LAJC Picks: Ben Wendel Quartet, Zach Danziger + Mark Guiliana, Nick Mancini w/ Brian Charette

There seems to be no end to the list of great shows happening in LA these days.  Here are three coming up this week:


Thursday 1/22 and Friday 1/23
Ben Wendel, Taylor Eigsti, Harish Raghavan, Eric Harland

Some schmuck from the LA Weekly once called Wendel “Perhaps the best and most well-known saxophonist to be consistently active on both coasts,” and little has happened since then to prove that statement wrong.  His band Kneebody keeps expanding their fan base around the world, and in between tours Wendel is engaged in five or six (hundred, seemingly) pet projects, including gigs with drummer Jeff Ballard, tenor sax battles with Walter Smith, and his own music, which is what’s happening at bluewhale this week with some USC-alums-turned-major-jazz-players-in-NYC, namely pianist Taylor Eigsti and bassist Harish Raghavan.  Eric Harland, simply one of the best jazz drummers, rounds out the four sides to this quartet.



Zach Danzinger (Left) and Mark Giuliana

Saturday, 1/24
Zach Danzinger + Mark Giuliana

These two exceptional drummers are friends, and friends share things, so it’s a treat to have them share a stage and an evening at bluewhale.  Leading off is Danzinger with Stix Beiderbecke, which is a great name for his project with bassist Owen Biddle, supported by a myriad of coordinated sample loops and video.  Of particular note is how they were able to make All In The Family’s Edith Bunker into a soul diva:



Next is Giuliana, sporting an impressive line-up of musicians: Keyboardist Jason Lidner, Troy Ziegler on electronic percussion, saxophonist David Binney, and Cole Whittle, who plays bass for the rock band Semi Precious Weapons.  One would expect something akin to Giuliana’s popular Beat Music productions, akin meaning related to but not necessarily identical like a twin brother, and perhaps totally different like a distant cousin who lives in another country.




Brian Charette

Saturday 1/24
Nick Mancini, Brian Charette, Zack Albetta
Curve Line Space
all ages

Mancini, LA’s resident jazz malleter, recently teamed up with NYC organist Charette to record Mancini’s new album, Impulse.  It’s a mix of feel-good jazz-pop and ball-busting bebop virtuosity.  Charette, a practitioner of martial arts, needs those reflexes to deflect a relentless barrage of good note choices from Mancini, and gets in more than a few good licks in riposte.  Drummer Zack Albetta joins the double-barreled action at Curve Line Space, which was featured in the LA Weekly’s 2013 “Best Of” Awards as “The Best Jazz Room That’s Also a Frame Shop.”

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