Fall 2011 Staff Picks
Fall 2011 Staff Picks
Really looking forward to this concert pairing the legendary McCoy with perhaps the most intriguing saxophonist on the planet who I've always found much better as a side man than a group leader. Potter's solos are clean, angelic and ethereal. Throw in José James, a new singer that I was so most impressed with a few years ago at the Vittoria Jazz Fest who seldom plays in the US, and this should be something really, really memorable. My number one pick. Check José James out on YouTube.
I've been following Eldar for about five years after first hearing him with SFJAZZ. (I even tried to buy him a post-performance drink at Yoshi's a few years ago and didn't realize he was under age at the time. He declined very gracefully.) His piano is melodic and passionate, seldom adding too many notes like many young musicians tend to do. Adding the classical interpretations should make for easier listening and an even deeper sound. Should be a fan favorite.
I love duets because of the intimacy and deep communication that develops. I find Bay Area based Joshua Redman at his best in these settings and coupled with Brad Mehldau, who is compassionate, humorous and exhilarating all in his own right, and this should be quite an inspiring evening.
If you like Django Reinhardt, this is the real deal - it doesn't get any better. If you don't know Reinhardt's music, this is the place to familiarize yourself. I first saw Dorado and his group two or three years ago with SFJAZZ, with only a passing interest in Reinhardt's music. They were my "flyer" pick that season. Boy was was I impressed. I catch Schmitt every time he and his group travels from Europe. And they do more than Reinhardt. I would call it "gypsy jazz" but remember that's from a philistine.
Continuing with the European theme, Tomasz from Poland, is a trumpeter that I would compare to Freddie Hubbard, god bless him. He seldom plays in the US, so end your jazz provincialism and check this guy out. They're doing some great music in Europe and thanks to Randall for bringing people like Tomasz and our own José James (from NYC but seldom plays in the US other than his hometown) to San Francisco.