Louie Bellson is a king of jazz drumming. He broke into the business with Benny Goodman at age 16, and has also played with Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey and many others. He loves the big band genre, especially composing and arranging for his own large ensemble.
A spry 74, Bellson is also a subtle small group player, and on Wednesday night at 9:30, he will make a rare appearance with a trio at Cafe Cordiale (14015 Ventura Blvd., Sherman Oaks; (818) 789-1985 , no cover, no minimum). "It's nice to break away from the big band and do a trio occasionally," said Bellson. His partners will be piano whiz Gerald Wiggins and dandy bassist Chuck Berghofer.
Two More Trios: The fiery guitarist Ron Affif was once an Angeleno but for many years has been an always-in-demand New Yorker. His latest, riff-packed CD is "Ringside." He trades sizzling phrases with another impressive guitarist, John Pisano, on Tuesday, 8:30 p.m., at Papashon (15910 Ventura Blvd., Encino; no cover, no minimum; (818) 783-6664). Both principals are backed by noted bassist Jim Hughart.
And don't forget the redoubtable threesome of current Chick Corea tenorman Bob Sheppard, ex-Weather Report/Stan Kenton drummer Peter Erskine and top call bassist Dave Carpenter. They will be cooking like mad on Tuesday, 10 p.m., at Rocco (2930 Beverly Glen Circle, Bel Air; no cover or minimum; (310) 475-9807).
New Year's Eve Tips: Bebop is emotive trumpeter Dan Bagasoul's game and he will indulge himself at Rocco. Seating for the show is at 9 p.m. A five-course dinner and bottle of champagne (one bottle per two patrons) runs $115. Want music only? It's $40 per person, with appetizers and a glass of bubbly included.
Spirited vocals are long what you have come to expect from Cathy Segal-Garcia. Given that New Year's Eve is a big party night, you can bet she will really let loose when she appears at Ca' del Sole (4100 N. Cahuenga Blvd., North Hollywood; (818) 985-4669). Backing the singer will be pianist Marty Harris' quintet. The show, which starts at 10 p.m. and costs $60 per person, includes a four-course dinner, dancing and champagne toast.
For a bit of vocal variety, you might want to catch up with singer Cassandra, who entertains at two shows at Papashon, at 7 and 8:30 p.m. Early seating--patrons must be out of the club by 9:30 p.m.--is $65; second seating is $85. Both seatings come with a five-course meal and champagne toast.
Zan Stewart writes about jazz for the Valley Edition of The Times. He can be reached at Zansky@AOL.com