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JAZZ NOTES

Promising Saxman Out to Make Own Mark

August 04, 1995|ZAN STEWART | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

These days, it's not easy to break in as a young tenor saxophonist, especially when you have players like Joshua Redman and James Carter getting lots of attention and work. But Teodross Avery just may have the stuff to run with the leaders.

The 22-year-old tenor saxophonist--whose first name is pronounced "Tea-OH-drohz"--makes his Los Angeles debut Monday through Wednesday when he guests with Black/Note at Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood. Avery possesses a startling facility on his instrument. But what sets him apart is his bold, expansive sound, which is as personal as it is appealing. Avery said he worked hard to develop this facet of his musicianship, "playing songs so slowly that I could hear every aspect of my sound."

Avery said he is searching for his own approach to jazz.

"I try not to imitate," he said. "I take what the masters did and pour it through my own musical funnel, mixing it with my own things. I listen for the essence, the feeling, the spirituality. If I can connect with that, then I can learn from it better."

Originally a guitarist, then an alto saxophonist, Avery switched to tenor sax "because it just felt right." The native of Fairfield, in the northeast San Francisco Bay Area, Avery grew up in nearby Vacaville, traveling to San Francisco to study with Joe Henderson and to sit in with such greats as Art Blakey, Freddie Hubbard and Elvin Jones. He moved with his family to Berkeley, where he finished high school at Berkeley High, which is also the alma mater of Redman and pianist Benny Green. He then received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Avery, who recently graduated from Berklee, now has a solid first album titled "In Other Words" out on GRP records. He said he plans to move to New York City because he likes the "artistic energy there."

Information: (213) 466-2210.

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Sandoval in the House: In the past year, Cuban expatriate trumpeter Arturo Sandoval has explored several musical avenues. He's revealed his love for the rhythmic sounds of his native land, with plenty of jazz flavor, on "Danzon" and "The Latin Train" and his deep affection for Western classical music with "The Classical Album," on which he plays trumpet concertos by Leopold, Mozart, Hummel and himself.

But if there's one music that really touches his heart, it's be-bop, says Sandoval, who brings his quintet to the House of Blues on Monday. There, he says, he'll probably offer the be-bop anthem "Cherokee," which was popularized in jazz by Charlie Parker. But Sandoval does it his way. "I might play the intro as a bolero, which is a Latin ballad, or I might play it as a cha-cha on the bridge," he says. "This all makes it sound fresh."

Information: (213) 650-1451.

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Klemmer Returns: Tenor saxophonist John Klemmer, whose soft-fusion albums such as "Touch" got plenty of airplay in the '70s and '80s, has been absent from the L.A. jazz scene for about a decade. But he returns to performing Monday (and again on Aug. 21) at the Baked Potato North Hollywood. "He sat in with my band," said Don Randi, the Potato's owner and pianist, "and sounded wonderful." Information: (818) 980-1615.

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Another Empty Chair: Lois Boileau, the gentle-voice singer who founded Le Cafe in Sherman Oaks, died Tuesday in Westwood of liver failure. She was 61.

Boileau presented scores of top jazz and vocal artists in her Room Upstairs, a 50-seat spot that, for 15 years until it closed in March, was one of Los Angeles' most intimate performing spaces. Among the singers who worked there were Sue Raney, Bill Henderson, Benard Ighner (who got Sarah Vaughan to sit in), Ruth Brown and Bolieau, who favored standards and Brazilian tunes.

A memorial for Boileau will be held Aug. 12. Information: (818) 906-3711.

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Free Music: Buddy Collette stars on Sunday, 7 p.m., at Jazz at the Wadsworth Theater in Brentwood, (310) 794-8961. . . . Drummer Fritz Wise's Q'tet plays Thursday, 5:30 p.m., at the Museum of Contemporary Art, (213) 621-1749. . . . The B Sharp Jazz Quartet performs Wednesday, 7 p.m., at the Century City Shopping Center, (310) 277-3898. . . . Bobby Bradford's Mo'tet works tonight (and Aug. 11), 5:30 p.m., at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Gerald Wilson's big band is there Sunday at 1:30 p.m., (213) 857-6000.

On the Tube: Jazz Central on BET features performances by Sonny Rollins (tonight at 10) and Gato Barbieri (Thursday, 9:30 p.m.).

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