Events begin September 17 at Segerstom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa with Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club showcasing the magical music of Cuba. The club presents some of Cuba’s finest jazz artists: singer–Omara Portuondo, guitarist Eliades Ochoa, lutenist Barbarito Torres and pianist Roberto Fonseca.
As well, Sept. 27 through 29, Soka Performing Arts Center, in Aliso Viejo, begins its jazz series with an International Jazz festival starring an array of greats.
Other events at Segerstrom include, in their intimate Samueli Theater, attractions include ACS with Geri Allen, Terri Lyne Carrington and Esperanza Spalding, October 25-26. This group gathers three of the most important female instrumentalists in current jazz. Allen is an internationally recognized composer and pianist, Carrington has been a celebrated drummer for 25 years and bassist-vocalist Spalding, a Grammy winner, one of the biggest breakout stars of 2011.
Coming December 13-14 at Samueli are the legendary pianist McCoy Tyner together with the superb saxophonist Joe Lovano.
For those who like funky blues, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith comes in February 21-22 to Samueli.
Master of the Hammond B-3 organ for more than five decades, Smith is an unparalleled musician, composer, performer, and recording artist, specializing jazz, blues and R&B. He promises to get Samueli “rocking.”
March 14 in the large Segestrom Concert Hall, Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra comes to Orange County with a big band comprised of 15 of the best soloists, ensemble players and arrangers in jazz.
Closing out the season, May 2-3, is the highly touted pianist Fred Hersch, with his trio. He will show why he is considered a jazz genius at the piano as he displays his mastery and command of the full keyboard with an impeccable rhythmic and harmonic ability.
Back at Soka, the September festival features the Delfayo Marsalis Octet and Anthony Wilson’s Hammond B-3 trio. Both have a jazz heritage. Marsalis, on trombone, is a brother of Wynton and Branford; pianist Wilson is the son of legendary orchestra leader Gerald Wilson.
Also on Soka’s jazz calendar this year are, November 10, the Fred Hersh Trio which comes in for another O.C. date. And on April 11, Soka has two supreme tenor saxophonists, Joe Lovano, again, and Harry Allen with their groups. To conclude Soka’s season on May 9, celebrated Branford Marsalis is on tap.