Interview Archives - San Jose Jazz

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Wally Schnalle on the SJZ Collective’s First Tour

October 17, 2018

The SJZ Collective has embarked on their first international tour as a Collective. During their tour of Taiwan, they are scheduled to perform at the 2018 Taichung Jazz Festival, the Sappho Club in Taipei, and the Blue Note in Taipei. In this special blog post, the drummer and founder of the Collective Wally Schnalle writes in about their first big performance. (Tuesday, October 16, 2018) “Our time in Taiwan has been well worth the thirteen …

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Wealth of Drummers at Winter Fest 2018

February 9, 2018

This year’s Winter Fest is a drummer’s fest, of sorts. Drummers lead no less than six of the groups performing February 15–28. Leading off on opening night will be drummer Will Calhoun in a free performance on the Sonic Runway, a sound-responsive art installation direct from Burning Man to San Jose’s City Hall Plaza. Will has performed with many A-list musicians after coming to fame in the rock group Living Colour. This outdoor performance of …

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Interview with Summer Jazz Camp Special Guest Taylor Eigsti

May 18, 2017

This year, SJZ Summer Jazz Camp welcomes Bay Area native Taylor Eigsti as its special guest. Before his appearance on June 29 and 30, we spoke with the New York-based pianist by phone to learn why he connected with music at such a young age. We also asked if he had any advice for our eager campers before they arrive at Valley Christian High School on June 19. What first drew you to the piano? …

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Returning Home: A Conversation with Donny McCaslin

January 31, 2017

Though saxophonist Donny McCaslin made his name in the jazz world after moving to New York, he still has fond memories of growing up in the greater Santa Cruz area, where he cultivated his musical foundation. He recalls traveling over the hill to San Jose to participate in summer workshops, of sitting in with the late Smith Dobson at Garden City, then a South Bay hotbed for jazz. Back in Santa Cruz, he recalls watching …

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Dr. Aaron Lington interviewed on The Kamla Show

November 6, 2014

Dr. Aaron Lington never set a life goal to win a Grammy® Award. The San Jose Jazz High School All Stars Director and Coordinator of Jazz Studies at San Jose State University simply focuses on immersing himself in his music as fully as possible. In a recent interview with Kamla Bhatt on The Kamla Show, Lington shares the secrets behind the 2014 Grammy® win of Pacific Mambo Orchestra, a group Lington performs with and composes …

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Summer Jazz Camp Director Wally Schnalle Helps Students Discover the Possibilities

April 8, 2014

Boasting a catalogue that now stretches eight albums, drummer Wally Schnalle has made quite the career for himself on the Bay Area jazz scene. Referring to himself playfully during our conversation as “the fusion guy,” Schnalle’s work extends to stints both as a bandleader and a supporting player. Equally at home backing a blues band or a jazz quintet, Schnalle’s most recent musical project, Idiot Fish, finds him stretching his vast palette of musical flavors …

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Akira Tana Takes “Otonowa” From Japan to Summer Fest

April 8, 2014

A California native, acclaimed drummer Akira Tana has worked with the likes of Sonny Rollins, Hubert Laws, Milt Jackson, Lena Horne and the Manhattan Transfer since earning degrees from Harvard University and the New England Conservatory of Music. Having appeared on over 150 recordings, Tana has co-led the quintet TanaReid with bassist Rufus Reid, releasing five albums, two for Concord Records and three on Evidence Music. Other projects of his include work with the Super …

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Winter Fest 2014: Exclusive Interview with Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (Pt. II)

February 20, 2014

In part one of our conversation with Winter Fest 2014 headliner Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, the LA-based multi-instrumentalist and composer opened up about his early years as a musician and explained how growing up in a family of music nerds brought him up in an environment with very few, if any, musical boundaries. In part two, we dove into his reverence for producer J Dilla and frequent collaborator Austin Peralta, asked if it’s been frustrating being everywhere, …

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Winter Fest 2014: Exclusive Interview with Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (Pt. I)

February 13, 2014

Violist, band leader, soloist, arranger, composer, educator (and human) Miguel Atwood-Ferguson is a musician who defies musical boundaries. If you ask him, it’s just an outgrowth of his upbringing, which involved hearing classical masters while still in his crib and being exposed to the ever-more-diverse catalogues his family members compiled as they chased their own music geekdom. As such, Atwood-Ferguson is a musical master of sorts, but more simply, he’s a product of his environment. …

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Winter Fest 2014 Spotlight: Amina Figarova

February 5, 2014

Exceptional pianist Amina Figarova arrives in San Jose for Winter Fest 2014 in early March. Read on to get acquainted with her before she takes the stage inside the intimate Theatre on San Pedro Square on March 2. She’s a must see for straight-ahead jazz enthusiasts as well as those interested in fiercely original voices in jazz. Figarova first learned to play piano when just two years old in Baku, Azerbaijan. A natural, she composed …

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