put together quite a film: You get the whole Anita, good and bad and baaaad, and the extended musical performances are a real treat. Witness just how great a jazz vocalist she truly was. Highly recommended, and we’re so glad that jazz fans will at last be able to see the damn thing. If you dug the Jack Sheldon doc Trying to Get Good, you will really dig this one as well. Making a film like this is a labor of love, a very tough sell in today’s market, and the filmmakers’ love for the wild Anita O’Day certainly comes out in this flick.
(Brick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)