Big jazz in little glen park!

This winter/spring, watch for some major jazz musicians in our Sunday “which way west?” series… always 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.  Never a cover charge, but don’t neglect to help us pay the musicians — unless you’re flat broke!  All ages welcome!

In between the dates we’ll describe below, you’ll hear country music (Misisipi Mike on Jan. 13), Americana (during the SF Bluegrass & Old-Time Festival bookings on Feb. 10 and 17), Hindustani (North Indian) classical music (vocal/tabla and violin/tabla on Mar. 24 and 31), etc.  None to be missed!

But here’s a run-down of the spectacular Sunday jazz bookings we’ve got in store for you in the next several months:

January 20th: Mike Lipskin, a 50-year veteran stride piano player — who early on gained the stamp of approval of several giants of the style including Willie “The Lion” Smith, Eubie Blake and Earl “Fatha” Hines, will bring in singer Dinah Lee, guitarist Paul Mehling and reed player Jerry Logas.  Lipskin is known internationally as one of the top interpreters of the style that’s at the base of so much jazz.

January 27th:  pianist Mark Levine brings in a quintet he’s dubbed the San Francisco All-Stars, with Chuck MacKinnon on trumpet, Al Bent on trombone, John Wiitala on bass and Ron Marabuto on drums.  Mark is widely known (with a couple of Grammy nominations) for his Latin jazz work, but he’s also a superb straight-ahead player who studied early on with Hall Overton and Jaki Byard and has done solid work with the likes of Woody Shaw, Blue Mitchell, Joe Henderson, Harold Land and Dave Liebman.

February 24th:  pianist Don Alberts with bassist Don Russo and drummer Art “Sharky” Lewis, in a trio sometimes called The Bad Boys — very tight, very bad!  Again, long resumes among these three– and their association on the bandstand dates back at least to the 1960s when they held forth on the “Ark”, a decomissioned ferryboat named the Charles Van Damme that was moored among the Sausalito houseboats at Waldo Point, where Carlos Santana, Janis Joplin, Steve Miller, David Crosby, Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix all played or passed through; and at Deno & Carlos, a North Beach bar that predated Keystone Korner, on Vallejo across the alley from the police station.  Alberts also did a long stint as house pianist at Jimbo’s Bop City alongside the likes of the late, great Bishop Norman Williams, and was on the bandstand when many of the greats passed through that fabled club. Sharky studied with Philly Joe Jones and was a fixture on the NYC scene for years, playing with all the major cats.  Russo was in and out of the business a few times, but at each juncture played on equal footing with the top musicians on the scene.

March 3rd:  Skin & Bone, a quartet comprising the father/son duo Si Perkoff on piano and Max Perkoff on trombone, Sam Bevan on bass and Ian Dogole on percussion — Ian and Max are the co-leaders of this group, and Si is the eminence griese on the date, coming up in the 50s in NYC, studying in the midtown jazz loft where composer/arranger/pianist Hall Overton worked, taught and played in late night sessions with the likes of Thelonious Monk — Hall and Monk rehearsed the famous Town Hall Concert big band there.  Si is one of the great interpreters of Monk’s music, and Max knew Monk from the age of two, when Monk and his wife Nellie were frequent visitors to the Perkoff household…  As for Ian, he’s widely regarded as a world music master — we first heard him at Bird & Beckett with Avotcja a few years ago — ranging over countless traditions with boundless energy, intelligence and enthusiasm; and Sam has made a solid name for himself and a busy career since hitting the Bay Area in 1999.

March 10th:  pianist Betty Wong brings in many of the great jazz cats who teach at Community Music Center — no doubt including Ken Rosen on sax and Randy Craig on piano.  We’re also likely to get a taste of former director Steve Shapiro on piano along the way, and with luck non-faculty member Ellen Rosenthal might play bass on a tune or two.  The music will extend out with different musicians into world music territory as well.  It will be a rich and rewarding excursion through varied musical forms.

March 17th:  Celebrate the birthday of Asian-American Jazz Orchestra founder and leader Anthony Brown.  Dr. Brown is bound to bring in top-flight musicians for the occasion.  He’s one of the Bay Area’s deepest scholars of jazz — a percussionist, composer and arranger who has delivered amazing programs of music rooted in the work of John Coltrane, Duke Ellington, etc., etc.

April 7th:  Pianist Larry Vukovich and reed player Noel Jewkes hold forth as a duo, digging deep into the music that enhanced the great noir films of American cinema in the 40s, 50s and 60s.  Two players each of whom has been acknowledged as among the very top musicians on the local scene for five decades or more.

And it goes on from there… with Jon Frank’s quartet on April14, the gypsy jazz quartet Eclaire de Lune on April 21, Studio 5 with Mark Reynolds on April 28…  But we’ll fill you in on those soon enough!

in May, on a date TBA:  Pacific Jazz Connection is a band brought to us by reed player Jerry Logas (a Bird & Beckett favorite from his many Seabop Friday night dates) with Smith Dobson on tenor sax, Jack Riordan on guitar, Adam Gay on bass and Tony Johnson on drums.  The band’s repertoire and sound harken back to the “West Coast Jazz” that set the nation on its collective ear back in the late 1950s, emanating from such joints as Howard Rumsey’s Lighthouse in Hermosa Beach, and Shelly’s Manne-Hole in Hollywood… Tight, hip and swinging arrangements with all the improvisational fire of bop.