Kim Nalley Band “Blues People” CD Release Concert – Thursday, November 12

Kim Nalley Band “Blues People” CD Release Concert – Thursday, November 12

Kim Nalley Band “Blues People” CD Release Concert Thursday, November 12 Kuumbwa Jazz Center “Kim Nalley has pipes to burn…” – San Francisco Chronicle Kim Nalley makes the magic happen with a powerful 3½ octave range that easily captivates an audience. Whether it’s a bold and brassy jump-blues, or a laid back, smoldering ballad, Nalley imbues vintage tunes and her own originals with an infectious energy. Over the years she has earned generous accolades on her journey from small clubs to international concert halls. Her versatility is readily apparent in a host of collaborations with jazz royalty, such as Rhoda Scott and Houston Person. Nalley’s special tribute projects to vocal legends Billie Holiday, Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald also spotlight her talents as an actress and playwright. Blues People is her most recent recording and another musical high point in her artistic career. Born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, Kim Nalley grew up in a household where the love of music was second nature. Her first piano teacher was her great-grandmother. In her teens, Nalley studied opera and theater. Along the way she became a fan of the Grateful Dead, eventually making the trek to the Dead’s ‘birthplace,’ San Francisco. At first she busked on street corners to earn money, belting out everything from opera to blues. She enrolled at UC Berkeley, but her real education was learning to sing jazz standards at jam sessions. It wasn’t long before her voice caught the attention of SF Jazz Festival director Randall Kline and jazz critic Phil Elwood. Her reputation as a top-notch singer increased with ventures into jump-blues, big...
Django Reinhardt All-Stars Featuring Dorado Schmitt – Monday, November 9, 2015

Django Reinhardt All-Stars Featuring Dorado Schmitt – Monday, November 9, 2015

Django Reinhardt All-Stars Featuring Dorado Schmitt Monday, November 9 Kuumbwa Jazz Center “It’s joyous, upbeat and swinging…” – JazzTimes Dorado Schmitt returns! Considered the finest purveyor of the Django Reinhardt gypsy jazz tradition, Schmitt learned his craft in the same Roma tradition that nurtured the great Reinhardt. Aside from venturing into rock music during his teen years, the virtuosic guitarist/violinist has been a loyal acolyte of the Reinhardt legacy–one of hard-charging swing rhythms matched with the melodic and harmonic sophistication common to the jazz era of the ’30s and ’40s. Far from being stuck in the past, Schmitt and his All-Stars are living proof that Django’s innovations are still relevant for contemporary audiences. The Django Reinhardt All-Stars consists of Ludovic Beier – accordion; Pierre Blanchard – violin; Xavier Nikq – bass; and Franco Mehrstein – rhythm guitar. Born in 1957, Dorado Schmitt grew up in the Lorraine region of France, where at the age of seven, he learned to play guitar and absorbed the musically-rich environment of the Roma culture around him. In his teen years, he veered into rock music emulating Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana and other icons of the time. Tiring of rock, he returned to his Django-inspired swing roots with the formation of The Dorado Trio in 1978. Like Reinhardt before him, an accident nearly ended Schmitt’s career. A car collision in the late ’80s left him severely injured and comatose. Fortunately, after years of physical therapy, Schmitt was able to recover from his injuries and regain his virtuoso guitar abilities. It was Schmitt’s participation in Latcho Drom, a documentary on the Roma (Gypsy) culture that...
The House Jacks – Thursday, November 5, 2015

The House Jacks – Thursday, November 5, 2015

The House Jacks Thursday, November 5 Kuumbwa Jazz “…perfect a cappella harmony…” – San Francisco Chronicle Described as a “rock band without instruments,” The House Jacks have been delivering their brand of a cappella since their formation in San Francisco in 1981. Their unique approach to group vocalization is not only rich in harmonies, but takes on the sonic qualities of instruments such as trumpet, guitar and harmonica. With a large repertoire of diverse, original material suited for their voices, The House Jacks have toured across the US, Europe and Asia and can be heard in a number of places you might not expect–from their Monday Night Football theme with Hank Williams Jr., to the soundtracks of films such as Pitch Perfect. Founded by Deke Sharon, the group has been heralded as the “father of contemporary a cappella” and is equipped for seemingly any genre, from funk to rock to heartfelt balladry. Nearly twenty top-call vocalists have been a part of the group throughout its years of existence, many of whom have gone on to garner Broadway and other notable stage and film credits. The group has also been instrumental behind the scenes in NBC’s series The Sing Off!, developing arrangements, coaching groups and producing the cast album recordings. As teachers of their craft, The House Jacks have become luminaries in the a cappella industry. Their notoriety is only further solidified by their impressive performance resume, which features appearances on stages such as Candlestick Park, Carnegie Hall and The World Expo and performances in France, Italy, Belgium, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and elsewhere across the globe. At one point, the hard-touring group performed...
Márcio Faraco – Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Márcio Faraco – Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Márcio Faraco Wednesday, November 4 Kuumbwa Jazz Center “… the light-fingered grace of the bossa nova.” – The New York Times Brazilian guitarist Márcio Faraco has quietly built a solid international reputation since the release of his debut solo album in 2000. Sometimes referred to as the “Leonard Cohen of Brazil,” Faraco’s compositions employ a variety of rhythmic styles rooted in the unlimited breadth of Brazil’s musical culture, a sonic pastiche of African, European, and indigenous traditions. The early influences on his songwriting Antonio Carlos Jobim, João Gilberto, and Vinicius de Moraes, reverberate strongly throughout his musical compositions. Cajuiero, his seventh and most recent recording, captures Faraco at an inventive peak in his on-going artistic evolution. Márcio Faraco’s first step in his musical career began when he was ten years old; his father gave him a guitar and his first guitar lessons. Because his father was in the military and the family moved around Brazil often, Faraco was exposed to the rhythms that are the hallmark of Brazil’s intricate culture, ranging from samba to baiao to partido alto and many other styles. As a young adult, he went to law school for a couple of years, mainly to please his parents, but the pull of music proved too strong. Faraco was twenty-five when he moved to Rio de Janeiro to pursue a career as a songwriter and performer. From Rio he moved onto Paris and toured with Didier Sustrac. In 2000, he recorded, Ciranda his album debut. Two more albums followed, Interior in 2002 and Com Tradicao in 2005. As he built a loyal international following, another three albums...
Antonio Sánchez and Migration – Monday, November 2, 2015

Antonio Sánchez and Migration – Monday, November 2, 2015

Antonio Sánchez and Migration Monday, November 2 Kuumbwa Jazz Center “… one of the most prominent drummers of his generation.” – DrummerWorld Antonio Sánchez’s ingenious percussion soundtrack for the Oscar-winning film Birdman has solidified the drummer/composer’s reputation for musical innovation and imagination. He received a Satellite Award for Original Score, a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Movie Score, and a Grammy nomination in 2014 for the Birdman soundtrack. But Sánchez is best-known for his incendiary yet tasteful drumming as a longtime member of the Pat Metheny Unity Group. Now leading his own band, Migration, Antonio focuses on his inspired compositions with the expert help of saxophonist Seamus Blake, pianist John Escreet, bassist Matt Brewer, and vocalist Thana Alexa. Currently, Sánchez has two exciting new recordings available: Three Times Three and The Meridian Suite. Born and raised in Mexico, Sánchez initially began playing drums at age five. He was mainly self-taught, learning to play from listening to rock and popular music recordings. It wasn’t until his late teens, while majoring in music at Mexico’s National Conservatory that he became interested in playing jazz. Encouraged by his mother, Antonio transferred to Boston’s Berklee School of Music in 1993 and immersed himself in jazz studies. His hard work paid off when one of his instructors, pianist Danilo Perez, recommended him to reedman Paquito D’Rivera’ United Nations Orchestra. His stint with D’Rivera led to more work with with top professional bandleaders, including Danilo Perez. It was while playing in Danilo’s trio that Antonio was “discovered” by guitarist Pat Metheny. Impressed by Sánchez’s dynamic playing and musical sensitivity, Pat invited him to jam with...
Chucho Valdés & Irakere 40 – Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Chucho Valdés & Irakere 40 – Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Chucho Valdés & Irakere 40 Tuesday, October 27, 2015 At the Rio Theatre “…the giant of Cuban piano…” – El Periodical Chucho Valdés is a living icon of Cuban music and an eight-time Grammy award-winner. A pianist, composer/arranger and bandleader, Valdés co-founded Irakere, Cuba’s first “supergroup.” The legacy of Irakere represents a brilliant milestone of innovative achievement. With a melange of Afro-Cuban dance rhythms, jazz improvisation, and brief incursions into the classical world, Irakere blended folkloric and modern instrumentation together, ingeniously linking Cuba’s past to contemporary music. Chucho’s Project 2015 reincarnates the spirit of Irakere’s music with a new generation of Cuban virtuosos. Born in Havana, Cuba in 1941, Chucho Valdés is the son of another Cuban legend, pianist Bebo Valdés, and the father of up-and-coming pianist Chuchito. His mother, Pilar, was also a pianist and vocalist. Not surprisingly Chucho began classical piano lessons at the very early age of five. A child prodigy, he graduated from the Conservatorio Municipal de Musica de la Habana at age fourteen. On his own time he listened to jazz, the swing era greats such as Count Basie and Duke Ellington. His father was the house pianist and musical director at Havana’s famed Tropicana nightclub and often took him to see American guest artists, including Nat King Cole, Errol Garner, and Sarah Vaughan. Chucho began his professional career at fifteen and led a jazz piano trio playing at local Havana hotels. The following year he was “recruited” to play in the Orquesta Sabor de Cuba, a big band under his father’s direction that backed several top Cuban singers in the late ’50s. Even...