Sunday, April 01, 2007

Swing Has Sprung! April Jazz Shows

Hey there! So I am going to trim down my calendar postings, not because there aren't a lot of jazz shows in April (there are TONS), but because I think it could be info overload otherwise. What would make my entire day (ok, month!) would be if those who know of additional shows would post them as comment to this blog entry. That way, the whole world can see it (or at least the 17 people who check this listing) and can check out shows based on others' recommendations, not just mine. I've felt very excited recently that a handful of folks have mentioned attending shows based upon seeing them here - so this is a great place to share that info!

OK, let me put down my pom poms and tell you what's happening in April. Email or call if you want to go to a show and would like company. Have a great month!

Sunday 4/1
Vicki Von Eps Trio 6:30 - 10:30 PM
Cavallino Ristorante and Jazz Bar, Huntington Beach

Wednesday 4/4 (plus more dates)

Catalina Bar & Grill, Hollywood

Friday 4/6
8:00 - 11:30 PM -- CD Release Party featuring Clay Jenkins on trumpet and Joe LaBarbera on drums
Pasadena Jazz Institute, 260 East Colorado Blvd., Suite 206, Pasadena
(626) 398-3344

Sunday, 4/8
Bill Cunliffe Trio 7:30 PM
Spazio, Sherman Oaks

Thursday 4/12
Emil Richards Quartet 7:30 PM
Spazio, Sherman Oaks

Friday, 4/13
John Beasley on piano in the John Heard Trio 8:00PM
Charlie O’s, Van Nuys

Tuesday 4/17
Med Flory Quartet 8:00 PM
Charlie O's, Van Nuys

Thursday 4/19
Tribute to Chet Baker: Chuck Berghofer Quartet 8:00 PM
Charlie O's, Van Nuys

Sunday, 4/22
Lorca Hart Trio 8:00 PM
Charlie O's, Van Nuys

Saturday 4/28
Kathleen Grace Band 8:00 PM
Rosalie & Alva Performance Gallery, San Pedro

Listeners' Series Concept Overhaul - "Pam's Page 6"

Recently I had a major jazz epiphany. I was talking to a friend of mine about how sad it is for me to go out to jazz clubs and not see a lot of folks, and especially young people, and how I was discouraged last year when a listeners' series show I put together fell apart. And you know what he told me? He said that the best way I can support the music is to go out there and enjoy it – whether I go alone or take a million people. He let me sit with that and ruminate on it, and eventually I had an "Aha moment" (as Oprah would say). I decided that I am just going to go out and hear the music, invite people to come along whenever they like, and share my passion with them whether they join me or not by posting tidbits of my experience.

So without further ado, I present, "Pam’s Page 6": blurbs on some recent jazz experiences to allow you a glimpse into my world. Note that because I'm not particularly gossipy, my "Page 6" is misnamed a little to keep people reading. But stay tuned - you never know when a fun gossipy tidbit might turn up!

Stalker Report - Pasadena Jazz Institute
On Friday and Saturday, March 16 and 17 the Jeff Hamilton Trio played at the Pasadena Jazz Institute in, um, Pasadena. I am a huge fan and went to all 4 sets, prompting my sister Kesha has to call me and my friends "Hammies" and suggesting the trio obtain a restraining order. Truthfully, I kind of like the name "Pammy the Hammy" because it reminds me of "Minnie the Moocher" or "Freddie the Freeloader" or any of a variety of great jazz tunes. Composers out there, please take note: I think it would be the coolest thing EVER to have a jazz song named after me. "Pammy the Hammy" needs to be an upbeat, wailing tune that makes people want to dance around and / or order cocktails. So far though, the only song that I can claim is Toto's "Pamela" which a) isn't jazz and b) was recorded long after they jumped the shark. Alas.

But I digress. I was really excited that so many people checked out the JH3 show at Pasadena Jazz Institute, and the performances met rave reviews by my friends, who have great taste and can be hard to please (in a good way, of course). Among the attendees were Allan Spring, Emily Hands (whom Kesha insists is as big a Hammy as I am), Kim Howell, Amy Rhodes, Holly Bower, Jennifer Miele, Holly Tempo (it was a very Holly-filled weekend), Flip Manne, Tony Inzalaco, Vicki Von Eps and a host of other folks. The space is worth checking out and the crowd ranged from jazz heads to Pasadena revelers, but all told I'd give the weekend an A+. Favorite tunes of the weekend: "A Felicidade", "Yesterdays", "I've Never Been In Love Before", and "Daahoud" to name only a few.... Jeff, Tamir and Christoph always put on a must-see show so next time they're listed, don't miss it!

When Russia Meets Los Angeles
Sometimes you have the most fun when you least expect it, where you least expect it. On Thursday, March 22 at the recommendation of Kristin Korb, jazz musician / aficionado / educator I checked out Thursday night jazz at Russia Restaurant. I went with Karen Guest, a co-worker and friend, and we had so much fun that I'm sure we'll be back. The featured performer was Kathleen Grace, who is young, hip, has great taste in shoes, and sang the standards beautifully plus at least one original tune. Here are some of the salient points:
  • Including my friend Karen and myself, there were 2 people in the audience for most of the show.
  • The room décor included disco balls (plural), Christmas lights (both the multi-colored and white icicle variety), a series of deflated balloons (including mylar ones reading "It's a Boy!" and "Happy Birthday!") and a vase of dead roses.
  • We brought a bottle of wine to enjoy with our dinner, and the water came to our table to outline what he called "the rules": corkage is 33% of the wine list price. In case you're wondering, that's only one rule but why get caught up in semantics? Interestingly, there was never a wine list that we saw, and I'm pretty certain that 33% of $0 is, well, $0, which I think is what we were charged.
  • The food was actually very tasty, but I think I had a small heart attack during the show given the high mayonnaise / sour cream content.
  • The show was a lot of fun! Kathleen Grace is a talented vocalist and the stage loves her. The band played as if the room were full of people, which in a way it was, since the walls were done in murals featuring scenes from St. Petersburg. This went very nicely with the disco balls and Christmas lights.
  • I left the evening with a Kathleen Grace CD, the label from our wine which I will certainly buy again (2004 Two Hands Harry & Edward's Garden Langhorne Creek), and a commitment to checking out jazz shows in quirky spots in LA.