It’s Miles Davis all the way at SFJAZZ this week – a celebration of the music of one of the most highly acclaimed and influential artists in the world of jazz. The JAZZ Center pays tribute to this legendary trumpeter, bandleader and composer in four different programs – featuring the Miles Electric Band, pianists Chano Domínguez and Robert Glasper, and a group of Davis collaborators and Indian musicians who are recreating the Miles from India compilation.
The Miles Electric Band is fronted by trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, who has two Grammy-nominated releases to his credit – Rewind That in 2006 and his triple-album Centennial Trilogy in 2017. The band is led by drummer Vincent Wilburn Jr – a nephew of Miles Davis – and features some of the musicians whom Davis selected as collaborators for his jazz-rock ensembles. These include guitarist DeWayne “Blackbird” McKnight – who also appeared with Herbie Hancock – keyboardists Robert Irving III and John Beasley, and percussionist Munyungo Jackson who both toured and recorded with Davis in the late 80s and 90s. Other artists making up the group are saxophonist Antoine Roney, Dywane Thomas Jr – Prince’s last bassist – tabla player Debashish Chaudhury, and DJ Hapa manning the turntables.
The Miles Davis Electric Band is in the Miner Auditorium at SFJAZZ on Thursday, May 24th.
Flamenco Sketches is the title of the second program, and stars pianist Chano Domínguez whose speciality is jazz in the flamenco style. Domínguez hails from Cádiz – generally accepted as being the oldest continuously inhabited settlement in Europe, but that’s not all for which Cádiz is famous. It’s also regarded as the birthplace of flamenco, and it’s there that pianist Domínguez not only took his initial inspiration from artists such as Bill Evans, Miles Davis and Thelonious Monk, but where he also developed his particular skill in combining jazz with flamenco. He gained international recognition from his appearance in Calle 54, the award-winning documentary about Latin jazz, and also made a name for himself on the European jazz scene with his own trio, and his collaboration with artists such as Paquito D’Rivera and Wynton Marsalis.
Chano Domínguez’s tribute to Miles Davis at SFJAZZ this week includes fresh arrangements of So What, All Blues, and Freddie the Freeloader, which he infuses with all the passion of his Spanish heritage – as can be heard on his 2012 album Flamenco Sketches, released on the Blue Note label.
Chano Domínguez is in the Miner Auditorium at SFJAZZ on May 25th.
Robert Glasper – Grammy-winning pianist and exponent of acoustic jazz, hip-hop and contemporary R&B – has been described by Interview as “Intelligent, creative, and incredibly impassioned ….. the ideal flag-bearer for the new jazz era.” He presents his tribute to Miles Davis at SFJAZZ this week in a program featuring music from Everything’s Beautiful, his mini documentary which was devoted to his own re-interpretation of Davis’ music. He talks about it in this video clip:
Glasper and his ensemble – bassist Burniss Tyson II, drummer Justin Tyson and guitarist Mike Severson – are joined by singer, songwriter, musician and producer, Bilal – another Grammy Award-winner. With an early interest in jazz, he was trained in jazz and big-band arrangement, and although R&B was a significant and early inspiration, his classically trained voice – capable of singing opera in seven languages – makes him a highly individual artist.
Robert Glasper presents Everything’s Beautiful in the Miner Auditorium at SFJAZZ on Saturday, May 26th. Both performances – at 7.30 and 9.30 pm – are sold out, but it would be worth checking on the day for returns.
The final performance in this Miles Davis Festival bears the title Miles from India, the name of the 2008 album which was the brainchild of jazz producer/arranger Bob Belden and Times Square label owner Yusuf Gandh, insired by the Indian instrumentation used on Davis’ 1972 album On the Corner. The album featured a re-imagining of Davis’ music by a full ensemble of Indian musicians.
Now, a new group of Davis collaborators and major Indian musicians joins forces to present a selection of pieces from his songbook – ranging from Kind of Blue to Bitches Brew – paying homage to the legacy of Bob Belden, who died just over a year ago.
Miles from India takes place in the Miner Auditorium at SFJAZZ on Sunday, May 27th – a performance dedicated to the memory of master drummer and percussionist Leon Ndugu Chancler
For more information on these performances, and for tickets, visit the SFJAZZ website.
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