Miles Ahead Combo — a gigging machine!/by Ernie Rideout
SJW’s Miles Ahead Combo is having a busy spring. The combo, which is directed by SJW faculty artist Raffi Garabedian, is made up of musicians from seven different schools — hence the “conglomerate” label by which many after-school ensembles are known at jazz festivals.
This past Saturday, March 10, the band needed no label other than “burning” as they played at the 7 Mile House Jazz Festival, along with many other terrific jazz artists, such as SJW faculty artists Kris Strom and Scott Sorkin, as well as Curt Moore, Murray Low, Dave Bendigkeit, Anton Schwartz, Frank Tusa, Jeff Cressman, Calvin Keys, Deszon Claiborne, Wally Schnalle, John Gove, Jeff Denson, Al Molina, Peter Barshay, Vince Lateoano, Glen Pearson, Ray Obiedo, and others — the lineup was a veritable Who’s Who of the Bay Area jazz world!
KCSM DJ Alisa Clancy shared emcee duties, and had the honor of introducing the group to the packed house. The combo — normally a septet with a full frontline of horns — was a quintet for Saturday’s show, consisting of Eric Mayerhofer from Carlmont High in Belmont on alto, Ben Redlawsk on bass from Sequoia High in Redwood City, drummer Roni Herschmann from Palo Alto’s Henry M. Gunn High, guitarist/composer Grant Grech who attends Junipero Serra High in San Mateo, and Keshav Balaji on piano, from Valley Christian High in San Jose. Not seen onstage due to school performance obligations were tenor saxophonist Myrsani San Marchi from Amador Valley High and trombonist Donovan Warren from Stuart Hall High in San Francisco.
This cosmopolitan combo appears next at the following events:
- Saturday, April 28: Mountain View High School Jazz Festival, 2 p.m.
- Sunday, May, 6: Performing with the Miles Ahead Big Band and SJW Alumni Big Band, Dinkelspiel Auditorium, Stanford University, 2 p.m.
- Sunday, May 27: Opening for Erik Jekabsen’s Electric Squeezebox Orchestra at the California Jazz Conservatory
For more information about the Miles Ahead program, which is open to all music students who are concurrently enrolled in the school music program, click here.
To see the schedule of great jazz at the 7 Mile House, click here.
Thanks to Jessica Levant for the great photo!
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