Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton – Tuesday, February 16, 2016, Rio Theatre, Santa Cruz

Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton – Tuesday, February 16, 2016, Rio Theatre, Santa Cruz

Kuumbwa Jazz Presents: Lisa Fischer and Grand Baton Tuesday, February 16 Rio Theatre, Santa Cruz You have probably heard Lisa Fischer sing without knowing her name, unless you’ve seen the Oscar-winning 2013 music documentary, Twenty Feet from Stardom, or attended Rolling Stones concerts since 1989. In addition to the Stones, you may have heard her Grammy award-winning vocals with Luther Vandross, Nine Inch Nails, or Sting. But now, with her backup band Grand Baton, you can hear Fischer’s electrifying voice, upfront, in a tour de force performance. Lisa’s appearance at last year’s Monterey Jazz Festival as part of the Laura Nyro Tribute was a show stopping delight. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Lisa Fischer developed a love of singing early in life with positive support from both of her parents. She remembers listening to Freda Payne, Melba Moore, and Marvin Gaye, three singers who heavily influenced her take-no-prisoners approach to music. By her twenties Lisa was working as a backup singer for Billy Ocean. Word of mouth on her singing ability reached Luther Vandross who hired her immediately. She worked for Vandross for 22 years, recording and touring until his death. Backup work with other major performers – Tina Turner, Teddy Pendergrass, Chaka Khan, and Roberta Flack – soon followed. Beginning in 1983, Fischer pursued a solo career under the stage name of Xena and had a minor hit with On the Upside. Another dance track, Only Love Shadows, made it on to the soundtrack of the movie Beat Street. Lisa hit a career peak with her 1991 solo album, So Intense. The single from that album, How...
Gary Peacock Trio: “Now This” featuring Marc Copland and Joey Baron – Monday, February 15, 2016

Gary Peacock Trio: “Now This” featuring Marc Copland and Joey Baron – Monday, February 15, 2016

Gary Peacock Trio: “Now This” featuring Marc Copland and Joey Baron Monday, February 15 Kuumbwa Jazz Center Gary Peacock has faithfully provided elegant bass lines for the Keith Jarrett Trio since the early ’80s. But his Now This project – also the name of his latest ECM recording – pursues a distinctly different motif despite similar instrumentation. Featuring the spirited keyboard artistry of pianist Marc Copland and the animated, sensitive drumming of Joey Baron, Peacock’s trio navigates a more introspective, lyrical path of improvisation. His distinguished career has been marked by many ground-breaking collaborations over the decades, among them Paul Bley, Bill Evans, Albert Ayler, and of course Keith Jarrett. With Now This, Peacock produces yet another magical moment of creativity. Born in 1935, Gary Peacock grew up in Yakima, Washington. He took piano lessons during his elementary school years and learned to play drums during his early teens, playing around his hometown in a variety of bands. After graduating high school, he enrolled at the Westlake School of Music in Los Angeles when “Uncle Sam” called. Drafted into the US Army, Gary was stationed in Germany where he continued to study piano and perform in a small group. When the bass player left the band, Peacock taught himself to play bass and began on a new musical path. After being discharged from the Army and returning to Los Angeles, he soon found himself very much in-demand as a sideman. Before long he was working with established jazz artists such as Art Pepper, Bud Shank, Laurindo Almeida, and Barney Kessel. In the early ’60s, Peacock relocated to New York...
Valentine’s Concert with Tuck & Patti – Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine’s Concert with Tuck & Patti – Saturday, February 13, 2016

Valentine’s Concert with Tuck & Patti Saturday, February 13 Kuumbwa Jazz Center Formed after a serendipitous chance meeting, Tuck and Patti have gone on to become one of the most beloved duos in jazz. With Patti Cathcart’s expressive vocals and Tuck Andress’ fluid guitar stylings, no other musical accompaniment is necessary. Whether performing an American Songbook standard, a classic pop or rock tune or one of their original compositions, Tuck and Patti remain one of the most enduring duos in modern music. Each Valentine the husband and wife team trek to Kuumbwa continuing the tradition of performing re-imagined jazz classics and pop gems showcasing their love and commitment to the music – and each other. Tuck and Patti have been playing music since the day they met. After being on the same audition in the late seventies, they realized how suited they were for each other, both musically and personally. They began to play gigs in the Bay Area, and word spread quickly. “We had never had so much fun, nor been so challenged,” says Tuck. “We went to play at a venue and forgot to take breaks.” Their career took off when the burgeoning Windham Hill record label signed the duo and released Tears of Joy in 1988. Their recording career has continued, with their most recent album being 2007’s collection of standards, I Remember You, though Tuck and Patti’s definition of a ‘standard’ may be a bit different from the normal interpretation. As Andress puts it, “If you want to hear about a ‘standard’- our standard – it is this: ‘Love is real. It is infinitely powerful. It is contagious and unstoppable.’” The...
Aaron Neville Quintet featuring Charles Neville – Monday, February 8, 2016 at the Rio Theatre

Aaron Neville Quintet featuring Charles Neville – Monday, February 8, 2016 at the Rio Theatre

Aaron Neville Quintet featuring Charles Neville Monday, February 8 At the Rio Theatre Aaron Neville’s silky smooth falsetto is an essential part of The Neville Brothers – a legendary rhythm & blues group and part of New Orleans’ music royalty. From his first big hit in 1967, Tell It Like It Is, to his triple-platinum selling 1989 album with Linda Rondstadt, Cry Like A Rainstorm, Howl Like The Wind, which won two Grammy awards, Aaron’s distinctive vocals are unmistakable. With his own quintet, featuring the soulful saxophone of his brother Charles, Aaron steps outside of the Neville Brothers oeuvre to pay tribute to classic doo-wop, the singing style that was popular during his youth and a main influence on his development. Be assured, his newest recording, My True Story, co-produced by Don Was and Keith Richards, “tells it like it is.” Born in New Orleans, in 1941, Aaron Neville is probably the best-known of the famous Neville Brothers. Still, growing up in what has become one of the Big Easy’s elite musical families wasn’t that easy. As a young man, Aaron sometimes found himself on the wrong side of the law, but his passion for singing and music put him on to a more productive path as a performing artist. Singing doo-wop with his friends was among Neville’s early musical experience and still a major source of inspiration. In 1967, he scored a top hit single with Tell It Like It Is, which was #1 on the R&B charts for several weeks and became his signature song. In 1976, he and his three brothers were part of their uncle’s,...
Booker T. Jones – Friday, February 5, 2016

Booker T. Jones – Friday, February 5, 2016

Booker T. Jones Friday, February 5 Kuumbwa Jazz Center “… potently insistent gospel-soul…” – Los Angeles Times From his work with his legendary band The MGs, to producing classic albums such as Willie Nelson’s Stardust, to leading the Stax Records house band, to touring with Neil Young, Booker T. Jones has done it all. The legendary organist, songwriter and producer is perhaps best known for the million-selling instrumental, “Green Onions.” A recipient of a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, Jones is one of the defining contributors to the classic “Stax” soul sounds we know and love. A master organist, Jones continues to be a trailblazer as he melds his trademark sound with a contemporary and rocking groove, showcased on his latest album Sound The Alarm. The early career of Booker T. Jones is quite storied and well documented, from the MGs hits, to their contributions as songwriters and as the studio band on classic recordings such as Otis Redding’s “Try A Little Tenderness.” Jones and his band were undoubtedly one of the pillars that constructed the classic soul and R&B sounds of the 1960s, which has led to inductions into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Musicians Hall of Fame. Jones’ solo career has taken a bold step in the past ten years with 2010’s Potato Hole, his collaboration with southern rock band The Drive-By Truckers (which won the Best Pop Instrumental Album Grammy). That album was followed by 2012’s The Road From Memphis, which was recorded with The Roots and paid homage to the city that birthed his career. Sound The Alarm is another strong step in Jones’ solo discography, and features...
Kahil El’Zabar & The New Ethnic Heritage Ensemble featuring Hamiet Bluiett and Craig Harris – Thursday, February 4, 2016

Kahil El’Zabar & The New Ethnic Heritage Ensemble featuring Hamiet Bluiett and Craig Harris – Thursday, February 4, 2016

Kahil El’Zabar & The New Ethnic Heritage Ensemble featuring Hamiet Bluiett and Craig Harris Thursday, February 4 Kuumbwa Jazz Center Kahil El’Zabar’s outstanding percussion skills have propelled the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble through four prolific decades. A new iteration of the ensemble for 2016 brings together baritone saxophone legend Hamiet Bluiett and trombone master Craig Harris for the first time. With Bluiett and Harris on board, the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble conjures up a spellbinding sound that is both engaging and challenging. El’Zabar’s imaginative compositions draw heavily from traditional African music and instrumentation, insightfully blending the past with the present. Their most recent recording is Black is Back: 40th Anniversary Project. Born in Chicago in 1953, Kahil El’Zabar grew up on the South Side where he was regularly exposed to gospel, doo-wop, blues, r&b, and jazz. He was only 18 when he joined the progressive Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) with a deep interest in African percussion, which led to studying music at the Universal of Ghana. Over time, El’Zabar mastered a range of traditional instruments–from bongos, congas, shekere, balaphon, marimba, kalimba, berimbau–and of course the American drum set. Coming out of his music studies, El’Zabar formed the first edition of the Ethnic Heritage Ensemble with saxophonist Edward Wilkerson, Jr., which soon expanded into a trio with Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre. Trombonist/percussionist Joseph Bowie replaced McIntyre in 1988, solidifying the group’s longest lineup. Throughout his career, El’Zabar’s adventurousness has led him into a number of varied collaborations that cross music genres and styles, from jazz legends Cannonball Adderley, Dizzy Gillespie, and Archie Shepp, to pop stars Nina Simone, Stevie...