June Student Recitals

Students demonstrate all of the skills and knowledge they have gained in their musical studies thus far. These fantastic events feature students of all ages and abilities.

Leave a comment

FREE Event!!! Celebrating Sun Ra’s 103rd Birthday with A Joyful Noise!

For our second Sun Ra birthday event at Musically Minded Academy, we’ll be hosting a free party, that will include from 6-8 PM:

In The Moment Concert and Radio Producer Jim Bennett, spinning Sun Ra vinyl, and playing back live performances of Sun Ra material from last year’s birthday celebration, featuring The Stray Horns, led by David Slusser. Refreshments will include Sun Ra’s recipe for Moon Stew, and an out of this world concoction tentatively named Saturn Punch

At 8PM, we will show the film Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise.

Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise is a 1980 jazz film by Robert Mugge documenting performances by Sun Ra and his Arkestra in Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and Baltimore, and also including interviews and rehearsal footage. Light years ahead of his time, composer, keyboard player, bandleader, poet, and philosopher Sun Ra coupled images of outer space with those of ancient Egypt, acoustic instruments with electronic ones, and modern American musical genres (jazz, soul, gospel, blues, swing) with the sounds of Africa and the Caribbean. He also combined his music with dance, poetry, colorful costumes and backdrops, and pure theatricality, influencing other innovative musical ensembles as diverse as the Art Ensemble of Chicago, George Clinton’s Parliament Funkadelic, and Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention, and he was among the first musicians to use electronic keyboards and portable synthesizers in public performance. For his one-hour documentary, Sun Ra: A Joyful Noise, Robert Mugge spent two years shooting Sun Ra and members of his  jazz Arkestra in a wide variety of situations. Ensemble performances were filmed at Baltimore’s Famous Ballroom, at Danny’s Hollywood Palace in Philadelphia, and on the roof of Philadelphia’s International House on the edge of the campus of the University of Pennsylvania. Sun Ra’s poetry and mythological pronouncements were filmed in the Egyptian Room of the University of Pennsylvania’s anthropology museum, in a sculpture garden in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, in front of the White House in Washington, D.C., and inside and outside of the house he shared with key band members in the Germantown section of Philadelphia. Interviews with band members were filmed inside and outside of the house, as well as inside their nearby Pharaoh’s Den food store, and a band rehearsal and a solo keyboard performance were filmed in the house as well. Transferred to HD from the original 16mm film and lovingly restored for the best possible viewing experience. Songs performed in the film include such Sun Ra classics as “Astro Black,” “Mister Mystery,” “We Travel the Spaceways,” “Along Came Ra/The Living Myth,” “Spaceship Earth (Destination Unknown), “Requiem for Trevor Johnson,” and many more.

At 9PM, more DJ spinning, our second annual Space Is The Place Cake, poetry, dancers and other surprises

Donations are welcome at the door or for refreshments. These funds will be divided between Musically Minded’s moving fund, and Jim Bennett’s In The Moment Concert Series and Radio Show. 

Leave a comment

Celebrating Duke’s Birthday Part 2: Clarinet Thing plays Ellington

On Duke Ellington’s 118th birthday, Clarinet Thing concludes our two week celebration of his musical legacy, as part of the In The Moment Concert Series at Musically Minded Academy in Oakland.

Sheldon Brown, clarinets
Beth Custer, clarinets
Ben Goldberg, clarinets
Harvey Wainapel, clarinets

Clarinet Thing is a quartet of renowned jazz clarinetists featuring Sheldon Brown, Beth Custer, Ben Goldberg, Harvey Wainapel. Clarinet Thing performs arrangements of unusual jazz works and originals on the entire family of clarinets, from the small Eb clarinet up to the large contra alto clarinet. Clarinet and jazz enthusiasts of all ages abound at their concerts. All members have been regaled in the press and in 2011, Goldberg was named the ‘#1 Rising Star Clarinetist’ by the Downbeat Magazine’s Critic’s Poll.

Founded by Beth Custer in 1989, Clarinet Thing has amassed a large repertoire in it’s twenty-six years of performing including tunes by Herbie Nichols,Carla Bley, Jimmy Giuffre, Thelonious Monk, Eubie Blake, Abdullah Ibrahim, Alexandre Stellio, Duke Ellington, John Carter, and many others. Original compositions by band members are also performed.

Recent engagements include Berkeley Hillside Club, Berkeley City Club, Yoshi’s, Old First Concerts, Freight & Salvage, and countless other venues.

“Clarinet Thing’s first CD Agony Pipes and Misery Sticks was chosen the Top 10 CDs of Bay Area Jazz Artists: Features 16 lush and woody tracks the startlingly beautiful music is pithy and expansive like a great collection of short stories.”
—Andrew Gilbert, SF Chronicle

“Clarinet Thing is a killer quartet that plays a rich woody lend of original music, Ellingtonia, Brazilian choro…and other pieces that pop and sway with the pregnant sound of an improvising clarinet choir.” 
—Jesse Hamlin, San Francisco Chronicle


Leave a comment

Celebrating Duke’s Birthday Part 1: Stray Horns play Ellington

Named for Duke Ellington’s protege and intimate collaborator Billy Strayhorn, this little big band will explore corners of the ducal canon that still resonate in modern music. Trends like Exotica and the Bebop revolution will be shown to have clear precedent in the repertoire of the great Ellington Orchestra. Duke’s unique mastery of song form will be displayed in mash-ups, straight readings and updated approaches.

David Slusser – arranger, conductor, soprano and baritone saxophone
Annelise Zamula – alto saxophone
Sheldon Brown – clarinet, tenor saxophone
Mara Fox – trombone
Peter Anastos – trumpet
Joe McKinley – bass
Greg German – drums

David Slusser is a musician and sound artist active in the bay area since 1977. He was a founding member of the musical groups Jive Soup, Avant Gardeners, Pluto, Rubber City,Lost Planet and the Stray Horns. Through work with the ROVA saxophone quartet, he began an association with composer John Zorn in the mid eighties that led to touring and recording, and continues in the present. Through Zorn he met vocalist Mike Patton, who included him in a trio with drummer Han Bennink at the 1996 Saafelden Jazz Festival in Austria, and a large ensemble at the 2010 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Zorn also introduced him to trumpeter Dave Douglas, in whose group he performed at Stanford in 2014. Writing for big band since high school, Slusser received two prizes in the 1999 Julius Hemphill Composition Awards, including first prize for jazz orchestra. He has also composed for film documentaries and public radio.

David Slusser’s “day job” has been doing sound for film or broadcast, starting with PBS in Cleveland in 1975, to his current position at Skywalker Sound in Marin County. Along the way, he worked often as music editor for directors George Lucas, Francis Coppola, and David Lynch, with whom he has co-composed music for his films. He received an Emmy award for sound editing in 1993 for the Young Indiana Jones television series, and two commercials he sound designed and mixed won Clio awards for advertising in 1993 and 1994. He also contributed sound design to James Cameron’s Terminator 2. This aspect of his work parallels his interest in musique concrete and electronic music. Slusser’s sound design is in the collections of both the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. What was supposed to be a short job at Pixar Animation Studios in 1996 lasted through 2013, where he helped to develop scores and sound design for their projects. 


Leave a comment

A Tribute to Helen Merrill with Vocalist Suzanna Smith

Suzanna Smith, vocals
Ian Carey, trumpet
Lee Bloom, piano
Adam Gay, bass
Jon Arkin, drums

Vocalist Suzanna Smith and her band celebrate the work of Helen Merrill, giving special focus to Merrill’s debut classic ‘Helen Merrill with Clifford Brown.’ Arranged and produced by Quincy Jones and released in 1955, the album features a fine collaboration between Merrill and Brown. The album had a direct influence on Smith’s early repertoire, as did Merrill’s warmth of timbre, acute sense of phrasing and soulful quality on Smith’s vocal style. For this concert, Suzanna Smith and her band will perform compositions from this recording as well as representative samples from the wide spectrum of Merrill’s discography.

The San Francisco Examiner calls Suzanna Smith “a jazz singer with sass and style to spare.” Her outstanding debut ‘Halfway Between Heaven & Love’, released by her label (Ink Pen Records) and co-produced by Kitty Margolis, highlights her sage treatments of standards and her talent for crafting successful original compositions and new lyrics to instrumental songs. Contemporary influences include jazz vocalists (as well as friends and mentors) Karrin Allyson and Kitty Margolis and her partner, the esteemed jazz vocalist Kenny Washington. Smith is also a creative force behind The Sound Room in Oakland and her newest project, The Peggy Lee Project, features an ongoing exploration of the work of Peggy Lee, with special emphasis on Ms. Lee’s original compositions.


Leave a comment

A Tribute to Kenny Kirkland with The Anne Sajdera Quintet

Harvey Wainapel, sax
Anne Sajdera, piano
Gary Brown, bass
Deszon Claiborne, drums
Ami Molinelli Hart, percussion

Though he only recorded one album as leader (1991), Kenny Kirkland’s genre-spanning work with major modern artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis, Miroslav Vitous, & Sting among others, gives him a uniquely honored place in the world of jazz and music in general. In this concert, pianist/composer Anne Sajdera and her Quintet will perform compositions from his 1991 recording as well as representative samples from the wide spectrum of Kirkland’s discography as a sideman. The quintet will also play a pair of Sajdera’s original compositions inspired particularly by Kirkland’s genius & creativity.

Pianist/composer Anne Sajdera has long been an invaluable part of the San Francisco Bay Area music scene—as leader of her own trio and performing with artists such as Alexa Weber Morales, Terrence Brewer and Sandy Cressman. Her outstanding debut Azul (JAZZIZ Magazine 2012 Top Ten Critic’s Poll, Latin Jazz Corner’s Great Latin Jazz Albums from 2012, number 5 for best new talent 2012 Jazz Station blog), released by her label (Bijuri Records) and co-produced by Ray Obiedo, highlights her exquisite touch, rhythmic acuity, and melodic resourcefulness. Sajdera’s newest project, a 10-piece jazz orchestra with strings and horns, weave together her roots in American and Brazilian jazz and her European and Hindustani classical training to create a unique musical tapestry.


Leave a comment

Student “Collaborations” Performances

Academy students perform with one another in duos, trios, quartets and more.

Leave a comment

Pianist Erika Oba Presents the Music of Carla Bley

This performance is the first of three in March featuring women in Jazz, as part of Jim Bennett’s In The Moment Concert Series. Jazz in the Neighborhood is pleased to announce that the musicians at this event will be paid in part through the Guaranteed Fair Wages Fund, a pilot program being undertaken by Mario Guarneri to ensure that performers receive guaranteed compensation regardless of ticket sales (and with no tip jar!)

Pianist Erika Oba will be joined by electric bassist Ariane Cap and tenor saxophonist Eli Maliwan to present an evening of music exploring the sonic possibilities of a drummer-less trio. They will pay tribute to Carla Bley and present arrangements and interpretations of selections from her vast body of work. Additionally, the trio will present original compositions and exploratory improvisations.

Erika Oba is a composer, pianist/flutist, and educator based in the SF Bay Area. As a composer she has written works commissioned by the Montclair Women’s Big Band, and Frances Feldon and the Galax Quartet. As a performer she is a member of the Montclair Women’s Big Band, Mara Performance Collective, Ends Meat’ Catastrophe Jazz Ensemble, electro-jazz duo Rice Kings, and The Sl(e)ight Ensemble. She is currently on faculty with the Jazzschool Community Music School’s youth program, as well as their annual Women’s Jazz and Blues camp and Girls’ Jazz and Blues camp. She has worked as a dance accompanist for Berkeley Ballet Theater, and as a music director for Berkeley Playhouse’s youth program. She received her BM in Jazz Piano Performance from Oberlin Conservatory and her MA in Music Composition from Mills College.

Tickets available at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pianist-erika-oba-presents-the-music-of-carla-bley-tickets-31740946024

Leave a comment

The Lorca Hart Organ Trio

Jazz in the Neighborhood is pleased to announce that the musicians at this event will be paid in part through the Guaranteed Fair Wages Fund, a pilot program being undertaken by Mario Guarneri to ensure that performers receive guaranteed compensation regardless of ticket sales (and with no tip jar!)

The Lorca Hart Organ Trio – featuring Brian Ho on organ, Mike Scott on guitar and Lorca on drums – is rooted in the classic Jazz organ sound (Jimmy Smith, Larry Young, Jazz Standards and Be Bop) but also explores more contemporary elements (originals, John Scofield, Joshua Redman, John Ellis, R+B and pop compositions) to create it’s own unique musical identity.

Lorca Hart –

Drummer Lorca Hart grew up in Taos, New Mexico in a musical family. He is the son of drumming titan Billy Hart. However, he has been carving out his own niche on the instrument. In high school he started to perform and focus on Jazz. He attended California Institute of the Arts from 1992-96, studying with Albert “Tootie” Heath, Joe La Barbera, Charlie Haden, Wadada Leo Smith, and many others.

Since that time Lorca has worked consistently in a variety of musical situations, performing with many of the West Coast’s (and beyond) finest artists including : Ralph Moore, Carmen Lundy, Freddie Hubbard, Calvin Keys, Stanley Jordan, Craig Handy, Kyle Eastwood, Herman Riley, Azar Lawrence, Red Holloway, Plas Johnson, John Heard, Danny Grissett, Justo Almario, Bennie Maupin, Hugh Masekela, Bobby Rodriguez, the Clayton Brothers, Anthony Wilson, and Julian Lage.

Brian Ho-

Brian started playing piano at age five and began to teach and play in bands at age 16. It was also that same year where he learned to play Hammond Organ in a predominately African American Church where he played raucous hymns and soaring gospel. After spending his college years at UC Davis, he moved back to the San Francisco Bay Area to pursue a career in jazz. Since then he’s gained critical acclaim and is one of the first call Hammond Organists players in the Bay Area. He’s been playing throughout the country as a leader and sideman.

“Brian Ho is a Bay Area Organist that I’m really digging these days. He’s sounds good, doing some cool stuff, and keeping the tradition alive…the future of jazz organ is in good hands.”
– Joey DeFrancesco

In 2012 Brian released his debut recording, Organic, which charted on the CMJ and Jazzweek charts. The album features Calvin Keys on guitar, Oscar Pangilinan on sax, and Lorca Hart on drums. Brian was also on the Calvin Key’s 2015 release, “Close Enough For Love” that went to number 15 on the Jazzweek charts.

Some of the notable places he has performed is the Stanford Jazz Festival (multiple performances), SF Jazz, San Jose Jazz Festival (multiple performances), Belize Jazz Festival, Healdsburg Jazz Fest, Yoshis (Oakland, SF), Benecia Jazz Festival, Sonoma Jazz Festival, Sequoia Room @ North Coast Brewing, and Cafe Stritch. He’s also had the opportunity to play or record with Richie Cole, Calvin Keys, Akira Tana, Mimi Fox, Paul Bollenback, Sylvia Cuenca, Josh Jones, Leon Joyce, Dave Ellis, Melicio Magdaluyo, Annie Sellick, Christian Tamburr, Peppe Merolla, Chuck McPherson, Bob Kenmotsu, Tony Peebles, Terrence Brewer, Lorca Hart, Clifford Brown III, Rick Vandavier, Wally Schnalle, Oscar Pangilinan, Maikel Garcia, Nicholas Bearde, Jason Lewis, and many more.

Mike Scott –

Guitarist Mike Scott plays with equal parts energy and spirit, lyricism, swing, creativity, a soulful and expressive touch, and always with a well crafted sense of rhythm. Mike is currently a full-time faculty member at Fullerton College. At Fullerton Mike teaches both private lessons and courses in guitar study, History of Jazz and Rock Music and directs a jazz combo.

Some performance highlights include performing with Stevie Wonder at Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, with Monica Mancini and the New York Pops Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, as well as performances with some well known names in jazz, including Seamus Blake, Matt Wilson, Abraham Laboriel, Vince Mendoza, Darek Oles, Larry Koonse, Josh Nelson and Ben Wendel.


Tickets available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-lorca-hart-organ-trio-tickets-31726716463

Leave a comment

Terrence Brewer celebrates Wes Montgomery’s “Full House.”

For this performance of the In The Moment Concert series, produced by KCSM’s Jim Bennett, guitarist Terrence Brewer presents a reimagining of his favorite Wes Montgomery album Full House. Full House is the seventh album and first live jazz album by American jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery, released in 1962, on the Riverside record label. It was recorded live at Tsubo in Berkeley, California on June 25, 1962. The Tsubo had been opened by entrepreneur Glenn Ross in September 1961 with jazz radio station, KJAZ-FM, also housed in the same building. Although the establishment was favored among Berkeley residents for not serving alcohol and welcoming minors, Ross could not sustain upkeep on the establishment. It finally closed on October 15, 1962. The venue reemerged as the Jabberwock. Montgomery’s performance featured a quintet that included Wynton Kelly on piano, Johnny Griffin, playing tenor saxophone, Paul Chambers, bass, and Jimmy Cobb, drums. On this occasion, Terrence is joined by saxophonist Steve Heckman, pianist Tim Campbell, bassist Adam Gay, and drummer Isaac Schwartz.

Recently proclaimed by long-time music scribe, David Becker (SF Examiner/AXS.com), as the San Francisco Bay area’s #1 Jazz Guitarist, multiple award winning guitarist Terrence Brewer is a first-call and in-demand bandleader, record producer, concert performer, studio musician, and one of the San Francisco Bay area’s foremost and sought after music educators. In 2016 Brewer celebrated the release of his 10th album as a bandleader, The TB3.

Brewer has lead his various groups in nearly 2500 performances in the last 8 years (over 225 in 2015); performing to sold-out crowds at the 52nd Annual Monterey Jazz Festival, the world famous Yoshi’s at Jack London Square, Yoshi’s San Francisco, SFJAZZ Jazz Festival, and countless other venues.


Tickets available at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/terrence-brewer-celebrates-wes-montgomerys-full-house-tickets-31054188915

Leave a comment