Spring Arts Preview- Jazz

For Santa Barbara jazz fans, the not-so-good news is the official jazz concert season-the series at both the Lobero Theatre and Campbell Hall-is pretty much over. The good news is that jazz continues to slip between the cracks at other venues in town during the next few months, before the summer “chill. “Female jazz singers of note (pardon the pun) are headed through town this spring, as is one of the hotter “new” acts making the jazz circuit at the moment, the artfully dazzling Metheny-Mehldau project. Tierney Sutton, Santa Barbara’s veritable jazz vocal sweetheart, returns to the Lobero, and Jane Monheit returns to town at SOhO, also the site of Solvang-based Mellonie Irvine’s CD release party (working with two of Sutton’s musicians). In other jazz corners, L.A. veteran Red Holloway guests with the SBCC Jazz Ensemble, and The Bad Plus returns to town to show why it has the freshest new sound in jazz.

Metheny-Mehldau Quartet

These inarguably great musicians, guitarist Pat Metheny and pianist Brad Mehldau, have appeared in Santa Barbara separately. But what they have done together, captured now on two separate Nonesuch albums from the same sessions, surprised many-including themselves-with its collective power and naturalness of expression. Joined by drummer Jeff Ballard and bassist Larry Grenadier, they are launching their first tour with a show at Campbell Hall. Sun., Mar. 25, 7pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit www.artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.

SBCC Jazz Ensemble, with special guest Red Holloway

SBCC Jazz Ensemble concerts are always worth checking out, particularly given the tight mesh of the Monday Madness band. Added attractions come in the form of stellar special guests, including Gerald Wilson and Clark Terry in recent years. This year, saxophonist Red Holloway, who turns 80 this May, does the honors. Based in Los Angeles for many years, Holloway has played with greats, including Lionel Hampton, Billie Holiday, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, and a collaborative stint with Sonny Stitt. He plays bebop and the blues like it’s a mission and a barrel of fun, which apparently it is, on both counts. Mon., Mar. 26, 7pm. Garvin Theatre, Santa Barbara City College, 721 Cliff Dr. Call 965-5935.

Tierney Sutton

This century has been very good to Sutton, whose sure skills and subtly creative manipulations of the Great American Songbook have won her expanding respect on the global jazz scene. We’ve been lucky to have her play the Lobero annually, and this gig comes on the heels of the release of her must-hear new album, On the Other Side (Telarc). The theme: happiness, our lack thereof, and search for it. Sat., May 5, 8pm. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. Call 963-0761 or visit lobero.com.

The Bad Plus

Too few people caught the remarkable show by The Bad Plus when it made its Santa Barbara debut at the Lobero Theatre a couple years ago. It was hip, hot, strange, witty, and generally righteous. Here’s another chance: the amazingly “electric” acoustic trio, with pianist Ethan Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and drummer David King, will mix things up in a delicious and fresh-sounding way. Wed., May 9, 8pm. SOhO, 1221 State St. Call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.

Jane Monheit

Jazz singer Monheit, a next-big-thing in training who possesses a big, clear voice and a pedigree that includes musical theater (and it shows), was last here at the Lobero a few years ago. She’s got a new album out, Surrender (her first on Concord), and a two-night stand at SOhO in June. Tue., June 12 and Wed., June 13, 8pm. SOhO, 1221 State St. Call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.


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