Sonic Globetrotting: Upcoming World Music Events for Fall

Cuban alto saxophonist, percussionist and composer Yosvany Terry (Courtesy: the artist)

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Whether or not you got to take your dream vacation to an exotic locale this summer, living in the Bay Area means musical adventures are plentiful. Just about any night of the week, some of the world’s greatest improvisers can be found in local clubs, and musicians from around the world know they can find avid and appreciative audiences here.

Some of the season’s most exciting gigs exemplify two accelerating cultural trends: the rapidly thawing relations between the US and Cuba, and the increasing support for commissioned works by jazz composers. The Bay Area is well situated to take advantage of both situations, though sometimes a great gig is just a great gig.

Carlos Núñez
Carlos Núñez

Carlos Núñez

Sept. 29
Don Quixote’s International Music Hall
Tickets and info
Oct. 1
Freight & Salvage
Tickets and Information

Coaxing a striking array of sounds and textures out of an ancient and obscure bagpipe from northern Spain called the gaita, Carlos Núñez has transformed a tradition-bound instrument into a vehicle for pan-Celtic exploration. Like so many fiery renegades he’s often compared to Jimi Hendrix, but he’s closer in spirit to Jake Shimabukuro or Béla Fleck.

Lisa Mezzacappa
Lisa Mezzacappa

Lisa Mezzacappa’s Glorious Ravage

Oct. 1 - 2
Brava Theater
Tickets and Information

Building on her extensive ties to experimental filmmakers (via her Mission Eye & Ear project) and California’s vivid cast of iconoclastic improvisers, bassist, composer and torrential creative force Lisa Mezzacappa presents the Bay Area premiere of Glorious Ravage, a sweeping free-jazz song cycle inspired by the writings of intrepid 19th century “lady adventurers.”

The performance features a 12-piece ensemble full of singular instrumental voices such as pianist Myra Melford, bassist Mark Dresser, flutist Nicole Mitchell, and violist Dina Maccabee performing a live score for moving imagery by Konrad Steiner, Alfonso Alvarez, Kathleen Quillian and Janis Crystal Lipzin.

Yosvany Terry
Yosvany Terry

Yosvany Terry & Baptiste Trotignon

Oct. 3
Yerba Buena Gardens Festival
Tickets and Information
Oct. 4
Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society
Tickets and Information
Oct. 5
Kuumbwa Jazz Center
Tickets and info

After releasing last year’s exhilarating and spiritually-charged album New Throned King, which explores the musical traditions of the Arará people near where he grew up in Matanzas, Cuban alto saxophonist, percussionist and composer Yosvany Terry widens his focus to encompass the French Caribbean. Collaborating with French pianist Baptiste Trotignon, he premieres Ancestral Memories, a body of music drawing on the melodies and rhythms from Haiti and Guadeloupe to New Orleans.  The band features his brother and frequent musical partner Yunior Terry and powerhouse drum star Jeff “Tain” Watts.

Christian Scott
Christian Scott

Christian Scott

Oct. 15 - 16
Yoshi’s
Tickets and Information
Oct. 17
Kuumbwa Jazz Center
Tickets and Information

The scion of a storied New Orleans musical clan, trumpeter Christian Scott has emerged in the past decade as a bracing new voice in the process of crafting a personal synthesis of African-American musical forms from Crescent City street music to contemporary R&B. Celebrating the release of his new album Stretch Music, he’s touring with a volatile and groovecentric ensemble featuring saxophonist Braxton Cook, pianist/keyboardist Lawrence Fields, bassist Kris Funn, drummer Corey Fonville, guitarist Dominic Minix, and recent Berkeley High grad Elena Pinderhughes (who seems to be everywhere these days) on flute and vocals.

Chucho Valdes
Chucho Valdes

Chucho Valdés and Irekere

Oct. 25
Green Music Center
Tickets and Information
Oct. 27
Rio Theatre
Tickets and Information
Oct. 29 - Nov. 1
SFJAZZ Center
Tickets and Information

Some four decades after Chucho Valdés and a brilliant cadre of Cuban musicians revolutionized Latin music with a sensational mix of sacred Afro-Cuban folklore, rock, and post-bop jazz, the imposing piano virtuoso has assembled a blazing new version of the band, showcasing some of the island’s most exciting players. (It should also be noted that the Green Music Center concert is a double bill with Cuban rumba maestro Pedrito Martinez Group).

Zakir Hussain
Zakir Hussain (Photo: Jim McGuire)

Indian Jazz All-Stars

Oct. 1 - 4
SFJAZZ Center
Tickets and Information

Ever since his days as a founding member of the pioneering Indo-jazz ensemble Shakti in the mid-1970s, tabla legend Zakir Hussain has sought to bridge the supremely sophisticated improvisational traditions of jazz and classical Indian music. He continues his SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director stint with a program bringing together Indian masters like guitarist Amit Chatterjee and vocalist Shankar Mahadevan with tenor saxophonist Chris Potter, bassist Dave Holland and drummer Eric Harland (on Oct. 1 - 2), and Holland and drummer Vinnie Colaiuta (on Oct. 3 - 4).

Myra Melford
Myra Melford (Bryan Murray)

Myra Melford Snowy Egret

Oct. 12
Kuumbwa Jazz Center
Tickets and Information
Oct. 13
Freight & Salvage
Tickets and Information

Berkeley pianist/composer Myra Melford possesses a profound gift for melding some of jazz’s most distinguishable voices into pliable organisms, and her latest band Snowy Egret is a particularly fine example. The new group features the distilled lyricism of cornetist Ron Miles, the pointillistic lines of guitarist Liberty Ellman, melodic bass guitar of Stomu Takeishi, and textural drumming of Ted Poor.

Scott Amendola
Scott Amendola

Scott Amendola Band

Nov. 10
Yoshi's
Tickets and Information

Drummer Scott Amendola makes the most out of every opportunity when itineraries allow him to round up his prodigious quintet. Featuring guitarists Nels Cline and Jeff Parker, violinist Jenny Scheinman and redoubtable bassist John Shifflett, this band is all about the push and pull between the frontline strings and the rhythm section’s tidal surges.

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