Tag Archives: Jazzschool

Susan Brand: Jazz in your head; Larry Ochs, Eric Van James

Susan Brand. Photo: courtesy Susan Brand
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At the age of 50, with her children safely out of the house and enrolled in college, Berkeley psychologist Susan Brand decided to pursue a longtime dream of learning to play jazz piano. She knew it wouldn’t be easy, “but I had no idea how difficult it was going to be,” she says. “It’s been a steep learning curve ever since then.”

She discovered the Jazzschool in its first incarnation when it was located above La Note restaurant on Shattuck and quickly immersed herself in the jazz tradition. Before long she began to see profound connections between the interplay between musicians in a combo and the give and take that characterizes a successful therapy session, connections she’ll explore in a public talk on Monday, noon-1:30 p.m. at the Alta Bates Herrick Campus in the Malfoy Room, “Jazz and Psychotherapy: An Exploration of Discipline and Freedom.” … Continue reading »

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Kavita Shah: Bringing a world of jazz to Berkeley

Kavita xxx. Photo: Julien Carpenter
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If Kavita Shah had stuck to her usual morning ritual, she would have missed the fateful subway ride that changed the course of her life. For some reason, instead of hustling down the stairs to catch the train to her job at Human Rights Watch in midtown Manhattan, she decided to wait for the next train. When it arrived, and the doors opened, she immediately recognized Sheila Jordan, the extraordinary jazz singer who has served as den mother to a diverse array of aspiring vocalists for more than four decades.

“I wouldn’t be here if not for Sheila,” said Shah, a rising New York vocalist who makes her Bay Area debut Saturday at San Francisco’s Red Poppy Art House, and Sunday afternoon at Berkeley’s California Jazz Conservatory (formerly the Jazzschool).

The American-born daughter of Indian immigrants, Shah recently released an enthralling debut album Visions on Greg Osby’s Inner Circle Music, a label that has launched some of the most interesting jazz artists of the 21st century. Produced by Benin-born guitar star Lionel Loueke (heard recently at the SFJAZZ Center with Herbie Hancock), the album features her singular synthesis of jazz, Afro-Brazilian, West African, and Hindustani music. … Continue reading »

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