Now that its annual celebration runs seven weeks, it’s probably time for Earshot Jazz to stop calling its spree a “festival” and start calling it a concert series — “season,” maybe? Certainly no other festival in the area — and no other jazz festival in the world — lasts this long, nor can a “festive” spirit be maintained for such a span.
That said, starting with the opening show by Keith Jarrett (see preview here), Earshot is bringing more great acts to town than ever before. Some highlights:
John Hollenbeck Claudia Quintet: Oct. 6, Poncho Concert Hall, Cornish College. Percussionist Hollenbeck is one of the most creative composers in jazz, mixing quirky rhythms, folk-jazz melodies, a grand sense of structure and terrific soloists in bassist Drew Gress, saxophonist Chris Speed, vibes man Matt Moran and accordionist Ted Reichman.
Yosvany Terry Quintet: Oct. 9, Langston Hughes Performing Arts Institute. You’ve heard keening-toned Cuban alto man Terry with Cubanismo and Chucho Valdez, but check out his own group. He sizzles.
Dave Douglas Quintet: Oct. 12, Poncho Concert Hall, Cornish College. Trumpeter Douglas has been a generative force for decades now, not only as an original player in his pioneering electroacoustic groups and with John Zorn’s Masada, but as a promoter, with his annual Trumpet Festival and his label, Greenleaf. Douglas’ quintet features phenomenal young bassist Linda Oh as well as progressive saxophonist Jon Irabagon. Douglas also appears with Seattle-based trumpet player Cuong Vu ’s trio Nov. 9.
Mehliana: Brad Mehldau & Mark Guiliana: Oct. 16, Triple Door. The mellifluous pianist Mehldau goes electric, on a Fender Rhodes in a bare-bones setting with one of New York’s most in-demand drummers. Should be interesting.
Dafnis Prieto Si o Si: Oct. 17, Poncho Concert Hall Cornish College. One of Cuba’s hottest drummers brings a quartet with saxophonist Peter Apfelbaum.
The Bad Plus: Oct. 20, Triple Door. Is it jazz played with a rock spirit or vice versa? Whatever you think, this trio always gets it going.
SFJAZZ Collective: Oct. 22, Nordstrom Recital Hall, Benaroya Hall. Each year, Earshot’s counterpart nonprofit in San Francisco chooses an all-star group for various projects. This year it features, among others, alto saxophonist Miguel Zenon, tenor saxophonist David Sanchez, vibraphonist Warren Wolf and drummer Obed Calvaire. These guys burn on original music.
Steve Treseler Group with Ingrid Jensen: Oct. 25, Royal Room. Treseler is one of Seattle’s most original tenor-sax men, Jensen one of the nation’s best trumpeter and fluegelhorn players.
Darcy James Argue & Cornish Contemporary Band: Oct. 31, Poncho Concert Hall, Cornish College. Recognized as the hottest young composer in jazz, Vancouver, B.C.-bred Argue brings his unusual charts to Cornish players.
Manhattan Transfer: Nov. 1, Triple Door. Brassy harmonies from the snappy, flashy quartet that revived interest in vocal jazz back in the ’80s — with a sense of humor.
Bill Frisell’s Big Sur Quintet: Nov. 10, Meany Hall, University of Washington. Seattle-based guitar genius Frisell’s intricate and fetching new work, “Big Sur,” was inspired by a residence in the rugged coastal mountains from which it takes its name. Frisell also appears with Cuong Vu and Robin Holcomb Nov. 1, with drummer Ted Poor and bassist Luke BergmanNov. 3 and with Charles Lloyd Nov. 17.
Charles Lloyd and Friends, with Bill Frisell: Nov. 17, Town Hall. A technical descendant of John Coltrane and Dewey Redman, tenor saxophonist Charles Lloyd has a way of touching the soul with his tender, folk-tinged melodies.
Earshot Jazz Festival
Tuesday – Nov. 17 at various venues; individual tickets free-$125, all-festival pass, $375-$425 (206-547-6763 or www.earshot.org).