When it comes to jazz in this town, winter is the time when things can start to heat up. An unusually strong group of important jazz players will be passing through, including Bill Frisell, Roy Haynes, Airto Moreira, and Flora Purim. Along with a trove of trumpeters-Dave Douglas, Terence Blanchard, and Hugh Masekela-we’ll hear two festival-spawned collective projects: the Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary Tour and the newly configured S.F. Jazz All-Stars. All in all, jazz is coming town in a big way in the next few months. Bring it on.
Bill Frisell and Joey Baron
Guitarist Bill Frisell is one of those elite players whose very name conjures up a sound and an attitude more than a specific stylistic approach. Since his jazz emergence in the 1980s, Frisell has toured the world and the genre landscape, from Americana to new music and through countless variations on jazz. Recent albums include a jazz trio set with Ron Carter and Paul Motian and this year’s exotic Floratone. If anyone can make big, deep music from the lean setting of a duo with his longtime ally, drummer Joey Baron, this Seattle-ite is the one.
Sat., Jan. 12, 8pm. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. Call 963-0761 or visit lobero.com.
Airto Moreira and Flora Purim
The first couple of Brazilian jazz, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim, have a special place in the heart of Santa Barbara, which they called home for many years before heading down the road to Los Angeles. The Air-Flo show comes as part of the Santa Barbara Symphony’s genre-crossing Percussion Festival, which makes sense, given that Moreira is one of the most magical percussionists on the planet.
Sat., Jan. 12, 9pm. SOhO, 1221 State St. Call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.
Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary Tour
The Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary Tour-a group whose performance was a high point in the actual festival’s arena setting in September-will be in town to show the range of what the Monterey Festival has become. The idea with this ensemble is to touch on many bases and generations, from the elder saxist James Moody to midstreamers like trumpeter Terence Blanchard and pianist/music director Benny Green, who is at the helm. Vocalist Nnenna Freelon also joins in.
Mon., Jan. 14, 8pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
Roy Haynes Quartet
Jazz veterans keep on ticking and riffing well into their “golden years.” That’s nothing new. Somehow, though, it’s hard to accept that masterful drummer Roy Haynes-born in 1925 and with a resume passing through the music from bebop forward-is in the golden years category. He projects so much vibrancy and resilient swing and bop energy, as he no doubt will when he brings his own strong band to the Lobero.
Fri., Jan. 18, 8pm. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. Call 963-0761 or visit lobero.com.
Hugh Masekela’s Chissa All-Stars
South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela soars across boundaries of taste and style, and has managed to impress both jazz fans and general purpose music fans throughout the years. His late ’60s hit “Grazing in the Grass” was a gently spicy blend of jazz, pop, and African musical flavors, a pattern he has pursued in various ways throughout the decades. He returns for a U.S. tour with a group of artists connected to his newly formed label, Chissa.
Fri., Feb. 8, 8pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.ucsb.edu.
At the 2006 Santa Barbara Smooth Jazz Festival, up on the scenic grassy hill of the Child’s Estate, the star of the show belonged in the kindred “smooth vocal” category of the genre, Julia Fordham. Something about this unique British emigre to L.A. beguiles, as she blurs the lines between soul and jazz, pop and cool sultriness with a touch of Bryan Ferry’s suavity. Plus, she’s got a huge range and a wry sense of humor.
Tue., Feb. 26, 8pm. SOhO, 1221 State St. Call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.
Peter Clark and Randy Crawford
Singer Randy Crawford has carved out an impressive niche in the margins where R&B and jazz meet. Her recent reunion collaboration with the Crusaders’ keyboardist Joe Sample was one of the most highly regarded albums of the 2007 jazz year. In her earlier years, Crawford played with Santa Barbara-based pianist Peter Clark, and the pairing strikes up again for an official gig at SOhO.
Wed., Mar. 12, 8pm. SOhO, 1221 State St. Call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.
S.F. Jazz Collective
We’ve heard the S.F. Jazz Collective in town before, but the current model has new faces and voices worth checking out. Joshua Redman was at the helm of the first edition of the group. Currently, the headliners are the great tenor saxist Joe Lovano and premiere trumpeter Dave Douglas. Is it possible that this will be Douglas’s first time in Santa Barbara? If so, that alone is worth the price of admission.
Thu., Mar. 20, 8pm. Lobero Theatre, 33 E. Canon Perdido St. Call 963-0761 or visit lobero.com.