Fall Jazz Preview: Blindfold test

 Trying new flavors in the new season
By JON GARELICK  |  September 16, 2010

PEDAL METTLE: Cornettist and composer Taylor Ho Bynum is featured in two local concerts this fall.
A search for this fall’s must-see jazz revealed a lot of overlapping personnel — Jim Hobbs, Allan Chase, Joe Morris, Taylor Ho Bynum. Hey, you wanted to know what’s good, right? Just as good are the unique units of Esperanza Spalding, Chris Potter, and Francisco Mela, plus the BeanTown Jazz Fest and Ran Blake’s Claude Chabrol extravaganza. Enjoy.

AARDVARK | September 19 + October 30 | Boston’s venerable avant-garde big band, led by trumpeter/composer Mark Harvey, opens on September 19 in a collaboration with the great young cornettist Taylor Ho Bynum and a performance of his Choices, a concerto for trumpet and jazz orchestra featuring Harvey. On October 20, Harvey convenes the crew for “An Election Year Special,” with his own “Big Oil Tango,” “March of the Booboisie,” “Scamology,” and “the ever-popular ‘Flat-Earth Boogie.’ ” | MIT, Killian Hall, 160 Memorial Drive, Cambridge | September 19 at 8 pm; October 20 at 7:30 pm | $15 | 617.452.3205 or aardvark jazz.com

BERKLEE BEANTOWN JAZZ FESTIVAL | September 25 | The capstone to the 10-day Berklee-sponsored run of events is this 10th annual street festival in the South End. It’s free, and ridiculously packed with good stuff on three stages: Greg Osby with guest Mark Turner, genius composer/arranger Victor Mendoza with Mendoza Vibe, the Julian Lage Trio, Grace Kelly, Nona Hendryx (wha?!), the Boogaloo Swamis, up-and-coming piano star Jonathan Batiste, New Orleans’s Wild Magnolias Mardi Gras Indians, Al Kooper and the Funky Faculty, and more. | Columbus Ave between Mass Ave and Burke St | noon–7 pm | beantownjazz.org

FRANCISCO MELA TRIO FEAT. VIJAY IYER | September 29 | Yes, you’ll find the occasional trad son montuno from this Cuban-born drummer-composer-bandleader, but Mela is in the forefront of a progressive post-bop scene that includes collaborators like his sometime boss Joe Lovano, as well as Mark Turner, Jason Moran, et al. He fronts his trio with the much-celebrated pianist Vijay Iyer and bassist Peter Slavov. | Regattabar, Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett St, Cambridge | 7:30 pm | $22 | 617.395.7757 or regattabarjazz.com

MINA CHO | September 29 | One of the more intriguing debuts of the season is Mina Cho’s Originality (Blink Music), in which the young pianist shows an unselfconscious hunger for a mix of forms and formats — pan-American rhythms, gospel fervor, free-form meditations. You’ll have to hustle across town after the Mela gig to catch the 2009 Berklee grad with saxophonist Andrew Halchak, guitarist Shu Odamura, bassist Sam J.C. Lee, and drummer Mario Rodriguez. | Ryles, 212 Hampshire St, Cambridge | 9 pm | $10 | 617.876.9330 or ryles.com

ESPERANZA SPALDING | October 2 | Now 25, the former Berklee sensation has rated magazine features from Downbeat to the New Yorker. Her 2008 debut split the difference between pop and jazz; her new Chamber Music Society (Telarc), with its emphasis on strings, leans toward classical. Spalding is still singing in counterpoint to her own fluid, organic acoustic-bass lines. Her Cambridge show will feature the new work. | Sanders Theatre, 45 Quincy St, Cambridge | 8 pm | $22–$32 | 617.876.4275 or worldmusic.org

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