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Sonny Rollins, Esperanza Spalding lead SFJAZZ's 30th annual San Francisco Jazz Festival

June 12, 2012|By Chris Barton
  • Sonny Rollins performs at UCLA's Royce Hall in 2011.
Sonny Rollins performs at UCLA's Royce Hall in 2011. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles…)

Los Angeles-area jazz fans looking for a reason to escape our hottest months will have ample reasons to trek north on the Golden State Freeway beginning in August with the recently announced lineup of the 30th annual San Francisco Jazz Festival.

Less of a traditional festival than it is the fall to winter programming season for SFJAZZ, the city's year-round jazz presenting organization, the festival is the last before the much-anticipated opening of the multi-million dollar SFJAZZ Center, which is scheduled to open onMartin Luther King Jr.Dayin 2013.

In the meantime, the new season's concerts will occur at a variety of bay area venues beginning with Esperanza Spalding at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland on August 25 and extending into the fall.

Highlights from the jazz firmament include two performances by "saxophone colossus" Sonny Rollins on September 29 and 30, Ornette Coleman on November 9 and 17 and a concert celebrating the '80s output of Miles Davis called "Miles Smiles," featuring trumpeter Wallace Roney and guitarist Robben Ford.

Among other intriguing concerts are solo turns by Branford Marsalis (October 5) and John Medeski (November 8), a pairing of innovative guitarist Marc Ribot and Los Lobos' David Hidalgo (October 24), a reunion of the Brecker Brothers Band (September 28) and the genre-hopping explorations of the Robert Glasper Experiment (November 1). A multi-act series of concerts dedicated to the sounds of Brazil, Cuba and vocalists are also planned.

The full lineup is available on the SFJAZZ website, and tickets go onsale Sunday, July 22. (Tickets for the Spalding show are available now).


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