Frank Sumares remembered

Frank teaching(2)Frank Sumares, pianist, composer, arranger, educator, and longtime SJW family member, passed away on March 28, at the age of 73. To give you a sense of how deeply Frank touched his students, colleagues, and band mates, and how much his influence has impacted their lives, we’d like to offer a selection of anecdotes and memories from SJW students and faculty.

I remember walking nervously into an evaluation room to play for Frank on my first day at the Stanford Jazz Workshop as a 13-year-old. I already knew who he was from seeing him perform in the Bay Area. Though I hadn’t yet learned all my major scales, I wanted to show him that I knew what a diminished scale, was because it was so “advanced.” I was afraid I’d mess up, but Frank was all jokes and smiles, and I soon forgot where I was and just played. He was a crucial source of encouragement throughout my education, giving me the advice and confidence I needed to play music for fun. Even when I returned years later to teach and perform at the SJW as an adult, Frank was full of helpful advice and warmth. I still use his handouts. I’ll miss you Frank. May your music live on in all of us.
—Pascal Le Boeuf

Frank and I were a mutual admiration society. Our career paths were strikingly similar. We both had successful careers as jazz band directors at the community college level, before moving to the university level, and we both worked as bay area professional musicians. Over the years, we judged many festivals together and I had a small part in him coming to Stanford to teach jazz piano. We shared many unique experiences, probably ther latest and most notable of which was us sharing what it was like conducting the Count Basie Orchestra. Frank did many clinics for me at Stanford with my Stanford Jazz Orchestra. He was undoubtedly one of best jazz educators I have had the experience of knowing. We will certainly miss him, his wit, and his hipness — and man could he swing! “Oh, by the way Frank, you still owe me a clinic!”
—Fred Berry

I first met Frank at about age 15 when I took his jazz theory class. That’s where I learned his adage, “Up your thirds, down your sevenths!” I also remember him greeting me with “ii-V-I, momma, get down!” Over the years at the Stanford Jazz Workshop or at San Jose State, I’d greet him as my Hayward home-boy. We saw each other over the years at SJW: I remember kvetching at lunch, hanging in his “office” in the lobby of Campbell. He’d always help my piano players who were having trouble. Last summer, we taught a class together on the last day of camp, talking to kids about continuing their musical experience beyond camp. I said, “You don’t need a whole band to play, you only need two!” So we played duo for the kids. We were having so much fun, laughing, playing stuff back and forth, that we made our point to the students. Good for them, but I was just so happy that I got to play with Frank!
—Kristen Strom

Frank was always there for students, willing to assist even the most beginning student the basics of jazz theory and harmony. My son, Ryan, had attended as a trumpeter and was required to take theory and harmony, something he of course had no clue about. In the course of the week, Ryan learned quite a lot from Frank, and every time our paths would cross Frank wold inquire about Ryan and how he was doing. Frank was a caring person who loved to share his knowledge of this music. In addition, he was one of the funniest guys around, alway making me and everyone else laugh! Frank will be missed for sure, but he leaves a legacy of what music education is about, and what it should be.
—Akira Tana

Frank_Sumares_jokingFirst, when I was in high school (in Carmichael, CA), I was playing in the jazz band and had no idea what to with all of those funny chord symbols and slashes on my music. My band director gave me a copy of Frank’s book on jazz piano voicings. It was the first I had ever heard of “comping,” and he opened up a whole new world of harmony to me. Thank you Frank!
Second, when I was a young jazz band director at American River College, Frank would frequently clinic my band at various festivals. His supportive, friendly, yet direct demeanor in front of me and my students was a big influence on my teaching and on my understanding of how to direct the band and communicate with students. Again, thank you so much Frank!
Third, as a fellow instructor at SJW, Frank was always around and available, always supportive an complimentary of what we were doing. He always had great stories about the music and a life in education. I always looked forward to talking with Frank and getting just a few more nuggets from him. I will sincerely miss Frank and his sly smile, and his exquisite mentoring. I will miss you sir!

—Joe Gilman

I will miss Frank tremendously at Jazz Camp. He was a pal, ever ready with his unstoppable sense of humor, and extremely generous with his musical knowledge and talent. Frank was very encouraging and helpful to me as teacher. I’ll always think of him with a smile in my heart.
—Wendy McCain

Frank had a delightful and self-deprecating sense of humor. I took his beginning jazz piano class at Stanford in 2002. He began the class by writing his name on the blackboard, “Frank Sumares.” Chalk in hand, he turned to the class and said, “You could call me Doctor Frank, but I don’t have a doctorate. You can call me Master Frank if you want to.”
—Bob Murphy

Frank_Sumares_Hip_StuffI was a student of Frank’s at Chabot College. I was terrible and a guitar player, and he specifically told me that he did not care for guitar players. But I didn’t care because he made me laugh everyday. Years after, I was on a late night BART train, with hardly anyone around. I sat down and after a minute or so, someone grabbed my neck from behind and said, “Give me your wallet!” I jumped up and turned — and there was Frank, laughing! That was the last time I saw him. He was really the most honest and best teacher i ever had.
—Jason Vanderford

Financial aid deadline this Friday

This weekend: Taylor Eigsti and Dayna Stephens

SJW faculty artists and alumni Taylor Eigsti and Dayna Stephens are presenting the following two special shows this weekend, which also feature Stanford Jazz Festival artists Harish Raghavan on bass and Eric Harland on drums.
  • Who: The Young Jazz Stars of New York
  • When: Saturday, February 16, 2:00 p.m.
  • Where: Woodside Priory School, 302 Portola Road, Portola Valley
  • Price: $35 adults, $30 PAJA members, $15 students
  • Info:, 650-345-9543,
Taylor, Dayna, Harish, and Eric perform to honor the memory of music patron Chuck Huggins and pay tribute to the late jazz icon Dave Brubeck. Produced by Dr. Herb Wong for Palo Alto Jazz Alliance and Palo Alto Adult School, and co-sponsored by KCSM FM 91.1.
  • Who: Benefit concert for Dayna Stephens, featuring the Taylor Eigsti Trio and the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet
  • When: Sunday, February 17, 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: The Piedmont Piano Company, 1728 San Pablo Ave., Oakland
  • Price: $25; other donation levels to benefit Dayna Stephens
  • Info:
Dayna Stephens has been a beloved member of the SJW family for many years. A first-rate saxophonist, composer, and educator, Dayna has a rare kidney disease that urgently requires him to obtain a transplant. His current and future medical bills are a daunting obstacle, and this performance gives you a rare chance to hear Dayna’s artistry and to help defray the costs of his treatment. All donations go directly to Dayna via the Jazz Foundation of America.

Registration is open!

Find out more about all of Stanford Jazz Workshop’s summer jazz camps and jazz immersion programs by clicking on Jazz Immersion Programs above, or right here. 

Registration for all our 2013 summer jazz programs is now open. Just click on the big red Register buttons, above and below. We look forward to seeing you this summer!

Jazz Camp and other jazz program registration opens in mid-December

Registration for SJW’s summer jazz programs will open in mid-December: We’ll announce the opening of registration via our e-news, please click on the Sign Up Now link below to make sure you’ll get notified quickly.

For the summer of 2013, we have some exciting new options for tweens, teens, and adults. Here’s our new lineup of jazz education programs:

  • Jazz Day Camp for middle school students, ages 11 – 13, July 15 – 19
  • Jazz Camp for ages 12 – 17, week 1, July 21 – 26
  • Jazz Camp for ages 12 – 17, week 2, July 28 – August 2
  • Jazz Institute for Youth, ages 12 – 17 by audition, August 4 – 9
  • Jazz Institute for Adults, ages 18 and over, August 4 – 9
  • Songwriting @ SJW, August 4 – 9
  • Evening Jazz Classes, June 17 – July 17

We’ll have full information for all of these great programs online soon. In the meantime, here is a quick rundown of each of these excellent programs.

Jazz Day Camp for middle school students: Packed with improvisation instruction, big band and small combo playing, and fun activities tailored to middle school students, Jazz Day Camp will run Monday through Friday, and will offer late drop-off and daily lunch options. This will be the perfect jazz experience for students who haven’t had an overnight camp yet, and who want to explore jazz styles, improvisation, and musical creativity. It’s also a great way to prepare for high school jazz programs, for those entering high school.

Jazz Camp: Jazz Camp is our world-famous week-long program for young musicians who want to start playing jazz and improvising in small jazz combos. Taught by a faculty of professional educators and performers and including free admission to the nightly performances at the Stanford Jazz Festival, Jazz Camp immerses students in the study, culture, and language of jazz. Stay on campus or commute from off site.

Jazz Institute: Formerly known as Jazz Residency, the Jazz Institute features the same access to the world’s great jazz artists, amazing master classes and special presentations, and a combo-based performance program. To optimize the jazz experience, we’ve created tracks with certain classes and activities tailored to the needs of youth and adults, respectively. Many activities will still emphasize the multi-generational nature of SJW, and of course, everyone gets to attend the jam sessions and the Stanford Jazz Festival concerts.

Songwriting @SJW: Our growing songwriting program will be taught by the fantastically talented Bonnie Hayes and Cliff Goldmacher in 2013, who will help students master the craft of songwriting, unleash their creativity, perform their songs like pros, and get their music business chops together.

Evening Jazz Classes: Relaxed and informative, our 2013 Evening Jazz Classes on the Stanford Campus offer an entertaining way to explore jazz piano, jazz theory, and more. For adults and youth.

Jazz Residency Showcase Schedule now available

Tonight’s Jazz Residency Showcase is going to be great! You can find out the performance venues and approximate times by clicking here to download a PDF of the Showcase Schedule. The Schedule does not include actual performance start times, but it does include the performance order for each venue. Using the order number next to each performer’s name, you can figure out the approximate performance start time using the following timing information.

Performances in all venues begin at 7:15 p.m. this evening.

All the performances in Dinkelspiel and CoHo will be combos, and will last approximately 10 minutes each.

All the performances in Braun Rehearsal Hall will be vocalists and piano trios, which will last approximately 5 minutes each.

The performances in Campbell Recital Hall are a mixture of combos and piano trios, so estimate between 5 and 10 minutes for each performance.

Jazz Camp Week 2 Showcase schedule now available

Tonight’s the night! The Jazz Camp Week 2 Showcase will feature 230 rising stars of jazz performing on four stages. How do you find out who is performing on which stage at which time? Download the Jazz Camp Showcase schedule below.

Here’s how the schedule is organized:

  • Jazz Camp participants are listed alphabetically by last name
  • The center column indicates combos that rehearse in the early afternoon, which are known as “early combos”
  • The right column indicates combos that rehearse in the late afternoon, which are known as “late combos”

The numbers indicate the order in which the combos perform on a particular stage:

  • If your combo is indicated as “05”, that means the combo will be the fifth combo to perform.
  • Performances begin at 7 p.m. on Dinkelspiel, Campbell, and Braun Rehearsal Hall; performances on the Outdoor Stage begin at 6 p.m.
  • Each performance takes approximately 10 minutes, so a combo slated to perform fifth on the Dinkelspiel stage would begin at 7:50 p.m.
  • A combo slated to perform eighth on the Outdoor stage would begin at  7:10 p.m.

Click here to download tonight’s Showcase schedule in PDF format.

Khalil Shaheed, 1949-2012, a tribute by John Santos

I cannot begin to express my sadness around the passing of Brother Khalil Shaheed so soon. It leaves a gaping hole in our extended Oakland community, as well as in my heart. He was a wonderful friend, colleague, father, mentor, and human being — a grand soul. Khalil Shaheed (born Tommy Hall on 1/19/49) came to the Bay Area from Chicago in the mid-’70s. I met him shortly thereafter when he was a member of a spankin’ funk group called Kingfish. Tommy, as he was known back then, was a solid trumpeter with jazz and blues roots, and played a vibrant and integral part in solidifying the San Francisco Bay Area musical scene that cut across several genres, particularly funk, soul, and Latin.

He converted to Islam and changed his name in the ’80s. This was the major force in his rebirth, and he dedicated himself wholly to his art, his understanding of the world, and to community service. It instilled in him a contagious joy and enthusiastic attitude that he kept to the end. He was a peaceful man on a mission and was exemplary for all of us in his focus on his spirituality, his family, his music, and band — and last but not least, the kids in Oakland.

In 1994, Khalil founded the Oaktown Jazz Workshop with the intention of giving the youth of Oakland the opportunity to know and celebrate jazz, and draw from its history and wisdom in their own creative ways. He also understood that jazz is essential to teach life skills, not only in Black and working class communities, but anywhere in this country. He frequently brought in jazz greats to teach and play with the kids, such as Branford Marsalis, Ellis Marsalis, Jason Marsalis, Gene Harris, Art Farmer, Terrence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, Arturo Sanduval, Joe Zawinul, and Michael Brecker, to name just a few. Many of his kids have gone on to become professional musicians, teachers and stars in their own right. It was a constant struggle, but he saw it through, eventually convincing all doubters and procuring sponsorship from many sources.

He was a tireless warrior for jazz and for our kids, bringing jazz to schools throughout Oakland, the greater San Francisco Bay Area, and Northern California. The city finally gave Oaktown Jazz a beautiful space in Jack London Square across from Yoshi’s in 2010. I hope it can flourish as it deserves to — the way Khalil dreamed. Before Oaktown Jazz got its own space, he’d bring many of us in to work with the kids at the Church on International Blvd., and give them a well-rounded perspective of where the music is coming from and how to participate, appreciate, and honor it. This is the neighborhood in which I live and I can tell you beyond the shadow of a doubt that his work is directly related to what sanity still exists between the shootings that happen here every day or two. In that regard, Khalil was a great blessing and saviour for countless kids and their families — truly a local treasure.

I last saw him a few weeks ago, and he looked tired and swollen from the chemo, and was obviously in pain. But his warm smile showed through just the same. His hug was weak, but his heart was irrepressible.

I know of few others who are as loved and respected by their peers and as well as community members of all ages. Khalil was fearless and spoke up in any setting on behalf of all of us — a real giant in our village. He was seriously funny with a wicked sense of humor, but also dead serious about his business. My family and I love that man and will forever be grateful for having him in our lives as a positive force and inspiration. I know that many of us will continue to carry him in all we do, as we attempt to honor his legacy of generosity, love, and goodwill. Much love and strength to the beautiful family he leaves behind. Much gratitude and light to your spirit good brother Khalil — asalam malecum.

John Santos, March 24, 2012, Oakland, California

Photo by Chuck Gee.

Jazz Camp registration now open

Sign up now for 2012 Stanford Jazz Workshop summer jazz immersion programs and evening classes!

  • Jazz Camp is for musicians aged 12 – 17, and provides a fun, encouraging environment in which to explore jazz improvisation and to make lots of new friends. Week 1: July 15 – July 20. Week 2: July 22 – 27.
  • Jazz Residency is for adults, and gives emerging professionals a chance to work with the greatest jazz artists of our time. Week 3: July 20 – August 3.
  • Evening Summer Classes provide a fun and relaxing way to improve your chops and increase your knowledge of jazz. June 18 – July 13.

Click on the links above to find out more, and click on the Register button above to sign up immediately.

SJF alumna up for GRAMMY® on The Mosaic Project

Several Stanford Jazz Festival artists are up for GRAMMY® awards for their participation on Terri Lyne Carrington’s new CD, The Mosaic Project, on Concord Records. SJF alumna on the disc include pianist Geri Allen, trumpeter/flugelhorn player Ingrid Jensen, vocalist Gretchen Parlato, and clarinetist/saxophonist Anat Cohen, all of whom contributed beautiful parts to the fascinating arrangements on this excellent album. Other great musicians among the all-female personnel on this fine recording include Dianne Reeves, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Nona Hendryx, Cassandra Wilson, Esperanza Spalding, Helen Sung, and Tineke Postma, in addition to Terri Lyne herself on drums.

The Mosaic Project is nominated for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Find out more about it by clicking here.