Is it my imagination, or is the Bay Area once again a national jazz hub? The club scene ebbs and flows. But the opening of the new SFJazz Center looks like a game changer. And then there's summer jazz -- just look at this list of festivals and events. The region is bursting at the seams, paving the way for the Monterey Jazz Festival (www.montereyjazzfestival.org), which arrives Sept. 20-22 with Wayne Shorter, Ravi Coltrane and many others.

Charles Lloyd will perform June 8 at the Healdsburg Jazz Festival.
Charles Lloyd will perform June 8 at the Healdsburg Jazz Festival. (John Green/Bay Area News Group Archives)

  • Healdsburg Jazz Festival: This annual event (May 31-June 9) is a jewel. Headliners include saxophonist Charles Lloyd and pianist Jason Moran, the old and the young, forming kind of a perfect duo; pianist Fred Hersch with his superb trio; and a star-studded cast in a two-day tribute to bass master Charlie Haden. It features pianists Geri Allen, Carla Bley and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, guitarist Bill Frisell, and saxophonists Lee Konitz and Ravi Coltrane. Wow. (Haden, who is ailing, will play as much as he is able.) Tickets: $10-$75; 1-800-838-3006, www.brownpapertickets.com. Information: www.healdsburgjazzfestival.org.


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  • Stanford Jazz Festival: It opens June 22 with a sublime blast -- a solo concert by pianist Herbie Hancock at Bing Concert Hall, Stanford University's classy new venue. Sorry, folks, it's sold out. But there are more than 30 other shows through Aug. 10 at campus venues. They include bassist Stanley Clarke; drummers Louis Hayes and Eric Harland; tap dancer Savion Glover; saxophonists Houston Person, Tia Fuller and Chris Potter; and pianists Harold Mabern and Chucho Valdes. Tickets: Most events are $28-$45 (students $15); 650-725-2787, www.stanfordjazz.org.

  • San Jose Jazz Festival: The Aug. 9-11 lineup is deep, covering all bases, from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to Pink Martini, from soulful Les McCann to the Cookers, a hard bop super-group featuring saxophonist Billy Harper, trumpeter Eddie Henderson, pianist George Cables and drummer Billy Hart. Also there's bassist Derrick Hodge, saxophonist Yosvany Terry and drummer Dafnis Prieto, each with his own band. Joining the party, too, are Arturo O'Farrill & the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra, guitarist Charlie Hunter and Latin jazz percussion master John Santos. Tickets: single day $20 (children $5); weekend pass $45 (children $15); prices go up after July 31. www.sanjosejazz.org.

  • San Francisco Jazz Festival: It takes place June 12-23, followed by the SFJazz Summer Sessions, July 10-Sept. 11. These back-to-back festivals might wear you out, in a good way. The former brings local artists into the mix (i.e., Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, clarinetist Beth Custer) alongside legends (Ahmad Jamal, Milton Nascimento) and breakout singers (Gregory Porter, Cecile McClorin Salvant). The Sessions include musicians of Mali (Amadou & Mariam; Toumani Diabaté), lots of pianists (Marcus Roberts, Roger Kellaway, Eric Reed, Benny Green, Dick Hyman) and lots of drummers (Eric Harland, Chris Dave, Cindy Blackman Santana, Allison Miller). Mostly at the SFJazz Center. Tickets: $5-$70; 1-866-920-5299, www.sfjazz.org.

  • In the clubs: That's where jazz is at its most exciting. Setting the pace right now is Duende, a new loft/performance space in Oakland (468 19th St.), where acts include pianist Myra Melford, guitarist Charlie Hunter and legendary saxophonist Oliver Lake (in a July 5-8 residency, including a night of duets with Roscoe Mitchell). Most events are $10-$20; www.duendeoakland.com. Acts at Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz (220-2 Cedar St.) include vibraphone master Bobby Hutcherson, the hard-bopping Cookers, trumpeter Etienne Charles and saxophonist Ben Flocks. Tickets: generally $18-$30; www.kuumbwajazz.org. Yoshi's will bring peerless bassist Ron Carter and his trio, the Rebirth Brass Band and the Cookers to its Oakland club (510 Embarcadero West), while its San Francisco club (1330 Fillmore St.) offers trumpeter Enrico Rava, singer Catherine Russell and pianist Eliane Elias. Tickets for both Yoshi's venues are generally $12-$40 (www.yoshis.com).

    Other venues to watch: Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society in Half Moon Bay (www.bachddsoc.org); Feinstein's at the Nikko in San Francisco (www.hotelnikkosf.com); and Piedmont Piano Company in Oakland (www.piedmontpiano.com).

  • Brubeck celebration: June 1 at Oakland's Paramount Theatre (2025 Broadway), the Oakland East Bay Symphony presents a tribute to Dave Brubeck, featuring special guests Taylor Eigsti, Chris Brubeck, Dayna Stephens and Frederica von Stade. Tickets: $35-$250; 1-800-745-3000, www.oebs.org.