The San Francisco Bay Jazz Ensemble is an eighteen-piece big band under the direction of Jeff Sanford, a Bay Area veteran saxophonist, clarinetist and flutist, and band leader, music teacher, collector of music charts and instruments who loves and breaths music. SF Bay JAZZ plays instrumentals and vocals from Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Count Basie, Woody Herman, Bill Holman, Cole Porter, Ira and George Gershwin, and many others.

Perhaps, you know Jeff Sanford from his widely acclaimed Cartoon Jazz music project, a revival of Raymond Scott's music, featured at the Stanford Jazz Workshop in Palo Alto, at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley and at Jazz at Pearl's in North Beach, San Francisco. Perhaps, you have heard him play with local favorites such as Martini Brothers, Mal Sharpe's Big Money in Jazz, Magnolia Jazz Band, Joel Abramson Orchestras, Tony Marcus & Patrice Haan, Brazilian Choro groups, Rudy Salvini big band, The Studio 6 (Don Piestrup) Jazz Band, Golden Gate Park Band, Jeff Sanford's Cartoon Jazz Orchestra. Jeff Sanford started playing the clarinet at age nine. He soon added the entire family of saxophones and flutes to his repertoire, from soprano and piccolo to bass saxophone and bass flute. Jeff cherishes a diversity of music styles, including pop music, traditional music from various countries, classical music and jazz. He has played with the San Francisco Symphony and the Napa Valley Symphony.

Prior to Sanford, at the helm was the award-winning and SF Bay Jazz founding music director Charles Hamilton, an accomplished conductor with a track record of leading jazz bands to excellence and nationally recognized achievements. Charles plays each of his bands like a fine-tuned instrument. He is involved with a handful of his own ensembles, playing trombone, flugelhorn, and trumpet. His passion for jazz, and working with aspiring musicians, is outstanding. Hamilton’s well-known accomplishments include his taking over the leadership of the Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble in 1981 from Phil Handyman, a renowned jazz musician, composer and educator, who since 1975 had led the Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble to winning state-wide jazz competitions and often earned a spot at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Under Hamilton’s directorship, the Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble has continued to thrive and develop some of the best musicians in the jazz world, including Peter Apfelbaum, Ben Ball, Will Bernard, Dave Ellis, Rodney Franklin, Kito Gamble, Benny Green, Craig Handy, Jessica Jones, Josh Jones, David Murray, Miles Perkins, Lenny Pickett, Josh Redman and Michael Wolff.

SF Bay Jazz is a non-profit organization with a mission to provide live music to the San Francisco Bay Area community as well as through international venues to further public awareness and appreciation of the valuable American musical heritage, jazz. The group was founded in California and has been performing internationally and to local community, including art and wine festivals, senior centers, hospitals and charitable and corporate events over the last two decades.