The provocative tripleheader bill “What Is Jazz?” was originally put together by the ropeadope label for a showcase of its roster at Tonic in New York: the Christian McBride Band, the Charlie Hunter Trio, and DJ Logic and Bobby Previte. All three acts blur genres: McBride an acoustic bass virtuoso with a taste for Bootsy Collins funk; eight-string guitarist Hunter with his jam-band affinities; and omni-genre downtown NYC drummer Bobby Previte — who’s done duo dates with Hunter — jamming with DJ Logic. Ropeadope is planning a three-CD Live at Tonic for April, but we get to hear it live April 8 as part of a Water Music/Mainstage presentation (617.876.7777) at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Mass Ave, Boston.
Also coming from Water Music/Mainstage: the Chick Corea Trio with percussionist Airto Moreira and bassist Eddie Gomez (Berklee, April 28); and vocalist Rebecca Parris in an excellent quartet with pianist Brad Hatfield, bassist Peter Kontrimas, and drummer Matt Gordy (Real Deal Jazz Club, Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, 41 Second St, Cambridge, May 20).
The Boston Creative Music Alliance continues programming at the ICA (955 Boylston St, Boston; 617.354.6898) with a return of alto-saxophonist Tim Berne, this time with his Big Satan trio featuring guitarist Marc Ducret and drummer Tom Rainey (April 18); “Dutch swing” genius Misha Mengelberg and his ICP Orchestra (March 31); and Chicago AACM saxophonist Ernest Dawkins and his New Horizons Ensemble (April 28).
The Fully Celebrated Orchestra’s Jim Hobbs has put together a series at the pristine space at Brookline Tai Chi (1615 Beacon St, Brookline; 617.277.2975). Some of the performers: the Latin-trombone-percussion group Brass Roots (March 31); avant-piano man Steve Lantner (April 7); the great Dutch-African saxophonist John Tchicai with saxophonist Charlie Kohlhase and guitarist Garrison Fewell (April 14); and saxophonist Arnie Cheatham (May 19).
Highlights of the schedule at Scullers (DoubleTree Guest Suites Hotel, 400 Soldiers Field Road, Boston; 617.562.4111) include the brilliant young duo of pianist Taylor Eigsti and guitarist Julian Lage (March 29); Belgian harmonica player, guitarist, and whistler Toots Thielemans (April 6-8); vocalist Marianne Solivan (April 19); guitarist Larry Carlton (April 21-22); pianist/bandleader Toshiko Akiyoshi (April 26); singer Karrin Allyson (April 28-29); and local favorite Marta Gómez (May 18).
The phenomenal pianist Fred Hersch just finished the only solo-piano gig in the history of NYC’s legendary Vanguard, and he’ll do it at the Regattabar March 24. Other R-bar shows include pianist McCoy Tyner, also solo (March 25-26); the David Murray Quartet (March 30); the Michel Camilo Trio (March 31–April 1); a rare local appearance by Italian trumpeter Enrico Rava (April 5); avant-jazz trumpeter turned avant roots singer Olu Dara (April 7-8); jazz fusionist Steve Smith and his Vital Information (April 11); the Pierre Hurel Trio (April 12); the hard-bop Darren Barrett/Myron Walden Quintet (April 18); and the Ahmad Jamal Trio (April 21-22). The Regattabar is in the Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett St, Cambridge (617.395.7757).
Ryles in Inman Square brings in Israeli-Berklee jazz pianist Gilad Barkan (April 5), the excellent Brazilian jazz flutist Fernando Brandão (April 12), the Middle Eastern ensemble Zilzala (April 14), Russian pianist Alexei Tsiganov (April 19), and Brazilian pianist Nando Michelin’s quintet (May 31). And finally, a great highlight of the season will be the April 1 meeting of solo pianists Ran Blake, a guru of the NEC/Boston scene, and Charles Gayle, a hero of the New York underground. That’s at MIT’s Killian Hall, Hayden Library, 160 Memorial Drive, Cambridge | 617.354.6898.