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photo of dianne reeves News | Concerts
SFJAZZ Announces 2015-2016 Concert Season

Brian Wilson and Al Jardine, Cécile McLorin Salvant, Hiromi, Wayne Shorter, Brad Mehldau, Merle Haggard, Chris Botti, and Dianne Reeves are among the headliners for the 2015-2016 concert season at the SFJAZZ Center in the heart of San Francisco. This season's line-up, the fourth season since the Center's celebrated opening in January 2013, promises to be its biggest and best concert season yet.

The 2015-2016 season began September 10 with jazz giant Chick Corea in four programs over four nights that explored different sides of his genius: solo, duo with Cuban master Gonzalo Rubalcaba, a trio date with bassist Christian McBride and drummer Brian Blade, and a final duo with banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck.

SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Directors — Esperanza Spalding, Zakir Hussain, Eric Harland and Blanchard — will all premiere new works during the season. In February 2016, one of the season’s centerpieces will the West Coast premiere of Blanchard’s opera, "Champion," performed by the Bay Area's own Opera Parallèle. Based on the life of African-American boxing champion Emile Griffith (1938-2013), the production marks Opera Parallèle's first foray into an operatic jazz idiom and SFJAZZ's first opera featuring full staging and video elements with soloists, a jazz trio, orchestra and Gospel chorus, bringing out the full glory of Blanchard's soulful score.

Also guaranteed to sell out: the SFJAZZ Collective plays the music of legendary pop icon Michael Jackson, October 22-25, 2015. Jackson's celebrity burned so brightly it often obscured the brilliance of his musical mind, a situation that's only grown more pronounced since his death in 2009. The SFJAZZ Collective puts the spotlight back where it belongs, interpreting lesser known gems as well as epochal hits from his diverse and endlessly inventive songbook. The current musicians in the Collective are Miguel Zenón, alto saxophone; David Sánchez, tenor saxophone; Sean Jones, trumpet; Robin Eubanks, trombone; Warren Wolf, vibraphone; Edward Simon, piano; Matt Penman, bass; and Obed Calvaire, drums.

Multiple Grammy® award-winning keyboardist Chick Corea

For over 30 years, SFJAZZ has presented an annual "Sacred Space" concert at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. This fall, SFJAZZ celebrates the iconic Nob Hill cathedral's 50th Anniversary with four concerts: a special re-creation, arranged by Miguel Zenón, of Duke Ellington's "Concert of Sacred Music" (which Grace commissioned for the cathedral's consecration in 1965) featuring tap dancer Savion Glover, vocalists Queen Esther Marrow (who sang at the original 1965 concert premier) and Kurt Elling, the Oakland Interfaith Choir, and more; guitar wizard Bill Frisell in a rare solo performance; a Halloween showing of film-maker Rupert Julian's immortal 1925 silent horror classic,"Phantom of the Opera," with a live musical score by organist and composer Dorothy Papadakos, who will perform on the Cathedral's 7,500 pipe Aeolian-Skinner organ, a historic instrument installed in 1934; and a "clarinet summit" with Don Byron, David Murray, Anat Cohen, and Todd Marcus.

"The breadth and depth of music and education programs offered this upcoming season is our response to the extraordinary enthusiasm for the Center, and our goal to bring the Bay Area the best musical experiences possible," said SFJAZZ Founder and Artistic Director Randall Kline when the season schedule was announced.

From Straight-Ahead Jazz to Anything But... and a Bit of Billie

Other programming highlights include performances by Maceo Parker (which includes a members-only New Year's Eve 10:30pm show that culminates in champagne toast, party favors, and balloons... of course), Aaron Neville, Cameron Carpenter, Juan de Marcos & the Afro Cuban All-Stars, Abdullah Ibrahim, and the storied Preservation Hall Jazz Band, along with artist residencies, collaborations, themes, premieres, and projects in the SFJAZZ Center's Robert N. Miner Auditorium and Joe Henderson Lab, plus special events at Grace Cathedral and the Paramount Theatre in Oakland.

In October, legendary saxophonist, composer and 2015 GRAMMY and 2008 SFJAZZ Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Wayne Shorter brings his quartet, which features pianist Danilo Perez, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Brian Blade, all virtuosos and bandleaders in their own right. Shorter’s newest Blue Note album, "Without a Net," earned the 82-year-old saxophonist a Grammy® award and four 2013 DownBeat magazine Critics Poll wins including Jazz Artist of the Year.

The SFJAZZ Collective performs the music of Michael Jackson in October

Come the new year, the world’s top-selling jazz instrumentalist, trumpeter Chris Botti, returns for nine shows at the SFJAZZ Center following last year's sold-out residency and the release of his newest Grammy-winning recording, "Impressions." Also heralding the new year is a four-night "Guitar Festival" when the Center's intimate Joe Henderson Lab plays home to a celebration of the jazz guitar tradition with three uniquely talented performers — Kurt Rosenwinkel, Nir Felder and hometown hero and guitar slinger Terrence Brewer — in settings ranging from solo (Rosenwinkel) to an album release party (Brewer).

More 2015-2016 season highlights include:

  • Four nights with the dazzling French guitarist and violinist Dorado Schmitt & the Django All-Stars, including jazz accordionist Ludovic Beier and violinist Pierre Blanchard (November 5-8);
  • The creative re-pairing of saxophonist Joshua Redman and the collaborative trio The Bad Plus, who join forces again to celebrate their highly anticipated new Nonesuch album, "The Bad Plus Joshua Redman" (December 10-13)
  • Holiday musical celebrations that include "An Appalachian Christmas," a gospel-soaked performance by the Blind Boys of Alabama, a "Windham Hill Winters Solstice Concert" with Barbara Higbie, Alex de Grassi and Lisa Lynne, and the Klezmatics, Jewish klezmer superstars making their SFJAZZ Center debut in the midst of the holiday season's Festival of Light;
  • "Songs of Love" to celebrate Valentine's Day and more from the exquisite singer Dianne Reeves (February 11-14, 2016);
  • In March, 2016, a celebration of Women's History Month with a remarkable series of performances, tribute concerts and education events, including concerts by saxophonist Melissa Aldana and soul singer Sugar Pie DeSanto, as exclusive tribute concerts in the Joe Henderson Lab feature salutes to legendary artists Melba Liston, Elis Regina, Celia Cruz and Shirley Scott and the second annual Girls Day workshop for female musicians;
  • Brooklyn-based brass juggernaut Red Baraat and their inspired, raucously fun mix of Indian bhangra rhythms, go-go music, jazz, hip-hop and the explosive, funk-fueled brass of New Orleans (March 18, 2016);
  • Tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, who brings one of his most exciting and enduring projects, Masters of Percussion, along with special guests (March 31-April 3, 2016);
  • A four-night residency with 2010 NEA Jazz Master and nine-time Grammy nominee, pianist and composer Kenny Barron, featured in trio and quintet settings, plus one night in the company of bassist Dave Holland and violinists Regina Carter and Mark Summer, and another evening with flutist and singer Elena Pinderhughes and members of the superstar Brazilian band Trio da Paz, featuring guitarist Romero Lubambo, bassist Nilson Matta and drummer Duduka da Fonseca; (April 21-24, 2016);
  • Acclaimed jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson, who returns with music from her singular 2015 recording, "Coming Forth By Day," an original homage to Billie Holiday on the centennial of her birth (May 19-22, 2016)

The SFJAZZ Center is the new standard for jazz performance

Every third Thursday of the month in the Joe Henderson Lab, the Bay Area's most gifted musicians salute some of the 100 best jazz albums of all time. The upcoming season's showcase sets include Smith Dobson V Plays Modern Jazz Quartet's "Django" (September 24), SFJAZZ Collective Plays Joe Henderson's "Page One" (October 15), Mad Duran Quartet Plays Lou Donaldson's "Blues Walk" (November 19), Adam Shulman Plays Vince Guaraldi's "A Charlie Brown Christmas" December 17), Josh Jones Plays Chano Pozo's "Tambor de Cuba" (January 21), Tammy Hall Plays Shirley Scott's "Great Scott!" (March 17), Mel Martin Plays Joe Henderson's "Mode for Joe" (April 21), and Kasey Knudsen Plays Jackie McLean's "Let Freedom Ring" (May 19).

Founded in 1983, SFJAZZ presents the greatest names in jazz, Latin and global music and nurtures the art of improvisation through its year-round concert, commissioning and education programs. The West Coast's biggest jazz presenter serves over 200,000 fans and students every year and has several award-winning resident jazz ensembles, including the world renowned SFJAZZ Collective and the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars.

After 30 years of using rented halls, SFJAZZ finally has a home in the vibrant performing arts district of San Francisco. The new SFJAZZ Center opened in January of 2013 and is the only stand-alone facility built specifically for jazz in the United States. Designed by San Francisco architect Mark Cavagnero, the LEED-Gold certified center offers the superb acoustics of a great concert hall and the relaxed intimacy of a jazz club.

For more information about the 2015-2016 concert series at the SFJAZZ Center in San Francisco, please call 866.920.5299 or visit the SFJAZZ website.

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