We’re a little more than two weeks away from the kick-off of the inaugural Blue Note Jazz Festival, the month long event marking the 30th anniversary of the storied venue. More than 80 artists — including some, like Lee Konitz, who have been Blue Note regulars since the club opened — will be performing at venues all over the city, but naturally, we have some favorites.
Here’s our take on five shows you shouldn’t miss:
McCoy Tyner Trio+ Special Guest Savion Glover, June 1, Highline Ballroom (2 shows)
Grammy-stockpiling ivory-tinkler McCoy Tyner is joined by Tony-reaping choreographer/modern day tap-hoofer Savion Glover. Their work together tends to whip audiences into a froth, so it’s no surprise they open the festival, joined by the rest of the McCoy Tyner Trio. Tickets are $75, available here.
Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin, June 11-13, Highline Ballroom
The batty Beach Boy will perform his 2010 standards album, Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin, in its entirety along with Beach Boys and solo selections, before heading off on lengthy tours through Canada and Europe. Tickets are $125, available here.
Dave Brubeck, June 13, Blue Note
Do you have any idea how long piano kingpin Dave Brubeck has been playing jazz? Here’s one hint: Almost everyone he’s played with is dead. And another: He celebrated the 50th --50th!-- anniversary of his iconic album Time Out in 2009. And yet the master of the odd time signature can’t stop gigging. His is a roadmap for longevity. Tickets are $75, available here.
Madeleine Peyroux, June 18, Highline Ballroom
Peyroux first commanded attention with her Billie Holiday-style voice, but has proven herself to be much more than a soundalike. Her cozy throwback style expands well outside the confines of jazz — she’s collaborated with kd lang and writes with the Rolling Stones’ Bill Wyman -- and the French tunes don’t hurt, either. Tickets are $35, available here.
Nancy Wilson, June 25, B.B. King’s
No relation to Brian. Wilson’s name fits effortlessly into a list with greats like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, and yet she’s one of the only lady singers from that era who you can still catch live, plying her velvety pipes like it’s half a century ago. Go see her. Tickets are $75, available here.
See the full list of artists and shows at the Blue Note Jazz Festival here.