Bay Area Beats: Francis Wong

May 17, 2017

Saxophonist Francis Wong grew up in South San Francisco, but he’s made his mark in music far beyond his small hometown. The late jazz critic Phil Elwood called him one of "the greatest saxophonists of his generation."

Wong came of age in the fertile political Bay Area of the 1960s, and as a young adult began to intertwine his artistic and social aims. He’s since become a leader in the Asian-American arts community, and says he works to integrate tradition and innovation in his work.

In this edition of Bay Area Beats, Francis Wong talks about how he tries to make music that not only connects people, but inspires them to action.

WONG: As musicians the main issue was becoming visible and heard. As Asian Americans we didn't fit the profile of a jazz musician. So record companies just didn't see how we could find an audience. So we went about the task of creating our own audience.

Asian Improv aRts will be celebrating their 30th anniversary at the Asian Art Museum in SF this Saturday, with an all-star show called "Asian Improv Nation."

Click the audio player above to listen to the complete interview.