SFJAZZ opens the San Francisco Jazz Festival tomorrow – and this year it’s to be an all-digital affair, enabling not only US jazz enthusiasts, but late-nighters in other parts of the world, to enjoy some of the finest jazz around today. Featuring 18 concerts throughout the month of June, this celebration of jazz – which started life as a two-day event in 1983 — will include highlights from past Festival performances, world premiere concerts, a rare film on Thelonious Monk and events such as Juneteenth.
The first Festival performance opens on Thursday, June 3rd, with a concert featuring the Harold López-Nussa Quartet Live from Havana – the first online SFJAZZ presentation to originate from outside the continental US. A classically-trained pianist who only started playing jazz when he was 18 years old, he is now regarded as one of the brightest stars in Havana’s jazz firmament, with a style which combines classical, folkloric, jazz and popular elements, reflecting the full range and richness of Cuban music.
Having won First Prize in the Jazz Solo Competition at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2005, and toured widely with Buena Vista Social Club vocalist Omara Portuondo, López-Nussa debuted as a bandleader on the acclaimed World Village album Herencia in 2009. His latest release is Te Lo Dije (I Told You So) on the Mack Avenue label, in which he performs with the quartet featured in this concert – and which includes his brother, drummer Ruy Adrián López-Nussa. Violinist William Roblejo, percussionist Yaroldy Abreu and vocalist Kelvis Ochoa join as special guests for this show, which will feature music from the new album, as well as compositions by artists such as Chucho Valdés and Ernesto Lecuona.
Live From Havana: Harold López-Nussa Quartet opens the San Francisco Jazz Festival on Thursday, June 3rd at 7.00 pm (PT) / 10.00 pm (ET). The program will be repeated on Sunday, June 6th at 6.00 pm (PT) / 9.00 pm (ET).
The first of the SFJAZZ Fridays at Five sessions for the month of June features tenor saxophone artist Melissa Aldana. Described by Jazziz Magazine as a “…. a bandleader and musician at the top of her game”, and by The New York Times as “ . . . one of the more exciting young tenor saxophonists today”, Melissa has become one of jazz’s brighter stars since winning the 2013 Thelonious Monk International Saxophone Competition – the first female musician, and the first South American musician, to do so. Taught by her father, professional saxophonist Marcos Aldana, and influenced by artists such as Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley and Michael Brecker, she began by playing the alto sax, however, on hearing the music of Sonny Rollins, she switched to the tenor sax.
Another powerful influence on her work was the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, with whom Aldana sees a parallel in that, like Kahlo, she has had to face the challenge of asserting herself in a male-dominated environment. The latest of Melissa Aldana’s five albums is Visions, released in 2019, and she’s currently working with pianist Renee Rosins’ all-star ARTEMIS project.
The performance by Melissa Aldana and her quintet which features in Fridays at Five this week was recorded at SFJAZZ during the 2017 San Francisco Jazz Festival. The program is available to view online on Friday, June 4th at 5.00 pm (PT) / 8.00 pm (ET), and will be repeated on Saturday, June 5th at 10.00 am (PT) / 1.00 pm (ET).
These online transmissions from SFJAZZ are open to members only. Membership can be purchased for $5 a month, or $50 for a year. See the SFJAZZ website for details.
Information sourced from:
SFJAZZ program notes