Back in March, SFJAZZ hosted a community forum for Bay Area musicians, many of whom expressed frustration at the organization’s seeming lack of interest in showcasing original music by the region’s resident artists. In the meeting’s aftermath there have been a few signs that SFJAZZ’s doors are opening, like the Nov. 4 Joe Henderson Lab premiere of El Cerrito trumpeter Ian Carey’s Fire in My Head (The Anxiety Suite), an extended work written with the support Chamber Music America’s 2016 New Jazz Works program.
The California Jazz Conservatory is awarding a full tuition scholarship
to a well-deserving Next Generation Jazz Festival participant!
This is a four-year scholarship to the only independent, accredited college
in America completely devoted to the study and performance of jazz.
You’ll learn from and work with a faculty of artists/educators who are
unequalled in their ability to transform musicians into artists.
Applications are available this weekend only, so drop by our booth for
details and sign-up today!
(Applications Available This Weekend Only at Our Booth)
San Francisco Chronicle
By Andrew Gilbert | March 5, 2018
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).
…Ashkenaz isn’t the only venue showcasing the Bay Area’s deep bench of groundbreaking women musicians. The California Jazz Conservatory celebrates the opening of its new Fiddler Annex (across the street from its main downtown Berkeley campus) with a talent-packed run of shows, including the Montclair Women’s Big Band on March 1, vocalist Laurie Antonioli and the American Dreams Band with special guest Theo Bleckmann on March 2, and Linda Tillery and the Cultural Heritage Choir on March 3.
Saxophonist Jean Fineberg, who co-leads the Montclair big band, debuts a new female-centric octet JAZZphoria on March 9, and on March 23 she and trumpeter Ellen Seeling, her Montclair partner, present a free concert marking the end of the weeklong Women’s Jazz & Blues Camp, an intensive program of ensembles and classes in jazz, blues, Latin styles, improvisation, percussion techniques and jazz history.
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.
Susan Muscarella speaks softly and carries big ambitions. Meeting up with her at the California Jazz Conservatory campus on a recent sunny afternoon in downtown Berkeley, she walked me across Addison Street to the new Fiddler Annex, which was in the final stages of construction. With office space, a student lounge, five practice rooms, and a large-ensemble studio, a library overflowing with LPs, CDs, and decades-old copies of Downbeat, and the 85-seat Rendon Hall concert space, the Annex expansion takes Muscarella one large step closer to her master plan.
“We’re making this the Juilliard of the West Coast,” she says, without a hint of braggadocio or hubris. The claim might seem grandiose, but you underestimate this woman at your peril. The CJC’s founder, president, and dean of instruction (and a formidable pianist in her own right), Muscarella has patiently shepherded the institution since she launched it 20 years ago in cramped quarters above a French cafe on Shattuck Avenue. Long known as the Jazzschool (the name still used for the CJC’s popular community music school), the nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation took on a new identity in 2014 when it earned accreditation from the National Association of Schools of Music.
Jazz Education Leader Expands Berkeley Facilities With New Classrooms, New State-of-the-Art Practice Rooms, New Listening Library and New 100-Seat Performance Space
20th Anniversary Marked With Associate of Arts Degree Program Blue/Green Advanced Ensembles North American Roots Concentration Strategic Partnership with Monterey Jazz Festival
February 20, 2018; Berkeley, California; The California Jazz Conservatory, the only independent, accredited school in America completely devoted to the study and performance of jazz, has announced the “Dawn of a New Decade”––a weeklong series of concerts and events celebrating the launch of the third decade of the iconic Berkeley jazz education institution.
Established in 1997 as the Jazzschool, a year-round community music education program, the California Jazz Conservatory has grown into an accredited, independent college offering a 4-year Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies degree (since 2009) and a new Associate of Arts Degree in Jazz Studies (since 2017), as well as continuing to offer its popular Jazzschool classes, workshops, summer jazz camps and intensives––a 20-year tradition of leadership in music education in the Berkeley arts community.
With the advent of its third decade, the Conservatory is taking significant steps to expand its programs and grow its facilities, plans and partnerships.
The most visible addition to the organization’s future is the Conservatory’s new 5,550 square foot annex––located at 2040 Addison Street, directly across the street from CJC’s current location––named in honor of CJC board member Jerry Fiddler. Jerry Fiddler Annex will more than double the size and scope of the Conservatory’s facilities and offerings, adding new classrooms, state-of-the-art practice facilities, a 16-station keyboard lab, and a new 100-seat performance venue, Rendon Hall. The expansion will also allow for the establishment of a much needed listening library, a new student lounge, and the addition of new office space.
The grand opening celebrations will commence on Saturday, February 24th, with an invitation-only party in honor of “those donors, faculty members, students and volunteers who have helped us reach this landmark occasion,” commented Susan Muscarella, CJC Founder, President and Dean of Instruction.
Entertainment for the VIP launch event and weeklong series of concerts is focused on performances by its students and teaching artists, reflecting the growth of the California Jazz Conservatory.
For the February 24th concert, students will be showcased in a performance by the Conservatory’s Blue Ensemble (see below), under the direction of CJC faculty member and bassist Jeff Denson. CJC faculty member, bassist Glenn Richman, will lead “Jazz Standards for Gigs” in concert. The evening will close with Cuban son, danzon, bolero and jazz by “Calle Ocho,” featuring CJC Board of Directors member and percussionist Rita Hargrave.
Other events in the week-long celebrations include:
On the academic side, in conjunction with its 20th anniversary in 2017, the Conservatory announced a new, 2-year Associate of Arts degree in Jazz Studies, a unique program consisting of the first two years of CJC’s Bachelor of Music degree program.
Also in 2017, the Conservatory launched the Blue and Green Ensembles, advanced-level opportunities for instrumentalists and vocalists who demonstrate artistic leadership and academic excellence. Ensemble members serve as jazz ambassadors while earning their degree in Jazz Studies from CJC.
In addition, a new area of concentration was added to the Conservatory’s Bachelor of Music degree program in 2017: A concentration in North American Roots Music focusing on examining the stylistic development and cultural origins of North American folkloric music. This new opportunity joins two existing concentrations, allowing Jazz Studies majors to specialize in one of three areas of interest: Brazilian Jazz, Audio Production (presented in conjunction with Berkeley’s famed Fantasy Studios) and the new North American Roots Music focus.
Also announced in 2017 in conjunction with the milestone anniversary: A three-year strategic partnership with another jazz icon, the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival and its Next Generation Jazz Festival, a salute to the future of jazz, held annually in downtown Monterey, California. The California Jazz Conservatory hosted the Next Generation Jazz Festival’s Opening Night Concert in 2017 and committed to hosting the event through 2019. The Conservatory celebrated the partnership with the awarding of scholarships presented to students performing at the Next Generation Jazz Festival.
For more information on the California Jazz Conservatory and to arrange a tour, please contact Paul S. Fingerote, 831.373.3343 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The California Jazz Conservatory is located at 2087 Addison Street, Berkeley, California, 94704. Website is cjc.edu. Telephone number is 510.845.5373.
Fiddler Annex Donor Recognition
The completion of our new Jerry Fiddler Annex was made possible by generous donations from the many supporters of the California Jazz Conservatory. Following is a description of some of the highlights to be found in Fiddler Annex.
Jerry Fiddler Annex
Fiddler Annex more than doubles the Conservatory’s capacity, adding new classrooms, practice facilities, a new listening library, a new student lounge, new office space, and a classic, new performance venue, Rendon Hall.
Made possible by a gift from Jerry Fiddler, Board of Directors member and longtime benefactor of the California Jazz Conservatory.
Rendon Hall was conceived in the spirit of Minton’s Playhouse, the renowned Harlem nightclub founded by tenor saxophonist Henry Minton in 1938. Like Minton, who generously provided jazz musicians with unconditional support, the California Jazz Conservatory devotes itself to promoting artists and musicians who are, or aspire to be, at the forefront of innovation in jazz.
Made possible by a grant from vocalist Kathi Rendon and her husband trumpeter John Kainlauri, two longtime Conservatory students who provided the seed money for our campus expansion
‘Round Midnight Sculpture
Among the most iconic jazz compositions, ‘Round Midnight, was composed in 1944 by one of bebop’s revered founding fathers, pianist Thelonious “Sphere” Monk (1917 – 1982).
A staple to this day, ‘Round Midnight is one of the most performed and recorded compositions in the history of modern jazz. The sculpture of ‘Round Midnight gracing Rendon Hall was designed and fabricated by artisans at Eclipse Design, with names of supporters impressed on the notes of ‘Round Midnight.
Jennifer A. Maxwell Music Library
A music library for use by students and faculty, with thousands of jazz LPs, CDs and books.
Maxwell Student Lounge
A comfortable place for students to gather together to share ideas and enjoy a break from classes.
The Library, Lounge and ‘Round Midnight Sculpture made possible by a gift from longtime Conservatory student and drummer Jennifer A. Maxwell.
A number of donors helped us build and outfit 5 new, state-of-the-art Wenger practice studios.
The Jamey Aebersold Jazz Studio
Named in honor of Jamey Aebersold, one of the world’s most influential and highly esteemed jazz artists and educators.
The Bud Powell Jazz Studio
Made possible by a donation from Friends of the California Jazz Conservatory.
The Duke Ellington Jazz Studio
Made possible by a gift from drummer and longtime California Jazz Conservatory student and Board of Directors emeritus Danny Scher.
The Miles Davis Jazz Studio
Made possible by a gift from longtime California Jazz Conservatory benefactors John and Mary Raitt.
The Betty Carter Jazz Studio
Made possible by a gift from vocalist Hilary Perkins.
The Wayne Shorter Jazz Studio
Made possible by a gift from saxophonist Jerry Povse, longtime California Jazz Conservatory student and member of the California Jazz Conservatory Board of Directors.
The Max Roach Jazz Studio
Made possible by a gift from drummer and California Jazz Conservatory Board of Directors emeritus Bert Lubin.
INDUSTRY INNOVATOR ZON GUITARS
CREATES JD5 BASS EXPRESSLY FOR
CALIFORNIA JAZZ CONSERVATORY PROFESSOR JEFF DENSON
Jazz Industry Leader Crafts One-of-a-Kind
Instrument to Fit Denson’s Specifications
“I’m Completely in Love with This Bass,”
Notes Denson, Acclaimed “Master of the Jazz Bass”
August 24, 2017; Berkeley, California; Zon Guitars, a music industry innovator since its inception in 1981 as a custom guitar and repair shop in Buffalo, New York, has announced Jeff Denson as the recipient of a custom crafted JD5 Bass, designed and produced by the industry leader to Denson’s specifications.
“I’m completely in love with this bass,” noted Denson. “What an amazing experience to have an expert instrument maker like Joe Zon craft an instrument to fit my hands and tonal aesthetics!”
Zon Guitars Founder, Joe Zon, welcomed Denson to the Zon family as an artist who “has balanced a full career as both an acclaimed performing musician and as a highly respected educator. We’re delighted to have this custom crafted JD5 in such talented hands as Jeff Denson’s.”
Susan Muscarella, President and Dean of the Conservatory echoed, “Jeff is the epitome of our faculty’s effectiveness. He is not only an accomplished musician, he’s an expert educator as well. Jeff deserves to have this wonderful instrument in his creative hands.”
Denson, labeled the “Master of the Jazz Bass” by jazz critic Lee Hildebrand, has toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe with his own groups – including the renowned cooperative trio Minsarah – and has worked with some of jazz’s finest artists, including an ongoing relationship with the legendary alto saxophonist, Lee Konitz, since 2007. On the recording side, Denson has released over a dozen albums as leader or co-leader and is currently working on several new recording projects.
Denson, who earned his doctorate from the University of California San Diego, currently serves as a full professor at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley, as well as working as the Artistic Director of Ridgeway Arts, also located in Berkeley.
In pursuit of building the ultimate instrument, Joe Zon used graphite neck material as a way to enhance the sound and stability of his basses. This new technology, coupled with years of experience in repairs, culminated in a design that was immune to neck warp and twist, ergonomic and lightweight, a design that produced a rich, full tone. Today, the bass world has come to know the name Zon as an instrument of quality craftsmanship, innovation and performance.
Denson couldn’t agree more: “This is a master instrument,” he continued. “The body vibrates with each and every note and it’s extremely responsive to the touch. It can really sing but also give a real punch, too. Zon exceeded my expectations with the JD5!”
Zon Guitars is located at 780 Second Avenue in Redwood City, California, 94063. Their website is zonguitars.com. Telephone number is 650/366-3516 and they can be reached by e-mail: email@example.com.
The California Jazz Conservatory is located at 2087 Addison Street, Berkeley, California, 94704. Their website is cjc.edu. Telephone number is 510/845-5373. They can be reached via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeff Denson and his custom crafted Zon JD5 Bass
Legendary Berkeley Jazz Education Icon Celebrates New Fiddler Annex, Announces New Associate of Arts Degree, Launches New North American Roots Music Concentration, Establishes New Advanced Level Ensembles, Partners with Monterey Jazz Festival Jazz Education Programs
May 4, 2017; Berkeley, California; The California Jazz Conservatory, the only accredited independent school in America completely devoted to the study and performance of jazz, has announced multiple plans and programs for celebrating its milestone year in 2017, the 20th anniversary of the iconic Berkeley jazz education institution.
Established in 1997 as the Jazzschool, a year-round community music education program, the organization is now an accredited, independent college offering a 4-year Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies degree (since 2009), as well as continuing to offer its Jazzschool classes, workshops, summer jazz camps and intensives––a 20-year tradition of music education in the Berkeley arts community.
With the advent of its third decade, the Conservatory is taking significant steps in expanding its programs and growing its facilities, plans and partnerships.
The Conservatory announced the new developments and directions while reflecting on its lauded past in a “Platinum Preview Party” event held April 23rd at the Scimens-Moss Home in Oakland (historically known as the Rubino House) with entertainment provided by the Conservatory’s own student musicians, the Michael Echaniz Trio and special guests.
“We’ve accomplished much over 20 years,” commented California Jazz Conservatory President and Dean of Instruction, Susan Muscarella. “We’ve established a firm foundation for our future, and now we’re thrilled to announce some very exciting plans and programs to positively impact the future of jazz.”
The most visible addition to the Conservatory’s future is the 5,550 square foot Fiddler Annex (named in honor of board member, Jerry Fiddler), located directly across the street from the Conservatory’s current Addison Street location. The Fiddler Annex will triple the size and scope of the Conservatory’s facilities and offerings, adding classrooms and performance, practice and office space, in addition to a new version of its popular cafè, with the original Jazzcaffè remaining open in the current Addison Street location.
The Fiddler Annex opening is scheduled to coincide with the Conservatory’s 20th anniversary celebrations, taking place during the third week in September, with a number of celebratory community events currently in the planning stages.
On the academic side, new developments include the establishment of a 2-year Associate of Arts in Jazz Studies degree program from the Conservatory. The Associate of Arts degree in Jazz Studies will be awarded to instrumental and vocal students who satisfactorily complete the Conservatory’s program of study of core music courses, electives and general studies courses.
In addition to the new Associate of Arts degree, a new concentration has been added to the Conservatory’s Bachelor of Music program: The North American Roots Music Concentration, focusing on examining the stylistic development and cultural origins of North American folkloric music (also known as “traditional music”), from nineteenth century work songs and spirituals to the present.
This new opportunity joins two existing concentrations, allowing Jazz Studies majors the option of specializing in one of three areas of particular interest: Brazilian Jazz, Audio Production (presented in conjunction with Berkeley’s famed Fantasy Studios) and the new North American Roots Music focus.
Also introduced at the April 23rd event was the Conservatory’s new performance group, the Blue/Green Ensembles. These new advanced-level opportunities are for instrumentalists and vocalists who demonstrate artistic leadership and academic excellence. They provide an opportunity to strengthen musicianship skills and develop artistic sensibility. Members of the Blue/Green Ensembles serve as jazz ambassadors, while earning their degree in Jazz Studies.
Wrapping up her re-cap of news at the anniversary celebration, Muscarella announced a three-year strategic partnership with another jazz icon, the prestigious Monterey Jazz Festival and its Next Generation Jazz Festival, held annually in downtown Monterey, California, where the Conservatory previewed its new “100% JAZZ” marketing campaign.
The California Jazz Conservatory has announced it will be the host for the Next Generation Jazz Festival’s Opening Night Concert from 2017 through 2019.
In addition to gaining major visibility and multiple networking opportunities at the opening night concert and throughout the weekend, the California Jazz Conservatory awarded $500,000 worth of scholarships presented to students performing at the Next Generation Jazz Festival. Announcements of the scholarships drew cheers of appreciation from students and fans attending the 2017 Next Generation Jazz Festival, held March 31st through April 2nd in downtown Monterey.
“This is a vibrant weekend dedicated to the future of jazz and we are honored and excited to participate with the Monterey Jazz Festival in this long-term partnership in support of jazz education,” commented Muscarella in closing.
The California Jazz Conservatory is located at 2087 Addison Street, Berkeley, California, 94704. Their website is cjc.edu. Telephone number is 510/845-5373.
For Interviews and Tours of CJC:
April 26, 2017; Berkeley, California; The California Jazz Conservatory (CJC), marking its twentieth anniversary as a leader in jazz education, today celebrates three of their students who placed in the top four positions in Living Jazz’s Jazz Search West 2017, the Bay Area’s annual jazz talent search for instrumentalists and vocalists, ages 15 and up.
Two California Jazz Conservatory degree program students placed first and second in the competition, with vibraphonist Dan Neville, a third-year student at CJC, winning the five-week playoff series. Vocalist Jamie Zimmer, a first-year student at CJC, was awarded second place. Fourth place was won by vocalist Le Perez, a student of the Jazzschool, CJC’s community music education program.
Neville, a full time student at the Conservatory, is a multi-instrumentalist and arranger-composer, a six-year member of SFJAZZ Center’s Monday Night Big Band. Zimmer, who also attends CJC as a full-time student, coaches young singers in the Bay Area’s Latin Jazz Youth Ensemble. Le Perez, who trained at the Conservatory’s Jazzschool, is a veteran of the Oakland Interfaith Community Choir.
About Living Jazz
Since 1984, Living Jazz has designed and launched unique music education and performance programs that instill confidence, responsibility and ambition in children; motivate people of all ages and backgrounds to reach their personal and creative potential; and unite diverse communities through their shared love of jazz and related genres. Current programs include Jazz Camp West, Jam Camp West, “In the Name of Love”, the Annual Musical Tribute honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., The Living Jazz Children’s Project, and Jazz Search West.
About California Jazz Conservatory
Established in 1997 as the Jazzschool, the California Jazz Conservatory is now an accredited, independent college offering a 4-year Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies degree (since 2009) and an Associate of Arts degree in Jazz Studies (introduced in 2017), as well as continuing to offer its Jazzschool classes, workshops, summer jazz camps and intensives––a 20-year tradition of music education in the Berkeley arts community. With the advent of its third decade this year, the Conservatory is taking significant steps in expanding its programs and growing its facilities, plans and partnerships.
The California Jazz Conservatory is located at 2087 Addison Street, Berkeley, California, 94704. The website is cjc.edu. Telephone number is 510-845-5373.
Living Jazz is located at1728 San Pablo Ave, Oakland, CA 94612. The website is livingjazz.org. Telephone number is 510-858-5313.