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Top 5 Performances to Hear at the Stanford Jazz Fest

If you happen to be anywhere remotely near Stanford this summer, be sure to catch a few performances at the Stanford Jazz Festival, a summer-long celebration of jazz music where enthusiasts, students, educators and musicians convene to enjoy the rich multitude of performances presented by breakthrough artists and legends of the industry. Over the course of the 30 years it has been around, the Fest has become one of the most important music events in the area, attracting well over 10,000 attendees each summer. But don’t be daunted by the huge lineup of over 30 main events — The Dailyhas compiled a list of five concerts, ordered chronologically, to look out for, representing a wide range of jazz styles and artists.

Courtesy of Sachal Vasandani.

Courtesy of Sachal Vasandani.

1. Sachal Vasandani (vocals) with Taylor Eigsti on Piano: Friday, July 18 at 8 p.m. in Dinkelspiel Auditorium

An intriguing meld of jazz and pop originals and reinterpretations, Vasandani’s latest album, entitled “Hi-Fly,” has captured critics’ attention, distinguishing him as one of the most promising and versatile male jazz singers in the industry. But that’s not to say that his debut “Eyes Wide Open” (2007) and second album,“We Move” (2009), weren’t critically acclaimed as well. Vasandani’s sonorous voice and swooping tones are reminiscent of Kurt Elling, but it is his distinctive style that sets him apart.

2. Patrick Wolff Sextet with Ben Goldberg & Diana Gameros: Tuesday, July 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Campbell Recital Hall

SaxophonistPatrick Wolff has worked with many jazz greats but has also played with a number of other artists outside of the jazz world, including Afro-beat juggernaut Asiko, Nigerian reggae star Majek Fashek and indie rock group Calexico. His sextet will be playing with renowned San Francisco-based clarinetist Ben Goldberg and breakout Latin singer/songwriter Diana Gameros.

Jack DeJohnette. Photo by James Adams.

Jack DeJohnette. Photo by James Adams.

3. Jack DeJohnette Trio with Ravi Coltrane & Matthew Garrison: Sunday, July 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Dinkelspiel Auditorium

National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Jazz Master and Grammy winner Jack DeJohnette is an innovative and prominent drummer in the jazz industry, with a career that spans over 50 years and a dynamic sound incorporating hard bop, fusion, world music and avant-garde influences. DeJohnette will be joined by Ravi Coltrane, saxophonist and co-owner of the RKM Music Label, and Matthew Garrison, electric bassist and founder of a Brooklyn performance venue called Shapeshifter Lab. The drums, sax and bass should make for a great Sunday evening performance.

4.Taylor Eigsti & Julian Lage: Tuesday Aug. 5 at 8 p.m. in Dinkelspiel Auditorium

Two young and well-accomplished musicians take the stage together in this evening performance: pianist Taylor Eigsti and guitarist Julian Lage.  Eigsti is only 29, but he has already received two Grammy nominations for “Lucky To Be Me” (2006), the fifth of seven albums he has released so far. At 26, Julian Lage had released a Grammy-nominated debut “Sounding Point” (2009) and a second album Gladwell (2011). Frequent collaborators, both artists came from the Bay Area and are currently based in New York.

Courtesy of Chick Corea.

Courtesy of Chick Corea.

5. Chick Corea – Solo Piano: Saturday, Aug. 9 at 8 p.m. in Bing Concert Hall

Our last selection is jazz legend Chick Corea, a pianist and composer who has made groundbreaking contributions to the music world. This endlessly innovative keyboard virtuoso helped introduce the electric jazz fusion movement and is one of the most illustrious and prolific musicians of the age. With 20 wins out of a remarkable 61 Grammy nominations, he is the fourth-most-nominated artist in Grammy history. The Downbeat Hall of Famer and NEA Jazz Master closes the festival with a solo performance at the Bing Concert Hall, dedicating the performance to late flamenco guitar icon Paco de Lucía.

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