A creative force on the San Francisco jazz scene for the past decade, pianist Adam Shulman is a probing improviser and arranger deeply versed in the jazz tradition. Best known as an invaluable component of bassist/composer Marcus Shelby’s Jazz Orchestra, Shulman has also worked with major league players such as Stefon Harris, Miguel Zenón, Luciana Souza, Paula West, Larry Coryell, and Bobby Hutcherson. A San Francisco native, Shulman studied music at UC Santa Cruz and soaked up bandstand wisdom from the late, beloved piano master Smith Dobson. He moved back to the city in 2002 and before long carved out a career as an essential sideman. It wasn’t until his impressive 2007 debut album On Second Thought with saxophonist Dayna Stephens, bassist John Wiitala and drummer John Arkin that Shulman revealed a gift for writing arresting melodies. Trumpeter Mike Olmos joined the proceedings on the 2009’s Patterns of Change, an album that captured Shulman’s growing authority as a post-bop stylist inspired by Bill Evans. He delved into the endlessly enthralling world of Billy Strayhorn on 2010’s Strays, a quintet session with trumpeter Erik Jekabson and saxophonist Patrick Wolff. For this year’s Festival, Shulman is playing a series of solo afternoon recitals, exploring music of the masters and his own finely wrought tunes.
Adam Shulman piano