(POSTPONED) Tony Saunders presents inaugural Golden Gate Jazz Festival

Headliners include the Count Basie Orchestra, Regina Belle, and Pete Escovedo.

Update as of August 13, 2021:

The Golden Gate Jazz Festival has been postponed to July 22-24, 2022 out of concern for health and safety precautions amid ongoing changes in COVID-19 guidelines and requirements for public events. If you are a ticket-holder, your ticket(s) are valid for the new dates and no action is required. If you would like to request a refund, please contact City Box Office at info@cityboxoffice.com.

Performer and presenter Tony Saunders has announced details of the first Golden Gate Jazz Festival to be held August 27-29 2021 at the Presidio Theatre in the historic Presidio of San Francisco with a lineup of artists from trailblazing history-makers to innovations from some of today’s hottest young performers. The Festival runs Friday and Saturday, August 27 and 28, 6:30-10 pm and Sunday, August 29, 5:30-9 pm with a VIP pre-concert reception before each show. Tickets are priced $85 and VIP pre-show receptions are and additional $50. For details, artists bios and to order tickets, visit www.presidotheatre.org and for artists’ bios and information, Golden Gate Jazz Festival .

“I created the Golden Gate Jazz Festival to shine a light on the inter-connections of jazz artists and in tribute to my father, Merl Saunders,” says Founder and Director Tony Saunders. “He was a multi-genre artist who played with and influenced many of the performers on this year’s lineup and dozens of others. He understood the importance of living in deep connection with artists who came before us and those who will carry on the jazz legacies of tomorrow—his music always played it forward. I love all music and what I have learned over the years has helped with the conception of this concert Series. I look forward to welcoming audiences to our concerts to celebrate this continuum of creativity, connections, love and just plain great music.”

The inaugural Golden Gate Jazz Festival is sponsored by Ronnie Lott’s All Stars Helping Kids, Maven Mayhem, Pacific Bay Lending, Inc., Anna Macias-Deleon , Jean Charles Boissett Wines, White Oak Vineyards, Romeo Vineyards, Carol Shelton Wines, Stellar Transportation, STLR Entertainment, Gary & Toni Bramon, Hilton San Francisco Airport Bayfront, Smoothjazz.Com and Air Spectrum Inc. Dba Webnetradio.


Friday, August 27, 6:30-10 pm
Kim Waters and Special Guest Kayla Waters
Tony Saunders & The Rainforest Band with Vernon Black
Lao Tizer Band with Karen Briggs, Chieli Minucci and Special Guest Eric Marienthal VIP Pre-Show Reception with The Jazz Mafia – 5pm-6pm

Saturday, August 28, 6:30-10 pm
The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra Under the Direction of Scotty Barnhart with Guest Vocalists Carmen Bradford & Jamie Davis
Pete Escovedo & Sons Juan Escovedo and Peter Michael Escovedo Brandon The Messenjah
VIP Pre-Show Reception with The Noteworthy Band – 5pm-6pm

Sunday, August 29, 5:30-9 pm
Regina Belle
Jazz in Pink with Gail Jhonson
Brown, Sturgis & Brown
VIP Pre-Show Reception with The Noteworthy Band – 4pm-5pm


Two-time Emmy Award winning bassist, composer, producer and son of legendary Bay Area keyboardist, Merl Saunders, Tony Saunders’ life has been infused with one musical adventure after another. As an arranger, producer, composer and performer, Saunders has conquered the worlds of jazz, gospel, R&B, pop, rock and world music. He earned the first of his two Emmys at age 14 for collaborating with his dad on the PBS documentary Soul Is and by 17 was playing with Merl and Jerry Garcia on their collaborative projects. The second was earned for his contribution on the TV show, Digital Journey, on the episode, “China: Their New Digital Economy.” Though he took one of his first musical lessons on piano from Herbie Hancock, the bass he received from John Fogerty’s brother Tom – and watching recording sessions with famed bassists Anthony Davis and Lee Miles – sparked a lifelong passion for that instrument that now, 50 years later, has led to his emergence as a major independent force in
contemporary jazz.

Saunders graduated from the prestigious Conservatory of Music in San Francisco as a piano player, but has focused on the bass throughout his career, drawing on influences and encouragement of greats like James Jamerson and Stanley Clarke. After launching his career with his dad Merl and Jerry Garcia, Saunders embarked on a diverse career that has found him playing and recording with a virtual who’s who of popular music and jazz – including Eric Clapton, David Crosby, Dave Liebman, Les McCann, Dr. John, Joe Sample, Chaka Khan, Ringo Star, Bo Diddley, Mavis Staples, John Lee Hooker, The Hawkins Family, and Smooth Jazz greats Jeff Lorber, Blake Aaron, Adam Hawley, Greg Manning, Gerald Albright, Gail jhonson, Jessie J and Paul Jackson Jr. Over the years, Tony has scored films, corporate videos, TV shows and commercials, and produced many artists out of his own studio, Studio 1281. He’s written the music and been musical director for stage musicals, including Rock Justice, which was co- written by Jefferson Starship’s Marty Balin.


Mercury News – June 28, 2021

Marin IJ – June 28, 2021

San Francisco Chronicle – July 14, 2021

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