Since a change of ownership late last year, Alfonse's, the Toluca Lake restaurant, has stepped up its music policy, which now consists of jazz seven nights a week.
Tuesday the incumbents were Buddy Childers, the John Leitham Trio and the singer Diane Varga. For Childers, this was a less-than-typical setting, most of his credentials having been racked up in the trumpet sections of innumerable big bands, from Barnet and Basie to Dorsey and Goodman, not to mention seven stints with Stan Kenton.
On this occasion, he played only fluegelhorn, putting its gentler sound to generally relaxed and fluent use. He does not, however, seem completely adjusted to the horn; occasional minor slips led one to wonder whether he might not advantageously switched back once in a while to the bigger, bolder sound of the trumpet.
Childers' choice of material is as well conceived as the use to which he puts it. "My Funny Valentine" shook off its cobwebs by the back-and-forth use of a fast three beat and a moderate four. His own "Anything" fitted old-timey chords to a buoyant waltz meter.