Staff Picks: The American Songbook Live

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Becca Stevens Band @ Jazz Standard (New York, NY) - Ease into the work week with The Becca Stevens Band. Perfect Tuesday evening music: it's a warm mix of pop, jazz and folk. The Winston-Salem Journal declares that "Stevens' singing is remarkable, soulful and pitch perfect...The arrangements are exquisitely produced." It's an easy choice. 2 shows: 7:30 and 9:30PM.

Nellie McKay @ 54 Below (New York, NY) - Musician Nellie Mckay was recently described by Stephen Holden of The New York Times as "a willful prodigy who is smarter, more talented and hipper than everyone else." We'd have to agree. She authors well received book reviews, she performs her own compositions (very well), recently finished a run in the off-Broadway smash Old Hats & sings American standards (which satisfies us). This week she's installed at 54 Below with her latest creation: A Girl Named Bill - the Life and Times of Billy Tipton. Tuesday through Saturday

Johnny O'Neal @ Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola (New York, NY) - Pianist Johnny O'Neal has quite the CV. He's played with Sonny Stitt, Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, Milt Jackson - in other words, he knows what he is doing. Tuesday night at Dizzy's, he'll bring decades of experience to the stage for a swinging evening. O'Neal will be joined by special guest, vocalist Stephanie Biddle. Doors at 7:30PM.

Django Reinhardt NY Festival @ Birdland Jazz (New York, NY) - This week, Birdland presents the Django Reinhardt NY Festival. A celebration of gypsy jazz (and the man himself) with a group dedicated to keeping the music alive: The Django Reinhardt Allstars. Featuring new interpretations of hits like “Minor Swing” and “Nuages,” this band of gypsies have been exporting their lightning-fast technique and romantic style from France for over a decade now. Tuesday through Sunday

Herbie Hancock with Orchestra @ Hollywood Bowl (Los Angeles, CA) Wednesday night in Los Angeles is the place to be. Composer/arranger Vince Mendoza will "breathe new life" into Hancock's music with fresh, new orchestral arrangements. Mendoza will lead an all-star line up: Herbie Hancock, Robert Glasper Experiment and Gregory Porter. Don't miss this show.

The Bad Plus & Joshua Redman @ Rockport Music (Rockport, MA) - Want a new sound? Check out The Bad Plus & Joshua Redman. An award winning saxophonist, Redman got his start playing with Pat Metheny & Charlie Haden. Thursday night he is joined by The Bad Plus, a jazz trio that has been receiving much critical attention: Ethan Iverson (piano), Dave King (drummer), Reid Anderson (bass).

Lavay Smith @ SF Jazz (San Francisco, CA) - Friday night, The Bay Area's Queen of Swing Lavay Smith, pays tribute to Swing Era dance. Smith will spend the evening celebrating the Savoy Ballroom with her 10-piece band (The Red Hot Skillet Lickers), an additional half-dozen horn players & a troupe of professional Lindy Hop dancers. Doors open at 7:30PM.

Harold Mabern Trio @ Village Vanguard (New York, NY) - In 1959, pianist Harold Mabern moved to New York from Memphis, Tennessee. Since then, he devoted himself to music - and it shows. He's travelled the world, playing with blues and jazz greats and this week, he'll be at The Village Vanguard.

Jane Monheit's Jazz Party @ Birdland (New York, NY) - Throughout the summer, Grammy-nominated Jane Monheit is hosting a weekly "jazz party" which is part concert, part storytelling & part jam session. There will be hits from the American songbook as well as new material she's developing alongside some very special, surprise guests. Sunday night, she'll have her trio in tow: Michael Kanan (piano), Neal Minern (bass) and Rick Montalbano (drums).