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Stories by Robert Bush

Bass therapy

Music gives bassist Marilyn Quinsaat a new lease on life

“I was having dinner and drinks with a friend when all of a sudden, I started to feel numb,” recalls bassist Marilyn Quinsaat (Sequin in the Sky, Sock Monkeys) of the night her life changed ...

Jazz Marine

Trombonist Matt Hall’s journey to San Diego

“It’s all because of music, really,” explains trombonist Matt Hall, contemplating the journey that brought him from East Tennessee to San Diego. Hall has been playing the trombone since he was 10-years old and it ...

Gigmaster Kornhauser

“Being a musician is always kind of feast or famine”

In jazz circles, a player who knows how to stay working on a consistent basis despite the relative lack of opportunities in a limited market stands out, and in San Diego, pianist Ed Kornhauser (who ...

After 53 years, bassist Bob Magnusson calls it quits

Kind of Blue by Miles Davis totally blew my mind”

After 53 years of laying down the bottom end for everyone from Art Pepper to Madonna, bassist Bob Magnusson is calling it quits and withdrawing from performing in public. Magnusson came from a musical family. ...

The value of being a “working musician” for jazz drummer Nathan Hubbard

"I like the steady work, but I also love creating my own music and running my own bands.”

Drummer/composer Nathan Hubbard won the San Diego Music Award for “Best Jazz Album,” in 2014, for Encinitas and Everything, and again in 2017 for Furiously Dreaming, a project featuring his Skeleton Key Orchestra. Has the ...

Ellen Weller discovers a new, more enlightened and welcoming scene at UC San Diego

“It’s called ‘free-improvisation’ because there’s no money involved"

Ellen Weller discovers a new, more enlightened and welcoming scene at UC San Diego

The Persian fusion of Sibarg Ensemble use 12th Century poetry to create melodies

“The voice is our first instrument, and the voice is connected directly to your soul”

The Persian fusion of Sibarg Ensemble use 12th Century poetry to create melodies

Kornhauser and Tordella welcome original jazz musicians to San Diego Sessions

Podcast guests span from the funky-pocket types to mainstream cats to the avant-garde

Collective super host

Drums with her feet

"I try to be mindful and musical at all times.”

Drums with her feet

The way a song blossoms

Peter Sprague is not adverse to using modern technology to facilitate making a perfect recording

The way a song blossoms

LP’s Jazz Vibe endures

Even if the music is really slamming and bringing in money — everything is temporary

LP’s Jazz Vibe endures

Underground jazz chamber music

“I tune pianos and I work my ass off."

Underground jazz chamber music composer Joe Garrison claims to be inching closer to retiring from the music business. His reasons? “I got into music because I thought I was going to find some sort of ...

Totally singular

Nortec Collective: sonic innovators of our border community

“This band regularly draws crowds of 25 thousand plus people, so I don’t think we’ll have a problem filling up the space,” says Daniel Atkinson, director of public programs at UC San Diego, referring to ...

More time in the practice room

New England seems like a place where you can find your own voice

“I’m excited about the future, I’m getting my college audition videos together to send out,” explains 17-year-old vocalist Zion Dyson, who just returned from a tour of several notable music schools back east with her ...

Dead serious about the music

“My value as a teacher actually increased when people could see me onstage.”

Christopher Hollyday is uniquely prepared to advise the upcoming generation of young jazz players. He earned the designation of “Young Lion” three different times before reaching the age of 21 back in Boston, where he ...

To be nomadic

John told me I was playing them way better than him

Local jazz fans remember saxophonist Nathan Collins from his high school days as a member of Gilbert Castellanos’ Young Lions movement, before he left for USC. Collins had every intention of furthering his jazz studies, ...

Daneen Wilburn's reentry into the music world

"I want them to feel the spirit, too.”

“This is what I was born to do,” says vocalist Daneen Wilburn, about her reentry into the music world after dropping out for more than 20 years to raise a family. “It’s more than just ...

Adventures with Sheila E.

It was cool in more than one way, as in five degrees outside.

San Diego vocalist Rebecca Jade has been performing internationally as a member of “smooth-jazz” saxophonist Dave Koz’s Cruise. That’s where she met pop icon Sheila E. who approached her about filling in for one of ...

A cabin in the woods

"For a guy in his 60s to receive more than one is a good day for me."

“I have all the tools I need to accomplish this here in San Diego, but to have the opportunity to compose in seclusion without distraction for six weeks without having to worry about anything is ...

Turned out to be a jazz guy

Guitarist Nate Jarrell is used to dealing with duality

Guitarist Nate Jarrell is used to dealing with duality in his professional life. His day job teaching music at Canyon Crest Academy in Carmel Valley keeps him busy, but he still has enough energy to ...

Why the great composers collaborated with ballet

Charles McPherson on composing "A Night of Jazz and Dance

Although alto saxophone master Charles McPherson moved to San Diego in 1978, gigs in his adopted hometown (he was born in Joplin, Missouri, moved to Detroit and ultimately, New York City) are relatively few and ...

Music teacher's day doesn't stop at 3:00

"I saw the effect he had on so many young people."

Day doesn’t stop at 3 pm. Tamara Hartfield Paige has taught music for 17 years, and has influenced the trajectories of many students who have gone on to professional careers, including Charles and Danny Weller, ...

Divine intervention for Lorena Isabell

Chile will always be a part of me

“I grew up under a dictatorship in Chile and I didn’t know any other reality,” mused Latin Bohemian vocalist Lorena Isabell, who is on the cusp of an album release and celebratory concert June 10 ...

Belly dancers needed Rich Mansor's music

"We could continue to be just another punk band or we could connect with this huge audience."

“It’s a combination of traditional surf rock with Egyptian rhythms fused with the visual elements of live belly dancers. Kind of Dick Dale meets Omar Khorshid,” says Rich Mansor, guitarist and leader of Zamman, an ...

Huge, high-end sound at UCSD's planned downtown venue

From a cathedral to completely dead alcove and everything in between

“We’re opening a downtown facility with a working title of ‘U.C. San Diego Urban’,” says Daniel Atkinson, director of public programs UCSD Extension, who also acts as the founder of the UCSD Jazz Camp and ...

"I’m really set on doing a song in Tagalog"

Lorraine Castellanos splits from Besos de Coco

Kissed and said goodbye, reluctantly. Fans of the all-female Latin/classical/jazz trio Besos de Coco featuring the guitar and vocals of Lorraine Castellanos, the bass of Evona Wascinski, and the tap-dance percussion of Claudia Gomez are ...

Care and feeding of Young Lions

Castellanos's kids set to storm the San Diego jazz world

Trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos decided to turn his weekly Young Lions performance series at Panama 66 in Balboa Park into a fully functional after-school music program called the Young Lions Jazz Conservatory last fall. He started ...

Tickled plink to have that free piano

It's just sitting there like furniture...give it to a school

“A hundred years ago, almost every household in America had a piano,” mused Kenneth Rexrode, the driving force behind the Piano Project, a local organization that aims to pair unwanted acoustic pianos with new homes ...

Marcelo Radulovich's League not his own

"I’m not really looking for press or attention. If that happens, fine."

“Every day something new happens with Trump,” says guitarist Marcelo Radulovich, discussing the inspiration behind his latest project, Im Peach the Sequel, a “sound-collage” assembled from contributions sent to the musician and organized under the ...

175 hours of yoga instruction brings LP to light

“When you pay for it yourself, you can be more creative."

“I think there’s a benefit to not being with a label and self-financing, because I have a lot more freedom,” says musician Sharon DuBois, who just completed her latest album (Into Light) after almost three ...

Lofty aspirations at UCSD

"There has always been a core group of students booking shows."

“This is fun for me,” says Albert Agbayani, the new program and events manager at UC San Diego’s Loft venue. “Because I’ve kind of come full circle. When I was a student at UCLA in ...

Busy gig life started with a tinkle in Carlsbad

Piano man Robert Parker talks thick skin and hustle

Lots of San Diego musicians struggle to stay busy enough to pay the rent, and having a reliable day-job has become a reality for many of them. Pianist Robert Parker is an exception — he ...

That cruise-ship show-band gig

Gabriel Sundy developed his sea legs while playing sax

Multi-instrumentalist Gabriel Sundy came to an important insight four years ago. “I had been performing in San Diego for a long time, but I wasn’t making enough money, even though I was doing a lot ...

Legal bulldog on the flute

“I love all the jazz cats in town — but women have a different energy."

“I’ve always been a singer, ever since I was a little kid,” says Deborah Wolfe. “I used to dream of singing in front of a big band. My grandfather was a professional musician from Croatia ...

Lion on bass

"Classical music is the best ever — but it’s too structured for me."

John Murray is an up-and-coming bassist who attends the Young Lions Jazz Conservatory at Liberty Station alongside studies at the School of Creative and Performing Arts in Paradise Hills. He is 13 years old. Bass ...

UCSD composer's opera a light amid the hate

Anthony Davis: "I believe the country is in peril."

“I’m very concerned about the future,” says composer and UCSD professor Anthony Davis, who has never shied away from controversial subjects. “That’s why it’s important for me to continue to write about political events because ...

Ameriwanica: The Musical

"Are you a patient or a criminal? That’s the basic question.”

“The inspiration came from watching a documentary about a little girl with epilepsy who was seizing 300 times a week,” says composer Gary Rich, whose musical Ameriwanica extols the health benefits of the green leafy ...

Mundell Lowe went out swinging

“He was on when we played his 95th birthday party six months ago.”

Electric-guitar pioneer Mundell Lowe, who had made San Diego his base for the past 22 years, died at home on December 2. He was 95. Born in Shady Grove, Mississippi, Lowe’s curriculum vitae is so ...

Elvis jazz

Lorraine Castellanos to bring early rock sound to the Casbah

“It’s something that’s been brewing for years,” says vocalist Lorraine Castellanos, referring to her December 17 Elvis Presley tribute at the Casbah. “But I just couldn’t find the right location. I tried doing something a ...

Leonard Patton Quartet bags Guinness gig record

70 performances around town in 24 hours

“We actually broke the record with gig number 66 at Public Square Coffee House in La Mesa about 7:45 in the morning with two and a half hours to spare,” recalls vocalist Leonard Patton, whose ...

Bobby Cressey hustled to bring the organ to Petco Park

"They kind of stood back while I did a loose, impromptu presentation."

“I heard through a friend that the team was thinking about bringing back a live organist,” muses Bobby Cressey. “They hadn’t had one since they moved to Petco Park. I’ve always been a big baseball ...

UCSD jazz haters prompt Brian Ross to move on

"I felt the administration was really coming down on me."

After more than 13 years of bringing concerts to UC San Diego, program and events manager Brian Ross called it quits on June 23. Ross collaborated with students to bring many pop and hip-hop acts ...

Chase Morrin in pursuit

"In high school I was practicing eight hours a day...."

Pianist Chase Morrin is back in town, headlining a fundraising concert in Carlsbad on July 15 to benefit jazz education. Education is a topic he’s pretty familiar with: a graduate of Canyon Crest Academy in ...

Piano-tuner blues

Bud Fisher recounts the raccoon in the upright story and other tales

Bud Fisher has been tuning pianos on the professional level since 1984, when he made the transition from full-time musician to keyboard technician. “I still play, but not as well as when it was my ...

Gilbert Castellanos establishes Young Lions Jazz Conservatory

“My plan is to go all year long, and it’s going to be a little more intense."

“I’ve always had the idea to start my own school,” says trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos, who recently resigned as the artistic director of the International Academy of Jazz in order to establish the Young Lions Jazz ...

55 gigs in 24 hours is a big enough wow

“We didn’t break the record on our first try, which was okay.”

The Guinness Book of World Records achievement for “Most Concerts in 24 Hours” (65 gigs set in Norway, 2012) is safe for now. Local vocalist Leonard Patton and his group with pianist Ed Kornhauser, bassist ...

Whitney Shay's "away" game

Brazilian Mississippi Delta Blues Festival was just the start

A chance encounter at the Doheny Blues Festival two years ago proved to be a pivotal moment for North Park blues woman Whitney Shay, who met a Brazilian guitarist/concert promoter named Igor Prado. “A couple ...

Is this the end of Harbor Music Hall?

“The street traffic is louder than our saxophone player."

San Diego jazz fans might be on the verge of losing another music venue now that Harbor Music Hall (1506 India Street) has been threatened with the potential loss of their beer-and-wine license due to ...

Homeless in the House

Voices of Our City Choir dissed at premier venue?

When the San Diego Music Awards approached musician and homelessness advocate Steph Johnson about having her Voices of Our City Choir open the show at House of Blues last month, she and the group were ...

Jacob Miranda, the nine-band man

And that's after his day-job, folks

It’s hard to imagine that there is a busier musician on the San Diego pop music scene than bassist Jacob Miranda. He plays in nine bands; two of them, Sister Speak and the Lyrical Groove, ...

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