Vocalist IngaSwearingen is at Café Metropol on Friday. FirstRainhas a relaxed jazzy feel, not a smoove jazz thing but more like that candlelit Blue Thumb sound from the ’70s, with understated scatting and a warm vocal tone that never knocks you down, and a fine, pianoless band — congas and acoustic guitars and a fiddle, even alongside the bass and drums — that seems completely at home in her mellow groove. Nice, as they say. Swearingen will doubtless draw simply because she is a semiregular on PrairieHomeCompanion, if that’s how you spend your Saturday afternoons; there’s a folk and Scandinavian thing here, too, which blends seamlessly with her Americana take on jazz. She has a talented band: bassist DarekOles and guitarist LarryKoonse among them.
You’ll see guitarist GrahamDechter quite a bit around town; his pure jazz playing has made an impression. He’s sticking with the young cats this weekend, on Friday at Spazios with bassist HamiltonPrice and drummer KevinKanner, and then at Charlie O’s on Sunday with bassist Mike Gurrola. The Spazios gig has guest trumpeter GilbertCastellanos, a San Diegan who simply burns on that horn. The LannyMorganSextet (or more accurately “6,” for you minimalists) at the Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach from 11 a.m. till 3 p.m. on Sunday, with Lanny on alto, trumpeter BobSummers, tenor DougWebb, pianist TomRanier, bassist ChuckBerghofer and drummer SteveSchaeffer, a helluva band. We think their new 6 release is one of the best local straight-ahead things we’ve heard in a while, with plenty of that bop he’s famous for. (He’s got the Bird thing down, you close your eyes and you’re back a half-century ago.) The thing is just solid, sounds great on the 101 late at night with the windows down. The surprising last track, “Idyllwild Camp Parade,” is a raucous, classic jazz number that your Dixieland-loving grandfather would have stomped to with glee and worried your grandmother and embarrassed the kids. We love it. Trumpeter CarlSaunders is at Vibrato on Friday, and if the mood (or whim or just bad attitude) hits him, he could fly into Satchmo for a stretch, too, or do baroque wonders with Jobim for that matter. We’ve seen Saunders sit back and run through the motions (with his chops and range, he has plenty of them), but when he’s on fire, which he ought to be at the late sets at Vibrato on Friday, he’s a thrill. You won’t hear any trad from saxist RickeyWoodard at Charlie O’s on Saturday, though this former Ray Charles sideman can play some mean blues (or anything he sets his mind to, really). But Charlie O’s is all about the straight-ahead, and Woodard takes a few pages from the Hank Mobley book in his explorations of the melody. On Saturday the pianist LarryGoldings is at Vitello’s. We totally dig the man’s playing, and this quartet gig ought to be outstanding. Highly recommended.
On Monday, downtown sax and flute player KatisseBuckingham leads a group at Seven Grand (515 W. 7th St., L.A.). He has some great, imaginative players with him (with vibist NickMancini, bassist GregSwiller and drummer ChrisWabich), and boundaries will be stretched, which is typical of the downtown jazz scene. On Tuesday we recommend the energetic BobMintzerBigBand at Vibrato if you have the bread (it’s a $25 cover), otherwise it is impossible to go wrong with saxophonist PeteChristlieb and the JonMayerTrio at Charlie O’s. On Wednesday it’s a cool-toned sax fan’s dream with the Stan Getz sound of DavidSills and the beautiful sound of GaryFoster’s alto at Sangria in Hermosa Beach. This is that cool jazz you’ve been hearing about (though it’ll be plenty hot in places). Also on Wednesday, L.A.’s beloved trumpeter JackSheldon is at Charlie O’s, always a good bet. And he’s at Jax in Glendale every Thursday, too. Just be careful of the damn parking meters they’ve installed up and down Brand Boulevard, big giant evil things that like money.
It’s not even Thankgiving yet and here we are telling you about a “holiday celebration.” In fact, we’d ignore it out of spite, but, hell, you have vocalist TierneySutton, flutist HubertLaws and guitarist LarryKoonse and it’s a Jazz Bakery besides, and who are we to be a Grinch even if we haven’t had the damn turkey yet? It’s Saturday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Lenart Auditorium at UCLA’s Fowler Museum (Sunset Boulevard at Westwood Plaza, 310/271-9039). It ain’t cheap: $60 preferred seating, $40 general admission, and even the parking is $10 — which is actually more than the greedy meters in Glendale, but here a sweetly unjaded coed takes your money from you. Besides, Sutton is an awesome vocalist.
(Brick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)