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Highlights of three Canadian jazz fests Add to ...

Ottawa Jazz Festival, until July 1:

Chucho Valdés & the Afro-Cuban Messengers

A giant of Cuban jazz, pianist Valdés (who founded the band Irakere) is at his virtuosic best with this versatile, powerfully percussive trio.

June 25, 6:30 p.m., Dominion-Chalmers United Church

Steve Kuhn Trio with Steve Swallow and Joey Baron

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An adventurous improviser with a distinctive touch, pianist Kuhn is joined by two regular and sympathetic accompanists: bassist Steve Swallow and drummer Joey Baron.

June 26, 7 p.m., National Arts Centre Studio

Fats Waller Dance Party featuring Jason Moran and Meshell Ndegeocello

Few young pianists have a better sense of history – or fun – than Moran, which makes him the perfect choice for a Fats Waller tribute.

June 27, 6:30 p.m., Dominion-Chalmers United Church

The Bad Plus

Very few piano trios have a book that ranges from Blondie to Stravinsky; fewer still can sound like themselves throughout. The Bad Plus make doing both seem easy.

June 28, 8:30 p.m., Confederation Park

Kurt Rosenwinkel New Quartet

Widely considered the brightest new voice on guitar since Pat Metheny, Rosenwinkel is touring behind perhaps his best album to date, Star of Jupiter.

June 29, 7 p.m., National Arts Centre Studio

Vancouver International Jazz Festival, until July 1:

John Scofield Uberjam Band

In addition to the jazz/funk grooves he’s known for, Scofield’s new band can lay down everything from Afrobeat to drum & bass behind his fluid guitar lines.

June 25, 9 p.m., Vogue Theatre

Christian Wallumrød Ensemble

A gifted and eclectic composer, this Norwegian pianist and his sextet draw together a seamless fabric of improvisation, folk-inflected melodies and globe-spanning rhythms.

June 26, 9 p.m., Ironworks

David Murray Infinity Quartet featuring Macy Gray

Saxophonist Murray has always been something of an iconoclast, but this group, which surveys African American music from funk to freaky jazz, may be his most brilliant and audacious move yet.

June 27, 9 p.m., Vogue Theatre

Tim Berne’s Snakeoil

One of the most distinctive voices in the avant-garde, saxophonist Berne is a terrific composer as well, which makes large-ensemble work like this a must-hear.

June 30, 9 p.m., Ironworks

Herbie Hancock

A true renaissance man, Hancock is as adept at straight-ahead swing as he is at electro-funk, and often does both in the course of a single show.

June 30, 8 p.m., Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Festival International de Jazz de Montreal, June 28-July 7:

Barry Harris Trio with Ray Drummond and Leroy Williams

This is jazz the way it used to be, as one of the last remaining bebop pianists plays two shows a night with a great trio in a small club. Not to be missed.

June 28-29, 7 p.m. and 9:45 p.m., Upstairs Jazz Bar & Grill

Wayne Shorter 80th Birthday Celebration

In addition to Shorter’s astonishing band, this triple bill also includes the Dave Douglas/Joe Lovano quintet, plus the Weather Report-inspired trio of Geri Allen, Esperanza Spalding and Terri Lyne Carrington.

June 29, 7 p.m., Théâtre Maisonneuve

Joshua Redman

It’s not unusual to find a jazz musician recording with strings, but here saxophonist Redman actually performs selections from his Walking Shadows album with his quartet plus an orchestra.

June 29, 7 p.m., Maison symphonique de Montréal

Vijay Iyer duo with Craig Taborn

Iyer, a regular winner of the DownBeat Critics Poll, is considered the top pianist of his generation; Taborn is considered the brightest up-and-comer. Together, they should sound like the future.

July 5, 6 p.m., Gesù, Centre de créativité

John Abercrombie Quartet

Saxophonist Billy Drewes adds a new flavour to the guitarist’s quartet, while bassist Drew Gress and drummer Joey Baron keep the rhythm as supple and supportive as ever.

July 7, 10:30 p.m. Gésu, Centre de créativité

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