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Pamela Rose honors ‘Wild Women of Jazz’

(Jim Harrington, Oakland Tribune) Pamela Rose had just finished her final song at a jazz-club gig in Germany when a thought crossed her mind: Her set list had been culled entirely from female composers.

It wasn’t premeditated. The San Francisco jazz-blues performer had simply picked songs she enjoyed singing — and they all turned out to be tunes written by women. She didn’t think much of the coincidence, until she shared it with the crowd.

“I got this huge response, which actually quite surprised me,” Rose recalls of the 2008 show.

The audience reaction was enough to make Rose believe she had happened upon something special. The idea eventually blossomed into her vastly popular “Wild Women of Song” show, which she’ll perform as part of the San Francisco Jazz Festival on Saturday at the Herbst Theatre.

The multimedia experience is equal parts concert and history lesson.

Rose and her talented band — which, for the SFJazz gig, consists of saxophonist Kristen Strom, pianist Tammy Hall, guitarist Jeff Massanari, bassist John Shifflett, drummer Allison Miller and guest vocalist Denise Perrier — perform jazz and blues tunes hailing from what Rose calls “the Golden Era of jazz, which went from approximately 1920 to 1950.”

The music is accompanied by a slide show of pictures of the songwriters and a script that provides details of the composers’ lives. The result is something far more meaningful than just a pleasant evening of music.

“It’s like putting on a play,” Rose says. “We are sort of reconstructing this era for people.”