The SF JAZZ All-Stars is a 20-piece big band directed by jazz educator Dr. Dee Spencer. Its members are selected every year by audition.
Highlights of the festival include performances by clarinetist Don Byron's Ivey-Divey Trio with pianist Jason Moran and drummer Jack DeJohnette (October 17); vocalist Dianne Reeves (October 31); guitar great Jim Hall and his trio (November 4); guitarist Ali Di Meola, bassist Stanley Clarke, and violinist Jean-Luc Ponty (October 22); pianist Brad Mehldau (October 22); and vocalist Kurt Elling (October 24). An October 28 tribute to soprano saxophonist and composer Steve Lacy, who died this past June, will feature the Monksieland Band, a hybrid of Thelonious Monk's music with Dixieland.
This year's lineup also contains plenty of world-music performers, including singer, guitarist, and composer Caetano Veloso from Brazil, the African-Portuguese fado singer Mariza, Afropop singer Rokia Traor_ of Mali, and the Norwegian jazz group Jaga Jazzist.
On November 7, the festival presents a Fats Waller tribute at Davies Symphony Hall called "The Joint is Jumpin'," with performances from singer Ruth Brown, pianist Dick Hyman, and pianist and bandleader Jay McShann.