Tizer--See Saturday at Spaghettini
Tizer--See Saturday at Spaghettini

Top Five Best Jazz Concerts in Orange County This Weekend

Often when people imagine jazz concerts, they think about a smokey room filled with clinking glasses, beatniks, and a time and generation distant from our own.  A galaxy far far away.  It's hard not to believe that our generation missed out on witnessing the icons of jazz, the iconoclasts, the oracles, like John Coltrane and Miles Davis.  And of course we did.  But that doesn't mean that jazz is dead in Southern California.  That doesn't mean that new generations of artists aren't trying to make the genre fresh. That doesn't mean that you have no where to go this weekend to see some great music.  Let us hip you to this: the Top 5 Jazz Concerts in Orange County and Long Beach this weekend.. 

5. Paul Brown at Spaghettini

Now the great contemporaries of jazz are not as popular as Lady Gaga.  In fact, they're not even as popular as most indie rockers, but among a certain crew, these modern jazz masters are still badasses.  And Paul Brown is one of them.  He's a two-time grammy-award winner, and he's produced countless records, including a couple #1 records.  Brown is a guitar player with a Wes Montgomery influence -- octaves up and down the fret board -- with a smooth jazz and R&B sensibility.  And Brown can still break it down with some blue-eyed soul.  Head down to Spaghettini in Seal Beach this Sunday. Sun, Oct. 21, 6:30 p.m.  $30. 

4. John Mayall with Connie Rae at The Coach House.

The Coach House in San Juan Capistrano brings in some serious talent.  For instance, Taj "Freaking" Mahal was there on Thursday.  And on this Sunday (why are so many jazz/blues concerts on Sunday anyway?) another legend will grace the stage.  Now, John Mayall may not be considered traditional jazz; he's probably most known for his union with...yes...Eric Clapton and blues.  But he's played at the Montreux Jazz Festival and the line between blues and jazz is relatively thin anyway.  After Clapton quit the Yardbirds, he made an album with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers back in 1966.  Mayall lives in Los Angeles, and he's been educating younger musicians for years.  This is a legend -- and not in his own world.  You'll hear music from his epic career, including jazz fusion, blues, and rock 'n' roll.  Oh baby, this is a real show. Sun, Oct 21., 7 p.m. $25. 

3. Tizer at Spaghettini

If jazz bands were compared to food, then Tizer would be a gumbo -- a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and whole lot of kick.  This band has more influences than Shawn Kemp has children.  Oops, too far?  A combination of jazz, rock, classical, jam bands, Afro Cuban and world rhythms, Tizer will surprise you around every turn.  They even have a violin player, and there musical and cultural influences are deep. Seeing Tizer play is kind of like taking a world voyage through the nuances of style.  But wait, there's more to sweeten this pot: Tizer's drummer, Raul Pienda, is a Grammy-winning drummer.  Their new album, Downbeat, was released in September, which you will hear at Spaghettini.  Sat, Oct. 20, 7:30 p.m. $30.

2. Jonathan Pinson Quartet at Roscoe's Seabird Jazz Lounge

Out of all the bands on this list, Jonathan Pinson might be the most under-the-radar.  And honestly, this should change.  He's a drummer from Los Angeles who was influenced by the greats -- Art Blakey, Philly Joe Jones and Elvin Jones.  When you hear him beat the tubs, then you will hear those influences -- the post-bop and bop style of drumming.  Free, accents, color, sporadic-syncopated grooves.  If you go hear Jonathan Pinson at the legendary Seabird, adjacent to the famous chicken and waffles at Roscoe's, then you'll be heading to a show drenched in the influence of Coltrane and Davis, too.  You might even hear Afro Blue.  It's a throw back show designed to make you feel that it's 1959 again.  Plus, did I mention chicken and waffles?  Sat, Oct. 20, 9 p.m.

1. Nancy Sanchez at Steamers

Imagine a Norah Jones sound mixed and the quirkiness of Zooey Deschanel with a dash of Regina Spektor.  No, Sanchez isn't your reincarnation of Billy Holiday -- though the influence is felt -- she is the evolution of the jazz singer in the '10s.  In 2012, Sanchez won Best Jazz at the OC Music Awards.  Plus, she is a stunning presence on the stage. So be careful when you go see her show.  You just might fall in love, thinking that she's singing just for you.  She can scat; she can run; she can play the guitar; and she can still your heart.  This is a win-win with potential for heartbreak.  Maybe it will inspire you to write your own songs.  Who knows? Fri, Oct 19, 8 p.m.   

Follow us on Twitter @OCWeeklyMusic and @JosephALapin on Facebook at Heard Mentality


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