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To be honest, I wasn't receptive to going out for music tonight. Sometimes it is just that way. After a long day, an evening on the couch with "Julia" on HBO sounded pretty good. But I had a generous invitation from lovely people, and I promised, so I went.

Danny Janklow's focused intensity never fails to inspire and in short order I was all in. He is dedicated to creating music that doesn't just dazzle with cascades of notes and fiery virtuosity, he has something to say. Tonight as usual it all had the ring of truth, with heartfelt homage to masters Wayne Shorter, Benny Golson and Nina Simone. He certainly had the right band with Javier Santiago particularly impressive on piano and keyboard. Luca Alemanno, bass, Andrew Renfroe, guitar and Anthony Fung on drums all dug deep and were superb. Along with Danny's inspired and fresh new originals, it was great to hear one of my favorites, "Philafornia" from his 2017 "Elevation" album.

If you aren't checking out what KCRW DJ LeRoy Downs is doing with his Just Jazz series both on the air and live, you need to get on the stick. Mr. Musichead is easily one of the coolest venues in town.

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Sara Gazarek delivered an eclectic mix of her best known recorded arrangements and adventurous new music tonight at Mr. Musichead. The two time Grammy nominee, fresh off a European tour, employed an emotional intensity to push her upper register to the limit time and again. There were moments of quiet contemplation as well. She confessed to a case of nerves regarding the performance of her newly composed original music to the Tennessee Williams poem "We Have Not Long to Love," then delivered it with a heartfelt plaintiveness. "Tea for Two," complete with the verse, had a playful sweetness. She closed with Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah," using her dynamic range to breathe new life into the often heard anthem. The fact that Sara Gazarek continues to evolve is a testament to her work ethic and talent. "It's a journey," she told me after the performance. Not every artist has the courage to take that journey. The dividends for Gazarek are paying off.

Miro Sprague, piano, Karl McComas Reichl, bass, Mark Ferber, drums and Daniel Rotem on tenor sax supported her every step of the way.

LeRoy Downs continues to display his programming chops in a most interesting space. Check out "Just Jazz" every Wednesday night at Mr. Musichead.

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Updated: Jun 27, 2022

Of course I don't always hear it first. That's just a catchy title given by a friend. But I do see a lot of shows, and I do get a lot of music sent to me. And I like to write. So I write. In a different pre internet reality, if I were paid to write about music and assigned pieces to cover, I would write about a wide variety of entertainment. But this is a labor of love, so full discloser: you will never see a negative hit piece here. I want to elevate and support music that appeals to me. There is enough negativity in the world. Conversely, if I don't write about your show or album, that does not mean I don't like it. I respect all who toil in the business of music. But time is limited, and I have stuff to do. And who asked me anyway?

I hope you can find something here that inspires you to go out and hear some music, purchase it directly from the artists you want to support, and make yourself part of the healing community of music.

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