Some three years after the death of the beloved San Francisco drum maestro Eddie Marshall the loss still stings. Whether serving as a sideman or leading his own inventive combo, Marshall made the trap set purr and roar, generating tremendous swing with a minimum of fuss. His presence in the Bay Area felt particularly felicitous as he moved west after establishing himself as a top-shelf New York player, known for his work with Toshiko Akiyoshi, Stan Getz, and Sam Rivers. As the house drummer at Keystone Korner in North Beach, he provided impeccable rhythmic support to steady rotation of masters, while generously mentoring several generations of young Bay Area musicians.
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.