LAJC Picks: Sara Gazarek & Josh Nelson, Larry Goldings, Billy Childs

by Gary Fukushima

Sara Gazarek and Josh Nelson
Tuesday, December 9 9pm

There are few relationships in jazz more intimate and precious then those between a singer and her accompanist.  The best pairings are borne out of years of working together, each gig solidifying the bedrock of trust in each other to the brink of telepathy.  Pianist Josh Nelson has a knack for being completely supportive of his bandleader’s wants and needs, yet he is able to dazzle all listeners with unpredictable delight and surprise.  Sara has conceded Josh is able to do this with just about anyone, and she herself has the beautiful confidence to be great in front of any band, but hearing the two of them together is to witness a musical mutual love strong enough to make one blush in the unexpected voyeurism.  They will be recording their highly anticipated duo album this week, so they will be in rare form for this show.

Larry Goldings
Friday, December 12 9pm

As a young prodigy he performed for jazz royalty, including Sarah Vaughn, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Tommy Flanagan and Jim Hall. His organ trio is regarded as one of the greatest, and he had the honor of playing duets with the late great Charlie Haden. Pianist/organist Larry Goldings has won at playing jazz, which might be why he traded the cutting edginess of NYC for the sun-drenched Hollywood Hills, now writing hits with Sia, playing piano for James Taylor, and otherwise, winning. Charlie Sheen is rumored to be attending, taking notes. He appears here with bassist David Piltch, drummer Jay Bellarose, and percussionist Sebastian Aymanns.

Billy Childs
Saturday, December 13 9pm

The Grammy-winnng pianist/composer eschews the term minimalism, going as far to call himself a maximal-ist, making the most of every musical moment.  His latest project, a tribute to singer/songwriter Laura Nyro, embodies the maximal spirit, sporting a string orchestra and an impressive parade of singers from Renee Fleming to Rickie Lee Jones, with a little Yo-Yo Ma for good measure.  Childs is sans vocals for this show, allowing him to fully display his razor-sharp piano chops.  With veteran saxist Bob Sheppard, newcomer Mike Cottone on trumpet, and the dynamic duo of Carlitos Del Puerto on bass and Jamire Williams on drums.


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