March, 2008

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Some of you know that I’m the editor of a website dedicated to the Los Angeles and Southern California jazz scene, This week, I’m bringing my work home with me, because I cannot get over how much genuinely amazing music is coming to town.

Last night, we caught sax player Pharaoh Sanders and his quartet at the Jazz Bakery. Can I tell you how much I love that club and everyone who hangs out there? SO much, is how much. If you don’t recognize Sanders’ name, you’ll get the idea when I tell you he worked with John and Alice Coltrane back in the day; the man has not lost a step since then (or if he has, it’s a step only dogs can hear). He’s there through Saturday; if you’re in town, go. Seriously. It improved my entire outlook on life.

The next show I really want to see is Charles Lloyd this Sunday at Catalina’s. Lloyd, a reed player who’s celebrating his 70th birthday, is a legend and entirely a reason to attend on his own; however, what I’m really excited about is the addition of pianist Jason Moran to Lloyd’s quartet. Moran is quite possibly my favorite jazz musician from the younger generation, period. He’s one of those rare people who can synthesize what seems like the entire history of music into a highly original sound of his own. He also has a nice little collection of free MP3s on his website; well worth your time.

The Jazz Bakery goes on to have a jawdroppingly great schedule for the next month or so. There’s vocalist Jimmy Scott, whose distinctive phrasing and instantly recognizable soprano voice have served him in working with everyone from Lionel Hampton to Lou Reed. There’s best-kept-secret Andy Bey, a pianist/vocalist who returned from a 20-year absence from recording to release five astonishing albums over the last decade; word has it he’s better live. The mind boggles, I tell you. There’s saxophonist Lee Konitz, who rivaled Charlie Parker in the ’40s.

And there’s much more, but that’s what that other site I work on is for, right?

Even if you’re not seriously into jazz, do consider checking one of these shows out; we’re really quite fortunate to be able to see the architects of a whole genre of music playing in cozy little clubs, I think.