Best in their field

By JON GARELICK  |  December 30, 2009

CIRKESTRA | Gardner Museum | February 18 | If you can have an "intimate" circus band, Cirkestra are it. Usually a quintet of accordion, violin, reeds, drums, and tuba, the band bring virtuoso ensemble interaction to leader Peter Bufano's original compositions, drawing from klezmer, gypsy, tango, jazz, and other traditions. They hope to repeat last year's rocking performance in the Gardner's Tapestry Room, kicking off the Museum's winter-spring jazz programming.
280 the Fenway, Boston | 7 pm | $23 | 617.278.5156 or

ROBERT GLASPER | Regattabar | February 27 | One of the most exciting players to come on the scene in the '00s, Glasper uses the traditional acoustic-piano trio format to explore both jazz and a love of hip-hop and R&B. Last year's Double-Booked (Blue Note), typically, found him moving from the familiar to the unexpected with his probing solos and freewheeling ensemble approach — and even a guest vocal by Mos Def.
Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett St, Cambridge | 7 pm [$24] + 10 pm [$20] | 617.395.7757 or

BILL FRISELL | Scullers | March 5-6 | Frisell's influence — with his uncategorizeable blend of jazz, country, and all manner of Americana — transcends his phenomenal guitar playing. Bandleaders and composers of all stripes have taken to his wide-open approach to music, his eagerness to try different formats, from string ensemble to guitar-organ combo to straight-jazz trio. Here he splits the difference, in a trio with violinist and violist Eyvind Kang and drummer Rudy Royston.
DoubleTree Guest Suites Hotel, 400 Soldiers Field Road, Boston | 8 pm + 10 pm | $30 | 617.562.4111 or

JOHN SCOFIELD | Regattabar | March 19-20 | Like Frisell, Scofield is always refreshing his music with new projects, which helps make his shows annoyingly impossible to skip. The last time he played the Regattabar, it was with his New Orleans supergroup Piety Street Band — which leaned to his groove-'n'-blues side via gospel. Now he returns in his state-of-the-art jazz persona, mixing generations in his New Jazz Quartet with pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Ben Street, and drummer Kendrick Scott.
Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett St, Cambridge | 7:30 pm [$28] + 10 pm [$25] | 617.395.7757

CHRISTIAN SCOTT | Scullers | March 24 | The talented young New Orleans trumpeter — despite pressure to be the next mainstream superstar — has dared to forge his own path, posting his own interpretation of mainstream by deploying aggressive rock rhythms (and guitar) that suit his musical taste as well as his sense of political urgency. The Concord jazz label has done a good job of packaging his matinee idol looks and style, but his incendiary band is best caught live. They come to Scullers on the heels of a new album due for release that week.
DoubleTree Guest Suites Hotel, 400 Soldiers Field Road, Boston | 8 pm + 10 pm | $20 | 617.562.4111 or

DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER | Paramount Theatre | March 27-28 | Bridgewater brings vocal and theatrical charisma to whatever she does — as well as high musical integrity. This time out, she channels Billie Holiday in "Lady Day," a program developed for her forthcoming Holiday tribute album, Eleanora Fagan (1917-1959): To Billie with Love from Dee Dee (Universal). Bridgewater actually played the role of Holiday in the biographical London stage production Lady Day in 1986 and '87, so think of this as a continuing exploration of a lifelong inspiration.
560 Washington St, Boston | 8 pm [Saturday] + 3 pm [Sunday] | $48–$56 | 617.482.6661 or

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