Friday, March 27, 2015

René Marie remembers discovering Joni Mitchell as a teenager


Vocalist René Marie sings the first Joni Mitchell song she discovered as a teenager and reflects on Joni's "freeness." What would you say to Joni Mitchell?

Joni Mitchell will be honored with the SFJAZZ Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's Gala on May 8th. Each week leading up to the Gala, we'll share new videos of artists speaking to Joni!

Join in on the conversation at sfjazz.org/thankyoujoni or #SFJAZZGala.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

ECM and SFJAZZ

Of all the jazz-related record companies currently releasing new music, few have had such an instantly identifiable aesthetic as Munich-based ECM Records. Since 1969, Manfred Eicher’s label has produced many of the jazz world’s most memorable recordings with a cross-section of its greatest artists, and brought the cutting edge of Europe’s improvised music scene to audiences around the world. Starting with the release of expatriate American pianist Mal Waldron’s 1969 trio session Free at Last, and on the over 1200 albums that followed, ECM has travelled a singular path, making recordings of great clarity and richness that revel in a spacious ambience, balancing openness and subtlety with moments of breathless intensity. Landmark albums under the ECM name are plentiful, such as Keith Jarrett’s The Köln Concert and Belonging, Pat Metheny’s Bright Size Life, Chick Corea and Gary Burton’s Crystal Silence, Marc Johnson’s Bass Desires, Gateway with John Abercrombie, Dave Holland and Jack DeJohnette, and Charles Lloyd’s The Water is Wide, among many others. The label has been home to a number of the music world’s most accomplished instrumentalists, including Paul Motian, Don Cherry, Bill Frisell, The Art Ensemble of Chicago, Zakir Hussain, Eberhard Weber, Gary Peacock, Terje Rypdal, Jan Garbarek, Enrico Rava, Kenny Wheeler, and Ralph Towner, as well as orchestral and chamber music from Steve Reich, John Adams, The Hilliard Ensemble and Arvo Pärt.
In harmony with their musical signature, ECM is notable for their evocative cover art and design that features stunning (and often abstract) photography along with elegant, minimal typography. This distinctive visual identity has influenced countless designers and artists, and has been documented in a pair of sought-after compilation books, Sleeves of Desire: A Cover Story, and Windfall Light: The Visual Language of ECM.

SFJAZZ has a long, established relationship with the label, presenting most of its major artists at various times over the years. A series devoted to ECM during the 2010 SFJAZZ Spring Season included a half-dozen performances as well as a screening of the documentary film Sounds and Silence: Travels with Manfred Eicher.

For Season 3, SFJAZZ is presenting ECM Fest from 3/26 to 3/29, with performances from a pair of newly signed masters and a pair of musicians long associated with the label.
Saxophonist Chris Potter brings the West Coast premiere of his Underground Orchestra, featuring an extended ensemble consisting of a jazz septet augmented with strings that DownBeat reviewer James Hale called “a triumphant integration of diverse elements that alternately soars and dances.” Their phenomenal new album, Imaginary Cities, was recently released.
Vijay Iyer stands as one of the jazz world’s most acclaimed young stars, racking up multiple DownBeat Critics Poll wins and a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant.” After making his ECM debut with 2014’s Mutations, the pianist and composer released Break Stuff with his telepathic trio of Stephan Crump on bass and Marcus Gilmore on drums.
Brazilian guitar giant Egberto Gismonti presents a solo evening that will ably demonstrate his mastery of traditional folkloric styles, improvisation and facility on multiple instruments.
Finally, Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko performs with his virtuosic New York Quartet with pianist David Virelles, bassist Reuben Rogers, and drummer Gerald Cleaver, the band featured on Stanko’s latest, the double album Wisława – a release inspired by the late Nobel-winning poet Wisława Szymborska.

With an unmistakable visual stamp and music that often defies easy description, the ECM label has created an entire musical world of its own.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Mary Stallings​ on Joni Mitchell's lyrics to Charles Mingus​'s "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat"


SF's treasured vocalist Mary Stallings speaks to the "exquisite" lyrics Joni Mitchell wrote to Charles Mingus' "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" in her ‪#‎ThankYouJoni‬ video. Joni Mitchell will be honored with the SFJAZZ Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's Gala on May 8th. Each week leading up to the Gala, we'll share new videos of artists speaking to Joni!


Join in on the conversation at sfjazz.org/thankyoujoni!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

SFJAZZ Summer Concerts Announced!


We're excited to announce the 33rd Annual San Francisco Jazz Festival (6/9-21and Summer Sessions 2015 (7/16 - 8/23)! Tickets will go on sale to SFJAZZ Members on Wednesday, April 1 at 11am and to the general public on Wednesday, April 15 at 11am.

33rd Annual San Francisco Jazz Festival LINEUP:
http://bit.ly/1FKwaVw

Summer Sessions 2015 LINEUP:
http://bit.ly/1H72VOu

Summer Education Programs:
http://bit.ly/1Fa3erg

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Taj Mahal's #ThankYouJoni Video


Blues legend Taj Mahal recalls meeting Joni Mitchell a number of times over the years—stories that speak volumes to her music, and character. Joni Mitchell will be honored with the SFJAZZ Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's Gala on May 8th. Each week leading up to the Gala, we'll share new videos!

What would you say to Joni?

Join in on the conversation at sfjazz.org/thankyoujoni!

Monday, March 16, 2015

SFJAZZ Collective's David Sánchez: Notes on Joe Henderson's "Y Todavía La Quiero"

David Sánchez © Jay Blakesberg

"I can describe what I felt when I first heard 'Y Todavía La Quiero' with one word - JOY. It is a true reminder of what I think is one of the main purposes of music and art — to inspire and to move us. Arranging this piece was challenging because I wanted to bring my perspective without changing the essence of the piece itself. I wanted to keep the bass line because of its groove. It feels like a mantra that provides the foundation for everything to flow. To echo that feel, I started the piece with piano alone repeating the displaced phrase heard throughout most of the arrangement. I wanted to bring a party-like vibe with the brief horn introduction, but at the same time keep a connection with Miguel's horn background on ‘Recorda-Me.’ After the intro, I simply changed some of the harmony in the melody, which, to me, has always sounded like a soul-stirring chant. I'm often completely submerged when listening to Joe, almost like being baptized in his beautiful, dark, liquefied sound. THANK YOU JOE HEN!"


David Sánchez, album notes from SFJAZZ Collective's new album The Music of Joe Henderson and New Compositions
now available!

The SFJAZZ Collective performs "Y Todavía La Quiero" live on NPR Music's Jazz Night In America on Wednesday, March 18 at 9pm ET. Stream at npr.org!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

What would you say to Joni Mitchell?


Joni Mitchell will be honored with the SFJAZZ Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's Gala on May 8th. We have asked a number of recent SFJAZZ performers what they would like to say to Joni. Each week leading up to the Gala, we'll share new videos. Check out the first video featuring vocalist Jane Monheit!

Check out more #ThankYouJoni videos!