Jazz Mafia Rebirth of the Cool in Baybridged by Adam Theis

Jazz Mafia, led by Adam Theis, performed Miles Davis' Birth Of the Cool at The SFJAZZ Center on Friday night. The sold-out crowd was treated to an hour of this "musical experiment" masterpiece that was made in the '40s and '50s by jazz greats like Miles Davis, Gil Evans, Gerry Mulligan, and John Lewis.

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Soiled Dove - Jazz Mafia/Vau De Vire Collaboration by Adam Theis

Acrobatics, corsetry and mustaches, oh my! San Francisco's newest dinner theater is busting out the big acts for patrons who like a good spectacle.

The Soiled Dove, presented by the Vau de Vire Society of The Edwardian Ball and New Bohemia NYE, bills itself as "an immersive, circus-infused dinner theater set in San Francisco's notorious Barbary Coast red light district." And immersive it is with gravity-defying acts that take place among and above the audience accompanied by stage performances and live music from Jazz Mafia and Realistic Orchestra.

Patrons can also expect a four-course dinner, prepared by Work of Art catering, with dishes like short ribs with asparagus, corn and mashed potatoes. (Vegan options are available upon request.)

The dinner show is on its second run in San Francisco after multiple sold-out performances in December; it runs through April 4. Get a sneak preview in the photos above. 

Jazz Mafia creator Adam Theis will bring new band Subharmonic to San Jose Jazz Festival by Adam Theis

Adam Theis is the Jazz Mafia guy, always a little bit different. Watch him on YouTube wailing on his trombone — while wake surfing on Lake Sonoma. Or directing his band Supertaster, while backing Stevie Wonder in a packed San Francisco lounge. And then marshaling his troops onstage at the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre: 55 rappers, singers and instrumentalists, performing one of his hip-hop symphonies.


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Baytaper feature on Emperor Norton Suite premiere at Stern Grove by Adam Theis

Photographs and audio samples from the debut of the Jazz Mafia Symphony No. 2 “Emperor Norton Suite” (along with other selections) live at the Stern Grove Festival in San Francisco on June 26, 2011. 

What an incredible free outdoor show this was! What’s not to like about so many talented local musicians coming together on such a beautiful day at such a fantastic venue? This is why I live in San Francisco, good times all around!

Jazz Mafia and Roy Ayers at Summerstage by Adam Theis

The last time Roy Ayers was in town, he stood on a smallish stage alongside his band of brothers in musical arms, filling the room with the energy and sound of double the troops that were camped out underneath the lights. At Central Park SummerStage, these imaginary figures were realized as actual people, about 30 or so comprising San Francisco’s Jazz Mafia Symphony, which had been commissioned to augment Ayers’ classics in celebration of his 70th birthday last year. From the position at back left on the ground’s green astro turf, the Brooklyn native was a tiny blip amongst the mass of people—full percussion, brass, string and vocal sections—but as always, he raged away, this time with a pair of red-headed vibraphone mallets.

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7x7 Stern Grove by Adam Theis

If a philharmonic orchestra married a big band and kept its street rap mistress in the attic, you’d have something approaching the Jazz Mafia sound. And one hell of a dysfunctional family dynamic. Playing Stern Grove this weekend, Jazz Mafia's electric blend of funk, soul, and brass will continue to defy genre with all its funky brass heart. 

Best known for its hip-hop symphony Brass, Bows, and Beats, the Mission-based music collective is premiering a new piece, Emperor Norton Symphony No. 2. An eccentrically excellent fusion of sound in honor of the eccentrically excellent San Franciscan who claimed imperial sovereignty in 1859 and lived out the rest of his life being humored by local bartenders who accepted his currency, drawn with what we assume was the 19th century's answer to the crayon. Jazz Mafia will perform with guest star Chali 2na (who’s also shared the stage with Ozomatli and Jurassic 5).

Baytaper feature on Brass, Bows & Beats Premiere in SF by Adam Theis

SF Jazz showcased the premiere of Adam Theis’ Brass, Bows & Beats: A Hip Hop Symphony at the Palace of Fine Arts on Saturday, April 18, 2009. Supported by a generous “Emerging Composer” grant from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the composition featured more than 40 of the Jazz Mafia’s incredible jazz, funk, classical, and hip hop musicians. 

It was a truly remarkable event, my hat goes off to everyone involved! I was quite simply blown away by it all, and I was grateful to have been given such intimate access to document the day in photos. If you’d like to read a more detailed review of how entirely awesome it was, make sure to stop by Kirk Hamilton’s Blog for a fittingly excellent writeup.

Adam Theis, Rita Thies, Evan Francis, Alex Budman, Sheldon Brown, Kasey Knudsen, Matt Nelson, Doug Rowan, Dave Scott, Neil Levonious, Mike Olmos, Joel Ryan, Joel Behrman, Danny Grewen, Jeanne Geiger, Jaime Dubberly, Allison Sawyer, Mads Tolling, Anthony Blea, Dina Macabee, Celia Harris, Kathy Marshall, Graeme Jennings, Elizabeth Prior, Charith Premawardana, Darcy Rindt, Jess Ivry, Robin Reynolds, Sam Bass, Jon Monahan, Matt Berkeley, Colin Hogan, Geroge Ban-Weiss, Tommy Folen, Eric Garland, Joe Bagale, Pat Korte, Matt Lucas, Aspect McCarthy, Karyn Paige, Chris McGee, Dublin, Seneca, Gedeon, and Lyrics Born. I’m sure I missed someone, sorry, but I wrote everyone I could possibly remember!