The top 10 jazz events in town this fall

Starting with the Beantown Jazz Festival, ensembles large and small mix it up
By JON GARELICK  |  September 14, 2011

JAZZ_Metheny_Pat_main
POPPING Pat Metheny gets deep into vintage Top 40 on solo acoustic guitar at Somerville Theatre on October 9.

As usual, there's too much to choose from. Here are some highlights, but there's always more at jazzboston.org.

BERKLEE BEANTOWN JAZZ FESTIVAL | September 23-25 | Created 11 years ago by South End restaurateur and jazz enthusiast Darryl Settles, the BeanTown fest under the auspices of Berklee has grown to encompass a long weekend and several ticketed events (including, this year, the band James Farm at Berklee Performance Center on the 23rd, Danilo Pérez at Scullers on the 24th, and Gary Burton at Berklee on the 25th). But the heart of the event is still the free Saturday-afternoon block party with, this year, the Pablo Ablanedo Octet, Marcus Santos and Bloco AfroBrazil, Louis Hayes's Cannonball Legacy Band, P-Funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell, Oleta Adams, Dave Samuels's Caribbean Jazz Project, and more. | Columbus Ave between Burke St and Mass Ave | Noon-6 pm | Free | beantownjazz.org

DARCY JAMES ARGUE SECRET SOCIETY | September 30 | Argue's Secret Society is one of the most exciting jazz orchestras of the last 30 years — right up there with the large ensembles of Mark Harvey (see, Aardvark, below), Maria Schneider, and John Hollenbeck. A former student of Bob Brookmeyer at NEC, Argue matches propulsive rhythms with morphing extended forms — and dry wit, on full display between numbers. | Museum of Fine Arts, 465 Huntington Ave, Boston | $25; $20 students and seniors | 800.440.6975 or mfa.org

AARDVARK | October 8 | Boston's venerable avant-garde big band begins its 39th season with new original compositions from musical director Mark Harvey, including commemorations of 9/11 ("Blood on theSun/New Moon Rising") and the Civil War ("Peace Soundings"), plus Harvey's political satire, perfect for election season (or at least the Republican half of it), "Flat Earth Boogie" and "De-Evolution Blues." | Killian Hall @ MIT, 160 Memorial Drive, Cambridge | 8 pm | Free | aardvarkjazz.com

PAT METHENY | October 9 | You might quibble with Metheny's choices from project to project, but his status as a game-changer in the music — as guitar virtuoso and composer/conceptualizer — are undeniable. His most recent disc, What's It All About (Nonesuch), is his second all-acoustic solo-guitar disc since 2001's One Quiet Night. This time, again using his specially tuned baritone acoustic guitar, he revisits Top 40 classics — from Paul Simon, Burt Bacharach, and Jobim, to Henry Mancini and the Carpenters. At the Somerville Theatre, he'll be joined by the phenomenal acoustic bassist Larry Grenadier | Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville | $35-$45 | 617.424.5200 or somervilletheatreonline.com

BRIAN CARPENTER'S GHOST TRAIN ORCHESTRA | October 18 | Composer and trumpeter Carpenter has brought his music through various transformations — free jazz, circus music, narrative old-time folk. This time he's using his Ghost Train Orchestra nonet to dig deep into the pre-Swing Era large-ensemble experiments of bands like McKinney's Cotton Pickers, Charlie Johnson's Paradise Orchestra, Fess Williams's Royal Flush Orchestra, and others. This should be an evening of crackling early jazz. | Regattabar, Charles Hotel, 1 Bennett St, Cambridge | 7:30 pm | $18 | 617.395.7757 or regattabarjazz.com

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