It’s an exciting time for SFJazz, a renowned local jazz presenter and foundation dedicated to musical education programs for people of all ages. In addition to putting on the 30th annual San Francisco Jazz Festival, constructing a new SFJazz Center and presenting dozens of other events, SFJazz will be offering a free concert series this month in Union Square sponsored by the Union Square BID and Macy’s. You’ll have three opportunities to enjoy free jazz shows in the open air of Union Square Park. Plus, they’re setting up a beer and wine garden, featuring some of our favorite brews from local brewery North Coast Brewing Co. and Beringer wines. Drinks will be $5 each and proceeds will go to support SF Jazz’s educational programs. Here are all the details you need to make a night of one or all of the events:
Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers – Aug. 9 6-7:30 pm
Lavay Smith is known as the grande dame of Bay Area swing and blues. Her voice is reminiscent of the great jazz singers of the forties and fifties and has been compared to Bessie Smith and Dina Washington. Paired with the skilled big band rhythms of the Red Hot Skillet Lickers – a talented team with horn, string and percussion instruments, it’s sure to be a swingin’ night in Union Square.
Jazz Mafia All-Stars: Aug. 13 6-7:30 pm
For a more new school take on Jazz, you’ll want to take in the Jazz Mafia – a collective of the Bay Area’s top jazz singers and composers, hip hop, R&B, rap and even spoken word artists. The group has created some extremely innovative and unique post-modern compilations with a distinct San Francisco flavor. Show off your hip hop moves while you enjoy this diverse and provocative set of performers.
SambaDá: Aug. 23 6-7:30 pm
Another group of dedicated musicians, SambaDá specializes in Afro-Brazilian music made up of a combination of samba-reggae, surf rock, California Funk and, just for fun, capoeira. This Santa Cruz based band is a hybrid of Brazilian and American traditions, coming together to create a samba party with funk and rock twists.
Make a night of it and grab dinner afterward at one of our favorite date spots like Hops & Hominy, Scala’s Bistro or Burritt Room + Tavern. For a quick bite, you can also stop in on the Macy’s Basement and check out Frontera Fresco, SC Asian or Mixed Greens.