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Dave Brubeck Quartet and Bill Smith at the Earshot Jazz Festival

Jane Bunnett, Washington, DC 1999

SFJAZZ, the organization behind the San Francisco Jazz Festival and the SFJAZZ Spring Season, has clearly established itself as one of the world’s premier presenters of this music.

The Spring Season, which kicked off this past week and runs into June, provides a case study in building and maintaining a relationship with an audience that includes listeners from all over the Bay Area as well as the many visitors to San Francisco. The season includes a number of thematic clusters, including a tribute to Sonny Rollins and this week’s focus on jazz women.

The “Women in Jazz” programming put it all together, establishing a tone of inquiry and historical consciousness with a panel discussion led by Angela Davis and a retrospective of jazz women on film. Then came the music, with no punches pulled. Standard fare for festivals is packaged music, by and large, with big name acts, no sharp edges, nothing too anything. Not here. Joshua Redman, the artistic director for SFJAZZ, gathered a forward-thinking collection of artists for the Spring Season of concerts.

Marilyn Crispell Trio

Susie Ibara Quartet Mar. 21, 2002

Yerba Buena Center for the Performing Arts

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