Old favorites and debuts make the scene

Rich choices
By JON GARELICK  |  December 30, 2011

2012 Preview: Jazz
DEBUT Marissa Licata brings her band to Scullers on January 31.

We have to wait for spring to see Charlie Haden's Quartet West and the Joshua Redman/Brad Mehldau duo, but there are still plenty of ways to keep an eye and ear on jazz in the winter months. In fact, the town is an embarrassment of riches, with many ongoing residencies in area clubs and restaurants, including the unbeatable Monday-night double-header at the Lily Pad, where tenor sax giant Jerry Bergonzi plays the 7 pm set followed by the venerable Boston avant-garde institution the Fringe at 10:30. In the meantime, here are some one-offs that will keep the town cooking this winter.

KENNY WERNER/DAVÍDSANCHEZ | Scullers | January 13 | Pianist and composer Werner is the perpetual artist "deserving greater recognition." His keyboard vocabulary extends backward to stride and forward into the most daunting realms of harmonic exploration, and he's also a terrific composer (he's been a frequent visitor in recent years to the MIT jazz program). At Scullers he joins forces with Puerto Rican saxophone monster Davíd Sanchez in a project they're calling "Unknown." I guess we'll find out.

DoubleTree Guest Suites Hotel, 400 Soldiers Field Road, Boston | 8 pm + 10 pm | $25 | 617.562.4111 or scullersjazz.com

ED REED | Scullers | January 18 | Ed Reed lived most of his life as a drug-addicted mess, doing two stints in prison (Folsom and San Quentin, thank you very much) before pulling himself together and becoming drug and health counselor and, at age 78, releasing his first album. His latest disc, Born To Be Blue, shows why he's become something a cult hero in the Bay Area — his singing is one of his many good works: relaxed, swinging, emotionally direct, his voice both pliable and plush, covering everything from Mel Tormé's title cut to Abbey Lincoln, Blossom Dearie, Monk, and Otis Redding. He brings most of his band from the album — tenor sax Anton Schwartz, pianist Randy Porter, and drummer Akira Tana (Boston bassist TBA).

DoubleTree Guest Suites Hotel, 400 Soldiers Field Road, Boston | 8 pm | $22 | 617.562.4111 or scullersjazz.com

JOHN MEDESKI | Lily Pad | January 21 | Long before he was the powerful keyboard carburetor in avant-and-groove trio Medeksi, Martin & Wood, this player was a Boston NEC rat, known for his broad-ranging grasp of varied styles, from bebop to Cecil Taylor and beyond, and working with the likes of the Either/Orchestra and Dewey Redman. He plays a rare solo piano gig at the intimate Lily Pad, giving their seven-foot Kawai grand a workout.

1353 Cambridge St, Cambridge | 8 pm | $10 | lily-pad.net

BILL FRISELL | Scullers | January 27-28 | Like his contemporary John Scofield, guitarist Frisell is someone whose shows you don't want to miss because he's different almost every time he comes to town. Having released the Beatles tribute All We Are Saying . . . (Savoy Jazz) in 2011, he comes to Scullers with the band from last year's Beautiful Dreamers — violist Eyvind Kang and drummer Rudy Royston — indulging Frisell's disparate tastes for Americana, swing-jazz (a dandy "Benny's Bugle"), and all manner of original post-modernist abstraction.

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