There’s no getting around the fact that jazz, while still dominant, increasingly fights for space on the two Yoshi’s calendars. More and more, the venues are presenting evenings of neo-soul, Old School R&B, smooth jazz, even hip-hop. Hard-core jazz fans can hardly characterize that development as optimistic, but that doesn’t alter reality.
That said, it’s good to note that Yoshi’s in San Francisco is increasing the jazz quotient through its Local Talent series. Launched two weeks ago, the shows run 6-9 p.m. in the Jazz Lounge. Admission is free.
The series’ initial sessions have followed the main hall’s lead by presenting jazz amid other genres. Opening night August 18 featured the folk-influenced Genna and Jesse; two nights later came the guitar-violin duo of Matthias McIntire and Justin Houchin with an evening of “jazz standards, classical arrangements, free improvisation and original music inspired by classical, jazz and bluegrass.”
Jazz looks to take on a larger role in September. Each Thursday in the month belongs to NaJe (pronounced Na – jay), better known to her friends as Rebecca Benham. The vocalist counts Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Anita O’ Day and Julie London among her influences and G. Levin (piano), Chris Amberger (bass) and Lorca Hart (drums) among her bandmates.
The month also sees multiple performances by the Eddie Pasternak Trio of Pasternak (guitar), Roger Glenn (reeds, horn) and Dick Hindman (piano) as well as an evening with vocalist Audrey Shimkas.
You don’t need me to reiterate here the importance and value of supporting local talent, in the case by supporting Local Talent.
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