Saxophones Colossus FREE Masterclass Series

Schedule

Mon Jan 08 2024 at 06:00 pm to Mon Aug 12 2024 at 08:00 pm

UTC-08:00

Location

Geoffreys Inner Circle | Oakland, CA

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Free saxophone masterclass series featuring 8 giants of the saxophone
About this Event
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Presenting 'Saxophones Colossus' Sax Masterclass Series Mondays 6-8pm once-a-month January through August 2024.



January 8, 2024: NEA Jazz Master Gary Bartz
February 12, 2024: John Handy
March 25, 2024: Eddie M.
April 15, 2024: Dave Ellis
May 13, 2024: Houston Person
June 17, 2024: Eric Wyatt
July 15, 2024: Noel Jewkes
August 12, 2024: Craig Handy


All Masterclasses are FREE!!


This series will conclude with The Great Saxophone Summit Concert Sunday August 11, 2024, 6pm at Geoffrey's Inner Circle with these great saxophonists converging together in performance, along with special guest The Dynamic Miss Faye Carol. Stay tuned for more information.

Whether you're a saxophonist, instrumentalist, vocalist, horn enthusiast, or simply seeking to deepen your knowledge and appreciation of great music, this masterclass series is a priceless opportunity to learn directly from some of the greats of our time. Sign up for one or all and garner the wealth of knowledge and experience these legends will be sharing. Space is limited. Masterclasses are held at Geoffrey's Inner Circle at 410 14th St, Oakland, CA 94612.


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January 8, 2024NEA Jazz Master Gary Bartz Masterclass


Gary Bartz has been one of the best purveyors of what he calls “informal composition” (as opposed to improvisation) on alto saxophone since the 1960s, working with such luminaries as Max Roach, Charles Mingus, Art Blakey, and Miles Davis. He has released more than 45 solo albums and appears on more than 200 as a guest artist, as well as working with some of the up-and-coming artists in jazz today, such as Ali Shaheed Muhammad and Adrian Younge for their Jazz Is Dead series and the jazz-funk band Maisha.

Bartz was born in Baltimore, Maryland, to nightclub-owning parents and was exposed to many great jazz artists who played at their club. He was 6 when he was inspired by the sound of Charlie Parker, and received his first alto saxophone at the age of 11. He attended the Juilliard School in New York City in 1958. He joined the Charles Mingus Jazz Workshop from 1962 to 1964, meeting jazz giants Eric Dolphy and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. He also began working with the Max Roach/Abbey Lincoln group in 1964.

In 1965, Bartz was recruited into Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers while they played at his parents’ club, taking John Gilmore’s position in the band. He made his recording debut with Blakey on Soulfingerthat same year.

In 1970, Miles Davis asked Bartz to join his band and perform at the historic Isle of Wight Festival and his subsequent tour. Bartz is featured on Davis’ Live/Evil recording. Bartz also formed his own group, NTU Troop, named for the Bantu word for “essence.” The group blended soul, funk, African folk music, hard bop, and avant-garde jazz and recorded one of Bartz’s first classics, I’ve Known Rivers and Other Bodies, based on the poetry of Langston Hughes. His NTU Troop recordings are often sampled by hip-hop artists.

In 1997, he was awarded a Grammy Award for Best Latin Jazz Performance for his work on Roy Hargrove’s Habana album, and, in 2005, he received a Grammy Award for his work as a sideman on McCoy Tyner's recording . In 2015, Bartz received the BNY Mellon Jazz Living Legacy Award that honors jazz musicians from the mid-Atlantic region who have achieved distinction in performance and education.

In 2019, producer Gilles Peterson invited Bartz to play the We Out Here festival with the London-based group Maisha, a move that proved so successful that Bartz played dates with them throughout Europe and cut an album with them in the Netherlands.

Since 2001, Bartz has been a professor of saxophone and jazz performance at Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio. Bartz focuses his teaching on finding new ways for his students to "open their ears" and presses his Oberlin students to truly hear the music they think they know so well.


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February 12, 2024John Handy Masterclass


John Handy — Composer and Arranger Par Excellence
John Handy has written a number of highly acclaimed, original compositions. "Spanish Lady" and "If Only We Knew both earned Grammy nominations for performance and composition. The popular jazz/blues/funk vocal crossover hit, "Hard Work", brought him fame in another realm; while "Blues for Louis Jordan" displayed his talents in rhythm and blues. He has written many compositions of various sizes for both instrumental and vocal groups. His more extensive works include "Concerto for Jazz Soloist and Orchestra" which was premiered by the Parnassus Symphony Orchestra; and "Scheme Number One" which was lauded as a fine example of fixed and improvised music by the great composer, Igor Stravinsky.

John Handy — The World is His Stage
Jazz encyclopedias list John Handy as an alto saxophonist who plays the tenor, saxello, baritone, clarinet, oboe and vocals. He is actually a consummate world musician and teacher who has devoted his life to using music to elevate the human spirit. His soulful and fiery saxophone style is instantly recognizable to generations of jazz fans world-wide.


As a performer and composer he continues to sweep audiences into ecstasy with his vast range of creative, emotional, and technical inventiveness. With a superb knowledge and practical experience with music of several cultures, he fuses, with each selection, a musical genre that is coherent, provocative, logical, and enjoyable.

Known most readily as a saxophonist in jazz quartet and quintet settings, John Handy is also featured in solo, duets, and large ensembles ranging in size from big bands to concert bands, symphony orchestras, vocal groups, and choirs.

As a singer, he brings a kind of storytelling narrative to the blues that is entertaining, educational, and moving; while his "up tempo" scat vocals could be compared to the best scat singers anywhere. He sings ballads with inventiveness that is rare among singers.


John Handy — A Star Performer
John Handy has performed in the world’s great concert halls including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Berlin Philharmonic Auditorium, San Francisco Opera House, Davies Hall; the major performance venues including Tanglewood, Saratoga (NY), and Wolf Trap; and the pre-eminent jazz festivals including the Monterey Jazz Festival, Newport Jazz Festival, Playboy Jazz Festival, Chicago Jazz Festival, Pacific Coast Jazz Festival; and international jazz festivals at Montreaux (Switzerland), Antibe (France), Berlin (Germany), Cannes (France), Yubari (Japan), Miyasaki (Japan), among others.

His album and CD covers read like a who’s who of record labels - Columbia, ABC Impulse, Warner Brothers, Milestone, Roulette, Boulevard, Quartet (Harbor), MPS Records and many others. His most recent recordings are "John Handy Live at Yoshi’s" and "John Handy’s Musical Dreamland" (available only on Boulevard Records, Stuttgart, Germany), "Centerpiece", and "Excursion in Blue". Some of his earlier works have been reissued on CD - "John Handy: Live at the Monterey Jazz Festival", "The Second John Handy Album", "New View", and "Projections"., He recorded with Sonny Stitt, and recorded nine albums with Charles Mingus Jazz Workshop.

John Handy — The Educator, Musicologist, and Jazz Historian
John Handy has taught at San Francisco State University, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, among others. He is a popular performer on university and college campuses where he also gives inspired lecture-demonstrations on the technical, academic, spiritual, and creative aspects of music, winning new converts to jazz.

John Handy — A Man of the World
Although he is well known in the continental United States, John Handy has taken his music to Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, France, England, Sweden, Luxemburg, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, North and South India, Yugoslavia, Japan, Alaska, Canada, among other countries - all with great acclaim!

John Handy WITH CLASS
For the past 23 years, John has led John Handy WITH CLASS, featuring John Handy with three female violinists/vocalists in an unforgettable sound that captures the full range of jazz, blues, r&b, popular, and modal music.

This innovative group creates a new musical expression which John refers to (tongue-in-cheek) as "Clazzical Jazz". He continues to lead and perform in groups with a combination of instruments and vocals.


John Handy — The Contemporary Icon
John Handy’s music continues to be discovered and re-discovered by new generations of musicians and listeners. Movie Sound Track, “All About the Benjamins” (2002) features “Hard Work” by John Handy. Television Sound Track, “The Bernie Mack Show” (2002) features “Hard Work” by John Handy.

BRAVO! Always inventive, John Handy personifies the jazz genre with great dignity. He has been lauded by some of the world’s great musicians, including Duke Ellington, Benny Carter, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Randy Weston, Ali Akbar Khan, and Ravi Shankar, Arthur Fiedler, Gunther Schuller, and Gerald Wilson, among others.

This is John Handy — an elegant music man for all seasons, a musician of timeless quality and always ahead of the times!


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March 25, 2024Eddie M. Masterclass


Eddie Mininfield, known professionally as Eddie M, is a saxophonist who was born and raised in Berkeley, California. He began playing at seven years old. He heas recorded and performed with Prince & The Revolution, Sheila E., Jill Jones, Beyonce, Paula Abdul, and Stevie Nicks, among others. In addition to his studio work, Eddie M. has toured with Yolanda Adams, Wayman Tisdale, and Acoustic Alchemy. He was a member of the house band on The Magic Hour. Eddie's solo releases include Hold Me (1997), Ward Street (1998), and Eddie M. (2001), which features Eric Benet and Karyn White.



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April 15, 2024Dave Ellis Masterclass


Tenor saxophonist Dave Ellis has long been a key figure in the fertile Northern California jazz scene. His story is a tapestry woven from myriad musical adventures. It begins with his days as a ten-year-old musical prodigy and opens on a new chapter with State of Mind, his debut recording for Milestone, featuring a sterling jazz veteran cast of pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassists Peter Washington and Christian McBride, drummers Carl Allen and Lewis Nash, and alto saxophonist Vincent Herring.
Along the way, Ellis was named Best New Talent (along with Diana Krall) in the 1997 Jazziz magazine Readers Poll. He scooped up two 1999 California Music Awards--for Outstanding Jazz Album and Outstanding Jazz Artist in Northern California, and jazz critics hailed his mature saxophone style for its "enveloping sound and emphatic attack" (Bob Blumenthal, Atlantic Monthly) and its "alternately earthy, probing, and lyrical" sound (Mike Joyce, Washington Post). As legendary record producer Orrin Keepnews writes in his liner notes to the first new Ellis recording in five years, "even on the shifting and difficult terrain of early 21st century jazz, a talent as formidable as his should and will be recognized."
Keepnews, who has worked with many of the all-time tenor greats, including Coleman Hawkins, Sonny Rollins, Joe Henderson, and John Coltrane, served as both producer and mentor for Ellis on State of Mind. "What he has done for me in this period of my life, the encouragement and the affirmation he has given me, are the kinds of things I'll be talking about when I'm old," Ellis says. "To have the experience of doing a record with Orrin Keepnews--in New York City, with these heavyweight hitters at the top of their craft--I just feel really fortunate."
For Ellis, the lucky streak began with growing up in the Bay Area's multicultural environment, where he could listen to all kinds of music, including funk, R&B, and rock, while learning to play jazz in the renowned Berkeley schools music programs. He was already a precocious player by the time he got to high school and came under the tutelage of jazz ensemble director Phil Hardymon and his successor, Charles Hamilton. Among the players to come out of that milieu have been saxophonists Craig Handy and Peter Apfelbaum, trumpeter Steven Bernstein, and pianist Benny Green. Graduating in 1985, one year ahead of future star Joshua Redman, Ellis moved on to the Berklee College of Music, where he focused on his composing and arranging skills on all sorts of instruments, in all sorts of styles, and graduated with a degree in music production and engineering. At school and in the rich performing scene around the Boston/Cambridge area, his peers included such leading lights of new-generation jazz as Roy Hargrove, Antonio Hart, Mark Turner, Kenny Brooks, Donny Mcaslin, Seamus Blake, and Chris Cheek.
Upon returning to the Bay Area in 1992, Ellis became a pioneer in the region's nascent "new jazz" movement, teaming up with eight-string guitarist Charlie Hunder and drummer Jay Lane to form the immensely popular Charlie Hunter Trio. After recording for Les Claypool's Prawn Song label, the trio signed to Blue Note, which brought national attention to the new sounds taking shape in such neighborhood venues as the Elbo Room and the Up & Down Club. Three albums with Hunter and two with Bay Area flugelhornist Dmitri Matheny prepared Ellis to record his first album as leader, 1996's Raven, for Monarch Records, and its 1998 follow-up, In the Long Run. The latter was produced by Keepnews, with whom Ellis had connected during the sessions for Matheny's Penumbra: The Moon Sessions.
While establishing his solo recording career, Ellis was playing live for tens of thousands of Deadheads in arenas and stadiums around the country. He could write a book about his road travels with Bob Weir's Ratdog, Phil Lesh and Friends, and the Other Ones--sharing the stage with Bonnie Raitt and Rickie Lee Jones, sitting in with the Black Crowes, performing at Bill Clinton's 1996 inaugural ball--but what Ellis valued most from the experience was playing alongside smart and inspirational musicians like pianist/singer Bruce Hornsby, and continuing to cultivate what he calls an aesthetic of "democracy with leadership." That notion was crucial to the musical coherence of the Charlie Hunter Trio, he says, and it continues to shape his approach to music today.
On State of Mind, Ellis had the chance to explore the alchemy of group dynamics in two different alignments. Miller lent his powerful piano style to both sessions, but Keepnews recruited two different bass-and-drums pairings: Washington and Allen played on the five tracks recorded in New York City, with altoist Herring sitting in on three; McBride and Nash took over for the Fantasy Studios date in Berkeley. Ellis and Keepnews put their heads together to select the material, which ranges from two Ellis compositions and a Miller original to Charlie Parker's "Barbados," the Ellington-Strayhorn gem "Something to Live For," Horace Silver's "Peace," Clint Houston's "Sunshowers" (which the saxophonist learned from Woody Shaw's 1978 LP, Rosewood), John Coltrane's "Grand Central," and a novel arrangement of "Summertime," which Ellis's former teacher, saxophonist Noel Jewkes, devised and recorded as "Winterlude" in 1978.
"I wanted to do things that were challenging and hadn't been heard all that much," Ellis says. "I like songs--tunes that can be played on a kazoo or by an orchestra and remain intact. And in approaching an album, I like to think I'm good at constructing an entity, something you want to listen to from start to finish. I'm very proud of this record in that regard."
Indeed, Ellis's talent for musical architecture informs every aspect of his playing. Los Angeles Times jazz critic Don Heckman, reviewing a live Ellis performance, praised the saxophonist's "ability to build solos out of attractive melody fragments," as well as the way "he carved out phrases that were as melodically compelling as they were rhythmically propulsive."
"I have a voice on the saxophone and I think it's distinctive," Ellis grants, while acknowledging the influence of Rollins, Coltrane, Henderson, Dexter Gordon, Bob Mintzer, and Michael Brecker. "But I have not honed it nearly to the extent I'd like to. Until I made this album, I think my voice probably came through at its truest on those Charlie Hunter Trio records, which represented the best of what a group effort can be. I think I'm just now discovering what my musical voice really is." In both its magical ensemble chemistry and the riveting saxophone solos of its leader, State of Mind showcases a musician who has taken his artistry to a new level, a lofty plateau from which Dave Ellis can look forward to unexplored frontiers of extraordinary promise.



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May 13, 2024Houston Person Masterclass


Ever since he recorded his first album as a leader, Underground Soul, for Prestige Records in 1966, big-tones tenor saxophonist Houston Person has been a standard-bearer of so-called soul jazz. His thoughtfully chosen repertoire of blues and ballads, popular and r&b standards, and compositions by fellow jazz instrumentalists aims to please the public and has helped keep Person in steady work, in clubs and concerts and on records.

Born in Florence, South Carolina in 1934, Person played piano before taking up tenor saxophone at age 17. After Army duty in Germany, where he played with such musicians as Don Ellis, Eddie Harris, and Cedar Walton, he studied at Hartt College of Music in Hartford, Connecticut. Person made his recording debut in 1965 on a Prestige album by organist Johnny “Hammond” Smith and, after forming his own band in the early Seventies, continued featuring organ players. In 1986, the saxophonist stopped using organists on the road and hired pianist Stan Hope, who’s been with him ever since.

Person, whose influences include Gene Ammons, Illinois Jacquet, Harold Land, Hank Mobley, and Sonny Stitt, has for many years booked his own gigs and produced his own records. Veteran jazz singer Etta Jones, best known for her 1960 hit “Don’t Go to Strangers” on Prestige, was the featured vocalist with Person’s combo from 1973 until her death in 2001. He produced numerous albums by Jones for the Muse and High Note labels, as well as discs for Ernie Andrews, Charles Brown Joey DeFrancesco, Charles Earland, Red Holloway, David “Fathead” Newman, Richard Wyands, and others.



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June 17, 2024Eric Wyatt Masterclass


Eric Wyatt is a saxophonist who plays tenor, alto, and soprano sax. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Eric was taught music by his dad, Charles Jolly Wyatt, who played in the army band in Germany. His dad moved to Harlem in the early 50’s just in time to play with many of the world’s greatest players. Eric can recall story’s of his dad taking him to concerts where he would sometimes drive the band members in the family station wagon. Eric at 11 years old drove with his father in 1972 to Storrs, CT with bassist Larry Ridley and pianist Albert Dailey.

The band leader was Eric’s godfather Sonny Rollins. Jim Hall was on the gig as well. This inspired Eric at a young age to hear his first live concert. Some of his dad’s friends were, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Dexter Gordon, Gary Bartz, Big Nick Nicholas, Gilley Coggins, Wilber Ware, and Dizzy Gillespie. Eric went with his dad to see Miles Davis at the Bottom Line club and went backstage after the gig.

Eric began on alto and studied at Kingsborough Community College. He also went to Lehman college where he studied with pianist Stanley Cowell. He had some opportunities early in his career to write and license an original song to channel 5 in NY for a tv news show called Black News with host Bill McCreary in 1985.

He went on to switch to tenor after his dad passed in July 1989. He met and studied with a Brooklyn legend named Arthur Rhames who inspired him. The lessons he learned from Arthur helped to put Eric on the right track. Eric started playing in Europe as a leader in Sept 1996 performing in Paris, France at the La Villa Jazz Club. Dany Michel brought him there 2 times and Eric made connections in Europe and took his quintet to the Half Note Jazz Club in 1998 and 1999. He has played as a leader in Moscow, Russia, as well as in Slovakia, Prague, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Athens in Greece, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore. He has 5 recordings as a leader and has played as a sideman on cds with Kenny Garrett, Jeff Tain Watts, Bob Crenshaw, Al Foster, Rufus Reid, Warren Wolf, Wallace Roney, and Steve Jordan. His Cds currently out today are Borough Of Kings, Positone, Look to the Sky, and The Golden Rule 4 Sonny, both on Whaling City Sound Records.

He also recorded a cd called The Blue Print which features Robert Glasper, Keyon Harrold, Anthony Wonsey, Darryl Hall, E-J Strickland, and Master James Spaulding.

Eric also licensed his original composition “Welcome Home” to NBA TV show One On One with Ahmad Rashad in 2004 and has performed at many major festivals and Clubs such as Nice Jazz Festival, Rochester Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival, The Blue Note, Dizzy’s Coca Cola Club, Birdland, The Iridium, Cafe Stritch San Jose, and The Jazz Gallery. He also played with Grammy winner Roy Hargrove’s Big band as well as with Roy’s Quintet played at Yoshi’s. Eric has performed with Branford Marsalis’Quartet at Yoshi’s and recorded on the Frank Foster Songbook cd with Wynton Marsalis. Eric can also be heard performing with Dewey Redman on an album released in 1995 under Verve Records called Last Chance for Common Sense.

The album titled Golden Rule 4 Sonny features Russell Malone, Clifton Anderson, Sullivan Fortner, Giveton Gelin, Willie Jones III, Tyler Mitchell, Eric Wheeler, Chris Beck, Charles Gould, and Benito Gonzalez. He will record this fall November 2020 at the legendary studio of Rudy Van Gelder for his 3rd release scheduled for a 2021 with Whaling City Sound label.




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July 15, 2024Noel Jewkes Masterclass


Saxophonist, clarinetist, composer, multi-instrumentalist Noel Jewkes is one of the godfathers of Bay Area jazz, universally respected for his musicality, integrity and versatility. Noel Jewkes is one of the premier saxophone players in Northern California and has earned a distinguished reputation with lovers of jazz.

Noel began playing professionally at age 12 with his family’s swing band in his home state of Utah, and has been active in the Bay Area for more than 35 years.

He has recorded with Jon Hendricks, Paula West, Wesla Whitfield, Mary Stallings, Paula West, Mike Greensill, Lavay Smith, Bill Bell, Mimi Fox, Graham Bruce, Bobbe Norris, Larry Dunlap, Larry Vuckovich, Pat Yankee, and Jerry Hahn, as well as his own ensembles.



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August 12, 2024Craig Handy Masterclass


From the time he arrived in New York at age 23 in 1986, saxophonist Craig Handy was acknowledged as a musician with big, burly tenor sound, sharp wit, and above all, individuality. Over the next few years he would breath life into those accolades through a number of important associations: holding his own on the front line of legendary bebop drummer Roy Haynes’ band, working with South African pianist Abdullah Ibrahim, and weaving sensuous obbligati behind Betty Carter on the kind of tunes most young artist are presumed not to understand.

Handy cites each experience as having a profound impact on his development. “Working with Ibrahim taught me a lot about thematic development,” states the saxophonist. “He lays down simple melodies that build on each other, and listening to his compositions remind me of great architecture.”

Recalling the time he spent with Betty Carter describes her as “a wonderful songstress, great mentor, and nurturer who instills confidence.” And in Haynes he found a master timekeeper who can teach you when to jump and when not to. “He’s like a cat in the jungle,” Handy notes. “He judges very carefully, that moment when he can capture an audience, then at just the right time he pounces!”

Handy has also contributed a Mingus-like brash and confidence tone to the Mingus Dynasty – an association which led to another imporatnt connection. I was playing with Mingus Dynasty at the Bottom Line when I first met Bill Cosby,” Handy recounts. “He came up and introduced himself and said that he was going to call me. I thought ‘yeah, right.’”

Cosby did call Handy, and invited him to be the featuerd artist on the recording of the theme for the “Cosby Show” for the 1989-90 season. Handy would also go on to score, produce and perform the music for the 1994-95 season of “The Cosby Mysteries”. It wasn’t long after the lesson of his New York apprenticeship that Handy made his recording debut as a leader. In 1992 the Arabesque label released “Split Second Timing,” an album named after something Handy heard onstage nightly during his tenure in Art Blakey’s band in 1989. “Blakey used to sasy the music came ‘from the creator to the artist, direct to you the audience with split-second timing.’” Recalled Handy.

Two years later in 1994, also for Arabesque, Handy recorded “Introducing Three For All + One.” Featuring the saxophonist primarily in trio with bassist Charles Fambrough and drummmer Ralph Peterson, “Three For All” was acclaimed by CD Review as “one of the leanest, meanest groups playing jazz.”

“What’s most dazzling about his second disc is his individuality,” wrote Norman Weinstein for the Boston Phoenix. “Handy soars. He transforms ‘Spinning Wheel’ by Blood, Sweat & Tears into cubist calliope music. He empties the sappy sentimentality out of standards by Gordon Jenkins and Marvin Hamlisch, replacing them with taut passion. Already a technical master in his 20s, he has, unlike many of his generation, decided that what comes after technique is haunting communication.”

Another significant phase in Handy’s career was the work he began in the mid-80’s with Haitian and salsa bands. “Those bands were killing rhythmically,” exclaimed Handy. “The rhythms would loop over each other creating a texture and soundscape that’s very sophisticated and funky. The artists in these bands also paid special attention to phrasing and playing together, and these are elements that are common to good musicianship in any idiom.”

Born in Oakland, California on September 25, 1962, Handy played guitar, trombone, and piano before he fell in love with the saxophone after hearing Dexter Gordon on the radio. “I was captivated by the deepness and the richness, the robustness of Gordon’s tone,” says Handy. “The directness of his ideas also impressed me.”

After participating in the renowned Berkeley High School jazz program – which also produced David Murray, Peter Apfelbaum, Benny Green, and Joshua Redman – Handy earned the highly competitive Charlie Parker Scholarship award which allowed him to study at North Texas State University. He attended North Texas for two and a half years, majoring in psychology and playing in the school’s prestigious One O’Clock Lab Band.

More recently, Handy appeared on two recordings for the “Chartbusters,” a band comprised of Handy, alto saxophonist Donald Harrison, organist Dr. Lonnie Smith and drummer Idris Muhammad. Released in 1995 on the NYC label, the group’s first disc, the critically acclaimed “Chartbusters! Volume 1,” paid homage to the Blue Note records of the late ‘50s and ‘60s. “Mating Cal,” the groups second album which was co-produced by Handy, has been released by Prestige. In the fall of 1996, Handy can be seen on the big screen in the Robert Altman film titled “Kansan City,” portraying a character based on the late Coleman Hawkins. Also in 1996, Handy can be seen touring with one of the most prominent voices in modern jazz – pianist Herbie Hancock.

“Herbie is perfection personified,” Handy observes. “He is one of the most modern cats around and has all the weaponry. One of my favorite solos by him is featured on ‘Seven Steps To Heaven.’ On that tune, he plays two of the most perfect choruses in jazz history – stacking right up there with Charlie Parker. When I hear his compositions, I’m reminded that despite all the negativity in the world, all of humanitiy does share emotions like joy and hope. Herbie’s music unites people. He’s definitely one of my heroes and to tour with him is like a dream come true.”

Handy will undoubtedly fulfill many more dreams, as he strives to contribute his own perfect choruses to jazz history.


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This project has been made possible in part by California Arts Council, a state agency.

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