Ken Leighton 9 a.m., March 24
RIYL: Ruslan Khain, Ken Filiano, Stephen Gilewski, P. Kellach Waddle, Steeleye Span, Sandy Denny, 3 Mustaphas 3, Gheorghe Zamfir
Inception: San Diego, 1975
Influences: Steeleye Span, Sandy Denny, 3 Mustaphas 3, Gheorghe Zamfir
Based in Golden Hill, Jeff Pekarek (aka Jeff Basile) has over thirty years of experience as a professional musician and entertainer. He has performed extensively with local guitarists Peter Pupping, Fred Benedetti, and the late Brian Baynes, as well as bluegrass fiddler Richard Greene. He arranges music for Yale Strom and Caprice Srings, besides performing with these groups.
Pekarek was the youngest member of the San Diego Symphony when he joined the contrabass section at age 17. He performed with the orchestra from 1975 to 1979, including the summer pops concerts. In 1979, he founded the folk music group the Jackstraws, who are now regulars at SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo, and Seaport Village.
After releasing an album of original songs in 1981, To Each Their Own, he became a bandleader in his own right, fronting several successful period-music and folk ensembles.
including the Electrocarpathians and Panamerican Shanty.
In addition, he has served the principal arranger for filmmaker and composer Yale Strom. This collaboration has included several documentary films, two ballets, and the orchestral work “Aliyot,” which debuted with a performance by the St. Louis Symphony.
From 1987 to 1995, he served as a string instrument instructor at the Bishop’s School in La Jolla, teaching classical guitar, electric guitar, bass, contrabass, and cello.
Since June 2004, Pekarek has also worked as an arranger for Canum Entertainment. In 2006, he served as bassist for the premiere performance and recording of the stage show Primal Twang, which debuted at the North Park Theatre and featured Eric Johnson, Albert Lee, Dan Crary, Mason Williams, and others.
The show was created by the writer of the first rock opera ever staged, An Eye in Each Head, which originated as a San Diego production.
Pekarek’s 2010 album Panamerican Shanty uses traditional sea shanties and film noire-inspired originals to tell the story of the Nakai Nakai, a fabled whale-tooth scrimshaw piece. Poetry and narration, partly in Spanish, give the perspectives of a tango dancer, a late-night disc jockey, a private eye, and various mariners, while the singing of a chorus of rum-lit sailors provides an abstract commentary.
In 2012, Pekarek was the bassist on Richard Greene’s album, Shufflin’. He has appeared on many albums by local artists, playing contrabass, cello, guitar, and bouzouki.