Anna Reguero's picks

05:00 AM, Jun 16, 2013

Kate Edmonson (Photo provided by XRIJF)/


If you’re at all like me, your plan of attack for the jazz festival goes something like the Monty Python epigram, “And now for something completely different.” you concert-hop involves concert-hopping the club venues and seeking out those performers who titillate the ears and provoke the mind, resulting in a schedule that is a composite of not-to-miss mainstream acts with a large dose of fringe and avant-garde performers. who you’ve never heard of before. Often this is a matter of word-on-the-street chatter to find some of the gems, much mostly because descriptions and YouTube videos are poor indicators of in-the-flesh sparks.

If you want to say you heard them before they were big, catch vocalist Nikki Yanofsky on opening night. This 19-year-old has soul and rhythm, and arrives endorsed by none other than music-industry mogul Quincy Jones. 5:30 and 7:15 p.m. Friday at the Harro East.

If you’re looking for singers with indie quirk: From South Korea, Youn Sun Nah, part of the Lutheran Church of the Reformation’s Nordic Now Series (her guitarist is Swedish). Smooth but intense, like good vodka, Nah’s an adroit singer, pulling off tender French ballads and raw Nine Inch Nails tunes. 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. June 28 at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation.

• Texas native Kat Edmonson will charm with her pixie-cut hair and a stylized, angelic voice. A former American Idol competitor, Edmonson used Kickstarter, a crowd-sourcing funding site, to sidestep record companies to fund her recent albums. 7 and 9:15 p.m. Friday at The Little.

If you like experimental and offbeat sounds:

• Christian Wallumrod is a Norwegian artist who seems to live by postmodern standards, combining a Cagean philosophy (all sound is music) with sacred influences. This is music both beautiful and odd, even chilling; it will satisfy any craving for the unique and remarkable. 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. next Sunday at the Lutheran Church of the Reformation.

• The ostentatious 11-member group Trondheim Jazz Orchestra performs at the Lutheran Church on opening night, delivering an amalgamation of cabaret jazz and radical modernism. 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. Friday at Lutheran Church of the Reformation.

• New York City avant-garde jazz staple Tim Berne, a saxophonist, plays the festival’s final night at The Montage Music Hall. He earned a reputation performing with legends John Zorn and Bill Frisell, and has inherited a knack for the never-ending but always captivating extended composition, trailing off into ever-new worlds. 6 and 10 p.m. June 29 at The Montage.

>Michael Wollny, a German classically trained pianist, performs dreamy and pulsating works. 6:15 and 10 p.m. June 25 at Max at Eastman Place.

If you want to hear some of the hottest jazz artists right now, the festival has not skimped this year. Featured this year are many of today’s legends, including the mesmerizing and distinguished jazz vocalist Kurt Elling (Sunday, June 29, Kilbourn), 3-time Grammy-winning bassist Christian McBride (Friday, June 21, Kilbourn), Vanguard Jazz Orchestra trumpeter Terell Stafford (Saturday, June 22, Montage), and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane who, as the son of the late John Coltrane, inherited much more than just a name (Thursday, June 27, Kilbourn).

• Indian-American saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa, who blends jazz with his Indian heritage, is one of the leading saxophonists performing today. 7 and 9:15 p.m. June 27 at The Little.

• • Smoking up the current jazz scene are players like Alfredo Rodriguez, a young Cuban sensation mentored by Quincy Jones, whose virtuosic keyboard chops are exhilarating. 6 and 10 p.m. June 24 at Kilbourn Hall; 5:45 and 7:45 p.m. June 25 at Hatch Recital Hall.

Anna Reguero is a former Democrat and Chronicle music critic, clarinetist, Eastman School of Music graduate and doctoral student at State University of New York at Stony Brook.