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On The Corner Masthead


May 24, 2017 | by Ross Eustis

Bassist Linda May Han Oh

The San Francisco Jazz Festival has always brought new blood to SFJAZZ. Here are nine young artists who make their SFJAZZ Center debut as a leader at the 35th annual Festival.

Jacob Collier (June 7)

22-year-old GRAMMY-winning British singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist Jacob Collier has turned the music world on its ear, pairing his bewildering level of musical ability with cutting edge technology to redefine the meaning of "solo performance," just watch his cover of George Gershwin's "Fascinating Rhythm."


Marquis Hill (June 7) Winner of the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition, Chicago-born trumpeter Marquis Hill has established his well-deserved reputation as a leading figure among today’s crop of adventurous young jazz musicians. Enter his world in NPR Music / Jazz Night In America's "The Making of Marquis Hill."


The Suffers (June 10) The rollicking 10-piece ensemble fronted by charismatic singer Kam Franklin brings a mix of old school rock, country, Southern hip-hop, reggae, and Muscle Shoals-era R&B into a fresh approach they call "Gulf Coast Soul." Get a taste of the new musical gumbo in "Make Some Room."


Martin Luther (June 10) Singer, songwriter, and San Francisco native Martin Luther McCoy rose to international attention for his work with The Roots and Cody ChesnuTT, and for his on-screen role as the Jimi Hendrix inspired character “Jo-Jo” and performance of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” in director Julie Taymor’s Oscar-nominated 2007 Beatles tribute film Across the Universe. Watch it below!


Derrick Hodge (June 12-13) Best known as the longtime bassist for the Robert Glasper Experiment, Philadelphia native and Blue Note artist Derrick Hodge has played a pivotal role in defining the intersection of R&B and modern jazz in the 21st Century. Get to know Hodge in the "Inside The Robert Glasper Experiment Band" video series.


Ambrose Akinmusire (June 14-15) During his 15-year career, Oakland born trumpeter and 2007 Monk Competition winner Ambrose Akinmusire has paradoxically situated himself in both the center and the periphery of jazz, most recently emerging in classical and hip hop circles. He's led his own group at past Festivals, but June marks his first time leading a group at the SFJAZZ Center. His unique sound and approach are on full display in a duet with saxophonist Ben Wendel.


Bokanté w/ members of Snarky Puppy (June 16) Named with the word meaning “exchange” in the Antillean Creole language spoken on vocalist Malika Tirolien’s Caribbean home island of Guadeloupe, Bokanté is one of the latest omnivorous conglomerations assembled by bassist and Snarky Puppy leader Michael League. As with all Snarky Puppy projects, GroundUP Music produced a beautifully filmed in-studio performance.


Linda May Han Oh (June 16) An artist who has earned accolades including a #1 Acoustic Bass Rising Star nod from DownBeat's Critics Poll, Malaysia-born bassist-composer Linda May Han Oh is one of the most important young voices in jazz today – best known to SFJAZZ audiences for her appearances with jazz giant Pat Metheny’s all-star quartet to start Season 5. Here's a look at her new group from this year's Winter JazzFest.


Con Brio (June 17-18) Fronted by the magnetic singer Ziek McCarter, the Bay Area-based Con Brio is the most electrifying soul/funk/R&B band on the scene today, combining timelessly funky grooves with tight horns and blazing guitar. While Con Brio did play the SFJAZZ Center back in 2015, the group has since exploded to an international touring sensation in two short years. Here's their politically charged "Free & Brave."