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Stories by Robert Bush

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, ...

Trumpeter Stephanie Richards keeps it bicoastal

Six-hour commute worth it, she says

“It’s kind of like living a double life,” says trumpeter Stephanie Richards, who arrived in San Diego two years ago to become an assistant professor of music at UCSD while still maintaining a Brooklyn residency. ...

Joe Lovano blows into town

And other jazz highlights for the week ahead

Wednesday 5 Saxophonist Drew Ceccato and his quintet perform Roscoe Mitchell’s Nonaah at UC San Diego’s Conrad Prebys Music Center Experimental Theater with Kyle Motl, Tommy Babin, Judith Hamann, and T.J. Borden at 7 p.m. ...

Music therapy is real

...just ask local artist Mandi Jo Miller, she's seen it work

Mandi Jo Miller wasn’t looking for a new career when a chance meeting redirected her path in life on New Year’s Eve in 2008. “I met a music therapist in a bar,” says Miller. “I ...

Rebecca Jade at Cafe 21

...and the best of the rest in San Diego jazz clubs this week

Monday 27There’s a jam session going on tonight, led by guitarist Louis Valenzuela with Harley Magsino and TBA on drums at Busalacchi’s Modo Mio (3707 Fifth Avenue) from 6 to 9 p.m. No cover. Tuesday ...

Next-gen jazz kids

San Diego's International Academy of Jazz is festival bound

The students of the International Academy of Jazz are festival-bound, having been propelled from the strength of their audition tape into a spot at the Next Gen competition, celebrating its 47th year in conjunction with ...

Clayton Brothers come to town

...and the best of the rest in San Diego jazz clubs this week

Monday 20Begin the jazz week in style with a free concert featuring Joshua White on piano in duet with Peter Sprague on guitar at the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library (1008 Wall Street) from 12 ...

Riker's lifetime achievement

San Diego guitarist Wayne Riker honored at this year's SDMAs

This year’s winner of the San Diego Music Awards’ “Lifetime Achievement” prize is guitarist Wayne Riker, who is still kind of processing that information. “Having worked in all the different genres professionally, I can name ...

My absolute favorite place to hang out

What Bonnie Wright is all about

New-music concert promoter Bonnie Wright sees many positive changes in the local scene. “It’s expanding in ways that I like,” says Wright. “The Symphony, the Opera, and the La Jolla Music Society are all doing ...

The perfect place to become human again

Gilbert and Lorraine Castellanos find the Red Fox Room essential

The team of Gilbert and Lorraine Castellanos make music together and apart. She plays guitar and sings in Besos de Coco and her own sextet, and he might be San Diego’s busiest jazz musician.” The ...

A place for soup at 3 a.m.

Joshua White is a night-owl, an avid reader, and an avid gym-goer.

To El Cajon–based pianist Joshua White, “vibe” is the determining factor for just about every place he chooses to spend his time. “My number-one music venue is the Athenaeum Library in La Jolla. It’s a ...

Not a lot of sweet rooms

Nathan Hubbard's cool spots

“I think San Diego has a really wide music scene and it’s fairly splintered, too,” says drummer Nathan Hubbard as he tries a variety of techniques to entertain his two-year-old son while we speak. “There’s ...

Endangered Blood at Bread & Salt

This week in San Diego jazz happenings

Monday 13Start off the jazz week in San Diego with a free, noon-time concert featuring pianist Joshua White and trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos at the Lyceum Theatre (79 Horton Plaza)…. Stephanie Richards + Phantom Station: Conduction ...

Danny Green Trio plays the Rancho Bernardo Library

...and the best of the rest in the San Diego jazz clubs this week

Tuesday 7Sue Palmer & the Motel Swing Quintet play Tio Leo’s (5302 Napa Street ) at 7:30 p.m. No cover charge. Wednesday 8The Danny Green Trio with Justin Grinnell and Julien Cantelm perform at the ...

I'm from California, don't blame me!

Composer Anthony Davis on Black History month and the Central Park Five

During Black History Month there did not appear to be huge rush to present the works of African-American composers to the San Diego classical music audience. UCSD professor/composer Anthony Davis did see two productions of ...

Ralph Towner returns to San Diego

...and the best of the rest on the San Diego jazz scene this week

Monday 27Start the jazz week off with a free lunchtime concert showcasing the U.S. Marine Corps Jazz Orchestra with special guest Gilbert Castellanos at SDSU’s Smith Recital Hall (5500 Campanile Drive) from noon to 1:30 ...

Kamau's gold

San Diego musician/producer Kamau Kenyatta wins another Grammy

“I was at home working on a new project,” says musician/producer Kamau Kenyatta explaining why he had to miss this year’s Grammy awards. Kenyatta helmed the sessions behind Gregory Porter’s Take Me to the Alley, ...

Tuner, composer, space traveler

Joe Garrison knows pianos but still working on the whole music thing

Reclusive jazz composer Joe Garrison is unveiling a new CD called The People Upstairs with his large ensemble Night People. The musician makes his living tuning pianos and long ago he came to this revelation: ...

Joshua White Brings Codes to the Loft

...and the best of the rest in San Diego jazz this week

Tuesday 21KSDS Jazz 88 presents Jazz Live celebrating the music of Tadd Dameron with the Paul Combs Quintet featuring Bill Cunliffe at the Saville Theatre on the campus of San Diego City College. The doors ...

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