San Francisco State University jazz students perform for their teachers and their future fans. Photo by Jeff Kaliss
Passing sound on through the generations is how jazz got going, and that it's still happening was showcased at the 7 Mile's first (and hopefully not last) Master & Student Jam on Tuesday night. At least a dozen-and-a-half current or former students joined 7 Mile regulars and San Francisco State University Music Department faculty Andrew Speight and Michael Zisman, and did their mentors proud! SFSU grad Lilian Wu, anchoring the house band in the first set, brushed up Andrew's velvet vibrato on "My Funny Valentine", apparently dedicated to the hornman's lady love, watching from a barstool. Monday master Dave Bendigkeit joined in to warm up "Bllues in C", and to situate a quote from the "Flintstones" theme into "Anthropology". Eddie Mendenhall sparked the keyboard, Michael Zisman percolated the bass, and the spirit of Jazz Appreciation Month was maintained by another sizeable, appreciative audience, rejuvenating the demographic. Students predominated during the second set, among them vocalist Gabi Cavassa, and the visible learning process (who's gonna trade fours with the drummer and in what order?) was charming. Your Jazz Ambassador (me) fielded an unanticipated request from Andrew to recite poetry during the break between sets. Not having with me the folder I'll be wielding during my regular gig with Don Alberts next Tuesday (Apr. 19th), I managed to access from memory an undergraduate sonnet and also to scribble down a versified improvisation on Patricia Johnston and Don Raye's lyrics to "I'll Remember April". The largely collegiate crowd seemed to dig it. I retitled it, "I"ll Remember Andrew", and I think both I and his adoring students will, for a long, long time.