Howard Vincent Alden, grew up in Huntington Beach playing piano, harmonica, and the four-string tenor-guitar. At age ten, after hearing recordings of Barney Kessel, Charlie Christian, and Django Reinhard, among others, he got a six-string and started teaching himself to play. As a teenager he played both instruments at venues in the Los Angeles area, and at 16 began studying with Jimmy Wade. He would later enroll at the Guitar Institute of Technology (GIT) in Hollywood with Herb Ellis, Joe Pass, and Howard Roberts.
In the summer of 1979, he made his way to the east coast, playing in a trio led by vibraphonist Red Norvo for several months in Atlantic City. Moving to New York, he performed an extended engagement at the Café Carlyle with jazz pianist/songwriter Joe Bushkin. Soon afterwards, he was discovered by Joe Williams and Woody Herman. In 1983 he was already collaborating with Dick Hyman when he appeared with him and a host of other musicians at Eubie Blake’s one-hundredth birthday concert.
Alden formed the Alden-Barrett Quintet in 1985 with Dan Barrett, which played in the swing idiom, as he has done for most of his career. He also began partnerships with Ruby Braff, Kenny Davern, and Jack Lesberg. He joined George Van Eps, innovator of the seven-string guitar, on tour and recorded albums with him, switching to the seven-string himself in 1992. Howard recorded the guitar performances for Sean Penn’s character Emmet Ray in Woody Allen’s 1999 film Sweet and Lowdown and taught Penn how to mime the performances for the film.
In recognition of what would have been Django Reinhardt’s 110th birthday (January 23, 1910), on January 27, 2020, SJC proudly welcomes Howard Alden back for his second performance with to coop, featuring “Django.” With Peter Barshay on bass, Curt Moore on drums, and special guest guitarist Steve Homan. Don’t miss it!
Because you asked, we’ve brought them back. Les Chanteurs with Carolyne Swayze, Beth Duncan and Shelley Burns. Featuring Joe Gilman on piano, Ruth Davies on bass, Akira Tana on drums, and Mike McMullen on sax and flute. This is going to be a fun filled evening for sure. A Dinner menu will follow. Wednesday performance.
Hailing from Chicago, she has always been more or less her own person. Growing up in the middle in the Motown era, her musical preference listening to Dinah, Sarah, Ella, and Nancy Wilson (she claims to have wanted, at an early age, to be Nancy Wilson more than anything else in life), made her somewhat of an oddity among her peers. She tells the story of auditioning at age fourteen for the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour, the America’s Got Talent of the day. Intending on singing the Errol Garner classic, Misty, a severe case of stage fright caused only a glottal gurgle to emit from her throat. After several attempts she was thanked and sent home. There are some who might say that might have been the last time she had nothing to say. Still, following that exprience, she gave no thought of singing again for a number of years. Relocating to California in 1970, she began working in the local nightclubs on weekends to supplement her day job with the Fresno County DA. In 1975 she reloated to San Francisco. While making a thirty-year career at local, state and Federal levels of government, she has performed almost that same length of time as a pop/jazz singer, songwriter, and composer, working the Bay Area hotel and country club circuits throughout mid 1970s inti the early 1990s. In the late 1990s she relocated to Sacramento, and upon retiring from public service in 2007, she once agained turned her focus to the music. In 2016, she established the Sacramento Jazz Cooperative, a nonprofit dedicated to the preservation of classic jazz.
Beth Duncan’s love for music began at an early age as the sounfs of Stan Getz, Miles Davis, Nancy Wilson and Mel Torme floated down the hall from her older brither’s bedroom. With hewr mom always singing and her brothers association with an acapella choir, sing was just a natural part of her life, causing her to sing wherever she could in schiil music programs, community theatre productions and church.
For the next thirty years, she worked across the whole spectrum of broadcast journalism, including stints as a reporter, anchor, news director, and managing editor. It wasn’t until Spring 2002, that singing became more than a side-project in Beth’s life. She decided to plunge back into the music scene by means of a concert to celebrate her 50th birthday. Beth went all out, hiring the best musicians around and taking six months to prepare herself to perform again – and this time it would be all jazz tunes. The response from her friends, family, and co-workers was so positive that she decided to get back into music, this time producing the album Orange Color Sky (2005), a self-released collection of standards sung with passion and style. Seven years later, she followed it up with a second album Comes The Fall (2012) and it was here that the rebirth of Beth’s career as a jazz singer really began. The album debuted at #26 on CMJ’s jazz top 40 charts, just below Diana Krall, received top honors in the 12th annual Independent Music Awards, and got airplay on more than 110 stations nationally, along with stations in Canada, Kobe, Japan, Australia and The Netherlands.
Selley Burns has been perforimng professionally virtually all of her life, and is regarded as one of the premier jazz vocaists on the west coast. Her recordings have been heard on jazz radio stations across the nation, and she has appeared at many jazz festivals in the U.S. , as well as Scotland and Canada.
Shelley has entertained on cruise ships, with Bill Dendle and Eddie Erickson, and has sung with Les Paul, Bucky Pizzarelli, and shared the stage with Bob Fraga, Abe Most, Johnny Varro, and Jimmy Smith. She has conducted vocal workshops in conjunction with jass festivals in the U.S. and Canada, and through the 2000s she appearted annually in Greece, even conducting a jazz vocal camp in Athens. She is the staff vocal coach at two jazz camps in Northern California, and in 2013, received the “Great Lady of Jazz” award from the Sun Valley Jazz Festival. She is a marvelous comedic actress and has been compared to Carol Burnett and Imogene Coca. Like them, she can fracture an audience with laughter or mesmerize them with a beautiful song.
“Birth of the Cool is a compilation album by American jazz musician Miles Davis, released in 1957 on Capitol Records. It compiles eleven songs recorded by Davis’s nonet for the label over the course of three sessions during 1949 and 1950. Featuring unusual instrumentation and several notable musicians, the music consisted of innovative arrangements strongly inspired by classical music and marked a major development in post-bebop jazz. As the title implies, these recordings are considered seminal in the history of cool jazz.”
“Musically, the songs on Birth of the Cool stand as an important reaction to the prominent bebop form in contemporary jazz inspiring a whole school of jazz musicians, particularly in California in what is usually referred to as “West Coast jazz” or the “cool school.”
Byron Colborn has performed this compilation of music, previously using his quintet. Following in the style of Davis, this time Byron has arranged his nonet (9 -piece) featuring some of Sacramento’s finest musicians with: Aaron Smith on trumpet, Levi Saelua on Alto sax, Brandon Au on trombone, Byron Colborn on Bari sax, Stephen Binger Jr. on French Horn, Benwar Shepard on tuba, Sterling Cozza on piano; Benjamin Kopf on bass, and Jim Frink on drums.
Raised in a very musical family, Larry played baritone horn in the school band, and while still in high school played piano with a local dance band, the Dell Herreid Orchestra. At Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, he majored in composition. After graduating, he played in and wrote for various jazz groups in Portland including the Tom Albering Trio, which included vocalist Nancy King, and also played with Leroy Vinnegar and Ralph Towner. Since the 70s Dunlap has been based in San Francisco, playing with many artists including the Pointer Sisters and Country Joe McDonald. In the late 70s, Dunlap met and later married singer Bobbe Norris. Around 1980 he began a musical relationship with Cleo Laine and John Dankworth that endured into the early 00s and included recording at Carnegie Hall. Among others with whom he has performed and sometimes recorded are Ernestine Anderson, Larry Coryell, Art Farmer, James Moody, Gerry Mulligan, Rebecca Parris, and Mark Murphy.
Dunlap’s many compositions and arrangements include music for big bands and classical music ensembles. In the 70s he received an NEA grant to compose ‘Immersion: A Water Suite For Jazz Quartet And Chamber Orchestra’. His long and fruitful musical association with the Cape Verde-born composer Amandio Cabral has resulted in several albums, including Why Not Forever, Sonho Azul: Blue Dream, and Fly With My Love. Early influences on Dunlap as pianist include André Previn, Herbie Hancock, Oscar Peterson and Chick Corea. Influences upon him as arranger and composer include Gerry Mulligan, Gil Evans, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Ivan Lins, as well as many classical composers. Through the 90s and into the early 00s, Dunlap has worked as music editor with the Sher Music Company.
The Sacramento Jazz Coop is proud to present the Larry Dunlap Trio on January 12, 2020, featuring John Wiitala on bass, Leon Joyce Jr on drums, and Sacramento vocalist, Jamie Davis who holds a position amongst the pantheon of great male baritones.
Over time, there have been a number of jazz virtuosos, joining as partners in time to perform some magical piano duo performances. Brought to mind are Oscar Peterson and Count Basie, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock, Tommy Flanagan and Hank Jones, Marian McPartland and George Shearing (and everyone else), and Bill Charlap and Renee Rosness. These piano playing duos, have thrilled audiences beyond measure. SJC has jumped on the bandwagon, and on March 23, 2020, presents another famous duo, Joe Gilman, and Randy Porter showcasing Gilman and Porter play 176 Keys with rhythm. Don’t miss it.
Gilman began studying piano at the age of seven and later earned degrees in piano performance and jazz studies at Indiana University, a master’s degree in jazz and the contemporary media from the Eastman School of Music, and a doctorate in education from the University of Sarasota. He studied with Yuriy Oliynyk, Jerry Murphy, Frank Wasko, David Baker, James Tocco, Karen Shaw, Bill Dobbins, and Rayburn Wright.
In 1992 he began directing the music theory and jazz studies programs at American River College,, and released the album Treasure Chest, with Joe Henderson, Jeff “Tain” Watts, and Robert Hurst.
In 1997, Joe founded the original Capital Jazz Project, a Sacramento-based nonprofit organization that features thematic jazz presentations. In 1998 and 2000, Gilman toured twelve countries on the African continent as a part of the Kennedy Center/USIA Jazz Ambassador program. The tour included regular performances with jazz guitarist Steve Homan to foreign dignitaries and resident audiences, performing with local musicians, and offering lectures and clinics to aspiring jazz performers.
From 1997 to 2004, he was a regular finalist in The Great American Jazz Piano Competition in Jacksonville, Florida. He was the grand prize winner in 2004, and also began a series of albums for Sunnyside Records and Capri Records featuring interpretations of the music of Dave Brubeck and Stevie Wonder. His later recordings presented musical interpretations of Contemporary American painters (Americanvas) and the sketches of M.C. Escher (Relativity).
From 2005–2012, Gilman was the music director of the Brubeck Institute in Stockton, California, and artist in residence from 2012–2014.
In 2006, he became a regular accompanist to jazz vibraphonist Bobby Hutcherson, and has since toured the Blue Note jazz clubs in Japan, Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola and Birdland in New York, Jazz Alley and The Triple Door in Seattle, Yoshi’s in Oakland and San Francisco, the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles, and jazz festivals such as Estoria (Portugal) Pescara and Umbria (Italy), Jazz Baltica (Germany), Sedona (Arizona), and Boston.
Randy Porter has a refined understanding of improvisation and spontaneous communication between musicians. As a Steinway Artist, Randy draws from a rich palette of sonorities found within his imagination and the depths of the piano. Lynn Darroch of The Oregonian states, “Porter has built a reputation as a musician’s musician, a knowledgeable, inventive, and sophisticated player with a remarkable sense of time and gorgeous keyboard facility…”
Nominated for the 60th Grammy Awards, Randy’s release, Porter Plays Porter is a mix of swing, harmony and lyrical adventure. In the spirit of Cannonball Adderley and Nancy Wilson, tunes featuring Nancy King are interspersed with instrumental tracks featuring the Randy Porter Trio. John Wiitala on bass and Todd Strait on drums bring their wonderful swing skill set and intuition to Randy’s arrangements of Cole Porter tunes Randy’s original song, Inside Your Mind, adds to the album’s poignancy.
Randy Porter has performed with many jazz greats, including Freddy Hubbard, Art Farmer, Benny Golson, and Charles McPherson. With the Charles McPherson Quartet, he has traveled throughout the US and in Denmark, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, and China. The Charles McPherson Quartet has re-created the music from the classic recording Charlie Parker with Strings, performing with many orchestras nationwide. Porter has also performed McPherson’s Sweet Synergy Suite with the San Diego Ballet.
Randy Porter has toured Europe with bassist David Friesen and has performed on several recordings with Friesen. Porter considers Midnight Mood: Live in Stockholm to be one of their strongest albums. Porter has also recorded, performed, and toured worldwide with singer Gino Vannelli; Porter’s pianistic contributions can be heard on Vannelli’s CDs, Yonder Tree, Slow Love and Canto.
Musical highlights include performing at Kimball’s with Art Farmer and Clifford Jordan, Lincoln Center and Kennedy Center with Diane Schuur, Seattle’s Jazz Alley with New York Voices, concerts at Yoshi’s in San Francisco with Madeline Eastman, Karrin Allyson and Rebecca Kilgore, The House of Blues in Chicago and BB King’s Blues Club in NYC with Gino Vannelli, the Monterey Jazz Festival with Madeline Eastman, the Chicago and Detroit Jazz Festivals with Charles McPherson, and the Portland and Montavilla Jazz Festivals with Nancy King.
There can be no greater symbiotic relationship than that between jazz and Broadway musicals. Created by the founders of the Great American Standards in or around 1920, 2020 marks the 100th year celebration as we will surely hear repeatedly in the coming year. While many of these songs were written by European composers, jazz, stemming from the blues has remained America’s original artform of musical expression, and every jazz musician shows off their arsenal of tunes played from the smallest jazz clubs to the stages of Broadway. Please join us on January 6, 2020, when SJC proudly presents the Elizabeth Unpingco Quartet, when “Jazz meets Broadway”, featuring Brenden Lowe on piano, Rick Lotter on drums, Gerry Pineda on bass, and Elizabeth Unpingo on vocals. A dinner option may be added to this performance.