Friday, September 24, 2010

Thar's Jazz Music In Them Thar San Francisco Hills

As this blogger mulls over the passing and drama-filled showbiz story of Eddie Fisher - 1950’s pop heartthrob/TV star, father of Carrie Fisher, survivor of very public love triangle scandals, party boy and pre-Richard Burton hubby of Liz Taylor - this blog must call attention the extraordinary lineup of local jazz performances here in the San Francisco Bay Area this weekend and next month.

Although the Ken Burns Jazz documentary erroneously claimed that the music called jazz dropped off the map in the 1970’s (since jazz players were largely not recording on U.S. labels and not performing beyond a few American metropolitan areas. . . although finding semi-plentiful gigs in Europe and Japan, as well as at festivals), the San Francisco Bay Area was definitely not a parched, barren desert when it came to cool music in those days: extraordinary performances and legendary musicians were holding forth in everything from tiny clubs to symphony halls frequently back in the 1970's and 1980's.

Had the youthful version of moi had the slightest inkling that the days of "wow - Charlie Mingus is at Keystone Korner, Oscar Peterson Trio's playing the El Matador, Dizzy Gillespie's at Great American Music Hall, Ornette Coleman's at Wolfgang's and Frank Zappa's at Stanford. . . which do I choose - can't clone myself and go to ALL of them?" would end amazingly soon, I would have attended even more of these amazing nights of music and be even more stone broke in 2010!

We do have the San Francisco Jazz Festival and splendid local composers-bandleaders in residence, for which (and whom) music lovers are thankful.

Among said S.F. Bay Area luminaries: the Ray Charles-inspired Rayband Orchestra will be at Coda (frequent venue of the first-rate local players from the Jazz Mafia) tonight at 10:00 p.m with songwriter-songstress-arranger and belter supreme Karina Denike sitting in as a Raelette.

Standout musicians from the Rayband Orchestra (including Karina) are also in arranger Mike Irwin Johnson's superb hard-swinging octet 8 Legged Monster, performing this Saturday at Club Deluxe on 1509-11 Haight (near the historic corner of Haight and Ashbury).

The following mp3 is the band's most recent release and available on Amazon.

Yoshi's and Intersection For The Arts are hosting quite a few evenings of good jazz these days. Yoshi’s in Jack London Square will be presenting world-class keyboardist Geri Allen and an all-star band (Don Byron, Oliver Lake, Dwayne Dolphin, Jeff "Tain" Watts) in a Tribute To Eric Dolphy this weekend, then shall follow that up with an appearance at San Francisco Yoshi's by ageless alto saxophonist Lee Konitz on Tuesday night, with Anthony Brown's Asian American Orchestra on Wednesday and a group co-led by John Popper, Rob Wassermann, DJ Logic and the Jazz Mafia All-Stars next Thursday. The Intersection's Jazz At The DeYoung series at the Koret Auditorium spotlights local composers (bassist Lisa Mezzacappa's Bait And Switch band, Beth Custer And Clarinet Thing and the aforementioned percussionist-arranger Anthony Brown) throughout the month of October.

And, speaking of that cloning business, I personally am trying to figure out how to clone myself while imbibing deeply from the "Fountain Of Youth", thus enabling attendance of both the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum's screening of Charlie Chaplin rarities this evening and the Ray Charles Tribute tonight - and that, dear readers, is among the few happy problems in life.

No comments: