18 New Artists in the 2018-19 Season
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18 New Artists in the sfjazz 2018-19 Season

 July 26, 2018 | by SFJAZZ

Shabaka Hutchings (of Sons of Kemet)

More than 350 shows make up SFJAZZ's new 2018-19 Season, and many of these performances feature emerging and established artists who'll make their SFJAZZ Center debut as a leader. Here's a quick look at 18 new artists to check out in the 2018-19 Season, in chronological order.

Sexmob (September 13-14)

Berkeley-born trumpeter Steven Bernstein’s long-running band Sexmob debut at the SFJAZZ Center in the second week of the Season, its first SFJAZZ performance since the 2002 Spring Season. Recently celebrating its 20th year, Sexmob has honed a singular sound marked by high-energy, protean group improvisation and rollicking grooves unlike any other band on the planet.

Ronnie Foster (September 23)

A versatile keyboardist and frequent collaborator with guitarist George Benson, Foster's best known for his funk-laced '70s Blue Note Records sides, which have earned a cult-like devotion since being rediscovered by crate diggers and hip-hop artists. Foster's featured on a double bill with fellow organ legend Reuben Wilson, to close out a four-night B-3 Organ Festival.

Jane Bunnett & Maqueque (September 20)

A tireless champion for Cuban musicians who often struggle to gain a foothold outside their isolated nation, Bunnett's band Maqueque, which earned a Juno Award for its eponymous 2014 debut album on Justin Time Records, has boosted the visibility of female Cuban musicians both on and outside the island. Jane Bunnett & Maqueque perform as part of the Leading Women series which also features newcomers Katie Thiroux, Ladama, and Jane Ira Bloom.

Sons of Kemet w/ Shabaka Hutchings (October 10)

In recent years, London has become among the most innovative jazz scenes on earth, and saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings (and his band Sons of Kemet) stand atop this revolution. The Birmingham-raised Hutchings spent the formative years of his youth in Barbados, where the seeds of his creative aesthetic in the roots of the African diaspora were planted.

Keyon Harrold (October 13)

With one foot firmly planted in jazz and the other in hip-hop and R&B, trumpeter Keyon Harrold has thrived by effortlessly navigating these kindred musical currents. Harrold landed his first professional horn gig with the rapper Common (an audition for which his New School classmate Robert Glasper provided a recommendation), and now leading his own project, closes out the New Trumpet series, which also features newcomer Adam O'Farrill, trumpeter and grandson of Latin Jazz pioneer Chico O’Farrill.

Cameron Graves (October 19)

A founding member of the Los Angeles-based West Coast Get Down collective made famous by Kamasi Washington, pianist-composer Cameron Graves has pioneered an invigorating, borderless concept bridging classical music, bebop, fusion, hip-hop, and heavy metal. He performs as part of a four-night Keyed Up series, with two other newcomers: Armenian virtuoso Tigran Hamasyan; and GRAMMY-nominated Christian Sands (known for his work with Christian McBride).

Jazzmeia Horn (October 25-26)

The Dallas native and 2015 Monk Competition winner is soaring into the jazz firmament, moving from triumph to triumph, including her 2017 debut album A Social Call (Prestige), which was nominated for a GRAMMY Award and voted the best jazz vocal debut in the 2017 NPR Music Jazz Critics Poll.

Vernon Reid (October 27-28)

Trailblazing rocker Vernon Reid makes his SFJAZZ Center debut, celebrating the legacy of Jimi Hendrix on the guitar icon’s 75th birthday. The lead guitarist and founder of Living Colour and co-founder of the Black Rock Coalition, Reid stepped into the void left by Hendrix’s tragic death in 1970.

Joanne Brackeen (October 10)

The first female member of Art Blakey’s star-making Jazz Messengers, Brackeen is among the most virtuosic pianists to emerge in the post-bop era, performing with the likes of Dexter Gordon, Chick Corea, Ornette Coleman, Joe Henderson, Freddie Hubbard, and Stan Getz before stepping out as a leader in the early 1970s. Brackeen will be joined by pianists Helen Sung and Kris Davis to celebrate Thelonious Monk's birthday.

Ian Carey (November 4)

A fluent and often arresting improviser and a composer with a keen sense of form, Carey presents the world premiere of Fire in My Head (The Anxiety Suite), an extended, multi-movement work that straddles straight-ahead jazz and chamber music to explore America in an age of angst. This Exploratory Composers series also features Bay Area treasure Myra Melford and her all-star quintet known as Snowy Egret.

Steven Lugerner's JACKNIFE (November 18)

SFJAZZ's Hotplate series features Bay Area musicians re-imagining the iconic recordings of jazz legends. Led by masterful multi-reedist Steven Lugerner, the hard-hitting JACKNIFE was formed specifically to honor the legacy of jazz great Jackie McLean, and for this Hotplate performance, the band channels its youthful energy to bear on McLean’s iconic 1965 Blue Note session, It’s Time.

Pascal Le Boeuf (November 30)

SFJAZZ High School All-Stars alum Pascal Le Boeuf joins his jazz trio with the Friction Quartet to present Ritual Being - a musical diptych that explores the different manifestations of human behavior and how these "rituals" can be either propitious, or disastrous. Pascal debuts as part of the Artists On The Rise series, which also features fellow HSAS alum and gifted vibraphonist Sasha Berliner.

Jazz Mafia's Heaviest Feather (December 7)

Jazz Mafia’s newest incarnation celebrates the women of hip-hop – from icons Lauryn Hill and Missy Elliot, to high-energy originals featuring some of the best female MCs in the Bay Area. Heaviest Feather opens a three-night Jazz Mafia Fest showcasing the collective's diverse range of projects, including Brass Mafia and the Jazz Mafia Accomplices.

Kat Edmonson (January 18)

With a sweetly mellifluous soprano echoing Blossom Dearie’s lighter-than-air approach, Houston-born vocalist Kat Edmonson is a rare artist who embodies the spirit of the past while remaining resolutely au courant. Edmonson performs in a four-night Sing, Sing, Sing series, which also brings newcomer Lori Carsillo.

Hubby Jenkins (February 7)

A former member of Carolina Chocolate Drops, banjoist Hubby Jenkins is a singular artist with “a passion for reinterpreting traditional American music” (Mother Jones), tracing the African-American experience since reconstruction. Jenkins debuts in the Banjo, Blues, & The Bayou series, also featuring newcomer Don Vappie and former Chocolate Drops bandmate Leyla McCalla. 

Habib Koité (February 24)

“The biggest pop star of the West African nation of Mali” (Rolling Stone), guitarist-singer Koité has headlined festivals around the world with his infectious blend of rock-influenced Afropop, releasing eight chart-topping albums and working with artists ranging from African vocal superstar Oumou Sangaré to Eric Bibb, Bonnie Raitt, and the Art Ensemble of Chicago. For his SFJAZZ debut, Koité teams up with fellow Malian maestro Bassekou Kouyate.

Kaki King (March 15)

“A genre unto herself” (Rolling Stone), innovative guitarist and composer Kaki King is a true musical iconoclast who blends blinding virtuosity with a jaw-dropping arsenal of extended techniques, turning the acoustic guitar into an instrument of previously unexplored rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic possibilities. King performs as part of the Strings Around the World series, which also features newcomers and fellow guitarists Derek Gripper and Germán López.

Pascuala Ilabaca (March 24)

Valparaíso-born Pascuala Ilabaca is steeped in the folkloric music of Chile, but she’s not looking to preserve the sounds of the past. Possessing an enchanting, full-bodied voice, she presides over her band Fauna with the authoritative air of a ringmaster, moving between accordion, piano and hand drums.