Big jazz guns in town this week, and you could precede all their names with “legendary” and not feel a fool for hyperbole. The legendary vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson is at the Jazz Bakery through Saturday.Tenor man, composer and storyteller Bennie Golson begins his latest stand at the Bakery this Wednesday and Thursday. At Catalina Bar and Grill on Friday and Saturday, pianist Ahmad Jamal creates his perfect extended pieces. And then on Thursday in comes the McCoy Tyner Quartet. Tyner’s piano still resonates in jazz memory with John Coltrane’s classic quartet, but his career since then has been fruitful and fascinating, the playing always expansive. His brand new McCoy Tyner Quartet (on his new eponymous label) is a powerful live set featuring Joe Lovano on tenor .?.?. and at Catalina’s the horn chair will be filled by Gary Bartz. This is the kind of jazz you pinch pennies to see.
The Getty Museum is hosting a conference grandly titled “Côte à Côte — Coast to Coast: Art and Jazz in France and California” on Tuesday and Wednesday, full of music, lectures, exhibits and films. Panelist/performers include Ernie Andrews, Clora Bryant and Buddy Collette (who needs a battery of oral historians to record his invaluable reminiscences). It’ll be a rewarding time for you jazz intellectuals. And for the rest of us the high point will be the concert on Thursday night, starring Ernie Andrews, Bobby Bradford, Vinny Golia, Jack Sheldon, René Urtreger and Bud Shank. See www.getty.edu for all the details.
And on Wednesday beginning at 6 p.m. there’s an evening of Don McGlynn jazz films at the Sponto Gallery (7 Dudley Ave. in Venice). Titles include Horace Parlan by Horace Parlan, The Legend of Teddy Edwards, Dexter Gordon: More Than You’ll Know and the classic Art Pepper: Notes From a Jazz Survivor. And all that for no cover.
On Friday at the Getty it’s Norwegian accordionist Frode Haltli and quartet. His Passing Images (on ECM) is spooky, foggy, dreamy and at times downright weird, especially when vocalist Maja Ratkje kicks in.If you’re looking for an evening of total disorientation, try and drop by LACMA first to see Vinny Golia. There’s no cover at either, so you can try out the avant garde on the cheap. Also in this direction is Nathan Hubbard’s Everything After (vibes, bass, Brad Dutz’s percussion backing various reeds and woodwinds) at the Café Metropol on Saturday. Sometimes the brain needs a good shakeup like this.
Okay .?.?. back here on Earth there is great local jazz all over town. On Friday there’s Bobby Matos and his Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble at Holly Street (and look for his latest, the very fine Gratitude), or the fine tenor Andy Suzuki at Vibrato. (This is a change for Suzuki, who generally plays in more contemporary settings, like with the excellent Shapes.) ’Trane-channeling Azar Lawrence is at Vibrato on Saturday; he’ll tone it down early, but look out for the after-dinner sets. Tenor Benn Clatworthy makes two appearances on Sunday, first with his regular 3-6 p.m. gig with trumpeter Frank Cano’s fine quintet at the Radisson Whittier (at 7320 Greenleaf Ave.), and then with one of the most brilliant working quartets in town alongside pianist Theo Saunders, bassist Chris Colangelo and drummer Jimmy Branly out at Charlie O’s. During Sunday brunchtime at the Lighthouse, bassist Henry Franklin leads a group, and man does he take them places. Then head over to the Jazz Bakery for the 4 p.m. matinee show with Med Flory’s Jazz Wave featuring Super Sax. He’s pulled together some of the best local players for this, dug out some old and written some new charts. (Super Sax was always a blast.) And saxist Sean Nowell and vibist Nick Mancini’s quintet are at Rosalie & Alva’s at 8 p.m. (They also share a bill on Tuesday at 2nd Street Jazz with Jacob Moritz & The UP.) Tenor Fred Horn is at Jax on Wednesday, and whether he’s playing the straight ahead or some fascinating funk arrangements (including a great Fela-sounding piece) it is good stuff, and this seems to be his primary venue to see him at lately. Also on Wednesday at Café 322 in Sierra Madre, the still-under-the-radar saxist Javier Vergara fronts a quintet. Listening to Vergara is a pleasure; on the cooking numbers he has a big, muscular sound with a lot of ’Trane and Dexter in it, and he handles the ballads beautifully, letting them play out on their own terms, the notes disappearing into space. Check him out.
Of course, if you can score tickets then see Caetano Veloso at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on Wednesday. Caetano is one of the grand figures of Brazilian music, an iconoclast. He’s totally convincing with nothing but a guitar, whether he’s in front of an orchestra, with a tight band (as he is here) or on his splendid recent album, Ce. The latest in a series of remarkable releases he’s made in the last decade, this veteran of the 1960s Tropicalia movement continues to be as vital as anyone making music on the globe today. His voice is still beautiful, the playing sharp, the compositions alive. Highly recommended.