Don Byron (clarinet), Joe Berkovitz (piano), Mark Helias (bass), Dru Heller (drums)
For more than three decades, Don Byron has been a singular voice in an astounding range of musical contexts, exploring widely divergent traditions while continually striving for what he calls "a sound above genre."
As clarinetist, saxophonist, composer, arranger, and social critic, he redefines every genre of music he plays, be it classical, salsa, hip‐hop, funk, rhythm & blues, gospel, klezmer, or any jazz style from swing and bop to cutting‐edge downtown improvisation — documented on fourteen recordings as bandleader, including the Grammy-nominated and Jazz Times Record of the Year 2004, Ivey-Divey.
Since being named “Jazz Artist of the Year” by DownBeat in 1992, he has consistently garnered awards from critics and readers of leading international journals, as well as from arts organizations and professional societies. He has been a Doris Duke Performing Artist, a recipient of Guggenheim and U.S. Artists Fellowships, an awardee of the Rome Prize for musical composition, a 3-time Grammy nominee, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for composition. Acclaimed as much for his restless creativity as for his unsurpassed virtuosity as a player, Byron has presented a multitude of projects at major music festivals and venues around the world.
“Calling Don Byron a jazz musician is like calling the Pacific wet – it just doesn’t begin to describe it... Byron has carpentered an extraordinary career precisely by obliterating the very idea of category." –TIME Magazine
The current lineup of The Don Byron Quartet reflects longstanding collaborations among its members: Pianist Joe Berkovitz was featured on Byron’s acclaimed 1992 debut album, Tuskegee Experiments (Nonesuch). Mark Helias is a renowned bassist, composer and producer who has performed throughout the world for more than four decades with some of the most important and innovative musicians in Jazz and Improvised Music. Known for his dynamic and interactive playing, drummer Dru Heller has toured and recorded with many renowned jazz musicians, and his own quartets have received accolades worldwide.
All shows at Sam First are 21+ (no one under the age of 21 will be permitted)
Show Times: 7:30pm & 9:00pm, and a separate ticket is required for each show.
Notice of Recording: Sam First live streams and records all concerts. By entering Sam First, you understand that your image and/or voice might be included in those recordings. Sam First reserves the right to use any photography, video or audio recording taken at this event, without the expressed written permission of those included within the photograph/video.
Don Byron, Joe Berkovitz, Mark Helias, Dru Heller
Grammy- nominated Larry Goldings + Tap dancer extraordinaire Melinda Sullivan, with David Piltch on bass and special guest vocalist, India Carney An unlikely and extraordinary duo. Larry (piano, keyboards) and Melinda (tap dancing) present an evening of eclectic music and tap dance that is both inventive and joyful. Over 1 million views on their collaborative videos online. “Melinda Sullivan-an extraordinary jazz musician-Larry Goldings a phenomenal pianist-this pairing is such an awesome experience. I am a super fan of this blending of all things rhythmic and melodic. I have never seen anything quite like it-I was literally blown away! If you get a chance to see Melinda and Larry, RUN don’t walk-it is breath-taking, refreshing,totally unique and will leave you screaming to see and hear more!!” -David Foster "Larry and Melinda knock me out. They're both incredible, and I'm already a big fan. Check it out." -Dr. Steve Gadd
Marina Pacowski, born in France and based in LA, is an award-winning jazz vocalist and concert pianist. A true improvising vocalist, she has performed at The Jazz Bakery and The Lighthouse and was featured in a tribute to Kenny Burrell at Catalina. She received a Jazz Excellence Award at Vitello’s (presented by KJazz’s Rhonda Hamilton) and was a special guest at Catalina for the Salute to Black Legends, honoring Ella Fitzgerald. On piano, she has toured internationally, performing extensively in France, Italy, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium, as well as the US. Composers write virtuosic pieces for her, and she has recorded a piano concerto written for her by Frank Proto, accompanied by Cincinnati Symphony soloists. Her new Summit Records CD “Inner Urge” features a who’s who: Joel Frahm, John Clayton, Roy McCurdy, Josh Nelson, Jon Mayer, Brent Fischer, Peter Erskine, Larry Koonse, Carl Saunders, Nolan Shaheed, Bevan Manson, Mark Massey, Mike Gurrola, and Scott Whitfield.
Rose Colella sings Tony Bennett Join New York Times-featured jazz vocalist Rose Colella for an elegant evening celebrating the life & musical legacy of one of our most treasured jazz singers, Tony Bennett. Through stories and song, Rose's quintet will present unique arrangements of Tony's greatest hits from the dreamy "I Left My Heart in San Francisco" to the provocative "I Wanna Be Around," along with hidden gems from his early recordings. Featured in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune & LA Jazz Scene, Los Angeles-based jazz vocalist Rose Colella has also received mention in All About Jazz, JAZZIZ, NPR's A Blog Supreme & TimeOut NYC, describing her as “elegantly tipsy,” “pure seduction,” “cooly coquettish” & “beautiful and inviting." The Rose Colella Quintet: Rose Colella, vocals Carey Frank, piano Rick Shaw, bass Bernie Dresel, drums Frank Fontaine, saxaphone rosecolella.com
Professional Entertainer and Jazz Musician, Kirk Andrés Wilson continues to display rare qualities of many talents in a new world of music performance. A regular attraction at Downtown Disneyland for more than ten years, local fans, as well as internationals often made special reservations to catch one of Kirk’s shows. Growing up near New Orleans, He delivers a very soulful sound on vocals, with a deep jazz heritage on piano and a smooth jazz sound on guitar. While performing seven styles of jazz, he also includes a touch of R&B in his repertoire. He has performed at most of Los Angeles’ premier venues as well as many touring performances in Europe, Asia and the Americas. Wilson's 2017 released single, "Wonderful World" reached number 9 in Billboard Magazine. Experience performing with many Grammy Winning Artists seems to add to his comfort and command of the stage. Band features Grammy award winning musicians, Land Richard’s, Edwin Livingston, George Bell and a few guests TBA
Joined by his 8-horn big band and several guest vocalists, Brian Clemens will be taking you on a musical journey with highlights from his recent album release, “Beneath the Blue. From the jaunty Afro-Cuban energy of the original tune “Callout!” to the sentimental and moving modulations in “Twilight Time”, the album features a diverse range of sounds and styles. The show will also feature an exciting and entertaining mix of jazz favorites, R&B, and some surprises. Guest singers include the talented Maria Schafer, Anna Crumley, and Andrea Miller. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Brian Clemens finds his musical influences and roots in legendary pianists such as Oscar Peterson and arranging styles in the work of Billy May. Upon completion of his Master’s, Brian has established himself as a pianist and arranger in the vast Southern California music scene. In late October, he will be bringing his “Beneath the Blue” show to several European cities such as London and Amsterdam.
Marlon Martinez is a young virtuoso bassist and composer who has toured with genre-blurring artists, notably Stewart Copeland, Mike Garson and Quatuor Ebène. Marlon is the protégé of mentor Stanley Clarke, a classical graduate of the Colburn Conservatory of Music, and he studied with legendary jazz bassist Ron Carter in New York City. His big band Marlonius Jazz Orchestra presents his original music and revitalizes the music of Billy Strayhorn, including lesser known masterpieces. Josie James is a Grammy Award nominated singer, songwriter and radio personality. Josie is equally at home on the concert stage or in the recording studio with a track record like Stevie Wonder, Al Jarreau and Burt Bacharach. She sings a wide variety of music influenced by R&B, gospel, pop and jazz. Jazz funk- fusion fans remember Josie James as the lead vocalist of the original George Duke Band (“talk to me quick!”), and sang on most of George’s albums including Duke’s last release Dreamweaver.
This Evening Will Feature the Performance of Greg Adams & East Bay Soul. The sound of Grammy and Emmy nominated trumpeter, arranger Greg Adams is one of the world’s best-known musical signatures. As a founding member of Tower of Power, legendary for his arrangements that made the TOP horn section a sought out entity all its own. With countless collaborations in the studio and live on stage, Adams has made his mark on a broad stretch of today’s musical landscape that includes jazz, pop, rock, R&B, soul, and funk.
Friends feature some of LA’s finest session and touring musicians. They play Jazz, Brazilian, Afro-Cuban and R&B co-led by saxophonist Robert Kyle and Bassist Hussain Jiffry. These musicians have toured around the globe and have recorded with the who’s who in music.
Tia Carrere is best known for her roles as Cassandra in Wayne's World, Juno Skinner in True Lies, opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger, computer whiz Jingo in Rising Sun opposite Sean Connery and Wesley Snipes, and her very own series Relic Hunter. Born & raised in Honolulu, Tia returned to her Hawaii roots starring in Disney’s Lilo & Stitch as well as being nominated four times and winning the Grammy twice with her records 'ikena and Huana Ke Aloha with childhood friend Daniel Ho. She also co-hosted and performed at the ceremony. Lately, Tia can be seen in Michael Patrick King's series AJ & the Queen starring RuPaul, Amblin Films "Easter Sunday" starring JoKoy, Mindy Kaling’s Never Have I Ever, and NCIS LA. She also just released a single and video of a song she wrote entitled “I’m Still Here”.
Two great passions have shared the heart of Andy James throughout her life: jazz singing and Flamenco dance. Resides in the smoky elegance of the classic 1930-1950s female swing vocal tradition, recalling high-watermark recordings by Sarah Vaughan, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, and Julie London. It’s Andy’s gifts as a dancer that first thrust her into the public spotlight. In this realm, she had an inter-continental career, first dancing Flamenco in Australia, and later in Madrid, alongside the greatest Flamenco artists of the day, including Antonio Canales, Rafael Amargo, and Paco de Lucia. “Flamenco is based on feeling complex offbeat and synchronized rhythms, and I think that prepared me for singing jazz melodies,” Andy opines. Andy’s vocals exhibit a burnished passion that touches upon soul and gospel titans such as Mahalia Jackson, Ray Charles, and Sam Cooke. Andy emerged a fully formed artist and, on the strength of her talents, has been able to work with a diverse list of industry
Gary Meek is a lifelong multi instrumentalist, composer, producer, recording artist with 7 solo CD’s, appearing on over 200 records, including: Herb Alpert, Dave Weckl, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim, Jeff Lorber, Green Day, Oscar Castro-Neves to name just a few. He has performed both as a sideman, and a leader all over the planet, on saxophones, flute, and Keyboards.
Singer/songwriter/pianist Bill Cantos has toured the world making music with Herb Alpert & Lani Hall, Burt Bacharach, and Phil Collins, among many others. His solo music is a mix of jazz, pop, Brazilian & gospel, and his songs have been covered by dozens of artists. “Bill comes up with songs I wish I had written. He's also a great performer. Look out for Bill Cantos. These songs are built to last.” -Johnny Mandel