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In 2006, after wishing to expand my Jazz horizons beyond the Bay Area, especially with my 2004 Pontiac Grand Am “road car” all gassed up and ready to hit the road, I looked no further than the bustling L.A. Jazz scene. Its popular Jazz venues included the Catalina Club, Jazz Bakery, Charlie O’s, and Spazio, although the “City of Angels” comprised a five-hour, 350-mile journey. I began searching for weekend venue bookings that featured at least two Jazz shows that I wanted to see, plus a theatrical play, if possible. Of course, Amoeba Records on Sunset Blvd. off Highland Ave. and Tower Records in West Hollywood (at the curve), also on Sunset Blvd., would automatically be included in the itinerary. After all, with such a long trek down Route 101 and Interstate 5, as well as L.A.’s bumper-to-bumper traffic jams, I certainly had to make it worth my while. Whether I stayed one or two nights at my favorite hotel (Motel 6) depended on my final itinerary. :v) As it turned out, my ‘maiden voyage’ was the weekend of April 7th, which featured Pat Martino at Jazz Bakery, Roy Haynes at Catalina Club, and Plas Johnson (of “Pink Panther” fame) at Charlie O’s. That Friday evening, after making good travel time, my first stop was Amoeba Records before heading to Jazz Bakery. There, I witnessed a very swingin’ Pat Martino Quartet that featured Rick Germanson (piano), David Robaire (bass), and Scott Allan Robinson (drums). Once the set ended, I dashed eastward across town to the Catalina Club to see the great Roy Haynes and his ‘young lions’, including Jaleel Shaw (alto saxophone), Martin Bejerano (piano), and David Wong (bass). At age 81, Mr. Haynes showed that he hadn’t lost a step, or a beat. And his youthful bandmates showed that they could hold their own. On Saturday, after painting the town during the day including Denny’s, Tower Records, and Borders Bookstore, that night I settled in at the very intimate Charlie O’s to see Mr. “Pink Panther” himself, Plas Johnson. Backed by great bassist John Heard’s Trio, featuring John Beasley (piano) and Roy McCurdy (drums), it was another great set, indeed! After setting out after breakfast on Sunday morning, I returned back safely to the Bay Area by late afternoon. Overall, the mission was accomplished! So while it may not have been an April in Paris, it was certainly a wonderful April weekend in L.A.!!! :v)

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