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

  36th Season
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Kneebody mixes up contemporary influences from hip hop, funk and rock with an advanced knowledge of jazz acquired while four of the five (Ben Wendel, saxophone, flute, bassoon; Shane Endsley, trumpet, pedals; Adam Benjamin, keyboards and Kaveh Rastegar, electric / acoustic bass, pedals) were students at the Eastman School in Rochester, NY (Nate Wood, drums, is an alumni of the California Institute of the Arts). Their material, composed by the group, begins as structured pieces that are learned as written, but then rapidly deviate from script: during performance, any member of the group can call from a series of cues that will instigate a change of key, orchestration, tempo, or other aspects—even starting a wholly different song! These cues, which the band terms “secret handshakes,” are embedded in the music, and are at the disposal of each player at any time, which is also intrinsic to the philosophy of the band, says Kneebody member Ben Wendel: “…anyone in the band can be the leader, we’re 100% democratic,” contrasting with some traditional jazz ensembles where the leader is essentially in charge of what happens onstage. Audiences may not realize that what appears to be an almost extra sensory ability of the band to change direction on a dime is in fact the implementation of a cue called by one of the band members, buried imperceptibly within the music itself.

Concord Jazz artist, pianist Taylor Eigsti, describes the group as “ just about the most tightly-locked group of five musicians I have ever heard.” This onstage coherence is reflected offstage as well, says Ben—“we want to be a jazz group that’s together for a long period of time, work together for five or ten years like the Keith Jarrett Trio or Miles did, which is uncommon now. When people hear Kneebody, they’ve heard a band—more like in the rock world, we’re friends with rapport and history.”

Kneebody has just released their second CD, “Low Electrical Worker,” and played two prestigious European festivals (Munich’s Modern Art Museum and the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam) prior to their Stanford date.

To read a concert review of Kneebody's Stanford Jazz Festival performance written by Richard Scheinin for the San Jose Mercury News, click here for our "Media Archives" page.

To find out more about Kneebody, go to


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