Hey Jazz Fans: 3 Upcoming Shows Not to Miss

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I want to recommend a few upcoming shows.

The first is an exceptional quartet called P.O.E.M. (Pasqua, Oles, Erskine. Mintzer), four incredible artists who share musical telepathy and deep understanding of whatever they play. They have a new album out called Standards 2: Movie Music. The cuts include their beautiful versions of classics like “Tara’s Theme” from Gone with the Wind, “Somewhere” from Westside Story, Morricone’s beautiful Cinema Paradiso theme and others.  These four guys really know each other; they’ve played together for years and all teach jazz music and performance at USC. The cd is also well-produced with great recorded sound, tube mikes, analog, etc.

They perform at the Blue Whale in Little Tokyo this Saturday, February 6, two sets at 9 & 11:55 p.m. It’s a great excuse to visit this superb downtown music space, where so much great music is happening these days. They also have a good piano there, cover charge is reasonable, casual food, not to mention that people listen there, not talk.

The second show not to be missed is happening Sunday, February 14, 8 p.m. at the Moss Theater in Santa Monica. It’s a rare chance to hear Gary Peacock (who rarely comes to LA since he’s always on tour with Keith Jarrett), pianist Marc Copland, and veteran drummer Joey Baron. This is an exceptional trio to say the least and the Moss Theater is a great space to hear it — it was designed by the same acoustic engineer, Yasuhisa Toyota, who did Disney Hall. The Moss Theater is located at 3131 Olympic Blvd, part of the New Roads School.  The show is presented by Ruth Price of the Jazz Bakery.

The third and final show is Peter Erskine’s ‘other’ group, Dr.Um.  (Get it?  DRUM divided by two.) It’s another all-star group a la Weather Report, with John Beasley, keys, bassist Janek Gwizdala, and Erskine. Gwizdala has the Jaco Pastorius DNA, and Peter Erskine confided to me that if Weather Report was still around today it might sound like this group.

This show is also at the Moss Theater, and it’s a Sunday matinee, on March 20, with interviews with the artists at 3 p.m., the celebration concert at 4 p.m.

Who says you have to go to the Big Apple for good jazz anyway?