Now into its second week, the San Francisco Jazz Festival is still drawing crowds to the Miner Auditorium and Joe Henderson Lab at SFJAZZ – and since this hugely popular event runs until Sunday, there’s still time to get the Jazz Center and revel in some of the finest music-making around.
Highlights in the Miner Auditorium this week include saxophonist, composer and bandleader Chris Potter – “one of the most dynamic young players in jazz” (Chicago Tribune) and the Chris Potter Quartet – in a double bill with tenor saxophonist Melissa Aldana – winner of the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition.
Four-time Grammy-winning bassist and composer Stanley Clarke is the star turn on Wednesday. Described by The New York Times as “a fleet-fingered marvel with a particular gift for funk”, he appears with Beka Gochiashvili on piano keys, Caleb Sean McCampbell on keyboards, and drummer Michael Mitchell.
Five-time GRAMMY-winning drummer and composer, Antonio Sánchez, well known for his score to Birdman – winner of the 2015 Academy Award for Best Picture – and for his long-time collaboration with guitarist Pat Metheny, appears with the Migration quartet, with whom released the 2015 album The Meridian Suite. Also on the bill, is Donny McCaslin and his Quartet who featured on David Bowie’s last album, Blackstar, and for whom Bowie was the inspiration for McCaslin’s latest album Beyond Now.
Bokanté, “One of the more versatile groups on the planet right now”, according to Rolling Stone, comprises eight musicians from four continents – two-time Grammy award-winning guitarists Michael League, Chris McQueen, and Bob Lanzetti (all from Snarky Puppy), legendary percussionist Jamey Haddad (Paul Simon, Sting), pedal and lap steel virtuoso Roosevelt Collier (Lee Boys, Karl Denson), and percussionists André Ferrari (Väsen) and Keita Ogawa (Banda Magda, Yo-Yo Ma). They’re on stage in the Miner Auditorium on Friday.
The last two performances of the Festival in the Miner Auditorium are given over to a program entitled Dance to the Music, featuring Bay Area-based Con Brio – “The best new live band in America”, says PopMatters. Having appeared at most of the major American music festivals in the second half of last year, they also took in performances at festivals in Montreal, Japan, Rotterdam, London and Paris – and this year they’re flying high, with plenty more international engagements.
In the Joe Henderson Lab, bassist Derrick Hodge – who’s worked in the fields of jazz, cinema and R&B music – is joined by Mike Mitchell on drums this evening. Ambrose Akinmusire, “…a fiercely gifted young trumpeter” (The New York Times) follows, with music from his newest release, A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard. According to the Los Angeles Times, bassist bandleader Linda May Han Oh is “Proof that Esperanza Spalding is not the only female bassist-bandleader worthy of acclaim”. Her group is in the Joe Henderson Lab on Friday.
Gypsy jazz meets the Beatles is the title of Saturday’s performances in the Lab by The Hot Club of San Francisco: John, Paul, George and Django – and ticket sales have been so brisk that SFJAZZ has added a third performance to the roster that evening.
The final Festival performance in the Joe Henderson Lab is headed up by pianist and composer Jon Jang with his quartet in a program entitled Can’t Stop Cryin’ for America: Black Lives Matter! Described by All About Jazz as “A modern day visionary who draws upon his Asian heritage as a source for inspiration and musical implementation”, this Bay Area artist presents what’s described as a project-in-progress devoted to the young black Americans who have recently lost their lives in violent circumstances.
For more information on the San Francisco Jazz Festival, and for tickets, visit the SFJAZZ website .
SFJAZZ program notes