New Sounds at the Listening Posts : The Biltmore converts to a soft format; Central Park West expands its jazz potential,


The jazz clubs come and go, not talking of Michelangelo but of be-bop, standards and great lyrics.

Going tonight is the Grand Avenue Bar of the Biltmore Hotel, where a performance by Brian O’Rourke (piano), John Leitham (bass) and Kenny Dennis (drums) is the setting sun of that room’s four-year policy of presenting name jazz artists. Monday, the bar ensues its new schedule of “soft jazz” duos and trios that are designed to serve as backgrounds for conversation.

Coming , not necessarily in the bar’s place but certainly a boon for Westside listeners, is the adding of a bevy of first-class vocalists, pianists and bassists to the bistro fare at Central Park West, 11604 San Vicente Blvd., Brentwood. Music began at the restaurant Thursday with the duo pianist Tom Garvin and bassist John Heard. Ruth Price, who provides a similar service to Giorgio’s in Long Beach, is booking the room, and working, there, too. She appears tonight and Saturday with Garvin and bassist Tom Warrington.

“I went in and talked to owner Reto Ryffel and he got really excited,” Price says of how things got under way. “He let me build a stage and pick the sound system and everything. I’m just hoping it’s going to be good. You never know until it starts, but it feels good.”


Music at CPW runs from 9:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m., Thursdays-Saturday, and 7:30-11:30 p.m., Sundays. A $5 cover charge is imposed, though there’s no cover with a dinner purchase. Also on the schedule: singer Fatima Guedes with Billy Childs (piano) and Tony Dumas (bass), this Sunday and next; and Mike Wofford (piano) with bassists Warrington, Heard and Monty Budwig on Dec. 6-8, respectively. On Dec. 7-8, Price will sing too. Information: (213) 207-9998.

Those Benefit Birthday Gals: For the second year in a row, Ellen Cohn, vice president of the Chase Music Group record label, and Jeri Nelson, saleswoman for Precision Sound, an independent record distributor, are celebrating their mutual birthdays by holding a benefit Tuesday at Bon Appetit in Westwood. Keyboardist Dan Siegel, drummer Alphonse Mouzon and guitarist Carl Verheyen headline the evening whose proceeds go to Haven Hills, a shelter for abused women and children in the West Valley.

“I saw a story in the paper about a hotelier in Woodland Hills who works in conjunction with Haven Hills and who was providing rooms to abused women who were referred by the facility,” says Cohn, who turns 33 on Tuesday. “I thought that was a great idea and it spurred me to want to help.”

Donation: $15. Information: (213) 208-3830.


Just Out: According to sax master Sonny Rollins, one fan of the newly released “The Complete Dean Benedetti Recordings of Charlie Parker” (Mosaic), the 10 LP/7 CD package containing 278 previously unheard solos , is alto wizard Jackie McLean, who early in his career strongly emulated Parker before developing his own sound and style. “Jackie doesn’t like to talk about Bird, he doesn’t want to be associated with Bird since he was so much in the past, but he raved about this (set), so it must be smoking,” Rollins says. “I’m also anxious to hear it,” the tenorist adds.

Airwave Alert: Bernie Pearl returns to Southland radio, hosting “The Blues Roll On,” Sundays, 9-11 p.m., on KCRW-FM (89.9), beginning Dec. 2. Pearl is well known for his “Nothin’ But the Blues,” which, until it left the air recently, was heard on KLON-FM (88.1) for about a decade. . . . Branford Marsalis, who leads his quartet tonight at UCLA’s Royce Hall and Sunday at the Wadsworth Theater, is the in-studio guest this Sunday on Tom Schnabel’s “Sunday Brunch,” airing 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. also on KCRW.

Rim Shots: A tribute to the Pacific Jazz record label, which helped launch the West Coast Jazz movement in the ‘50s, will highlight KLON’s fourth annual Christmas Party. The bash, which begins at 8 p.m. Dec. 15 at UCLA’s Wadsworth Theater, Brentwood, will feature the current quartets of saxmen Gerry Mulligan and Bud Shank and a re-assembling of drummer Chico Hamilton’s late-'50s chamber jazz quintet, with reedman Buddy Collette and cellist Fred Katz on board. Information: (213) 985-5566, 597-9911