The Angel City Jazz Festival has its 2014 lineup, and in a sense the annual celebration of improvisation has gone back to where it started.
Presented by the Jazz Bakery and co-produced by Angel City Arts, this year's bill remains no less forward-looking in its lineup, which stretches across eight days and seven venues with performers that include Wadada Leo Smith, Allison Miller, Matana Roberts and recently named NEA Jazz Master Anthony Braxton.
But for the first time since its 2008 debut, the festival returns to the Barnsdall Art Park for an all-day finale on Sept. 28 that features two stages with a mix of local and nationally known talent that includes Azar Lawrence, Daniel Rosenboom, Taylor Ho Bynum and Craig Taborn. The day culminates with an all-star tribute and benefit for saxophonist Arthur Blythe, who performed at the 2008 festival and is currently facing steep healthcare expenses.
Among the biggest names on a schedule assembled under the theme of "Full Circle," Braxton performs at the Colburn School's Zipper Hall on Sept. 27 in a trio with Bynum and vocalist Kyoko Kitamura. An influential and inventive explorer of the avant-garde who will celebrate his 70th birthday next year, Braxton's rare L.A. appearance continues a busy 2014 that has included the premiere of his four-act opera "Trillium J (The Non-Unconfessionables)." Joining him on the bill will be like-minded trumpeter Smith with his Silver Orchestra.
Other highlights of the sprawling lineup include performances by bassist Roberto Miranda, vocalist Youn Sun Nah on a bill with Dwight Trible, the duo Satoko Fujii and Natsuki Tamura with Miller's Boom Tic Boom, the Bobby Bradford Quartet, ever-searching saxophonist Matana Roberts, and a 2007 NEA Jazz Master in bandleader Toshiko Akiyoshi.
In addition to Zipper Hall and Barnsdall, the festival's concerts will be held across the city at LACMA, REDCAT, the Aratani Theater and beloved Little Tokyo club the Blue Whale.
Angel City Jazz Festival runs from Sept. 19-28, and the full lineup and ticket prices are available at angelcityjazz.com.