All-Star Jam Session
Eric Alexander, Sylvan (Schmoe) Elhay, Jimmy Heath, Andrew Speight, saxophone; Terell Stafford,
trumpet; Steve Davis, trombone; Dena DeRose, Madeline Eastman, vocals;
Peter Bernstein, guitar; David Hazeltine, Randy Porter, piano; Ray
Drummond, Larry Grenadier, bass; Louis Hayes, Gregory Hutchinson, drums
Friday, August 7, 8 pm
Tickets: $34 general | $17 students
Tickets on sale now!
By phone: 650.725.ARTS (2787); In Person: Stanford
For more information, go to our Ticketing
The faculty of the 2009 Stanford Jazz Workshop is an extraordinary
gathering of jazz talent. This unprecedented roster spans three generations,
from some of the most exciting young players around to pioneers who
originated the sounds of modern jazz. Representing a multitude of
styles, schools, and traditions, these artists embody the diversity
and vitality of jazz today. The SJW All-Star Jam Session is a once-in-a-lifetime
opportunity to hear this unique lineup of musicians play together
in an informal setting. More than any other type of performance,
a great jam session brings out the spontaneous brilliance of improvised
jazz; groups are assembled on the fly and the mixing and matching
of musical personalities means that anything can happen. You’ll
hear inspired groupings of players that you won’t find anywhere
else, and the casual atmosphere gives a special energy to the performance.
With so many fantastic musicians on the program, this year’s
All-Star Jam Session offers the best of all possible worlds
for jazz lovers.
Photo: 2008 All-Star Jam Photo Credit: Scott Chernis
Q&A with Peter Bernstein
What is the first recording you remember hearing as a child?
The first music I remember hearing was "Peter and the
Wolf" (by Prokofiev) in school when I was four or five where
they teach you about the different instruments, how they represent
different characters. A little later I fell in love with ragtime
What job would you have if you weren’t a jazz musician?
Probably a farmer or something that would
connect me to the earth.
What’s the strangest experience you’ve ever had
on the bandstand?
I used to play a Sunday brunch with Arnie
Lawrence and one time at the beginning of the gig the
only customers in the place was a table of about 12
people all communicating in sign language. One of the
musicians asked Arnie if we should play or wait until
some more people came, people that could hear us and Arnie said of
course we should play, they could feel the vibrations. Strange and
also a good lesson that playing music is about communicating.
If you could play with any other musician, living or dead
(with whom you have not played), who would it be and why?
Probably Elvin Jones because I would like
to know what that felt like.
What’s your favorite thing about being a Stanford Jazz Workshop
Seeing people from all over, all ages and all walks of life come
together because of jazz music. It is always a great hang and a learning
experience for me to be around the students and of course the other
How much do you practice?
As a new dad it's hard, I'm lucky to find an hour a day.
If you could be any other type of artist other than a jazz
musician, what would you be and why?
A trapeze artist would be cool but
I'm afraid of heights. I used to draw a lot
so probably a painter.
When did you become interested in music, and what circumstances or
events led to your becoming a professional musician?
I always loved music and remember
being excited by music from when I was a kid
and really wanted to play piano when I was
five or six. I took lessons and loved ragtime
and played a few simple pieces but I remember
improvising and having fun composing little
tunes. I started playing guitar when I was
11 and was into blues and rock music, I loved
Jimi Hendrix. I was curious about jazz because
of all the great guitar players I heard about.
I started listening to Charlie Christian and
Django Reinhardt and Wes Montgomery and everyone
from Blood Ulmer to Joe Pass. Through checking
out different guys I got interested in the
whole world of jazz: John McLaughlin got me
to Miles Davis, and from Miles to Coltrane
and Sonny Rollins, Monk and back to Charlie
Parker. From there, Lester Young and Count
Basie and Ellington and on and on. At the end
of high school I really wanted to try to be around as many great
players as I could and try to learn about playing
jazz on the guitar. My parents might have been
wary that I could make a living doing this
but they supported me. I was lucky to grow
up in New York City where I was able to see
and hear so much great music and be in that
environment. I never planned a career playing
music I just knew I loved it and wanted to get as good as I could,
and there wasn't anything else that I wanted
to do. I was so fortunate that I was able to
meet so many encouraging people who were so
generous with their knowledge: Gene Bertoncini,
Attilla Zoller and Ted Dunbar. I was also fortunate
to be around so many great musicians my age
and start playing little gigs around. Somehow
I was able to support myself with gigs and
teaching beginners and never had to get another
job. I was playing as much as I could and going
to hear as much as I could and found myself
getting a chance to record and play with some
of the older masters like Lou Donaldson and
Jimmy Cobb and before I knew it, was on a path.
I feel so blessed to be able to do something
I love to do, to be a part of something I love,
something that will continue to challenge me
and teach me how to be a better human being.