COVID-19 has prompted artists to get creative about conducting live performances; drag queens and DJs, for example, now muse the masses from Twitch and Zoom channels. SFJazz’s latest virtual concert series, Fridays at Five, is another product of this novel line of thinking.
Walking past the SFJazz Center — which is usually packed with people tighter than tuna in a 2 oz tin can, visible through the concert hall’s expansive first-floor windows — is quite strange these days. The foot traffic that normally surrounds the building is all but gone, replaced with an ironic soundlessness. And trash, heaps of it.... including abandoned face masks.
"One of the greatest things that America has given to the world is jazz." @ZakirHtabla— SFJAZZ (@SFJAZZ) April 24, 2020
This video is an excerpt from Zakir's performance at SFJAZZ in 2018. SFJAZZ is streaming the concert in less than 2 hours! https://t.co/VO7Oj6otb0 pic.twitter.com/5Vqwm4mYHG
But in lieu queueing daddy-os and hepcats, America’s "first free-standing building built for jazz performance and education” recently started bringing shows into homes with a new weekly line up of pre-filmed concerts to help put a pep in peoples’ steps amid these socially distant days.
Streamed via the center’s website, Fridays at Five features previously recorded one-hour performances from acts like Snarky Puppy and Monsieur Periné. (Each broadcast also includes past performances conducted at the Robert N. Miner Auditorium.)
As the name suggests, the concerts begin at 5 p.m. on Fridays and last up to around 6 p.m.; digital attendees are required to sign in no later than 4:50 p.m. by logging into their respective accounts and joining the stream.
With this week's #FridaysatFive streaming concert devoted to a JUN 2018 performance by Crosscurrents Trio featuring @ZakirHtabla, @TheDaveHolland and @chrispotterjazz, here's a look back at how the Indian Classical Music tradition has intertwined with jazz https://t.co/UNFpreQdsm— SFJAZZ (@SFJAZZ) April 23, 2020
Below is the current calendar of streamed performances secured till the end of May, per SFJazz:
- April 24: Zakir Hussain, Dave Holland, & Chris Potter
- May 1: Snarky Puppy
- May 8: Joe Lovano, Trio Fascination w/ Bill Frisell & Tyshawn Sorey, Trio Tapestry w/ Marilyn, Crispell & Carmen Castaldi
- May 15: Monsieur Periné
- May 22: Wayne Shorter Celebration w/ Kamasi Washington, Terrace Martin, Danilo Pérez, John Patitucci and Brian Blade
- May 29: Chucho Valdés & Irakere 45
Access to the series is $5 for a one-month digital membership, though current members can enjoy Fridays at Five for free. According to Riff Magazine, funds gathered through the streamed series have already topped $15,000 thanks to some 5,000 paying members. And if you’re particularly smitten by any single set, or simply want to help sustain Fridays at Five, a virtual “tip jar” exists to collect your financial munificence.
Pour yourself a generous glass of wine, dim the Alexa-connected smart lights, and make sure you did, indeed, unmute your computer’s audio after that last Zoom meeting. We could all use a melodious, early evening bout of self-care these days.
After all: “the music will outlive the virus.”
For more information about Fridays at Five and how you can become a member, visit sfjazz.org/WATCH.
Image: Andre Hayward, Dave Douglas, Joe Lovano, Miguel Zenón playing at the SFJazz Center circa 2007, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons