The SFJAZZ Great Americas Songbook series focuses on Big Bands this week – Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band, the Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, John Beasley’s Big Band MONK’estra, and Tommy Igoe’s Groove Conspiracy.
Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band is riding high on the success of its latest release – Life In the Bubble – which won this year’s GRAMMY for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album, and the performance on July 30th has already sold out.
Swinging and sophisticated, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra plays the music of Count Basie on Friday evening. Described by Jazz Times as “One of current jazz’s most vital large ensembles” – the CHJO is also regarded as one of the finest working big bands in the world (SFJAZZ). Headed by three master musicians – saxophonist Jeff Clayton, bassist John Clayton and Jeff Hamilton on drums – the Orchestra is heading for its 30th anniversary.
Each of the band’s leaders has worked with an incredible array of illustrious stars – names which include Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr, Lena Horne, Ella Fitzgerald and Paul McCartney – and the Orchestra has recorded nine albums, with guest stars who include Modern Jazz Quartet vibraphonist Milt Jackson, and French star Charles Aznavour. The CHJO’s most recent release – The LA Treasures Project – is a live recording which features vocalists Ernie Andrews and Barbara Morrison.
The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra plays the music of Count Basie in the Miner Auditorium on Friday, July 31, at 7.30 pm. Further information and tickets are available from the SFJAZZ website.
John Beasley and his 17-piece Big Band present John Beasley’s MONK’estra – The Thelonius Monk Legacy – on Saturday evening. Regarded as one of the busiest and most versatile musicians in jazz – bandleader, first-call keyboardist, composer, arranger and music director for major tours, film and television – Beasley presents a selection of new arrangements of Monk’s music, described by jazz critic Don Heckman (International Review of Music) as “some of the most mesmerizing big band music of recent memory”. The idea behind MONK’estra is to explore not only the music of Thelonius Monk, but that of Duke Ellington and Benny Golson, and of Beasley’s originals as well, performed by a band comprised of “some of the jazz world’s finest instrumentalists” (SFJAZZ).
Musical Director of UNESCO’s International Jazz Day in Osaka in April 2014, Beasley is described by All About Jazz as “one of the best pianists and improvisers on the jazz scene today …… a master musician, with total command of the jazz language”.
John Beasley presents his MONK’estra in the Miner Auditorium on Saturday, August 1st, at 7.30 pm. For more information and tickets, visit the SFJAZZ website.
On Sunday, San Francisco’s own Tommy Igoe Groove Conspiracy presents the music of Steely Dan in a selection of all-new arrangements, accompanied by Steely Dan’s touring guitarist Drew Zingg. Igoe, multi-award winning drummer and bandleader, created and leads a band which features many of the Bay Area’s finest instrumentalists – including Steffen Kuehn, trumpeter and leader of Pacific Mambo Orchestra; tenor saxophonist Tom Politzer; and alto saxophonist Marc Russo, of Doobie Brothers fame.
The band’s recently released album – The Tommy Igoe Conspiracy – features guest artists Randy Brecker, Santana’s Karl Perazzo, and Snarky Puppy’s Michael League, and was described by KQED TV as “Boasting some of the finest players and arrangers in the region …. and gives a good sense of what the fuss is all about”.
Having worked with an impressive range of artists – including Dave Grusin, Art Garfunkel, the New York Voices and Stanley Jordan – Tommy Igoe has performed extensively on Broadway, and in 1997 wrote the drum set book for Disney’s Broadway production of the The Lion King where he was principal drummer and associate conductor. He presently runs two of the country’s most popular music residencies – one in San Francisco, the other in New York.
The Tommy Igoe Groove Conspiracy appears in the Miner Auditorium on Sunday, August 2nd, at 7.30 pm. To find out more, and for tickets, visit the SFJAZZ website.