Fall Arts Preview

Jazz picks

Jane Bunnett & Maqueque are coming to the Regattabar this fall.
Jane Bunnett & Maqueque are coming to the Regattabar this fall.Joseph Cultice

JOHN SCOFIELD One of the Big Three of his generation of jazz guitarists (along with Pat Metheny and Bill Frisell), Scofield is unfailingly inventive and compelling, over a broad range of material. He’ll unveil the music of his new CD “Country for Old Men” (did we mention the 64-year-old’s wry sense of humor?) — featuring bassist Steve Swallow, keyboardist Larry Goldings, and drummer Bill Stewart — on its day of release, at Berklee. Scofield promises an “outlaw” jazz interpretation of the likes of George Jones, Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, Bob Wills, Patti Page, and Shania Twain. (This event is a ticketed prelude to Berklee’s free Saturday Beantown Jazz Festival.) Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $30-$39. Berklee Performance Center, Boston. 617-747-2261, www.berklee.edu/events

KEVIN HARRIS PROJECT Whatever he happens to be playing — Afro-Cuban son, breakneck bebop, or Bob Marley — pianist and composer Kevin Harris conveys a sweetness of temperament and a generosity of feeling that seems of a piece with his formative years playing church music in Lexington, Ky. He’s joined by a formidable crew for this date: trumpeter Jason Palmer, saxophonist Hery Paz, bassist Fernando Huergo, and drummer Steve Langone. Sept. 23 at 8 p.m. Tickets: $20. Third Life Studio, Somerville. www.mandorlamusic.net


BERKLEE BEANTOWN JAZZ FESTIVAL The Beantown festival, curated by bandleader and Berklee prof Terri Lyne Carrington, has to be one of the best free block parties in town. The theme for this year’s event is “Jazz: A Peace Supreme,” and the cast of characters, playing on three stages, includes singer Al Jarreau; drummer Billy Hart’s trio with pianist Ethan Iverson (of the Bad Plus) and bassist Ben Street; a cappella group Pitch Slapped; pop-jazz ensemble Behind These Eyes (music by Berklee icon Hal Crook, sung by Débo Ray); the Mili Bermejo Sextet; the Laszlo Gardony Sextet; the Mark Zaleski Band; the Ricardo Monzón Orchestra; Mark Shilansky’s Fugue Mill; and more. Sept. 24. Tickets: free. Noon-6 p.m. Columbus Avenue between Mass. Avenue and Burke Street. www.berklee.edu/beantownjazz

AARDVARK JAZZ ORCHESTRA The progressive Aardvark Jazz Orchestra opens its 44th season with a typically eclectic program: bandleader-composer Mark Harvey’s Sun Ra tribute, “Spaceways”; two pieces from the Ellington book, “Caravan” and “Jeep’s Blues”; and the premiere of Harvey’s “Northeast Express,” “a rollicking shuffle blues evoking the roar and romance of trains for more than a century along the Northeast Corridor.” The wonderful singers Jerry Edwards and Grace Hughes front Aardvark’s stellar crew. Sept. 29 at 8 p.m. Tickets: $25. Scullers Jazz Club, Boston. 617-562-4111, www. scullersjazz.com


RAN BLAKE The peerless pianist, composer, and longtime New England Conservatory professor Ran Blake, now 81, presents a program he’s calling “Opus à la Vengeance & the American Songbook.” The former will reflect on all manner of Blake’s beloved film noir. The latter will be a tribute to his friend Sandi Peaslee, the revered Lexington High School music teacher, who died in March. Blake will focus on the American jazz standards and show tunes she loved. It’s billed as a solo show with, thus far, one announced guest, flugelhornist (and NEC jazz department chair) Ken Schaphorst. Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $25; students $20. Regattabar, Cambridge. 617-395-7757, www.regattabarjazz.com

HAROLD LÓPEZ-NUSSA The 33-year-old Cuban pianist and composer Harold López-Nussa, who sold out the Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport in July, comes back to play the MFA’s Remis Auditorium with his trio, which includes his brother, Ruy, on drums and Luques Curtis on bass. Harold has the requisite command of folkloric Cuban dance grooves as well as a broader palette of jazz and pop, and his playing, while virtuoso, avoids mere flash. Oct. 5 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $25-$30. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 800-440-6975, www.mfa.org


MEHMET ALI SANLIKOL & WHATSNEXT? By the time he came to study at Berklee in 1993, Turkish Cypriot composer Mehmet Ali Sanlikol had renounced his roots — he wanted only to immerse himself in jazz. But since then he’s made the musical journey home. The result is an at times explosive personal language that fuses jazz and odd-metered, minor-keyed Turkish folk melodies. His Whatsnext? project released one outstanding, self-titled, album in 2014 and celebrates the release of another, “Resolution,” with a couple of special guests from the recording, saxophonist Dave Liebman and trumpeter Tiger Okoshi. Oct. 9 at 5 p.m. Shalin Liu Performance Center, Rockport. 978-546-7390, www.rockportmusic.org

JAZZ 100 This all-star band, under the direction of pianist and composer Danilo Pérez, is celebrating the 100th birthday of four jazz legends: Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Mongo Santamaria, and Thelonious Monk. Pérez (early in his career a regular with Gillespie) is joined by singer Lizz Wright, saxophonist Chris Potter, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, trombonist Wycliffe Gordon, percussionist and vocalist Roman Diaz, bassist Ben Street, and drummer Adam Cruz. Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. Tickets: $55-$65. Sanders Theatre, Cambridge. 617-482-6661, www.celebrityseries.org


MILI BERMEJO/DAN GREENSPAN Mili Bermejo's soulful contralto and sure grasp of all manner of Latin American songwriting and jazz has made her a mainstay of the Boston scene for more than three decades. She and her husband, the accomplished bass player Dan Greenspan, have been working as a duo over the past year or so at the Lily Pad. They’ll be celebrating a new CD, “Arte del Dúo.” Oct. 23 at 3 p.m. Tickets: $15; $10 students. Lily Pad, Cambridge. www.lilypadinman.com

JOHN COLTRANE MEMORIAL CONCERT The 39th annual edition of this rite of fall is titled “An Evening of Ballads and Blues.” The impressive veteran band includes reed players Carl Atkins, Bill Pierce, Stan Strickland, and Bobby Tynes, trumpeters Billy Buss and Jason Palmer, trombonists Jeff Galindo and Rick Stepton, pianist Consuelo Candelaria, percussionist Ron Savage, and bassist Avery Sharpe. WGBH's Eric Jackson hosts. Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $30-$40; $25 students, seniors. Blackman Auditorium, Northeastern University, Boston. 617-373-4700, www.friendsofjcmc.org

JANE BUNNETT & MAQUEQUE Canadian soprano saxophonist and composer Jane Bunnett, whose career has been defined by her deep interest in Afro-Cuban music, a few years ago convened a band of young female Cuban players called Maqueque (roughly translated: “spirit of a young girl”). On their first visit to Boston (at Scullers), they tore the place up. Now they return, this time to the Regattabar, to celebrate a new album. Nov. 1 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $25. Regattabar, Cambridge. 617-395-7757, www.regattabar.com


CHUCHO VALDÉS-JOE LOVANO QUINTET Cuban piano master Chucho Valdés, founder of the vastly influential '70s band Irakere, collaborates for the first time with American saxophonist and composer Joe Lovano, in a new quintet, with bassist Gaston Joya, percussionist Yaroldy Abreu Robles, and drummer and Francisco Mela. Valdés and Lovano draw on a vast repertoire encompassing the history of jazz and all manner of Afro-Cuban roots. Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. Tickets: $47-$65. Berklee Performance Center, Boston. 617-482-6661, www.celebrityseries.org

PABLO ZIEGLER The distinguished Argentine pianist and composer Pablo Ziegler came to the fore as a member of Astor Piazzolla's ensembles for the last decade of that nuevo tango master’s life. A virtuoso pianist as well as writer, Ziegler will lead a large student orchestra in his compositions and arrangements. Nov. 10 at 8 p.m. Tickets: $12-$18. Berklee Performance Center, Boston. 617-747-2261, www.berklee.edu/events

THE BAD PLUS The Bad Plus early on distinguished themselves as a piano jazz trio that covered Black Sabbath and Nirvana. They’ve since gone on to explore Stravinsky's “Rite of Spring” (in a piano trio version) and, more recently, Ornette Coleman’s “Science Fiction” (augmented by horn players). Along the way they’ve created a hefty body of impressive originals. Their latest, “It’s Hard,” covers everyone from Prince and Cyndi Lauper to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and TV on the Radio. They play four shows over two nights at Scullers. Nov. 18-19 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tickets: $35. Scullers Jazz Club, Boston. 617-562-4111, www.scullersjazz.com

CHARLES LLOYD AND THE MARVELS After opening the year, in February, with a sold-out show at Berklee Performance Center, this band now closes it out with two nights in the intimacy of Scullers. The Marvels joins sax master and flutist Lloyd, now 78, with guitar hero Bill Frisell, pedal steel player (and regular Frisell compatriot) Greg Leisz, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Eric Harland. The material runs from deep blues and spirituals to Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys, and Lloyd originals. Dec. 2-3 at 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tickets $45. Scullers Jazz Club, Boston. 617-562-4111, www.scullersjazz.com Jon Garelick

An earlier version included a critic’s pick for a concert whose theme and repertoire subsequently changed.