Artists on the Rise
April 12, 2019 | by Erin Putnam
What kind of audience member are you? While some of our listeners have their antennae up for that one jazz legend who rarely tours anymore, others may join us for the niche players and styles that they love. Then there are those who just want something new – whether it’s a genre-splicing Grammy nominee, or a force for social justice setting their ideas to original music. For those who love the show-and-tell of the local find and the newly minted voice, we present SFJAZZ’s Artists on the Rise series.
Artists on the Rise is literally an exhibit of the here and now – part celebration of the homegrown (here), part showcase of what is new and fresh on the national scene (now). Headliners also share a common thread: they have all matriculated through SFJAZZ in some way. Whether through our flagship youth ensemble, the High School All-Stars, as a member of our pro-am Monday Night Band, or as a commissioned composer of new works, the avenues through which these players have turned our heads are close to our hearts.
Pascal Le Bouef
The series launched in November 2018 with Pascal Le Boeuf’s Trio, joined by Friction Quartet. Having come through the High School All-Stars program in its earliest iterations, pianist and composer Le Boeuf has been building a canon of work with various artists from his Brooklyn base over the past decade. Fresh from his Best Instrumental Composition Grammy nomination for his piece “Alkaline” (taken home by jazz giant Arturo O'Farrill), Le Boeuf presented Ritual Being at the Center – an expansive, two-part work he describes as “a musical diptych that explores the different manifestations of human behavior and how these "rituals" can be either propitious... or disastrous.” Le Boeuf’s trio was augmented by Bay Area-based Friction Quartet, which provided a lush fabric of contemporary strings that pulled the piece just to the edge of what comfortably feels like jazz.
Coming up this month is our second Artists on the Rise installment, when we will be joined by vibraphonist Sasha Berliner. Berliner’s playing and composing were already carving out their own space by the time she published “An Open Letter To Ethan Iverson (And The Rest Of The Jazz Patriarchy)” in 2017, just weeks before the viral galvanizing of the #metoo movement. This cultural swell, however, was tailor-made to see and hear artists just like Berliner: artists whose statement is equal parts what they’re creating and why they’re creating it. An alumna of the High School All-Stars and more recently studying at New York’s latest hotbed of jazz and new music studies, the New School, Berliner brings her quartet to the Center on April 26th.
Be sure to check out next season’s full Artists on the Rise line-up (announcement on June 6th) as we expand in 2019-2020. With double the shows, the series includes spoken word, members of local jazz consortium Jazz Mafia, LA-vein players, and at every turn, brand new works. We hope you’ll join us and discover some of the latest sounds coming from the very center of the Center.
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