Live Review: SFJAZZ Center’s Opening Night Gala

S.F. jazz concert hall – upbeat opening: Aidin Vaziri | In an elegant, flowing white gown, Mary Stallings, more than capably backed by the SFJazz High School All-Stars, serenaded the star-studded room with a swinging rendition of Peggy Lee’s “I Love Being Here With You.” It set the perfect mood for an evening that was all about loose, celebratory and often jaw-dropping collaborations: Saxophonists Joshua Redman and Joe Lovano playing side by side; keyboardist Chick Corea and guitarist Bill Frisell improvising together for the first time ever (“Neither of us know what we’re doing,” Corea said); bassist Esperanza Spalding facing off with drummer Eric Harland. But what greater treat than watching pianist McCoy Tyner of the John Coltrane Quartet sharing the stage with the great vibraphone player Bobby Hutcherson (who performed wearing an oxygen tube) and former members of the mighty SFJazz Collective, jamming together on “Blues on the Corner”?
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