SFJAZZ continues to provide top-flight online programming in its Fridays at Five sessions – the month of April featuring bass guitarist Marcus Miller, vocalists Claudia Villela and Daymé Arocena and the Sun Ra Arkestra – plenty to enjoy!
Regarded as one of the greatest electric bassists in the history of the instrument, Marcus Miller – star of the Fridays at Five session on April 2nd – is also a keyboardist, saxophonist and a classically trained bass clarinetist, as well as a multiple GRAMMY-winner, producer, arranger, bandleader and composer of film scores. To add to his achievements, he was selected as Miles Davis’ bassist (following Davis’ return to performing in the 1980s), and has collaborated with performers such as Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Paul Simon and Frank Sinatra.
This week’s Fridays at Five session was recorded at SFJAZZ in June 2018, when Miller appeared with his young quintet which included saxophonist Alex Han, trumpeter Marquis Hill, keyboardist Brett Williams, and drummer Alex Bailey, performing numbers which appeared on Miller’s GRAMMY-nominated 2018 album Laid Back (Blue Note).
Brazilian artist Claudia Villela stars in the Fridays at Five transmission on April 9th, in a concert recorded at SFJAZZ in June 2019. Villela devotes this performance to the music of Brazilian song supremo Antônio Carlos Jobim, featuring the GRAMMY-nominated guitarist Chico Pinheiro as special guest.
With her “… Remarkable, beautiful, towering voice…” (New York Times), “She is the greatest expression of Brazilian Music in the US today”, says Helcio Milito, legendary Brazilian drummer. Singer, pianist and composer, Claudia Villela – with a five-octave voice range – has worked with jazz artists such as Kenny Werner, Michael Brecker and Toots Thielemans, and has been a regular performer at SFJAZZ.
Daymé Arocena, the featured artist on April 16th, has become one of the dynamic new faces of Cuban music. Specializing in jazz, Cuban neo-soul, and West African traditions, this singer, composer and choir director takes her inspiration from the various musical traditions of her native Cuba. Having performed in cities as diverse as Los Angeles and Tokyo – and plenty of others in-between – she combines her impressive vocal range with an earthy sense of humour.
With a voice described by NPR Music as “the perfect combination of Aretha Franklin and Celia Cruz”, Arocena released her debut album Nueva Era in 2015, which was listed among NPR Music’s Top 50 albums of the year, and during the 2017-2018 season, she appeared in a double bill with Cuban piano genius Roberto Fonseca.
The April 16th Fridays at Five performance was recorded at SFJAZZ in November 2019, and featured music from Daymé Arocena’s latest release Sonocardiogram (Brownswood).
The Fridays at Five session to be streamed on April 23rd was recorded in August 2017, during a special performance at SFJAZZ by the Sun Ra Arkestra. Comprising Arkestra veterans and a younger set of musicians led by alto saxophonist Marshall Allen, this concert was a celebration of the legacy of the intriguing keyboardist and composer Sun Ra – who claimed to have come from the planet Saturn to bring peace to Earth.
The musical output of this jazz visionary and renowned eccentric combined big band swing, free jazz, the blues and electronics with traditional African music. His visual style was equally eclectic – reflecting both ancient Egyptian iconography with futuristic concepts.
Fridays at Five is a weekly membership-based online concert series that enables jazz fans to enjoy exclusive hour-long broadcasts of SFJAZZ Center archival performances, while providing support for the artists who would normally be presenting live shows.
Access to Fridays at Five costs just $5 a month ($60 annually) and you can sign up for – or gift – a digital membership and tune in with friends each Friday at 5.00 pm (Pacific). That’s 1.00 am GMT and 2.00 am CET on Saturday morning, for night owls. Proceeds will help the SFJAZZ team prepare to reopen the SFJAZZ Center and bring you the same breadth of live concert and educational programming you’re used to. The music, as they say at SFJAZZ, will outlive the virus.
For more details, visit the SFJAZZ website.