Conceived as a direct response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Jazz Aid Fund provides direct support to Bay Area musicians and stimulates one of their most important activities—the creation of new work.
Building on a lead gift by Jan DeCarli, SJZ’s Board of Directors established the Fund, providing a grant of $1,000 each for selected artists to create a new work. Artists are 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 our New Works Fest in April–May 2022. Join our email list to stay up on all developments in the program.
– Mark Arroyo– Archish Arun– Keshav Batish– Ron E. Beck – Robbie Benson– William Bohrer– Chris Cain– Bobi Céspedes– Giulio Xavier Cetto– Kev Choice– Amy D.– Lee Dynes– Tammy Hall– Brian Ho– James Jackson– Kasey Knudsen– Melecio Magdaluyo– Mild Monk– Ash Maynor– Justin Ouellet – Fernando Barocio Salcedo– Javier Santiago– Ian Santillano– John Santos– Edward Simon– Ten Spencer– Aneesa Strings– Adam Theis– Monique Valenzuela– Claudia Villela – Vân-Ánh Võ– Howard Wiley– Kevin Wong
Chris "Kid" Andersen is a Norwegian blues guitarist that moved to San Jose in 2001. A significant force in the West Coast blues scene, Kid is also the force behind Greaseland Records.
ASTU the Oakland-based singer/songwriter is a black, queer and gender expansive artist. She left life as a minister and found herself in R&B, expressing her sexuality, identity and life experience in her music.
Keyboardist Mike Blankenship has recorded and toured with Lauryn Hill, Sheila E, Ledisi and Michael Franti. Fluent in jazz, R&B, hip-hop and gospel, Mike uses music as a way to make powerful human connections.
A Grammy winner with Pacific Mambo Orchestra, Mexican conga player Javier Cabanillas concentrates on writing and arranging for his Cabanijazz Project, one of the top salsa outfits in the Bay.
Caroline Chung is a jazz upright/electric bassist, songwriter and producer. She gigs around the Bay Area with her project Citizens Jazz, and has performed material from the seminal Nina Simone album Silk & Soul at SF Jazz.
Sylvia is an active drummer on the New York and San Francisco Bay Area music scenes and has performed and toured with the likes of Billy Taylor, Eddie Henderson, Gary Bartz, Kenny Barron, Marian McPartland and Gregory Porter.
Dame Drummer is a Bay Area "first-call" drummer who's performed with Los Rakas, Jazz Mafia, Uriah Duffy, Shapeshifter, DaM-FunK, Kev Choice and two-time Grammy Award winner Fantastic Negrito.
Ren Geisick is a jazz singer turned singer / songwriter. Borrowing elements of jazz, blues, and country, Ren delivers heartfelt performances of original music and reimagined classics. Her first album, Ren, Love Song was produced by Jesse Harris.
Bassist Aaron Germain is known for his versatility with diverse genres including straight ahead and modern jazz, R&B, funk, salsa, Brazilian, West African, Indian, and more.
Clarinetist and composer Ben Goldberg has twice been named Rising Star Clarinetist by DownBeat Magazine. He plays in Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom project and has released over thirty records of his own compositions.
Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Juanita Harris has appeared on stage in Working, Nunsense I & II, Jesus Christ Superstar and 1940’s Radio Hour, and performs locally with 7th Street Big Band.
A graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music, Oakland-based soul singer and composer Lilan Kane is authentic, on and off stage. The sultry honesty in her voice is as raw as her lyrical stories of love, life and self-discovery.
Guitarist Noah Kibreab leads Noah and the Arkiteks, a Bay Area soul and R&B band. With its classic style, the band pulls from American Black Roots music.
Jeff Kolhede is a two-time Grammy Award nominated composer, producer, engineer and musician based in Oakland, California. Jeff produces, engineers and mixes the music of international artists including Summer Fest alumni ASTU and The Seshen.
25-year-old guitarist David Lechuga is a fixture in the Bay Area live music scene. David is a Distinguished Graduate in Jazz from Sonoma State University, and recently performed at the 2022 Jazz Plaza Festival in Havana, Cuba.
Bay Area powerhouse Tiny Lindsey is a well known bassist, composer and bandleader. He's toured extensively with artists like Ryan Shaw, Anthony Hamilton, Gavin Degraw, William Duval and Matt Nathanson.
Multi-instrumentalist Gary Meek collaborated for 20 years with Flora Purim and Airto and, in a career that spans over 30 years, has worked with the likes of Herb Alpert, Jeff Lorber, Brian Bromberg, Mitch Forman and Randy Brecker.
Bay Area native Cava Menzies is a multidisciplinary musician, visual artist, and educator. Her most recent recording is 2021’s Moment to Moment, an album of original music created with Nick Phillips.
Kenya Moses embodies the essence of Brazil's bossanova in her warm and heartfelt sound. Kenya fell in love with the sounds of Brazil after 15 years performing as a classical vocalist and flautist.
Awarded "Most Influential African American in the Bay Area" in 2005 and "Best Jazz Group" in 2013, vocalist Dr. Kim Nalley is already being called "legendary" and a "San Francisco institution."
Bennett Roth-Newell is a pianist, emcee and songwriter has performed at Summer Fest, Yoshi’s, Black Cat Jazz Club, The New Parish, and the National Black Theater Festival. Bennett’s latest album Grown dropped on March 1, 2022.
Brian Sheu is a sought-after guitarist known for combining soulful blues and rock with the pyrotechnic language of bebop. He's been active on the Bay Area scene as a founding member of both Super Soul Bros and The iLLiance.
Multi-instrumentalist, composer and educator Saxophonist Kristen Strom has long been a mainstay on the Bay Area music scene,acclaimed for beautifully rendered melodies and tonality. She's played alongside artists like Manhattan Transfer, Gladys Knight, and Jimmy Heath.
Vocalist Valerie Troutt is a musical collagist, borrowing from ancestral centuries of sound, channeling spirits, and delivering the stories of our love, loss, and lives.
Kalil Amar Wilson is an American vocalist, pianist, songwriter, and ethnomusicologist. Kalil is a faculty member at the California Jazz Conservatory and a visiting professor and curator of jazz at the Jazz & Musical School, St. Petersburg, Russia.
Patrick Wolff is a jazz saxophone and clarinet player imbedded in the jazz scenes of NYC and San Francisco. He has worked with Matt Wilson, Albert "Tootie" Heath, Grant Stewart, Louis Moholo-Moholo and Dena DeRose.
– Amy D., grantee
New Work Fest 2022 — April 22–May 15
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Kalil Amar Wilson is an American vocalist, pianist, songwriter, and ethnomusicologist. Wilson began singing as a child with the Oakland Youth Chorus, studied at the UC Berkeley Young Musicians Program, and graduated magna cum laude from the UCLA Music and Ethnomusicology Departments as "Distinguished Ethnomusicology Student" of his graduating class. There, renowned jazz guitarist and UCLA music professor Kenny Burrell wrote of Wilson, "A very special young talent with a unique sound that crosses through genres." Kalil currently teaches voice and piano and performs in the Bay Area and is a faculty member at the California Jazz Conservatory and a visiting professor and curator of jazz at the Jazz & Musical School, St. Petersburg, Russia. His two well-received LPs are: Time Stops and Easy to Love.
instagram.com/kalilamarwilsonKalil Amar Wilson YouTube page
The dynamic Mexican conga player Javier Cabanillas has come a long way since he started performing in pop-up flea markets in the streets of Tijuana, Mexico. A few years ago, the Bay Area resident walked the red carpet in Los Angeles and took home a Grammy Award for Best Latin Tropical Album of the Year for his work with the San Francisco-based Pacific Mambo Orchestra. After that triumphant experience, he decided to concentrate on writing and arranging for his Cabanijazz Project, which has been creating a unique sound. His compositions have garnered four-star ratings in DownBeat Magazine and has been featured on NPR, PBS and United Airlines.
Multi-instrumentalist Gary Meek is a “musician’s musician” of whom the LA Times quoted: “Gary can play anyone’s music and get into that music. He makes everyone look better.” He collaborated for 20 years with Flora Purim and Airto and, in a career that spans over 30 years, has worked with the likes of Herb Alpert, Jeff Lorber, Brian Bromberg, Mitch Forman and Randy Brecker. He has toured with Dionne Warwick and Al Jarreau, and has performed at the Montreux, Monterey, North Sea, Playboy and Telluride jazz festivals. Gary can be heard on more than 200 albums as a sideman or featured artist, and on his seven solo recordings, including his latest, 2021’s Monterey Groove.
Bassist Aaron Germain grew up in Massachusetts, but has lived in the SF Bay Area since 2000. Playing both upright and electric bass, Aaron is known for his versatility and creativity with diverse genres including straight ahead and modern jazz, R&B, funk, salsa, Brazilian, West African, Indian, odd-meter, country, pop and rock.
He’s performed with such artists as Yusef Lateef, Stanley Jordon, Andy Narell, Tommy Igoe, Bonnie Raitt, Alex de Grassi, John Handy, Melba Moore, Jacqui Naylor and many others. He’s created three albums of original music, Before You Go, Chance and the forthcoming Bell Projections.
Photo by Pat Johnson
Part retro soul, part ‘90s R&B pastiche, part New Wave-inspired synth-pop, ASTU’s music refuses to pledge allegiance to a single vibe. The Oakland-based singer/songwriter has the ability to find an easy, irresistible groove and turn it into an unhurried banger. The black, queer and gender expansive artist left life as a minister and found herself in R&B, expressing her sexuality, identity and life experience in her music. The depth and complexity of her buttery alto on her debut project, the 2018 EP Patterns has garnered critical acclaim from Afropunk, Earmilk, KQED and others. Variance Magazine describes her sound as "...kin to some of Solange’s recent material with the whispering confidence of Kelela..." while KQED raves, "...a particularly insightful and self-assured debut, sure to count as one of the Bay Area's most notable releases this year." Her latest album is 2020’s Altars. From silky, slow jams to trip-hop-esque grooves, ASTU keeps us wanting more.
Bay Area native Cava Menzies is a multidisciplinary musician, visual artist, and educator who resides in Oakland, Ca. She holds a BA from the Berklee College of Music and an MM from the University of Miami where she studied composition, music production and recording. Cava is a founding music faculty member at the Oakland School for the Arts and has served as its Artistic Director, teaching over 2,000 young musicians from Oakland. Her musical direction and arrangements have been featured in performances with Chris Martin, Coldplay, Daveed Diggs, Dave Grohl and a host of other contemporary artists. Her most recent recording is 2021’s Moment to Moment, an album of original music created with Nick Phillips.
cavamenzies.cominstagram.com/cavamenziesCava Menzies YouTube Channel
Ren Geisick is a jazz singer turned singer / songwriter from Los Gatos, California. Herfirst album, Ren, Love Song produced by Jesse Harris, was released in 2017 and, inJanuary 2022, Ren released her complete Ruby EP inspired by the life, and catchphrases, of her Grandma Ruby from Oklahoma.
Borrowing elements of jazz, blues, and country, Ren delivers heartfelt performances of original music and reimagined classics. Never one to remain confined by a single genre, Ren flows seamlessly from a carefree country shuffle to an introspective ballad. During the 2020 lockdown Ren focused on growing as a musician and learned to play ukulele and guitar.
Juanita Harris YouTube Page
Mike Blankenship has built a career of dream gigs and collaborations, recording and touring as a keyboardist for Lauryn Hill, Sheila E, Ledisi and Michael Franti. Fluent in jazz, R&B, hip-hop and gospel, Mike uses music as a way to make powerful human connections.
His debut album Living for the Future is a musical journey that draws on his commitment to love, fatherhood, community, culture and the pursuit of a better tomorrow. Mike's latest project, a musical trio named BLACKLONDON, aims to bring Oakland music back to its roots, giving Black musicians creative and financial opportunities in the increasingly gentrified Bay Area arts scene.
Mike is the co-founder and music director of Yeah, Art!, an arts educational non-profit aimed at making art education inclusive, accessible and relevant to a new generation of youth with emphasis on nurturing creativity within youth of color.
Kenya Moses embodies the essence of Brazil's bossa nova in her warm and heartfelt sound. Born in the United States, yet connected to her Afro-Brazilian roots, Kenya fell in love with the sounds of Brazil after 15 years performing as a classical vocalist and flautist. Kenya's vocal resonance has allowed her the opportunity to perform throughout the Western and Eastern United States, in addition to Italy and France. With acclaimed musicians by her side, Kenya will release her first album of bossa nova duets in late 2022.
Jeff Kolhede is a two-time Grammy Award nominated composer, producer, engineer and musician based in Oakland, California. From his personal studio and 25th Street Recording Jeff produces, engineers and mixes the music of international and bay area artists including Summer Fest alumni ASTU, The Seshen, Yassou and Brian Blade, and 2021 Jazz Aid Fund grantees Javier Santiago, Giulio Xavier Cetto and Justin Ouellet. Jeff is currently working on the production and recording of a full-length album featuring talented musicians from the Bay Area.
Berkeley clarinetist and composer Ben Goldberg studied with Steve Lacy, Rosario Mazzeo and Joe Lovano. Since 1992, when his group New Klezmer Trio "kicked open the door for radical experiments with Ashkenazi roots music" (SF Chronicle), Ben has shaped a career through curiosity and experimentation across many genres and styles.
He has twice been named Rising Star Clarinetist by DownBeat Magazine. He has released over thirty records of his own compositions including Good Day for Cloud Fishing, which the Wall Street Journal called “a stellar document of small-group jazz.” Ben plays in Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom and is on the Music faculty at the University of California, Berkeley.
Photo by John Rudoff
Patrick Wolff is a jazz saxophone and clarinet player with a long history in the jazz scenes of New York City and San Francisco. He has performed or recorded with Matt Wilson, Albert "Tootie" Heath, Grant Stewart, Louis Moholo-Moholo, Dena DeRose, and many other jazz greats. Since moving to San Francisco in 2009, Wolff has appeared regularly with Marcus Shelby, Richard Sears, Adam Shulman, and Diana Gameros. With six albums released under his name, Wolff has made his mark as a bandleader with various groups playing his original compositions, and with a classic jazz quartet focused on repertoire of the bebop and hard bop eras. His playing is characterized by a focus on lyricism and an embrace of the whole lineage of jazz styles.
Patrick is also a passionate jazz educator and advocate. For four years, he hosted a weekly show on KCSM 91.1 FM ("Have You Heard") exploring the work of emerging and underrated jazz artists. He teaches jazz history and ensemble classes at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the College of San Mateo throughout the year, and at the Stanford Jazz Workshop in the summer.
David Lechuga is a 25-year-old guitarist from San Jose, California. He is a fixture in the Bay Area live music scene, performing in diverse genres as an in-demand bandleader, freelancer and soloist. David is a Distinguished Graduate in Jazz from Sonoma State University, where he studied with Randy Vincent, and a Masters candidate at Mills College, where he studied under Roscoe Mitchell. He recently performed at the 2022 Jazz Plaza Festival in Havana, Cuba.
Caroline Chung is a Bay Area professional jazz upright/electric bassist, songwriter and producer. She has been gigging around the Bay Area with her project Citizens Jazz, collaborating with a rotating roster of the best local musicians, and performed two sold-out shows at SF Jazz featuring material from the seminal Nina Simone album Silk & Soul. Caroline has released Sounds Of Haejin, a full-length album of original music, an EP Tribute to the Great Nina Simone and several singles. She is currently working on a new project of original music called Free Energy with guitarist Khalil Doak-Anthony and vocalist Sarah Iyer, with plans for an accompanying EP.
Bennett Roth-Newell is a pianist, emcee and songwriter from the Bay Area. At age 7, he began playing piano and immediately became enamored with legendary jazz pianists like Dave Brubeck, Thelonious Monk, McCoy Tyner, and Bill Evans. As a teenager, he also found a love for hip-hop. He has performed at Summer Fest, Yoshi’s, Great American Music Hall, Black Cat Jazz Club, The New Parish, and the National Black Theater Festival.
His discography includes the 2015 duo album After You with guitarist Mason Razavi and 2019’s Put It Out, a 4-song hip-hop and jazz-influenced EP. Bennett’s latest album Grown dropped on March 1, 2022. He has taught at San Jose State University and Stanford Jazz Workshop, and currently serves as Music and Creative Arts Director at The Riekes Center in Menlo Park, CA.
bennettrothnewell.cominstagram.com/bennettjazzkeysyoutube.com/bennettrothnewellBennett Roth-Newell on SpotifyBennett Roth-Newell on Apple Music