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SFJAZZ Announces Festival Lineup

SFJAZZ, the Bay Area’s largest non-profit jazz presenter, has announced the lineup for its 22nd annual San Francisco Jazz Festival, which includes Michael Brecker, Jason Moran (pictured), Gary Burton, Jim Hall, Caetano Veloso, Ruth Brown, Dianne Reeves, Etta James, and Don Byron. The festival will run from October 15 through November 7 and will also feature a tribute to Lester Young, as well as a new Jazz+Art series to be held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Kicking off the festival at Grace Cathedral will be tenor saxophonist Michael Brecker with soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom. This will be the first of two festival concerts to be held in this venue, the second will be a performance by British classical violinist Tasmin Little, who will play Bach and Bartók at Grace on November 5.

For Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughn fans, the San Francisco Jazz Festival offers four women jazz vocalists: Dianne Reeves, pianist and chanteuse Dena DeRose, the Queen of R&B Etta James, and San Francisco’s Mary Stallings-a onetime protégé of Count Basie, Billy Eckstine and Dizzy Gillespie. These women will give audiences a glimpse into the tradition of women jazz vocalists.

SFJAZZ has also included a prodigious amount of international flavor to this year’s lineup, which includes Brazilian star Caetano Veloso, Portuguese fado singer Mariza, Latin pianists Gonzalo Rubalcaba and Michel Camilo, Malian singer Rokia Traoré, Norwegian jazztronica band Jaga Jazzist and Japanese pianist Yosuke Yamashita, whose past collaborators include Max Roach, Elvin Jones and Bill Laswell.

Another SFJAZZ Festival tradition continuing into 2004 is the tribute concert. This year the festival will pay tribute to saxophonist Lester Young, and singer-pianist Fats Waller. The Lester Young tribute features clarinetist Don Byron, who will play with pianist Jason Moran and drummer Jack DeJohnette. The trio will pay homage to Lester Young’s legendary ensemble of the ’40s with Nat “King” Cole and Buddy Rich. The Fats Waller 100th Birthday Celebration will pay honor to the fun-loving composer of “Ain’t Misbehavin'” and “Honeysuckle Rose” with an all-star lineup including vocalist Ruth Brown, pianists Jay McShann, Mike Lipskin and Dick Hyman and guitarist-singer Marty Grosz. The event will also include a screening of rare Waller footage and a re-creation of classic Waller duets on Davies Symphony Hall’s colossal pipe organ.

In an effort to expand the breadth of the Festival and create new traditions, this year SFJAZZ will introduce “Jazz+Art,” a new series to be held Thursday evenings at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art through the run of the festival. Launching this series is drummer Scott Amendola, a familiar face in San Francisco’s eclectic jazz scene who has collaborated with guitarists Charlie Hunter and Bill Frisell. The Jazz+Art series will also feature drummer and bandleader Eddie Marshall and the downtown New York City quartet Sex Mob.

A few special jazz events will pepper the three week, four weekend Festival, including a multi-media Halloween event featuring the Jazz Passengers playing a live soundtrack for a 3-D version of Creature From the Black Lagoon, a cruise on the Bay with singer Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet-Lickers, and the SFJAZZ Beacon Award concert honoring Bay Area jazz treasure Allen Smith.

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