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Berkeley High concert4 Comments

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. 

New Year, New Era, Here We Go!0 Comments

Jessica Jones | 1:43 pm | January 26, 2009

Happy new year! I have never blogged before, but I figure I am constantly blogging in my head, so the transition could be smooth.

Looking forward to operating under the auspices of hope again. In trying to explain about music in the 1960′s to my students a few years ago, I realized that they really couldn’t understand the mood of the times because they hadn’t experienced that kind of unity of purpose and lack of cynicism. Especially in NY – or maybe it’s an east coast thing – where values sometimes seem to be those of the Dead End Kids: “I ain’t no rat!” and “Sucker!” as opposed to “it takes a village to raise a child” and “we’re all in this together”. I definitely feel a difference in the air, and a feeling that things are possible. It doesn’t necessarily mean that good things WILL happen, but just that they CAN happen is like having a huge boulder moved out of the path.

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