Born and raised in Seattle, Gazarek grew up without much exposure to jazz. She denotes any and all preliminary jazz education to her high school big band and choir director, Scott Brown. “He afforded us a lot of educational opportunities at festivals and competitions,” Gazarek remembers. As a senior in high school, she was awarded the first ever Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation Outstanding Jazz Vocalist Award at the Essentially Ellington Festival in NYC. “I guess you could say my first gig was at Avery Fisher Hall with Wynton Marsalis,” Gazarek chuckles.
Sara made her way south to Los Angeles in 2000 and found herself at the prestigious Thornton School of Music at USC, studying under the tutelage of John Clayton, Shelly Berg, Tierney Sutton, and Carmen Bradford. While there, Sara helped develop the JazzReach program and, as a result, was able to spend 2 years working with inner city elementary school children as a jazz choir director. “I’ll never forget that experience. It is so important to me to be out there, educating young people.” Sara continues to educate young people today as the sole ambassador for the non-profit music and arts education organization, Music For All. Sara and her band give clinics at local schools while on tour, because, as Gazarek puts it, “education is such an important part of our lives, and the band and I know we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for that one teacher who showed us the way. It is our duty to give back.”
In 2003, Sara was awarded the 2003 Downbeat Student Music Award for Best Collegiate Vocalist. Shortly after the publication hit the press, Sara was asked to perform with Oleta Adams, Karrin Allyson, and Diane Schuur as the “as yet undiscovered talent” on the Concord Jazz Festival tour. Simultaneously, Gazarek joined a number of a-list clientele (including Barry Manilow and Allyson) as a Stiletto Entertainment (management) client and was soon being booked by the industrious William Morris Agency. “I remember feeling very nervous about it all,” Sara recalls. “I’d had it drilled into me that a strong career at a young age was a fast track to obscurity.”
Luckily, at a time when it would have been easy for Gazarek to lose track of her artistic goals, John Clayton, a mentor and teacher at USC, provided a grounding influence. When record labels first came knocking and she started to question her place, it was Clayton who set her straight. “He said, ‘Sara, everyone has his or her own path, and there’s no path that’s any more respectable than any other,’” she recalls. “‘As long as you do your homework and keep striving to be a better musician, you’ll have a lasting career.’”
Clayton agreed to produce her first album, Yours, and insisted she develop the arrangements herself with the band she’d been performing with. She found musical soul mates in her group, and the resulting record was a debut that was released to national and international rave reviews. It ranked in the Top 10 on the Billboard Traditional Jazz Charts, Top 10 on the iTunes top Jazz Album Downloads (US, UK, Switzerland, and Belgium), #1 on the iTunes Top Jazz Album Downloads (Germany, France), #5 on the Jazz Week Radio Charts, #4 on the HMV (Japan) chart. In addition, Sara was voted the #3 Best New Artist in the JazzTimes Readers Poll.
With her strong sense of gratitude, this talented, graceful, constantly evolving, emotionally direct, label-pushing vocalist will continue to “do her homework.” And judging by her second album, Sara Gazarek is going to have a lot to offer the music scene for many years to come.|
Born into a musical family, Larry has been playing the guitar since he was seven years old. In his early years he studied with legendary guitar master Jimmy Wyble, and at the age of fifteen he recorded an album with his father, guitarist Dave Koonse, entitled Dave and Larry Koonse; father and son jazz guitars. In 1984, Larry was the first recipient of a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies at the University of Southern California.
Larry has toured with Mel Torme, Bob Brookmeyer, Billy Childs, John Patitucci, David Friesen, Karrin Allyson, Luciana Souza, Natalie Cole, Bob Mintzer, Tierney Sutton, Peter Erskine, Hubert Laws, Warne Marsh and was a featured performer with the Percy Faith Orchestra on a tour of Japan.
At the invitation of Nelson Mandela and UNICEF, Larry traveled to South Africa to perform for the first annual SAMIX festival with the Steve Houghton quintet. He also performed with Gary Willis in Sao Paulo for a government sponsored concert at SESC Ipiranga. In his travels, he has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Academy of Music, Disney Hall, the Sydney Opera House, and has been a featured soloist with the L.A. Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra and many other orchestras throughout the world.
Having been featured on over 300 albums, Larry has recorded with Cleo Laine, Al Hirt, Jimmy Rowles, Bob Brookmeyer, Luciana Souza, Lee Konitz, Larry Goldings, Mel Torme, Alan Broadbent, Ray Brown, Bill Perkins, Toots Thielemanns, Rod Stewart, Linda Ronstadt, David Friesen, Bob Sheppard, Warne Marsh, Charlie Haden, Natalie Cole and many other jazz artists. His solo guitar work was featured throughout “Crazy”, a feature film chronicling the life of the great guitarist Hank Garland.
The founder of the Player’s School, the renown bassist Jeff Berlin, contacted Larry in 1995 to write a guitar curriculum which is currently used for their program. He was co-leader of the L.A. Jazz Quartet which released their fourth CD, Conversation Piece (NAXOS Records) in September, 2000. The quartet’s first three CD’s, Astarte (GOWI), Look To The East (NAXOS), and Family Song (NTR), have received critical acclaim for their originality and musical depth. Larry’s most recent recording, Conversations, a CD featuring the great pianist David Roitstein in a set of originals and standards, is now available through Jazz Compass (www.jazzcompass.com). He has four other releases on the Jazz Compass label: Americana (a recording featuring Scott Colley on the bass), Dialogues of the Heart (featuring his father Dave Koonse in a guitar duo setting), Storybook (featuring the bassist Darek Oles), and What’s in the Box, featuring the music of the great guitarist/composer Jimmy Wyble in various settings. Larry has been a faculty member at the California Institute of the Arts since 1990.
Donations will be graciously accepted
|Bruce Forman, Guitar. “Swingin’ Out West is where you’ll find him,” they all said in hushed tones, a faraway look in their eyes. “Forman’s the name, bebop’s the game. He’ll help you…never met a note he didn’t like.”|
|Pinto Pammy, Vocals. The sun was high, the air was still, a day so hot the dust was sweating. In rode a redhead on a pinto pony, singing and yodeling. Legend has it she was raised by Comanche, others opine that she was left in a shopping mall by Scottish settlers. She was headed for parts unknown when she fell in with a band of renegade beboppers and ended up ‘Swingin’ Out West’.|
I had enough time to do the laundry and repack the suitcase and wanted to give you a quick reminder that I’m coming your way.
“A protégé of the late Ray Brown, Ms. Korb’s bass playing is the foundation of her musicianship. She is an increasingly clever lyricist in the songs she writes, arranges and sings.” Doug Ramsey, Rifftides
There are few bassists who can sing and there are even fewer who can do it well. Kristin Korb is one of those artists who make you forget that she is playing the bass when you hear her crystalline voice. Inspired by the days when music was romantic and made you want to dance, Kristin and her trio embody that spirit and carry their audiences along for the ride.
Korb is no stranger to the California coast having lived here for a number of years. She earned her masters degree in Classical Bass Performance at the University of California, San Diego and was lucky enough to have studied with the great bassist Ray Brown, with whom she made her recording debut, “Introducing Kristin Korb with the Ray Brown Trio” released in 1996. Love eventually brought the American bassist and vocalist to Denmark in 2011.
Korb now returns to California for a series of concerts to celebrate her 8th release, “Beyond the Moon”. Inspired by the storytelling of one of America’s greatest lyricists, Johnny Mercer, Kristin includes several of his biggest hits and then takes a voyage of discovery into unpublished texts that Mercer never made into songs.
Kristin has been a longtime friend of CalJAS and has been very supportive of our organization since its inception.
Andy Langham – Piano
Andy Langham studied Jazz Perfomance at The University of North Texas. Since relocating to Los Angeles a number of years ago, he has toured with just about everyone from Natalie Cole to Christian McBride and the New York Voices. Currently Andy is a member of Poncho Sanchez’s Latin Jazz Band and can been seen touring all over the world with Poncho. When he’s not on the road, Langham can be found teaching Jazz Piano at California State University, Long Beach.
Andy is a repeat performer for CalJAS
Ryan Korb – Drums
Ryan is the go-to drummer in Wisconsin for all kinds of great musicians traveling through the state. After music school, the Montana native sought out some of the most influential musicians in the country to study drumming and jazz. Drum set great Jeff Hamilton and master Afro-Cuban musician Michael Spiro have been two of his greatest mentors and inspirations.
Ryan has spent extensive time studying music abroad in India and Cuba. Ryan now co-leads the Afro-Cuban drum trio, Africa->West. The trio plays original compositions based on traditional West African and Cuban music. In addition to their residency at the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music in Cleveland, Ohio, the group has released 4 recordings.
As a sideman, Ryan has performed with Aretha Franklin, Frank Sinatra, Jr., Bill Mays, Russell Malone, Byron Stripling, John Fedchock, Llew Matthews, Tamir Hendelman, Valerie Naranjo (SNL orchestra), and Barry Olsen. In addition to drum set, Ryan has performed as percussionist on the touring Broadway productions of Wicked, Spamalot, and others. Ryan has played on numerous recordings and has been seen at many jazz festivals and venues internationally. He is also on faculty at Baldwin Wallace University, Lawrence University, and University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.
Ryan also happens to be Kristin’s brother. They grew up playing music together when it was more of a competitive sport than a collaborative activity. They’ve both grown up over the years, but one can still see the sibling banter happening on the bandstand.
This will be Ryan’s first performance for CalJAS
A limited number of guests will be allowed to attend with a member