Greg Kot

Chicago Rocks: This annual event has become the premier showcase for local independent hip-hop. Past performers have included Lupe Fiasco, Rhymefest and Juice, among others, and this year's lineup includes veterans Crucial Conflict and All Natural as well as up-andcomers Flosstradamus, the Cool Kids and Psalm One. June 8 at Abbey Pub, 3420 W. Grace St., $12, 773-478-44080; and June 9 at Metro, 3730 N. Clark St., $16, 773-549-0203.

Manu Chao: A rare visit from the Spanish born, Paris-based artist who is considered one of the founding fathers of the rock en espanol movement. Chao aggressively blends punk, reggae and Latin folk music. June 17 at the Aragon, 1106 W. Lawrence Ave., $30; 312-559- 1212.

Black Moth Super Rainbow: These Pennsylvanians evoke nature-worshiping hippies in their lyrics, but their music is first-rate psychedelic trancerock. June 23 with Dosh at Schubas, 3159 N. Southport Ave., $10-$12; 773-525-2508.

Mavis Staples: The gospel according to Mavis is a mighty thick tome, and her latest chapter, "We'll Never Turn Back," is among the best albums of her career. June 26 with the Blind Boys of Alabama at Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan Ave., $20- $70; 312-294-3000.

The Police: Rumor has it that Sting once used to rock; his reunion with his old new-wave running mates Andy Summers and Stewart Copeland should test that theory. July 5-6 at Wrigley Field, $254, $94, $54; (sold out)

Toumani Diabate and the Symmetric Orchestra: Mali's Diabate is a master of the kora, and by introducing flamenco voicings, Asian harmonics and free-jazz improvisation he updates the centuries old lexicon of the 21-string instrument. He played Chicago a few months ago with a strippeddown version of his band, but this time he's back with a full orchestra. July 12 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, free; 312-742-1168.

Pitchfork Music Festival: The second annual festival encompasses hip-hop (GZA, Clipse, De La Soul), jazz (Ken Vandermark), indie rock (New Pornographers, Stephen Malkmus), electronic music (Girl Talk) and underground icons (Yoko Ono, Sonic Youth, Slint). July 13-15, at Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St., $15 and $25 for one day, three-day pass $50, www.ticketweb. com.

The Decemberists: The Portland quintet will do up its orchestral- pop opuses in style, accompanied by the Grant Park Symphony. July 18 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, free; 312-742-1168. Crossroads Guitar Festival: Eric Clapton gathers a few dozen guitar gods (Jeff Beck, Buddy Guy, BB King, John Mc- Laughlin) and plans to stage a Blind Faith reunion with Steve Winwood. July 28 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, $90; 312-559- 1212.

Lollapalooza: The third annual lakefront festival spreads more than 100 bands over nine stages and three days, with headliners including Pearl Jam, Daft Punk and the Stooges. Aug. 3-5 at Grant Park, three-day pass $195,

Sing Me Back Home featuring The New Orleans Social Club: This ad-hoc collective, formed in the days after Hurricane Katrina to record songs to aid New Orleans residents, makes its Chicago debut. The lineup includes some of the Crescent City's finest musicians and singers, including Ivan Neville, the Meters, Irma Thomas and Henry Butler. Aug. 24 at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, free; 312-742-1168.

Howard Reich

Dave Brubeck Quartet: The master pianist plays an evening- length performance. 8 p.m. Friday at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave.; $33-$129; 312-294-3000 or

Reginald Robinson: An innovative ragtime pianist-composer, Robinson collaborates with Orbert Davis' Chicago Jazz Philharmonic in the world premiere of a concerto written by Davis (and based on Robinson's ragtime compositions); trumpeter Davis and singer Kurt Elling also will be featured soloists. 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy.; $29-$59; 312- 922-2110 or auditoriumtheatre. org.

Lillias White: The singer kicks off the Martinis at the Martin cabaret series with "My Guy Cy," a tribute to songwriter Cy Coleman. 8 p.m. Monday at the Ravinia Festival's Martin Theatre, Green Bay and Lake-Cook Roads, Highland Park; $160 for the entire series, which includes Brian Stokes Mitchell on July 9, Heather Headley on Aug. 20 and Hershey Felder's "Gershwin Alone" on Sept. 9 (no theater tickets sold for individual concerts), $10 lawn; 847-266-5100 or

McCoy Tyner Septet: Celebrated for his collaborations with John Coltrane and for his distinctly muscular pianism, Tyner will mark the 45th anniversary of Impulse Records, sharing the stage with saxophonists Eric Alexander and Donald Harrison and trumpeter Wallace Roney, among others. 8 p.m. June 8 at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave.; $19-$44; 312-294-3000 or

Dee Alexander: A jazz singer for all occasions, Alexander will sing "Homage to Light Henry Huff," presented by the nonprofit Jazz Institute of Chicago. 7:30 p.m. June 15 at Columbus Park Refectory, 5701 W. Jackson Blvd.; free; 312-427-1676 or

"Jazz with the Joffrey": Chicago pianist Ramsey Lewis and his trio play the world premiere of a score by Lewis created for the Joffrey Ballet, which will dance to new choreography by Donald Byrd. 8 p.m. June 22 at the Ravinia Festival, Green Bay and Lake-Cook Roads, Highland Park; $45 pavilion; $10 lawn; 847-266-5100 or

Wynton Marsalis' "Congo Square": Marsalis, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Yacub Addy and Odadaa! perform the Chicago-area premiere of Marsalis' epic piece, a journey into the African roots of jazz. 7:30 p.m. June 23 at the Ravinia Festival, Green Bay and Lake-Cook Roads, Highland Park; $50 pavilion; $10 lawn; 847-266- 5100 or

Enzo Avitabile & Bottari: The Italian saxophonist brings the Bottari (barrel-beater) percussionists to Chicago to launch this year's Music Without Borders series of world-music concerts. 6:30 p.m. June 24 at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, near Randolph Drive and Michigan Avenue; free; 312-742-1168 or millenniumpark. org.

Spider Saloff Quintet: A formidable jazz vocalist, Saloff opens the Auditorium Theatre's "On Stage With" series, which brings listeners onto the stage of the celebrated venue (subsequent shows will feature singer Susan Werner on June 30 and the duo of Beckie Menzie and Tom Michael on Aug. 18). 8 p.m. June 16 at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy.; 312-922-2110 or

Great Black Music Ensemble: This magnificent organization-- flagship band of the Chicago-based Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM)--plays a tribute to swing-band pioneer Fletcher Henderson and kicks off the annual "Made in Chicago" series at Millennium Park. 6:30 p.m. July 26 at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, near Randolph Drive and Michigan Avenue; free; 312-742-1168 or

"Sing Me Back Home": A galaxy of New Orleans stars-- including Ivan Neville, Henry Butler, Irma Thomas, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews and John Boutte pay homage to the Crescent City. 6:30 p.m. Aug. 24 at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millenium Park, near Randolph Drive and Michigan Avenue; free; 312-742-1168 or millenniumpark. org.

Chicago Jazz Philharmonic: Trumpeter Orbert Davis' jazzmeets- the-classics ensemble launches Chicago Jazz Festival Week by collaborating with Lane Alexander's Chicago Human Rhythm Project and singers Maggie Brown, Jackie Allen and Terisa Griffin. 6:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, near Randolph Drive and Michigan Avenue; free; 312-742-1168 or millenniumpark. org.

"A Night in Havana": The second night of Chicago Jazz Festival week features a 90th birthday tribute to Dizzy Gillespie exploring his Afro-Cuban music, with Jon Faddis, James Moody, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Ignacio Berroa, Giovanni Hidalgo and Peter Washington. Aug. 27 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive; ticket prices to be announced; 312-344-7777 or

"An Evening with Herbie Hancock": The great pianist-- and former Chicagoan--appears under the auspices of the Chicago Jazz Festival. 7:30 p.m. Aug. 30 at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave.; $11-$56; 312- 294-3000 or

Charlie Haden and the Liberation Music Orchestra: Bassist Haden leads the noted ensemble, though, alas, it's at the acoustically challenged Petrillo Music Shell, as part of the Chicago Jazz Festival. 8:30 p.m. Sept. 1 in Grant Park, Columbus Drive and Jackson Boulevard; free; 312-427-1676 or jazzinchicago. org.

Rob Mazurek's Exploding Star Orchestra: The adventurous bandleader-cornetist unveiled his innovative large group two years ago at Millennium Park and now reconvenes it for the Chicago Jazz Festival. 6 p.m. Sept. 2 at the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park, Columbus Drive and Jackson Boulevard; free; 312-427-1676 or jazzinchicago. org.

John von Rhein

Ravinia Festival Green Bay and Lake-Cook Roads, Highland Park; 847-266-5100 or; prices vary.

Jake Heggie's "To Hell and Back": Starring Patti Lupone with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. June 5-6. Old instruments and new vocal sounds blend in this vocalorchestral work, inspired by the Persephone myth. With soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian and conductor Nicholas McGegan.

Bernstein's "West Side Story": Features North Carolina School of the Arts members under John Mauceri. June 8. Ravinia salutes the 50th anniversary of this landmark American musical with a new stage version, performed by young singers coached by veterans of the Broadway original.

Philip Glass/Leonard Cohen's "Book of Longing": Performed by the Philip Glass Ensemble. June 12-13. Composer Glass (who's celebrating his 70th birthday) collaborates with songwriter Cohen in this Chicago premiere.

James Conlon presents music by Alexander Zemlinsky: July 7, 11, 14. The Viennese composer is arguably the greatest of the composers whose music the Nazis banned as "degenerate art." Three "Breaking the Silence" series events will spotlight his beautiful, neglected orchestral, vocal and chamber works.

Frank Loesser's "The Most Happy Fella": New concert staging. July 20. George Hearn, Sylvia McNair and Rod Gilfry star in this revival of a great American musical. Ravinia pops maestro Erich Kunzel conducts.

Tenor Nikolai Schukoff, recital July 26 and CSO concert July 28: A double-header by the promising young Austrian tenor, who makes his area debut in a recital that includes Schumann's "Dichterliebe" and a CSO concert of Viennese favorites. Christoph Eschenbach is the pianist and conductor.

Gala benefit evening, tenor Placido Domingo with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, James Conlon conducting: Aug. 4. The ageless Spanish tenor in a rare concert appearance, sharing solo duties with soprano Ana Maria Martinez. There will be a largescreen video feed to reservedseating patrons on one section of the lawn.

Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe recital: The American opera and concert singer has been winning raves everywhere she's appeared. Hear why on Aug. 6 when she presents songs and arias with pianist Warren Jones.

Puccini's "Madama Butterfly": Concert version with Patricia Racette and Frank Lopardo, CSO under James Conlon. Aug. 11. Perhaps the greatest exponent of the role of the hapless Cio- Cio-San today, soprano Racette will team up with tenor Frank Lopardo as the caddish Lt. Pinkerton.

Mark Morris' "Mozart Dances": Music of the Baroque, Jane Glover conducting; Aug. 24-26 (Harris Theater, Millennium Park). Chicago premiere of the dancer-choreographer's acclaimed masterpiece, in three off-site performances by his Mark Morris Dance Group, with orchestra and piano soloists.

Grant Park Music Festival 205 E. Randolph Drive; 312-742- 7638, www.grantparkmusicfestival. com; free.

Mendelssohn's "Elijah": Kalmar conducting. June 15-16. Director Christopher Bell has turned the Grant Park Chorus into one of the nation's top symphony choruses, and this beloved oratorio will give the choristers plenty of opportunities to shine. Baritone Russell Braun sings the part of Elijah.

"Looking East," East-West fusion program: June 20. Coinciding with Chicago's Taste of Thailand celebration, this unusual program will combine music by "Crouching Tiger" composer Tan Dun with a recent work, "Phenomenon," by the Thai composer Narong Prangcharoen. Kalmar conducts.

Mezzo Jennifer Larmore sings Britten and Ravel: June 29-30. Chicago's own will sing Britten's "Phaedra" and Ravel's "Sheherazade" on a program that includes music by the American composer Aaron Jay Kernis.

Argentine pianist Ingrid Fliter: Debuts with Grant Park Orchestra on Aug. 15. The arresting virtuoso had everybody talking earlier this year when she was awarded the Gilmore Prize, the Nobel of classical music. She will perform Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 2.

Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus, Carlos Kalmar conducting Britten, Adams, Vaughan Williams: Aug. 17-18. World peace is the theme of this imaginative program, which features John Adams' Walt Whitman song cycle "The Wound-Dresser" (Nathan Gunn, baritone) and Ralph Vaughan Williams' sublime "Dona Nobis Pacem."