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SFJAZZ blows the lid on star-studded roster for fall season

Eric Harland
Eric Harland
David Becker

SFJAZZ is out with the fall schedule for the fall festival, running Sept. 11 to May 31, and jazz fans are going to need to be awfully precise schedulers to fit in all the good stuff. From the SFJAZZ Collective honoring hometown hero Joe Henderson to country-blues rebels The Carolina Chocolate Drops rattling the floor, there's plenty to temp just about every taste.

A few particular items to note:

  • The organization has a few new resident artistic directors. Bass phenomenon Esperanza Spalding takes over April 30-May 3 to present music from her upcoming soul-flavored project. Drummer Eric Harland takes over the last week of January for a program that runs from acoustic jazz to hard-driving fusion serving as the soundtrack for a video game tournament. And trumpeter Terence Blanchard arrives in mid-April for a program that includes assembling a string orchestra to play his acclaimed score for the Hurricane Katrina documentary When the Levees Broke.
  • John Coltrane gets some special love this season, with a series of December performances (including several with son Ravi Coltrane melding with different formats) celebrating the 50th anniversary of A Love Supreme. And one of Coltrane's most important music foils, fellow sax adventurer Pharoah Sanders, drops by in January.
  • We sure do love us some Weimar Era whoop-de-do. Kitschy funmeisters Max Raabe and Palast Orchester graduate to Davies Symphony Hall for an April 3 performance.
  • Non musical programming includes filmmaker Robert Townsend doing a memoire/stand-up comedy thing Jan. 15-18.
  • The Hotplate series, in which local musicians assay the work of artists who profoundly influenced their playing, looks hotter than ever, with pairing such as East Bay sax tornado Howard Wiley visiting Coleman Hawkin's Body and Soul, Peter Horvath running down Herbie Hancock's Headhunters and polymath Adam Theis re-imaging Mingus Ah-Um.

The full schedule is online now, and tickets go on sale to members July 9. The general public gets to pick over whatever's left starting July 23.

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