My son and daughter in law have just moved to San Francisco and the goodbyes have been hard. I watched them go through the departure gate with very mixed emotions – pride at what they had achieved and the inevitable sadness of a loving parent waving goodbye (my son is the CTO and co-founder of an IT company expanding into America). He reminded me that Darien and I would have two good excuses to visit them as often as we could – family reunification and world-class Jazz.
He is right because San Francisco is one of the worlds great Jazz cities. The city is at present building one of the worlds biggest dedicated Jazz centres. It will be the first such centre in America totally dedicated to Jazz performance and education and it is expected to become a world-wide tourist attraction. San Francisco is the home of the SF Jazz Collective and this amazing group is formed around Jazz Festival time each year. They feature the compositions of one artist each year and to augment the already stellar lineup they invite a few top rated Jazz musicians to fill the guest spots. This year they feature the music of Stevie Wonder – whose music is increasingly attaining Jazz standard status. The bass player is Aucklander Matt Penman; who went through the Auckland School of music a few years earlier than my son. Matt now plays at the top levels of Jazz and he tours America (and the world) with Jazz super-groups. He is a core member of the SF Jazz Collective. I have posted a link for this years San Francisco Jazz Festival which starts this week. I would certainly pay good money to see the Eliane Elias quartet and that is on tomorrow night. There are a number of free concerts and many headline acts (seeing hip-chic Ricky Lee Jones would be cool – remember her – married to Tom Waits once). The big item will inevitably be the SF Jazz Collective though. I will post a link to their site – so that you listen to a SFJC clip – Stevie Wonders ‘suspicion’.
This city is the home of the famous ‘Yoshi’s’ Jazz club and the Fillmore East (Miles and our own Mike Nock entertained huge audiences of hippies there). There is a great Festival in mid summer which is in the Bay area – the ‘Fillmore Jazz Festival’. This is a free festival dedicated to jazz and food and it occurs around the weekend of the 4th July. I hope to keep you posted on these events as I will be attending vicariously – I have just appointed my son as a forward scout – ‘our man in SF’.