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The Geography of Jazz

The East West Quintet’s name says a lot, geographically speaking. If you pick up the jazz-rock combo’s ambitious second album (this year’s Vast), you will see a shout-out to their East Coast base on closing track “Brooklyn.” As for the “West” of the quintet, three of the five members hail from San Diego.

EWQ keyboardist Michael Cassedy is the son of Steven Cassedy, a UCSD professor who is also an accomplished pianist. Cassedy, who grew up in Del Mar and graduated from the Bishop’s School in La Jolla in 1998, acknowledged his dad as “my first piano teacher, and I still take classical lessons from him when we’re both in the same city.” He and EWQ’s guitarist Simon Kafka, a 2001 graduate of the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts and former Mission Hills resident, augment their incomes in NYC by teaching music. Bassist Benjamin Campbell, another SDSCPA grad (’99), has music-making in his DNA: his father Glen plays cello and his mother Rebekah plays viola in the San Diego Symphony.

“Being in Brooklyn has influenced our music a great deal.… We all moved to New York to be a part of an East Coast creative music scene but still have strong roots in California,” said Cassedy. (They recorded Vast in San Clemente and released it on the SoCal label Native Language.) “Ben and I were both in ska bands in high school for the very brief period of time that ska was popular in the ’90s. We knew each other but did not become friends until USC [where the three of them went to college]. Ben and Simon were friends in high school and played in the school jazz band together…[so] we all knew each other before moving to New York.”

The East West Quintet returns to play Dizzy’s at its new downtown San Diego Wine & Culinary Center location on Wednesday, September 23.

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The East West Quintet’s name says a lot, geographically speaking. If you pick up the jazz-rock combo’s ambitious second album (this year’s Vast), you will see a shout-out to their East Coast base on closing track “Brooklyn.” As for the “West” of the quintet, three of the five members hail from San Diego.

EWQ keyboardist Michael Cassedy is the son of Steven Cassedy, a UCSD professor who is also an accomplished pianist. Cassedy, who grew up in Del Mar and graduated from the Bishop’s School in La Jolla in 1998, acknowledged his dad as “my first piano teacher, and I still take classical lessons from him when we’re both in the same city.” He and EWQ’s guitarist Simon Kafka, a 2001 graduate of the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts and former Mission Hills resident, augment their incomes in NYC by teaching music. Bassist Benjamin Campbell, another SDSCPA grad (’99), has music-making in his DNA: his father Glen plays cello and his mother Rebekah plays viola in the San Diego Symphony.

“Being in Brooklyn has influenced our music a great deal.… We all moved to New York to be a part of an East Coast creative music scene but still have strong roots in California,” said Cassedy. (They recorded Vast in San Clemente and released it on the SoCal label Native Language.) “Ben and I were both in ska bands in high school for the very brief period of time that ska was popular in the ’90s. We knew each other but did not become friends until USC [where the three of them went to college]. Ben and Simon were friends in high school and played in the school jazz band together…[so] we all knew each other before moving to New York.”

The East West Quintet returns to play Dizzy’s at its new downtown San Diego Wine & Culinary Center location on Wednesday, September 23.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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