Dayna Stephens knows a thing or two about overcoming obstacles. As a standout tenor saxophonist at Alameda High in the mid-1990s, he and a friend took over the jazz ensemble when the school’s band director quit at the beginning of his junior year. Looking for more rigorous musical training, he transferred to Berkeley High his senior year, and quickly became one of the vaunted jazz program’s leading lights. These days he’s one of the most respected saxophonists on the New York scene, and he’s facing a far more daunting challenge than an AWOL teacher.
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.