Trumpeter Allen Smith was a musician’s musician, able to play with verve and precision in gigs ranging from Benny Goodman sell-outs to intimate shows featuring top-flight local singers such as Kim Nalley and Lavay Smith. One of the last links to the golden era of San Francisco jazz, he played all the serious jazz clubs and was one of the first musicians to break the color barrier at certain downtown spots.
And for the last 40 years or so, he did all this in his spare time, devoting the bulk of his energy to his duties as a teacher and eventually principal at Junipero Serra High School in San Francisco.
It’s a gross understatement to say Smith, who died in February at the age of 85, will be missed. So it should be no surprise that dozens of the Bay Area’s best singers and instrumentalists — including Nalley, Paula West, John Handy, Jules Broussard, Noel Jewkes and many more — will be on hand Sunday to pay tribute to the maestro from 2 to 4 p.m. at Yoshi’s San Francisco. Admission is free, but advance registration is required and a donation to the Jazz Heritage Center (run by son Peter Fitzsimmons) is only proper.
Also on the Bay Area jazz calendar this weekend:
- Latin jazz masters Primavera take on Chick Corea, Tito Puente and more on the new album, “Tocando Juntos,” which the group will celebrate with an 8 p.m. Friday show at Berkeley’s Jazzschool. $10.
- An enchanting singer whose approach reflects equal measures of Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf and Joni Mitchell, nobody ever made world-weary romantic ennui sound as appealing as Madeline Peyroux. She makes an SFJAZZ appearance at 8 p.m. Friday at the Palace of Fine Arts. Tickets are sold out, so start making friends.
- Django Reinhardt apostle George Cole kicks up a swinging storm with his quintet, 8 p.m. Saturday at Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley. $22.50-$24.50.
- International travel is expensive, and time travel is still a theory, at best. So enjoy the next best thing as singer-bandleader Max Raabe and his Palast Orchester transport listeners back to Weimar-era Germany with swinging renditions of everything from period material to Brtiney Spears ditties. The SFJAZZ show starts at 8 p.m. Saturday amidst the fitting Art Deco splendor of the Paramount Theater in Oakland. $25-$80.
- The legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band plays traditional New Orleans jazz with a vengeance 4 p.m. Sunday at the El Campanil Theater in Antioch. $15-$40
- Saxophonist Dave Le Febvre makes jazz that feeds the mind and soul, 8 p.m. Saturday at Berkeley’s Jazzschool. $12.
- Master percussionist John Santos teams up with do-anything pianist Larry Vukovich for a 4:30 p.m. Sunday show at Bliss Bar in San Francisco. $10.
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