Trying to learn more about recent Grammy winners and African psychedelic rock in the Bay? The just-announced 40th San Francisco Jazz Festival (June 7-18) from SFJAZZ is about to refresh your knowledge of what constitutes America’s classical music in 2023. The event’s organizers continue to foster modernity by bringing in new grooves, veteran performers, and local artists that present a variety of distinct ingredients to the jazz table.
Samara Joy, Cindy Blackman Santana, José James, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Charlie Musselwhite, Elvin Bishop, Al Di Meola, Ambrose Akinmusire, Charles McPherson, Oakland’s own Orchestra Gold, and many more can be found on the bill. Forty shows will be presented over 12 days as part of the anniversary celebrations, and the Robert N. Miner Auditorium, Joe Henderson Lab, and Herbst Theatre will host.
The festival will be followed by SFJAZZ’s annual Summer Sessions concert series, which is scheduled to take place for six weeks from July 13 to August 20. The events on that run are arranged into curated, thematic weeklong “mini-festivals” based on the concept of the Great American Songbook. This theme takes the idea of the “American” song tradition and extends it to the entirety of the American continents, encompassing North, Central, and South America.
Summer Sessions programming includes Savion Glover tributes to Gregory Hines and Sun Ra, Martin Luther McCoy’s Mixtape, Sun Ra Arkestra, Taj Mahal, Stanley Clarke, Tammy L. Hall, Desiree Cannon, and many others.
Tickets for the festival and Summer Sessions go on sale to SFJAZZ Members on Fri/24, and to the general public on March 3.
Take a closer look at these three shows coming up at the 40th San Francisco Jazz Festival:
SAMARA JOY AT MINER AUDITORIUM, JUNE 16
This Grammy-winning singer released her self-titled debut album in 2021, and was named JazzTimes’ best new artist. Linger Awhile, her second album, was released in September 2022 and won best jazz vocal album at the 2023 Grammy Awards, where she was also named best new artist—marking the second time in history that a jazz artist has been presented with the award. More info here.
DELVON LAMARR ORGAN TRIO AT JOE HENDERSON LAB, JUNE 19
This group “specializes in the forgotten art of ‘feel good music,’” according to its label’s website. DL3 has become a festival highlight, beaming up crowds with the right inflection of Jimmy Smith’s Hammond B-3 groove. The sound is silky, jamming, and always “pocket as f*ck,” as Colemine Records boss Terry Cole likes to say in the press. It’s a show not to miss. More info here.
ORCHESTRA GOLD AT JOE HENDERSON LAB, JUNE 18
Track “Keleya” by African psychedelic rock group Orchestra Gold hits you with a certain level of profundity, cosmic swirl, and Fela-like groove. Mariam Diakite delivers its raw, mesmerizing vocals. Attacking saxophone charts, measured bass lines, and galvanic meter serve as the ideal foundation for the expanding guitar lines that squall through the song. In a nutshell, it’s dope.
The SFJAZZ anniversary festival will be followed by SFJAZZ’s annual Summer Sessions concert series, scheduled for six weeks from July 13 to August 20, arranged into curated, thematic weeklong “mini-festivals” based on the concept of the “Great Americas Songbook.” This theme takes the idea of the American song tradition and extends it to the entirety of the “the Americas,” encompassing North, Central, and South America.
The programming includes Savion Glover tributes to Gregory Hines and Sun Ra, Martin Luther McCoy’s Mixtape, Sun Ra Arkestra, Taj Mahal, Stanley Clarke, Tammy L. Hall, Desiree Cannon, and many others. More info here.
For tickets and more information on the San Francisco Jazz Festival and Summer Sessions go here.