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Latin jazz wonder John Santos tops Bay Area jazz week

John Santos
John Santos
David Becker

If there's anything John Santos can't do in Latin jazz, it's yet to be discovered. The percussionist, composer, educator and more has been the Bay Area's walking encyclopedia of jazz por la gente for decades, helping turn on endless listeners to the joys of everything from cumbia to samba.

This weekend, he's focusing his sights on Cuba, paying tribute to influential island musicians Israel "Cachao" Lopez and Walfredo de los Reyes with his sextet, aided by a string trio (!) and special guests such as sax whirlwind Paquito D'Rivera, percussionist Orestes Vilato and Walfredo himself. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Sunday at SFJAZZ Center. $25-$65

Also worth noting on the Bay Area jazz scene this week:

  • Bay Area saxophone explorer Dan Zinn performs with his free-wheeling new trio, 8 p.m. Monday at Yoshi's Oakland. $15
  • One of the great jazz singers of our time, San Francisco native Mary Stallings, sings standards and contemporary fare, 7:30 Thursday (with the great Kenny Barron on piano) and Friday (with longtime collaborator Eric Reed) at SFJAZZ Center. $25-$65
  • Veteran pianist Michael Wolff and saxophonist Michael Zilber anchor a free-wheeling quartet, performing 9:30 p.m. Friday at Duende in Oakland. $10
  • Chick Corea, one of the most influential and creative jazz pianists of the post-bop era and a particular aficionado of the duet format, gives it a spin with banjo magician Bela Fleck in a Cal Performances show, 8 p.m. Saturday at Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley. $26-$68
  • Hard-driving pianist Mark Levine and pals pay tribute to the late, great Mulgrew Miller, 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Berkeley's Jazzschool. $12-$15
  • Trumpeter and teacher Mike Galisatus rounds up 18 of the Bay Areas top players, plus vocalist Duane Lawrence, to tackle contemprary tunes and standards big-band style, 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society near Half Moon Bay. $35

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