JAZZ IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: vocal series debut

Please join us on Saturday, October 19th at 8pm for the first of the new Jazz in the Neighborhood Vocal series, featuring Kellye Gray, with Erik Jekabson on trumpet, Randy Porter on piano, John Wiitala on bass, and Akira Tana on drums. The evening begins with a young talent showcase.

Jazz in the Neighborhood Vocal seriesSince 2012, The Emerald Tablet has hosted top notch jazz evenings every second Friday under the stewardship of master trumpet player and teacher Mario Guarneri, and his organization Jazz in the Neighborhood. Please click here to see some examples of the talented musicians who have performed at The Emerald Tablet under the aegis of Jazz in the Neighborhood.

The Bay Area is home to many incredible jazz musicians who’ve devoted their lives to developing their craft and attaining the highest artistic levels. Jazz in the Neighborhood is an important step towards creating an environment where these accomplished professionals can nurture a great American art form in dignity and respect, while delighting audiences of all ages. The Emerald Tablet is proud to provide its resources, on a regular basis, to help this dream to become a reality.

Kellye GrayTexas native Kellye Gray is one of the most accomplished jazz vocalists on the national scene. Over her twenty-year career, Gray’s recorded a half-dozen albums as a leader and performed nationally and internationally at world-class venues and festivals, including Lincoln Center, the Spoleto Festival, Yoshi’s and SFJAZZ. She has been onstage with legends Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Etta James and Arnett Cobb. Gray recorded her 2007 CD live at Berkeley’s Jazzschool with a formidable trio including pianist Otmaro Ruiz and fiery Cuban drummer Jimmy Branly. Her debut, Standards In Gray, broke into the mainstream. Her ‘voice as instrument’ brand was crafted over years of live performance and taking chances. Time spent as an improvisational comic actor and stand-up comic laid the creative groundwork for scat singing and instrument simulation. Read more and listen here.

Erik_Jekabson-trumpet_flippedErik Jekabson is a freelance trumpet player, composer and educator who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is equally busy playing and composing for several bands, leading his own groups and teaching his many students. Erik has three CDs out under his name. Erik has also co-produced and played on two other widely available recordings, and has recorded as a sideman on over 25 other jazz recordings, in addition to session work in other genres, and on movie and video game soundtracks. For more information on Erik, please visit his website.

Randy PorterPianist Randy Porter has a refined understanding of improvisation and the spontaneous communication between musicians. As a Steinway Artist, Randy Porter 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…” He’s performed with many jazz greats, including Freddy Hubbard, Art Farmer, and Benny Golson. He has also performed with the Charles McPherson Quartet throughout the US and in France, Italy, Greece, and China. Read more and watch videos here.

John WiitalaJohn Wiitala has performed with Joe Henderson, James Moody, Benny Golson, and Pete Jolly. He has performed and recorded with Mark Levine, Scott Hamilton, Jessica Williams, Bruce Forman, and Wesla Whitfield. John is currently teaching at the Jazz School in Berkeley, Jazz Camp West, and the Stanford Jazz Camp. Find some footage of John here.

Akira TanaAkira Tana received degrees in East Asian Studies from Harvard University in 1974 and percussion from the New England Conservatory in 1979. Since moving to New York, he has established himself as one of today’s most sought-after drummers on the international jazz scene. Recognized for his ability to ignite the spark of many top rhythm sections and create pure musical dialogue with mainstay soloists, his colorful interactive style has led to concert, club and recording work with jazz greats such as Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt, Zoot Sims, Hubert Laws, Milt Jackson, Jim Hall, Art Farmer, The Paul Winter Consort, Paquito D’Rivera, James Moody, J.J. Johnson, Lena Horne, and The Manhattan Transfer — to name a few. He has played at many international jazz festivals, and has toured throughout the world. Read more and find recordings here 

JAZZ IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD: vocal series debut
Saturday October 19th 2013. 7:30 pm doors, 8 pm show.
The Emerald Tablet, 80 Fresno St, San Francisco, CA 94133 (map)
$25 suggested donation, sliding scale. Nobody turned away for lack of funds.
All door donations go to the musicians! Delicious complimentary food. Drinks by donation.

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