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Stanford Jazz Festival promises feast for jazz lovers

Taylor Eigsti performs at the 2013 Stanford jazz Festival
David Becker

Oh, sure, summer feels like summer now. But they'll be a time in the next month or so when it's so foggy you haven't seen the sun for days and you feel emotionally like you got stuck in an Ibsen play.

May we suggest the pleasant environs of Palo Alto as an escape? Summer fog seldom goes on a bender there. Traffic is easily survivable if you do a little judicious timing. The Stanford University campus is delightfully quiet, save for the occasional sob from a visiting parent realizing where all his money is going.

Oh, yeah -- and they have some of the best jazz artists in the region and the world stopping by to teach and perform as part of the Stanford Jazz Workshop/Festival. This year's concert lineup is an intriguing mix of new stuff and familiar faces. Highlights include:

  • Nimble guitarist Larry Coryell shifting his gaze to the east with Bombay jazz, a quartet that draws on rhythms and motifs from traditional Indian music. 8 p.m. July 26.
  • Legendary drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath sitting in with a couple of the most promising young pianists working the scene: New York ace Jeb Patton on July 28 and South Bay homeboy Richard Sears on July 29.
  • Evocative and seemingly ageless guitarist Kenny Burrell making the strings sing Aug. 4.
  • High-voltage vocalist Sachal Vasandani building a promising new path for the art of male vocalese, July 18.
  • Gorgeously nuanced saxophonist Kristen Strom and singer Jackie Ryan assaying the sensual tunes of Stan Getz, July 13.
  • SJW alumni, fellow prodigies and all around swell guys Taylor Eigsti (piano) and Julian Lage (guitar) playing off their considerable strengths, Aug. 5.

The festival starts this weekend, and you're sure to find something irresistible as you peruse the full schedule online.

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