Sarah McKenzie’s “Paris of the West” Suite to Cap Lesher Center Concert Series

The Lesher Center for the Arts — located in the historic downtown section of Walnut Creek, California — has been presenting leading-edge programming within all arts disciplines, including the American jazz tradition, for almost three decades. This year’s Jazz at the Lesher Center 2018 Concert Series, presented by the Diablo Regional Arts Association for the seventh year in a row, will run on Saturday evenings from July 28 through September 14.

On September 14, the series will conclude with the world premiere of vocalist-pianist Sarah McKenzie’s San Francisco — Paris of the West, a 13-song suite of newly composed material commissioned by Jazz at the Lesher Center. The concert commemorates the enduring legacy of San Francisco’s oldest department store, City of Paris, through a collective of narratives set to 1930s-inspired music. The songs were written in the tradition of the Great American Songbook, and promise to bring to life the wondrous stories of the store's founders, Felix and Emile Verdier, who voyaged aboard the “Ville du Paris” ship from France to San Francisco on a quest to open a store celebrating French culture.

Watch the video for “Paris in the Rain” from San Francisco - Paris of the West via the player below:

McKenzie will be performing her songs from San Francisco - Paris of the West alongside an acclaimed live band featuring bassist John Clayton, drummer Jeff Hamilton, vibraphonist Warren Wolf, guitarist Graham Dechter, trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos, and saxophonists Jeff Clayton and Rickey Woodard.

The Jazz at the Lesher Center 2018 Concert Series will also feature trumpeter Bria Skonberg with special guest Wycliffe Gordon on July 28; pianist Marcus Roberts' The Modern Jazz Generation with drummer Jason Marsalis; bassist Rodney Jordan and their 10-piece orchestra on August 11; Brazilian vocalist Eliane Elias on August 18; and contemporary pianist Gerald Clayton's quintet with saxophonist Dayna Stephens on August 25. All performances of the series will take place at the 300-seat Margaret Lesher Theatre at the Lesher Center for the Arts. For more information, go to

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