Resonance Jazz Comes to the CMC

by E. "Doc" Smith on March 21, 2014

Resonance Jazz Ensemble, is a one-of-a-kind jazz octet; one of their recent performances featured a selection of arrangements and original jazz works for chamber jazz ensemble by composers from the 20th and 21st centuries. That performance also featured tunes from Resonance’s newly released CD entitled Introductions with original music by bandleader Stephen McQuarry, as well as McQuarry’s creative arrangements of jazz standards, pop tunes, and classical favorites.

They have been described as, “the only jazz ensemble in Northern California with this unusual instrumentation, Resonance jazz octet is comprised of saxophone, flute, violin, viola, ‘cello, double bass, keyboard, and drums, resulting in a rich fusion of orchestral and big band sounds…” Resonance returns in 2014, beginning with a performance at the Capp Street Music Center in April.

A Denver ex-patriate, McQuarry has made the Bay Area his home over the last few decades, and has brought with him his formidable talents as a composer, at home in a multitude of genres. Classical, jazz, and even electronica are second nature to him. His resume includes work with greats like Dizzy Gillespie, Louie Bellson, John Cage, Tom Scott and Laurie Anderson. When McQuarry isn’t working on Carla Bley manuscripts, or performing and recording with Resonance, he’s out with his marvelous trio, (featuring Resonance alum Greg German on drums and bassist Ted Burik), or performing live with either the Gerald Beckett Quintet or the Edo Castro Trio.

Featuring Nancy Bien, on cello; the aforementioned Burik on bass and German on drums; Georgianna Krieger, saxophones; Michelle Mastin, viola; McQuarry, piano; Michele Walther, violin; Laura Wiley, flutes; this is splendid concoction of musical fun. This group comes with a pedigree just as impressive; a quote from their website lists a few of the groups, “Resonance melds together a mastery of both classical and jazz artists of richly diverse musical backgrounds who have performed with many legendary artists, including Dizzy Gillespie, Louie Bellson, Clare Fischer, Dave Anderson Quartet, Terrence Brewer, Joe Lovano, Jethro Tull, Oakland Jazz Choir, Mingus Amungus, Gloria Estefan, as well as the Marin and Berkeley Symphonies, the Woodminster Theatre Orchestra, and the California Pops Orchestra….”

Resonance is indeed, “a one-of-a-kind ensemble”; performing delightful and deft arrangements of music ranging from Kurt Weill to Wayne Shorter. Their rendition of the John McLaughlin/Chick Corea/ Stanley Clarke classic, “Song to John, Part 1 & 2”, is perhaps among my favorites, and to top it all off, they play a mean “Eleanor Rigby”.

Resonance In Concert At CMC San Francisco
Saturday April 19, 8:00 pm
Capp Street Community Music Center
544 Capp St, San Francisco, CA 94110

“Song to John” from Richard Jett on Vimeo.

Filed under: Arts & Entertainment