Hold onto your hat jazz fans, San Francisco is quickly becoming one of the hottest jazz scenes in the country thanks to high-profile jazz concerts and festivals, films, educational events and first-class jazz clubs that offer some of the world’s most outstanding jazz performances. San Francisco is not only a beautiful city, but for the diehard jazz enthusiast, a visit promises a whirlwind of venues and activities to make your heart go pitty-pat.
Thanks to serious jazz devotees like Randall Kline, San Francisco receives continual critical acclaim from major newspapers around the country. Randall Kline is founder, Executive Director, and Board President of the San Francisco Jazz Organization (SFJAZZ) and presenter of the San Francisco Jazz Festival.
The 18th annual San Francisco Jazz Festival was held October 25 through November 5, 2000 in a variety of venues throughout the Bay Area. Founded in 1983, the festival was originally known as "Jazz in the City." During its 18-year history, the festival has showcased a wealth of established and emerging young talent from around the world. Each year's line-up proudly includes talented San Francisco Bay Area jazz artists as well. It’s no wonder renowned saxophonist, Joshua Redman, is proud to be associated with San Francisco’s brave new ventures, being appointed Artistic Director of this year’s SFJAZZ Spring Season. Other noted musicians feel the same way about the SFJAZZ commitment. "San Francisco's festival is one of my favorites because it has remained true in presenting beautiful and deep-valued music." said Charlie Haden.
This year’s jazz festival began with a dynamite opening night featuring the 70th Anniversary celebration by Abbey Lincoln; performances by Jimmy Scott; Joe Lovano, Greg Osby and an explosive salsa dance party with Celia Cruz and Oscar D'León. Other outstanding concerts of the weeklong festival included a rare, but brilliant solo performance by McCoy Tyner. Tyner was a last minute addition to the festival, but had people rushing to buy ticket to see his dazzling keyboard styling. Adding to the excitement, Cecil Taylor, Russell Malone, Andrew Hill and Jason Moran wowed audiences with their musical talents.
On Sunday, Nov. 5, the legendary Toots Thielemans performed two shows at the Herbst Theater. It was an outstanding concert presenting the lyrical melodies and haunting rhythms of Brazil. Joining Toot’s was one of Brazil’s greatest living guitarists, Oscar Castro-Neves and American piano great, Kenny Werner. Young Brazilian-born, singer/songwriter Márcio Faraco also joined the magical trio for one of the most exciting performance of the week.
Etta James replaced Ruth Brown (who unfortunately did not appear at this year’s festival due to illness) on a double bill with Grammy winner, Lou Rawls. What a duo--the cool and elegant, soulful and jazzy together on one stage. By the way, San Francisco was the birthplace of Etta’s brilliant singing career, where she was discovered by the great bandleader Johnny Otis at the city's legendary Fillmore.
As part of the weeks festivities, the 5th Annual Hammond B-3 Organ Summit, presented by Infiniti, supplied a lineup of acclaimed all-female jazz organists at Bimbo’s in North Beach. The lineup included the hot licks of Germany’s Barbara Dennerlein, France’s Rhoda Scott, and Philadelphia’s Trudy Pitts. The talented, yet diverse styling between each of these fine ladies was an education in itself and a thrill to behold.
This year’s award presentations went to drummer and longtime Bay Area jazz leader, Eddie Marshall, who received the 1st Annual SFJAZZ Beacon Award, presented by sponsor, Stella Artois, Belgium's finest brewers. Guest stars at this special tribute included Bobby Hutcherson, Bobby McFerrin, and Freddie Hubbard. The highly talked about pianist and composer, Jason Moran, was recipient of this year’s SFJAZZ Commission and presented his commissioned piece on October 31 at the Yerba Buena Center for Performing Arts as part of their Discovery Series: Keyboard Continuum.
Free "Jazz Dialogues" programs of panel discussions, book readings and signings were also available to the public throughout the city during the week of the festival. It is part of the ongoing program provided by the SFJAZZ organization throughout the year which includes outdoor jazz concerts from June to October, adult and student musical instrument demonstrations and lectures.
The San Francisco Jazz Organization must be commended for their quality of excellence in keeping America’s jazz tradition alive. Thank you SFJAZZ! If you missed this year’s festival, be sure to include it on your must-attend events for next year. Each year proves to be bigger and better in a city that reeks with jazz year ‘round. For everything you wanted to know about the amazing San Francisco Jazz Organization and the San Francisco jazz scene, visit at following Internet sites:
or do a city search for San Francisco jazz on Lycos.