Coming Attractions in Jazz: Late January 2011

UPDATE: The Mango Blue CD release event scheduled for tonight (January 26) has been canceled due to the impending snowstorm; check back here for announcements concerning rescheduling.


The new CD, Mango, by Alex Alvear and Mango Blue

Time to retire the phrase “it’ll be a hot day in January . . .” Virtually every day in the final two weeks of the month is steaming with musica latina muy caliente, including the long-awaited release of Mango Blue’s second CD, along with visits by a pair of saxophone legends, the sounds and spectacle of Bahia, and much, much more.

By J. R. Carroll.

On Tuesday, January 18, saxophonist Lance Bryant presents a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., featuring jazz from the Civil Rights era, at 7:30 p.m. at the Sahara in Methuen. (A long-lost letter expressing King’s admiration of jazz musicians surfaced just last year.)

If the name sounds familiar, it should: Cuban pianist Chuchito Valdes is following in the footsteps of father Chucho and grandfather Bebo; he’ll be at Scullers on Wednesday, January 19, at 8 p.m.

Meanwhile, at the same time across town, trumpeter Forbes Graham brings his trio Wild May (with guitarist Kevin Frenette and bassist Ryan McGuire) to Outpost 186.

Thursday, January 20, is yet another absurdly overbooked evening (apologies to the half-dozen other bands I couldn’t fit in). At 8 p.m. Johnny D’s welcomes the Afro-Brazilian grooves of HãHãHães, led by former Timbalada percussionist Dendê. At 8:15 p.m. the Berklee Performance Center presents an evening of music by Uruguayan singer/songwriter Jorge Drexler, with arrangements by Berklee’s Matthew Nicholl.

At 8:30 p.m. there’ll be more multigenerational Latin music at Ryles with Puerto Rican pianist father José and drummer son Nomar Negroni’s Trio. And at 10 p.m. you can top off the evening at the Lily Pad with the avant-funk of the Black Planets.

A year after the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Arts at the Armory in Somerville presents “Word, Dance and Misik: A Spiritual Celebration” on Friday, January 21, at 8 p.m., featuring music by Zili Misik and choreography by Jean Apolon, with guest poets and vocalists.

Two old masters of the saxophone are also in town on the 21st: Phil Woods joins up-and-coming saxophonist Grace Kelly at 8 and 10 p.m. at Scullers, while, across the river, the Regattabar hosts Charles Lloyd and his amazing new quartet (pianist Jason Moran, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Eric Harland) at 7:30 and 10 p.m. (Lloyd and crew are back for an encore at the same times on Saturday, January 22.)

On Saturday, January 22, at 8 p.m. at the Boston Opera House, World Music welcomes back Balé Folclórico da Bahia, while at the same time down in New London, guitarist Joe Carter offers an evening of Brazilian jazz at the Jazz Underground. And at 9 p.m., the Chianti Tuscan Grill in Beverly features the Afro-Cuban jazz of pianist Joel Larue Smith.

On Sunday, January 23, Outpost 186 plays host to the strings of the Spruce Maple Jazz Quartet.

Guitarist Edward Ricart pays a visit to Outpost 186 at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, January 25; joining him will be saxophonist Jim Hobbs, bassist Jacob William, and drummer Luther Gray. And at 8:30 p.m. there’ll be more sounds of Bahia when Marcus Santos and Bloco AfroBrazil, with guest vocalist Jucimara Marciano, heat things up at Ryles.

It’s been a long time coming, but Mango Blue at last gets to celebrate the release of its new CD, Mango, on Wednesday, January 26, at 8 p.m. at Club Oberon in Harvard Square. Don’t miss this one!

More choices on Thursday, January 27: Nando Michelin at the Fireplace at 9:30 p.m. or Mark Walker’s Rhythm of the Americas at the Beehive at 10 p.m.? (Or, for the price of a couple of drinks, both?)

Cuban-born drummer Franciso Mela has been much in demand as a sideman (with, among others, McCoy Tyner and Joe Lovano), but his Regattabar gig on Friday, January 28, gives him a chance to dig into his roots with his own Havana Quartet (with pianist Elio Villafranca, bassist Luques Curtis, and percussionist Pedro Martinez); shows are at 7:30 and 10 p.m.

Also on the 28th, at 8 p.m., Outpost 186 presents the Mill City Trio (guitarist Jamie Dunphy, guitarist/bassist Greg Passler, and drummer Tony D’Anna).

On Saturday, January 29, at 7:30 p.m., the Maghrebian funk of Atlas Soul comes to the Regattabar.

Gabrielle Agachiko and Russ Gershon

Gabrielle Agachiko and Russ Gershon

Vocalist and songwriter Gabrielle Agachiko has tapped Either/Orchestra founder Russ Gershon and Revolutionary Snake Ensemble leader Ken Field as arrangers and reedmen for her self-named band (which also includes trumpeter Scott Getchell, guitarist Sam Davis, bassist Blake Newman, and drummer Phil Neighbors), so expect a high-powered evening at Somerville’s Arts at the Armory, also on Saturday, January 29, at 9 p.m.

The month wraps up with two New England appearances by the Afro-Peruvian folkloric ensemble Perú Negro with vocalist Eva Ayllón: on Saturday, January 29, at 8 p.m., they’ll perform in Connecticut at Fairfield University’s Quick Center for the Arts, and the follow evening, at 7 p.m., they’ll be at the Berklee Performance Center.

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