Music Notebook: Connie Han at The Loft; Violent Femmes and San Diego Symphony at The Shell; Ozomatli at UCSD
Connie Han Trio
Connie Han combines two qualities not usually found in jazz pianists: monster instrumental chops and an unapologetic willingness to use her sex appeal to draw attention.
The 27-year-old Los Angeles native has emphasized this in recent interviews, with such statements as “I think jazz needs more provocative personality, and it needs more sex” and “Jazz used to be really cool! I add some sexy to it. I flaunt what I’ve got.”
That she does, as the sultry, come-hither poses Han strikes in the photos on her Instagram page and in her press kit make perfectly clear.
As such, she recalls classical piano star Yuja Wang, who created a major stir more than a decade ago — both for her virtuoso performances and her glamorous, barely-there dresses.
Han has three albums on Mack Avenue Records to her credit. Each showcases her impressive technical prowess and facility with the post-bop traditions that have inspired her work, although some of her song titles — such as “Boy Toy” and “Mr. Dominator” — may raise eyebrows in more staid jazz circles.
Han’s most recent album, 2022’s “Secrets of Inanna,” features her on both acoustic and electric piano. Its meticulously constructed songs, angular melodies and rhythmic propulsion evoke the late jazz giant Chick Corea, both on his own and with his storied Return To Forever band. That impression is reinforced by the bassist on “Secrets,” former Corea group mainstay John Patitucci.
It’s too soon to determine if Han’s music and image will help her connect with a broad audience in — and beyond — jazz. But the makeup of the audience next week at her San Diego debut concert may provide some clues.
8 p.m. Thursday. The Loft at UC San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla. $15 and $30. artpower.ucsd.edu/event/connie-han-trio/
You will be hard pressed to find a more animated musical setting to celebrate Cinco de Mayo here than at Ozomatli’s performance this weekend.
Since its inception in 1995, this genre-blurring Los Angeles band has exuberantly fused an array of Latin-music styles with hip-hop, funk, reggae, ska, rock, jazz and more.
With song lyrics delivered in both Spanish and English — and a touch of Arabic-styled chanting added for good measure — Ozomatli captures the multicultural essence of Southern California, and beyond, with infectious verve.
The group’s dance-happy concerts are cause for celebration any time of year.
8 p.m. Saturday. Epstein Family Amphitheater at UC San Diego, 3900 Gilman Drive, La Jolla. $25-$65. amphitheater.ucsd.edu/event/ozomatli
Violent Femmes and the San Diego Symphony
Is this Milwaukee-bred acoustic folk-punk group really celebrating the 40th anniversary of its self-titled debut album this year?
Are The Violent Femmes really going to perform the album in full with the San Diego Symphony?
Yes, and yes.
Two equally intriguing questions:
How does an arranger orchestrate such proudly bare-bones songs as “Blister In The Sun,” “Gone Daddy Gone” and “Add It Up” for a full orchestra?
And what do head Femme Gordon Gano’s musical odes to teen angst sound like when he sings them now, at the age of 59? You can find out Wednesday night.
7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park, 222 Marina Park Way, downtown. $20-$95. theshell.org
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