Jazz Around Town
San Francisco Jazz Festival Biographies

A sampling of the Biographies written for the 2010 San Francisco Jazz
Festival Program Guide:


One of the world's greatest trumpet players, Arturo Sandoval has a remarkably wide range, phenomenal
technique and a beautiful tone. His roots are in his Cuban heritage and his love of bebop; Dizzy Gillespie was
his mentor. In addition, Sandoval is a virtuosic pianist, a dazzling and witty scat-singer, and he loves driving    
his band by playing timbales. In his Cuban homeland he was one of the founders of Irakere and led his own
bands starting in 1981. Since being granted political asylum in 1990 (becoming a U.S. citizen in 1999),
Sandoval has performed and recorded regularly, had an HBO movie based on his life (For Love Or Country),
inspired students working as a professor at Florida International University, and continued astounding
audiences with his high energy shows and brilliant playing. Good as his recordings can be, Arturo Sandoval
has to be seen live for his talents to be fully appreciated.

“He's one of the best...He's got bull chops!” - Dizzy Gillespie

“Arguably the most prodigious trumpeter of his generation; a showman to the top of his toes.” - The Guardian

“Sandoval reaches notes most trumpet players barely know.” - Washington Star


Currently celebrating their 40th year, Asleep At The Wheel has kept alive and invigorated Western Swing
ever since the band was formed in 1970. Western Swing, best typified by Bob Wills in the 1930s and '40s,
uses instruments associated with country music (fiddle, steel guitar and various string instruments) to
perform a wide-ranging repertoire that includes swinging jazz, Western ballads and cowboy folk songs, often
performed with the feel of dixieland. The music faded in popularity in the 1950s and was in danger of being
forgotten when Asleep At The Wheel made their first recordings in 1973. The group caught on fast and by
1977 was being voted the best Country & Western band by Rolling Stone. Under the direction of Ray Benson,
Asleep At The Wheel has performed “A Ride With Bob: The Bob Wills Musical,” recorded over 25 albums
(including the recent Willie & The Wheel with Willie Nelson), and been at the top of its field for four decades.

“Asleep At The Wheel has been the prime, if not sole, musical example of the juncture of hillbilly and
dixieland music.” - Downbeat

“Their fidelity to the source material means that traces of jazz swing, ragtime and Dixieland are preserved as
if in amber, sounding much as they did in the '30s and '40s.” - Washington Times


The Manhattan Transfer has been so consistently excellent through the decades and their shows appear so
effortless that it is easy to take their accomplishments for granted. But how many other vocal groups have
lasted 38 years (32 with the same personnel), and have ranged from swing to vocalese and rock and roll to
Brazilian and pop, while also retaining their popularity and high quality? Tim Hauser, Alan Paul, Janis Siegel
and Cheryl Bentyne have continually stretched themselves through the years, whether performing “Java
Jive,” “Boy From New York City,” “Twilight Zone/Twilight Tone,” “Birdland” or a full album of Jon
Hendricks-penned vocalese. Most recently they have again done the unexpected, recording The Chick Corea
Songbook  The four singers somehow mix all of their musical interests together in tight and well-
choreographed performances while smiling and always exuding class. No other group has ever been quite
like the Manhattan Transfer.

“The Manhattan Transfer must rightfully be credited as the most enduringly creative vocal group in jazz
history.” - Downbeat

“The Transfer managed to provide something for everyone while still maintaining the highest standards of    
musicality and showmanship.” - Los Angeles Jazz


Throughout her career, Nellie McKay has followed her own path, defying categorization and simply singing
music that interests her. The New York singer/songwriter's most recent project and her fourth recording is a
tribute to Doris Day called Normal As Blueberry Pie. Doris Day, who made “Sentimental Journey” famous
while a band singer with Les Brown, always had a beautiful voice. She became a household name as a major     
movie star in the early 1950s and was a positive force and a symbol of the era, while hiding a private life that
was often full of turmoil. Attracted to Doris Day's optimism and warmth, Nellie McKay is also (like Day) an
advocate for animal rights. After three albums of mostly original music Ms. McKay was ready to offer her
versions of gems from the Great American Songbook and she brings some of the vintage music associated
with Doris Day into the 21st century without losing its essence.

“Thanks to (McKay), the Great American Songbook has a living, breathing present as well as a glorious past.”
– The Boston Globe

“As impressive as McKay is as a vocalist, it's her offbeat, sometimes outlandish approach as a conceptualist
and arranger that makes Normal As Blueberry Pie special.” - Downbeat


Does any active jazz musician have a history that can match that of drummer Roy Haynes? Part of the jazz
major leagues since he joined Luis Russell's orchestra in 1945, Haynes was an important part of the careers
of Lester Young, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Sarah Vaughan, Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane (being the
regular substitute for Elvin Jones), Stan Getz, Gary Burton, Chick Corea and Pat Metheny and played with
virtually all of the major jazz artists of the past 60 years including Dizzy and Miles. While he came out of the
bebop era, Haynes has always kept his style modern, colorful and enthusiastic. An occasional bandleader in
his earlier days, he has led his Fountain Of Youth band for the past decade. While his sidemen are quite a bit
younger than he is, Haynes always emerges as the most youthful musician on stage. Watching Roy Haynes
play, it is impossible to believe that he is now 85; clearly he has found the Fountain Of Youth.

“Roy Haynes' resume would make any drummer green.” - Chicago Sun Times

“Calling Roy Haynes a bridge from jazz's past to its present doesn't really do the drum legend justice...
Haynes keeps shaping jazz's future.” - Boston Globe


The collaboration between saxophonist James Carter and keyboardist John Medeski that resulted in the
Half Note CD Heaven On Earth resulted in so much fire and passion that they are joining together again at
the SF Jazz Festival. Carter, a true virtuoso who can play any reed instrument in virtually any style (from
slap tonguing to multiphonics), ranges from Sidney Bechet and Lucky Thompson to Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis  
and Albert Ayler (sometimes in the same song) while always sounding like himself. John Medeski, who
gained fame with Medeski, Martin and Wood, is a master at sound explorations, setting funky grooves on
organ, and playing the unexpected, never falling into any obvious category. Combine those two masters
together and the results will not only be explosive but full of constant surprises with plenty of witty
references to earlier styles and obscure recordings.

“James Carter has cemented his reputation as one of the most adventurous, visionary young reed players
today.” - Downbeat

“Yeah, that's my man.” - Sonny Rollins


In his productive career, pianist-composer Jon Jang has written and performed many stimulating and
thought-provoking works which often represent a chronology of Chinese American history in San Francisco.
Some of these works include The Chinese American Symphony, Island: The Immigrant Suite No. 2 and
Tiananmen! At this year's San Francisco Jazz Festival, he is debuting Angel Voices: Rhapsody On Angel
Island Poetry. The work features a poet (Genny Lim) and a chamber jazz ensemble comprised of pipa
(Chinese lute), clarinet/soprano/bass flute and a rhythm section. The poems were written by Chinese,
Japanese and Russian Jewish immigrants who were detained on Angel Island during 1910-40. Min Xiao-Fen,
who will be featured as the pipa soloist, spent ten years playing with the Nanjing Traditional Music Orchestra
of China. Since moving to the U.S. in 1992, she has been featured with many classical ensembles, appeared at
many music festivals, and worked with such notables as Randy Weston, Wadada Leo Smith, Jane Ira Bloom,
the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Bjork.

“Pianist/composer Jon Jang has created vital music that combines advanced jazz with vivid memories of his
Chinese heritage.” - All Music Guide

“Jon Jang has carved out a noteworthy reputation as an often brilliant pianist/composer and bandleader
who possesses the distinctive qualities of a modern day visionary who draws upon his Asian heritage as a
source for inspiration and musical implementation.” - All About Jazz


One of the most important jazz pianists of the past 40 years, Kenny Barron invigorates jazz's modern
mainstream with his lyrical and elegant solos. Born in Philadelphia and inspired by his older brother tenor-
saxophonist Bill Barron, he became part of the New York jazz scene in 1962. Barron was a member of the
Dizzy Gillespie Quintet and also has had important associations with Freddie Hubbard, Stanley Turrentine,
Milt Jackson, Buddy Rich, Yusef Lateef, Ron Carter and Stan Getz. Since 1974 he has led over 40 albums of
his own.  As a professor of music at Rutgers University for 27 years, Barron had many talented students
including David Sanchez. A very original tenor-saxophonist with a sound and style of his own, Sanchez was
born and raised in Porto Rico. The bomba and plea rhythms of Puerto Rico were early influences as were     
the great jazz saxophonists like Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, but David Sanchez sounds unlike anyone

“Kenny Barron's piano is an oasis of calm in a turbulent world.” - Downbeat

“Sanchez makes solo statements of unmistakable originality, technical acumen and expressive power.” -
Chicago Tribune


Unlike most of the bands that were active in the fusion movement of the 1970s, the Yellowjackets have
continued evolving, are still very active, and constantly create new music. Born in 1977 during a record date
led by guitarist Robben Ford, the Yellowjackets were originally comprised of keyboardist Russell Ferrante,
bassist Jimmy Haslip, drummer Ricky Lawson and Ford. Ferrante and Haslip are still the group's co-leaders,
being joined by saxophonist Bob Mintzer (who joined the Yellowjackets in 1990) and returning drummer
Will Kennedy. While often playing catchy originals, the group also features stirring post-bop solos and
plenty of variety. Another survivor of the 1970s is keyboardist-producer Jeff Lorber. During 1977-85, his
Jeff Lorber Fusion recorded six albums that he now calls “second generation fusion,” eventually paving the
way towards smooth jazz. While Lorber's playing abilities took a backseat for years to his producing, in
recent times he has put together a new version of the Jeff Lorber Fusion which features his soulful keyboard
playing at its best.

“From their r&b beginnings...the Yellowjackets have moved with the times, absorbing different aspects of
world music and adding new rhythms and influences to the pot.” - All About Jazz

“With a smooth sound bringing together elements of funk, R&B, rock, and electric jazz, keyboardist Jeff
Lorber helped pioneer a genre of fusion later formatted under such names as NAC and contemporary jazz.” -
All Music Guide


To say that Yusef Lateef, who is celebrating his 90th birthday, has had a remarkable career would be a major
understatement. On the tenor, flute, oboe, he has long had his own distinctive voice. He was a professional
musician by the early 1940s and was a major part of the Detroit music scene. Lateef has mostly been a leader
throughout his career although he had stints with the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra in 1949, the Cannonball
Adderley Sextet and Charles Mingus. He began recording as a leader in the mid-1950s although he did not
move to New York until 1960. A pioneer both on the oboe and on Eastern instruments, Lateef was one of the
first to emerge from the jazz world and explore World Music. He prefers to call his thought-provoking music
autophysiopsychic, that which comes from one's spiritual, physical and emotional self.

Yusef Lateef has long had an inquisitive spirit...and he has consistently created music that has stretched (and
even broken through) boundaries.” - All Music Guide

“Lateef’s robust sound and dynamic phrasing brings the sheer essence of African-American music history to
every note he plays.” - Los Angeles Times


During the past three years, bassist-singer Esperanza Spading has created a sensation in the jazz and music
worlds. Originally a violinist who played in the Chamber Music Society of Oregon, at 15 she switched to both
the string bass and jazz.. She soon developed the rare ability of being able to sing and play bass at the same
time. After graduating from Portland State University at 19, Esperanza attended Berklee where she
graduated a year early and was the youngest-ever faculty member by the time she was 20. Esperanza, who
toured with Patti Austin while still in school, has worked with Joe Lovano, Regina Carter, Pat Metheny,     
Michel Camilo and Charlie Haden, and recorded two highly-rated albums of her own (Junjo and Esperanza).
In demand as a leader and as a headliner at jazz festivals, Esperanza Spalding performs originals and
occasional standards, sings in both English and Spanish and takes powerful bass solos that are at times
reminiscent of Charles Mingus. And she is just at the beginning.

“The Esperanza Spalding experience is light, melodic, joyful, always sort of minimalist and airborne.” - New
York Times

“One of the brightest new voices in jazz and of the string bass, Esperanza Spalding, although only 25, clearly
has a bright and productive career already underway.” - Jazz Times


One of the most widely respected singers by musicians, Gretchen Parlato has a haunting voice, an
unclassifiable jazz style, and unlimited potential. She sang as a child, attended the L.A. County High School
for the Arts and UCLA, and was the first vocalist at the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance.
Parlato won the Thelonious Monk Vocals Competition in 2004 and released her debut recording the
following year. In addition to touring with her own group, she has performed with Wayne Shorter and
recorded with Terence Blanchard, Kenny Barron, Esperanza Spalding, Sean Jones and Andy Milne. Parlato
has also recorded two CDs of her own, most recently In A Dream for ObliqSound which features guitarist
Lionel Loueke and pianist Aaron Parks. Gretchen Parlato to whom improvising seems as natural as
breathing, has an immaculate sense of timing, nuanced phrasing, and the ability to make the impossible
sound effortless and logical.

“Her singing is pure sterling silver, accented with just a hint of ethnic shadings and a big helping of modern
style.” - All Music Guide

“It´s evident that she´s an extraordinary singer.” - New York Times


A major alto-saxophonist and clarinetist who is an enthusiastic and exciting soloist, Paquito D'Rivera's
playing is rooted in both bebop and his Cuban heritage. A child prodigy, he started performing in public
when he was six. He was inspired to double on clarinet by both his father Tito D'Rivera (a classical
saxophonist and conductor) and getting to hear the recording of Benny Goodman's 1938 Carnegie Hall
concert. In addition to playing with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, D'Rivera was a founding
member of Irakere and a key soloist for eight years. In 1981 he moved to the United States, working with
Dizzy Gillespie (including his United Nation Orchestra), Mario Bauza and David Amram.Since then D'Rivera
has kept busy, leading more than two dozen albums and performing everything from bop, Afro-Cuban jazz
and Brazilian music to tangos and classical music. He has written classical works, worked with the Caribbean
Jazz Project, penned his autobiography, My Sax Life, and circled the world with his jubilant music many

“Paquito D'Rivera may sound like a propagandist's dream, but the bopped-up, romantic, salty and sensuous
jazz that he makes recognizes no real political boundary.” - Time

"Cuban reed player Paquito D' Rivera has a foot in the classical world and a foot in the jazz world—and each
foot is atop its respective world.” - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


A brilliant and adventurous pianist and composer, Vijay Iyer is a self-taught improviser who not only
stretches the boundaries of jazz but has long reached beyond jazz's vocabulary. He holds a B.S. in
Mathematics and Physics from Yale College, and a Masters in Physics and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. in     
Technology and the Arts from the University of California at Berkeley. He has led a quartet with
saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa that crosses many musical genres, has recorded large-scale political      
works with poet Mike Ladd, worked with the avant-garde collective Fieldwork, and recently recorded a trio
disc, Historicity. His quintet suite Far From Over was commissioned by the 2008 Chicago Jazz Festival and
he has composed and premiered a series of compositions for a wide variety of ensembles.. Iyer has also
worked with Steve Coleman, Roscoe Mitchell, Wadada Leo Smith, Butch Morris, George Lewis, Oliver Lake
and John Zorn among many others, and he is greatly in demand as an educator and author. Vijay Iyer has
certainly kept busy, with the quantity of his work only being exceeded by its consistent quality.

“Vijay Iyer is the most commanding pianist and composer to emerge in recent years.” - Village Voice

“By now, there can be no doubt that pianist-composer Iyer stands among the most daringly original jazz
artists of the under-40 generation.” - Chicago Tribune.


A superb musician, pianist Danilo Perez keeps jazz fresh, contemporary and vital. Born and raised in
Panama, he started playing piano when he was three and studied at the National Conservatory in Panama
when he was ten. After moving to the U.S., he attended the Berklee College of Music. Starting in 1985, Perez
worked with Jon Hendricks, Dizzy Gillespie's United Nation Orchestra, Terence Blanchard, Claudio Roditi,
Paquito D'Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Steve Lacy, Jack DeJohnette, Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano, Tito
Puente, Wynton Marsalis, Gary Burton and Roy Haynes among others. Currently a member of the Wayne
Shorter Quartet, Perez has also led his own CDs since 1993. In addition, he serves as the Cultural
Ambassador of Panama, is the president and founder of the Panama Jazz Festival, and is the Ambassador of
Goodwill for Unicef. At the SF Jazz Festival, Danilo Perez will perform a rare solo concert, performing
music of the Americas (North, South and Central) in his own distinctive fashion.

“There's nobody like Danilo. He's studied, he's open, he's flexible, generous and sweet.” - Steve Lacy

“His effort to bring to the world a beacon of hope and inspiration … is a prime example of confidence in a
future laden with cornucopian gifts for all humanity.” - Wayne Shorter


One of the world’s great pianists, Chucho Valdes is a giant of Cuban music, a master at polyrhythms, and a
virtuoso who is not shy to infuse his music with wit. Born as Dionisio Jesus “Chucho” Valdes Rodriguez in
Havana in 1941, he is the son of the still-active pianist Bebo Valdes (with whom Chucho recently recorded),
began piano lessons at age 5, attended the Municipal Music Conservatory of Havana, and led his first trio
when he was 15. After working throughout Cuba in a variety of settings, in 1967 he formed the Cuban
Modern Music Orchestra. In 1973 Valdes founded Irakere which became the most important group in
Cuba, performing both jazz and folkloric music. A world traveler who has performed in over 50 countries     
Chucho Valdes, who in recent times has been leading the Afro-Cuban Messengers, has recorded over 120
albums while becoming one of the most prominent and influential stars of Cuban jazz.

“Valdes evokes a broad emotional range and tells a story with each song.” - Jazz Times

“The most complete pianist in the world.” - Jazziz


An important newcomer, Jose James has been called “a jazz singer for the hip hop generation.” His warm
baritone and his modern music (which has elements of jazz, soul and spoken word) have gotten his career
off to a strong start. He considers his main influences to be John Coltrane, Marvin Gaye and Billie Holiday
yet sounds like himself while sometimes recalling some of the soul singers of the 1970s. Jose James has
recorded with Junior Mance, Chico Hamilton and Christian McBride in addition to cutting his own records.
Recently he recorded the first new music made for the Impulse label in six years, For All We Know, a set of
spontaneous duets with pianist Jef Neve..Neve, a native of Belgium, has been a professional musician since
he was 14. While he has worked with the popular funk band Mr. Zebedee, pop groups, classical ensembles
and theater productions in addition to writing soundtracks, Jef Neve is making his biggest mark playing
passionate jazz with his trio.

“He (Jose James) has traces of Gil Scott-Heron and Joe Williams in his voice; he can swing hard, murmur,
sing ballads and chant cosmic chants.”- New York Times

“Jef Neve's concerts are almost like a religious experience, riveting audiences by the sheer power and   
imagination of his playing.” - London's The Observer


As a songwriter, singer and pianist, the legendary Mose Allison has been a true original for over 50 years.
His vocals are sometimes reminiscent of 1930s country blues artists while his piano playing has become
more sophisticated and unpredictable through the years. His lyrics are insightful, witty and full of unusual
wisdom. Born in Tippo, Mississippi nearly 83 years ago, Allison made his first recordings in 1956. Although
he was initially known as a pianist who occasionally sang, by the early 1960s and his signing with Atlantic,
his vocal and writing talents were making him famous and influential. Composer of such songs as “Your
Molecular Structure,” “Ever Since The World Ended,” “I Don't Worry About A Thing,” and “Your Mind Is
On Vacation But Your Mouth Is Running Overtime,” Allison is also a superior interpreter of other artist's
songs that interest him including a classic downbeat version of “You Are My Sunshine.” There is only one
Mose Allison and every listener should go out of their way to see this wise musical messenger.

“For over thirty years, this premier songwriter, singer and pianist has stared down the oncoming doom,
peppering his idiosyncratic blend of jazz and blues with mordant wit and unflinching honesty.” - The Village

“I don’t know any musicians who don’t love Mose Allison.” - Bonnie Raitt


Marcus Shelby has long been a superb bassist, but he is much more. He gained his initial recognition as leader
of the young post bop jazz group Black/Note. He currently leads and writes for the Marcus Shelby Jazz
Orchestra, a septet and a trio. Shelby is an influential educator (teaching at San Francisco State University
and Stanford), has won numerous awards (including the Charles Mingus Scholarship), been awarded several
grants, written the scores for several films and theatrical shows, and composed music for ballet and dance
companies. His recordings for the NOIR label have documented some of his most significant jazz work,
including an oratorio for jazz orchestra that depicts the life of Harriet Tubman. In 2005 City Flight Magazine
named him as one of the “Top Ten Most Influential African Americans in the Bay Area.” Marcus Shelby gives
one the impression that he is capable of accomplishing practically anything.

“Shelby is one of the brightest stars of the San Francisco scene, proving equally adept as the leader of a trio, a
big band, and a record label.” - All About Jazz

“Marcus Shelby knows the difference between repeating history and studying it, illuminating it and
connecting it to the present in ways that well affect the social and political future.” - San Francisco Chronicle


In 1969 when most of his contemporaries were playing revival bebop, soul jazz, or trying to find a way to deal
with free jazz, Miles Davis took a drastic step to the left. His double-Lp called Bitches Brew was not the first
fusion recording, but the most important one. Fusing together jazz improvisations with rockish vamps and
rhythms during lengthy moody performances, Davis pointed the way towards one of the future directions of
jazz. Utilizing Wayne Shorter on soprano, Bennie Maupin on bass clarinet, guitarist John McLauglin, several
keyboardists and a large rhythm section, Davis opened the door for jazz musicians exploring rock, funk and
instrumental pop. Over 40 years later, the music still sounds futuristic Bitches Brew Revisited gives a new
perspective on the music. The all-star group, led by cornetist Graham Haynes and featuring such notables as
guitarist James Blood Ulmer, DJ Logic on turntables and the reeds of Antoine Roney, made a strong
impression at its debut in NY.

“In combination with Miles’ fame and prestige, the album gave the budding jazz-rock genre visibility and      
credibility, and was instrumental in promoting it to the dominant direction in jazz.” - Jazz Times

“Bitches Brew retains its freshness and mystery long after its original issue.” - All Music Guide


A superb musician, pianist Danilo Perez keeps jazz fresh, contemporary and vital. Born and raised in Panama,
he started playing piano when he was three and studied at the National Conservatory in Panama when he was
ten. After moving to the U.S., he attended the Berklee College of Music. Starting in 1985, Perez worked with
Jon Hendricks, Dizzy Gillespie's United Nation Orchestra, Terence Blanchard, Claudio Roditi, Paquito
D'Rivera, Arturo Sandoval, Steve Lacy, Jack DeJohnette, Michael Brecker, Joe Lovano, Tito Puente, Wynton
Marsalis, Gary Burton and Roy Haynes among others. Currently a member of the Wayne Shorter Quartet,
Perez has also led his own CDs since 1993. In addition, he serves as the Cultural Ambassador of Panama, is the
president and founder of the Panama Jazz Festival, and is the Ambassador of Goodwill for Unicef. At the SF
Jazz Festival Danilo Perez, who a few years ago had great success with his CD Panamonk, will perform a rare
solo concert of the music of Thelonious Monk in his own distinctive fashion.

“There's nobody like Danilo. He's studied, he's open, he's flexible, generous and sweet.” - Steve Lacy

“His effort to bring to the world a beacon of hope and inspiration … is a prime example of confidence in a
future laden with cornucopian gifts for all humanity.” - Wayne Shorter


As a very unique saxophonist, composer and conceptualist, alto-saxophonist and flutist Henry Threadgill has
been at the top of his field for the past 30 years. A member of the AACM from its start in the early 1960s,
Threadgill played with Muhal Richard Abrams' pioneering Experimental Band. He organized his longtime
group Air starting in 1975. Since moving to New York, Threadgill has led such unique and stimulating
ensembles as his Sextett, Very Very Circus and his Make A Move Band. He first formed his Zooid ensemble
(which is currently comprised of Threadgill's alto and flute, acoustic guitar, trombone/tuba, bass and drums)
in 2001 The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2003 and a United States Artist Fellowship in 2008,     
Threadgill recently recorded This Brings Us To with his Zooid ensemble, his first recording in over eight
years. Incidentally, a zooid is a cell that can move independently of the larger organism to which it belongs, so
it is a word that accurately describes Henry Threadgill's new music, which stresses interaction and freedom
between the musicians.

“A disciplined kind of free jazz in which sophisticated, often meticulous compositional forms and strategies
merge with an exploratory approach to improvisation and a post-everything inclusiveness.” - Detroit Free

“The jazz avant-garde has produced dozens of notable improvisers...but relatively few great composers.
Henry Threadgill is a member of that exclusive club.” - All Music Guide


Clarinetist and tenor-saxophonist Anat Cohen and her brother trumpeter Avishai Cohen, are two of the most
important jazz musicians to emerge from Israel. Anat was inspired by her two older brothers (which includes
saxophonist Yuval Cohen) to play music. She was on her way to mastering both tenor and clarinet as a
teenager. Anat moved to the U.S. in 1996 to attend Berklee. Since relocating to New York in 1999, Anat Cohen
has played everything from swing and 1920s jazz (with the Gully Low Jazz Band) to modern jazz, Brazilian
choro, Argentine tango, Afro-Cuban jazz and classical music. Her enthusiasm and musicianship are as
impressive as her consistent creativity. Avishai Cohen, who has had a similar career, is growing in prominence
each year. A first call trumpeter for all kinds of gigs in Israel, he also attended Berklee, placed third in the
Thelonious Monk Jazz Trumpet competition in 1997, gained important experience jamming regularly at
Small's and is the co-leader of Third World Live. Anat, Avishai and Yuval often tour as the 3 Cohens; the
siblings always bring out the best in each other as will be experienced at Anat and Avishai Cohen's concert at
the SF Jazz Festival..

“Watching Anat Cohen perform is a joy matched only by listening to her.” - Jazz Times

“Avishai Cohen has made a name for himself as an adventurous, forward-thinking musician performing in    
various ensembles that mixed everything from klezmer and free jazz to swinging hard bop and post-rock.” - All
Music Guide


The master of the jazz accordion, Richard Galliano has also revived traditional French musette music and
revitalized his instrument. Born in France in late 1950, Galliano discovered jazz as a teenager and saw no
reason why his instrument could not take a leading role in the music. He picked up important experience in
the 1970s and '80s playing with Chet Baker, Steve Potts, Jimmy Gouley, Toots Thielemans, Ron Carter,
Michel Petrucciani and the top French musicians.  In more recent times he has worked with Enrico Rava,
Charlie Haden, Michel Portal, Eddy Louiss, Jan Garbarek, Martial Solal, Gary Burton, Wynton Marsalis (the
songs of Edith Piaf) and his own trios, recording a series of highly rated sets for the Dreyfus label. In 1996
Galilano recorded New York Tango in a quartet that included bassist George Mraz. Born in Czechoslovakia,
Mraz was a top bassist in Prague and also worked often in Munich before coming to the United States in 1968.
Since then he has worked with every major jazz musician from Oscar Peterson to Stan Getz, Bill Evans to
Tommy Flanagan and now in San Francisco, the great  Richard Galliano.

“The accordion has only really found a comfortable spot in the jazz world during the past two decades, and
that is largely due to Richard Galliano.” - Jazz Times

“George Mraz always plays the exact right note you want to hear.” - Richie Beirach


An important new star in jazz, altoist-composer Steve Lehman is making a significant impact on 21st century
jazz. Born and currently based in Brooklyn, he studied with Jackie McLean, Anthony Braxton and Jay
Hoggard. Lehman has worked in the U.S. and Europe with Braxton (the Ghost Trance Ensemble), Kevin
Norton, Kevin O'Neill, Michelle Rosewoman, Dave Burrell, Meshell Ndegeocello, Mark Dresser, Vijay Iyer,
the collective trio Fieldwork, and Oliver Lake in addition to his own groups. While Lehman has performed and
recorded exciting sets with small groups that allow him to stretch out and display his strikingly original ideas
on alto, he is also an innovative arranger and composer who has written for large orchestras, chamber
ensembles, and his own octet. The title of his most recent recording with his octet,  Travail, Transformation &
Flow, is a good summation of his written music which is complex yet often surprisingly accessible, futuristic
yet with hints of the glorious past.

“The most advanced compositional thinking in jazz today.” - Philadelphia Weekly

“One of the most remarkable new saxophonists to emerge in the past 10 years.” - Signal To Noise


One of the truly great jazz pianists, Ahmad Jamal has been an important force and an original voice for nearly
60 years. His use of space, his original chord voicings and his close interplay with his sidemen has made Jamal
a highly individual player since nearly the start of his career. Jamal began playing piano when he was three and
had extensive studies from the age of seven. In 1950 in Chicago he formed a group called the Three Strings
which made its recording debut the following year. While he originally used the instrumentation of piano,
guitar and bass, in 1957 he replaced the guitarist with drummer Vernel Fournier. With Israel Crosby on bass,
the Ahmad Jamal Trio had a giant hit with “Poinciana.” Long before then, his repertoire and use of space had
made a strong impact on Miles Davis. Jamal has continued evolving through the years but his sound has
remained distinctive and he still sounds unlike anyone else. A true living legend, Ahmad Jamal at 80 is still
very much in his musical prime and his music is full of joy and surprise.

“Throughout six decades on the jazz scene, pianist Ahmad Jamal has proven that it's possible to be a precise,
restrained soloist without sacrificing soul or artistry.” - Jazz Times

“When people say Jamal influenced me a lot, they're right.” - Miles Davis


To say that Nikki Yanofksy is a phenomenon is an understatement. Just 16, Nikki has quickly become one of
the top jazz and pop singers in Canada. So rapid has been her ascent that she was chosen to sing Canada's
national anthem at the opening ceremonies of the 2010 Winter Olympics. Nikki really launched her singing
career four years ago at the 2006 Montreal Jazz Festival, headlining when she was just 12 and singing before
100,000 people. When she was 14, she toured the United States with Marvin Hamlisch. Nikki has performed
with several orchestras including the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. In 2007 she sang “Airmail Special” for
the Verve tribute CD We All Love Ella and recorded “Gotta Go My Own Way” for the Disney film High School
Musical 2. In 2008 she released her first full-length album, Ella...Of Thee I Swing, a live concert.. Recently she
recorded her first studio CD which has generated a hit in Canada with “I Believe,” includes four of her originals
and joyful versions of jazz standards. A regular at Canadian jazz festivals and one who has had success
performing in Jamaica and Japan, Nikki Yanofsky is just getting started.

“With her multi-octave range, impeccable pitch, increasingly rich tone, and unexpectedly soulful power,
Yanofsky has been wowing crowds in her hometown of Montreal since she was 11. - MacLeans

“Nikki Yanofsky is a young Montreal-based talent whose phenomenal voice and jazz style made her an
international success at age 15.” - All Music Guide