Jazz Preview: Jazz Outside the Box—or Hiding in Plain View?

Outside the Box on Boston Common

Outside the Box on Boston Common

Sometimes what you’re searching for is actually right in front of you.

Outside the Box Festival. Boston, MA, July 13–21.

By J. R. Carroll

Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra, A Tribute to Ella Fitzgerald
July 14, 6:30 p.m.
Boston Common: The Beacon

Tonight’s Ella tribute should be sufficient reason to brave the heat and make the trip downtown this evening, but as for the rest of the Out of the Box festival, pickings look slim.

Or are they?

Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band
July 14, 4:30 p.m.
Boston Common: The Commonwealth Stage

If you show up earlier, your ear may be caught by this steampunk street band second-lining its way from Bulgaria to Bourbon Street. And later in the week . . .

The Party Band
July 20, 11 a.m.
City Hall Plaza: Main Stage

. . . the parade continues with these Riverhawks from Lowell.

KeL with Kel do Nascimento
July 16, 3 p.m.
Boston Common: The Commonwealth Stage

Berklee students arrive here from across the globe, bringing their own distinct traditions with them while absorbing jazz (and other) influences. Some, like MPB-inspired Paulista Kel do Nascimento, come from Brazil . . .


Juana Aquerreta y Amigos
July 17, 2:30 p.m.
Boston Common: The Commonwealth Stage

Others, like vocalist Juana Aquerreta, hail from Argentina . . .

July 17, 4 p.m.
Boston Common: The Commonwealth Stage

And some, like California-bred Raquel Rivera and her band Amethyst, gather up elements of Latin jazz and funk and give them their own twist.

Issac Delgado
July 18, 12 p.m.
Boston Common: The Beacon

The music of Cuba, of course, is one of the three deep reservoirs of African-American musical tradition (the African-rooted traditions of Brazil and the United States being the other two). The cross-currents that have flowed among these traditions have refreshed them all for over a century, and, to its considerable credit, Outside the Box has brought in one of the great masters of Cuban timba, Issac Delgado.

Guy Mendilow Ensemble
July 20, 2 p.m.
Boston Common: The Beacon

A very different Hispanic tradition can be heard in the absolutely stunning arrangements by Guy Mendilow of songs written in Ladino, the historic language of the Mediterranean’s Sephardic Jewish communities . . .

Women of the World
July 21, 3 p.m.
City Hall Plaza: Main Stage

And the voices of Italy, India, Japan, and the Haitian-American diaspora erase national boundaries in the sumptuous harmonies and percolating rhythms of the Women of the World.

So, like Poe’s purloined letter, jazz Outside the Box is hiding in plain view.

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