Artist Highlight – Oscar Peterson

Oscar Peterson

“The music field was the first to break down racial barriers, because in order to play together, you have to love the people you are playing with, and if you have any racial inhibitions, you wouldn’t be able to do that.” ~ Oscar Peterson

Internationally renowned jazz pianist Oscar Peterson was called the “Maharaja of the keyboard” by Duke Ellington, “O.P.” by his friends, and was a member of jazz royalty. He released over 200 recordings, won seven Grammy Awards, and received other numerous awards and honors over the course of his career. He is considered to have been one of the greatest pianists of all time, who played thousands of live concerts to audiences worldwide in a career lasting more than 65 years. 

Oscar Peterson was born on August 15, 1925 in Montreal, Canada. His father, Daniel Peterson, a porter with Canadian Pacific Railways, lived in Canada since 1917. He met Oscars’ mother, Kathleen Olivia John, in Montreal, where she was domestic worker. They had five children. 

Daniel Peterson was an avid musician and insisted that all five of his children studied music. Oscar began playing the trumpet at the age of five. He got tuberculosis and spent 14 months in the hospital. His lungs became quite damaged so he could no longer play the trumpet. So he chose to play the piano. Their father, who learned to play piano on his own while in the Merchant Marine Academy, taught his children all he could until they achieved a certain proficiency. During his high school years, Oscar studied with an accomplished classical pianist, Hungarian Paul de Marky, a student of Istvan Thomán who was himself a pupil of Franz Liszt. Oscar Peterson’s training was predominantly based on classical piano, with inspirations from the Well Tempered Clavier, the Goldberg Variations, and the The Art of Fugue, as these piano pieces are essential for every serious pianist. Meanwhile Oscar Peterson was captivated by traditional jazz and learned several ragtime songs, especially the boogie-woogie. At that time Peterson was called “the Brown Bomber of the Boogie-Woogie.” Paul de Marky encouraged Oscar to believe that he had something special to give to the music world. At age nine Peterson played piano with control that impressed professional musicians. For many years his piano studies included four to six hours of practice daily.

Art Tatum a very famous pianist during that era was introduced to Oscar by his father who played Art Tatum’s Tiger Rag record for him. Oscar was so intimidated by what he heard that he didn’t touch the piano for a month. At 14 years of age, Oscar’s older sister Daisy Sweeney a notable classical piano teacher scheduled an audition for a CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) national amateur contest. Oscar won the competition. This opened the doors to performances on a weekly broadcast show, on a Montreal radio station, called Fifteen Minutes’ Piano Rambling and later performances on a national CBC broadcast called The Happy Gang. He regularly played with the Montreal High School Victory Serenaders which included trumpeter Maynard Ferguson. Oscar Peterson had permission to play the baby grand piano during the lunch hours and in his words this was “the best way to have a bunch of girls come down. I became the guy.” 

Peterson expanded his classical piano training and broadened his range while mastering the core classical pianism from rigorous scales to such staples of every pianist’s repertoire as preludes and fugues by Johann Sebastian Bach. He also worked on emulating Art Tatum’s pianism and aesthetics. Peterson also absorbed Tatum’s musical influences, notably from piano concertos by Sergei Rachmaninoff. Rachmaninoff’s harmonizations, as well as direct quotations from his second piano concerto, are thrown here and there in many recordings by Peterson, including his work with the Ray Brown and Herb Ellis Trio, such as “When Your Lover Has Gone”. Other artists who influenced Oscar during the early years were Teddy Williams, Nat (King) Cole, and James P. Johnson.

In 1944 Oscar married his year long girlfriend by the name of Lillie Fraser. In late 1947 Oscar led a trio at the Alberta Lounge in Montreal. Once a week a local radio station broadcast his show live from The Alberta. Norman Granz, the producer of Jazz at the Philharmonic, heard the broadcast on the Radio and was so impressed that he told the cab driver to take him to the studio. Oscar’s life would change dramatically. Norman Granz took Oscar to New York to play as a surprise guest at the Carnegie Hall performance of his Jazz at the Philharmonic. Oscar came up from the audience that night and played a duet with bassist Ray Brown which thrilled the audience and critics alike. Thus began Oscar’s lifelong relationship with Mr. Granz.

Soon after his appearance at Carnegie Hall Oscar was invited to join the Jazz at the Philharmonic. They toured North America. After a few years Oscar Peterson set up his own trio. Granz and Peterson developed a deep and lasting friendship. Is was much more than a managerial relationship; Peterson praised Granz for standing up for him and other black jazz musicians in the segregationist south of the 1950s and 1960s. For example, in the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s two-part documentary video Music in the Key of Oscar, Peterson tells how Granz stood up to a gun-toting southern policeman who wanted to stop the trio from using “white-only” taxis. Oscar Peterson and his trio worked incredibly hard and were considered one of the best jazz trios in the world. While playing at a club in Washington DC, Oscar Peterson met his idol Art Tatum. They became close friends and played for each other on many occasions. Oscar was joined by several people in his trio, each group having a distinct feel and flavor. Oscar especially enjoyed playing with Ed Thigpen on drums. He describes this time as “…six years of unbelievable music.” Eventually Oscar would regularly play with the greatest jazz artist of his era of Ella Fitzgerald, Dizzy Gillespie, Count Basie, Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Roy Eldridge, Charlie Parker, Barney Kessel, Herb Ellis, Joe Pass, Ray Brown, Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, Clark Terry, Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Milt Jackson, Stéphane Grappelli, Anita O’Day, Fred Astaire, Irving Ashby, Herbie Hancock, Bennie Green, Keith Emerson, Stan Getz, Louis Hyes, Bobby Durham, Ray Price, Sam Jones, George Mraz, Martin Drew, David Young, Alvin Queen and Ulf Wakenius. 

He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1972, and promoted to Companion, its highest rank, in 1984. He is also a member of the Order of Ontario, a Chevalier of the Ordre du Québec, and an officer of the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

His work has earned Oscar Peterson seven Grammy awards over the years and he was elected to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1978. He also belongs to the Juno Awards Hall of Fame and the Canadian Jazz and Blues Hall of Fame. He has received the Roy Thomson Award (1987), a Toronto Arts Award for lifetime achievement (1991), the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award (1992), the Glenn Gould Prize (1993), the award of the International Society for Performing Artists (1995), the Loyola Medal of Concordia University (1997), the Praemium Imperiale World Art Award (1999), the UNESCO Music Prize (2000), and the Toronto Musicians’ Association Musician of the Year award (2001).

In 1993, Oscar suffered a serious stroke that weakened his left side and sidelined him for two years. However he has overcome this setback and started touring, recording and composing again. In 1997 he received a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement and an International Jazz Hall of Fame Award, proof that Oscar Peterson is still regarded as one of the greatest jazz musicians ever to play. 

Oscar Peterson passed away on December 23, 2007 with his dog “Smedley” named after his dear friend Norman Granz by his side. He had seven children by four wives. Soon after Peterson’s death, the University of Toronto Mississauga opened a major student residence in March 2008 as “Oscar Peterson Hall.” 

Artist Highlight – Count Basie

Count Basie

“If you play a tune and a person don’t tap their feet, don’t play the tune. “
Count Basie 

by Ranie Smith

Count Basie was regarded as one of the most important bandleaders of the swing era. He lived from August 21, 1904 to April 26, 1984. Basie led his popular Count Basie Orchestra for almost fifty years. Both of Basie’s parents were musicians; his father, Harvie Basie, played the mellophone, and his mother, Lillian (Childs) Basie, was a pianist. She gave her son his earliest lessons. Basie also learned from Harlem stride pianists, particularly Fats Waller who taught him how to play organ. 

In early 1929, Basie played with different bands, eventually settling into one led by Bennie Moten. Basie worked as a soloist before leading a band initially called the Barons of Rhythm. A few of Moten’s former band members joined this nine-piece swing band, among them Walter Page (bass), Freddie Green (guitar), Jo Jones (drums), and Lester Young (tenor saxophone). Jimmy Rushing became the singer. The band gained a residency at the Reno Club in Kansas City and began broadcasting on the radio. An announcer dubbed the pianist “Count” Basie. Basie got his big break when one of his broadcasts was heard by journalist and record producer John Hammond. Hammond touted him to agents and record companies. As a result, the band left Kansas City in the fall of 1936 and took an engagement at the Grand Terrace in Chicago. The next date was in Buffalo, NY, then on to Roseland in New York City. 

January 1937, Count Basie’s Band made its recording debut on Decca Records. Meanwhile, the band’s recording of “One O’Clock Jump” got its first chart entry in September 1937. The tune became the band’s theme song and it was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. 

Basie’s music was characterized by his trademark “jumping” beat and the contrapuntal accents of his own piano. “Stop Beatin’ Round the Mulberry Bush,” with Rushing on vocals, became a Top Ten hit in the fall of 1938. Basie spent the first half of 1939 in Chicago, meanwhile switching from Decca to Columbia Records, then went to the West Coast in the fall. He spent the early ’40s touring extensively, but after the U.S. entry into World War II in December 1941 and the onset of the recording ban in August 1942, his travel was restricted. In 1942 Basie moved to Queens, New York, to be with Catherine Morgan, a famous dancer from Cleveland. They got married in 1943. In his autobiography, “Good Morning Blues,” Basie said he married the girl from Cleveland in 1943 in Seattle. Their honeymoon was a string of one-night band appearances. The Basie band was working in New York when Katy was about to have a baby. She returned to Cleveland and stayed with her parents. Katy and Bill “Count” Basie’s only child, Diane Basie, was born in Cleveland. He rushed to Cleveland to be with his wife and daughter. Later, when they rejoined Basie in New York, he said he had vivid memories of seeing Katy getting off the plane from Cleveland carrying their baby. He said, “It was a special thrill bringing my family home from the airport that day, Old Base, his wife and daughter.” 

In 1943 while on the West Coast, he started to appear in five films, all released within a matter of months in 1943: Hit Parade of 1943, Reveille with Beverly, Stage Door Canteen, Top Man, and Crazy House. He also scored a series of Top Ten hits on the pop and R&B charts, including “I Didn’t Know About You” (pop, winter 1945); “Red Bank Blues” (R&B, winter 1945); “Rusty Dusty Blues” (R&B, spring 1945); “Jimmy’s Blues” (pop and R&B, summer/fall 1945); and “Blue Skies” (pop, summer 1946). Switching to RCA Victor Records, he topped the charts in February 1947 with “Open the Door, Richard!,” followed by three more Top Ten pop hits in 1947: “Free Eats,” “One O’Clock Boogie,” and “I Ain’t Mad at You (You Ain’t Mad at Me).” 

Joining ASCAP in 1943, his chief musical collaborators included Mack David, Jerry Livingston, James Rushing, Andy Gibson, Eddie Durham, and Lester Young. His songs and instrumentals also include “Good Morning Blues”; “Every Tub”; “John’s Idea”; “Basie Boogie”; “Blue and Sentimental”; “Gone With the Wind”; “I Ain’t Mad at You”; “Futile Frustration”; “Good Bait”; “Don’t You Miss Your Baby?”; “Miss Thing” “Riff Interlude”; “Panassie Stomp: “Shorty George”; “Out the Window”; “Hollywood Jump: “Nobody Knows”; “Swinging at the Daisy Chain”; and “I Left My Baby”. The big bands’ decline in popularity in the late ’40s hit Basie as it did his peers, and he broke up his orchestra at the end of the decade, opting to lead smaller units for the next couple of years. 

In the 1950’s, the big band era seemed to be near its end. Basie remained faithful to his beloved Kansas City Jazz style and helped keep the big band sound alive with his distinctive style of piano playing. In 1952, Count Basie increased his band back to the full Big Band sound with his 16-piece orchestra responding to the increased opportunities for touring. For example, he went overseas for the first time to play in Scandinavia in 1954, and thereafter international touring played a large part in his schedule. An important addition to the band in late 1954 was vocalist Joe Williams. The orchestra was re-established commercially by the 1955 album Count Basie Swings – Joe Williams Sings (released on Clef Records), particularly by the single “Every Day (I Have the Blues),” which reached the Top Five of the R&B charts and was later inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. 

Another key recording of this period was an instrumental reading of “April in Paris” that made the pop Top 40 and the R&B Top Ten in early 1956; it also was enshrined in the Grammy Hall of Fame. These hits made what Albert Murray (co-author of Basie’s autobiography, Good Morning Blues) called the “new testament” edition of the Basie band a major success .By the mid-1950s, Basie’s band had become one of the pre-eminent backing big bands for some of the finest jazz vocalists of the time. Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis, Jr. and Frank Sinatra also recorded with Basie. In 1957 Basie released the live album At Newport. At the first Grammy Awards ceremony, Basie won the 1958 awards for Best Performance by a Dance Band and Best Jazz Performance, Group, for his Roulette Records LP Basie. Breakfast Dance and Barbecue was nominated in the dance band category for 1959.

Basie was nominated for best jazz performance for “Basie at Birdland” in 1961 and “The Legend” in 1962. Iin 1962, Basie switched to Frank Sinatra’s Reprise Records. Sinatra-Basie reached the Top Five in early 1963. It was followed by “This Time by Basie!” Hits of the 50’s and 60’s, which reached the Top 20 and won the 1963 Grammy Award for Best Performance by an Orchestra for Dancing. Basie teamed with various vocalists for a series of chart albums including Ella Fitzgerald (Ella and Basie!, 1963); Sinatra again (the Top 20 album It Might as Well Be Swing, 1964); Sammy Davis, Jr. (Our Shining Hour, 1965); the Mills Brothers (The Board of Directors, 1968); and Jackie Wilson (Manufacturers of Soul, 1968), Broadway Basie’s … Way (1966). Later Basie returned a pure jazz format. His album Standing Ovation earned a 1969 Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Jazz Performance by a Large Group or Soloist with Large Group (Eight or More). The band had first recorded for Norman Granz on Clef, then moved to Roulette, where it spent its peak years of the late ’50s and early ’60s. When Granz returned to recording activity in 1972 with Pablo Records, it would also mean a final renaissance for Basie, whom Granz recorded magnificently in trio, small band formats as well as with the band. A series of pairings with Oscar Peterson produced some unusually invigorating Basie piano. Basie died April 24, 1984, of cancer, but the band continues playing on today. Count Basie is quote to have said: “All I wanted was to be big, to be in show business and to travel… and that’s what I’ve been doing all my life.”

Watch Count Basie on U-Tube 

One O’Clock Jump 

Count Basie in the film “Hit Parade”, 1943 

Count Basie in Zuerich, 1959

Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie, 1979 

Artist Highlight – Frank Martin

“The joy and passion I get when I touch a piano from the instrument has never changed” Frank Martin

Frank Martin Producer/Arranger/Keyboardist
Frank Martin Producer/Arranger/Keyboardist

Frank Martin, a producer/arranger is a sought after piano and keyboards player who regularly performs with artists such as Sting, Stevie Wonder, Patti Austin, Narada Michael Walden, etc. Frank Martin made himself available for an interview for our UC Jazz Club Newsletter.

We asked him, what is the most wonderful thing about jazz for you? Frank Martin told us that it is a vehicle for communication with other people. It’s a way to connect, it is a higher-level-than words, powerful connection. I love the listening and the playing off of each other. Music is a great vehicle to communicate.

What originally inspired you to become a jazz musician? Frank told us that the evolution started out of the joy of making music. “I can remember when my piano first arrived in my home as gift to my sisters by my grandmother. I remember putting my hands on it and feeling a strong connection. It was so profound! I still feel this way today when I touch a piano. The joy and passion I get from the instrument has never changed. 

I started out as an improvising piano player. The joy I felt was in exploring the world of improvisation and that easily leads one to jazz. Jazz is all about improvisation. It was a natural progression into the jazz world.

I also had the good luck of finding pianist/organist Don Burke.
I grew up in Oakland and initially he was in Oakland and eventually he moved to San Leandro. He and Dave Brubeck studied with the same teacher. I often started my lessons with the music of Dave Brubeck. Don also had me play Miles Davis and Bill Evans. He would play this music and I started to learn and develop a love for that music. I have to give him the credit for planting the seeds.

My first public performance was at Disneyland when I was five years old. I was in Disneyland and by chance ran into another five year old friend of mine who was there as well. When they got the kids on stage, I jumped up with my friend Mike McGuire and felt very comfortable and admittedly enjoyed the attention. 

We sang Davey Crocket. This led to another singing talent show, the King Norman Show, when I was in third grade. The King Norman Show put on talent shows at various schools and the regional winners would be invited to Los Angeles to go up against other kids. It was somewhat similar to American Idol, although very loosly. The kids that won the King Norman Show contest locally got to go to Los Angeles and compete against the other local winners. At my school I was lucky enough to win with my singing 3rd grade partner Mark Rice. Just before going on the air the show pianist worked with all the kids, and that as well got the bug going for playing the piano.

Performing with a band, that didn’t start until high school. The first time we performed publicly was in San Leandro and the band played for a total of $15.00. The name of that first band was “The Trend”. I played the electric organ. 

My first organ was a VOX Continental Organ. It was a very cool thing to have. My second was a Farfisa and my third was a Fender Roads Electric Piano. We even wrote some of our own music. We mostly played the contemporary pop/rock songs of that time, which is what the kids in high school really wanted to hear. 

I remember enjoying composing, it was a fun thing to do. I was not that good of a music reader and felt more comfortable making up what I wanted to play. I found myself as the years went on organizing jam sessions and get togethers with other players. My parents opened our home for these events and I organized the music. I still organize the music today.

I suppose I got my start when we had those sessions at my parents home.

What’s next on the horizon? Well, on Thursday, May 8 at 7pm, I will perform with Sting at Carnegie Hall as part of the annual Save the Rainforest concert which Sting has produced for the last almost 15 years. Also performing will be my long time musical friend drummer/producer Narada Michael Walden.

For this upcoming performance at Carnegie Hall, my job is to transcribe what we will perform and have it ready for the rhythm section >> 3 keyboard players, two guitarists, a bassist, percussionist and drummer.

Legendary reedman Jim Horn is the one who does the horn parts and if there is a string section, either I do it, or I get help from the Trombone player, Tom Malone of the Letterman band. I have another friend that helps if need be, local conductor/arranger Barbara Christmann. Just prior to these shows some of the stars still are trying to decide what to do, so much of what I do is at the very last minute. For me, working with Sting’s Rainforest band has been 10 years of total joy!!

Recently I just finished producing a record for a local Bay Area singer, Karen Blixt. “Mad Hope” is her second record that I’ve produced for her, the first being “Spin This.”. We are going to play at Yoshi’s on the 15th of April in Oakland. The show will be open to the public. On trumpet will be Randy Brecker from the Brecker Brothers. We also will have the great pianist Patrice Rushen, which for me is a great honor to be able to perform with her. On rhythm guitar we have Jose Neto of the Steve Winwood band. Also the great percussionist/drummer Alex Acuna from the Weather Report band will be with us. He is a simply a wonderful percussionist. Also will be bassist Abraham Laboriel, who is the most recorded bass player in history and former “Yellowjackets” member William Kennedy as the drummer. Vocalist Kenny Washington will make a guest appearance as well. He did one song as a duet, “Five and Five”(aka “Take Ten”) For that record I co-composed 8 songs, and arranged and produced it. We recorded it at the Skywalker Studio in Marin County with the great engineer Leslie Ann Jones.

And I’m half way finished with my second production for Dutch singer Ellen Honert. The first one was “Breath of the Soul” and featured Tuck & Patti, the Turtle Island String Quartet, Brazilian vocalist/guitarist Dori Caymmi and many others.

My process of working with the musicians begins with making demos of the songs and sending it to them. That way they get a feel for what I’m looking for. We never rehearse so the more clarity I provide, the better. The process of recording the demos in my San Rafael studio is something I really love to do. It’s an expansion of what I did at my parents home. I organize the people and bring them together to play. 

What does an arranger do exactly? An arranger organizes what the musicians will play. Decides how best to utilize the available instruments and capitalize on the strengths of the players who will be recording. The producer gets the musicians to perform at their highest level and makes sure everything runs smoothly. In my opinion the key is to get the best musicians for the recording. Kind of like cooking … great ingredients allow for the best meal. One has to wear a lot of hats during productions. Needing to stay true to the artist and help realize their vision, as well as help guide them along their path. And to provide a comfortable arena for all of the performers to shine at their best.

I enjoy keeping busy. I teach at UC Jazz Ensembles, I have private students, I teach classes at the Jazzschool, and I participate in Summer Camps, i.e. Jazz Camp West and the Lafayette Summer Music Workshops. I find myself performing all the time as well …

Who are some of the favorite musicians that you have worked to work with and why? When asked who Frank Martin enjoys working with he mused. I enjoy working with Abraham Laboriel, Alex Acuna, William Kennedy he tells us. We have a strong connection with the four of us and the reason is that we all come from a place of joy. They all have perpetual smiles on their faces. Same for guitarist Jose Neto. They love so much what they do and they are masters. They are so joyful to be around. It makes for a wonderful experience.

Generally, those are my favorite people to perform with. Now there is Stevie Wonder, he is a true genius musically. Herbie Hancock – he is a joy and a great inspiration. And my ideal singer is Patti Austin. She is a consummate professional who expects you to be that as well. She is full of joy and life and I love how she communicates with people. I used to work a lot with vocalist Angela Bofill before she had her second stroke. She can get around a little bit now. She needs all our prayers. I go to visit her sometimes. She has a great attitude. After her first stroke she couldn’t speak and with time she went back to speaking at about 85%. She is paralyzed on her left side and is fighting hard. She remains truly inspiring she was a great joy to work with.

What in your opinion makes a great performer? I think one that communicates sincerely. Not only verbally but in what they are playing and singing. Those that park their egos at the door … Many of my favorite musicians have a Jazz background, and many are based in Rhythm and Blues. I love performers that make rhythm of the utmost importance. There are many who just play the song. The great performers always share of themselves and bring something personal to the song.

Are there any suggestions you have for the young musicians in the UC Jazz Ensembles and other inspiring musicians? Yes, be true to yourself and follow your passion. Try to keep that in mind! You are going to hear from a lot of people that you should do something else. That it’s too hard to make it in the arts.That is typically well-intentioned advice, but you can’t take somebodies dream away. You have to have the belief. Follow your passion – attitude is everything!

I tell my students this example. There are a couple of bass players. One says that “there is no work, what am I gonna do?” The other one says “I am so busy!! I got my fifth gig today and I have five more tomorrow.” I tell my students that they are both right. There is no work and in the same town they is too much work. It is not easy, but it is all about the work you put into it. Have a healthy attitude and follow the passion and don’t give up.

How can a novice listener become more knowledgeable about jazz? It is about exposure. Exposure is always the thing. It is like a fine wine if you don’t have the opportunity and if you don’t try it you can’t find out what resonates with you. Exposure to it makes you appreciate it more. Like a good painting, only if you see the painting can you appreciate it. You have to watch and listen. It is a process. My recommendation is that you go to jazz concerts and find out what resonates with you. One artist may resonate with you and may not resonate with another. Maybe just allowing yourself the time to go to Yoshi’s or Anna’s Island and experiencing live music will bring you closer to the music. If you can’t do that use the Internet. The Internet is filled with music of one artist after another. Every style of performer is there! Go to and type in a jazz artists name and you will find him or her performing someplace. It is the same for internet sites like and Listen to the music of a jazz artist. Exposure! There is no magical way to appreciate something one doesn’t know.

What is coming up next for you? I am going to be in Bend, Oregon. A local promoter and jazz fan decided to bring together Brazilian guitarist Jose Neto and the great New York based jazz sax player Eric Anderson for a night of Brazilian jazz, along with Brazilian drummer Celso Alberti and myself. Then I am doing some concert work with an Irish Jazz singer Melanie O’Rielly at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley. Then we are off to LA to perform at the Raven, a club for actors. She has an acting background and we will do a duo. Her style is Irish Jazz ~ traditional music that meets kind of McCoy Tyner!. Then I am starting a recording project with her, writing music inspired by the writings of James Joyce. That should be interesting. And the night after the Raven will perform in a jazz quartet with New York drummer Paul Peress and players I’ve yet to meet, at Spaghetini’s, a Jazz Club in LA. Then comes performance at Carnegie Hall with Sting. I am blessed to be busy doing what I love ~ music music music!! Who knew that those jam sessions at my parents home would spark a career in music …

Noah Griffin stars in “Nat Tonight Dear!”

Noah Griffin Invites UC Jazz Club fans to join him in a celebration of Nat King Cole

“They see the possibility of a black president as natural as Tiger Woods winning the Masters”
Noah Griffin (talking about his children) 

Noah Griffin, a highly-regarded Bay Area singer, has been enchanting audiences since the age of 7 when he performed with the San Francisco Boy’s Chorus.  His talent was appreciated by such greats as Paul Robeson, Leantyde Price, Johnny Ray and Nat King Cole with whom he shared the stage. He performed with the Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Philharmonic, Fisk University Choir and the famed Jubilee Singers, they performed Porgy and Bess with the Nashville Symphony where Noah had a solo. 

As a soloist Noah Griffin performed with Duke Ellington, Shirelles, Kings and he performed in Carmen, Boris Gudenov, Turandot and soloing in La Boheme with the San Francisco Cosmopolitan Opera Company. Noah Griffin was chosen to solo with Duke Ellington in his Boston debut of his “Sacred Concert”. 

After graduating from Harvard Law School in Boston, Noah Griffin returned to the San Francisco Bay Area where he has lived ever since. While raising his children Noah Griffin had an illustrious career as a syndicated newspaper columnist, radio talk show host, singer and songwriter. 

Noah Griffin regularly performs in San Francisco, New York, Boston, London, Rome and Paris.  Noah Griffin’ Tribute to Cole Porter took the world by storm and he regularly sells out at such classical venues like Birdland in NY. Now Noah Griffin brings Nat King Cole alive with his popular tribute.

Nat Tonight Dear! 

A Tribute to NAT KING COLE performance by Noah Griffin will arrive in San Francisco on Friday April 11, 2008 8PM at the University Club, 800 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA 94108 

Noah Griffin pays tribute to Nat King Cole, an unforgettable talent. Come together with your loved ones, friends or on your own to honor the wonderful love songs of the King. April 11, 2008 8PM. 

Nat King Cole 

Nat King Cole was one of the earliest and most famous black cross-over artists who gained a huge national and international following with such popular songs as “Mona Lisa,” “When I Fall In Love”, “Unforgettable”, “Too Young” “Straighten Up and Fly Right”, and “Pretend”.  Nat King Cole broke through major racial barriers in the entertainment industry as the first black American to have his own national radio show and the first black American to have his own television show. In 1946, Nat started doing a radio show every week. He would play for half an hour on Saturday afternoon, from whatever town he was doing concerts in. The radio show lasted for 4 years. Nat also appeared in quite a few movies. The best known of these is St Louis Blues in which he played the role of the jazz composer W.C. Handy. He was one of the first people to make records with Capitol Records. He eventually appeared in a film about himself called The Nat King Cole Story. He appeared in the Ed Sullivan Show and performed in Las Vegas. He sold over 50 million records. He passed away at a very young age in 1965.

San Francisco audiences are privileged to be the first to enjoy Noah Griffin’s next classic performance of his “Tribute Series”.  He will premiere his new “Nat Tonight Dear!  Tribute to Nat King Cole” on April 11, 2008 at 8pm at  the University Club, 800 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA 94108 For Directions Call: 415.781.0900.
Eddie Fisher has called Noah Griffin a “great singer” and George Shearing “loves his work”.   Reserve your seats and buy your tickets now!   Buy tickets by calling 415.384-0256 now.  Admission is $40.00 per person. 

Learn more about Noah Griffin by visiting the following links.

Karen Blixt and Frank Martin’s second record will be performed at Yoshi’s April 15th, 2008

Karen Blixt -Mad Hope
Frank Martin on piano with Karen Blixt

Karen Blixt and her “Mad Hope” ~ Frank’s second record he produced for Karen Blixt. Yoshi’s on the 15th April in Oakland. The show will be open to the public. On trumpet will be Randy Brecker from the Brecker Brothers. Frank Martin on piano and keyboard. We also will have well known pianist Patrice Rushen. On guitar will be Jose Neto of the Steve Winwood band. On percussion will be Alex Acuna from the Weather Report band. Bassist Abraham Laboriel, who is the most recorded bass player in history and former Yellowjacket member William Kennedy as the drummer will round out the rhythm section. Vocalist Kenny Washington will make a guest appearance as well. On the CD he recorded one song as a duet with Karen.

Artist Highlight – UC Jazz Ensembles

by Ranie Smith, Executive Director of the UC Jazz Club

“The UC Jazz Club wishes to thank all its members and the community at large for your continued support. “

“An Evening at Yoshi’s “

On November 12, 2007 the UC Jazz Ensembles performed their First Annual Fundraising Concert. The performance was stellar. Ted Moore, the Musical Director, Brad Brennan, Associate Director of Student Musical Activities together the Carol Suveda, Head of the Fundraising committee were pleased with the community response. It was clear that the community was greatly pleased with the students performance.

The fundraiser could not have been as successful without the strong support of Linda Marquardt, mother of Megan Marquardt. Megan dazzled audiences with her stellar performance. Members of the audience who had not experienced a UC Jazz Ensembles show expressed their astonishment. They applauded the performances, the flawless timing and the amazing solo performances, and the creative interplay between the instruments. 

Enjoy the performance! Eddie Lankford Productions filmed a large part of it for your enjoyment. We hope that you will agree with the UC Jazz Club members that this is a worthwhile music program that provides these committed and talented students a chance to deepen their talent. Your continued support is much appreciated. 

Frank Martin’s Advanced Combo brought a performance worthy of the beautiful and renown venue at Yoshi’s. Megan Marquardt, tenor sax, and Rolf Olson, tenor sax, gave a stunning performance together with Jeff Wiguna. Ryan Finch, bass, and Alex Wheatley, drums and Luke Hardesty, drums grounded the performance with their flawless rhythm section. They opened up with “Steps” by Chick Corea, brought the house down with “Sonnymoon for Two” by Sonny Rollins. Rosette Diaz, special guest vocalist, stole the show with her spirited and ravishing performance of “Straighten Up and Fly Right”. Megan Marquardt and Rolf Olson amazed the audience with their rendition of “Nardis” by Miles Davis, and Jeff Wiguna, held the audience spell-bound with his performance of “Armando’s Rumba” by Chick Corea. 

Ted Moore’s Advanced Combo gave a performance that gave you the feeling of being in the presence of greatness. Amy Shen shined on both the flute and the alto saxophone. She was complimented and supported by Andrew Baltazar on tenor sax, whose performance was flawless and mature giving you the feeling of listening to a much older jazz great. Richard Conway, trumpet, amazed as always with his precision and technique. Kirk Danielson, an award-winning pianist, carried off a performance that silenced the room with the audience spell-bound. Gary Johnson, bass, captured the audience and left them hungry for more. We hope he will keep playing because we want to hear him any chance we can get. He is hugely talented. Yanik Jayaram, drums, has a light touch that gave this ensemble a light-hearted backdrop. They performed Invitation by Kaper/Washington, Tuties, by Gary Johnson – we will keep watching his career. Please Gary keep playing! The classic of “Love for Sale” by Cole Porter was followed by the Killer June by Ted Moore and Rubidium, by Amy Shen. This ensemble touched the soul and left you wishing for more. 

The second set began with Dann Zinn’s Advanced Combo who showed Amy Shen and Andrew Baltazar on woodwinds. Amy is so amazing! She composes and is stellar on every instrument she plays. Charles Chen gave a piano performance that was passionate and showed off his technique. Clayton Ernst and the superbly talented Benny Amon played with a majority beyond their age in supporting the band. The entire ensemble played in a way that gave the impression that these complex pieces were easy for them to play. They performed “Free for All” by Wayne Shorter, “Mei Hua” by Amy Shen, “Solace in a Dream” by Amy Shen, and “Eat the Piano” by Charles Chen. 

The show ended with a stellar Big Band performance, which we unfortunately could not film this time around. They were amazing and we encourage you to read the UC Jazz Newsletter regularly to make sure you can catch them next time. Steve Campos organizes regular performances with his Big Band and we encourage you to check out his impressive background. His experience is transmitted to the Big Band who play together as though have have been together for years. 

Please join the UC Jazz Club and join in the fun. Our club members learned quickly that the joy we get out of supporting this wonderful program greatly outweighs the effort we put into supporting them. Join in the fun of keeping this all important cultural program alive. Come to the performances or give a secure online donation using your credit card at: 

We appreciate your support! And, we hope you enjoy this and future shows! 

Warm Regards, 

Ranie Smith
Executive Director, UC Jazz Club

We have much to appreciate this year! 

Enjoy the photo library

Artist Highlight – Stanley Clarke

Innovator From the Deep

Once in a while a Jazz musician comes along and changes the course and direction of music, an instrumentalist that takes his instrument into a new direction that [all those] others after him follow like a beacon. These innovators, to name a few, include: Charlie Parker on alto sax, Wes Montgomery on guitar, Oscar Peterson or Bill Evans on piano.1

However, on the bass, there is only one: Stanley Clarke

Stanley Clarke, raised in Philadelphia, burst onto the music scene as a teenager in 1971, arriving in New York straight out of the Philadelphia Academy of Music. He immediately landed jobs with famous bandleaders such as: Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Dexter Gordon, Joe Henderson, Pharaoh Saunders, Gil Evans, Stan Getz, and a budding young pianist composer named Chick Corea.

Before Stanley Clarke, the traditional role of the bassist in the band was that of [the] timekeeper; and also [functioning as] the foundation, the person in the band that played the lowest note in the chord, the note that the chordal structures of the songs were built upon. Stanley came along with a deep sense of melody crafted from years of listening to all of the musicians that came before him, not just the bassists. He also had an intense command of the instrument, because of his height, large hands and sincere and total dedication.

He began to pull away from the traditional role of the bassist and started to bring his instrument into the forefront. Stanley pushed himself towards perfection with relentless attention to be the best. His efforts catapulted him to the front of the stage as a viable melodic bass soloist where his dream manifested first in the Grammy Award Winning jazz-fusion band Return to Forever. RTF recorded eight albums, two of which were certified gold (Hymn of the Seventh Galaxy and Romantic Warrior); and one, No Mystery, won a Grammy award.

One of Stanley Clarke’s fellow bassist’s, Victor Wooten, an accredited bassist of the new era who followed in the tradition, presented the 2006 Bass Player Magazine’s Lifetime Achievement Award to him and had this to say: “There’s no way I would pass on the chance to present this award to Stanley Clarke, a man who has changed the lives of so many musicians, created opportunities for all of us bassists, and been a huge influence on me and my playing.

Presenting Stanley Clarke with a Lifetime Achievement Award is a dream come true.” Wooten continued, “Scoring movies, making recordings, and touring the world, Stanley Clarke has paved the way for all of us by spreading low-end love all over. To me, that is what a Lifetime Achievement Award is all about. It’s not just what you’ve done with your life, but also what you’ve done to help others improve their lives. I believe that Stanley has done more than he realizes in that regard”.

Clarke is a man of “firsts”— having been the first bassist in history who could double on acoustic and electric bass with equal ferocity, as well as the first bassist ever to headline tours, selling out shows worldwide. Clarke recorded what is now considered to be the must-know bass anthem, “School Days.” To this day, accomplished and aspiring bassists continue to imitate his style seeking to master his pioneered techniques.

Lloyd Gregory

UC Jazz Ensembles Kick-off Concert -September 2007

Friday, Sept. 14, 2007 
UC Jazz will present it’s kick-off concert for the new year. The performance will feature UC Jazz Faculty along with special guest, electic bassist Kai Eckhardt.

Kai Eckhardt performs with the UC Jazz Club faculty to kick off the 2007 Semester of the UC Jazz Ensembles
Kai Eckhardt performs with the UC Jazz Club faculty to kick off the 2007 Semester of the UC Jazz Ensembles

The Bay Area based bass legend, Kai Eckhardt, has performed all over the world with many great artists including John MacLaughlin, and recorded a critically acclaimed live concert with him in the Royal Albert Hall in London. The concert will also feature many new compositions and arrangements of the UC Jazz director, Ted Moore. 
This is a free concert and will be held in the Choral Rehearsal Hall at 8PM in the basement of the Cesar Chavez Center on campus. For more info contact Ted Moore;

Introduction to the UC Jazz Club

The UC Jazz Club was founded by the students of UC Jazz Ensembles and its faculty. Our goal is to share our fine tradition of Jazz with our members and the community at large. UC Jazz Ensembles have been teaching students since 1966. We hope our members will enjoy our monthly newsletter, our performances and most importantly we hope you will support our effort to expand our popular program. We invite donors and volunteers to contineue to support our growing program and to join us now. The UC Jazz Club offers several unique sponsorship opportunities which will support us in our goal to remodel the UC Jazz studios. With your support we will also maintain and grow our current resources in the studios. This includes the purchase and maintenance of our equipment, expanding and renovating our practice areas, adding to our jazz library and ultimately making recordings of live performances of our big band and ensembles. Our goal is to uphold the UC Jazz tradition which has enchanted the world. We have taught students how to carry on this wonderful musical tradition with great success. Jazz has become mainstream and is becoming increasingly popular. Please contact Ted Moore, director of UC Jazz Ensembles to learn about the program. You may also contact RioVida Networks for assistance to set up interviews with the faculty, students and fund-raising committee.

Meet the UC Jazz Team

Ted Moore – Director of the UC Jazz Ensembles

Robert Cole – Cal Performances

Doug Warrick– Cal Performances

Brad Brennan– Student Musical Activities

Carol Suveda – Student Musical Activities

Amy Shen – UC Jazz Ensembles Advisor

Scott Hayes – Alumni

Ranie Smith – Writer/Executive Editor

Ralph Baker – Executive Editor

Rodney Brooks – VP Marketing

Jim Dennis – Photography?

Justin Nakamura – Public Relations

Rolando Morales – Musical Performer

Kevin Lynch – Technical Director

Edie Okamoto – Writer/Producer

Amy Shen – UC Jazz Ensembles Advisor

Artist Highlight – Frankye Kelly

Frankye Kelly – photography Jim Dennis 

“Music makes people feel! That’s what it’s all about.”
— Frankye Kelly 

When people hear Frankye Kelly sing – they understand first hand what a true Diva is all about. Listening to her perform makes you feel like you are in the presence of true greatness. Her passion and sweetness comes across in some songs, her passion and strength in others and at all times it is performed with true class. 

It was obvious from an early age that Frankye Kelly would be a singer. Living in Jackson, Mississippi for a few years with her grandparents, she remembers performing in a play when she was just three. Since her father was in the Air Force, her childhood was spent living in many different locations including California, Minnesota, Germany and Delaware and back to California. She heard the music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Sarah Vaughan along the way as well as Fats Domino and Little Richard although most of her early singing was in church, acapella groups and choirs. She got married very young and devoted herself to her children until they were grown. 

After her children were grown Frankye Kelly decided to start performing jazz. At a family reunion Frankye received important guidance from her cousin, the late great blues master Albert Collins, click to see U-tube Albert Collins famous “Iceman” performance. The main thing Albert told her is that it is up to her to please and reach her audience, and he told her to always sing what she felt. He flew Frankye Kelly to a lot of his concerts to have her experience life of a musician and to see what is was like. She saw how hard he worked and was inspired.

Nine years after Frankye had moved to San Francisco, in 1989, Frankye Kelly pursued her dream of being a jazz singer. She explained: “I wanted to sing jazz because of its freedom and because that way I could express myself the way I wanted. I studied jazz not only to learn the music but to learn about myself. I didn’t want to listen too closely to singers because I didn’t want to copy anyone, so instead I listened constantly to Miles Davis. I always loved the way he played. He would take his time, not rushing into it, and he played with a lot of feeling.” 

Frankye has recorded three CDs: The Night is Young was recorded at Kimball’s West and showed those at the time who were unfamiliar with her just how talented a jazz singer she is, serving as a strong introduction. My Life, More Than It Is: Not Just the Blues is an appealing mixture of pop, blues, R&B and jazz, displaying a great deal of variety but staying consistently rewarding. Her most recent CD, Live at Yoshi’s, Frankye Kelly Sings Songs For My Father, was recorded on several occasions at Yoshi’s Jazz House, and is a collection of some of her favorite jazz songs. It is dedicated to her father who was at all of the sessions and has since passed away.

Frankye Kelly will be leaving for Thailand for a four month tour next month. We are fortunate to have this living legend chose the Bay Area as her home. In 2006, Frankye Kelly spent six months singing in China, performing in Shanghai during a pair of lengthy visits. She regularly performs in France, Mexico, Japan and China and throughout the US. She has sung at many jazz festivals including the San Francisco Jazz Festival, the San Jose Jazz Festival and the Fillmore Jazz Festival. Frankye Kelly has performed in the Bay Area at Yoshi’s, “Top of the Mark” at the Mark Hopkins Hotel (with pop superstar Ricardo Scales), Jazz at Pearl’s, Kimball’s East, Kimball’s West and at the Ritz Carlton Hotels.

Frankye Kelly is a busy woman aside of touring and performing locally, she teaches Jazz workshops in Napa, CA and France, spends time with young girls in the community, hosts a TV show “Jazz with Frankye” now in its 10th season, watch her interview with another Bay Area Great – Wayne Wallace. 

Frankye Kelly often performs at the prestigious JAZZschool in Berkeley, CA. 

Artist Highlight – Steve Campos

Steve Campos directing the Big Band at the UC Jazz Ensembes

“Music is a fair and glorious gift of God. I am strongly persuaded that after theology there is no art that can be placed on the same level with music.” Steve Campos favorite quote is by religious founder Martin Luther

Steve Campos, teaches Trumpet for Big Band

Mr. Campos has performed with Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Dr. John, Big Brother and the Holding Co., Boz Scaggs, Rosemary Clooney, Ray Brown’s Big Band, Dave Eshleman’s Jazz Garden, Full Faith and Credit, Rudy Salvini, and various other acts and bands. 

As performer, Steve Campos has had the opportunity to play and record with some of L.A.’s best. He has worked professionally with jazz artists Alan Pasqua, Dave Carpenter, Joe Labarbara, Isaac Smith, Jason Goldman, Kristin Korb, Tim Davies, and others as well as with pop icons A.J. McClean and Colin Hay. He received the Friends of Jazz Scholarship for being an outstanding performer in the jazz field. He participates in the ASMAC composers’ workshop where he worked with established composers Bob Florence and Kim Richmond. 

Steve Campos completed his studies in jazz, classical, and film composition and orchestration at the University of Southern California in May of 2004. He was the recipient of the prestigious Randy Newman Scholarship while attending USC and was commissioned to arrange and conduct a Newman original for symphony orchestra in honor of Randy Newman’s appearance at the annual Charles Dickens Dinner. Steve Campos’ works are performed by the Kim Richmond Jazz Orchestra, the Billy Frenzel Jazz Orchestra, the USC Thornton Symphony Orchestra, the USC Thornton Jazz Orchestra, as well as the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts Jazz Ensemble.

Steve Campos In the News

The trumpet section, (Mike Vax, Dennis Noday, John Harner, Steve Campos and Steve Huffsteter) to quote Doug Hughes, “could peel off that old wallpaper you need removed in your home.”

“Steve is a young man with a genius for music. He shows great knowledge, perception and ability to express musical ideas in a variety of styles. He is well equipped with the tools of composition, orchestration, and arranging in a variety of styles. His aptitude for film scoring is evident in his work, whether for full orchestra or smaller ensemble. He is well versed in pop, classical and jazz sounds and textures. Steve is someone to watch as a new and fresh voice on the music scene. Add to this his enormous prowess as a brilliant jazz trumpet soloist, and you have something very special.” Kim Richmond saxophonist/grammy nominated composer 

“This is one special jazz vocal debut album from Los Angeles area-based Judy Wexler, based upon the musicians and recording studio. Thirteen well-chosen tunes reflect a wide spectrum of popular music, and nary a one can be accused of being overexposed over the decades. the 1960s tune “Down Here On The Ground,” lifted from the film Cool Hand Luke and now a jazz standard, is also taken in a midtempo groove and features a Steven Campos trumpet solo. This album stands miles ahead in the proliferating femme jazz vocal field. I can only hope that it will find its way to the in-baskets of the various jazz radio programmers, and fast! Michael Gladstone, 

Produced by Barbara Brighton, “Easy on the Heart” has one memorable performance after another. The repertoire is filled with superior obscurities and occasional standards, with highlights including Henry Mancini’s “Moment to Moment,” Oscar Brown’s “Humdrum Blues,” a touching “Tell Him I Said Hello,” and “Down Here on the Ground.” The arrangements expertly utilize pianist Alan Pasqua’s trio (with bassist Darek Oles and drummer Tim Pleasant), Bob Sheppard’s reeds (which include bass clarinet and soprano), and trumpeter Steven Campos. Jazziz Magazine

On The Long and the Short of It, the Bay Area-based Michael O’Neill Quintet has devised a unique role for featured singer Kenny Washington. Washington sings a number of standards in a fairly straightforward manner, but on the originals by O’Neill, he is essentially used as another horn, vocalizing the melody or harmony along with the horns of O’Neill and Steve Campos. Stephen Latessa 

Frank Martin, Head of the UC Jazz Advanced Combo I

Frank Martin - Arranger/Conductor/Keyboardist

 Arranger/conductor/keyboardist Frank Martin has performed and/or recorded with a variety of artists that include Andrea Bocelli, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Steve Winwood, Whitney Houston, Ray Charles, Diana Ross, Chris Isaak, Tevin Campbell, Cheryl Crow, Philip Bailey, James Taylor, Joe Cocker, Billy Joel, and Madonna.

In the jazz world of music his performance credits include Flora Purim & Airto Moriera, Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, Narada Michael Walden, Stanley Jordan, Dizzy Gillespie, Mel Torme, Bobby McFerrin, John Handy, Ramsey Lewis, Joe Farrell, and the Slide Hampton Big Band.
Orchestra performances included concerts with the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra, and the Orchestra of St. Lukes (New York Philharmonic Orchestra).

As a producer he has worked with such artists as Al Jarreau, Lisa Fischer, Bobby McFerrin’s Voicestra, the Award Winning A Cappella group SoVoSo, Gospel vocalists NuVision, story telling Jazz vocalist Rhiannon, Jazz guitarist Mimi Fox featuring organist Joey DeFrancesco and vocalist Angela Bofill, jazz vocalist Karin Blixt featuring Buddy Montgomery, Russell Ferrante, Bruce Forman, Alex Acuna, and William Kennedy, as well as Dutch vocalist Ellen Honert featuring Dori Caymmi, Abraham Laboriel, Turtle Island String Quartet, Tuck & Patti, and Pedro Eustache.

As Musical Director he has toured with such artists as Patti Austin, Angela Bofill, Narada Michael Walden, Mickey Thomas, Roy Ares, Tevin Campbell, and Clarence Clemens.

For two years he also worked as assistant Musical Director for The Afternoon Show on KPIX Television in San Francisco, California. Currently on staff as an educator at the Jazzschool in Berkeley, California, he is in demand as a clinician both in the United States, having taught at the Naropa Institute in Boulder Colorado, Stanford Jazz Workshops at Stanford University, as well as in Europe at the acclaimed SAMI Institute in Sweden. Annual music summer camps include JazzCampWest and the Lafayette Summer Music Workshops.

Frank Martin

Frank Martin infuses the Advanced Combo I with the professionalism and creativity he is so famous and beloved for.

Frank Martin is a great performer and a wonderful teacher. A wide range of compositional techniques and musical devices are explored and applied to class assignments including: the use of different rhythmic feels and grooves; reharmonization; form changes; innovative intros, outros, codas and vamps; and alterations to melody and lyrics. Students sing and/or play selected repertoire in a variety of styles and learn how to make even the most common standards sound new. Read feature article about Frank Martin

In the News 

Frank Martin Keyboard virtuoso/arranger/musical director Frank Martin has amassed a very impressive track record working with world-class performers in a diverse array of musical styles. In the pop arena, Martin has performed and/or recorded with stars that include Sting, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Steve Winwood, Whitney Houston, Ray Charles, Diana Ross, Chris Isaak, Andrea Bocelli, Cheryl Crow, Philip Bailey, James Taylor, Joe Cocker, Billy Joel, Madonna and Ricki Martin. In the jazz world, his performance credits include Flora Purim & Airto Moriera, Herbie Hancock, John McLaughlin, Dizzy Gilespie, Mel Torme, Bobby McFerrin, John Handy, Ramsey Lewis, Joe Farrell and the Slide Hampton Big Band. Orchestra performances have included concerts with the San Francisco Symphony, San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and the “Orchestra of St. Lukes” (New York Philharmonic Orchestra). 

As a producer, he has worked with high-profile artists such as Al Jarreau, Bobby McFerrin’s “Voicestra,” SoVoSo,” Joey DeFrancesco and Alex Acuña, Jazz guitarist Mimi Fox, vocalist Angela Bofill and the Turtle Island String Quartet. As musical director, he has toured with such artists as Patti Austin, Angela Bofill, Narada Michael Walden, Mickey Thomas, Roy Ayres, and Clarence Clemens. Currently, Martin is on staff at the University of California in Berkeley as well as the Jazzschool in Berkeley, California. He is in demand as a clinician both in the United States and in Europe. 

Great musicians make What’s New, Pussycat? come alive and help Lisa B keep the atmosphere fun and swinging. Ben Flint’s keyboards on the first two tracks help set the tone, and Frank Martin’s clever piano playing on the rest of the disc complements Lisa B’s singing perfectly (check out the electric piano in “Cha Cha de la Gata (Kitty-Cat Cha)”). The recording is vibrant and detailed. What’s New Pussycat? is fun, impressively played and sung, and, yes, very sexy.”, Joseph Taylor

Frank Martin’s “In the Pocket” class on rhythm is super-fun. You’ll be on your feet and moving. Frank gives enough handouts that you’ll have two years’ worth of practice materials by the end of the class. Student on 2009 

Multi-Platinum record winner, composer/keyboardist Frank Martin has performed his edgy-jazz style with everyone from Dizzy Gillespie to Sting and Elton John. Count on hearing a jazz trio of the highest of caliber — pushing the limits of harmony and improvisation in modern jazz expressions. 

Frank Martin’s clever piano playing on the rest of the disc complements Lisa B’s singing perfectly (check out the electric piano in ‘Cha Cha de la Gata (Kitty-Cat Cha)’). The recording is vibrant and detailed. ‘What’s New Pussycat?’ is fun, impressively played and sung, and, yes, very sexy.” Radio stations across the country have jumped on the record. www.jazz 

Convergence by Ian Dogole & Hemispheres offers up a kaleidoscopic brew of innovative, adventurous Jazz spiced with flavors from around the globe. Blending African, Middle Eastern, Asian and South American instruments with more traditional Jazz instrumentation and song forms, percussionist Ian Dogole, along with Grammy-nominated woodwind virtuosi Paul McCandless (with Oregon) and Sheldon Brown (formerly with Omar Sosa), bassist/flutist Bill Douglass (with Marian McPartland and Mose Allison), and Frank Martin take their listeners on an unforgettable aural journey that it is simply out of this world. 

Keyboard virtuoso/arranger/musical director Frank Martin has amassed a very impressive track record working with world-class performers in a diverse array … 

“Jazzmérica,” is produced by three-time Grammy nominee Wayne Wallace and boasts an all-star band including Frank Martin, John Santos, Ricardo Peixoto, Michael Spiro, Paul Van Wangeningen, David Belove, Edgardo Cambón, Melecio Magdaluyo and many others. 

Convergence by Ian Dogole & Hemispheres offers up a kaleidoscopic brew of innovative, adventurous Jazz spiced with flavors from around the globe. Blending African, Middle Eastern, Asian and South American instruments with more traditional Jazz instrumentation and song forms, percussionist Ian Dogole, along with Grammy-nominated woodwind virtuosi Paul McCandless (with Oregon) and Sheldon Brown (formerly with Omar Sosa), bassist/flutist Bill Douglass (with Marian McPartland and Mose Allison), and Frank Martin take their listeners on an unforgettable aural journey that it is simply out of this world. 

Keyboard virtuoso/arranger/musical director Frank Martin has amassed a very impressive track record working with world-class performers in a diverse array … 

Read feature article about Frank Martin 

Created for the UC Jazz Club by RioVida Networks, LLC ©

Artist Highlight – Dann Zinn

Dann Zinn teaches saxophone and leads the UC Jazz Intermediate Combo III Ensemble

Dann Zinn
Dann Zinn

Dann Zinn plays saxophones, flutes, and various ethnic flutes. He has recorded or performed with Joe Henderson, Russell Ferrante (from The Yellow Jackets), Chuck Findley (The Tonight Show), Jeff Tain Watts, Freddie Hubbard, Mary Wells, and Martha and the Vandellas, among many others. 

Dann’s first solo album of original music, Ten Songs, has garnered critical acclaim through the U.S. and Europe from publications such as Jazz Times and JazzIz. Current projects include original world fusion band Jack, jazz group The Deadly Zinns, and free improv band Spontanous Burstation. 

Dann Zinn performs and teaches a blend of processed and original jazz and world music

He tours throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Locally, he has been featured at the Monterey Jazz Festival, San Francisco Jazz Festival, San Jose Jazz Festival, Yoshi’s Nightspot, and the Kuumbwa Jazz Center among countless others.  

His first solo recording of original music, Ten Songs, has garnered critical acclaim throughout the U.S. and Europe from such prestigious publications as Jazz Times and JazzIz. Other performances include numerous television, radio, and multi media projects, such as Tiger Woods and John Madden video games, Kangaroddy children show on PBS, and a Willie Mays special on CBS. 

He is also working on a series of tone and technique books which present various systems for organizing scales and related subjects.

In addition to teaching the UC Jazz Intermediate Combo III, Dann has taught saxophone, big bands, jazz combos, history of jazz, history of rock and roll, music appreciation, and applied woodwind classes at Cal State University, East Bay for ten years. He is also on the faculty of the Dave Brubeck Institute and the Jazz School. Dann has received two teacher recognition awards from the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, and has been selected for inclusion in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers, 2005.Current projects include original world fusion band Jack, jazz group The Deadly Zinns, and free improv band Spontanous Burstation. 

UC Jazz Ensembles

UC Jazz Ensembles – Advanced Combos 

UC Jazz Ensembles in 2007

Advanced Combos

The Advanced Combo consist of the top players in UC Jazz Ensembles. Placement in these combos is restricted. The advanced combos perform jazz standards, challenging and contemporary material such as Dave Liebman and Chick Corea, and original compositions. Advanced musicians should have a thorough understanding of bebop and contemporary improvisation styles, and a familiarity with the musical languages of Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, Bill Evans, etc. Students should know diatonic and non-diatonic jazz harmonic theory and have memorized several jazz standards. They should have technical fluency on their instrument and possess advanced jazz musicianship skills, including sight-reading, transposition, odd-meter playing, and pitch/chord recognition, although the combos will continue to work in all of these areas. Advanced combos frequently perform at highly visible venues on and off campus and perform biannually at our end of semester concerts with the UC Jazz Big Band.

Instructor: Ted Moore


  Shomik Chakravarty, guitar

  Matt Staley, guitar

  Kevin Wang, piano

  Noah Whitfield, bass

  Anand Badri, drums

Dan Zinn’s Advanced Combo

Instructor: Dan Zinn


  Trevor Orr, alto

  Robert Barner, guitar

  Chris Allen, piano

  Joe Constantini, bass

  Nick Duffy, drums

Frank Martin’s Advanced Combo

Instructor: Frank Martin


  Richard Conway, trumpet

  Alex Siegel, guitar

  Andrew Hutchinson, piano

  Seabrien Arata, drums

  Ali Warrick, drums

Created for the UC Jazz Club by RioVida Networks, LLC ©