When it comes to bands and live music, the San Francisco Bay Area is a hub of activity. This is especially so when it has to do with unique, one-of-a-kind bands. The Crooked Jades are known for their rare and obscure repertoire, inspired arrangements and eclectic vintage instrumentation. The eclectic is something that always has been treasured in the Bay Area, even before various types of music made a ‘crossover’ to mainstream on the popular music charts.
Live music has always been a cultural life force for the SF Bay Area and it can be traced further beyond events like Outside Lands, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass or even the legendary psychedelic sounds of the Fillmore West Auditorium.
The Crooked Jades began with co-founder and leader Jeff Kazor’s vision to revive the dark and hypnotic sounds of pre-radio music. Filtering these old-world sounds with universal and ancient themes, as he envisioned it, they seek to make sense of the future, reaffirming the importance of connecting to our shared humanity in this increasingly digital world.
The Crooked Jades over the years have released over 10 albums including the recent and acclaimed ‘Empathy Moves the Water.’ Other album releases include ‘World’s On Fire’ (featuring a track chosen by actor/director Sean Penn for the soundtrack of Oscar-nominated film ‘Into The Wild’), ‘Seven Sisters: A Kentucky Portrait’ – the soundtrack to the award-winning PBS documentary of the same name, and two albums co-produced by alt-country’s Richard Buckner. The Crooked Jades were featured in the KQED television and online program, SPARK, which takes the audience inside the creative process to witness the challenges, opportunities, and rewards of making art.
Before the Coronavirus pandemic, in 2019 The Crooked Jades collaborated with New York-based choreographer Kate Weare and the San Francisco dance company ODC, with its founder and artistic director Brenda Way, to create a contemporary dance performance at the Yerba Buena Arts Center paired with the music from the ‘World’s On Fire’ album and other compositions of The Crooked Jades from 2010.
The 2019 performance at Yerba Buena Arts Center was so well received that The Crooked Jades was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for outstanding achievement in Music/Sound/Text.
While technology and the ability to record sound/music has provided people of all ages and backgrounds the world over the ability to listen to and share all sorts of music, there is something special about music performed live.
Described as an ‘Old-time string band’ the unique and modern sound of The Crooked Jades is created by exploring the roots of Americana and interweaving the diverse musical influences of Europe and Africa.
“For myself and The Crooked Jades,” said Kazor, “the last year and half has been devastating economically and emotionally. With all gigs cancelled, no creative collaborations, it has been social depravation.”
“There is nothing more exhilarating or electrifying about what an audience does for us as a performer,” he added. “Playing live is so important to us. — I would say it’s not the egomaniacal validation you get from applause, but what we value and thrive from is the vulnerable connection/communion you can have with a group of strangers in a room.”
Kazor went on to say, “I have also learned that rehearsals are amazing! The act of making music together in the same room is something that I will never take for granted again. It has given me so much insight into how important this process is to my creative well-being.”
The Crooked Jades will be performing with opening act Skillet Licorice at the Point San Pablo Harbor Live on the Waterfront Summer Music Series on August 19.
Point San Pablo Harbor is located in Richmond, CA Admission is $25.00 in advance and $30.00 at the door, price includes parking. “It seems fitting to come back to performing live at an outdoor venue,” said Kazor.
Point San Pablo Harbor (PSPH) is a hidden marina tucked into the Point Molate peninsula, in Richmond, California. An escape from the everyday, PSPH has a recreational public shore, and outdoor concert venue overlooking the San Francisco and San Pablo Bays. Sweeping sunset views and a small farm with a herd of goats, give this special venue a rustic charm you can’t get anywhere else. It is a truly unique gem on the bay. PSPH is also home to many large scale interactive Burning Man sculptures as well as a large section of the old Bay Bridge that serves, in its retirement, as the outdoor bar. The ‘Live on the Waterfront’ concert series is located in the meadow and is equipped with a trailer mount stage and forklift lighting, with food, beer, wine, available for purchase at all Thursday concerts. All of the ‘Live on the Waterfront’ shows are family-friendly and kids 12 & under get in free.