Wednesday, September 02, 2009

More San Francisco Bay Area Jazz

Here's a bit of much-needed balm in these unrelentingly lousy economic times:

Tonight, the excellent "little big band"
8 Legged Monster is having its CD release party at San Francisco Yoshi's. Of four exceptional S.F. Bay Area female jazz singers, Kim Nalley, Tré Taylor, Lavay Smith and Karina Denike (add a fifth chanteuse, Paula West, when she is not on extended engagements in New York), two - Lavay and Karina - will be belting 'em out with 8 Legged Monster tonight.

8 Legged Monster's 8:00 p.m. set will be followed by a late show by The Shotgun Wedding Hip-Hop Symphony, an ensemble which blends jazz rhythms, arrangements and improvisation with the linguistics and distinctive beats of hip-hop. As hip-hop can often be very metric and free-flowing "without a net" improvisational jazz is anything but metric, I don't know how they do it, but this band pulls it off. They are carrying on the artistic tradition of Herbie Hancock, who mixed funk, 1960's style bop, r&b, free jazz (thanks to Bennie Maupin's powerful saxophone work), synth-pop and rock brilliantly back in the 1970's.

Across town at
Amnesia on Valencia Street between 19th and 20th, Gaucho pays homage to the sweet, sprightly and enduring "Gypsy Jazz" music of guitar god Django Reinhardt and The Hot Club Of France.

While not yet near the level of that last stretch of Bay Area music glory in the early to mid-1990's (ah, yes - heady days of many great young jazz bands, several of which featured innovative guitarist Charlie Hunter, playing the Elbo Room, Radio Valencia, Bruno's, Up & Down Club, Beanbenders, etc.), activity has been building slowly over the past few years. Hallelujah, we have a live jazz scene again.

So don't blow 250 semolians to attend one concert by some dinosaur act that doesn't need the money anyway, check out these fine local musicians instead. Support local arts and artists - it's up to you!

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