Season of the Arts

The season’s top picks in Jazz

Omar Sosa will appear at the Global Cuba Fest
Omar Sosa will appear at the Global Cuba Fest

1. Fred Hersch, Oct. 18, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center in Cutler Bay.

A thoughtful, lyrical pianist and composer, Hersch has quietly become one of the most important and influential jazz musicians of his generation. No look-at-me playing here, just intelligent and soulful music.

2. Etienne Charles, Nov. 1, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center in Cutler Bay.

This Trinidadian trumpeter is shaping his own approach to Caribbean jazz, drawing as easily from Monk and blues as from Bob Marley and calypso. A talent to watch presented by the Miami Nice Jazz Festival.

3. Jazz Roots Series — Georgia on My Mind: Celebrating Ray Charles, Nov. 7, Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Miami.

Ray Charles ignored stylistic boundaries, blurred the line between the religious and the secular and, at different times, expressed himself as a singer, composer, pianist and saxophonist. So it’s only fitting that this Jazz Roots opening night tribute concert features a large cast that includes the vocal group Take 6, jazz-gospel saxophonist Kirk Whalum, singers Nnenna Freelon and Clint Holmes, pianist and arranger Shelly Berg, the University of Miami Frost School of Music Henry Mancini Institute Big Band and the Miami Mass Choir.

4. Benny Golson and Jimmy Heath, Dec. 13, Rose and Alfred Miniaci Performing Arts Center at Nova Southeastern University in Davie.

Any night featuring Benny Golson and Jimmy Heath, not only exceptional composers and arrangers both but also two of the most elegant living saxophonists, is a good jazz night. To have them play together as part of the Sublime Saxophone Sextet, with saxophonist Javon Jackson, pianist George Cables, bassist Peter Washington and drummer Willie Jones III, should be a treat. Presented by South Florida JAZZ.

5. Global Cuba Fest with Volcan and Omar Sosa, March 7, Miami-Dade County Auditorium, and April 11, The Light Box at Goldman Warehouse, Miami.

Fundarte and Miami Light Project’s annual celebration of Cuban music from the island and the diaspora features Volcan, the spectacular quartet of pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba, drummer Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, percussionist Giovanni Hidalgo and bassist Armando Gola, which is the closest we have to a modern Latin jazz super-group in captivity. Also not to be missed is one of the most original voices in global jazz, Cuban-born, Spain-based Omar Sosa, an excellent pianist and composer with a distinctive pan-Latin, pan-African vision and approach.

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