It’s no secret that the Fillmore District has a long tradition of fine jazz music.
It’s also no secret that, to the uninitiated, the world of jazz can be as impenetrable as the crowd at Yoshi’s on a Friday night. Here to help: a handy cheat sheet for this weekend’s Jazz Fest performances.
Contemporary Jazz Orchestra
This 16-piece powerhouse plays big, fast tunes in the style of early greats -- think Charles Mingus and Louie Armstrong at his most exuberant. Highlights include a sprawling take on Dizzy Gillespie’s “Night in Tunisia,” plus much-lauded guest vocalist Kenny Washington.
Crystal Monee Hall
The Virginia-born chanteuse has enchanted audiences from New York to LA, even teaming up with former Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart for a longstanding vocal engagement. Here’s hoping she graces this year’s festival with her soulful cover of The Velvet Underground’s All Tomorrow’s Parties.
Skip the slo-mo funk of Afrolicious and catch this year’s jazz artist in residence. Reminiscent of past legends like Ella and Billie, Kim Nalley packs a powerful wallop into bluesy vocals that draw heavily on influences from the postwar era.