LONG MEADOW RANCH ALL-STAR BIG BAND
The Long Meadow Ranch All-Star Big Band is a 20-player big band drawn from an internationally accomplished group of musicians that has played jazz across the world.
This truly all-star ensemble has been assembled for the Second Annual Timothy Hall Foundation Benefit Concert at Long Meadow Ranch Winery & Farmstead on October 4, 2015. The benefit concert promises to be one of northern California's most outstanding jazz events of the year.
During his 12-year tenure in the Los Angeles area, he toured the United States, Canada, Europe, the Far East, and the Caribbean as lead trumpeter with The Al Hirt Big Band, Circus Vargas, The Maynard Ferguson Orchestra, Bill Watrous’ Jazz Refuge West, and Paul Anka.
Since returning to the Bay Area in 1991, Louis has continued his performing career as a studio musician, recording on motion picture soundtracks such as Soapdish and Spy Kids; the TV shows “Fame” and "VH-1 Honors" with Steve Winwood, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, and Sheryl Crow.
Louis is currently performing and recording with the Pete Escovedo Latin Jazz Orchestra, Huey Lewis and the News, the E Family Band featuring Sheila E, the Narada Michael Walden Band, Dick Bright’s SRO, and Wayne Wallace’s Rhythm and Rhyme.
Steffen Kuehn was born and raised in Germany and began playing the trumpet at the age of eight. Two decades years later he received his Bachelor of Music from the prestigious University of North Texas in 1993, majoring in Jazz Trumpet and Jazz Studies. He is the leader of the 2014 Grammy award-winning Pacific Mambo Orchestra.
Being interested in straight-ahead jazz, smooth jazz as well as in Latin jazz and salsa, Steffen scored big in 2002 with the CD release Now or Later of his Jazz Nonet, which featured 2001 Grammy nominee Tim Hagans. That year also marked the inception of his own record label ‘stefrecords’. Fast forward to 2005: After Steffen joined the Latin jazz orchestra of legendary timbalero Louie Romero, the band recorded its first album, Timbalero, and released it on ‘stefrecords’ in 2006 to rave reviews.
His 2008 release, trumpop, was in the running for a Grammy nomination for "Best Contemporary Jazz Album" and received national and international airplay and recognition.
Steffen has shared musical moments with jazz greats such as Tim Hagans, Brian Lynch, Claudio Roditi, The Temptations, Brian Culbertson, Jose Lugo Latin Orchestra, Issac Delgado, Marilyn McCoo, John Handy, Mark Levine, Chico Freeman, Tim Hagans, Ray Obiedo, Kenny Werner, Ray DeLa Paz, The Four Tops, Ray Sepulveda, The Platters, and Lydia Pense and Cold Blood. In Europe, he has played as a sideman for Dusko Gojkovich Big Band, Al Porcino Big Band, Conexion Latina and others.
Born and raised in the Bay Area, Niel Levonius has been performing on the trumpet since age 11. Niel has traveled around the world to perform with a diverse mix of leading jazz, pop, rock, and hip hop groups.
Equally comfortable in a intimate jazz club, a Broadway show pit orchestra, or in front of a large arena-sized crowd, he has played with internationally renowned musicians Seal, Gladys Knight, The Temptations, The Four Tops, Deltron 3030, Chali2na (Jurassic 5), DJ Q-Bert, Clint Black, Michael Feinstein, Arturo Sandoval, Jon Faddis, Tom Scott, Sheila E., Louie Bellson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Pete Escovedo, Tommy & Jimmy Doresy Orchestras, Cab Calloway Orchestra, Realistic Orchestra, the Grammy Award-winning Pacific Mambo Orchestra, and the Jazz Mafia Hip Hop Symphony.
Niel has toured Europe with Louie Bellson, Jon Faddis, and the Pete Escovedo Orchestra featuring Sheila E., with appearances at the Montreux Jazz Festival, North Sea Jazz Festival, Umbria Jazz Festival, and the Vienne Jazz Festival.
When he is not touring or recording, Niel can be found in one of the many performing arts venues in the San Francisco Bay Area, including Yoshi’s San Francisco and Treat Street Social.
Niel is the Music Director for the Long Meadow Ranch All-Star Big Band.
John Worley Jr. is an accomplished trumpet/flugelhorn/post-horn artist and leader of the bands Mo-Chi Quartet, WorlView, and Bari Bari.
John has played in many of the Bay Area's creative music ensembles for over 30 years. Being adept at a multitude of styles, he has played with national and international artists in Canada, Europe, and Central and North America. His band WorlView made its debut performance at the 2004 San Jose Jazz Festival and played at prestigious venues including the 2007 San Jose Jazz Festival's Smith Dobson's Tribute Stage, 2007 Pacific Northwest tour, and the Monterey Jazz Festival in 2006.
John is a Yamaha Performing Artist and plays a Yamaha YTR9335NY trumpet and YFL8315GS flugelhorn. John is a member of the music faculty at Stanford University.
Tom Scott is a veteran composer, arranger, producer, musical director and saxophonist, having earned three Grammy Awards and 14 Grammy nominations over four decades. He made his first record as a leader in 1968 at age 20. The number of solo recordings in his catalogue now stands at 35. In addition, his music has been sampled by dozens of recording artists including 2Pac, Madonna, Bruno Mars, Snoop Dog, Massive Attack, Wu-Tang Clan, N.W.A. and The Chemical Brothers.
Tom’s career as a guest artist spans more than 500 recordings, by such diverse artists as Barbra Streisand, Quincy Jones, Thelonius Monk, the Blues Brothers, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and Aerosmith. His numerous contributions as a player and arranger include Joni Mitchell’s Court And Spark and Steely Dan’s Aja; hit singles like Carole King’s "Jazzman", Paul McCartney’s "Listen To What The Man Said", Rod Stewart’s "Da Ya Think I’m Sexy" and "Soulbook", Blondie’s "Rapture", Captain & Tenille’s "Do That To Me One More Time", and Whitney Houston’s "Saving All My Love For You"; and on movie soundtracks such as Taxi Driver, Bladerunner, Heaven Can Wait, Sea Of Love, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Toy Story 2 and Monsters, Inc.
Tom’s other career achievements include composing film scores, among them Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, Uptown Saturday Night, Stir Crazy, Hanky Panky, The Sure Thing, Just One Of The Guys, Soul Man and Shakes the Clown. His television composing and conducting credits include the themes for "Family Ties", "Starsky & Hutch" and "Square Pegs", as well as background scores for "Baretta", "Cannon", "Barnaby Jones", "Streets Of San Francisco", "National Geographic Explorer", and numerous TV specials and network movies.
He has served as Musical Director for the Academy Awards, the Emmy Awards, the Celebration At Ford’s Theater, the People’s Choice Awards, Comic Relief, "The Carol Burnett Show", "The Pat Sajak Show", Joni Mitchell, George Harrison, Olivia Newton-John, and the GRP All-Star Big Band, among others, and has toured five continents as leader of his own group. He is also active as a clinician throughout the U.S. and Canada, performing and teaching Master Classes in Woodwinds, Arranging & Film Composing.
While still a student he began performing with Benny Rietveld, Ollie Mitchell, Gabe Balthazar, and Freddie Hubbard. After relocating to San Francisco he worked with Bobby Hutcherson, Pete Escovedo, Huey Lewis and the News, Sammy Davis Jr., the Temptations, the Four Tops, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, Arturo Sandoval, Ray Obiedo, Rebecca Mauleon, Bob Florence and Stanley Clarke.
Alex received his Associate of Arts degree from Berklee College of Music.
He studied classical flute with Jean Harling, principal of Honolulu Symphony, and Michelle Caimoto, California Symphony; classical clarinet with Dianne Maltester, California Symphony; and saxophone with Vic Morosco, Andy McGee, and Joe Henderson.
In the early '90s, the local record label Kamei Records signed him, grooming him to become a smooth jazz artist. His second CD, Cross Currents, sold well, hitting No. 17 on the Billboard chart. Despite this success, Alex left Kamei to record with Monarch Records, which allowed him more freedom of artistic expression. His CD, For All People, was well received. Recently, he has recorded with pianist Mark Little, guitarist Jim Nichols, and, last year, with the Machete Ensemble, whose CD, SF Bay, was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Mary Fettig was born in San Francisco and raised in the suburb of Concord. Her earliest musical training was on marimba, and she moved on to clarinet, sax and flute in her school bands. She was fortunate to have a great music program in her high school, Ygnacio Valley High, in Concord. The jazz band, under the direction of Bill Burke, was the first group to win the Monterey Jazz Festival high school competition in 1971. Her band teacher, a big fan of Stan Kenton, secured a scholarship to the Stan Kenton camp in Redlands for Mary, and the rest is history.
After two years at UCLA, Mary joined the Stan Kenton Orchestra as the first woman to play in the band. From there, she has made her way in the music business as a performer, teacher, and clinician. In addition to Stan Kenton, she has toured with Flora Purim and Airto, Marian McPartland, Tito Puente, Toninho Horta, Joe Henderson and numerous short tours with other celebrity acts.
Mary has performed at many jazz festivals, including Concord, San Francisco, Monterey, Playboy, Hollywood Bowl, Mt. Hood, Chicago, Detroit, Mobile, the world's first Women's Jazz Festival in Kansas City, Buffalo, Montreux, and North Sea. Mary resides in the Bay Area and maintains a busy teaching, recording and performing schedule.
Mary is currently on faculty at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
From touring the world as a member of the Glenn Miller and Tommy Dorsey orchestras to performing with artists Gladys Knight and the Pips, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Howard Tate, Bobby Caldwell and many others, Lorenz draws from a wide range of musical experiences.
As a saxophonist, Lorenz favors the broad-toned tenor sounds of Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis and Houston Person; baritone saxophonists Pepper Adams and Ronnie Cuber have provided a lifetime of inspiration. Fil has recently performed with modern day R&B star Seal.
Fil currently leads the Fil Lorenz Orchestra, a high-voltage, crowd-pleasing big band, which plays a challenging repertoire of well-known standards and fascinating originals.
Grammy Award winner Aaron Lington received his BM in Music Education from the University of Houston, Moores School of Music, and both his MM in Jazz Studies and DMA in Saxophone Performance from the University of North Texas, where he studied with James Riggs.
Aaron was the principal arranger, as well as a soloist on baritone sax, for the 2014 Grammy Award-winning Pacific Mambo Orchestra. His other performing and compositional credits include collaborations with the University of North Texas One O’clock Lab Band, Maynard Ferguson, the BBC Radio Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, Bo Diddley, Jamie Davis, and many others.
In addition, Aaron has won awards for both his playing and writing from Downbeat Magazine and ASCAP and was the 2003 recipient of the Sammy Nestico Award. He was recognized in the 55th and 57th annual Downbeat Magazine Critic’s Poll as a “Rising Star” in the baritone saxophone category.
In addition to his position as associate professor at San Jose State University, where he serves as Coordinator of Jazz Studies, Dr. Lington is also a member of the faculty at the Texas Music Festival Jazz Institute, hosted by the University of Houston.
Aaron is a performing artist for Rico Reeds.
A native of Virginia, Rich Walsh is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Rick is a gifted musician with skills as a trombonist, bassist, music copyist, arranger, and orchestrator. He moved to the Bay Area in 1980.
Rick has performed on trombone with many acclaimed acts, including Buddy Rich, Benny Carter, Dizzy Gillespie, Ray Charles, James Moody, Joe Williams, Gladys Knight, The Temptations, The Four Tops, The O'Jays, The Mingus Epitaph Orchestra, Johnny Mathis, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Wild Cherry, and Doctor John.
Rick has also worked as a music copyist on 112 movie soundtracks, including all of the Predator movies, Soap Dish, Mrs. Doubtfire, Mars Attacks!, Sphere, Inspector Gadget, Spy Kids, Zodiac, and many others.
Rick has worked on 26 Broadway musicals, either as a copyist or orchestrator (or both), including The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin, The Newsies, and others. Rick has composed television ads for Hershey chocolates, among others.
Rick lives in San Francisco and performs regularly as both a trombone player and a bassist.
Dr. Jon Brummel
Dr. Jon Brummel (“Dr. J”) is a freelance performer, educator, and technologist. He is a social media consultant for Hip-Bone Music and the founder and head administrator for Summer Music, a two-week music seminar in Lafayette. He has previously served on the faculties at California State University, Fresno; California State University, Stanislaus; and Los Medanos College as an instructor of low brass and lecturer.
A native of Red Wing, Minnesota, Dr. J began his musical career in the Central Valley with Robert Bergstrum. He received a B.A. in Music Education from California State University, Fresno, while studying with Dr. R. Lawrence Sutherland. He then pursued a M.M. in Trombone Performance with Thomas Ashworth at the University of Minnesota. Following a three-year hiatus performing in the Bay Area and teaching at Los Medanos College, he returned to the University of Minnesota to complete coursework for the Doctor of Musical Arts in Trombone Performance.
In addition to an active performance schedule, he is highly involved in education in the East Bay with a large private studio, and consulting and assisting the elementary, middle school, and high school music programs in Lafayette through the Lafayette Arts & Sciences Foundation. Jon is also a clinician for MakeMusic, giving seminars and clinics on Smart Music and Finale, and is a technology consultant.
Dr. J has performed in many styles and venues ranging from work with the Skywalker Symphony to lead trombone in the Disneyland Paris International Student Show Band, and has appeared as a substitute trombonist with the San Francisco Symphony and Minnesota Orchestra. He recently appeared in Carnegie Hall as the principal trombonist with the YouTube Symphony Orchestra.
For 10 years, Dr. J appeared weekly with the Contemporary Jazz Orchestra at Jazz at Pearl’s, and now he may be found freelancing in the Bay Area with groups ranging from salsa to orchestral performance.
The oldest child in a talented musical family, Ted began playing piano when he was five years old and took up the trombone when he was fourteen. Lucky to be part of an outstanding high school music program under the direction of Henry Einfeldt in LaPorte, Texas, he studied with the principal trombonist of the Houston Symphony, David Bean, who had also played on tour with Woody Herman’s Thundering Herd.
As an undergraduate, he played with the Princeton University Orchestra, became the president of the Princeton University Band, and toured the East Coast with The Prospective Sound, a 17-piece big band founded by classmate Bill Hershey. Ted also led a club party band, That Dixie Band, which played throughout the region. Highlights of this era include performing as local backup for touring pop groups (such as Martha & the Vandellas), on the world premiere national broadcast of the Requiem Mass for Robert Kennedy composed by Frank Lewin, and as a late-night sub with the Mel Lewis/Thad Jones Orchestra at the Village Vanguard in New York City.
While a graduate student at Stanford University, Ted played with the renowned Stanford Studio Band, acknowledged at the time for its cutting edge sectional improvisation. He was uniquely distinguished by receiving credits toward his MBA degree for graduate level courses in jazz performance.
In 1977, he co-founded and led a 17-piece big band in San Francisco, known as the Midnight Rounds. Later, in 1990, he co-founded the independent jazz record label Monarch Records, which became part of Tambourine, Inc., in 1999. Monarch artists include Cedar Walton, Billy Higgins, Tootie Heath, Rufus Reid, Buster Williams, Jessica Williams, Art Farmer, Dmitri Matheny, Dave Ellis, Mimi Fox, Alex Murzyn, Michaelle Goerlitz, Curt Moore, and many others. Monarch producers included the legendary Oren Keepnews and the multiple Grammy-winning, Frank Dorritie.
Ted served as the chairman of Tambourine, Inc., the specialty music production and distribution company, from 1999 to 2007. Acknowledged for records he creatively produced during this time, Ted is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (GRAMMYS) and a member of the Producer’s Section.
Thanks to unrelenting encouragement from accomplished jazz guitarist and vocalist, Brian Nova, Ted resumed performing on the trombone after nearly 30 years in 2011 (with the exception of a cameo perfomance with the Phoenix (AZ) Symphony in 1991). Since then, he has performed in ensembles with notable international jazz artists, including Arturo Sandoval, John Handy, Kurt Elling, Mark O’Connor, Shelly Berg, Greg Field, and Gordon Goodwin.
Ted has been seen on stage at the San Jose Jazz Festival (next to bass trombonist Dan Gordon on the Gordon Biersch Stage) with all-star big band ensembles over the past several years.
Accomplished on both tenor and bass trombone, Dan Gordon grew up in Los Altos. He studied with Dave Eshelman and was an undergrad at UC Berkeley, followed by grad school at the Technical University of Munich. Dan has recorded with Michael Davis on Absolute Trombone II and Curtis Campbell’s blues album, Live at the Sweetwater.
As an undergrad exchange student in Göttingen, Germany, Dan spent more time playing in the jazz clubs than he did studying. During this time, his jazz-rock group was featured in a concert at the Deutsche Theater (German National Theater).
He continues to be active in the Bay Area jazz scene, performing with numerous contemporary big bands and combos. His favorite musical moment was playing together with Ted Hall in a performance with renowned big band leader/jazz composer Gordon Goodwin.
Dan's day gig is brewing and bottling Gordon Biersch beers, of which his pilsner is featured on tap at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch. His other non-musical contribution to society is the creation of the aromatic Gordon Biersch garlic fries.
Curt is currently co-leader of the five-piece Latin jazz group, Soul Sauce. The band draws on the rich body of Afro-Cuban and Brazilian-influenced jazz, as well as incorporating original works and unique arrangements of contemporary, standard, and obscure jazz tunes. The group uses Eriksen's vibes as its focus, with support from Moore's tasteful drums, with Paul Potyen (Pablo Perez) on piano, Al Bent on bass, Michaelle Goerlitz on congas and percussion, and Willie Colon on congas.
Curt has over 100 recordings to his credit and has shared the recording studio stage with a wide variety of artists. Some of these include: Francisco Aguabella, Count Baise Orchestra, Chuck Berry, Ray Brown, Joyce Cooling, John Clayton, Richard Davis, Ian Dogole, The Different Drums, Pete Escovedo, Bruce Forman, Lola Falana, Vic Firth, Mimi Fox, Jimmy Haslip, Jimmy Heath, Jackie and Roy, Andy Narell, Patrick Palomo, Bernadette Peters, Rufus Reed, Francios Rabatth, San Jose Jazz Orchestra, Turtle Island String Quartet, The Zone, and Wild Mango.
Curt's abilities in all music styles provide an impeccable backbone for all types of ensembles, from big bands and jazz trios to rock, pop, fusion, and Latin jazz.
Curt is currently teaching workshops and clinics in Bay Area schools and teaching private lessons at his studio in South San Francisco. He has participated in clinic settings as performer and educator, and as a festival adjudicator all over California and the United States.
From 1979 to 1983 he was on the teaching staff of the six-time world champion Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps. He received his B.A. from San Jose State University, where he studied with Anthony Cirone in classical percussion and graduated with an emphasis in Jazz Performance.
Michaelle Goerlitz has been playing drums and percussion since she was eight years old. After attending college in the Midwest, she moved to San Francisco in 1980 to continue her studies, which have led to exploration of Brazilian, Afro Cuban, Venezuelan, Peruvian and Middle Eastern rhythms (plus American idioms jazz, R & B and funk). She was a founding member of two renowned, long-term projects, the Blazing Redheads and Wild Mango. Both groups blended many different styles, which showcased Michaelle's versatile percussive skills.
Some of the many instruments she proficiently plays are: congas, bongo, timbales, shekere, cajon, drumset, udu, bata, pandeiro, tamborim, repinique, zabumba, berimbau, surdo, cuica, dumbek and many other "auxiliaries", i.e. shakers, triangle, etc.
Michaelle has played, recorded and toured with the following people and bands. Their styles encompass Latin jazz, Brazilian, Middle Eastern, Afro-Peruvian, Broadway, singer-songwriter, and "new" music, to name a few: Mark Levine, Wayne Wallace, Houston Pearson, Denise Perrier, Joan Jeanrenaud, Montclair Women's Big Band, Ojala!, Sylvia Harold, rhiannon, Jami Sieber, Barbara Higbie, Wild Mango, Falso Baiano, the Blazing Redheads, Tret Fure, Soul Sauce, Phil Thompson, Kat Parra, the Pickpocket Ensemble, Samba Rio, Novo Tempo, Bossa 5-0, Tammy Hall, Wendy Waller, Splatter Trio, Blame Sally, Holly Near, Jennifer Berezan, Masha Campagne, John Worley, Valerie Pettiford, Mimi Fox, Fred Randolph, Venezuelan Music Project, Erika Luckett, Lichi Fuentes, Fasmania Big Band, Maria Volonte, Proyecto Lando, the VNote Ensemble and Gina Breedlove.
In addition to playing in groups and recording, she is also a sought-after teacher in the Bay Area. She gives private and group lessons to kids, youth and adults on a variety of instruments and styles. She has the distinction of being the first female teacher at California Brazil Camp in 2004 and in 2007 was named a "Rising Star" in Downbeat Magazine.
Larry Dunlap is an extraordinary pianist and arranger, a player with taste and sophistication. He has been praised as a “remarkable and verhad satile accompanist” and “one of the best jazz pianists around — anywhere” in the pages of the San Francisco Chronicle. Larry has had has a multifaceted career that includes extensive work in the fields of jazz, classical and popular music.
Larry lives in the San Francisco Bay area where he regularly appears with his wife, vocalist Bobbe Norris. They perform throughout the U.S. and have toured in Europe, Canada, Japan and other countries. They have made several recordings, both together and separately. Since the early 1980s Larry has been pianist in North America with the British singer Dame Cleo Laine and her musician husband Sir John Dankworth. His past work has seen him appearing and/or recording with jazz vocalists Mark Murphy, Ernestine Anderson and Joe Williams as well as instrumentalists Gerry Mulligan, Art Farmer, Ralph Towner, Ernie Watts, Bud Shank and Larry Coryell, to name a few.
Concord recording artist Brian Nova is considered one of the top jazz guitarists/vocalists in the nation, according to a recent poll in Jazz Improv Magazine. Joe Pass said of Nova: ‘I feel Brian is one of the finest jazz guitarists on the scene!’ He has the distinction of being the only guitarist who was mentored by, and toured with, the two titans of Jazz guitar: Herb Ellis and Joe Pass.
Rock Icon Steve Miller says: ‘I’ve met and known a lot of guitarists in my career, and ‘B’ is the best guitarist I’ve ever met.’ Nova performs, and records, as a solo artist, with his Trio, Quartet, and his 12-piece Big Band. Brian is on Arturo Sandoval's Grammy® Award winning CD 'Dear Diz', which garnered a Grammy® and 3 Latin Grammys® in 2013.
Nova has toured and performed with many of the jazz elite including: saxophonists Eddie Harris, Illinois Jaquet, Danny Turner, Frank Foster, Tom Scott, Dave Koz, Kenny G, Bobby Watson, Stanley Turrentine, Bud Shank, Pete Christleib, Med Flory, Hadley Calman, Don Lamphere, Floyd Standifer, Bill Ramsey; trumpeters Arturo Sandoval, Harry 'Sweets' Edison, Dizzy Gillespie, and many, many more. He has collaborated with guitarists Joe Pass, Herb Ellis, Charlie Byrd, Larry Coryell, Barney Kessel, Mundell Lowe, John Pisano, John Stowell, Henry Johnson and Taj Mahal.
In addition to performing, Nova also encourages young Jazz musicians to further their own musical education and stage presence. From 1990 to 1996, he was the Director of Jazz and Guitar Studies for the Music Program at Seattle University. He continues to mentor the next generation of professional musicians through his master classes and the clinics he conducts around the world. He has lived in New York, Denmark, northern and southern California, and now makes his home in Seattle.
A bassist, composer and educator, Terry’s musical credits reflect a long and diverse career. A Bay Area resident, Miller’s unique skills on both acoustic and electric basses have led him to collaborations with a wide range of artists including jazz icons such as Stan Getz, Stanley Turrentine, and Dave Grusin, and rock legends like the Grateful Dead, Prince, Steve Miller and the Doobie Brothers. Most recently he has been the bassist with the Zac Brown Band.
Terry is also a busy academic, working with young musicians in clinics and seminars. He is the founder and director of “Terry Kids,” a nonprofit music scholarship program for kids of all ages.
Terry holds three honorary Doctorates in Music from the University of Minnesota, the University of Colorado at Boulder and the Monterey Peninsula College
Born in Tucson and raised in Denver, Clairdee grew up harmonizing with her sisters and brothers in school and at church. She also enthusiastically embraced the violin, then the viola, and later piano. A natural improviser whose musical interests range from classical to pop and rock, she formed a four-part vocal group in high school.
Moving to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1986, Clairdee dedicated herself to jazz, honing a singular sound while working with jazz luminaries such as her mentor, drummer Billy Higgins, trumpeter Eddie Henderson, alto saxophonist John Handy, and pianists Roland Hanna and Allen Farnham.
Clairdee is an international touring artist acclaimed for her inventive artistry and magnetic stage presence. Her lustrous voice and soulful delivery hearken back to a time when jazz, pop, and rhythm and blues often blended seamlessly together. Clairdee has honed a repertoire of standards set to state-of-the-art arrangements that are equally smart and entertaining.
Her finely honed jazz sensibility and old-school attitude about the importance of communicating with audiences attracted the late legendary manager, John Levy, to the San Francisco-based singer. For Levy, who worked with many of the music industry’s greatest artists — Shirley Horn, Joe Williams and Nancy Wilson — Clairdee’s gift for putting her own stamp on a song while capturing its essence has broad appeal. Clairdee is the recipient of many enthusiastic reviews and has recently performed at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival and toured extensively throughout Russia with the Philharmonic Jazz Society.
Highly regarded in the USA, she has appeared across the nation, from Jazz at Lincoln Center to the Monterey Jazz Festival, performing with her quartet and numerous artists as diverse as Bucky Pizzarelli, Boz Scaggs, Cyrus Chestnut, and clarinet virtuoso Ken Peplowski; and opening for David Sanborn, the Count Basie Orchestra, and the late, great Etta James.
Clairdee's stylistically encompassing approach is beautifully documented on her third album, Music Moves, recorded live in concert at the famed Yoshi’s night club in Oakland.
As an educator, Clairdee delights in sharing insights and experience with young aspiring musicians. A former vocal jazz instructor at UC Berkeley's Jazz Department and Diablo Valley College, Clairdee is a teaching artist with SFJAZZ and the San Francisco Symphony education departments, a faculty member of the Jazzschool Institute in Berkeley, CA, and active participant in the non-profit Bay Area-based "Jazz in the Neighborhood" mentoring program.