Bay Area Best Bets | Thursday, July 8 – Sunday, July 11

Wynton Marsalis gained fame as a jazz trumpeter, but he is also a composer who is bringing two recent works to the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music. (Photo courtesy of Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra)

The Bay Area is a hub of artistic expression, attracting artists, writers and musicians from around the globe to live, work and create. We highlight some of the offerings here.

• Double dose of Wynton: This year’s Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music is jam-packed with composers who have come to introduce their own works, and on Sunday night, it will be first-time composer in residence Wynton Marsalis’ turn. The famed bandleader and jazz trumpeter will see his 2015 “Blues Symphony” make its West Coast debut: It is an all-orchestral work that charts the evolution of the blues in America in six sweeping movements, including one that is a portrait of Manhattan. Also on the program, conducted by Cristian Macelaru, is Marsalis’ Concerto in D for violin and orchestra, featuring the gifted Scottish fiddler Nicola Benedetti, for whom it was written. Concert time is 7 p.m. Aug. 11 at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium; tickets, $37-$65; 831-420-5260;

• Outside Lands: One off the country’s biggest pop music festivals takes over Golden Gate Park in San Francisco for three days, Aug. 9-11. With headliners like Childish Gambino, Paul Simon and Twenty One Pilots, scores of supporting artists ranging from Lil Wayne to Lauren Daigle to Mavis Staples — not to mention offerings from some of the Bay Area’s best restaurants, breweries and wineries — it’s hard to have anything except a fabulous time here. The music starts at noon each day; single-day tickets, $155-$695, are still available at If you are  going, check the website for transportation options (driving there is a BAD idea) and details on what you can and cannot  bring — security is on everyone’s minds these days. If you aren’t going, just be aware that Golden Gate Park is probably not the best place to go for a leisurely afternoon stroll this weekend.

• Sin City by the Bay: There has as yet been no solution to the mystery of the “Zodiac Killer,” but author Paul Drexler has a new theory he’d like to try out on you. Come to Green Apple Books in San Francisco to hear him discuss “Notorious San Francisco: True Tales of Crime, Passion and Murder” (RJ Parker Publishing, $14.99, 237 pages), a gritty compendium of some 20 true tales of nefarious deeds and dastardly villains from these parts. Included are the exploits of William Thoreson, a lunatic who stored an entire armory in his Pacific Heights mansion and was ultimately shot to death by his own wife, and bank robbers Ethan McNabb and Lloyd Sampsell, dubbed the “Yacht Bandits” for the luxurious vessel they used for their getaways. Drexler will speak at 7 p.m. Aug. 8 at store at 506 Clement St., San Francisco; 415-387-2272,

• San Jose Jazz Summer Fest: It’s the 30th year for this wonderful South Bay musical tradition that offers scores of jazz, blues, gospel and other roots music shows in theaters, clubs and outdoor stages throughout downtown San Jose from Aug. 9-11. Some of the top names in the lineup are Dianne Reeves, Marcus Shelby and Tiffany Austin; The O’Jays; En Vogue; Sammy Miller and the Congregation; Arsenio Rodriguez; Gregory Porter; and, well, we’re just scratching the surface here. Music starts around 6 p.m. Aug. 9, and 11:30 a.m. Aug. 10-11. There are a wide variety of single- and multi-day passes available; you can snag tickets, see a full lineup and get more information at

• Garrett + Moulton Productions: Bay Area dance enthusiasts are always eager to greet a new program from this imaginative and evocative Bay Area troupe led by choreographers Janice Garrett and Charles Moulton. And the company is billing this weekend’s production, titled “Four Acts of Light & Wonder” as its most ambitious show yet. Highlights include Garrett’s brand new work contemplating the nature of human connection “The Over-Soul,” and Moulton’s complete reboot of one of his most popular dances, “Precision Ball Passing.” Performances are at 8 p.m. Aug. 9-10 and 3 p.m. Aug. 11 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. Tickets are $35-$42 at

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