THE MAN Sonny Rollins comes to Symphony Hall April 18.
The primo jazz event of the spring will be SONNY ROLLINS's concert at Symphony Hall on April 18 (bso.org). The great master saxophonist and peerless improviser often hits town in April, and this time it's to kick off his 80th-birthday tour. Whew.
Coming right behind Sonny in headliner status is PAT METHENY, who brings his strange — and possibly wonderful — one-man-band Orchestrion project (the subject of his new Nonesuch disc) to the Orpheum on May 20 (livenation.com).
But there are plenty of other big deals coming to town this spring, leaders in the field, if not necessarily household names. The Celebrity Series of Boston (celebrityseries.org) brings the great singer DEE DEE BRIDGEWATER to the newly renovated Paramount Theatre for two nights (March 27-28) to perform material from her Billie Holiday project, and vibist STEFON HARRIS to match his jazz-improv chops and his training as a classical composer in a concert with Imani Winds at Jordan Hall (April 16).
The Wilbur Theatre's calendar of pop and stand-up comedy has expanded to include jazz, thanks to a partnership with venerable local booker Fred Taylor. The programming (which kicked off with the John Pizzarelli show on February 28) continues with singer LIZZ WRIGHT on April 8 (ticketmaster.com).
Taylor continues to hold the fort at Scullers Jazz Club (scullersjazz.com) with a mix of legends like ROY HAYNES (March 26-27), PAT MARTINO (April 14-15), and IRMA THOMAS (May 21-22) plus younger stars like CHRISTIAN SCOTT (March 24) and GRACE KELLY (April 1) and stalwarts like TERENCE BLANCHARD (April 21) and CYRUS CHESTNUT (May 7-8). Also at Scullers, singer (and former WGBH radio jazz host) RON GILL returns to town to celebrate the release of his new album with guitarist JOHN STEIN (April 7). Singer AMANDA CARR reprises her success with the KENNY HADLEY BIG BAND (May 5).
The theatrical meta-jazz group the QUARTET OF HAPPINESS follow up their March 14 Cambridge YMCA Theatre show with their Scullers debut on May 18, as they celebrate the release of The Monster Returns (Creative Nation Music). The Happiness's cousins on CNM, guitarist GARRISON FEWELL'S VARIABLE DENSITY SOUND ORCHESTRA, bring their exciting version of collective improv to Johnny D's on March 31 (johnnyds.com).
The Regattabar in the Charles Hotel (regattabarjazz.com) has its own share of heavy hitters: JOHN SCOFIELD'S NEW JAZZ QUARTET (with Mulgrew Miller, Ben Street, and Kendrick Scott; March 19-20), KENNY BARRON (April 2-3), MIKE STERN (April 9-10), and the DAVE HOLLAND QUINTET with saxophonist CHRIS POTTER (April 16-17). Notable locals at the R-bar include the rootsy MISS TESS & THE BON TON PARADE (April 6), pan-American singer MILI BERMEJO in a new project with cellist EUGENE FRIESEN (April 7), the EITHER/ORCHESTRA (April 24), and Italian-folk group NEWPOLI (May 5). Covering the ECM tip are guitarist RALPH TOWNER with trumpeter PAOLO FRESU (March 23) and Polish trumpeter TOMASZ STANKO (April 20).
The line-up at Ryles in Inman Square (ryles.com) includes experimental singer LOLA DANZA (April 9), trumpeter and Berklee composition sage GREG HOPKINS (April 15), Brazilian singer TERESA INÊS's group (April 17), pan-cultural percussion master JERRY LEAKE (April 23) celebrating the release of his new Cubist (Rhombus Publishing), and avant-alto-sax genius JIM HOBBS and his HOBBETTES (May 1). You can also catch Hobbs's venerable FULLY CELEBRATED trio at the Lily Pad (lily-pad.net) on April 7.
JazzBoston's annual JAZZ WEEK takes place this year from April 23 to May 2, with the theme "Made in Boston, Played in Boston," and more than 200 local events. Consult jazzboston.org for details.