Keith Jarrett, Cecil Taylor Highlight SF Jazz Festival
San Francisco Pianists Keith Jarrett, Cecil Taylor and
McCoy Tyner highlight the 21st annual San Francisco Jazz Festival,
which takes place from October 23rd through November 9th. Heralded as
"probably the best Jazz festival in the World" by The London
Observer, the event is a two-week series of individual concerts,
held throughout the City at some of its premiere venues.
Tyner, a member of John Coltrane's famous '60s quartet and an
acclaimed leader of his own combos, will open this year's fest at the
intimate Herbst Theatre on October 23rd. He is one of nearly a dozen
national and international master keyboardists scheduled to appear.
The lineup includes groundbreaking avant-garde pianist Cecil Taylor
(Oct. 30); the Keith Jarrett Trio (Nov. 11), with bassist Gary
Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette, who are commemorating 20 years
of playing together; Hammond B-3 organ virtuosos Jimmy Smith and Joey
DeFrancesco, who will be "dueling" it out at Bimbo's 365 Club (Nov.
6); and Spanish Flamenco superstar Chano Dominguez (Nov. 5).
Among the divas appearing this year is San Francisco's own Grammy
Lifetime Achievement award winner Etta James, one of the great blues
singers (Nov. 1); jazz vocalist Nancy Wilson (Nov. 8), who will be
accompanied by pianist Ramsey Lewis; Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
inductee Mavis Staples (in a gospel tribute to Mahalia Jackson at
Grace Cathedral on November 24); and Buena Vista Social Club vocalist
Omara Portuando (November 25).
The festival will have an international flavor, thanks to appearances
by Italian trumpeters Paolo Fresco and Enrico Rava; the ensemble
Doctor 3; and two duos of clarinet and accordion, Gabriele Mirabassi
& Luciano Biodini (October. 25) and Gianluigi Trovesi & Gianni Coscia
(October 31), who will perform at the majestic Palace of the Legion
of Honor. Other artists from Greece, Brazil, Africa, and Cuba will
also be part of the international mix.
Also of note: Bill Frisell & the Intercontinentals and Marc Ribot &
Los Cubanos Postizos (Nov. 7); Maria Muldaur and Dan Hicks and
Jazztet Noir (Nov. 2); and Ruth Brown and Joe Louis Walker (October
Bay Area jazz critic Phil Elwood will receive the festival's "SF
Beacon Award" for his many decades of spreading the word about jazz
via articles in the San Francisco Examiner and San
Francisco Chronicle. Honoring Elwood on Nov. 3 will be a range of
Bay Area-based musicians including Mel Martin's Bebop & Beyond
Quartet and the Denny Zeitin Trio.
The Kronos Quartet will premiere Terry Riley's "Sun Rings" (October
24 and 25), which the festival organizers describe as "an
audio-visual voyage into the solar system, combining Riley's haunting
and intensely moving score performed on-stage by Kronos-with
live-triggered sound-samples of solar winds and other stellar
phenomena, all set to the awe-inspiring visual accompaniment of
astral images gathered by Voyager spacecraft."
The San Francisco Jazz Festival, first held in 1982, is produced by
the not-for-profit SF Jazz organization, which is dedicated to the
appreciation of jazz through education and promotion. The festival
has grown from a small-scale local event into one of the world's most
respected annual gatherings of jazz professionals.
For a detailed concert schedule, as well as information on venue
locations and special hotel rates for festival attendees, visit the
SF Jazz Web site. Nicole
Cohen [Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2003]