Coming Attractions in Jazz: Late February 2011

The second half of February offers warm-ups for Mardi Gras, an evening of musical tributes by the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, and more guitarists than you can shake a pick at.

By J. R. Carroll.

On Tuesday, February 15, the second half of February starts with a guitar run. At 7:30 p.m. up in Methuen,MA,  the Sahara hosts the Sheryl Bailey Trio (with bassist Lincoln Goines and drummer Ian Froman). At 8 p.m. at the Beehive, drummer Gary Fieldman and guitarist Jamie Stewardson join forces in a new project. And at 8:15 p.m., four (count ’em) guitarists (Eric Byers, Steve Kirby, Steve Rochinski, and John Stein) from Berklee’s Harmony Department perform with their individual bands at the Performance Center in a program they’re calling GUIT(h)ARmony.

Aardvark Jazz Orchestra

The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra. Photo by Joe Harrington.

The major event on Wednesday, February 16, is the return to Scullers, at 8 p.m., of the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, now in it’s 38th (!) season. For the occasion, leader Mark Harvey has brought together a set of original compositions honoring Duke Ellington, Mary Lou Williams, Gil Evans, Don Cherry, Jaki Byard, beloved Boston storyteller Brother Blue, and the late Senator Ted Kennedy.

On Thursday, February 17, bass master Buster Williams brings his Quartet (with saxophonist Steve Wilson, pianist Patrice Rushen and drummer Cindy Blackman) to Scullers at 8 p.m. (They’ll also be at the Iron Horse in Northampton, MA, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 22.)

Also at 8 p.m. the Lily Pad hosts The Outnumbered (saxophonists Jason Robinson and Charlie Kohlhase, pianist Josh Rosen, bassist Bruno Råberg, and drummer Curt Newton). And at 10 p.m., you can catch the new wave klezmer of the Klezwoods at the Beehive.

The innovative pianist Vijay Iyer will play two shows at the Regattabar on Friday, February 18, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Across the river at Scullers, vocalist Lizz Wright also has a pair of performances, at 8 and 10 p.m.

At 9 p.m. on the 18th, out at the Acton Jazz Cafe, vocalist Henri Smith brings together Charles Neville and Amadee Castenell for a New Orleans Saxophone Summit . And for the night owls, Club d’Elf, fresh from their Japanese tour, returns to the Lizard Lounge at 11:45 p.m.

Down in New London, CT, at the Jazz Underground, you can catch the Joe Parillo Trio with vocalist Tish Adams at 8 p.m. on Saturday, February 19. And at 9 p.m., saxophonist Nick Goumas will be at Chianti in Beverly, MA. (Nick is back in action on Tuesday, February 21, at 8 p.m. at the Press Room in Portsmouth, NH.)

Also on the 21st, at 7 p.m., the Lily Pad presents System of 5 (saxophonist Matt Langley, trombonist Jeff Galindo, pianist Pandelis Karayorgis, bassist Jef Charland, and drummer Luther Gray).

On Wednesday, February 22, saxophonist Greg Abate and his Quartet will be at the Sahara at 7:30 p.m.

At 8 p.m. on the 22nd, Johnny D’s welcomes the Chicago Afrobeat Project, and the Beehive features the Quartet of vibraphonist/pianist Alexei Tsiganov.

On February 23 at 8 p.m. at Scullers, saxophonist Noah Preminger celebrates the release of his new CD, Before the Rain, with his Quartet (pianist Frank Kimbrough, bassist John Hebert, and drummer Matt Wilson). Then, at 9 p.m., Portuguese guitarist Francisco Pais comes to Ryles.

Also on the 23rd at 7 p.m., Canadian guitarist Jesse Cook brings his Flamenco fusion to the Iron Horse; he follows this up the next night with a concert at the Somerville Theatre at 8 p.m.

Thursday the 24th wins the Ridiculously Overbooked award for the second half of February. At 7:30 p.m. Regattabar welcomes back Choro Democratico, and Florencia Gonzalez brings her 11-Piece Band to the Lily Pad, followed at 9 p.m. by the Tal Gamlieli Trio.

Over at Scullers at 8 and 10 p.m., New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton comes to town with his current band. And at 9 p.m., there will be music from the Avant Coast with bassist Tim Webb at the Press Room in Portsmouth, NH.

Now here is an intriguing collaboration: Wilco guitarist Nels Cline, bassist Trevor Dunn, and drummer Scott Amendola (the “Nels Cline Singers”) join the Rova Saxophone Quartet to form the Celestial Septet, and what better place to hear them than at the Institute of Contemporary Art? Catch them on Friday, February 25, at 7:30 p.m.

Or, at 8 p.m., warm up for Mardi Gras with Galactic and Trombone Shorty with Orleans Avenue at the Paradise. Also at 8 p.m., pianist Eric Zinman and drummer Laurence Cook, who made a fine duo recording, are joined by bassist Jacob William at Outpost 186.

Following hot on the heels of his celebrated homage to Johnny Hartman and John Coltrane, vocalist Kurt Elling has thrown a bit of a curve ball with his latest CD, The Gate, on which he teams with producer Don Was for a program of more surprising repertoire (among others, King Crimson!); Kurt will be at Scullers on Friday and Saturday, February 25–26, at 8 and 10 p.m.

Also on the 26th, at 8 p.m., pianist Steve Lantner and his Quartet perform at Outpost 186, and, in New London, CT, flutist Ali Ryerson appears at the Jazz Underground.

And at 9 p.m., timbalero Eguie Castrillo brings his high-powered Latin ensemble to Ryles, while, up in Beverly, Chianti hosts saxophonist Benny Sharoni.

Finally, wrap up the month by second-lining with the Revolutionary Snake Ensemble on Sunday, February 27, at 5 p.m. at Chianti’s Mardi Gras Party.

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