SFJAZZ celebrates opening of 5th Anniversary Season


Zakir Hussain – © Moment Records

SFJAZZ is pulling out all stops this week as it launches its 5th Anniversary Season with a series of star-studded concerts.  The celebrations open with a Gala Concert honoring Zakir Hussain, followed by four concerts with the theme ‘traditions in transition’ – each curated by a different jazz celebrity, and each paying tribute to an artist with long-standing links to the Bay Area.

Performances and collaborations during the week feature the curating artists, as well as SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Directors Bill Frisell and Terence Blanchard, and names such as Joe Lovano, Joshua Redman, Stefon Harris, Cindy Blackman Santana, Mary Stallings, the Kronos Quartet, John Santos, John Handy, Eric Harland and the SFJAZZ Collective – Miguel Zenón, David Sánchez, Sean Jones, Robin Eubanks, Edward Simon, Warren Wolf, Matt Penman and Obed Calvaire.


The SFJAZZ Collective – © Jay Blakesberg

Tabla virtuoso, composer and percussionist Zakir Hussain has been described by Rhythm Music Monthly as the “Joyous genius of the Tabla ….. a prodigiously gifted artist in whom the streams of Indian and Global musics meet …. one of the greatest musicians of our time”.  According to SFJAZZ, he is “one of the world’s most esteemed and influential musicians and widely considered a chief architect of the contemporary world music movement”, and on Wednesday, January 18, in the presence of cultural and political leaders, celebrities, artists and music enthusiasts, this phenomenal musician will be presented with the SFJAZZ Lifetime Achievement Award by Mickey Hart.

Following the cocktails, dinner and Gala Concert, featuring a host of stars, Snarky Puppy will headline an Afterjam, with special guest David Crosby, in the Miner Auditorium, while Red Baraat take the stage in the Joe Henderson Lab.

For more information, and details on the various ticket packages available, visit the SFJAZZ website.

SFJAZZ pays tribute to Tony Williams (1945-1997) on Thursday, January 19, in a performance curated by Cindy Blackman Santana, and honoring one of the most influential drummers of the 60s, whose Lifetime band is credited with having pioneered the fusion movement.  Having made a significant contribution to the Miles Davis Quintet, Tony Williams was described by Davis as “the center that the group’s sound revolves around”.  In 1990, Williams – a longtime Bay Area resident – premiered a work commissioned by SFJAZZ, which featured Herbie Hancock and the Kronos Quartet.

More information on Thursday’s concert can be found on the SFJAZZ website.

The Friday Spotlight falls on that giant among saxophonists, Joe Henderson (1937-2001), in a performance curated by Joshua Redman.  Henderson collaborated with a number of high profile artists, and is described by All Music as “A remarkable tenor saxophonist whose passionate ballad playing and often fiery solos made him one of the most influential tenors in jazz”.   A Bay Area resident for 30 years, Henderson enjoyed a long association with SFJAZZ, from his appearance at the third Jazz In The City Festival in 1986 to the 1993 tribute ‘We Love Joe’ at Davies Symphony Hall.

To find out more about this week’s tribute to Joe Henderson, visit the SFJAZZ website.


Bobby Hutcherson © Scott Chernis

Bobby Hutcherson (1941-2016) is the artist who’ll be honored in Saturday evening’s concert.  A vibraphonist and composer, he was a founding member of the SFJAZZ Collective, and was an important figure in the story of SFJAZZ from its beginnings.  This performance, curated by vibraphonist Stefon Harris, features highlights from Hutcherson’s legacy which includes over 40 classic albums, and his association with every major figure in the world of jazz from the 1960s to the present.

Details on this concert can be found on the SFJAZZ website.

The concert honoring alto saxophonist John Handy on Sunday, January 22, is curated by SFJAZZ Collective saxophonist Miguel Zenón.  A Bay Area resident for most of his life, Handy is what’s described as “a consummate musician” who is also a vocalist, and plays tenor and baritone saxophone, saxello, clarinet and oboe.  With a style which is described as “soulful and fiery”, he performed at the first Jazz in the City Festival in 1983 as well as the Grand Opening of the SFJAZZ Center.

More information on this tribute to John Handy can be found on the SFJAZZ website.


John Handy – courtesy SFJAZZ

When you’re at the JAZZ Center, cast your eyes across Franklin Street for the fabulous  installation by San Francisco photographer, Jim Marshall, in the windows of the building directly opposite.  Visit Jim Marshall’s website to see who’s featured in this remarkable and fascinating display.

For more information on this special week celebrating all that’s wonderful about jazz, visit www.sfjazz.org




Artists’ websites:

Zakir Hussain
Snarky Puppy
David Crosby
Red Baraat
Tony Williams 
Cindy Blackman Santana
Joe Henderson
Joshua Redman 
Bobby Hutcherson 
Stefon Harris 
John Handy
Miguel Zenón
All Music  

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