Innovative eight-string guitarist Charlie Hunter, heralded vocalist-pianist Patricia Barber, the explorative Tin Hit Trio and vibraphonist of the moment Stefon Harris will perform for free Saturday in San Francisco, courtesy of an unusual pair of producers.
Blue Note records — definitely the jazz establishment — has teamed up with Mother Jones magazine, definitely anti-establishment, to put on the show at the Gardens at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The festivities run from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
"The concert grew out of conversations with the executives at Blue Note," said Jay Harris, publisher of the San Francisco magazine. "This is a very significant market, and Blue Note was looking for a way to give themselves a higher profile in the Bay Area. It just seemed like a great partnership."
Harris added that jazz fans and Mother Jones readers have intersecting interests. "Jazz is historically rooted in activism," he said. "Also, we have an urban readership, and jazz is a music strongly associated with cities."
Hunter and Harris are part of Blue Note's roster of newer artists, while the Tin Hat Trio (featuring Mark Orton on guitar, dobro and banjo, Carla Kihlstedt on violin and viola and Rob Burger on accordion, harmonica and various keyboarded instruments) are signed to Angel Records, a Blue Note sibling label. Barber records for Premonition Records, which has a distribution deal with Blue Note.
If the weather cooperates, Harris reckons that crowds will be drawn to the Yerba Buena Center's idyllic setting in downtown San Francisco and the afternoon's diverse lineup.
"Jazz is expensive, so it kind of fractures things," he said. "You go and hear what you can afford. This way, listeners can sample a bit of everything."