Thursday April 12, 2012
The word is out on the musicians’ grapevine. When it comes to vocals, the Jazzschool has become an invaluable forum for transmitting the tradition and presenting many of the most creative singers on the scene.
This weekend’s programming makes the case, with two rising stars from New York City offering concerts and workshops. Sachal Vasandani, a Chicago native who has quickly established himself as one of the most confident young male singers finding inspiration in jazz, performs Friday night and presents a vocal skills master class on Saturday afternoon.
With three releases on Mack Avenue since 2007, Vasandani has displayed a sharp ear for interesting material, a warm, deep-grained tone, and supple, relaxed phrasing at even the briskest tempos. He’s joined Friday by prodigious saxophonist Dayna Stephens, a Berkeley High grad who’s become a major force in New York City despite dealing with a life threatening medical condition.
Saturday marks the Northern California debut of singer/songwriter and guitarist Becca Stevens playing her own material (followed by a master class Sunday afternoon). She’s probably best known in the Bay Area as a member of pianist Menlo Park-raised pianist Taylor Eigsti’s band, though she’s also performed in San Francisco with Bjorkestra, the New York big band devoted to the music of Icelandic pop enchantress Björk.
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