Category Archives: Jazz

Free 3-day festival – The Tadaima Convergence – creativity and diversity

July 22/23/24 – Fri., Sat., Sun., 5 pm
Performers:

Russel Baba, Jeanne Mercer, Masato Baba, Gary Fitzgerald, Michelee Fujii, Toru Watanabe, & Kenji Kato
Sponsored by Shasta Taiko
Entrance is free
Donations accepted to support & benefit Pops
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The Tadaima Convergence to Benefit Pops
Shasta Taiko leaders, Russel Baba and Jeanne Mercer, are hosting a free three day mini-music festival, “The Tadaima Convergence – creativity & diversity,” at Pops Performing Arts & Cultural Center in Dunsmuir, CA,, the weekend of July 22/23/24, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, starting at 5 pm and continuing into the evening.
“Shasta Taiko’s goals are to expose not only taiko (Japanese drum), but a wide variety of music, perspectives, creativity, and cultures.  A free three day festival provides an opportunity to experience the extraordinary talents of Tadaima’s artists.  By making a free event, we want to attract and expose more people, including families and children, to an expanded  view of music and art.” said Baba.
The free three day festival is sponsored by Shasta Taiko and is a benefit for Pops.  Donations will be accepted at the festival in support of the Center.  Shasta Taiko and Pops have similar goals in supporting music and the arts, and Pops has created a wonderful intimate space for performances.
Russel added, “We’re hoping to perform in the Pops courtyard, outside.  A late summer afternoon or an early evening performance are our visions, barring any wildfires or smoke.  There is the option to move indoors if needed.  I hope folks will feel free to come and go if they choose to, even as we perform.  Some Asian theater traditions like Indonesian Gamalan or Japanese Kabuki, have long plays where people may leave, take breaks, and come back, all while the performances are still happening.  Gamalan may start in the evening and end with the sunrise.  I want to create that type of atmosphere during the three day music festival.”
“Tadaima” (now, at present; I am here!  I am home) is the traditional Japanese announcement when one comes home.  Music is “home” for the artists of Tadaima.
Russel Baba is known for his originality in playing and composing for saxophones, flutes, and taiko.  He has toured and recorded with jazz legends drummer Eddie Moore, violinist Michael White, and pianist Andrew Hill, and taiko with Grand Master Seiichi Tanaka and Jeanne Mercer.
“Russel Baba has managed to endow his alto saxophone with the timbre and flexibility of a violin.  His new sound is extraordinarily beautiful.”  CODA Magazine
Jeanne Mercer is a highly respected pioneering American taiko artist.  She is noted for impeccable skill, touch, and sensitivity as well as writing challenging and creative compositions for taiko.  Mercer toured and recorded with Seiichi Tanaka and contributed to movie soundtracks “Star Wars” and “Apocalypse Now.”
Jeanne Mercer and Russel Baba founded Shasta Taiko in 1984 and presented from 2005 to 2016 in Mount Shasta, the largest outdoor taiko festival in America.
Masato Baba will join his parents playing taiko, fue (Japanese flute), and percussion.  Masato is a leading American taiko artist who is creating new directions for taiko as Artistic Director of Los Angeles based TaikoProject and as a member of On Ensemble.  Both ensembles and Masato have made several appearances at ShastaYama as featured guest artists.
Gary Fitzgerald is known for a dynamic and original bass sound.  Gary toured and recorded with Russel Baba, Eddie Moore, Michael White, and pianist Ron Hart and performed with trumpeter Eddie Henderson and guitarist Bill deArango.  He has performed twice at ShastaYama with Tadaima.
ShastaYama favorites, Michelle Fujii and Toru Watanabe, will join “The Tadaima Convergence” adding their unique taiko and dance to the event.  Michelle’s interest in taiko and dance started as a youth with San Jose Taiko.  She was awarded a Bunka-cho Fellowship to study Japanese folk dance with Master Shehei Kiuchi and served as the Artistic Director of Portland Taiko in Oregon.
Toru Watanabe’s dynamic presence as a dancer and choreographer were developed as a child touring with Japanese folk dance troupe, Warabi-za.  With wife Michelle Fujii, they formed a new Portland taiko ensemble, Unit Souzou.  Toru and Michelle are keeping traditional folk dance and taiko alive while exploring new possibilities as modern performing artists.
Joining Tadaima for two evenings, Saturday and Sunday, will be drummer Kenji Kato from Redding.  Kenji received the Wayne Shorter and Tony Willians awards from the Berklee College of Music.  He has performed with Gary Burton, Roy Hargrove, Delfeayo Marsalis, Warren Hill, Mark Whitfield, Antonio Hart, and Merle Haggard.  Kato is recognized for his studio work and is gaining a reputation as an outstanding teacher.
All of the artists have honed skills in the traditions.  All continue to create and explore other ways of expression, seeing, hearing, and living.  Tadaima – now, present; I’m here!  I’m home!
“The Tadaima Convergence – creativity and diversity” is sponsored by Shasta Taiko, a nonprofit arts organization and is a free event to the public and a benefit for Pops Performing Arts & Cultural Center.  The Festival is a wonderful opportunity to expand experiences and support Pops in the spirit of Louis Armstrong’s legacy of jazz, the arts, and liberation.
Pops Performing Arts & Cultural Center, 5819 Sacramento Ave., Dunsmuir, CA

 

“It’s A Hit” featuring David (The Doctor Of Bebop) Watson, Pete Petersen and David Kim

“It’s A Hit” featuring David (The Doctor Of Bebop) Watson, Pete Petersen and David Kim will be performing at Pops on Sunday, May 29 at 7pm. Here is some background on the three musicians. Listen and learn more and Listen here, too. 

David (The Doctor Of Bebop) Watson
Portrait of jazz artist David Watson
Born in Fort Meyers, Florida on May 30, 1937, David grew up in Philadelphia. “I started singing when I was in third or fourth grade,” he remembers, “and I have mostly listened to jazz all of my life. Ella was my first love. Her singing turned my head around when I was around seven years old.” After hearing Ella Fitzgerald, he knew that that was the musical direction that he was born to follow. He sang in talent shows and school concerts and was particularly inspired by Nat Cole, Cab Calloway, the Mills Brothers and the Ink Spots. David also became a very skilled scat-singer, learning from the recordings of Ella, Eddie Jefferson, Jon Hendricks, Dizzy Gillespie, Betty Carter, and King Pleasure. “I remember being a teenager at parties and seeing people dance to jazz. It was always the music that interested me the most. In Philadelphia at that time one could go to practically any bar and hear jazz playing, live and on jukeboxes. I would often sing along with the records including to Eddie Jefferson and Jon Hendricks; that is how I learned to sing jazz.”

As a teenager, David went to Jazz At The Philharmonic concerts, other concerts, and hung outside of many jazz clubs. After he grew up and went into the Army, he returned to Philadelphia and scored a job as a bartender for four years at the Showboat Jazz Theater, finding that musicians consistently encouraged him. David learned from many of the jazz immortals while working at The Showboat. During that period, he taught himself drums and mastered the difficult task of playing and singing at the same time.  David later moved to California, attending Santa Rosa Junior College and the College of the Marin, playing gigs at night with Michele Hendricks in a band they called Chelsea. On a couple of gigs, Jon Hendricks sat in with the group, as did the members of the Manhattan Transfer after a concert in San Francisco.Later as a professional vocalist and drummer, he had opportunities to play with such greats as Michele Hendricks, Billy James, Sam Dockery, Shirley Scott, Mickey Roker, Bob Cranshaw, Michael LeDonne, Essiet Essiet, Sylvia Cuenca, Bobby Hutcherson, John Handy, Eddie Henderson, Milt Jackson, Joe Sample, and Stanley Turrentine among others. And wherever David lived, “The Doctor of Bebop” brought his love of jazz including eight years in Hawaii, and periods in Alaska and the San Francisco Bay area. He performed at a countless number of clubs, wineries, concerts and special events during the past 40 years in addition to booking other jazz artists. Since 2012, he has been a major part of the Portland jazz scene.

Back in 1998, David Leshare Watson formed the Music In The Vines label, making his recording debut with the impressive Imprisoned Splendor. In addition to some vintage pieces (including “September In The Rain,” “Polka Dots And Moonbeams” and “A Hundred Years From Today”), the set introduced some of David’s originals including “Fat Cat” and “Please Take Me Back To New Orleans.” Since then, the singer has recorded other enjoyable albums including Loves Swinging Soft & Ballads, Live At Lo Spuntino, Let’s Swing Christmas, His Happy Feeling, and Big Town.

“We had such a great time recording the Big Town album,” remembers David. “It is funny but I had been good friends with Mickey Roker for a long time before my Mom told me that we were actually cousins. I had no idea.” On Big Town, David was joined by Roker on drums, veteran bassist Bob Cranshaw (best known for his 40 years with Sonny Rollins), and a brilliant pianist, Michael LeDonne, who was recommended by the drummer. “Mickey said that I couldn’t do any better than him, and he was right. We recorded everything in three days and it turned out great.” Big Town is highlighted by the title cut (a composition by vibraphonist Joe Locke for which David wrote the lyrics, saluting jazz history in New York, his cousin, and jazz in general), the singer’s new piece “Our Night In Heaven,” several blues, and his lyrics to “Limehouse Blues” (renamed “Ball & Trane”).

David Leshare Watson, who co-founded the group Re-Birthing The Cool, Bebop N Beyond with multi-instrumentalist Pete Petersen (resulting in two CDs so far), is profiled in the short film David Watson –  The Doctor of Bebop. He remains very committed to spreading the gospel of jazz and he looks forward to gigging much more now that the pandemic is nearing its end. “I try to always be creative like any top jazz instrumentalist, performing jazz songs and originals. I am going to sing jazz the rest of my life, until I can’t do it any longer. As long as I love the music, I have no plans to stop.”

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Pete Petersen

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Pete Petersen has worked with many big bands (including the Harry James Orchestra, the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra, the Portland Jazz Orchestra, the Ezra Weiss Big Band, the Carlton Jackson/Dave Mills Big Band, and Art Abrams’ Swing Machine), has been greatly in demand as a tenor-saxophonist for work with pop/rock groups and horn sections, and has led his own group “Porkpie” for quite a few years. His most recent CD Keep Your Hat On was released on the Pony Boy Records label. Petersen plays baritone sax and bass clarinet with Rebirthing The Cool, Bebop N Beyond in addition to contributing arrangements.

David Kim

unnamedPianist David Kim was featured as a soloist with the Oregon Symphony as a teenager. Since discovering jazz, he has worked regularly in the Portland area during the past decade, playing in a style influenced by Oscar Peterson, Red Garland, Erroll Garner and Bill Charlap.

Em & Shane Duo

Em & Shane Duo

Screen Shot 2019-07-22 at 2.14.05 PMPERFORMANCE: Sunday, October 4, 4 pm. $15 at door
October 4,  4 pm

Vocalist Emma Reynolds grew up in Mount Shasta, moved to the Central Coast for three years, and finished her BA with an emphasis in jazz performance at Bob Cole Conservatory of Music in 2016. She has made connections with musicians and educators throughout California and offers a dynamic point of view both in the classroom and on stage. She recently released her first album of original compositions – Em & Em: Take Our Time and can also be heard on

The San Andreas Sisters: Live in Studio City album. She’s been teaching music to all ages in the Orange County area for five years and enjoys performing in a variety of styles including jazz, pop, RnB, and folk.

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Born and raised in Southern California, guitarist Shane Savala has quickly made a name for himself in the LA music scene. After graduating from the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music in 2012, he moved to Los Angeles where he began collaborating and performing with various artists and songwriters. Known for his
stylistic versatility, relentless creativity, and ability to make others sound their best, Shane is in high demand for studio sessions and live performances. Shane can be heard on his latest album, “Christmas in the City”, featuring original songs and arrangements, as well as on “Splanky” with The Jason Fabus Trio.

Dark Eyes Duet

Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 8.33.05 PMDark Eyes Duet (Dayton Mason and Greta Gardiner) will play at Pops Performing Arts & Cultural Center on October 23, 6:30 pm.

This power duo came together in the beginning of 2020 after each musician had respectively built a strong independent solo career in the State of Jefferson.

Dayton Mason is an Ashland native and has been inspired by Jazz music since he was very young and began playing Gypsy Jazz guitar in high school. He has played in many different duos, trios and quartets and has toured across the United States. One notable opportunity was opening for David Grisman at the sold out Rogue Theatre.

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Greta Gardiner grew up in Wyoming and moved to Ashland in 2002. She began as a singer/songwriter and learned to play guitar while living in Paysandu, Uruguay, and she started performing music when she lived in Lyon, France at a corner bar called 22 Rue Pouteau. Since returning to Southern Oregon she has been in 2 rock bands called Lost Maven and Organik Time Machine playing bass, rhythm guitar and vocals.
​Both musicians had decided to set local roots and play close to home in their solo careers and as they kept crossing paths in the music scene they decided to combine Dayton’s incredible Gypsy Jazz guitar skills with Greta’s vocal and linguistic capabilities, thus the Dark Eyes Gypsy Jazz Duet was born. This music transports listeners to another time and place, a corner café in old Paris with laughter and Gypsy notes flowing like the wine in everyone’s glasses and perhaps a faint memory of Django’s iconic cigarette smoke swirling in the air…

Valentine’s Weekend – Scott Durbin Jazz Band with Anna Repetto

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Pops Performing Arts & Cultural Center is pleased to host The Scott Durbin Band on Saturday, February 16th at 7 pm. The Scott Durbin band features powerhouse blues and jazz singer Anna Repetto with Ross Perry, from Redding on drums, Nathan Sivanada, Mt Shasta resident, playing bass and newly added guitarist from L.A., Sultani Trip. The group is headed by Scott, who is a composer, arranger, keyboardist and trumpet player.  His resume includes working with Stevie Wonder in the 60’s and 70’s as well as song writing and studio work for MoTown Records in the 80’s.

Tickets will be $10 at the door.

Japanese guitarist Hiroya Tsukamoto to play at Pops

IMG_2992As a part of a world tour, guitarist/composer Hiroya Tsukamoto is stopping by our tiny train town, Dunsmuir, also known as a restaurant and fishing mecca. With his music Hiroya takes us on an innovative, impressionistic journey filled with earthy, organic soundscapes that impart a mood of peace
and tranquility.

Hiroya Tsukamoto is a guitarist and composer originally from Kyoto, Japan. In 2000, he received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music and came to the US. Since then, he has been performing internationally including several appearances with his group at Blue Note in New York and released six albums as a leader.   And he also performed and appeared on major televisions internationally such as NHK (Japanese National Television) and EBS in Korea. In September 2018, Hiroya won 2nd place in International Finger Style Guitar Championship.

“Hiroya immediately impressed the audience with his technical prowess on the guitar. Then as the concert progressed, he also revealed himself to be a skilled songwriter, a poetic spirit, and an engaging story teller. With a stage presence that is both humble and confident, Hiroya is a generous performer who won every heart in the house.”  -Gordon Peery / Monadnock Center for History and Culture (Peterborough, NH)

Listen to Soledad and Gemini Bridge.

Hiroya Tsukamoto (guitarist / composer) will play here at Pops on November 16 at 7 pm.
Tickets will be $15 at the door

Shasta Taiko Presents Shasta Family

Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 11.38.03 AMShasta Taiko will present a mini formal performance at POPS Performing Arts & Cultural Center, 5819 Sacramento Avenue in Dunsmuir, Saturday, July 28 at 7 pm.  Featured will be guest artists Masato Baba, son of Shasta Taiko leaders Russel Baba and Jeanne Mercer, and his wife Courtney Deguchi.

Masato and Courtney will also perform with Shasta Taiko and join Tadaima’s set with Russel on winds and Jeanne playing taiko.

With the intimate atmosphere at POPS, Shasta Taiko will perform compositions that focuses on refinement and subtlety.  Fun and exciting festival style taiko soloing will also be featured.

Tadaima is a creative music ensemble that performs original compositions influenced by jazz, world, classical, and new music.

Masato Baba has evolved into one of taiko’s leading artists.  He is the Artistic Director of award winning Los Angeles based TaikoProject and a member of cutting edge On Ensemble.  Shasta Taiko has presented both groups several times to the Mount Shasta community.

Courtney Deguchi is a performing member of TaikoProject and leads community taiko classes for children and adults in LA.  She is an emerging taiko artist and singer, and with Masato, is spreading taiko’s sound around the world.

A charge of $10 is being asked at the door.  Young people 16 years and under are Free.

“Our goal has always been to expose taiko to the community and the world.” says Russel.

Shasta Taiko is a non-profit arts organization 501 (c) (3).

For more information: shastataiko.org    russelbaba.com popsdunsmuir.com

Ed Dunsavage Trio from Ashland

Ed Dunsavage2Voted Favorite Jazz Group in the Ashland 2017 Sneak Preview Readers Poll, The Ed Dunsavage Trio features Joe Cohoon on upright bass and Gary “Chicken” Hirsh on the drums. The trio has be playing music together for over 25 years. They will present an evening of straight ahead jazz guitar trio music at Pops on Saturday, April 21, performing music from their latest recording “Homage” which is a tribute to many of the jazz guitar greats including, Wes Montgomery, Pat Martino, Jim Hall, Pat Metheny, Barney Kessel, Charlie Byrd andothers.

Originally from the east coast, guitarist Ed Dunsavage has been performing regularly around the Pacific Northwest for 25 years. He has performed at many venues and festivals in the area including the Upper Sacramento River Jazz Festival, The Umpqua Jazz & Wine Festival, The Medford Jazz Jubille, The Newport Oregon Jazz Festival, The Britt Festival, The Craterian Theatre, The Jazz Project in Bellingham Washington, the Blue Note jazz club and The Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Ed has shared the stage with many wonderful artists including Bernadette Peters, Greta Matassa, Craig Chaquico, & Mimi Fox & Howard Alden, Dmitri Matheny and Ken Peplowski among others. Ed also is the guitar instructor at Southern Oregon University and works as artistic and education director for the Siskiyou Music Project, a non-profit, arts and education organization based in Ashland, Oregon.

Gary Chicken Hirsh on drums. Gary is a long-time resident of Ashland but is better known to many people as the original drummer for the 60’s San Francisco rock group, Country Joe and the Fish. During the 60’s he performed at all the major rock concerts in the U.S.A and through-out Europe. He has worked with everyone from Janis Joplin and Jerry Garcia, to Pharoh Sanders and Frank Zappa. He came out of retirement twenty five years ago to perform the music that he loves, jazz!

On acoustic bass is Joe Cohoon. Joe and Ed have been playing music together for over 25 years. He worked for many years in the Portland area performing in various rock and blues groups and currently performs with Duke Street and Robbie Dacosta and has shared the stage with Chuck Redd, Ken Peplowski and Dmitri Matheny.

View printable flyer.

Terry Robb – Acoustic Guitar


Screen Shot 2018-02-08 at 11.00.56 AMPops is pleased to have Terry Robb play on Tues May 8, 7:30 pm. He is one of the top acoustic blues guitarists of our time.
His signature fingerpicking style has earned him international acclaim from worldwide audiences, music critics and his distinguished peers. Incorporating elements from the Mississippi Delta music tradition, ragtime, country, swing and free jazz, Robb has built a unique blues sound that has made him a legend in his prolific music career spanning more than four decades.

“One of the best players, on acoustic and electric, embracing a range of blues styles
and then some.” – Dan Forte,
Vintage Guitar Magazine
Advanced tickets $10 available online. Tickets at the door $15

Sat August 12 2017–8pm – Double Duo

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Pops Performing Arts and Cultural Center will present a double duo concert with two well-known North State’s duo Allison Scull and Victor Martin with Tom Scott and Leslie Tift on Saturday, August 12, 8pm. Read more about the artists.
Both inspired by the music of the 60s’ and 70’s, Tom Scott and Leslie Tift have been performing together for about 11 years. With songs from the 1800’s to present day, they play a combination of blues, country blues, folk, jazz, swing and originals. Tom performs on guitar, mandolin, and vocals while Leslie  performs on guitar, vocals and dobro. According to Leslie, ” We are honored to  be sharing the stage with Vic and Allison and are looking forward to a fun-filled evening of music.”
Allison Scull and Victor Martin blend roots music with a fusion of jazz, folk, blues, a little funk, originals and some jazz standards laced with some French lyrics. Victor performs on saxophone and vocals, and Allison performs on guitar and vocals. In regards to this first time concert, Victor conveys “I am honored to share a show with Leslie and Scott, who are such great musicians. Allison adds, “We have never done this before with them and are looking forward to what our collaboration will bring”