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SFJAZZ Spring Season Underway


The Spring season is well underway at SFJAZZ, but there is still plenty to look forward to in April, May, and June. Starting the month on a particularly strong note, the presenting company’s namesake combo, the SFJAZZ Collective, is playing Yoshi’s in Oakland on this weekend, March 31 – April 1. As great as they are, you may want to wait and catch them on Sunday so that you don’t miss timbalero legend, Benny Velarde, leading a group at Yerba Buena on Saturday night that includes John Santos and Orestes Vilató. Here are some other picks for early April:

A Rare Visit from Cuban Roots Music Group on April 4
Another outstanding Latin Jazz group comes to Yerba Buena on Wednesday when Cuba’s Sierra Maestra makes a rare U.S. appearance. For this correspondent, Sierra Maestra will always be the group that put trumpeter Jesus Alemany on my radar and I will forever grateful for that – Alemany is simple one of the greatest talents to emerge on his instrument, in any style, during my lifetime. While Alemany went on to fame and fortune when he left to form Cubanismo!, Sierra Maestra has continued making excellent music in the Afro-Cuban son style all along. With the state of U.S. – Cuban relations always a divisive subject for the politicians and statesmen, who knows the next time Sierra Maestra will visit the U.S., let alone the Bay Area. Don’t miss them!

Brazilian Sorcerer Visits April 7
Known as O Bruxo (The Sorcerer) in his native Brazil, composer and multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal, is no petty conjuror or snake-oil salesman – he is a fascinating artist who inhabits his own musical cosmos. Rather than stand with mouth agape, wondering “what in the world is going on” (that would be fascinating in the Sun Ra Arkestra sense), Pascoal’s audience is welcomed into the spirit of invention and discovery in his performances. After a Pascoal disciple, Jovino Santos Neto, astounded Bay Area audiences a few weeks ago at Yoshi’s, this gig at Yerba Buena is a great chance to hear the master teacher of a modern master.

Mr. T Tribute
Anton Schwartz will pay tribute to Blue Note sax legend, Stanley Turrentine, at Amnesia on April 12 in SFJAZZ’s Hotplate series. In what promises to be a tour of the groove-soaked organ scene of the 1960s, Schwartz (tenor saxophone), Wil Blades (Hammond B-3), Ed Cherry (guitarist), Darrell Green (drums) will honor the great Mr. T. I wonder if they’ll play “Sugar”…

For a full schedule of SFJAZZ’s Spring attractions, check here.

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