Popular music: A look at San Francisco Jazz’s spring season
By Jim Harrington
Posted: 02/18/2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The 2010 San Francisco Jazz spring season kicks off in a big way this weekend.
The festivities begin Friday with two shows, at 8 and 10:30 p.m., by Cuban pianist Issac Delgado at San Francisco’s Bimbo’s 365 Club. At 8 p.m. Saturday, retro German crooner Max Raabe and his Palast Orchester visit the Paramount Theatre in Oakland. The weekend offerings conclude with world-music/psychedelic-rock ensemble Tinariwen at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre in San Francisco.
From there, San Francisco Jazz, the same organization that presents the San Francisco Jazz Festival each fall, will host some 40 concerts during a schedule that runs through early June. It’s another top-notch lineup, one that strikes a pretty good balance between tried-and-trusted jazz veterans and rising stars of the genre. Still, some dates do stand out as the can’t-miss shows. Here’s a few that are definitely on my radar:
Max Raabe and Palast Orchester: Veterans of the Carnegie Hall stage, the 47-year-old Raabe and his solid orchestra reconstruct the sound and feel of 1930s-era Germany, by far the most delicious time in that country’s musical history. The vocalist puts a contemporary spin on the show by covering such hits as Britney Spears’ “Oops! … I Did It Again.” Britney done Weimer-era style? That’s something I have to see. (8 p.m. Saturday; Paramount Theatre, 2025 Broadway, Oakland; $25-$75)
Sacred Space: These “Sacred Space” shows, where elite players are allowed access to the amazing acoustics in Grace Cathedral, rank as San Francisco Jazz’s most treasured tradition. There are two such events on tap for the 2010 spring season. The first features Berkeley’s own saxophone colossus Josh Redman, while the second spotlights one of the genre’s true titans, Pharoah Sanders. Go see both, if you can. (Redman performs at 8 p.m. Feb. 26; Sanders at 8 p.m. April 16; Grace Cathedral, 1100 California St., San Francisco; $25-$50.)
Zakir Hussain: Bay Area fans are spoiled because this percussion king — who ranks as one of the most influential Indian musicians of all time — appears locally on a fairly consistent basis. If you haven’t seen this tabla wizard, however, now is the time, as he leads the latest edition of his Masters of Percussion ensemble in an evening of both contemporary and traditional Indian music. (7:30 p.m. March 10; Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco; $30-$70.
Hiromi and Robert Glasper: One of the best jazz concerts I saw last year was a performance by bassist Stanley Clarke’s trio at Yoshi’s-San Francisco. Clarke, of course, was incredible, but the player who really made this night memorable was Hiromi. The young Japanese pianist is simply one of the most energetic and exciting players in all of jazz. Opening this show is fellow pianist Robert Glasper, who’s touring in support of the highly acclaimed two-disc set “Double Booked.” (8 p.m. March 20; Herbst; $25-$55.
Tomasz Stanko Quintet: I try to make it to at least one San Francisco Jazz show each year at the intimate Florence Gould Theater, which ranks among the best-sounding rooms in the Bay Area. This concert — featuring the tremendous Polish trumpeter Stanko — looks like just the ticket. (2 p.m. April 11; Florence Gould Theater at the Legion of Honor, 100 Legion of Honor Drive, San Francisco; $25-$40.
Others worth your time:
- Al Di Meola (guitar god from Return to Forever); 8 p.m. Feb. 27; Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, 3301 Lyon St., S.F.; $25-$65
- Booker T. (anyone hungry for “Green Onions”?); 8 p.m. April 23; Herbst; $25-$55
- Charles Lloyd (one of the top saxophonists in jazz history); 7 p.m. April 25; Palace of Fine Arts; $30-$70
- Faye Carol and Jamie Davis (two of the Bay Area’s best blues/jazz vocalists); 7 p.m. May 23; San Francisco Conservatory of Music, 50 Oak St.; $25
- Regina Carter Quintet and Mads Tolling Quartet (a true jazz violin summit); 8 p.m. May 28; Herbst; $25-$60
- Marcus Miller (bassist revisits his work on the 1986 Miles Davis record “Tutu”); 8 p.m. June 11; Herbst; $35-$75
- For more information on San Francisco Jazz’s spring season, call 866-920-5299 or visit www.sfjazz.org.