The Ballard Jazz Walk, part of the Ballard Jazz Festival, is one of the year’s best showcases of Northwest music. The festival kicks off Wednesday, May 11.

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It must be spring, because the Ballard Jazz Festival is upon us. What better way to celebrate these warm, sunny days — hopefully, more are on the way — than by taking the Ballard Jazz Walk next Friday, May 13?

With a French Quarter New Orleans vibe, the Jazz Walk offers 23 Northwest jazz acts in 10 venues, all in one night, attracting enthusiastic fans who crowd the sidewalks, trading tips and on-the-spot reviews.

This year, you can sample, among others, the great trombonist Julian Priester’s band, with pianist Dawn Clement; sizzling new pianist Marina Albero; organ soul man Delvon Lamarr; saxophonists Jacob Zimmerman and Steve Griggs; trumpeter Thomas Marriott’s Hot Five; and the always provocative showcase by Seattle’s avant-garde collective, Table and Chairs, featuring Bad Luck and others.

And that’s just Friday. Saturday offers a Swedish-pancake jazz brunch at the Nordic Heritage Museum — then a double bill there that evening with former Miles Davis guitarist Mike Stern, performing with hot Portland pianist George Colligan, plus the trio of pianist Hal Galper, familiar from his work with Phil Woods.

The party starts at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 11, with the Brotherhood of the Drum and continues through Saturday, May 14; individual tickets, $13-$15, festival pass, $100-$110 (