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Stories by Robert Bush

A Snapshot of Curtis Taylor

“I’m very much in a transitional time right now”

“I’ve got a nice crew with me and I’m excited we we’re able to put this album together,” says trumpeter Curtis Taylor about Snapshot, his latest record that dropped last month. Snapshot was recorded live ...

Bassist Omar Lopez’s good fortune with the Wailers and the B-Side Players

“The bass is like the foundation — you are the glue between the harmony and the rhythm.”

Local bassist Omar Lopez (Áfrojazziacs, Juice Box) came to San Diego in 2006, to study at San Diego State. He’s originally from Calipatria, down in the Imperial Valley. Lopez just turned 31, and he’s been ...

Saxophonist Robert Dove’s Blind Lady Ale House ally

He’s pumped about his new Thursday night jam session

“I came out here six years ago from Columbus, Ohio because of an ex-girlfriend,” says saxophonist Robert Dove. “But San Diego is one of the world’s best kept secrets, musically, and I fell in love ...

Whitney Shay: blues purge

“There’s a much greater appreciation in Europe for the blues”

San Diego blues belter Whitney Shay had a definite vision in mind when she cut her last album, A Woman Rules the World. That vision turned out to be prescient. “I was very specific about ...

Poway’s Victor Baker once commissioned by guitar-making icon D’Angelico

Arch-top jazz guitars “aren’t cheap, but they are reasonably priced for a professional player.”

Two years ago, Victor Baker arrived from the East Coast and set his one-man arch-top jazz guitar shop — initially, in Lemon Grove. Since then, he’s moved everything into his large home in Poway. What ...

Jake Najor and the Moment of Truth drops new album In the Cut

With guest appearances by MixMaster Wolf, Burkey, and Jamie Allensworth

“This is something I’ve always wanted to do, and face it, I just turned 41, so it was time to get something out there under my own name,” relates funk drum ace Jake Najor regarding ...

How Rebecca Jade & The Cold Fact began

“We know each other a lot better and there is a different, deeper camaraderie happening”

Vocalist Rebecca Jade has had a busy year. Between local gigs all over the county and out-of-town touring as a backup singer for pop-star Sheila E., she still managed to record a follow-up album, Running ...

Bassist Ben Wanicur’s jam session on the rocks

“We’re looking to strike a balance between that extreme and one that coddles younger players.”

Bassist Ben Wanicur knows a thing or two about hosting a jazz jam session, having led one for five years in University Heights at the work-share studio 3rd Space. Part of Wanicur’s expertise came about ...

Students of the Francis Parker Jazz Workshop study with working professionals

Nathan Collins went through the program... and is already touring with John Fogerty

“It’s an opportunity for students from all over the county to study with some of the top jazz players in San Diego for a whole week to really refine their craft,” says program director Nate ...

Balboa Park’s Panama 66 perfect fit for Gilbert Castellanos, Erika Davies, and other jazz musicians

“I have people in here from open to close every day.”

Entrepreneur Jeff Motch is one of a four-person collective that owns and operates Blind Lady Ale House in Normal Heights; Tiger! Tiger! in North Park, and Panama 66 in Balboa Park. The last, an open-air ...

Nathan Hubbard’s Parker Meridien surprised to win Hip-Hop/Rap category at 2019 San Diego Music Awards

“When they called our name, it felt like opening a door to a surprise party”

Drummer/ bandleader Nathan Hubbard has had his share of success at the San Diego Music Awards in recent years, winning “Best Jazz” in 2017 for his album Furiously Dreaming, and in 2014 for his sprawling ...

San Diego Reader 2019 Music Issue

Guitar-based bands, children of hip-hop, jazz stories, funk scene, record label turmoil, art of music

Guitar bands spotted in the wild Here’s a fun-fact: contrary to popular opinion, guitar-based bands aren’t on the endangered species list. They may not generate the national coverage they once did, but if you venture ...

Immigration through Migration: Pat Metheny drummer and composer of Birdman soundtrack Antonio Sanchez releases new album

Grammy Award winner is “completely repulsed by what the United States is doing to immigrants”

The cover photo of drummer Antonio Sanchez’s new CD Lines In The Sand, which dropped in January, should be familiar to most San Diegans. It depicts the U.S. border wall at Imperial Beach as it ...

Crowdfunding collapse between Allison Adams Tucker and PledgeMusic

“I’m up to my eyeballs in debt”

“I had premonitions that something was amiss,” says vocalist Allison Adams Tucker, whose latest recording project got caught up in the apparent collapse of the crowdfunding organization PledgeMusic, after she spent a considerable amount of ...

Douglas Kvandal’s Hammond B-3 organ donorship

“They make smaller compact electronic versions now, but it’s not the same thing"

“There is a real organ renaissance happening throughout the country right now,” claims Hammond B-3 specialist Douglas Kvandal, who is gearing up to present the Jazz Organ Summit Concert on February 17 at Dizzy’s (1717 ...

Monday night jam packed at Rosie O’ Grady’s

“It’s always slammed and everyone says it’s a fun hang”

Guitarist Louis Valenzuela was looking for a specific type of vibe when he was considering setting up a new jam session for local players. “I remember there was another Monday night session back in the ...

Number 82 guitarist of all time

Wilco guitarist Nels Cline remembers playing San Diego

Nels Cline, who was listed by Rolling Stone at number 82 in the “Top 100 Guitarists of All Time,” is probably best known to the general public as the lead guitarist of the band Wilco. ...

New time and new appreciation for flutist Holly Hofmann’s Jazz night at The Handlery Hotel

“People come because it’s an intimate listening venue"

“This March, we will have been presenting at the Handlery Hotel for four years,” says flutist Holly Hofmann. “During our first year, you could still get a seat. The venue holds about 75 people. For ...

Trumpet festival

San Diego’s version of the Festival of New Trumpet Music

“I’d heard about the Festival of New Trumpet Music [an annual multi-day New York City event co-curated by UCSD professor Stephanie Richards and founder Dave Douglas] around a dozen years ago, and I thought it ...

Bass & Word

More than 300 composers have written music specifically for Turetzky

Bassist Bertram Turetzky retired with the title professor emeritus from U.C. San Diego 15 years ago, but he’s not planning on slowing down anytime soon. Even though he’ll celebrate his 86th birthday in February, Turetzky ...

Trapped in Mexico

Caught up in the border-closure fiasco on November 24

“I’ve done lots of gigs in Mexico, and until now I’ve never had a problem,” says San Diego bassist Jacob Miranda, who was caught up in the border-closure fiasco on November 24. Miranda’s weekend began ...

To un-flute the flute

Wilfrido Terrazas joins UCSD's notable music faculty

“My attitude has changed over time,” explains flutist Wilfrido Terrazas, UCSD’s latest addition to its notable music faculty. “Years ago, I was trying to ‘un-flute the flute’ by exploring with an expanded sound pallet and ...

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 ...