The San Francisco Jazz Festival will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year with an imposing cast of performers stretching across the music's stylistic boundaries. The standouts are obvious: saxophonists Sonny Rollins and Ornette Coleman, two of the greatest American musicians of the past half-century, each now in his 80s. Rollins brings his band to Davies Symphony Hall on Sept. 30; Coleman plays the same hall with his Sound Grammar band on Nov. 9.
Presented by SFJAZZ, the festival (Aug. 25-Dec. 7) also will showcase some of the young musicians who lately have been finding new audiences, even appearing on Leno and Letterman: bassist Esperanza Spalding, the 2011 best-new-artist Grammy winner, who performs at Oakland's Paramount Theatre (Aug. 25); and keyboardist Robert Glasper, who brings his genre-crossing "Experiment" band to the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre (Nov. 1).
What else? Saxophonist Branford Marsalis, performs solo at Grace Cathedral (Oct. 5). And the festival pays tribute to Thelonious Monk at Herbst Theatre (Oct. 10) with "Three Generations" of solo piano, featuring Barry Harris (probably the purest bebop pianist remaining in jazz), Jacky Terrasson and Alfredo Rodriguez. Singers include Dianne Reeves at the Herbst (Oct. 20), and Mary Stallings, performing with pianist Bill Charlap's fine trio also at Herbst (Oct. 26).
From Brazil: pianist/singer Eliane Elias at the Herbst (Oct. 5); Gilberto Gil throwing a "Forro Party!" at the Paramount Theatre (Oct. 25); and Ivan Lins at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre (Nov. 3). Carrying the Afro-Cuban torch: Septeto Nacional Ignacio Piñeiro de Cuba at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco (Oct. 4); Jerry and Andy González at the Herbst (Oct. 18); Orquesta Aragón at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre (Nov. 4); and trumpeter Arturo Sandoval at the Herbst (Dec. 1).
And while saxophonist Michael Brecker has passed away, brother Randy Brecker will lead a reunion of the Brecker Brothers Band with guitarist Mike Stern and drummer Dave Weckl at the Herbst (Sept. 28). A "Miles Smiles" band (celebrating Miles Davis's 1980s period) brings trumpeter Wallace Roney, saxophonist Bill Evans, guitarist Robben Ford, organist Joey DeFrancesco, bassist Darryl Jones (whom you've probably seen with the Rolling Stones) and drummer Omar Hakim to the Herbst (Sept. 30).
Also performing at the festival are Don Byron, Marcus Miller, Danilo Pérez, Marc Ribot, Tony Malaby, Grégoire Maret, John Medeski, the Blind Boys of Alabama and Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers.
Tickets ($5-$85, depending on event) go on sale July 22; for dates, venues, other details and tickets, go to www.sfjazz.org; tickets are also available by calling 1-866-920-5299.
Contact Richard Scheinin at 408-920-5069, or follow him on Twitter at @RichardScheinin