Tribute to African American Jazz Composers

by on February 22, 2017

This Saturday night, Oakland composer and keyboardist Steve McQuarry leads an accomplished group of musicians in a special Black History Month tribute to African American jazz composers at the California Jazz Conservatory. Joining McQuarry are Destiny Muhammad (harp/vocals), Gerald Beckett (flutes), Kash Killion (double bass), Greg German (drums), and Jesus Gonzalez (congas).

According to the National Humanities Center, African American artists have figured prominently as the main innovators in the history of this enduring form of musical expression. Now, 90 years after the release of the first Jazz music recording, we honor some of its greatest composers: Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and other jazz masters.

The concert will feature music by Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Wayne Shorter, Grant Green, Sun Ra, McCoy Tyner, Kenny Barron, Doug and Jean Carn, Duke Ellington, and original tunes by McQuarry, Killion and local pianist and composer Muziki Roberson, arranged by German.

McQuarry is no stranger to the Bay area music scene, having performed with distinguished artists such as the late Dizzy Gillespie, Clare Fischer, Louie Bellson, Red Rodney (Charlie Parker), Tom Scott, the late John Cage, Laurie Anderson, Vinnie Colaiuta (Sting, Herbie Hancock, Frank Zappa), Nathan East (Eric Clapton, Herbie Hancock, Bob James), Bill Rich (Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Miles, Taj Mahal) and the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

McQuarry currently leads multiple local groups, including his stellar Resonance Jazz Octet, featuring the aforementioned drummer Greg German; and Tribu, a wonderful Latin jazz combo which includes the percussive talents of Jesus Gonzales.

The rest of McQuarry’s group are also band leaders in their own right, from the fabulously talented Destiny Muhammad; the fantastic flautist Gerald Beckett; and virtuoso bassist Kash Killion, seen most recently in pianist Mariah Parker’s Indo-Latin Jazz Ensemble alongside guitarist Matthew Monfort and the famed woodwind master Paul McCandless of Oregon.

Saturday’s performance promises to be a genuine treat, and a great way to spend an evening celebrating a rich history of African American composers.

Steve McQuarry: A Tribute to African American Jazz Composers
February 25, 2017 @ 8:00 PM
California Jazz Conservatory
2087 Addison St, Berkeley, CA 94704
Doors 7:30pm | Show 8:00pm | Tickets $15.00

E. ”Doc” Smith

E. ”Doc” Smith

E. "Doc" Smith is a musician, producer and recording artist with Edgetone Records, who has worked with the likes of Brian Eno, Madonna, Mickey Hart and many others. He is also the inventor of the musical instrument, the Drummstick and makes his home in San Francisco.

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