Welcome to First Set, a rundown of the best jazz to be heard this weekend across the region.
We Four – Celebrating John Coltrane: A quartet of jazz masters – Javon Jackson (saxophone), Mulgrew Miller (piano), Nat Reeves (bass) and Jimmy Cobb (drums) – showcasing a jazz giant’s finest work as well as tunes inspired by Trane. How can you go wrong? 7 p.m. Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St., Santa Cruz, $25-$28; also 8 p.m. Friday, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. $20-$35.
Mose Allison: SFJAZZ kicks off its weekend with this veteran singer-songwriter whose style cuts across jazz and blues to become something wholly original and personal. With Bill Douglas (bass) and Pete Magadini (drums). 7:30 p.m. Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. $30-$50.
Roy Brown Quintet: This top-flight ensemble – Brown (piano), Larry Douglass (trumpet, flute), James Bailey (saxophone), Collin Williams (bass) and Rusty Aceves (drums) – presents an evening of Woody Shaw and Horace Silver tunes. 8 p.m. Piedmont Piano Co., 1728 San Pablo Ave., Oakland. $10
Chuck Peterson Quintet: I can think of few better ways to start your weekend than some happy hour jazz at the Bird and Beckett. Stop by and catch the quintet – Peterson (saxophone), Howard Dudune (reeds), Glen Deardorff (guitar), Dean Reilly (bass) and Tony Johnson (drums) – and special guest, vocalist Dorothy Lefkovits. 5:30 p.m. 653 Chenery St., San Francisco.
Mikey Z and the Midlife Crisis: Glad to hear I’m not the only one going through the titular troubles. Mike Zilber debuts a new band this weekend, one that “mixes jazz, pop, folk and rock in a collection of heartfelt, accessible and quirky songs reminiscent of Randy Newman and Paul Simon.” Sounds intriguing. With Zilber (vocals, piano, sax), Mike Abraham (guitar), Dan Feiszli (bass) and Jeff Marrs (drums, vocals). 8 p.m. Jazzschool, 2087 Addison St., Berkeley. $12-$15.
Kurt Ribak Quartet: The veteran Bay Area bassist and his group – Greg Sankovich (keyboards), Lincoln Adler (saxophone) and Rob Hart (drums) – are set to serve up jazz as tasty and satisfying as the venue’s brew. No cover either. 8 p.m. Jupiter, 2181 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley.
Laurie Antonioli: The jazz vocalist-educator take the stage with her “American Dreams” band of Matt Clark (piano), Dave MacNab (guitar), Sheldon Brown (reeds), John Shifflett (bass) and Jason Lewis (drums). 8 p.m. Jazzschool, 2087 Addison St. Berkeley. $15-$18.
Nnenna Freelon: Strange to put it this way, but this six-time Grammy nominee remains among the most underappreciated singers in jazz today. Freelon steps into some imposing shoes for this gig, which pairs her with the Santa Rosa Symphony under the direction of Michael Berkowitz to revisit the Ella Fitzgerald-Nelson Riddle explorations of the Gershwin songbook. 3 p.m. Wells Fargo Center for the Arts, Santa Rosa. $32-$75.
And pencil these in…
Grace Kelly Quintet, Russell Malone Trio: Tues., Yoshi’s, San Francisco
Todd Clouser, Dred Scott Trio: Wed., Boom Boom Room, San Francisco
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