Eric Harland Voyager – Monday, January 11, 2016

Eric Harland Voyager – Monday, January 11, 2016

Eric Harland Voyager Monday, January 11 Kuumbwa Jazz Center “… continuously inventive and artful.” – The Buffalo News Eric Harland’s eclectic sound is indeed a “voyage” of discovery as the name of his band, Voyager, implies. As a much in-demand sideman, the award-winning drummer/composer’s talents have been utilized by several elite jazz artists over the last two decades, including Charles Lloyd, Joshua Redman, and Dave Holland. With Voyager, Harland pursues his own uncompromising musical vision, navigating an ocean of sound into new and interesting territory. Eric is superbly accompanied by the able talents of pianist Taylor Eigsti, guitarist Julian Lage, saxophonist Walter Smith III, and bassist Harish Raghavan. Vipassana is his most recent recording. Texas-born Eric Harland grew up in an atmosphere of music around his home. His interest in drums began in elementary school and at age fourteen he became interested in jazz, immersing himself in the music of John Coltrane and other great artists. He was first-chair drummer for the All State Texas Jazz Band and received a Citation for Outstanding Musicianship from the International Association of Jazz Educators. Upon graduating from the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston, Texas, Eric relocated to New York City in the mid-’90s to study at the Manhattan School of Music on a full scholarship. It was Wynton Marsalis who had encouraged Eric’s move to The Big Apple after witnessing the young drummer’s abilities at a music workshop. After graduating, Harland toured briefly with saxophonist Greg Osby and then entered into an extended musical internship with vocal legend Betty Carter, who had made it her mission to...
The Klezmatics – Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Klezmatics – Saturday, December 19, 2015

The Klezmatics Saturday, December 19 Kuumbwa Jazz Center “… an adventurous spirit…” – All Music.com The Klezmatics have brought a refreshed aesthetic to klezmer music–the music of Eastern European Yiddish culture. Not simply a revival band, the group’s members, Lorin Sklamberg, Frank London, Paul Morrissett, Matt Darriau, and Lisa Gutkin, have revitalized the music for contemporary times while staying true to its roots. Wonder Wheel, their recording of Woody Guthrie lyrics reconfigured with melodies drawn from Celtic, Eastern European, Afro-Caribbean, and American popular music received a 2007 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary World Music Album. The Klezmatics were formed in 1986 in New York City’s “downtown” scene, a cauldron of artistic activity championing unconventional, experimental forms of music and art. At the time, a renewed interest in klezmer music – the music of East European Jews – was informing and inspiring a newer generation of musicians. Among these young players were three of the founders that are still part of the current Klezmatics lineup: Lorin Sklamberg–lead vocals, accordion, guitar, piano; Frank London–trumpet, keyboards, vocals; and Paul Morrissett–bass tsimbl, and vocals. Despite immersing themselves in the klezmer tradition, the Klezmatics were never a “revival” group chained to the past. Instead, they blazed ahead with their own originals reflecting contemporary life, their social and political viewpoints, and the larger world around them. The early Klezmatics went through a few personnel changes before recruiting current long-time members Lisa Gutkin–violin and vocals; and Matt Darriau–kaval, clarinet, saxophone, and vocals. Now approaching their 30th year as a performing ensemble, the Klezmatics are as dedicated and passionate as ever about their music. They have acquired...
Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers – Thursday, December 17, 2015

Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers – Thursday, December 17, 2015

Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers Thursday, December 17 Kuumbwa Jazz Center “… a soulful stamp on a huge swath of American music.” – Boston Globe Delivering truly magnetic performances, Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers delve deep into the swinging jazz sounds of the 1940s and 50s. The Los Angeles Times writes that Smith possesses “a lush vocal style recalling both Bessie Smith and Dinah Washington,” while the Boston Globe maintains that the Skillet Lickers “sound as tight as the legendary musicians they choose to emulate.” Their latest album, Miss Smith To You!, adds another fine chapter to her career and proves why Smith and her Skillet Lickers are a perennial San Francisco Bay Area favorite! Growing up in Southern California, Smith was attracted early-on to the music of the great jazz and blues singers, such as Washington, Smith, Billie Holiday and Little Esther Philips. Conveying the tones of those legendary singers through her own voice, Lavay Smith began attracting crowds early on in her performing career, exemplified by San Francisco’s Chronicle and Examiner newspapers each naming Lavay Smith and her Red Hot Skillet Lickers as the best band in 1998. The accolades have continued to stream in, along with numerous concert and television performances, with even President Bill Clinton exclaiming, “I love this band.” Her longtime group, The Red Hot Skillet Lickers contains many of the finest musicians in the Bay Area, with some members having performed and recorded with Tito Puente, Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, Rosemary Clooney, Dr. John. Dizzy Gillespie and others. Smith’s most recent release, Miss Smith To You!, contains three original tunes and nine classics, embedding...
Mariachi Sol de Mexico® de José Hernández: A Merri–Achi Christmas – Saturday, December 12

Mariachi Sol de Mexico® de José Hernández: A Merri–Achi Christmas – Saturday, December 12

Kuumbwa Jazz Presents: Mariachi Sol de Mexico® de José Hernández A Merri–Achi Christmas Saturday, December 12 At the Rio Theatre “A new breed of Mariachi – The Los Angeles Times Mariachi King José Hernández and his platinum-selling Sol de México® have a biography and history as rich and colorful as mariachi music itself. A proud fifth generation mariachi musician, Maestro Hernández’ roots trace back to 1879 to the birthplace of mariachi, the State of Jalisco, Mexico. Ever since he founded his troupe in 1981, Hernaádez has gone on to break countless barriers in the world of mariachi music and is recognized as having turned the genre into the international sensation it is today. The band’s original rhythms, fresh sounds and inspiring ideas have energized the world of mariachi for more than 30 years. Mariachi Sol de México®, with the blazing sounds of its 13-piece ensemble, brings to life a festive, joyous holiday celebration. Expect a fusion of the traditional holiday spirit with the color, and the traditions of Mexican and American Christmas songs and carols, perfect for the entire family.   After forming Mariachi Sol de Mexico® in 1981, Jose’s charismatic arrangements and signature trumpet playing made the group an instant and lasting success: Sol de Mexico® has played to sold out halls from New York’s Lincoln Center to Viña del Mar in Santiago, Chile. Not only were they the first Mariachi group to play concerts in Beijing, China and Pyongyang, North Korea; the shows were sold out! They have also played for four U.S. Presidents (Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush) including performances...
Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks: Holidaze in Hicksville – Friday, December 11, 2015

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks: Holidaze in Hicksville – Friday, December 11, 2015

Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks: Holidaze in Hicksville Friday, December 11 Kuumbwa Jazz Center “… Dan Hicks should be a national treasure.” – San Francisco Chronicle Holidaze in Hicksville is the time for Hicksters to celebrate the holiday season in style! Dan Hicks returns to Kuumbwa with the Hot Licks to deliver his special brand of wry musings to the masses. If it’s “Silent Night” you want, SOR-RY! This is Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks presenting HoliDaze in Hicksville, a more or less annual tribute to the yuletide season according to Dan, featuring such Hicks-ian gems as “Somebody Stole My Santa Claus Suit,” “I’ve Got Christmas By The Tail,” “Cool Yule” and other hits from their album Crazy For Christmas, which the All Music Guide calls “a warm reminder of just how consistent, steady, and poignantly funny Hicks can be” and praises for its “joyously irreverent charm.” In the words of the San Francisco Chronicle, “So few truly original figures exist in pop music that Dan Hicks should be a national treasure.” Or, as Tom Waits puts it, “Dan Hicks is fly, sly, wily, and dry.” Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Dan came to San Francisco in the early 1960s, joined The Charlatans in 1965, and formed Dan Hicks & His Hot Licks in 1967, releasing a string of albums that still sound fresh, with classic songs like “I Scare Myself” and “How Can I Miss You When You Won’t Go Away?” He’s made the cover of Rolling Stone three times, and kept up the great music into his 70s, collaborating with such artists as Bette Midler,...
Hanrahan Quartet: A Love Supreme – Thursday, December 9, 2015

Hanrahan Quartet: A Love Supreme – Thursday, December 9, 2015

CELEBRATING THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF JOHN COLTRANE’S HISTORIC ALBUM: Hanrahan Quartet: A Love Supreme Thursday, December 9 Kuumbwa Jazz Center “The Hanrahan Quartet embrace, honor, and nurture a masterpiece.” – Chicago Tribune Considered to be the defining jazz recording of all time, John Coltrane and his equally innovative quartet (McCoy Tyner, Jimmy Garrison, Elvin Jones) recorded the album A Love Supreme in 1964 for Impulse Records. The J. Hanrahan’s Quartet will perform the full suite in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the release of this seminal recording. Playing together in Chicago and around the globe for over 20 years, Hanrahan’s Quartet performs the landmark album annually in an effort to share Coltrane’s passion for jazz, spirit, and the love of live performance. Performing two albums in their entirety, this year the band has added Miles Davis’ masterpiece Kind of Blue to their live performance.   Coltrane’s album is a four-part suite, with the segments titled Acknowledgement, Resolution, Pursuance and Psalm. The album is connected through a reappearing theme and bass line, played by Garrison. At the time of the album’s recording, the quartet had been playing together for several years, and the rapport is palpable. Both A Love Supreme and Kind of Blue are benchmark albums and are – as all classic albums are – greater than the sum of their parts. A Love Supreme’s liner notes include a poem illustrating an affirmation of the pursuit of spiritual enlightenment, coming after a period of drug addiction for Coltrane. Although he had several relapses throughout his recover, by the time Coltrane entered the studio to record A Love Supreme, he seemed a man at peace and...