Berkeley High concert
Jessica Jones | 11:31 am | March 25, 2009
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!):
That’s Cale Brandley, tenor saxophonist and general seeker. Here’s another, all-star historical multi-generational one:
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.