This year marks a double-anniversary: the 40th of the San Francisco Jazz Festival and this week’s 10th anniversary of the SFJAZZ Center, and the stars will be out including Laurie Anderson, Bill Frisell, and Marcus Shelby.
Unless you’ve been both living in San Francisco and listening to jazz since 1983 (which I personally have not), you may not have known that the SF Jazz Festival was originally called “Jazz in the City.” That highly 1980s name gave way to a more modernized style when it properly became the San Francisco Jazz Festival in 1995, and blew up in 1996 when attracting its biggest acts to date — John Lee Hooker, Diana Krall, and Sonny Rollins. And ten years ago this month, it grew from a three-week festival to the year-round facility known as the SFJAZZ Center at 201 Franklin Street (at Linden Street).
And as the Bay Area News Group points out, SFJAZZ is celebrating the anniversaries of both the festival’s 1983 founding, and the center’s 2013 founding. Though on a bittersweet note, the festival and the center’s founder Randall Kline will be stepping down at the end of this year’s season.
The anniversary parties get underway this weekend, with Thursday night’s Tribute to McCoy Tyner (pianist for the John Coltrane Quartet). On Friday, Stanley Clarke plays a tribute to Chick Corea, though the 7 p.m. show is sold out, and only 9:30 p.m. tickets remain. Both Saturday and Sunday nights have blockbuster Resident Director Reunion shows, with Saturday night featuring Laurie Anderson, Bill Frisell, and Marcus Shelby, and Sunday night featuring Shelby, plus Mary Stallings and Chris Potter, all in celebration of the respective 10th and 40th anniversaries.
“What’s nice about it is the round numbers part,” Kline tells the Bay Area News Group. “It’s amazing how much has happened. I rarely have time to reflect on things so this is particularly sweet. There’s a lot of emotion thinking about this little baby that’s grown up to be, well, maybe not an adult yet, but certainly a strapping adolescent.”
Technically, the anniversary party starts tonight (Monday) with the weekly SFJam Session. And while the big parties are this weekend, the rest of this month at the SFJAZZ Center also boasts Jason Moran and Meshell Ndegeocello (Friday, January 20) and the Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet (January 26-29).
You can see the full schedule at SFJAZZ.org
Image: SFJAZZ via Facebook