Summer Arts Preview

Critic’s picks: Jazz

Singer Dianne Reeves performs at Rockport Music on July 15.
Jerris Madison/Rockport Jazz Festival
Singer Dianne Reeves performs at Rockport Music on July 15.

Grace Kelly with David Sanborn Brookline-raised saxophonist, singer, and songwriter Kelly has been a local star since she was a teenager. Now 24 (as of today) and a regular with Jon Batiste and Stay Human on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” she’s got a smart new album, “Trying to Figure It Out.” For this show, she’s joined by formidable funk alto-sax star Sanborn. May 22. Tickets: $27-$47. Berklee Performance Center. 617-747-3161,

Plymouth Rock Assurance Jazz Fest A cool gathering of veteran players from the South Shore anchors the Spire Center‘s third annual jazz festival. The players this year include the saxophonist Greg Abate’s quintet and singer Donna Byrne and bassist Marshall Wood’s trio (Friday), vibist Rich Greenblatt’s sextet and virtuoso piano monster Eldar Djangirov (Saturday), and a Sunday afternoon “all-star open jam” hosted by trumpeter Johnny Souza. May 27-29. Tickets: $25-$30. Spire Center for the Performing Arts, Plymouth. 508-746-4488,

Kidd Jordan For those who think of New Orleans as all trad-jazz, funk, and Marsalises, saxophonist Jordan is the antidote: a deeply schooled performer and teacher (Branford Marsalis was a student) immersed in the avant-garde. He headlines a two-day mini-festival at two locations with a group of like-minded players: guitarist Donald Miller, drummer Avreeayl Ra, and saxophonist James Brandon Lewis, with opener the Jooklo Duo (saxophonist Virginia Genta and drummer David Vanzan). June 3. Tickets $25, advance $20, students $10. ONCE Lounge & Ballroom, Somerville. 617-285-0167,; June 4. Tickets: $20, students $10. Accurate Records, Somerville. 617-872-1544,


Arturo Sandoval Exuberant Cuban expat trumpeter and pianist Sandoval is reason enough for jazz fans to check out the sparkling renovation of Beverly’s Cabot Theatre, first opened as a vaudeville house in 1920. The engaging Oscar Peterson-influenced young Australian pianist Matt Baker opens with his trio, which includes bassist James Cammack and drummer Darrian Douglas. WBUR’s Jose Masso hosts. June 5. Tickets: $35-$50. The Cabot, Beverly. 978-927-3100,

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Laszlo Gardony Hungarian-born Boston pianist and composer Gardony released one of the best albums of 2015, “Life in Real Time,” with a front line of three tenor saxophonists. He returns to Scullers with one of them, the distinguished reedman Bill Pierce, and his own longtime rhythm-mates, bassist John Lockwood and drummer Yoron Israel. June 9. Tickets: $25. Scullers Jazz Club. 617-562-4111,

Jim Hobbs/Tatsuya Nakatani Alto saxophonist Hobbs is an improviser of limitless daring and imagination. He’s joined by percussion polymath and sound artist Nakatani. June 18. Tickets: $15. Third Life Studio, Somerville. 617-628-0916,

Dane Vannatter With his choice of repertoire, presentation, and sense of swing, the fine singer Vannatter blurs the line between cabaret and jazz. He’s celebrating a new CD, “Give Me Something Real.”June 24. Regattabar, Cambridge. 617-395-7757,

Newport Jazz FestivalThe granddaddy of all summer festivals (b. 1954) again antes up an encyclopedic weekend survey, including the glitzy Friday night concert downtown with Gregory Porter and the Chick Corea Trio with Christian McBride and Brian Blade, and, at Fort Adams State Park, all of the above as well as a broad-ranging lineup that includes everyone from Norah Jones and John Scofield to Kamasi Washington, Kneebody, Donny McCaslin, and Tyshawn Sorey. July 29-31. Prices vary. International Tennis Hall of Fame at the Newport Casino and Fort Adams State Park, Newport, R.I. 800-745-3000,


Rockport Jazz Festival Summer jazz programming at Rockport’s harborside jewelbox Shalin Liu Performance Center officially begins July 15 with singer Dianne Reeves, but the pace quickens with this August festival: trumpeter Terence Blanchard (Thursday), Cuban pianist Harold Lopez-Nussa (Friday), organist Dr. Lonnie Smith (Saturday), Berklee’s Thinkin’ Big orchestra (Sunday matinee), and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane (Sunday evening). Aug. 11-14. Prices vary; subscriptions available. Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport. 978-546-7391,

Donny McCaslin Group Saxophonist-composer McCaslin has been esteemed among jazzheads since his early years with the Gary Burton Quartet. More recently, the wider world discovered him through his volatile electric group’s participation in David Bowie’s final album, “Blackstar.” A version of that band (keyboardist Jason Lindner, drummer Mark Guiliana, and bassist Nate Wood) rocks the MFA Courtyard after earlier hits at the Newport Jazz Festival (July 29) and the Cape Cod Jazz Festival in Harwich (Aug. 23). Aug. 24. Tickets: $30-$60. Museum of Fine Arts. 617-369-3395, JON GARELICK