MONK AND AFRICA: Randy Weston plays a rare solo-piano concert October 12 at the Somerville Theatre.
Several of this fall's promising jazz performances are clustered around the week of October 18. That marks the 40th-anniversary celebration of the jazz-studies program at New England Conservatory, which, created by Gunther Schuller, established NEC as one of the international twin beacons of jazz education in Boston along with Berklee College of Music. But there's plenty more.
BEANTOWN JAZZ FESTIVAL | September 18-26 | The ninth annual BeanTown Jazz Festival — now presented by Berklee — has expanded to nine days at clubs and concert halls around town. Its signature is still the free Saturday (September 26) afternoon outdoor concert in the South End, this year on three stages along Columbus Ave between Burke Street and Mass Ave. Performers include Donald Harrison, Joe Louis Walker, Marcus Santos & AfroBrazil, and Jane Bunnett with Elio Villafranca. In a ticketed event at Berklee Performance Center September 25, David Sanborn, Kevin Mahogany, Amina Claudine Myers, and legendary drummer Bernard Purdie hold forth in a "Kickin' the Blues" concert. | BPC, 136 Mass Ave, Boston | 7:30 pm | $25–$45 | www.ticketmaster.com | info at www.beantownjazz.org
JOHN COLTRANE MEMORIAL CONCERT | September 26-27 | The 32nd annual Coltrane tribute, titled "The Believer," takes place over two nights. On Saturday, the 14-piece JCMC Ensemble plays Northeastern's Blackman Theatre. On Sunday, multifaceted JCMC mainstay Stan Strickland leads a small ensemble at Hibernian Hall with pianist Laszlo Gardony and drummer Yoron Israel. | September 26 at Blackman Theatre, Northeastern University, 360 Huntington Ave | 7:30 pm | September 27 at Hibernian Hall/ACT Roxbury, 184 Dudley Street, Roxbury | 3 pm | $20 each concert | 617.373.4700 or www.gonu.com/tickets
AARDVARK | September 30 | Boston's seminal avant-jazz orchestra begins its 37th season with an "All Blues" program, playing its own arrangement of that piece from Miles Davis's Kind of Blue, as well as "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat (Theme for Lester Young)," from Charles Mingus's Mingus Ah Um — each piece in honor of its album's 50th anniversary. You can also expect some Ellington (in honor of his 110th birthday) and politically charged originals from Aardvark founder and director Mark Harvey. | Scullers, DoubleTree Guest Suites Hotel, 400 Soldiers Field Road, Boston | 8 pm | $18 | 617.562.4111 or www.scullersjazz.com
FLORENCIA GONZALEZ | October 1, 14, 29 | Uruguayan saxophonist and composer Gonzalez is one of the latest in a long line of musicians who have made Boston an epicenter for Latin-jazz fusions. She has several projects cooking, but her most ambitious is her 21-piece Big Band, for which she adapts Uruguayan candombe, Argentine tango, and more. In three dates this fall, Bostonians have a chance to observe this exciting work-in-progress. | October 1 at Lily Pad, 1353 Cambridge St, Cambridge | 7 pm | $10 | www.lilypad-net | October 14 at Ryles, 212 Hampshire St, Cambridge | 8:30 pm | $10 | 617.876.9330 or www.ryles.com | October 29 at Beehive, 541 Tremont St, Boston | 10 pm [no cover] | 617.423.0069 or www.beehiveboston.com