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

Back to profile

Stories by Robert Bush

Louis Valenzuela turns Fakebook into Realbook

When Howard Mandel, President of the Jazz Journalists Association, emailed Louis Valenzuela to congratulate him on being selected a Jazz Hero by the organization, the guitarist almost missed it. “I didn’t recognize the name,” says ...

Five possible paths for pianist Brenda Greggio

Pink Trio pianist Brenda Greggio first caught my ear back in 2017, when she joined trumpeter and educator Gilbert Castellanos’ Young Lions Jazz Conservatory. She was coming from the world of classical music, but she ...

Keeping downtown quiet with Hofmann & Wofford

Under normal circumstances, flute virtuoso Holly Hofmann and her pianist husband Mike Wofford would be touring the world. (Hofmann, who is also a concert impresario, most recently curated a Sunday series at the Handlery Hotel ...

On the stage and the page with bassist Mark Dresser

Over the past two years, bassist Mark Dresser got hit hard by the Covid experience. That’s not to say that he actually contracted the virus, or that he went broke from lack of paying gigs ...

April 28, 2022
Joe Garrison’s terrifying reality

Composer Joe Garrison hit a milestone birthday last year, right in the midst of the pandemic, and decided, at long last, that he was sick of music. Or at least, with the piano tuning aspect ...

April 14, 2022
What San Diego Reader writers would shell out cash for

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a music writer isn’t going to get rich plying his trade, but at least he’ll get free stuff: albums, concert tickets, swag, perhaps even the occasional backstage pass. ...

Matt Hall’s modern trombone travelogue

Trombone virtuoso and U.S. Marine Corps veteran Matt Hall is poised, after a Covid-caused two-year delay, to release his first album on the noted independent label Summit Records, one that features an all-star lineup of ...

Drummer Jake Najor’s major scare

Last summer, prolific drummer Jake Najor (Sure Fire Soul Ensemble, Big Daddy Kane, TV On The Radio) began feeling ill. Thankfully, he decided that a trip to the ER was in order. “I’d been sick ...

March 24, 2022
The Queen of Beatlemania

After a two-year hiatus, Queen Bee’s owner Alma Rodriguez is set to resume the annual Beatle Fair on March 26, promising a full day of music, talks, screenings, and shopping for all things related to ...

They call him Citizen Flores

In the days before Covid, piano virtuoso Irving Flores was one of the busiest cats in town. “Yes, I was playing every day,” recalls Flores. “But, just like that, it all collapsed from all that ...

Jazz guitarists (hopefully) featured at Athenaeum winter series

Jazz concert impresario Daniel Atkinson has experimented with all types of presentation ideas in the 32 years he’s been bringing music to San Diego. It’s been a while, however, since he focused a show on ...

Victor Baker’s milestone guitar

Victor Baker knows guitars. For one thing, he’s been playing them professionally for years. For another, back in the late ‘90s, he decided to start building them as well. “I was teaching a ton of ...

Whitney Shay finally tours Europe

In the days before the pandemic, it would have been exceedingly difficult to find a San Diego musician with a busier schedule than blues and jazz vocalist Whitney Shay. “I was doing at least 20 ...

December 30, 2021
Yale Strom wants more on his plate than Hot Pstromi

Calling Yale Strom a polymath somehow seems inadequate. He’s a violinist, composer, educator, author (working on his 15th book), award-winning documentary director, playwright, and now, the latest inductee to the San Diego Music Hall of ...

December 16, 2021
Six String Society’s Pianotastic project

North County concert impresario Kenneth Rexrode had zero experience in the music business when he was approached nearly ten years ago by a local country-music singer. “His name was Tony Suraci, and he wanted me ...

December 2, 2021
Bonnie Wright bids adieu to Fresh Sound

Farewell to Fresh Sound : New music champion and concert impresario Bonnie Wright bids adieu to her Fresh Sound series with a farewell show featuring award-winning percussionist Steven Schick on November 19 at Liberty Station. ...

November 18, 2021
Mackenzie Leighton, busy bassist

Bassist Mackenzie Leighton’s presence on the San Diego jazz scene has grown exponentially over the past few years, to the point where he’s been able to land some very high profile gigs with Peter Sprague, ...

November 4, 2021
Nathan Hubbard returns to La Cage aux Folles

Multiple San Diego Music Award-winning percussionist and producer Nathan Hubbard has always kept a lot of irons in the fire. So when San Diego shut down in March 2020 because of the pandemic, he lost ...

October 21, 2021
David Whitman needs a warehouse

When studying for his doctorate at the University of Southern Mississippi. SDSU percussion lecturer (and Ropeadope Recording artist) David Whitman took one piece of his instructor’s advice to heart. “He said, ‘If you want to ...

Daniel Atkinson’s big jazz venture

Jazz concert impresario Daniel Atkinson has been presenting music with Jazz at the Athenaeum for 32 years, showcasing national talent for eight annual events in the Athenaeum Library, and six more at the larger Scripps ...

September 23, 2021
Dizzy’s covering up for Chuck Perrin

Jazz concert promoter and Dizzy’s operator Chuck Perrin began showcasing (mostly) jazz talent back in April 2000 — first at the Culy Trucking Warehouse, within spitting distance of Petco Park. Seven years later, a construction ...

September 9, 2021
Leonard Patton’s army marches on La Mesa

There’s an old joke that says the only way to make a million dollars in jazz is start out with two million. Given that, and given the reality of post-pandemic life, it seems like opening ...

August 19, 2021
Sacha Boutros partners with Il Sogno Italiano venue

Three years ago, jazz-vocal chanteuse (and native San Diegan) Sacha Boutros pulled up stakes and moved to Paris, France, frustrated by the lack of opportunity for performance in her hometown. Now she’s back, at least ...

August 5, 2021
Jaime Valle: Jazz from San Miguel de Allende to San Diego

Jazz guitar man Jaime Valle has been a force on the San Diego scene for many decades. That stayed true even after he moved to the picturesque Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. I ...

July 22, 2021
Streaming the scene with Louis Valenzuela

In the days before the pandemic, guitarist Louis Valenzuela was on his way to becoming a ubiquitous force on the San Diego jazz scene. He ran a popular jazz jam session on Monday nights at ...

July 8, 2021
From Miles Davis to Charles McPherson: photographer Michael Oletta pays it forward with Jazz In The Moment book

Anyone who has attended local jazz concerts over the last 40 years is familiar with the stealthy visage of longtime professional photographer Michael Oletta, who got his start in concert photography back when he was ...

July 1, 2021
Wilfrido Terrazas’ flute flight to Baja

“It’s inspired by Homeric poetry, especially the Odyssey,” explains flute virtuoso and UCSD professor Wilfrido Terrazas, in regards to his latest solo flute album Itaca, which was released last December. “It is both a real ...

June 3, 2021
All-Town Sound: music for homo sapiens

There are a ton of San Diego musicians who have found themselves involuntarily unemployed since mid-March of 2020, when live gigs virtually dried up all over the country. What to do during all the downtime ...

May 27, 2021
San Diego live jazz bounces back

I have a vivid memory of the last live concert I attended in town. It was a show featuring pianist Anthony Davis, bassist Mark Dresser, and trombonist Michael Dessen held in the acoustically pristine Conrad ...

May 12, 2021
“6-Feet Supper Club” brings live music back to Panama 66

For years, San Diego’s favorite destination for jazz on a Wednesday night was the jam session curated by trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos at Panama 66. He would feature performances in the early evening by students from ...

KSDS’s pandemic blues

Another victim of the Coronavirus was San Diego’s all-jazz radio station KSDS 88.3. The station, which operates on the campus of San Diego City College, had only 48 hours to totally retool into an automated ...

March 25, 2021
From the bell of John Reynolds’ trumpet

Of all the collateral damage suffered in the last 12 months, the music industry has been hit particularly hard. Everyone has lost gigs, and many venues have shuttered permanently. But for trumpeter John Reynolds, a ...

March 18, 2021
Pandemic conditions lead to third album from San Diego Jewish Men’s Choir

The San Diego Jewish Men’s Choir managed to release their third album in December of 2020. Quite an achievement, one would think, given the circumstances of Covid-19. But, says conductor Ruth Webber, “Had it not ...

February 18, 2021
Leonard Patton’s Pizza Hut jingle

Back in December, local singer Leonard Patton’s voice was heard on a national commercial for a Pizza Hut jingle (doing a take on “The 12 Days of Christmas.”) It was recorded at Singing Serpent studios ...

January 28, 2021
Steph Richards’ super scents make Supersense

“I was at an Alex Cline concert when the air-conditioning suddenly came on and immediately the whole vibe changed. That got me to thinking about how the other senses might influence the way we perceive ...

December 3, 2020
Ben Wanicur brings DIY ethic to Robb Field

“I’ve decided to revive the San Diego Underground,” says bassist Benjamin Wanicur, referring to his monthly jam session that used to operate out of 3rd Space on Park Avenue. Wanicur’s revival has an important new ...

October 15, 2020
Charles McPherson dedicates Jazz Dance Suites to ballet-star daughter

Saxophone icon Charles McPherson unveiled his latest album Jazz Dance Suites on his own Chazz Mack Music label on September 24. It’s his 30th effort as a leader. The album is dedicated to his ballet-star ...

October 15, 2020
Whitney Shay’s drive-in blues

Singer Whitney Shay headlined a recent live show (complete with a real audience) on August 15 in the overflow parking lot of the Del Mar fairgrounds. It was one example of where live music might ...

October 1, 2020
Claudia Gomez‘s sound showers with Trio Gadjo and Besos de Coco

Claudia Gomez keeps a lot of irons in the fire. She’s a musician and a tap dancer, and she taught at Tap Into Yoga & Reiki all over San Diego until just before the pandemic ...

September 24, 2020
Nathan Hubbard’s new normal

“I should say first and foremost, that I always just wanted to play music in general and I really didn’t have any barriers between genres,” says musician Nathan Hubbard. “The first two CDs I bought ...

August 13, 2020
Peter Sprague digs his new livestream concerts

Jazz guitarist Peter SpraguePeter Sprague had just returned to San Diego from a Danish tour with vocalist Sinne Eeg when the pandemic struck, and the musician soon found himself on lockdown with the rest of ...

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close