Stanford Jazz Workshop

SJW Artists

Peter Apfelbaum Sextet
Kenny Barron / Terrell Stafford / Dayna Stephens / Matt Wilson
Alan Broadbent Trio
Jimmy Cobb Quartet featuring Kenny Barron
Ruth Davies Blues Night featuring Barbara Morrison
Basie and Beyond: Jamie Davis and the Fred Barry Jazz Orchestra
Sasha Dobson Trio
Lou Donaldson Quartet
Madeline Eastman / Dena DeRose
Taylor Eigsti / Julian Lage Group
Eddie Gomez Trio / Frank Wess Quartet
Wycliffe Gordon Presents the Jazz Mentors
Wycliffe Gordon Quartet featuring Matt Wilson
Albert "Tootie" Heath
Jimmy Heath
Bobby Hutcherson
Nancy King
Lee Konitz
Maria Marquez Quintet
Jeb Patton Trio featuring Tootie Heath
Nicholas Payton Quintet
Kurt Rosenwinkel Group
John Santos Quintet
The Latin Side of the Great American Songbook with Peggy Stern
(New) Standards Night wtih Peter Stoltzman
Patrick Wolff Trio

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Peter Apfelbaum Sextet
Peter Apfelbaum formed the Hieroglyphics Ensemble as a vehicle for composing and exploring non-traditional music forms while still a senior at Berkeley High School. The original group included pianist Benny Green, saxophonist Craig Handy and trumpeter Steven Bernstein, and would later feature saxophonist Joshua Redman. Their first recording, “Pillars,” released in 1979, attracted international attention for its mix of world music elements with the aesthetic of the jazz avant garde. Apfelbaum’s “Notes From the Rosetta Stone,” featuring Don Cherry as guest soloist, so impressed the trumpeter that he relocated to the Bay Area, forming his group “MultiKulti” around the nucleus of Apfelbaum and his rhythm section. Since then, Apfelbaum has continued to innovate, working with various iterations of the Hieroglyphics Ensemble on both Coasts, opening for the Grateful Dead and lending his talents on saxophone to artists as varied as Trey Anastasio, Jai Uttal and Naná Vasconcelos. Peter just received a grant from Chamber Music America and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

In order to get to know him better, we asked Peter to answer a few questions about himself:

What is the first recording you remember hearing as a child?
Ella Jenkins’ “Adventures In Rhythm” is the fi rst thing I can remember—a record of folksongs and simple rhythms for children. I was 2 or 3 years old. The next year it was “Meet The Beatles.” I was playing drums at that time and I always wore a ring when I played, in identification with Ringo. Shortly after that, my parents got me “Caravan” by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers.

Who is your favorite jazz musician under the age of 30?
I’d have to say it’s a tie between Ambrose Akinmusire and Justin Brown. Wait, is Dayna
Stephens under 30?

How much do you practice each week?
It all depends on what project I have coming up. For my own stuff I usually play through the music on piano for weeks beforehand, to refamiliarize myself with the harmonic and rhythmic possibilities, and to get the timing and fl ow of the material. Dealing with Josh Roseman’s music requires some piano and bass keyboard practicing, because his lines are so insane. Dafnis Prieto’s music has unusual and challenging harmonic sequences so I often record the changes and play over them on saxophone several times to get some idea of what’s possible. But if I don’t have a performance or recording coming up, I don’t really practice an instrument—I just let ideas go in and out of my head and try to write down the good ones. I try to stretch every day.

What’s the last book you’ve read?
“Dixie Rising” by Peter Applebome. He writes for the New York Times. I first noticed his
name because it’s almost the same as mine, and then I started reading him and found that
he’s really good. The book deals with how the culture of the South is having a profound effect on shaping US culture in general, which is something I realized I hadn’t been paying enough attention to.

If you could play with any other musician, living or dead (with whom you have not played), who would it be and why?
I’d like to do something with Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth.

What’s your favorite tune?
The one I’m working on right now.

Who is your greatest musical influence?
Probably Cecil Taylor. From him I learned that sometimes you just have to come up with your own chords and chord progressions. It takes longer that way but it can be worth it, especially if you have a very specific idea of what you want to express. I use other people’s chords too, though.

What hobbies do you have?
Lately I’ve been making my own salsa.

To find out more about Peter, go to


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