[UPDATE: Yes, the Aardvark concert is happening!] Aardvark Jazz Orchestra turns 40, Mango Blue makes a one-night return, Evan Ziporyn plays Don Byron’s new clarinet concerto, drummer Brian Blade arrives with his Fellowship band, and much, much more.
By J. R. Carroll.
The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra‘s 40th anniversary season reaches its apex at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8, when founder Mark Harvey invokes the city’s history in the premiere performance of his expansive new suite Boston JazzScape at the Museum of Fine Arts. (Get to the museum early and you can check out the MFA’s new Art of the Americas wing, including paintings and watercolors by Bostonian master John Singer Sargent.)
After so many years at the heart of Boston’s Latin music scene, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth when Alex Alvear announced last fall that he would be returning to his native Ecuador. He did promise that he would come back to Boston from time to time, and now he’s made good on that promise by gathering the members of his stellar Mango Blue for an eagerly awaited visit to the Regattabar on Saturday, March 9, with shows at 7:30 and 10 p.m.
Also on Saturday, up at the Press Room in Portsmouth, NH at 7 p.m., the Clark Terry UNH Jazz Festival will feature trumpeter Claudio Roditi and saxophonist Joel Frahm with pianist Mark Shilansky, bassist John Hunter, and drummer Les Harris
On Sunday, March 10, at 3 p.m at Brandeis University’s Slosberg Recital Hall, bassist Bob Nieske and his quartet (trumpeter Phil Grenadier, guitarist Dave Tronzo, and drummer Jon Hazilla) play music from their new CD, One, Two, Three, Four!
This should be an outstanding evening. At 8 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12, pianist Fred Hersch will be featured in a solo recital at NEC’s Jordan Hall.
Finnish guitarist Jussi Reijonen brought together an international quintet of musicians (Turkish pianist Utar Attun, Swedish bassist Bruno Råberg, Palestinian percussionist Tareq Rantisi, and Spanish percussionist Sergio Martinez) for his new CD, un. Along with Palestinian qānūn player Ali Amr, they’ll celebrate the release on Wednesday, March 13, at 9 p.m. at Ryles.
Saxophonist Chris Potter was last this way in October as part of Pat Metheny’s terrific Unity Band. He’ll be at the Regattabar with his own Underground quartet (pianist David Virelles, bassist Larry Grenadier, and drummer Nate Smith) at 7:30 and 10 p.m. on Thursday, March 14.
Johnny D’s has been a little light on the jazz programming lately, but on Friday, March 15, at 7:30 p.m. they’ll welcome guitarist Oz Noy in a trio with bassist Anthony Jackson (yes, that Anthony Jackson), and drummer Keith Carlock.
Marco Benevento inhabits the nexus of seemingly every genre that has ever employed a keyboard. At 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, March 15 and 16, this unclassifiable mashup will envelop Portsmouth, NH’s Press Room for a two-night stand.
At 8 p.m. on Saturday, the MIT Wind Ensemble presents the premiere of Don Byron’s Concerto for Clarinet, with soloist Evan Ziporyn, in MIT’s Kresge Auditorium. (In addition, Don Byron will discuss his concerto on Wednesday, March 13, at 5 p.m. in MIT’s Lewis Music Library.)
The same evening up in Brattleboro, also at 8 p.m., the Vermont Jazz Center will feature vocalist Karrin Allyson.
If by 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 17, you’re ready for something not involving green beer, head over to the Paradise Rock Club for the infectious Afro-fusion of Freshlyground. They’ll also be at Northampton’s Iron Horse Music Hall at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19.
The Beehive has a couple of worthwhile events to start out the week. On Monday, March 18, at 8 p.m. they’ll welcome guitarist Javier Rosario, while on Tuesday, March 18, again at 8 p.m., drummer Nat Mugavero and his Nat-Man-Band take their turn at the Beehive.
In recent years, drummer Brian Blade has been the rhythmic anchor of Wayne Shorter’s remarkable quartet, but he also leads his own exceptional Fellowship band. They’ll be at Scullers for 8 and 10 p.m. shows on Wednesday, March 20.
The Celebrity Series of Boston presents saxophonist Charles Lloyd and his amazing New Quartet (with pianist Jason Moran, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Eric Harland) at 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 21, at Sanders Theatre.
The New York Voices bring their 25th anniversary tour to Scullers on Friday and Saturday, March 22 and 23, at 8 and 10 p.m.
There will be a different—and pretty interesting—evening at the Regattabar on Saturday, March 23, when Boston-born Tony Levin makes an appearance at 7:30 p.m. with his Stick Men. Bassist Levin added the Chapman Stick to his toolkit in the mid-2000s, and the Stick Men have built up an unusual repertoire ranging from King Crimson to Stravinsky—check it out!
Out in Northampton on Monday, March 25, the Charles Neville Quartet will perform at 7 p.m. at the Iron Horse Music Hall.
This should be wild: The Berklee Performance Center presents Nona Hendryx Re-Wired at 8:15 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26. The event teams vocalist Hendryx with faculty and students from Berklee’s Electronic Production and Design Department and its dazzling collection of music technology. Oh, and there will also be a robot!
Drummer Billy Hart will be back in town with his innovative quartet (saxophonist Mark Turner, Bad Plus pianist Ethan Iverson, and bassist Ben Street) on Wednesday, March 27, at 7:30 p.m. at the Regattabar.
It will be a DEFT performance at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 28, at the Beehive. That’s DEFT as in Diamond (guitarist Greg)–Eckroth (organist Mike)–Fajardo (drummer Jeffrey) Trio.
The Lily Pad hosts a Belly Dance Extravangza on Friday, March 29, at 7 p.m., with music by Boston’s own Klezwoods and Portland, Oregon’s Underscore Orkestra.
At the same hour, Wellesley College’s Jewett Art Center Auditorium welcomes Terri Lyne Carrington’s Mosaic Project.
And finally, on Sunday, March 31, at 6:30 p.m., South African pianist Witness Matlou brings his quartet (with saxophonist Marco Pignatro, bassist John Lockwood, and drummer Jorge Perez-Albela) to the Lily Pad.