It's no great workout to make an intellectual argument against Wynton Marsalis. His personality can be on the prickly side; his vision of jazz is not the most expansive; his artistic signature is frustratingly elusive.
Yet such arguments tend to evaporate into irrelevance once the man starts playing. Marsalis' vigor and control on the trumpet are beyond challenge. His direction of the Lincoln Center Orchestra provides a sorely needed model for big-band jazz to thrive in modern times. Oh, and he swings like nobody's business.
Marsalis and the Lincoln Center team breeze into town again with a mixed bag of originals, jazz standards and delightful obscurities, for a 7 p.m. Sunday Cal Performances show at Zellerbach Hall. Tickets starts at $30.
Also worth noting on the Bay Area jazz scene this week:
- Guitar prodigy and Bay Area treasure Julian Lage performs tunes from his latest album, "Gladwell," 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore ($23-$43) and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga ($25-$30).
- A miscellany of associates from Miles Davis' later years -- including guitarist Larry Coryell and organist Joey DeFrancesco -- tackle's the old man's post-fusion repertoire, with ever-reliable Wallace Roney behind the horn. 8 p.m. Tuesday and 8 and 10 p.m. Wednesday at Yoshi's Oakland. $24-$28
- Saxophonist Michael Zilber and his band, Midlife Crisis, perform wry and lively original tunes, 8 p.m. Tuesday at Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley. $20.50-$22.50
- Mariza, the great contemporary interpreter of Portugal's fado tradition, mixes a world of influences in nightly performances Thursday through Sunday at the SFJAZZ Center. All shows are sold out, which seems to be happening a lot. Might want to check their calendar and plan ahead.
- Jazzbos Bruce Pizzichillo and Ken Schubert discuss Oakland's jazz legacy, particularly their work with Jazz in Flight, 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Piedmont Piano Company in Oakland. $10-$15
- Legendary percussionist Poncho Sanchez pounds up a storm with his Latin jazz band, 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Yoshi's Oakland. $25-$34
- Acclaimed Peruvian group Bareto plays around with cumbia tradition, 8 and 10 p.m. Saturday at Yoshi's San Francisco. $30-$50
- Pianist Hal Galper, a pro's pro who has worked with artists from Chet Baker to John Scofield, holds forth with his trio for shows at 8 p.m. Saturday at Berkeley's Jazzschool ($15-$18) and 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society near Half Moon Bay ($35).
- Dr. Anthony Brown and other performer/educator beacons from the Bay Area perform and discuss the spiritual legacy of John Coltrane, 6 p.m. Saturday at Berkeley's Jazzschool. $12-$15
- Pianist Vijay Iyer, one of the most thoughtful and dynamic figures to shake up the jazz scene over the past decade, performs with his trio 8 p.m. Friday to round out the San Jose Jazz Winter Festival. $30-$35
- Twins Remy (sax) and Pascal (piano) LeBoeuf make create contemporary jazz with energy to spare, 4:30 p.m. Sunday at Berkeley's Jazzschool. $12-$15
- Violinist Mads Tolling, a true original who can hang with everything from American to electric jazz, communes with the beyond, 2 p.m. Sunday at Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland. $10-$15
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