Pondering, and maybe some photos

Berkeley High concert

Jessica Jones | 11:31 am | March 25, 2009

These photos are all by Daniel S. Levine, and thanks to him it looks very historical and “great day in Berkeley”-ish.

This is Peter Apfelbaum, Elena Pinderhughes, Lavell Jones, Dayna Stephens, me, Steven Bernstein, Mariel Austin, Will Bernard, Sarah Cline and a drummer you can’t see performing a piece of Peter’s at a huge BHS jazz alumni fundraiser to honor their current esteemed leader, Mr. Hamilton. It was cool to see some of my high school buddies, although most of them who were at the event actually live in Brooklyn like me. Sweeter still was to see all my former students blossomed up into lovely flowers. From the Feather River Jazz Camp which I started and directed, these guys (who were 12 years old or younger when I met them!):

 Ambrose Akinmusire, David Ewell, Jonathan Finlayson.

Here’s more:

Cale Brandley, Tenor player and general seeker

That’s Cale Brandley, tenor saxophonist and general seeker. Here’s another, all-star historical multi-generational one:

Sean Erick, Ambrose A, Bernstein, Jonathan

That’s a near-Ellingtonian type tpt section: Sean Erick, Ambrose Akinmusire, Steven Bernstein,  and Jonathan Finlayson. I won’t say which is Cootie Williams etc. 

I don’t know the trombone player’s name – let me know if you know – he’s at BHS now I think; and that’s Lavell Jones on bari sax.

OK, a couple more. It’s like showing slides of my children to a captive audience!


That’s Ambrose again, with Selina Traylor on bass. They have been friends a long time, including at Feather River. Ah, memories…

That’s Hitomi Oba. The picture’s too small to see much, but you better watch out for her, another great tenor player in the BHS lineage.

Here’s one of my first serious saxophone students ever, and I have to say, the last time I saw him on this stage (which was King Middle School in Berkeley) he was in eighth grade, singing a solo soprano version of Stevie Wonder’s “Happy Birthday”, and winning a prestigious middle school award. I’ve admired him since that day, since I can’t imagine a more challenging audience than 500 of your peers in eighth grade (yech!), whom he had in the palm of his hand:

So that’s Dave Ellis on tenor (& listening), with Michael Aaberg on piano.

Anyway, it was a sweet day, and it sold out which is good for the coffers of the BHS jazz band. I was glad it wasn’t at Berkeley High, cause the smell of the music room there still makes my palms sweat. It was a wonderfully fertile time of my life, and, as many of us probably feel, it’s certainly nice to have that behind me and now real life in the present. 


Comment by Lois Gilbert | March 25, 2009 | 9:34 pm

Hey Jess

Very cool to see these photos, but can’t see you.

Comment by Jessica Jones | March 26, 2009 | 6:39 pm

I posted a more close up picture for you, Lois!

Comment by Berigan Taylor | March 27, 2009 | 10:49 pm

Hi Jess: Fantastic show, almost too many musicians!! Cindy, my friend Ted and I were there. We got there late and sorry to say had to leave before the end. The neat thing was how many BHS alum I DIDN’T know. That was great!! the current crop seem to be headed in the right direction as well. Thanks for the heads up. We don’t get much Berkeley news over here in Alameda. Let me know whenever “any of you” are in the Area. Your biggest fan, Berigan

Comment by Jessica Jones | March 28, 2009 | 2:36 pm

Aw, Berigan! You know I am YOUR biggest fan…and those of you who don’t know Berigan, look here: http://www.berigansjazz.com/
Berigan was a big influence on the BHS gang of my day, both in schooling us and playing music for us in his store, and I also remember getting a free record on our birthdays and general kindness. It definitely takes a village… Best to you and the gang.

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