After three decades off the musical grid in California, esteemed bassist Henry Grimes marked his return to New York with a 2003 farewell salute to the singer Jeanne Lee. It was part of the Vision Festival, the annual gathering that centers on free jazz, uniting the music’s most venerable lights with its ever-widening brigade of newcomers. This year Grimes and his feisty sense of improvisation is being celebrated. The 80-year-old improviser leads three discrete ensembles, one with him playing solo while vocalists put his poems to song. That’s pure Vision – since its 1996 start, the fest’s aesthetic has mixed dance, lit, and visual arts with jazz. This year’s line-up bristles with vitality. Trumpeter Leo Smith’s pliable abstractions gleam with gravitas. Experimental vocalist Jen Shyu can be engrossing. Pianist Dave Burrell’s duet with percussionist Hamid Drake should tout immediacy and imagination. And Chicago drummer Mike Reed invites spoken word artists into his reeds and brass group, Flesh & Bone. That’s just the tip of the you-know-what. Set your course for discovery and bump into something wondrous.
Judson Memorial Church June 7 -12