Friday, May 27, 2005

Bruni Interview on KPFA

Long famous in the bay area and around the world for her stylized paintings of jazz artists, Bruni will be interviewed on radio staion KPFA - 94.1 fm - Saturday May 28 from 11am to 12 on "Ear Thyme" hosted by Doug Edwards. Bruni was featured in February at a jazz artifact auction at Lincoln Center along side a Dizzy Gillespie trumpet and a Charlie Parker saxophone. You can also visit the BRUNI Gallery at 394 East Campbell Ave Campbell, CA.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Wil Blades at the JazzSchool

The blues via Wil Blades and the Hammond B3 live on strong in the bay area. Wil's experience extends beyond his years as he takes you on a rare jazz organ journey that leaves you with that good clean feeling inside. Well at least that is the way I feel. I can't get enough. I've seen a few great organists and Wil stands with them. I appreciate him keeping this art form alive.

He performs at the JazzSchool in Berkeley this Saturday night, May 28 at 8pm, made possible by the Jazz Organ Fellowship.

Dick Hindman at the JazzSchool

Dick Hindman on piano, Seward McCain on bass and Colin Bailey on drums finish a month of Friday night concerts at the JazzSchool, May 27 at 8pm celebrating their new CD, "Live at the JazzSchool." Last chance! It doesn't get better then this.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Profile - John Spragens, Jr. - Jazz Photographer

Profile is a regular feature on the Redhouse Jazz blog in which you get to know a San Francisco bay area jazz musician (a photographer in this case) a little better. Check out previous Profiles from the pull down menu in the right hand column.

John Spragens, Jr. is a jazz fan and takes photographs at jazz festivals mainly within bike riding distance of his Palo Alto home. He generously displays his work - over 500 pictures of local and visiting jazz musicians - on his web site (click here.) I think his interview below is interesting to musicians, photographers and jazz fans alike.

When did you get interested and what got you interested in photography?
I started to get serious about photography in my college days, when I was on the yearbook staff and wore a camera around my neck just about any time I wasn't sleeping. Hard to say what it was about photography that appealed to me so much. Capturing particular moments was part of it. Framing patterns within a larger environment. And partly just the darkroom magic of watching an image appear on photo paper in the developer.

What equipment do you use?
Most of the shots you see on the Web site were taken with the long-suffering Nikon F3 that has been my workhorse for over 20 years. I've shot tighter and tighter in recent years. (Paul Mehling is a notable victim of some efforts to see how minimal I could get -- how little I could show while still conveying some sense that music was being made.) That has meant that my favorite lens the last couple of years is a 300mm telephoto. I've tended to shoot ISO 800 color negative film and take it to my local store -- Keeble & Shuchat -- which does a good, clean job of developing the film. I had a Polaroid film scanner for a couple of years, then moved to a Minolta DiMage Scan Multi Pro. I use Photoshop to take care of dust spots, color balance and other technical chores. A Windows 2000 computer. Calibrating the monitor (I used the Eye One Display for the job) makes it a lot easier to get prints that match what I see on screen. But ... last year some digital photos crept onto the Web site. I shot them with a Nikon D70, which I pulled out of the bag after I shot my ration of film for a particular concert. I was pleased enough with those results that I got a Nikon D2x this year. Chances are, all my 2005 postings will be shot with the new digi.

The vast majority of pictures in your gallery are of jazz musicians. You obviously listen to jazz. Do you play an instrument? What are your jazz interests?
Oh, my. I think we're all better off if I don't play an instrument. I was a drummer and percussionist in my high school band, and I probably pay closer attention than most to the drummers in groups I hear. I'm particularly attracted to the fluid, melodic styles of folks like Scott Amendola, Akira Tana, Albert "Tootie"Heath, George Marsh. I also get a kick out of watching some of the young musicians in the area develop. I think of a couple of drummers I've seen at the Stanford Jazz Workshop and elsewhere over the years -- Ruthie Price and Mohini Rustagi. And pianist Yuma Sung. Flute player Daniel Riera. (I'm not mentioning pianist Taylor Eigsti and guitarist Julian Lage because they were both so far along by the time I first heard them.)

You are good at shooting around all the obstacles on stage. What are you thinking when you compose or crop a shot?
At the time I'm shooting, it's all a visual kind of thinking -- not words. It's only before and after that I try to put words to it. I mentioned playing with this minimalist thing -- trying to see how tight I could come in on a player and instrument and still give a sense of music being made. Another thing is shooting through the obstacles on stage instead of trying to avoid them -- the cables, stands, mikes and all that. Even other musicians and their instruments. I particularly like a couple of shots down a line of musicians, so the subject is framed by bodies and instruments -- one (not on the site) of bassist Miles Perkins, leader of Mingus Amungus, and another of sax player Theo "Hurricane" Kirk, a member of Marcus Shelby's jazz orchestra.

There are over 500 pictures of musicians on your web page. I take pictures and are often only happy with 1 out of 10. How many pictures do you think you have taken to get this collection?
One out of 10 is good! I typically shoot a couple of rolls of film at a concert and hope I'm pleased with at least one shot of each member of the group. So 70-some shots to get four or five. With the digital camera, I'm even freer with the shutter button. No telling what the ratio will be in this summer's shooting.

Do you have any new photo projects planned?
For the past couple of years, I've been playing with extreme motion blur in indoor shots under stage lighting. Haven't yet whittled the selection down to a manageable number or figured out how I want to present those on the Web, though.

Are you works for sale or your services for hire?
The main reason the collection of photos is on the Web site is just to celebrate the music. I do occasionally get queries about print sales or publication, and I'm happy to respond. Contract shooting? That's rare now. My day job (I'm a technical writer for a software company in Palo Alto) keeps me pretty busy.

Savanna Jazz Club

I don't know anything about this club but I like their web site and the fact that they have jazz 6 nights a week. They are located at 2937 Mission St. between 25th and 26th in San Francisco. If you have been there, leave a comment.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

John Spragens, Jr - Jazz Pictures

John Spragens, Jr. captures the San Francisco bay area's rich jazz culture in a digital picture format unsurpassed by any other on the internet. His photo gallery, All That... features upwards of 1000 535 pictures from clubs, festivals and workshops dating back to 1992. Simply incredible. Thank you John.

John Worley at BoAs - Tonight

John Worley's WorlView band brings together a killer lineup tonight, Saturday, May 21 at BoAs in Cupertino. In addition to John on trumpet and Flugel horn:

Dr. Wayne Wallace-trombone
Kristen Strom-sax and flute
Murray Low-piano
Tom Bockhold-bass
Paul Van Wageningen-drums
Michaelle Goerlitz-percussion

I am there!

Friday, May 20, 2005

And One Time, at Band Camp...

Summer brings a wealth of music education to the bay area in the form of jazz camps for all ages. You talk, learn, eat and play jazz from morning till night, get up the next day and do it again. It is also a great exposure to other musicians.

Probably the best know is the Stanford Jazz Workshop on the Stanford campus in Palo Alto. This year includes 4 programs; 2 weeks of Jazz Camp for ages 12 - 17, July 17 - 22 and July 24 - 29; Jazz Residency for adults, July 31 - August 5; Weekend Intensive for all adults and advanced under 18, August 4 - 6; Evening Summer, ages 12 - adult, June 15 - July 13.

There are also associated concerts through out the summer. I've been there, it's a great experience.

I love this one. Reggae Camp at the JazzSchool in Berkeley. The Music and Life of Bob Marley With Matt Jenson June 6 - 10 "In this unique one-week hands-on intensive, Berklee College of Music Piano Faculty member Matt Jenson takes an 15-18 piece ensemble of both instrumentalists and vocalists on a biographical tour of Marley's fascinating life, and then rigorously coaches them in preparation for a concert at the Jazzschool on Friday evening, June 10."

The JazzSchool also has the JazzSchool Summer Youth Program 2005. "Instrumentalists and vocalists of all levels entering grades 6-9 are welcome. The Summer Youth Program runs July 11-22 (Monday through Friday) from 9:30AM-3PM."

In it's tenth year, the San Jose Jazz Society sponsers Jazz Goes To College, for instrumentalists and vocalists ages 12 - 18. It is a 2 week session from June 20 - July 1.

Running June 25 - July 2, "Jazz Camp West is an eight-day jazz camp for instrumentalists, vocalists, drummers and dancers held in the beautiful redwoods of La Honda in Northern California."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Bill Evans Soulgrass

There is no shortage of unusual music in the bay area. Consider the Bill Evans Soulgrass "event" this week at Yoshi's: Bill Evans on Sax, Bela Fleck on banjo, Vinnie Colaiuta on drums, Jimmy Haslip on bass and Darol Anger on bass, heavies all and "an exciting blend of bluegrass, jazz and soul."

I use the term "event" as I see no other performances scheduled anywhere for this ensemble. Since I am not allergic to bluegrass and have some roots in Appalachian music, I think I will check this out.

There is a Sunday matinee with a reduced price for kids. Thursday at 8 is sold out.

Thursday, May 19 - Sunday, May 22
Thu 8:00pm & 10:00pm Shows $22
Fri, Sat Shows at 8:00pm & 10:00pm$26
Sun 2:00pm Matinee, $5 Kids, $15 Adult W/One Kid, $22 General
Sun 8:00pm Show $26

The Chabot Panhandlers concert

Well, I saw a most amazing concert on Sunday. The CSM Jazz band hosted the Chabot Panhandlers in their Spring concert. With all of the steel drums and various percussion instruments, they took up the entire stage. Before this show, the only steel drum performance I had ever seen in person is the small group that performs and sells their CD's at local Arts and Crafts fairs. This was so much more.

The dynamics and the tightness of the performance only comes from a dedicated group who practices hard and has a love for the music. My friend Christine, who is studying the instrument, gives a lot of the credit to the director Jim Munzenrider.

Top level arrangements for this unique orchestra along with drummer Curt Moore sitting in on the cuica, that little squeaky drum thing and the CSM Jazz band director (I am embarrassed to say that I have forgotten his name), Mike Galisetus on flugel horn playing One Note Samba, rounded out the show. I am glad to have seen this concert. Poor timing on my part prevented me from staying for the late Jazz band show.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Stanford Jazz Orchestra

The Stanford Jazz Orchestra, with Mark Applebaum, performs their Spring Concert this Wednesday, May 18 in Dinkelspiel Auditorium. John Worley spent last week recording with them at Skywalker Ranch and they will be performing that music at the concert. All he has to say about it is that "You will hear something totally different than what you expect from a Stanford Jazz Orchestra concert." I can't seem to find the show time.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Profile - Ed Johnson

Profile is a regular feature on the Redhouse Jazz blog in which you get to know a San Francisco bay area jazz musician a little better. Check out previous Profiles from the pull down menu in the right hand column.

Ed Johnson is a Palo Alto based guitarist, vocalist, composer and educator and heads the band Novo Tempo.

When did you first start playing an instrument?
I started piano and E-flat alto horn at age nine.

Who/what were your first influences?
At an early age, it was the music my parents listened to; a lot of swing. My older brother and sister were also playing instruments in a youth symphony, so I heard a lot of classical music from going to their concerts and from records they brought home. Later on, my brother influenced my musical tastes even more by introducing me to Miles and Coltrane when I was around ten or eleven. The first time I heard Coltrane, I couldn't believe it; it was unlike anything I'd ever heard before. When I was eleven, I switched from the E-flat alto horn to French horn, to which I took a liking, and started taking private lessons. When I got to be thirteen, fourteen, I became obsessed with the Beatles, and started playing guitar when I was fifteen. In my senior year of high school, I had a friend who was taking classical guitar and learning all this great music from South America, so stopped playing electric guitar, bought an inexpensive nylon-string, and started studying with his teacher. Later on that same year, the great blues singer/guitarist Lightnin' Hopkins played at our high school, and I was blown away. I got out my grandmother's old Sears Silvertone acoustic and started to learn country blues.

So, as you can see, my interests and influences were quite varied from ages 8 to 18.

How did you get your experience?
I started out playing in rock bands in high school, but at the same time was doing recitals and orchestra concerts playing French horn. I stopped playing horn after college, but continued studying music and playing in bands, as well as taking private jazz guitar lessons. I got more and more experience by putting myself in situations where I could learn a lot - sort of trial-by-fire. A lot of times I didn't know what I was getting into, and when I finally realized it, I was scared to death! But, I found that you can learn from intimidating playing situations, and, really, what's the worst that can happen? So you mess up? Learn from it and move on. Music, like life, is a journey, and it's going to have bumps along the way.

What instruments do you play?
I play guitar, and I'm a vocalist. I also play piano.

What instruments do you own?
I own several guitars: Four nylon-string guitars, including an Alan de Jonge 2004 Chelsea model and a Rick Turner solid body electric nylon-string; three electrics, including a Fender Stratocaster and a vintage Epiphone Broadway; and two steel-string acoustics, a Taylor 810C and a Martin J21. I also own a nicely refurbished upright piano and a couple of Roland synths.

Would you talk about composing?
Composing is my favorite musical experience. For me, ideas can come in a myriad of ways: I can be practicing, and then I'll take a break and start improvising chord progressions, out of which will come a melodic and/or rhythmic motif. Or, I'll be driving, washing dishes, walking outside, or somehow otherwise engaged, and an entire melody and chord progression will come to me. Over the years I've learned to be ready for those "visitations," and I always have a notebook of manuscript paper wherever I go so that I can get these ideas written down before they disappear into the ether. When I'm back at the guitar or piano, I'll take out these notated fragments and try to develop them further.

What is your fondest gig memory?
There are many. Over the past two or three years my fondest memories are playing with my band Novo Tempo. Every time we play, it feels even better than the last.

What was your worst gig from hell?
That's easy! It was a quintet gig at a winery about twenty years ago. Our bass player and sound man were coming to the gig together, and the truck broke down somewhere on the coast. They had to hitch a ride to where they could call the sound man's wife and have her pick them up. They arrived at the gig an hour-and half late (about five minutes before we were scheduled to play). Knowing everyone would be agitated and uptight (especially the promoter!), they arrived wearing these ridiculous looking ties. We all took one look at them and immediately everyone cracked up! It helped defuse the tension for awhile. We all scrambled like mad to set up the PA. Meanwhile, the crowd was getting drunker by the minute, and by the time we started, they were totally gassed, falling all over themselves. About midway through the performance (if you can call it that), one guy got really agitated and abusive, and I tried to reason with him, and then warned him to stop his rude behavior. That only set him off more. We managed to get through the gig, but we were literally fearing for our safety as we were hurriedly packing up afterwards.

What do you listen to now?
I mainly listen to a lot of Brazilian music, old and new. Also a lot of classical music. I listen a lot to the music my friends put out - people like John Worley, Jennifer Scott, Kristen Strom, Scott Sorkin, Jovino Santos Neto, and many other people I've met through teaching at various music camps over the years. With two young kids now, I don't have a lot of free time to actively listen to music as I once did. I mainly listen in the car! Or, on my iPod if I'm taking long walks.

What current projects are you involved in?
I am currently working on a new CD with my band Novo Tempo; we just started last week. It's been great! This is such a fine group of musicians, and we love what each of us brings to the table. I've written a bunch of new songs, and it's really satisfying to hear what the band does with them. This past year I also did some playing, singing, and production work on a soon-to-be-released CD by Jennifer Scott, an amazing singer/pianist from Vancouver, B.C. She and her husband, bassist Rene Worst, are also in in my band. I also recently did a vocal arrangement for Kris Strom's soon-to-be-released CD. Kris and her husband, guitarist/producer Scott Sorkin, are also in my group.

What would you like to plug?
I'd just like everyone to know that we are continuing to gig more and more in promotion of last year's CD "Movimento," we're hard at work on recording the next CD, and we hope you come to hear us soon! Novo Tempo is myself on guitar and vocals; Jennifer Scott, keyboards and vocals; Kristen Strom, sax, flute, and vocals; John Worley, trumpet and fluglehorn; Scott Sorkin, guitar, mandolin, and vocals (and also serving as a co-producer on the last CD as well as the next); Rene Worst, bass; Mark Ivester, drums; and Michaelle Goerlitz and Jeff Busch on percussion. Leslie Evers is producing this project along with me on her Cumulus Records label. Keep up to date with what we are doing by going to my website Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

The Chabot Panhandlers

The Chabot Panhandlers is a nationally acclaimed, 25 member steel band based in Hayward, California. Under the direction of Jim Munzenrider, this group has been entertaining audiences throughout Northern California since 1987.

I have yet to see this band but have heard very favorable reviews from students of Jim Munzenrider who teaches steel drums at Chabot College in Hayward.

They will be performing this Sunday, May 15, 2pm at the college of San Mateo. All the details are here or click on the picture.

Anton Schwartz

The Anton Schwartz Trio with Adam Shulman on piano and David Ewell on bass is playing at the Viansa Winery in Sonoma this Sunday, May 15 from noon-3pm.

Jazz on 4th St - Berkeley High Benefit

Presented by KCSM/Jazz 91, 4th Street Merchants and Yoshi's at Jack London Square, the 9th Annual Jazz on 4th Street Festival is this Sunday. This free outdoor music festival benefits the Berkeley High Performing Arts and the award-winning Berkeley High Jazz ensemble.

Sunday, May 15, 11:30am-5:00pm
On 4th Street in Berkeley, between Hearst & Virginia.
Jazz On 4TH Street Hotline, 510.526.6294

FREE Musical Performances with
Peter Apfelbaum Septet
Chris Cain
& The Award-Winning Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble & Combos

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Smithsonian Global Sound

The Smithsonian Institute has placed their huge archive of world cultural music online. Browse by geography or instrument. Listen to streaming global radio. Read about their featured artist. Buy music. Did I say this was huge?

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Profile - John Worley Jr.

Profile is a regular feature on the Redhouse Jazz blog in which you get to know a San Francisco bay area jazz musician a little better. Check out previous Profiles from the pull down menu in the right hand column.

John Worley is a much in demand full time trumpet player and teacher.

When did you first start playing an instrument?
I started playing music at 8 years old. I thought playing the drums would be cool after hearing the song “Little Drummer Boy”. I used to set up my Dad’s coffee cans with the plastic lids and beat on them with my mother’s chop sticks along with Beatle records in the backyard. That was until I saw a picture of Louis Armstrong on the back cover of a Reader’s Digest Treasury of Short Stories and read his article. I was so taken with the idea that no matter where Satchmo went, people would always know how he felt by his trumpet playing. I switched to the trumpet the next year and never looked back.

Who/what were your first influences?
In the early years, Herb Alpert was popular so I naturally gravitated towards him and to this day, when you ask other trumpet players about Herb, they always say that it was the cover of the “Whip Cream” album that hooked them. From there it went to Al Hirt, then to Maynard and Don Ellis, to Miles, Fat’s Navarro, Chet and down the hardbop line of trumpet player’s till I discovered Woody Shaw and thru him the Avant-Garde cats like Don Cherry, Lester Bowie, Leo Smith and so on.

How did you get your experience?
My first gig was with a asian rock/cover band called the “Far East Coalition”. We played at the Kabuki Theater, July 2nd, 1971 along with two other bands, The Intrigues and Sand. The three trumpet players in those bands Johnny Serrano (who got me started listening to Miles & Diz and gigging. Thank you Johnny!), Gary Woods and Jerry Lum, are still around. I always wanted to learn different styles of music, latin, rock, classical, dixieland, straight ahead jazz and also the skills needed to play shows, sessions etc… I was a jack of all trades and proud to be considered a working musician.

What instruments do you play?
Trumpet (Bb, C, D, piccolo, herald), flugelhorn, cornet and my newest love, post horn.

What instruments do you own?
All of the above (I have around 30 different horns including an old French alto horn).

Do you compose?
Yes, but I don’t consider myself to be in the same league as cats like Wayne Wallace, Jim Norton and Ed Johnson.

How do you come up with ideas?
Usually I will wake up at 5am with musical ideas swirling around like paper in the wind and I have to get up and jot them down and develop them later when I can make some noise at a decent hour.

What is your fondest gig memory?
There have been many but here’s one that stands out at the moment. I got the pleasure of backing up Ella Fitzgerald at the Mac Convention a year or two before she passed on. I got to play the part of Sweet’s Edison and play a solo behind her and I was totally thrilled by it. Afterwards, I went up to her and said, “Ella, I waited all my life to play with you” and her reply was “Honey, that’s so sweet”. Her words purred from her lips to my ears and I’ve never been the same since.

What was your worst gig from hell?
There have been so many great experiences and I don’t like to dwell on the negative. I try to focus on the positive aspects of things and hope that that continues to guide me towards many more positive life/musical experiences.

What current projects are you involved in?
Ed Johnson and Novo Tempo, Wayne Wallace and Rhythm and Rhyme, Jon Jang Seven and my own band WorlView.

What would you like to plug?
Check out my web site at
and my blog at

Friday, May 06, 2005

Dick Hindman at the Jazz School

Dick Hindman begins a month of Friday night concerts tonight, May 6, at the Jazz School in Berkeley in their "Art of the Trio" series with Seward McCain on bass and Colin Bailey on drums. Renowned in the bay area and admired by pianists for his technique and originality, his concerts are always inspiring. His bio shows his extensive experience and his web site reflects his elegant musical style. I must attend one of these shows.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Terence Blanchard this Sunday!

Terence Blanchard, photo credit: Carol Friedman Terence Blanchard - This Sunday - Herbst Theatre - San Francisco. I can not emphasize how good this concert will be after seeing this show back in March and writing about it here. Now, Herbst Theatre is not an intimate place for jazz, so bring your opera glasses but this band is not to be missed. Terence is phenomenal, casual and funny and he showcases his band big time - Brice Winston on sax, crisp and original; Aaron Parks on the electronically modified grand piano, introspective and melodic; Derrick Hodge on bass, solid and experienced beyond his years; Kendrick Scott on drums did not play the gig I attended; and Lionel Loueke played extraordinary percussive style guitar and vocals, unlike anything I have heard before. Part of the San Francisco Jazz Festival.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Jazz TV update

An update from Michele Muller, Director of Technology at KCSM:

Dear Stuart,
Thank you for mentioning KCSM and JazzTV on your blog. We are still broadcasting JazzTV on digital TV channel 43-2. The scheduled programming runs from 8pm to 10pm nightly with a simulcast of KCSM FM with the JazzTV bulletin board the other 22 hours of the day. The monthly program guide received by KCSM members has a listing of the specific programs scheduled each night on JazzTV. I don't know why the website listings haven't been updated since September of 2004, but I will ask.


I know I have that program guide around here somewhere. Thanks Michele. See my previous story here.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Cecil Taylor - All The Notes

"If they say boo", he remarks of difficult audiences. "I'll give them something to REALLY boo about!"

So goes the documentary "All The Notes" about Cecil Taylor by Director Christopher Felver. The movie follows Mr Taylor at home and on the road and despite what you think about his music, I have a feeling that this film is quite interesting. Here is a review.
The Chronicle's Pink Section states that this movie is playing Friday at the Roxie in San Francisco, but their web site fails to show it. Best give them a call before going. It is not to be found on Netflix either.

Faerie's Aire and Death Waltz

The Death Waltz has been around for a while but it is hilarious. With instructions such as "rotate embouchure", "release the penguins" and "like a dirigible", this is what music looked like to me in college. I also found a "second page" to the Waltz that may have dubious origins. There is some discussion here about the second page and the actual existence of a concertina choir called for in the piece.

Thank you Sue.