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Jazz venue’s opening week in Berkeley packs in music fans

San Francisco Chronicle
By Andrew Gilbert | March 5, 2018

Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez, The Chronicle

Hovering around the door to Rendon Hall, the intimate 85-seat theater in the California Jazz Conservatory’s new Fiddler Annex, Susan Muscarella looked anxious on Sunday, March 4. Since opening on Wednesday, Feb. 28, the Berkeley venue had been packed every night for concerts focusing on foundational conservatory faculty, like Brazilian pianist Marcos Silva and singer Laurie Antonioli, with disappointed fans turned away at the door.

Sunday’s sold-out show featured another faculty mainstay, trumpeter Erik Jekabson and his 17-piece Electric Squeezebox Orchestra, but Muscarella was fretting about logistics and the show running behind schedule.

“We still have to wrinkle out some irons,” she said, turning a cliche into mysterious koan (which is a pretty good description of jazz).

 

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California Jazz Conservatory marks 20 years with new concert venue in Berkeley arts district

San Francisco Chronicle
Sam Whiting
| on February 26, 2018

Susana Pineda was studying vocal jazz at a university in Medellin, Colombia, when the American singer Madeline Eastman came to perform in 2013. After the show, Pineda tracked Eastman down for a career tip.

“She said, ‘There’s this really cool jazz school in California,’” recalls Pineda, who followed that lead to the California Jazz Conservatory.

That title suggests something more than what turns out to be the basement of a bookstore in downtown Berkeley. But downstairs, Pineda discovered the only accredited stand-alone music college devoted to jazz and related styles of music in the United States.

“I found everything I needed here,” says Pineda, now 26, with a bachelor’s in jazz studies, a CD and a touring act. “My bandmates, my producers, my mentors and my vocal sound.”

Her only regret is that it ended two months too soon. In December, Pineda gave her final recital in a makeshift concert hall where you can hear the footsteps of people shopping for books overhead.

On Sunday, Feb. 25, the conservatory will emerge from this basement to open Rendon Hall, an intimate, 100-seat performance venue designed to evoke the spirit of Minton’s Playhouse, the famous Harlem club that gave rise to the style of jazz known as bebop.

An expansion of the main campus, which will stay open, Rendon Hall is the centerpiece of a $3.5 million build-out into the ground floor of a brick storefront. Called the Jerry Fiddler Annex, it will include the conservatory’s first-ever music library of 8,000 titles, largely on vinyl with turntables for playing them.

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California Jazz Conservatory Celebrates International Jazz Day April 30 with Free Live Performances & More

Drums_Percussion

BERKELEY, CA – The California Jazz Conservatory (CJC), in conjunction with the Downtown Berkeley Association, will celebrate International Jazz Day on Thursday, April 30 with free music and raffles at the Downtown Berkeley BART plaza.

Live jazz performed by CJC students and faculty will be the main event to commemorate this day, which was designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) to highlight jazz and its diplomatic role of uniting people in all corners of the globe. Starting at 4pm at the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza, bassist, composer and CJC professor Jeff Denson will lead the Conservatory’s degree program student jazz ensemble. At 5pm the Jazzschool Community Music School’s Brazilian ensemble will take the stage with multi-instrumentalist and faculty member Marcos Silva.

In addition to the live bands at the BART plaza, the CJC will be live-streaming the All-Star Global Concert from Paris, the 2015 host city for International Jazz Day. Some of the featured performers include Herbie Hancock, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Al Jarreau Diane Reeves, Wayne Shorter, Marcus Miller and Terri Lynne Carrington. Everyone is welcome to watch the live event from the CJC’s Hardymon Hall, a performance space located within the conservatory (2087 Addison St.) adjacent to the Jazzcaffè. Grab a cappuccino while you watch!

The CJC – a place where jazz is celebrated every day.

About the California Jazz Conservatory:
The California Jazz Conservatory (F/K/A Jazzschool, Inc.) is an innovative nonprofit organization dedicated to the study and performance of jazz — America’s national art form — and related styles of music from around the world. Founded in 1997, the institution has recently been granted accreditation by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM), making it the only accredited, stand-alone conservatory devoted to jazz studies in the United States. The school is located in the heart of the vibrant Downtown Berkeley Arts District, home to Berkeley Rep, the Freight & Salvage and many other arts organizations.

Hailed as one of the nation’s most comprehensive schools of jazz and related styles of music, the CJC offers instrumentalists and vocalists of all ages and skill levels a broad spectrum of performance ensembles, lectures, workshops and private instruction. Courses are designed for the professional musician, the serious student and the jazz aficionado seeking personal enrichment.

About International Jazz Day:
International Jazz Day brings together communities, schools, artists, historians, academics, and jazz enthusiasts all over the world to celebrate and learn about jazz and its roots, future and impact; raise awareness of the need for intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding; and reinforce international cooperation and communication. Each year on April 30, this international art form is recognized for promoting peace, dialogue among cultures, diversity, and respect for human rights and human dignity; eradicating discrimination; promoting freedom of expression; fostering gender equality; and reinforcing the role of youth in enacting social change. International Jazz Day is the culmination of Jazz Appreciation Month, which draws public attention to jazz and its extraordinary heritage throughout April.

Jazz pianist/composer and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Herbie Hancock says: “On April 30th, there will be a worldwide celebration honoring jazz. Every single country on all seven continents will shine the spotlight on jazz for 24 hours straight, sharing the beauty, passion, and ethics of the music. Educators, visual artists, writers, philosophers, intellectuals, dancers, musicians of all ages and skill levels, photographers, filmmakers, videographers, bloggers and jazz enthusiasts will participate in Jazz Day by openly exchanging ideas through performances, education programs, and other creative endeavors.”

Websites: cjc.edu; jazzday.com; downtownberkeley.com
What: Live music and concert streaming from Paris, France
When: Thursday, April 30, 2015
Where: Downtown Berkeley BART plaza, Shattuck & Center St., – 4pm-6pm
and the California Jazz Conservatory, 2087 Addison St. Berkeley, 11am-6pm
FREE & open to the public