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MUSIC: Ventura County | SOUNDS

The Beat Goes On

Veteran L.A. drummer moves experimental guest program to Thousand Oaks location.

September 18, 1997|JOSEF WOODARD | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Onstage and off, veteran Los Angeles drummer Danny Pucillo has been responsible for maintaining the jazz groove at Monty's in Woodland Hills. For 18 months, the energetic drummer shepherded in a "musical chairs" jazz policy, which brought special guests to the lounge of the restaurant. For the moment, however, management is transforming the space from jazz club to sports bar.

During the Monty's jazz experiment, guests in the house band led by Pucillo included saxophonists Pete Christlieb and Lanny Morgan, pianist Brad Mehldau and renowned Canadian big-band leader Rob McConnell. The jazz policy--a chance for jazz to flourish in the Valley--can unfortunately be considered a nice-while-it-lasted proposition.

Pucillo, a player with a long history of studio and television work and an abiding passion for jazz, is taking his self-described "musical chairs" act on the road, as it were. But not very far: He'll play at What's the Catch in Thousand Oaks, with a group that includes pianist Tom Ranier, bassist Jim Hughart and saxophonist Morgan. The last two are regular members of Natalie Cole's band, and Ranier is a fine pianist whose days are spent, like so many of the best jazz musicians in Los Angeles, steeped in session work.

* Danny Pucillo, Sunday at What's the Catch, 821 E. Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand Oaks; 495-3474.

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Trumpet Lore, Continued: Wallace Roney, uppermost in the ranks of great jazz trumpeters, has thankfully made a habit of stopping in to play in the intimate spaces of Santa Barbara's Jazz Hall when he passes through town. The club, comfortably removed from any urban scene, seems to be one of those special places where musicians like to play, for love rather than money.

When Roney stops there Friday night, it will be his third gig at the venue in the past year and a half. As with his last show here, he'll be in the company of his wife, the fine pianist Geri Allen. While each spouse has individual projects to pursue, their musical paths have overlapped of late.

They appear as guests on each other's new albums. Allen is part of a stellar guest list on Roney's powerful new recording, "Village" (Warner Bros.). On Allen's "Eyes . . . in the Back of Your Head" (Blue Note), Roney joins saxophone legend Ornette Coleman, in whose acoustic band Allen plays, and percussionist Cyro Baptista.

At Jazz Hall, Roney will also be joined by veteran bassist Buster Williams, saxophonist brother Antoine Roney and drummer Lenny White. It's a not-to-miss occasion.

* Wallace Roney, Friday at Santa Barbara Jazz Hall, 29 E. Victoria St. Shows are at 8:30 and 10:30 p.m. $15. 963-0404.

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