Tributes to Thelonious Monk & Duke Ellington at the Virtual San Francisco Jazz Festival

This week, the Virtual San Francisco Jazz Festival, hosted by SFJAZZ pays tribute to Thelonious Monk, and features performances by Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band, and Marcus Shelby & his Orchestra with their tribute to Duke Ellington.

Streaming on Thursday is the documentary and concert film Music in Monk Time: A Retrospective Tribute to Thelonious Sphere Monk. Rarely seen, this film takes a look at the life and music of the genius of jazz, 36 years after SFJAZZ presented the Bay Area premiere in March 1985. Although the film was televised throughout the world at the time, it has never before been broadcast in the United States. With this week’s transmission SFJAZZ has the honor of premiering this unique piece of jazz history for the second time.

Written and narrated by vocalist Jon Hendricks, the film follows Monk’s career, combing rare archival footage with photos borrowed directly from his patron the Baroness Pannonica de Koenigswarter. It features interviews and performance footage of Monk’s classic compositions by associates Dizzy Gillespie, Carmen McRae, and Milt Jackson, as well as Monk quartet members Charlie Rouse, Ben Riley and Larry Gales, with Walter Davis Jr on piano. It also recreates Monk’s famous 1959 Town Hall concert with a big band performance, featuring Terence Blanchard and Monk’s son, drummer TS Monk.

Music in Monk Time: A Retrospective Tribute to Thelonious Sphere Monk has its premiere broadcast on Thursday, June 10th, at 7.00 pm (PT) / 10.00 pm (ET). The encore broadcast takes place on Sunday, June 13th, at 6.00 pm (PT) / 9.00 pm (ET). For further information and tickets, visit the SFJAZZ website.

The Virtual San Francisco Jazz Festival continues with this week’s Fridays at Five session which stars GRAMMY-winning drummer, composer and founding member of the SFJAZZ Collective, Brian Blade, together with his Fellowship Band, in a concert recorded during their debut performance in the Miner Auditorium during the 34th San Francisco Jazz Festival in June 2016. The concert features music from Blade’s discography, including numbers from his 2014 Blue Note album Landmarks and selections from what was to become their fifth album, Body and Shadow, released in 2017 to mark the 20th anniversary of the ensemble.

Brian Blade & the Fellowship Band are the stars of this week’s SFJAZZ Fridays at Five session. The first transmission of this concert will go out at 5.00 pm (PT) / 8.00 pm (ET) on Friday, June 11th, with a repeat on Saturday, June 12th, at 10.00 am (PT) / 1.00 pm (ET). These broadcasts are for SFJAZZ members only. For more information visit the SFJAZZ website.

The third concert in the Virtual San Francisco Jazz Festival this week features Marcus Shelby & his Orchestra – comprising some of the most highly respected musicians in the Bay Area. They present a Tribute to Duke Ellington – major figure in the history of jazz, originator of big-band jazz, composer of thousands of songs, and creator of one of the most distinctive ensemble sounds in Western music.

San Francisco-based Shelby conductor – composer, bassist, bandleader and educator – has composed several oratorios and suites, as well as a children’s opera Harriet’s Spirit produced by Opera Parallel 2018. He composed the score and performed in Anna Deavere Smith’s Off-Broadway Play and HBO feature film Notes from the Field (2019), and is also the voice of Ray Gardener in the 2020 Oscar-Winning Disney Pixar film SOUL.

Originally recorded in May, 2019, this Family Matinee Broadcast with Marcus Shelby & his Orchestra will be streamed on Sunday, June 13th at 11.00 am (PT) / 2.00 pm (ET) / 7.00 on (BST). Family Matinee Broadcasts are a monthly membership-based online concert series in which performers share their insights, encourage audience participation, and provide important context for young listeners while celebrating all that jazz continues to offer. Tune in by becoming an SFJAZZ Digital Member – further information on the SFJAZZ website.

Information sourced from:

SFJAZZ program notes

Artists’ websites

ArtsPreview home page

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