There’s so much great real jazz in town this week — even in Glendale. We love Jax, the noisy joint on Brand Boulevard where a couple times a month you can expect something straight-ahead. But on Saturday they have one of the very best aggregations of the week when drummer Mat Marucci comes down from Sacramento to lead a quartet there with the exceptional lineup of tenor Chuck Manning, pianist Theo Saunders and bassist Chris Connor. Highly recommended and no cover, people. Manning’s also at Charlie O’s on Friday night, matched with the powerful John Heard Trio. It kicks off another killer week there, every night a good one, including saxist Benn Clatworthy on Sunday. We’ve heard two new things from him: Three Wise Monkeys is a just-recorded organ trio set that positively smokes; and LA is a very off-the-wall duet with synth player Joe Gallivan that we love but is too far out for the conservative crowd. Both sets highlight his innovative, high-wire sax playing. Clatworthy’s back at Charlie O’s on Wednesday with drummer Tony Inzalaco’s hard bop quintet alongside trumpeter Nolan Shaheed, pianist Theo Saunders and bassist Chris Colangelo, a serious bunch of talent. And the next night John Altman pops over from London for a Charlie O’s gig. His curved soprano is a rarity on the scene, to say the least, but the little thing cooks as he lays out a nice selection of jazz classics and obscurities from the footnotes of the Great Anglo-American Songbook. No cover at any of these, either.
The Pete Christlieb Tentet is at Spazio on Tuesday, and Christlieb will be in his element in this outfit, which is just about the size of the Tonight Show Band (without the trumpet player in the Nudie suit). Cover is 10 bucks. Downtown at Café Metropol, for the same price, you can see fine young pianist Eli Brueggemann lead a like-minded quartet on Friday. Saturday at Metropol, the neo-classic crooner Michael Konik and his resurrected Tasty Band celebrate his birthday with special guests including Charmaine Clamor. It’s free, but reservations are required so call ahead.
If you like to get up early and eat breakfast while listening to great music, we recommend the John Beasley Circle at Twist Restaurant. It’s inside the Renaissance Hotel at Hollywood & Highland with music on Sundays from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. The brunch — vast heaps of it, all you want — is $35 (kids half) and the music will be superb. Beasley’s style has echoes of Herbie and Monk, just beautiful, advanced playing, and his music here is deep straight-ahead with big flashes of color and stunning improvisation. Plus, he’s got singer Dwight Trible, whose passionate, resonant, stunning vocals range from ethereal to intense. Beasley’s also playing on Thursday in Simplexity, with bassist John Von Seggern, drummer Gary Novak, trumpeter Walt Fowler, clarinetist Rich West and Steve Tavaglione on electric reed things. It’s part of the ResBox series, which is all sorts of art-damage craziness, all avant-garde and electronic. Myriapod (with bassist Steuart Liebig and trumpeter Kris Tiner) are on the bill, too, and it happens at the Steve Allen Theater (4772 Hollywood Blvd., 800-595-4849) on Thursday night. Two great accordion players gig that night, across town from each other. There’s Frank Marocco, who’s everywhere lately in all kinds of contexts. This time he’s part of brilliant drummer Gerry Gibbs’ quintet at the Crowne Plaza by LAX, alongside Rob Hardt on sax, clarinet and even trombone, the excellent pianist Llew Matthews and Brazilian bassist Lyman Medeiros. Could be a little nuts. Then way over at Vibrato, there’s esteemed Italian accordionist Vincenzo Abbracciante in an ultra-rare L.A. appearance. Oh well.
On Wednesday, Cowbop are at one of our very favorite spots, the Foundry on Melrose. Led by guitarist extraordinaire Bruce Forman, these guys drive pedal to the metal through their blend of western swing and bebop and your jaw will drop at the virtuosity. Bird and Diz transferred to fiddle and guitar. They swing, baby, just like Bob Wills himself. And that Pinto Pammy is one fine country singer, too, a la Patsy Cline. The self-proclaimed “best band in town in this price range,” these guys are just waiting for some smart guy to take them on and make a lot of money.
Finally, saxophonist Frank Tiberi is still leading the Woody Herman Orchestra and they still blow and swing like mad just the way Woody left it. Always trying something new — that might have been the legacy of Woody Herman. At Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts (12700 Center Court Drive, 652-467-8818) on Sunday at 3 p.m.
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