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Summertime, and the Bay Area living is jazzy

Sachal Vasandani is set to perform at the Stanford Jazz Festival
David Becker

Vacations, baseball and lazy days of hot dogs, pretzels and artisanal cocktails are all great, but make sure there's time for jazz in your summer plans. Bay Area presenters are have gangs of talent waiting in the wings, including a number of big-deal festivals. Here are some personal picks for the most noteworthy Bay Area jazz this summer:

  • SFJAZZ wraps up its current season with a number of humdingers, including Jason Moran reprising his skateboard collaboration (June 7-8), Hammond B-3 organ tornado Dr. Lonnie Smith beefing up his sound with a horn-heavy octet (June 16) and the Pacific Mambo Orchestra raising a salsa storm (June 21). Then its time for the Summer Sessions, running July 17 to Aug. 24 and divided into series focusing on standards, dance and the trumpet. Highlights include live-wire pianist and Berkeley boy Benny Green leading his trio (July 17-20), Snarky Puppy dishing out modern jazz with a deep groove (Aug. 9), young horn sensations Christian Scott and Sean Jones showing different sides of modern trumpet genius and imaginative trumpeter Tom Harrell doubling down on bass with a new sextet that includes Esperanza Spalding (Aug. 23).
  • The Stanford Jazz Festival promises another season of fun and education on the delightfully quiet and sunny Stanford campus. Performers to watch include magical vocalist Sachal Vasandani (July 18), brothers and jazz legends Jimmy and Albert "Tootie" Heath showing why there's no age ceiling in jazz (Aug. 2) and pianist Chick Corea letting his daunting improvisational skills go big with a solo concert (Aug. 9).
  • The Yerba Buena Gardens Festival presents free bi-weekly shows covering an array of styles in on of downtown SF's most pleasant outdoor settings. Jazzbos should note Destani Wolf, a singer with a grand voice and a deliciously broad appetite (June 12) and local club jazz heroes the Shotgun Wedding Quintet keeping it hip (Sept. 13)
  • Jazz at Filoli again keeps the joint jumping at the historic (and gorgeous) Peninsula estate. Highlights this year include guitar phenom Mimi Fox augmenting her trio with the enticing addition of vibraphonist Susan Pascal (June 29), honey-toned vocalist Karrin Allyson caressing the standards (July 13) and "Schoolhouse Rock" singer and Beat era daddy-o Bob Dorough taking a groovy trip down memory lane (July 27.)
  • Yoshi's stays hopping with tunes for every taste. In San Francisco, jazz fans will note tenor sax trailblazer David Murray and his Infinity Quartet (July 2-3) and dynamic Grammy-winning vocalist Catherine Russell (Aug. 9). In Oakland, jazz highlights include trumpet tornado Arturo Sandoval (May 30-June 1), New Orleans piano-rattler Henry Butler with a big band (June 11-12), electrifying young trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire (June 24) and legendary bassist Ron Carter with his trio (July 27-28).
  • On those rare hot summer days in the city, there no place better to escape the beach near Half Moon Bay, and no better excuse than a concert at the iconic Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society. Upcoming highlights include Jeff Sanford's Cartoon Jazz Band playing tunes from animated classics (June 8), singer Halie Loren and her quartet digging into the standards with sass and style ((June 22) and the Clayton Brothers Quintet playing hard bop with a mission (Aug. 17).
  • The Healdsburg Jazz Festival runs May 30 to June 8 with a schedule heavy on the blues. Standouts include sax wunderkind Joshua Redman kicking it with blues harp maestro Charlie Musselwhite (June 1), pianists (and spouses) Bill Charlap and Rene Rosnes working with vibes legend Bobby Hutcherson (June 6) and world jazz explorers Charles Lloyd and Zakir Hussain conducting a free (!) workshop for kids (June 8).
  • The Fillmore Jazz Festival takes over the city's jazziest neighborhood July 5-6, program TBA.
  • Also TBA is most of the lineup for the San Jose Jazz summer festival (Aug. 8-10), but it's the 25th anniversary of the event, so expect the festival to think big.

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