Photography: Fillmore Jazz Festival, San Francisco (Day 1)

It wasn’t until about 2pm before I made my way to Fillmore Jazz Fest., one of San Francisco’s annual celebrations of music and community. I turned to walk down Fillmore to find it packed. In search of music I surged forwards, pushing past volunteers handing out Hilary Clinton stickers with the same intensity as if the election was next week. I paused a few blocks down to briefly listen to a middle-aged woman discuss affordable housing and urging passers by to sign a petition for more affordable housing in San Francisco’s historic Mission District. This is one of the things I love about San Francisco. Even on a day when the focus is music, there is still a scent of activism in the air.

I carried down Fillmore, avoiding the enticing smell of BBQ’d meat on sticks and stopped when I heard the voice of Jonah Smith and I sat and listened for a while…

Fillmore Jazz Fest 2015, San Francisco - Jonah Smith

Fillmore Jazz Fest 2015, San Francisco - Jonah Smith

…his voice was soothing. The music had a suitable kick to it with a warm delivery. A mixture of soul influenced, piano led sounds kept me interested for sometime. I like that the Fillmore Jazz Fest was not about overloading the stages with people there to sing one, two songs and then move on. Jonah’s allocated set was well over an hour and I stayed for about 45mins, getting my fill, before wondering down the road towards Geary beyond even more food stalls and a bullish and decisively out of place something or the other from Geico.

And that is where stumbled across the Brooklyn Circus SF 7th anniversary block-party. I turned up in time to catch the tail end (well tail 30 mins) of So Super Sue’s set. It was a cacophony of breaks, and feel good hip-hop and I was bouncing all over the place. A remix of SpottieOttieDopaliciousAngel had me losing my mind and feeling like Christmas had come in July…

Fillmore Jazz Fest 2015, San Francisco - Brooklyn Circus SF, So Super Sue

Fillmore Jazz Fest 2015, San Francisco - Brooklyn Circus SF

Fillmore Jazz Fest 2015, San Francisco - Brooklyn Circus SF

Fillmore Jazz Fest 2015, San Francisco - Brooklyn Circus SFFillmore Jazz Fest 2015, San Francisco - Brooklyn Circus SF…it was difficult to leave. The block-party was just that, the place was jumping. Young and old in unison, carrying on bad and having a laugh in the process. It was difficult to leave. I tried. I failed. Then tried again…

Fillmore Jazz Fest 2015, San Francisco - Frank BayFillmore Jazz Fest 2015, San Francisco - Frank BayFillmore Jazz Fest 2015, San Francisco - Frank Bay…Good thing I did manage for force myself away as the next few sets of the day were very good indeed. The man above is Frank Bay. The women below is Sugar Pie DeSanto…

Fillmore Jazz Fest 2015, San Francisco - Sugar Pie DeSantoFillmore Jazz Fest 2015, San Francisco - Sugar Pie DeSantoFillmore Jazz Fest 2015, San Francisco - Sugar Pie DeSantoFillmore Jazz Fest 2015, San Francisco - Sugar Pie DeSanto…Frank Bay’s short set was a strong set of retro soul with a wholesome roundness to the sound. An artist caught my eye as they sketched the performance.

Then the star attraction, Sugar. Pie. DeSanto.

She absolute bossed her set. From amusingly holding back the urge to constantly curse to leading a mini hustle on the streets of San Francisco it is easy to see why this lady, at 79 years of age, is still putting on fantastic shows. She had more energy than anyone I’ve seen for awhile. Drawing songs largely from her latest release, 2005’s Refined Sugar, she was definitely in charge, and kindly reminded the band of this on several occasions! Shouts of “I wanna hear me” as she directed her supporting musicians was a joy to witness. Her set was a great way to end the day. Much to everyone’s annoyance the sound was pulled at 6pm, sharp! Genuinely couldn’t stop myself from smiling. Could’ve got food. Then I thought, wonder if the block-party is still going? Wondered back down the road to find out…

Rob

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