The Diaspora grows and grows and grows, and in theory the Cuban pianist's omni-Caribbean, pan-African tack bites off more than it can chew. But in practice, on 2002's gorgeous Sentir and the recent Pictures of a Soul, it does the deed. Echoes of Moroccan prayer and hip-hop battle raps float up through the forward motion pulses that everyone on my block would probably hear as swing. And because Sosa's music usually boasts as many passages of keyboard reflection as it does percussion intricacy, there's a perfect calm brewing in the middle of this truly cosmopolitan music.

April 15-17
Jazz Gallery, 290 Hudson Street, 212.242.1063

Some saxophonists have a natural vehemence that occasionally pulls your concentration away from the actual trajectory of their solos. You can hear it in a host of musicians, from Sonny Rollins to Kenny Garrett. The Puerto Rican alto player is one such player; his new Ceremonial is built around a fluid sense of swing, but it bristles with earnestness. That ardor seems to multiply when you're sitting in front of him in a small club. His night at the Gallery should be an ear-opener.

May 26-31
Various venues, 646.331.1032
Center at St. Patrick's Old Cathedral, Mulberry Street and Prince Street

Up and running for almost a decade now, this annual gathering of musicians, dancers, and poets has become the flagship affair for New York's left-leaning improvisers. If you're well-versed in spontaneous combustion and fluent in loftspeak, it's likely you're on the bill. One hundred fifty artists participate in the fest during its six days, and this year's master stroke is the reuniting of the Revolutionary Ensemble, with violinist Leroy Jenkins, bassist Sirone, and percussionist Jerome Cooper. Also booked are Kidd Jordan, James Blood Ulmer, Joe McPhee, Barre Philips, and Khan Jamal.

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