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FEATURED INTERVIEWS

  •  New Orleans trumpeter Nicholas Payton has never conformed to anyone or anything. Reading his Facebook posts and Twitter “tweets”, you sort of get an idea about how un-traditional he is. He speaks his mind and, should someone attempt to challenge…
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  • Law school creates more than a few challenges. There are hours upon hours of studying, grueling hours interning at law firms, and financial bills that need to find a way to get paid. For many law students the adversity is…
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  • Kem Owens
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    Adekemi Owens, known professionally and affectionately to music fans as "Kem," has come a long way from Nashville, Tennessee to his current hometown of Detroit, Michigan. So, one figures that is why this musical genius has written and performed songs…
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  • Born in Dallas, Texas and now happily domiciled in Los Angeles, bass player Edwin Livingston could be described as being on the crest of a wave.  His CD 'Transitions' was released in late 2010 and when recently I caught up…
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Harry S. Pariser

Harry S. Pariser

Salif Keita, 58, a 40-year veteran of the music scene, numbers among Africa's top musical stars. A man in motion, Salif is constantly touring and preaching his humanitarian message. Born into a royal family, Salif found himself barred by social custom from becoming a musician and as an albino, Salif was an outcast who found his means of expression through music. Fleeing a Malian dictatorship to take refuge in the Ivory Coast, he later moved to Paris but has since returned to Mali. Here, he has b
Kronos Quartet Any performance by Kronos Quartet is a special occasion. Three of the ensemble’s four woodwind performers have been playing together for more than three decades and have released more than 45 recordings. No run-of-the-mill chamber quartet, Kronos have collaborated with the a diversity of performers including Chinese pipa player Wu Man, a Romanian Roma band, and an Inuit throat singer named Tanya Tagaq. They have performed on stage with performers as diverse as Betty Carter, the Mo
29.01.2011

Ornette Coleman

Published in Concert Reviews
There aren’t many 1960s elders of jazz still performing these days. Pianists McCoy Tyner and Randy Weston come to mind, as does saxophonist Sonny Rollins, but few others come to mind. That’s one of the things that made the appearance by Ornette Coleman and his group at the San Francisco Symphony Hall as part of the San Francisco Jazz Festival so compelling.

Despite the demise of longtime collaborators such as trumpeter and multi-instrumentalist Don Cherry and drummer Ed Blackwell and Bill

Africa may be the ancestral home of jazz, but there are few African-born jazz musicians of renown. The best known is undoubtedly Abdullah Ibrahim. A multi-instrumentalist, Ibrahim is justly famed for his sublime piano playing. Born Dollar Brand in South Africa, Ibrahim, who will turn 75 this October, has led an incredible and very complex life.


To summarize, Ibrahim was raised in a ghetto as "coloured" under the Apartheid system. Ibrahim’s father, a member of the Sentso tribe, had

Although I’ve long listened to his music, I’ve never seen Malian guitarist Habib Koite and his band Bamada perform in person. So his performance at UC Berkeley’s Zellerbach Hall this evening promises to be a real treat.

Habib and Bamada take the stage attired in Malian shirts and pants - ones dyed using plangi and other resist techniques -and they don woolen hats.

Habib’s own guitar, his second guitarist, electric bassist, and American trap-set drummer might all be seen as conc

Residing as I do in San Francisco, I’ve long had connected the surname "Redman" with jazz. Joshua’s late father, Dewey, was a well known jazz musician, and I was aware from him through his dates with Ornette Coleman, his membership in the band Old and New Dreams, and his occasional gigs here.

Dewey’s star has been eclipsed by his son, Joshua, who is something of an unintentional jazz star. Born in 1969, Joshua Redman was raised as Joshua Shedroff in Berkeley, California by his mother,

During his long and varied career jazz bassist Charlie Haden has had many collaborations ranging from his duet with Ornette Coleman on the classic album "Soapsuds, Soapsuds" to pianist Keith Jarrett (with whose American Trio he performed) to guitarist Pat Metheny to tango musicians. But Charlie's Liberation Jazz Orchestra holds a special place in his distinguished career.

The group came together during the 1960s and debuted with its self-titled Liberation Music Orchestra in 1969. It f

The T. S. Monk Sextet is making its first-ever San Francisco appearance at the Great American Music Hall. Its bandleader, the ebullient and loquacious drummer T. S. Monk, is the son of legendary pianist Thelonious Monk who would have been ninety years old this year. He last performed the previous year, together with pianist Jason Moran, in a tribute to his father's appearance at Town Hall.

This time around, he's appearing at a more intimate venue and with his band, many of whose membe

Some years back, I turned on KUSF, the San Francisco iconoclastic radio station located at the University of San Francisco, to find myself in the middle of an interview with pianist Matthew Shipp. I was so struck by what he said that I went down to Bruno’s, a bar and restaurant on Mission Street which was programming inventive jazz at the time, and checked him out. Ever since then, I’ve been a fan of his challenging music.

So I was delighted to see that he would be coming in the

Despite being one of the 20th century’s premier pianists, "Thelonious Sphere Monk" remains unknown to most Americans. An outlandish but sadly apocryphal story brings this point home. Tabitha Soren interviewing Bill Clinton on MTV supposedly asked the presidential candidate who he had dreamed of playing saxophone with. "Thelonious Monk" Clinton replied. "Who is the ‘Loneliest Monk’?" a bewildered Tabitha responded. Thoroughly eccentric yet extremely introverted, Monk was a brilliant pianist and c
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