Sunday, July 31, 2016

Once Again, the 2016–2017 San Francisco Performances Jazz Series Will Depart From the Beaten Path

The next San Francisco Performances (SFP) concert series to get under way in the 2016–2017 season following the recently reported Virtuosi Series will be the Jazz Series. While this series accounts for a very modest portion of the entire season calendar (only three concerts) and while SFJAZZ continues to dominate the jazz scene as far as numbers of productions are concerned, the SFP offerings have always been special. They tend to steer away from the mainstream, often in fascinating ways. Consider, as a particularly representative example, the On Sacred Ground performance in October of 2012, when The Bad Plus anticipated the 100th anniversary of the first performance of the ballet “The Rite of Spring” (which took place on May 29, 1913) with their own take of the revolutionary score that Igor Stravinsky had composed for that ballet.

I raise this particular example because The Bad Plus will be returning this season. However, they will not perform until the second concert in the series. This season all three of the concerts will be held on a Saturday night in Herbst Theatre beginning at 7:30 p.m. The specifics are as follows:

November 19: Pianist Arturo O’Farrill will come to Herbst to give a rare solo performance. He is the son of Cuban composer, arranger, and conductor Chico O’Farrill, who founded the Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra. Arturo is now that group’s leader; and last year he was able to honor his own Cuban roots as one of the invited witnesses for the raising of the flag over the reinstated United States Embassy in Havana. Musically, the younger O’Farrill has been influenced as much by the pioneers of hard bop as by the Afro-Cuban influences of his father. Details of his program have not yet been announced.

January 21: This will be the return performance by The Bad Plus, the trio of Ethan Iverson on piano, Reid Anderson on bass, and David King on drums. Beyond their Stravinsky experiment, the group has managed to absorb influences from just about every other genre, including pop, blues, and folk. Again, details of the program have not yet been announced.

March 4: Pianist Billy Childs will present a full-evening program entitled Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro. The program will be a recreation of the album of the same name, which won a 2015 GRAMMY award. Nyro’s songs will be sung by vocalists Becca Stevens and Alicia Olatuja. On the instrumental side Childs will be joined by the members of Quartet San Francisco, violinists Jeremy Cohen and Matthew Szemela, violist Chad Kaltinger, and cellist Andrés Vera.

Subscriptions are now on sale for $165 for premium seating in the Orchestra and the front and center of the Dress Circle, $105 for the Side Boxes, the center rear of the Dress Circle, and the remainder of the Orchestra, and $75 for the remainder of the Dress Circle and the Balcony. Subscriptions may be purchased online in advance through a City Box Office event page. Orders may also be placed by calling the SFP subscriber hotline at 415-677-0325. Single tickets will go on sale on Monday, August 1. At that time hyperlinks to the event pages for purchasing single tickets will be added to the Jazz Series home page. In addition the SFP home page has hyperlinks for PDF files of the Season Brochure, the Season Calendar, and a ticket order form.

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