Fridays, September 7th, 14th, 21st
JazzPop w/ Mark Dessen, Vinny Golia, Aram Shelton
The Hammer Museum likes to sneak in great jazz performances with little fanfare, don't they? This is Bay Area bassist Lisa Mezzacappa's seventh year curating the JazzPop series, moving it one month later than the usual sweltering August run. I'm not sure where the “pop” part comes in, but Mark Dessen, Vinny Golia and Aram Shelton will bring three boundary-pushing sets to Westwood's boxy, stone palace. This is a great free series for an expanding scene and a challenging start to your weekend. What better way to follow up happy hour?
Sat, Sept 8
Billy Childs Trio
Local pianist Billy Childs' compositions swing just as hard as his performances. Lately his chamber works have taken him to Disney Concert Hall and abroad but for this show at Vitello's, Childs will be working in a straight-ahead trio alongside indispensable locals John Clayton on bass and Jeff Hamilton on drums. It is a rare treat to get the 10-time Grammy nominee in the company of such a great rhythm section.
Wed, Sept 12
Charles Owens Quartet
Charles Owens, omnipresent educator and honking tenor saxophonist, seems to pop up anywhere there is a bandstand. For this show he'll be hanging out by the beach backed by an organ trio that includes guitarist Steve Cotter, organist Mikal Najeed and drummer Don Littleton. Owens will no doubt dig into the soul-jazz bag and put on a little strut for the flip-flop crowd.
Fri – Sun, Sept 13-15
Christian Scott Group
Young New Orleans-based trumpeter Christian Scott has a natty style, both on record and in person. His recent double-album, Christian aTunde Adjuah, is a sprawling announcement that incorporates everything that came before, during and after the sound of New Orleans. He is an adventurous young trumpeter with a lot to say; hence the unprecedented three-day stint at the Blue Whale.
Sat, Sept 22
Los Angeles-born, bearded vocalist Gregory Porter is a unique voice on the scene. His gentle approach can make the ladies swoon and the Mint is probably the best venue for an intimate experience with a crooner with his level of unrepentant soul. His most recent release, Be Good, is full of charm and originality, pulsating with '50s jazz cat vibes but firmly rooted in a 21st century mindset.
Sat and Sun Sept 29 and 30
Watts Towers Day of the Drum and Jazz Festival
Located next to the stunning Watts Towers is the Charles Mingus Youth Center. The volatile bassist was nurtured in Watts, as were a lot of notable jazzmen like Buddy Collette, Eric Dolphy and Big Jay McNeely. So it is fitting that the Watts Towers jazz festival has been successfully running for over 30 years. The free, two-day event will include jazzbos like drummer Ndugu Chancler, keyboardists Patrice Rushen and Mitch Forman, and trumpeter Bobby Rodriguez. It's a great annual tradition and an excellent excuse to go stare at the majesty of the Watts Towers.