Big swinging sounds

Clairdee and Ken Peplowski with the SJW 50/50 Jazz Orchestra

Saturday, July 1

7:30 p.m.

Dinkelspiel Auditorium

SJW MEMBER: $35 premium | $25 reserved |  Child (17 and under) & Student (present valid student ID card) $10

NON-MEMBER: $43 premium | $33 reserved |  Child (17 and under) & Student (present valid student ID card) $18

Ticket prices include all fees; what you see is what you pay.

Programs, personnel, venues, and pricing subject to change without notice.


Clairdee, vocals
Ken Peplowski, clarinet
Fred Berry, director

SJW 50/50 Jazz Orchestra 

Alto sax: Kasey Knudsen, Amelia Timbang Catalano
Tenor sax: Kris Strom, Tommy Occhiuto
Bari sax: Raffi Garabedian
Trumpet: Louis Fasman, John Worley, Skylar Tang, Neil Levonius
Trombone: Jeanne Geiger, Lori Stotko, Sarah Cline, Jonathan Seiberlich
Piano: Glen Pearson
Bass: Ruth Davies
Drums: David Rokeach

Sponsored by Claudia and Michele Miller.

Ken Peplowski’s appearance is supported by Debra DeMartini and Jim Harris and Lisa Friedman.

In memory of George and Luisa Miller whose first date at a jazz club in the 1960s led to a lifetime of love.

About Clairdee & the SJW 50/50 Jazz Orchestra

“In sassy, solidly assured, crowd-pleasing form, a whole lot of interpretive brilliance.” —JazzTimes

When a celebration is called for, Clairdee often gets the call. The vivacious Bay Area jazz vocalist inaugurated the beautiful new North Beach nightspot Keys Jazz Bistro last November, turning an anticipated event into a glorious consecration. In a career spanning some four decades, she’s performed similar benedictions around the world as an internationally touring artist who’s collaborated with some of America’s most celebrated jazz masters, including Dick Hyman, Bucky Pizzarelli, Houston Person, Cyrus Chestnut, and Ken Peplowski. Deeply informed by the music’s departed masters, Clairdee puts a personal stamp on whatever she sings, a gift aptly described by the inimitable Nancy Wilson, who declared that “in the tradition of all great vocalists she infuses each song with her own unique style while always remaining true to the song itself.” Equally at home singing various idioms in an array of settings, Clairdee has worked with symphony orchestras, big bands, small jazz combos, and intimate duos, though she’s never performed with an ensemble quite like the SJW 50/50 Jazz Orchestra. Directed by trumpeter Fred Berry, an eminent educator and Jazz Journalists Association 2023 Jazz Hero, the 16-piece band features a stellar cast divided equally between men and women. In many ways the ensemble marks the culmination of a struggle for inclusion that has shaped jazz since its birth, a fight embodied by players like 50/50 altoist Mary Fettig, who in 1973 became the first woman to join the Stan Kenton Orchestra. A multi-generational aggregation powered by a top-shelf rhythm section with Basie Orchestra pianist Glen Pearson, bassist Ruth Davies, and drummer David Rokeach, the orchestra boasts heavyweight players from top to bottom. The horn players include trombonist Sarah Cline, the director of Berkeley High’s award-winning jazz band, and 17-year-old trumpeter Skylar Tang, whose original big band piece “Kaleidoscope” won Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Essentially Ellington festival Dr. J. Douglas White Composition and Arranging Contest last year.

sight & sound