With the new season coming into full swing, I realize that I should probably try to pay more attention to tracking the more adventurous activities at the Joe Henderson Lab of the SFJAZZ Center on a monthly basis. Fortunately, the Calendar Web page on the SFJAZZ Web site provides an easily scrolled summary that facilitates filtering out the Henderson events from the full schedule. It is equally easy to view the Calendar either from the current month or beginning with any selected month. That facilitated isolating all relevant items for the month of October, disregarding those sold-out events for which tickets are no longer available.
Like most of the Henderson offerings, all of these concerts will be given twice on the same evening, at 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., respectively. The last of them will also have two performances (at the same times) the following evening. Each offering has its own event page, which has separate hyperlinks for purchasing tickets to the different concerts. Each of the dates in the enumeration below will have a hyperlink to the appropriate event page. The SFJAZZ Center is located at 201 Franklin Street, on the northwest corner of Fell Street.
Thursday, October 11: Trumpeter Adam O’Farrill is the son of jazz pianist Arturo O’Farrill, who made his San Francisco Performances debut in Herbst Theatre in November of 2016. That means that he is also the grandson of jazz composer Chico O’Farrill, who founded the Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra, now led by his father. Adam leads a quartet called Stranger Days, named after the film with that title. The other members are Chad Lefkowitz-Brown on tenor saxophone, Walter Stinson on bass, and Adam’s brother Zach on drums. This will be the West Coast debut of the Stranger Days quartet. Tickets are being sold for $25.
Friday, October 12: Trumpeter Erik Jekabson is one of the most imaginative jazz performers I have encountered here in San Francisco. He used to perform regularly at the now-defunct Doc’s Lab with his Electric Squeezebox Orchestra; but my own encounters with his work used to take place through the Old First Concerts series. He will come to Henderson with a new sextet that brings together Dave Ellis on saxophones and a rich rhythm section consisting of Jeff Massanari on guitar, John Wiitala on bass, David Flores on drums, and John Santos on other percussion. Tickets are being sold for $25.
Saturday, October 13: Wynton Marsalis declared trumpeter Keyon Harrold to be “the future of the trumpet;” and Down Beat compared him to the legendary Freddie Hubbard. Harrold’s approach is a synthesis of current modern jazz practices with both hip-hop and rhythm and blues roots. His New School classmate Robert Glasper recruited him to provide the trumpet work for Miles Ahead, Don Cheadle’s cinematic biographical account of a transitional period in the life of Miles Davis. Harrold’s Henderson program will be based on his 2017 recording The Mugician. Details about any other performers at this concert have not yet been provided. Tickets are being sold for $35.
Sunday, October 14: Wrapping up four successive nights of the New Trumpet series will be Chicago-born Marquis Hill. In 2014 he won the Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition. He will be performing with his longstanding quintet called the Blacktet. The other four members are Christopher McBride on alto saxophone and a rhythm section of Justin Thomas on vibraphone, Joshua Ramos on bass, and Makaya McCraven on drums. Tickets are being sold for $30. As of this writing the 7 p.m. performance is almost entirely sold.
Thursday, October 18: The series for the following week is entitled Keyed Up. It will present four evenings of jazz piano, the last of which, sadly, no longer has tickets available. The series will lead off with a solo performance by Kev Choice, who will pay tribute to the hard bop piano master Sonny Clark. His program will be organized around the tracks of Clark’s classic Blue Note album from 1958, Sonny Clark Trio. Tickets are being sold for $20.
Friday, October 19: The Keyed Up series will continue with a solo performance by Cameron Graves. Graves was a founding member of saxophonist Kamsai Washington’s West Coast Get Down collective, originally the result of a shared obsession with the work of John Coltrane. Graves made his own album debut this year with Planetary Prince, released by Mack Avenue. His concert will be based on tracks from that album. Tickets are being sold for $25.
Saturday, October 20: Christian Sands stated composing at the age of five and became a protégé of Billy Taylor. His reputation as a pianist was made through his work with Christian McBride’s Inside Straight band. Like Graves he has a new album released by Mack Avenue entitled Facing Dragons. This is a trio album on which Sands plays with Yasushi Nakamura on bass and Jonathan Barber on drums. He will come to Henderson with the entire trio to play selections from this album. Tickets are being sold for $35.
Saturday, October 27, and Sunday, October 28: The month will conclude with a celebration of the 75th birthday of the late guitar icon Jimi Hendrix. The title of the program will be Vernon Reid’s Band of Gypsies Revisited. Reid first gained notice as a member of Ronald Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society. He went on to found Living Colour and co-found the Black Rock Coalition. For this Hendrix tribute, Reid will, like Hendrix, provide both guitar and vocal work. He will be joined by André Lassalle (guitar and vocals), Jared Michael Nickerson (bass and vocals), and James Rouse (drums). Tickets are being sold for both $35 and $30. Tickets are almost sold out for both Saturday performances and the 7 p.m. Sunday performance. This will be a Limited Seating Dance Floor show, meaning that there will be standing room tickets in addition to the seated option.