The Coronavirus pandemic has taught us that music and live music events are vital to our well being; bringing joy, comfort and a sense of community. 2020 lockdowns have dealt a near deathblow to the SF Bay Area music scene, with individual, working musicians among the hardest hit.
Building on a lead gift by Jan DeCarli, SJZ’s Board of Directors has established the Jazz Aid Fund providing a grant of $1,000 each for selected artists to create a new work. Artists were chosen through recommendations from a broad cross section of the Bay Area music community, including critics, presenters, artists and curators. We chose from this list an extraordinarily diverse cohort of talented artists spanning genre, generations and geography.
We’ll premiere these new works on social media and in online concert presentations later in the year. Join our email list to stay up on all developments in the program.
Multi-instrumentalist, producer, bandleader and composer Adam Theis has been an active in the Bay Area music scene for 25 years, co-founding Jazz Mafia in 2000.
The soulful, effortless sounds of vocalist and songwriter Amy D. (Amy Dabalos) envelop listeners in a dream-like fusion of jazz, soul, world, and R&B styles.
Aneesa Strings is a bassist, vocalist and composer from Oakland, where she recorded her first jazz album at just 13 years old.
Archish Arun is a budding pianist / composer, also versed in production, drums, trumpet, bass, and vocals. By high school, he found his calling in jazz and improvisation.
Multi-instrumentalist Ash Maynor is a mix of genres. Drawing inspiration from jazz, trip-hop, and electronica, the music he creates is uniquely identifiable without limitations.
Gladys “Bobi” Céspedes has been at the forefront of Cuban music in the Bay Area and internationally for over 40 years, with her authentic and distinctive sound.
After studying Music at UC Davis, organist Brian Ho decided to pursue his love of jazz, leading his own group from the Hammond B3 and performing as an in demand sideman.
Chris Cain offers up a soulful stew of Memphis-style electric blues. His powerfully deep vocals and blues guitar riffs are unforgettably his own, while reminiscent of legends like BB King.
Claudia Villela’s glorious five-octave voice is lithe and startlingly beautiful in every register. The Rio de Janeiro native writes and sings mostly in with keen emotional insight and supple rhythmic command.
Venezuela native Edward Simon has made a name for himself over decades in America as a jazz improviser, composer and educator. He’s currently a member of the all-star SFJAZZ Collective.
Bassist Fernando Barocio is one of the driving forces behind Latin alternative outfit Valley Wolf, which he founded with his cousin Jairo Lomeli on Valentine’s Day 2016.
Bassist/bandleader Giulio Xavier Cetto composes and records his own works, and plays bass for two-time Grammy Award winner Fantastic Negrito.
Saxophonist Howard Wiley is a major force in the Bay Area music scene, steeped in African-American idioms like gospel, blues, jazz, funk and R&B.
Hayward multi-instrumentalist Ian Santillano taught himself how to play the guitar after years of playing Guitar Hero.
The founder and creative director of the group YASSOU, James Jackson is a producer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist.
Javier Santiago is one of the most prolific young pianists in the Bay Area and a notable force in the jazz, beat and hip-hop scenes.
SF native John Santos is a prolific Afro-Latin performer, bandleader, composer, teacher and cultural activist with a musical career spanning 50 years.
Justin Ouellet, named 2019’s Best Jazz Instrumentalist by San Francisco Classical Voice, has garnered a reputation as a fearless performer and dedicated educator.
Kasey Knudsen is a saxophonist, composer & educator who leads an eponymous Trio and Sextet, and co-leads The Schimscheimer Family Trio and the Holly Martins.
Keshav Batish comes from a family of Hindustani musicians and is a third generation khandani practitioner of sitār and tablā, to which he’s added work with a Western drum set and piano.
Oakland native Kev Choice is a classically-trained pianist, emcee, composer and bandleader who uses wit and creative lyricism to bring a positive and inspiring message to his unique blend of jazz, R&B and soul.
A versatile multi-instrumentalist, composer and audio engineer, Kevin Wong gives top priority to the groove in music, whether it’s jazz, funk, soul or gospel.
Multi-instrumentalist, composer and educator Lee Dynes has been playing professionally as a jazz guitarist since he was a teenager.
Guitarist Mark Arroyo mixes his love of jazz, funk, rock, hip-hop, dub, and electronic music to create a sound that’s both foreign and familiar.
Born and raised in San Francisco, extraordinary saxophonist / flutist / educator Melecio Magdaluyo has been active in the vibrant SF Latin music scene since the mid-1970s.
Mild Monk is the brainchild of Henry Stein, a San Jose Asian-American songwriter & producer. His music ranges from alternative pop and indie rock to lofi/instrumental hip-hop.
Monique Valenzuela, AKA Moni Canta, is a violinist, vocalist and composer rooted in mariachi culture. In addition to performing and composing, Monique is a well-known teaching artist.
Learning to play a Wurlitzer electric piano while still in diapers, Robbie “Gwobs” Benson had a rich musical upbringing where a Hammond B3 organ was just an arm’s length away.
Drummer/vocalist Ron E. Beck came west at the age of 18, and played with the legendary California outfit Tower of Power from 1975 through 1978.
Tammy Lynne Hall began playing the piano at age four, and has become one of the most respected and beloved performers and music directors in the SF Bay Area.
Ten Spencer is a rising, Oakland-based vocalist and visual artist. Her sultry, honey-sweet voice captures the minds of her audience and invites them into her world.
A fearless musical explorer, Vân-Ánh Võ is an award-winning performer of the 16-string đàn tranh (zither) and an Emmy Award-winning composer who has collaborated with Kronos Quartet and Yo-Yo Ma.
– Amy D., grantee
Current funds allow us to help only a small fraction of SF Bay Area musicians in need. Donate now to expand the program. Be sure to write “Jazz Aid Fund” in the text field.
Add your name below to be notified later in the year of a special way you can help create state-of-the-art concert recordings of ten of these artists. They’ll get more income and compelling media to help build their fan bases; you’ll get special benefits including artist “shout outs,” Zoom or in-person meet-and-greets and more!
Watch this space for premieres and other events related to this initiative.
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Lee Dynes is a multi-instrumentalist, composer and educator. He has been playing professionally as a jazz guitarist since he was a teenager, has become a fixture in Bay Area jazz scene, having performed with such local legends as Michael Aragon, Vince Delgado, and Dave Getz. He has also broken into the realm of “Middle Eastern” music on the "oud," a fretless lute found in the Middle East and North Africa. Lee’s debut album, 2015’s Pathways, featuring all original compositions. He also teaches music daily at the Marin Music Center and at Zion Lutheran School, in San Francisco.
leedynes.com Lee's Facebook Page instagram.com/leedynesmusic
Born and raised in San Francisco, extraordinary saxophonist/flutist/educator Melecio Magdaluyo has been active in the vibrant San Francisco Latin music scene since the mid-1970s. A multi-instrumentalist known for his virtuosity on saxophone, clarinet, flute, piano, and percussion, he was a founding member of John Santos’ Machete ensemble in 1985. Since then, he’s made himself known as a one of the most sought after freelance recording and performing musicians in the SF Bay Area collaborating with the Asian American Jazz Orchestra, The Whispers, Con Funk Shun, Tito Puente, Pete Escovedo, Sheila E. and MC Hammer, in addition to leading his own quintet.
Archish Arun is a budding pianist / composer, also versed in production, drums, trumpet, bass, and vocals. Over 10 years of formal classical training, Archish developed his keyboard and theory skills, performing at international music festivals and recitals. But by high school, he found a new calling in jazz and improvisation, inspired by the likes of Jacob Collier, Taylor Eigsti and Brad Mehldau. Archish has performed at the Monterey and Next Generation jazz festivals with the SJZ High School All Stars and its small combo the U-19s, and is a co-founder of 52prime, a music production team that focuses on contemporary pop and R&B music.
Guitarist Mark Arroyo mixes his love of jazz, funk, rock, hip-hop, dub, and electronic music to create a sound that’s both foreign and familiar. His musical curiosity is on display in the original compositions he performs with the Mark Arroyo Trio with a sensibility that bridges the gap between modern jazz and the indie underground. The group plays in a jazz-strewn, rock-infused dialect that’s grounded in a contemplative, intimate sound that has become its emotional signature. Mark also explores improvised music as Distracted Circuits, using a collection of guitars, synthesizers, drum machines, groove boxes, and effects to explore and create rhythms and sound.
themarkarroyotrio.com instagram.com/themarkarroyotrio facebook.com/themarkarroyotrio twitter.com/markarroyo
SF native John Santos is a prolific Afro-Latin performer, bandleader, composer, teacher and cultural activist with a musical career spanning 50 years. The internationally renowned, multi Grammy-nominated master percussionist has worked with acknowledged masters including Cachao, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Bebo Valdés, Max Roach, Eddie Palmieri, and Omar Sosa. He is an Advisory Board member of Oaktown Jazz, Living Jazz and the Afro-Latin Jazz Alliance (NY), and a Trustee of SFJAZZ. John is on the faculty of San Francisco State University, the College of San Mateo and the California Jazz Conservatory. His latest album, Art of the Descarga, was released in 2020 on the Smithsonian/Folkways label.
Javier Santiago is one of the most prolific young pianists in the Bay Area and a notable force in the jazz, beat and hip-hop scenes. He has played with top rising international stars including Theo Croker, Kenneth Whalum, John Raymond, Yosvany Terry and Irwin Hall. Javier’s debut album, Phoenix (2018) on Ropeadope Records was named the #1 Jazz Album of the Year by Vinyl Me, Please. In addition to being a pianist and sideman, Santiago is also an accomplished educator, arranger and producer. He is alumnus of The Brubeck Institute Fellowship Program and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in NYC.
javiersantiagomusic.com javiersantiago.bandcamp.com instagram.com/JavierSantiagoMusic facebook.com/javiersantiagomusic
Learning to play on a Wurlitzer electric piano while still in diapers, Robbie “Gwobs” Benson had a rich musical upbringing in San Jose, where a Hammond B3 organ was just an arm’s length away. Surrounded by the sounds of his dad & uncle's R&B vinyl collection and their stories as bay area musicians, Robbie was born into a deep appreciation for his hometown’s rich musical history. Greatly inspired and mentored by the local legends he’d see perform (Clifford Coulter, Ron E. Beck, Russell Ferrante, etc.), Robbie has tried to keep that old-school San Jose "funk" alive for the next generation.
Claudia Villela’s glorious five-octave voice is lithe and startlingly beautiful in every register. Born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, she writes and sings mostly in Portuguese, interpreting lyrics with keen emotional insight and supple rhythmic command. Already performing professionally in Brazil in her teens, Claudia later attended the Manhattan School of Music evolving into an inventive scat singer and an ingenious songwriter with an astonishing body of original material. The latest of her seven albums is 2019’s Encantada (Live), a collection of performances that DownBeat lauded as exhibiting “an unwavering commitment to the highest level of improvisation.”
claudiavillela.com facebook.com/claudiavillelamusica instagram.com/claudiavillelamusic
The soulful, effortless sounds of vocalist and songwriter Amy D. (Amy Dabalos) envelop listeners in a dream-like fusion of jazz, soul, world, and R&B styles. Combining inspiring lyrics and heartfelt storytelling, her music is a timeless soundscape inviting reflection, healing, and growth. She created a stir with her debut portrait album, 2019’s Like You, created with producer and master keyboardist Michael Aaberg (Goapele, Lalah Hathaway, Derrick Hodge) and as a graduate of the Multicultural Arts Leadership Institute, Amy D. has also contributed to arts and community-based advocacy initiatives including the Hewlett Foundation’s Bay Area Arts Crisis Navigator advisory group.
amyd-music.com facebook.com/amydmusic instagram.com/amyd_music
Justin Ouellet, named 2019’s Best Jazz Instrumentalist by San Francisco Classical Voice, has garnered a reputation as a fearless performer and dedicated educator. In addition to an accomplished career as a classical musician on both violin and viola, Justin moves effortlessly between genres such as jazz, R&B, blues, rock and hip-hop, and has collaborated with an astonishing range of artists from Kev Choice and Jennifer Johns to Air Traffic Controller and Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg. Justin is a recipient of the Academy of Gospel Music Award for his achievement in arts education as co-director of Orchestral & Chamber Music Studies at Oakland School for the Arts.
Chris Cain offers up a soulful stew of Memphis style electric blues. His powerfully deep vocals and jazz inspired, blues guitar riffs are unforgettably his own, while reminiscent of legends like BB King and Albert King. When Chris burst onto the blues scene with the first of 12 albums, 1987’s Cuttin’ Loose, he found himself sharing the stage with a few of those legends including Albert King and Albert Collins. The combination of his blues upbringing and his jazz studies melded to form the searing guitar style that has moved Chris Cain to the top ranks of the blues music scene.
chriscainmusic.com Chris' Facebook Page
Bassist Fernando Barocio is one of the driving forces behind Latin alternative outfit Valley Wolf, which he founded with his cousin Jairo Lomeli on Valentine’s Day 2016. Inheriting the love of romanticas, mariachi, cumbia, soul, and funk from his parents' Sunday morning cleaning playlist, Fernando has helped create the group’s sound, which reflects artists like Los Bukis, Fito Olivares, and Jose Alfredo Jimenez, influences that were forged into a unique identity working with Eduardo Arenas of Chicano Batman. Fernando and Jairo's mariachi training; drummer Victor Alvarado's pop-punk background and tight rhythmic approach; and guitarist Andrew Medoza's funky and soulful guitar create Valley Wolf’s singular sound.
facebook.com/valleywolf209 twitter.com/valleywolf209instagram.com/valleywolf209 valleywolf.bandcamp.com
Keshav Batish is a multi-instrumentalist at the crossroads of his unique musical and cultural backgrounds. He comes from a family of Hindustani musicians and is a third generation khandani practitioner of sitār and tablā, to which he’s added work with a Western drum set and piano, all filtered through his singular artistic lens. Keshav’s work explores premeditated and spontaneous compositional schemes in the pursuit of a collective sound, whether in ensemble or solo works. Both require a weaving of strands, interpersonal and ancestral, that result in a greater sum that is unique in each moment. His debut album Binaries in Cycle, is due to be released in Spring 2021.
Ten Spencer is a rising, Oakland-based vocalist and visual artist. Whether it’s hip-hop, modern jazz, R&B, soul, rock or indie pop, her sultry, honey-sweet voice captures the minds of her audience and invites them into her world. Ten works with musicians on both coasts and has opened for artists including Joe, Alex Isley and Mario. Her music is original and healing, and expands upon a wide appreciation of the Black American improvisational music that guides her work today. She’s the recipient of various vocalist awards and was the 2019 Jazz Search West Award winner.
Aneesa Strings is a bassist, vocalist and composer from Oakland, where she recorded her first jazz album at just 13 years old. Aneesa received her Bachelors of Music in Jazz Studies at the University of Southern California in 2014, where she released her first solo album A Shift In Paradigm featuring her single “Simpin,” produced by Patrice Rushen in collaboration with SFJAZZ. A Masters of Music in Jazz Studies at Michigan State University followed in 2016. Aneesa dropped her critically acclaimed sophomore album Ways in 2019, and has recently toured world-wide with the likes of Duckworth, José James, Kandace Springs and many others.
aneesastrings.com facebook.com/aneesa.almusawwir twitter.com/aneesastrings instagram.com/aneesastrings
Saxophonist Howard Wiley is a major force in the Bay Area music scene, steeped in African-American idioms like gospel, blues, jazz, funk and R&B. Howard is a certified prodigy, having been selected as a member of the Grammy All-American Jazz Band at age 14, later participating in the Herbie Hancock Institute program and winning a scholarship to Berklee School of Music. He’s gone on to tour regularly with Kamasi Washington and has performed with the likes of Miss Lauryn Hill, Sheila E, Christian McBride and more. He has performed at the Playboy Jazz Festival, Monterey Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Fest, SXSW and at prestigious venues worldwide.
Kasey Knudsen is a saxophonist, composer & educator. She earned her BA in Jazz Composition from Berklee College of Music in 2002 and has been commissioned to write and perform by Intersection For The Arts, De Young Museum and Jazzschool's Emerging Artist Series. She leads an eponymous Trio and Sextet, and co-leads The Schimscheimer Family Trio and the Holly Martins. Kasey can be seen performing with the likes of Ben Goldberg, Klaxon Mutant All Stars, Ian Carey sextet, Nathan Clevenger, Aaron Novik, Erik Jekabson, Charlie Hunter and Rova Saxophone Quartet, and has performed across the globe with Tune-Yards, in a tour that included dates at SXSW.
A fearless musical explorer, Vân-Ánh Võ is an award-winning performer of the 16-string đàn tranh (zither) and an Emmy Award-winning composer who has collaborated with Kronos Quartet, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and Yo-Yo Ma. She has performed her music in 14 countries, at prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Houston Grand Opera, WOMAD Festival (UK), and the 2012 London Olympic Games. A prolific composer, she co-composed music for the Oscar® nominated documentary Daughter from Danang and the Emmy® Award winning film and soundtrack for Bolinao 52. In 2021 she premieres Songs of Strength at Cal Performances and Mekong: SOUL, commissioned by the Kennedy Center.
Hayward multi-instrumentalist Ian Santillano taught himself how to play the guitar after years of playing Guitar Hero. Since then, he’s forged a melodic, soulful sound from influences including John Mayer’s Continuum, D'Angelo’s Voodoo and Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly. While at Santa Clara University, Ian sharpened his music skills, learning jazz and music theory while getting degree in Computer Engineering. Now 24, he writes, produces and records his original music. Lush pads, funky drums, dreamy vocals and aggressive guitar solos support lyrics of honesty and self-experience. Ian has a sound all his own: “Greasy Mayer;” melodic funky soul with a touch of jazz vocabulary.
iansantillano.com iansantillanostore.com instagram.com/ian_santillano
Gladys “Bobi” Céspedes has been at the forefront of Cuban music in the Bay Area and internationally for over 40 years, with music that integrates Cuban folkloric and modern elements in an authentic and distinctive sound. Her resonant voice and dynamic stage presence lead audiences on a journey from Yoruba incantations to Cuban son. Always present is her chambo—her vibrant and resilient Cuban soul. Bobi’s composing and singing gifts are showcased in 2020’s Mujer Y Cantante, an album of eight original compositions celebrating Black cultural heritage as a source of strength and resilience.
bobicespedes.com facebook.com/bobicespedes instagram.com/bobicespedesmusic
Tammy Lynne Hall began playing the piano at age four, urged on by her two grandmothers who pooled their resources to fund her private lessons. Since then she has become one of the most respected and beloved performers and music directors in the SF Bay Area. Tammy has worked with acclaimed vocalists like Etta Jones, Kim Nalley, Nicolas Bearde, Ernestine Anderson, Melba Moore, and Queen Esther Marrow; and instrumentalists such as Regina Carter and Terrence Brewer. In 2017 she was awarded Best Musical Direction from the Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle for her work in Pamela Rose's Blues Is A Woman.
tammyhall.com facebook.com/hallhawkins instagram.com/tammylynnehall
Venezuela native Edward Simon has made a name for himself over decades in America as a jazz improviser, composer, bandleader and educator. Based in the Bay Area as a member of the all-star SFJAZZ Collective, he has 15 albums to his credit including 2018’s Sorrows and Triumphs, declared “unmissable” by WBGO’s Nate Chinen. DownBeat has called him “one of the strongest pianists of his generation, with intuitive empathy and drum-like ingenuity.” Edward is on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and has also served on the faculty of the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. He was a 2010 Guggenheim Fellow.
edwardsimon.com facebook.com/EdwardSimonMusic instagram.com/edwardsimon.music twitter.com/Edward__Simon
Mild Monk is the brainchild of Henry Stein, a San Jose Asian-American songwriter & producer. After picking up guitar in 2016, Henry started writing songs on his phone by experimenting with a variety of musical inspirations. His music ranges from alternative pop and indie rock to lofi/instrumental hip-hop. After releasing his debut album Love (2018), Henry moved to San Jose and released records including Orbit (2018) and Sunsmile (2020) featuring a talented crew of Bay Area friends. Whether it be creating a lush sonic landscape with swirling instrumentals or telling a story through lyrics, Stein has created a universe within Mild Monk that is constantly expanding and rediscovering itself.
instagram.com/mildmonkmusic Mild Monk's Media Links
SF-based bassist/bandleader Giulio Xavier Cetto’s music spans continents, genres and generations. In addition to composing and recording his own works, he is a member of the trio Bastet and plays bass for two-time Grammy Award winner Fantastic Negrito. He has shared the stage with scores of notable musicians including Yosvany Terry, Carl Allen, Theo Croker, Kassa Overall, J. Hoard, Dayna Stephens and Vincent Herring, and has recorded with artists like Aaron Janik, Javier Santiago and Kev Choice. Guilio is currently working on his first album, to be released in 2021. A well-known educator, he is on the faculty of Stanford Jazz Workshop.
Based in Oakland, multi-instrumentalist, producer, bandleader and composer Adam Theis has been an active in the Bay Area music scene for 25 years. In 2000 Adam co-founded Jazz Mafia, an eclectic collective of the most forward thinking local players in jazz, hip-hop, classical, and global music. As Jazz Mafia’s director, he has led/co-led dozens of acclaimed bands including The Shotgun Wedding Quintet, Realistic Orchestra and Cosa Nostra Strings. In 2008 Adam received the Gerbode-Hewlett Foundation’s Emerging Composer Grant, resulting in Brass, Bows & Beats. Combining symphonic arrangements and hip-hop, the work was performed at the Newport, Playboy, Montreal, San Jose and Monterey Jazz Festivals.
The founder and creative director of the group YASSOU, James Jackson is a producer, composer, and multi-instrumentalist. he has spent the last decade creating critically acclaimed content across musical genres and artistic disciplines. In 2015 James composed and produced YASSOU's Video EP, a six-song “album cycle” of single videos pronounced by Nylon as “redefining the album” and by Billboard as a "project that should be on your radar." Since then, his compositions have included the full-length How They Fade for the Louisville Ballet and music for the feature film Crown Vic.
Drummer/vocalist Ron E. Beck came west at the age of 18 after reaching the top of the music scene in his hometown, Omaha. From 1975 through 1978, Ron E. played with the legendary California outfit Tower of Power and, since then, has been an established and welcomed contributor to the Northern California music scene with his funky drumming and vocal style. He’s played with the likes of Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr.; John Lee Hooker; Sylvester; Bill Withers, Clifford Coulter, Sista Monica, Dr. Lonnie Smith and more. He has five albums to his credit and one on the way: Still Grinding, due out in early 2021.
ronebeck.com facebook.com/ron.e.beck.7 instagram.com/ronebeck
Multi-instrumentalist Ash Maynor is a mix of genres. Drawing inspiration from jazz, trip-hop, and electronica, the music he creates is uniquely identifiable without limitations. As the leader of the signature West Coast quartet Ghost & The City, he has shared the stage with the likes of Hiatus Kaiyote, The Comet Is Coming, and the Greyboy Allstars. As 2021 opens, Ash will drop original music from Ghost & The City and new offerings from his upcoming instrumental project.
Monique Valenzuela, AKA Moni Canta, is a violinist, vocalist and composer. Rooted in mariachi culture, Monique was hired to represent the US at the Viva Mexico Festival in Barcelona, Spain in 2008. She is currently the director of the Mariachi Trio, an innovative Mariachi/Trio hybrid providing a mariachi experience tailored for our socially distanced times. In addition to performing and composing, Monique is a teaching artist who has worked with several school districts in the Bay Area. Currently active with San Jose Jazz and the Alum Rock Union School District, Monique holds a passion for sharing the arts with our youth.
A versatile multi-instrumentalist, composer and audio engineer, Kevin Wong gives top priority to the groove in music, whether it’s jazz, funk, soul or gospel. Kevin grew up playing classical piano, clarinet, saxophone, bass trombone and tuba. While pursuing Jazz Studies in San Luis Obispo, he found his calling in life when a colleague took him to see Soulive, an organ trio featuring left hand bass. One of the most in-demand keyboardists in the Bay Area, Kevin has worked with Kenji "Jino" Hino, Tommy Igoe, Ben Misterka, Adam Theis, Narada Michael Walden, Tony Lindsay, Vernon "Ice" Black and Lyrics Born.
kevbasskeys.com facebook.com/kevbasskeys instagram.com/kevbasskeys
Oakland native Kev Choice is a classically-trained pianist, emcee, composer and bandleader who uses conscious lyricism to bring a positive message to his unique blend of hip-hop, jazz, R&B and soul. Kev has worked with the likes of Michael Franti, Goapele and The Coup, to name a few, and has toured as music director with Ms. Lauryn Hill. He currently leads his own multi-genre blending band, the Kev Choice Ensemble and has composed for the Oakland and San Francisco Symphonies. His latest album is 2020’s Social Distancing. He currently teaches at Oakland School for the Arts and serves on Oakland's Cultural Affairs Commission and the Governor's Board of the SF Chapter of the Recording Academy.
After studying Music at UC Davis, organist Brian Ho decided to pursue his love of jazz as a bandleader/composer, leading his own group from the Hammond B3 and performing as an in demand sideman. While Brian stays rooted in the tradition of classic players like Jimmy Smith and Shirley Scott, he has developed his own unique and modern take on organ jazz. In 2012, he released Organic, which was called by Andrew Gilbert “an impressive debut” and charted in its first week on the Jazzweek charts. Brian has played with the likes of Richie Cole, Annie Sellick and Anton Schwartz, and at prestigious festivals including Healdsburg, Taichung (Taiwan) and San Jose Jazz Summer Fest.
brianho.net facebook.com/brianhojazzinstagram.com/brianhojazz youtube.com/brianhojazz