BIJQ and Steve Allee visit Fremont Elementary, Stockton, CA

DSC_3729The Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet and guest artist Steve Allee paid a visit to Fremont Elementary last week. The group performed a 45 minute concert followed by a 60 minute workshop on the history of jazz and the essential elements of jazz improvisation. We are thrilled to be partnering with the Stockton Unified School District to bring high level outreach programs into the schools here in our community. #jazzenrichingandinspiringlives


Ben Flocks and Battle Mountain debut at Monterey!


Former Brubeck Fellow, Ben Flocks and his band Battle Mountain made their debut performance at the Monterey Jazz Festival this past weekend. We are extremely proud of Ben and the great work that he is out there doing for the community. Click here to learn more about Ben (

Downbeat magazine gave Ben’s new record a four star review. Click here to read the entire review. “★★★★” – “A jovial mix of American musical styles well suited for a ride down Highway  1.” – Downbeat Magazine, Sean J. O’Connell

Check out the EPK 

Purchase the album here


DownBeat Magazine names former Brubeck Fellows in Rising Star Poll

Fabian Almazon 02′ and Joe Sanders 02′-04′ were recently recognized by Downbeat Magazine in their Rising Star critics poll. Click here to view the digital edition of the 62nd Annual Critics Poll. Since their time at the Brubeck Institute both Fabian and Joe have established themselves as top call musicians in the music world and have been touring the world and recording with a who’s who in Jazz and beyond. We are extremely proud of all their accomplishments!

Joe s


Brubeck Institute at Jazz at Lincoln Center

We had an amazing week celebrating the life and work of Dave and Iola Brubeck at Jazz at Lincoln Center last week. Listed below are the events that took place throughout the week. A big thanks to Wynton Marsalis and everyone at Lincoln Center for hosting the Brubeck Institute for the entire week to help us pay tribute to Dave and Iola. 

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dave Brubeck Festival APRIL 7-13, 2014

Brubeck Logo Color

Brubeck Brothers Quartet (April 7-8); Darius, Chris and Dan Brubeck with special guest Dave O’Higgins (April 9 & 13); Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet (April 10 & 12, Special guest Stefon Harris, April 12 only); Brubeck Institute Alumni Quintet (April 11); and Late Night Sessions feature Brubeck Institute current and alumni members in Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola

The Life and Music of Dave Brubeck featuring the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis in Rose Theater, April 10-12

Dave Brubeck’s “The Real Ambassadors” featuring Peter Martin, narrator Yolande Bavan, Roberta Gambarini, Russell Graham, Robert Hurst, Brian Owens, Ulysses Owens, Vivian Sessoms, Ty Stephens, James Zollar in The Allen Room, April 11-12

Free and open to the public: Dave Brubeck: Jazz Ambassador Exhibit featuring historical photographs, scores, rare videos, and more

New York, NY – February 26, 2014 – On April 7-13, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dave Brubeck Festival will honor Dave Brubeck, one of America’s most significant jazz musicians to emerge after the Swing Era. The Dave Brubeck Festival will include seven nights of concerts, pre-concert discussions and a new multi-media exhibit throughout Frederick P. Rose Hall, home of Jazz at Lincoln Center, located at Broadway at 60th Street, New York, New York.

The Life & Music of Dave Brubeck
Featuring Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis
April 10-12, 2014
Rose Theater, 8pm

Over the course of his extraordinarily productive 92 years, more than seventy of them spent as a professional musician, Dave Brubeck (1920-2012), who became a household name when Time magazine placed his picture on its cover in 1954, served his country in World War II, studied with the composer Darius Milhaud, wrote several hundred songs for a series of constantly working quartets propelled by his distinctive piano voice, composed numerous extended works—operas, oratorios, ballets, suites—that bespoke his continued artistic growth, performed as a solo pianist, and, after 2000, devoted consequential time to the prestigious Brubeck Institute at the University of Pacific, his alma mater. This evening in Rose Theater, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis explores Brubeck’s legacy with fresh arrangements of his corpus that illuminate the maestro’s breadth and scope.
Tickets Start at $30

Free pre-concert discussion at 7pm with Simon Rowe, Executive Director of the Brubeck Institute; Russell Gloyd, Brubeck’s longtime manager, producer and friend (4/10 only); Chris Brubeck, trombonist, bassist, pianist (4/11 only); and Darius Brubeck, pianist (4/12 only).

The Real Ambassadors
Featuring Peter Martin, narrator Yolande Bavan, Roberta Gambarini, Russell Graham, Robert Hurst, Brian Owens, Ulysses Owens, Vivian Sessoms, Ty Stephens, James Zollar
April 11-12, 2014
The Allen Room, 7pm & 9:30pm

Towards the end of the 1950s, when he was at the height of his fame, pianist-composer Dave Brubeck (1920-2012) and his wife Iola, in collaboration with Louis Armstrong, drew on their respective experiences spreading American culture and music around the world at the behest of the U.S. State Department to create a jazz musical titled The Real Ambassadors. Brubeck’s and Armstrong’s groups coalesced—together with singer Carmen McRae and the vocal group Lambert, Hendricks & Bevan—to record the soundtrack in December 1961, and to perform at the 1962 Monterey Jazz Festival. Peter Martin, pianist and Music Director of these concerts, restages this still-topical masterwork, which addressed the civil rights movement and includes Iola Brubeck’s classic lyric “They Say I Look Like God.” Vocalists include Roberta Gambarini, Brian Owens, Vivian Sessoms, Russell Graham, Ty Stephens. 
Tickets Start at $45

Free pre-concert discussion at 6pm & 8:30pm with Ricky Riccardi, Curator, Louis Armstrong House Museum; and Keith Hatschek, Professor at the University of the Pacific, and Dave Brubeck scholar.

Brubeck Brothers Quartet
April 7-8, 2014
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, 7:30pm & 9:30pm

Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola presents The Brubeck Brothers Quartet featuring Dan Brubeck on drums and Chris Brubeck on bass & trombone, two members of one of America’s most accomplished musical families. Guitarist Mike DeMicco and pianist Chuck Lamb complete this dynamic quartet.
Cover charge is $30 and $15 (students).

Darius, Chris and Dan Brubeck
April 9 and 13, 2014
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, 7:30pm & 9:30pm

Since 2010, Darius, Chris and Dan Brubeck have toured together, joined by Dave O’Higgins, in salute to their father Dave Brubeck’s legacy. They perform many of his most iconic hits, including “Take Five,” “Blue Rondo a la Turk,” and “Unsquare Dance,” as well as original compositions by the brothers.
Cover charge is $30 and $15 (students).

Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet
April 10 and 12, 2014
Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola, 7:30pm & 9:30pm

The members of the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet (BIJQ) have won numerous DownBeat Student Music Awards for best collegiate jazz group in the country. Touring regularly throughout the United States, the 2013-14 BIJQ members are Max Boiko, trumpet; Joel Ross, vibraphones; Sean Britt, guitar; Sarah Kuo, bass; and Jalon D’Mere Archie, drums. Special guests will include pianist Joe Gilman and saxophonist Patrick Langham on April 10 and vibraphonist Stefon Harris on April 12.
Cover charge is $35 and $25 (students).

Brubeck Institute Jazz Alumni Quintet
April 11, 2014

Alumni members of the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet (BIJQ) from 2002-2011 reunite for one night only for this special concert.
Cover charge is $35 and $25 (students).

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s newest exhibition, Dave Brubeck: Jazz Ambassador is free and open to the public. Historical photographs, scores, ephemera—including programs and correspondence—and rare interview and concert footage shine a light on Brubeck’s remarkable life and work as a composer, bandleader, socially-engaged artist, and cultural ambassador.

Many of Jazz at Lincoln Center’s concerts stream live in high-definition audio and video for free to a global audience. Please for webcasts and schedule. The concerts will also be available on Livestream’s mobile and connected TV applications with real-time DVR, chat, photos and other materials available to fans worldwide.

Jarreau Injects Hope with Vibrant Soul

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Legendary vocalist Al Jarreau plays the Bob Hope Theatre on Friday as part of the Brubeck Festival.

Al Jarreau said he could “stay all night.” He almost did. Well, not quite. Jarreau, casual, relaxed, informal, affable, smiling a lot and utterly infused with music, seemed to be conjuring up his formative hang-loose, 1970s club gigs in Sausalito – he reflected on them very fondly – as he gracefully paced himself through the 13th Brubeck Festival’s headline concert Friday at Stockton’s half-full Bob Hope Theatre. “My 100-meter time’s the same,” Jarreau teased at one point. “But my distance running. …” Nevertheless, the 13-time Grammy Award-winning vocalist – he preferred “more R&B” than jazz as an adjective – vamped, scatted, joked, mused, occasionally slick-footed and generally grooved his way through a 13-“song” (depending on how that’s defined), 100-minute show. He’s like a one-voice Phish. A jam-man. Any direction’s good. A flexible, compatible, five-piece band backed up Jarreau’s percussive, improvisational inventions – providing him with occasions when he could rest on a stool, admiring them. He’s 74. Jarreau, who’s been doing this sort of thing for six decades, performed in the unfettered artistic spirit – anything goes – of pianist-composer Dave Brubeck (1920-2012), namesake of University of the Pacific’s Brubeck Institute. The concert and festival were dedicated to Iola Brubeck, an organizational, motivational and inspirational source of support during her 71-year marriage to Dave, an American jazz master and cultural ambassador. She died March 12 at age 90. Obviously, the years have added rough – occasionally fragile – contours to the smooth-jazz vocal stylings of Jarreau’s peak years. The grit and grind provided a slightly more-organic essence. Still, Jarreau reached for the falsetto-ish highs and dug into the droning depths, seeming to experiment with every phrase. Uttering whatever the moment might infer. That reached an apex when he and the band jammed through a lengthy – careening, colliding, chaotic – fusion of what seemed to be Brubeck’s “Take Five” and “Blue Rondo a la Turk.” Jarreau joyfully deployed his voice as a percussive instrument. He preceded that by orating an auctioneer’s-speed version of the lyrics Iola conceived for “Take Five,” saxophone player Paul Desmond’s familiar melody, a global standard since 1959.

Read Tony Sauro’s full review here

Iola Brubeck (1923-2014)

IolaIola Brubeck, Collaborator and Wife of Jazz Pianist, Dies at 90


Iola Brubeck, who played an important behind-the-scenes role in the success of her husband, the jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck, died on Wednesday at her home in Wilton, Conn. She was 90.

The cause was cancer, according to the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., which announced her death. Both she and Mr. Brubeck were graduates of the university, which was known as the College of the Pacific at the time, and which has housed the Brubeck archives since 2000.

Mrs. Brubeck, who was married to Mr. Brubeck from 1942 until his death in December 2012, is credited with making him a popular concert attraction on college campuses in the early 1950s, when his quartet was relatively unknown and she served as his manager, booker and publicist. “We discovered that the best audiences for Dave’s music were really a young musical audience, preferably music students,” she said in an interview with the Library of Congress in 2008.

She wrote letters to scores of colleges, which resulted in numerous bookings and to the release of the live albums “Jazz at Oberlin,” “Jazz at the College of the Pacific” and “Jazz Goes to College,” whose success helped to make Mr. Brubeck one of the music’s biggest stars.

She later worked with him as a lyricist and librettist, providing words for tunes like “Strange Meadowlark” and “In Your Own Sweet Way” as well as longer works like the oratorio “The Light in the Wilderness” and the cantatas “The Gates of Justice” and “Truth Is Fallen.”

The Brubecks’ most ambitious collaboration was probably “The Real Ambassadors,” the satirical story of an American jazz musician who visits Africa on a State Department tour. They conceived it as a stage musical but never found a producer, and it was performed only once, at the 1962 Monterey Jazz Festival. A studio recording of the score, with a lineup including Louis Armstrong, the singer Carmen McRae and the vocal group Lambert, Hendricks & Ross as well as the Brubeck quartet, was released that year.

“The Real Ambassadors” is scheduled to receive its belated New York premiere on April 11 and 12 at the Appel Room of Jazz at Lincoln Center. It is also the subject of an exhibition set to open at the Louis Armstrong House Museum in Queens on April 1.

Iola Whitlock was born on Aug. 14, 1923, in Corning, Calif. She met Mr. Brubeck at the College of the Pacific, where they worked together on a student radio show.

Mrs. Brubeck is survived by four sons, Darius, Christopher, Daniel and Matthew, all of them professional musicians; a daughter, Catherine Brubeck Yaghsizian; 10 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Another son, Michael, died in 2009.

Read Doug Ramey’s tribute to Iola Brubeck here


Dan Tepfer visits the Brubeck Institute

Backwards approach

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Dan Tepfer will perform today at Take 5 Jazz at the Brew.
Tony Sauro

By Tony Sauro
Record Staff Writer
February 20, 2014 12:00 AM

Dan Tepfer gains perspective on his two favorite endeavors by trying things backward.The New York-based jazz piano player shares the positive aspects of that inverse fusion – his artistic talent and fascination with astrophysics – today in Stockton.”I don’t know if it helps directly,” said Tepfer, who’ll emphasize his musical, rather than astrophysical, riffs with members of the Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet. “But the thing it does – at the very least – is it asks questions.

Dan Tepfer w/ Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Take 5 Jazz at the Brew, 157 W. Adams St., Stockton

Tickets: $10; $5 students

Information: (209) 464-2739

“Like, I practice playing piano with my hands reversed. It almost makes it feel like brain science. It makes your brain feel so different.” Tepfer, who grew up in Paris and earned a degree in astrophysics at Scotland’s University of Edinburgh, mentors and performs with University of the Pacific students at Take 5 Jazz at the Brew in Stockton. “It’s different every time,” Tepfer said from Brooklyn, N.Y. “But the Brubeck Institute is special. To sit and work with students who are so experienced and really impressive.” Tepfer knows. He and reed player Ben Wendel – they tour and record as a duo – interacted with 2013 Brubeck Institute students in March. Jalon D’Mere Archie (percussion), Max Boiko (trumpet), Scott Britt (guitar), Sarah Kuo (bass) and Joel M. Ross (vibraphone) are new. “Very often, we kind of focus on the basics,” Tepfer said. “We make sure they realize their own importance and how important making some solid growth is. I also try to tell them something about what it’s like to be a musician. “We really get to dig deep and get into more technical things and the more specific, subtle aspects of creating.” Tepfer, who tours with his Dan Tepfer Trio and Chicago saxophonist Lee Konitz, has been doing that most of his life. His now-retired mom, Becky, sang in the Paris Opera Chorus for 25 years. Maternal grandfather Chuck Ruff was a jazz pianist. Tepfer began banging on the family piano at age 4. Still, he was fascinated by that astrophysics thing and the mysteries of science. “I don’t feel I made a real effort at astrophysical study,” he said, though his curiosity and inquisitiveness never have waned. “While I spent more time on music than on astrophysics, I’ve always been fascinated by our brief moment of time in this elegant universe. “I thought I might actually be a scientist, but as much as the idea was fascinating, I actually prefer a working musician’s lifestyle. Music’s what I love.” Knowing music involves both sides of the brain – and what scientific research shows as a uniquely-shaped cortex – he said the “structure of music sometimes requires quasi-mathematical ideas as you construct it. But your emotions have to be engaged as much as possible. “I don’t know if it helps directly, but the thing it does – at the very least – is it asks questions.” So, he seeks answers by inverting his hands. He’s trying another experiment this summer in Le Havre, France. He’ll work with students and teachers in July, then return in August and perform their collaboration: “I always enjoy that. It’s a good way of connecting with people.” Of course, he’ll be right at home. An only child, Tepfer was born in Paris to parents – Becky, the singer, and David, a biologist – who’d emigrated from Eugene, Ore. “I hardly remember a time when music wasn’t central in my life,” Tepfer said. “My mom sang her lungs out every night. I was always really attracted” to piano. “I started kind of alone” at 4, “improvising riffs” on “Jingle Bells.” He learned a classical style in public schools and at Paris Conservatoire-Paul Dukas twice a week. While there’s a “huge appreciation for jazz” in France, it wasn’t taught in school when Tepfer was there, though he did teach himself.Between ages 6 and 12, he heard Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire” and the similarly rollicking boogie-woogie style unleashed by James P. Johnson (1894-1955). Recordings by Thelonious Monk (1917-82), Keith Jarrett, 68, and Ahmad Jamal, 83, played major roles in his jazz absorption: “I kind of wore those out,” especially Jamal’s “The Awakening” (from 1970). He continued expanding and experimenting while studying astrophysics in Scotland. He moved to New York in 1983, developing affiliations with Konitz, Wendel and his own trio. He also records and sits in with other musicians. He’s won a variety of competitions and, as U.S. State Department cultural envoy, has traveled to Azerbaijan, Georgia and the Czech Republic. In 2010, he composed a concerto (“The View from Orohena”) for the Prague Castle Guard Orchestra that was premiered at Prague Castle. He’s now working on an album of Cuban and Santeria music and an eighth recording with his trio. He recently finished the five-month task of recording an independent film score (“Movement and Location”). It’s not an astrophysical principle, but a career in jazz can compute: “A big part of it doesn’t make sense. It takes a leap of faith in today’s crazy world. Yes it’s crazy. But it does make sense.”

Contact Tony Sauro at (209) 546-8267 or Follow him on Twitter @tsaurorecord.

“Teaching Jazz Values” Jazz Journalists Association – Webinar Series

Join us for a free online Panel/Google Hangout WED Feb 26
Talking Jazz


Teaching Jazz Values

Wed Feb 26| 8pm EST

Free and open to all but you must REGISTER in advance
part of the Jazz Journalists Association 2013-14 Talking Jazz Series presented by The Jazz CruiseGet a special offer on a NEW Fall 2014 cruise.

 “There is no better example of democracy than a jazz ensemble,” First Lady Michelle Obama has said, and it’s true:  jazz is founded on interactive collective improvisation that embodies democratic principles. Jazz also exemplifies such values as virtuosity and disciplined life-long practice. Jazz education can be used to transmit these and other  positive values to students of all ages, whether they are musicians or not. In this online webinar/Google Hangout, our expert panel of jazz educators will share experiences and provide concrete teaching suggestions.

This free webinar is open to to anyone who loves jazz and wants to pass its lessons and rich heritage to our next generation;  It may be of particular interest to educators (in all disciplines, not just music) who want to participate in Jazz Appreciation Month andJazzApril activities this year,  or who want to integrate jazz and jazz history into their classroom at any time.

You’ll be able to watch live video of our panel (via Google Hangouts on Air) and post your own comments and questions for the panelists. Register now to get viewing information and a reminder. (You’ll also get information on viewing the webinar recording later.)

Please forward this invitation to anyone you know who may be interested.


'Dr. Wes' Watkins Dr. Wesley J. Watkins, IV is the Founder of The Jazz & Democracy Project®(J&D), a music integrated curriculum that uses jazz as a metaphor to bring American democracy to life, enrich the study of U.S. History in elementary, middle, and high school, and inspire youth to become active, positive contributors to their community. J&D has been featured on NPR and elsewhere and Dr. Wes –as his students call him–  put forward the links between jazz and democracy in a TEDx talk.

Sharon BurchSharon Burch is an elementary music teacher and clinician who chairs the international Jazz Education Network Education Committee and  serves as an elementary education consultant for Jazz At Lincoln Center   She authored the national best-selling interactive Freddie the Frog Book series for teaching music concepts.

Todd StollTodd Stoll is vice president for education of Jazz at Lincoln Center, the largest jazz organization in the world, overseeing programs that touch millions of people from infants to the elderly. He says, “Our ultimate goal is to raise the consciousness of our society thru jazz music. I believe in the power of transformational arts education; that an inspired society can help re-define our social goals and structures beyond that of the mass-produced and marketed, that a national movement to define our culture and make peace with our past can move all Americans towards a better understanding of themselves and the world at large.”

Moderated by JJA President Howard Mandel. 


 TheJazzCruise.comThe 2013-14 JJA online Talking Jazz panels are presented by The Jazz Cruise as part of its Anita E. Berry Jazz Education Fund, with further support from Century Media Partners