While South Florida may not be considered a jazz mecca, our region remains an attractive tour stop for many of the jazz world's top practitioners. Following a month that brought brilliant jazz pianists Fred Hersch, Eddie Palmieri and Chick Corea to the area, a profusion of rising and established jazz-piano artists will descend on the Sunshine State in April. Here's a sampling.
• Quietly exuberant and deeply introspective, Kait Dunton's music glows with an inner radiance on "Mountain Suite," her 2012 sophomore recording. Although she snared all-star sidemen — including saxophonist Bob Mintzer and drummer Peter Erskine — Dunton's rich compositions and sensitive, classically influenced touch take center stage. The pianist wends her way through a nine-song suite, which reads like a travelogue from a scenic road trip. Currently pursuing a doctorate at the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California, Dunton has impressed instructors — including the sidemen on "Mountain Suite" — with her mature artistry. On Wednesday and Thursday, she'll bring her trio with bassist Cooper Appelt and drummer Jake Moore to the newly opened Jazziz Nightlfe in Boca Raton's Mizner Park. Call 561-910-7721 or go to Jazziz.com.
• Bill Mays honed his interpretive skills alongside Sarah Vaughan, Bud Shank and James Moody. In recent years, the Pennsylvania-based pianist has helmed the Inventions Trio with trumpet and flugelhorn player Marvin Stamm and cellist Alisa Horn, and an eponymous trio with bassist Martin Wind and drummer Matt Wilson. Recordings by each unit spotlight his seamless integration of classical and jazz idioms. In 2012, the pianist teamed up with bassist Tommy Cecil on the album "Side by Side (Sondheim Duos)," on which the pair explore the canon of one of Broadway's most-idiosyncratic composers. For his April 12 performance at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, he'll revisit selections from his 2009 recording "Mays at the Movies," on which he tackled cinematic music from "Charade" to "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." Mays will be joined by bassist Richard Drexler and drummer Marty Morell. Call 954-462-0222, or visit GoldCoastJazz.org.
• A disparate pair of performer-composers headline Generation Next: Piano, taking place April 12 at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Miami. Hiromi Uehara, 34, has been thrilling audiences — and jazz greats such as Chick Corea, with whom she's recorded — for more than a decade with her unbridled joy and creative dynamism in acoustic and electric settings. Gerald Clayton, 28, has shone in more-traditional jazz settings, such as his dad's and uncle's Clayton Brothers bands, as well as in his own trios. On her aptly titled 2012 album "Move" with her Trio Project — contrabassist Anthony Jackson and drummer Simon Phillips, with whom she'll be performing at the Arsht — Hiromi musically traces a day in the life. The suite begins with her piano approximating the ring of an alarm clock on the title track, and wraps with a not-so-serene "11:49 PM" bedtime. Clayton's colorful compositions and sparkling piano skills are on full display on the just-released "Life Forum," featuring his deft writing for a full band. But he'll showcase his trio with bassist Joe Sanders and drummer Justin Brown at the Arsht. Call 305-949-6722 or visit Arshtcenter.org.Copyright © 2015, South Florida