Jazz Notes, Jan/Feb 2012

Support Jazz Education! Dine at Shadowbrook on Tuesday, January 24th

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!  Gather your family and friends, make a date, and schedule your reservations to dine at the landmark Shadowbrook Restaurant in Capitola on Tuesday, January 24th.  Kuumbwa Jazz is happy once again to be part of the Community Tuesdays program, proceeds of which benefit our jazz education programs. The Kuumbwa Jazz Honor Band, directed by Steve Wilson, will hit the Rock Lounge Stage beginning at 6:00 pm. Shadowbrook will donate 1/3rd of the evening’s  food and beverage sales to Kuumbwa.  Call (831) 475-1511 to make your reservations. Be sure to mention that you are dining for Kuumbwa Jazz. See you all there!

Thank you to our 2011 Sponsors

A Train Law group; Appenrodt Commercial Properties; Central Coast Oncology and Hematology: Michael Alexander MD, Michael Yen MD, PhD, Amy McMullen MD; Dr. Arthur Dover and Aptos Travel Clinic; Erik’s DeliCafé; Kyle Goldman; Harry Harrington and Sharon Hale; High Notes; Howerton Construction; Carolyn Hyatt and Joe Hyatt; Bob Jackson and Stuart Hurt; JazzAlleyKats; Kuumbwa Jazz Board of Trustees; Logos Books & Records; Mateo Lettunich; Dr. Duncan McCollum, McCollum Wellness Center; Drew Miller Insurance Services, Inc.; Miner Family Winery; Beth Ostrowski; Pacific Sun Properties, Susan and Alan Goldstein; Plazita Medical Clinic; Gordon and Teresa Pusser, Swift Street ArtWorkSpace; Radiology Medical Group; Redtree Properties; Silent Gong Fund; Smoothjazz.com; Soif Wine Bar & Merchants; Ten Sharps; The Print Gallery; Tom Thacher and Sue Nerton; Universal Audio; Wells Fargo Bank; ZNA Communications


Kuumbwa Profiles: Dr. Michael and Toby Alexander

“Kuumbwa also provides music education…”

Longtime Kuumbwa members Dr. Michael and Toby Alexander are strong believers in giving back to the community. For many years they have been, and continue to be, generous supporters of numerous nonprofit organizations. In addition, they have served on the governing boards of many of those same organizations. Michael is currently serving his second term on Kuumbwa’s Board of Trustees, having originally served in the mid ’90s. Toby is a past board president of Shakespeare Santa Cruz and continues to work with them as a fundraising advisor.

Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, the Alexanders were high school sweethearts who married shortly after graduating from the University of Illinois. Both Michael and Toby grew up with an appreciation for the arts. Michael took classical piano lessons, enjoyed popular music, and developed an appreciation for jazz. “I played in a rock and roll band when I was a teenager. We weren’t very good, but we had fun,” he laughs. In the jazz venues of Chicago, he was able to hear Count Basie, with Joe Williams, Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, Ahmad Jamal, and many others. “The clubs were very smoky. Everybody smoked cigarettes back then, but I saw a lot of great musicians. It was a great time.” It was 1965 when they moved to California to attend Stanford University. Michael majored in medicine. Toby studied for her master’s degree in education. After completing her degree, Toby worked as a math teacher in the South Bay Peninsula schools, while Michael finished his medical training to become an oncologist.

In 1976, the opportunity arose for Michael to go into medical practice in Santa Cruz with another doctor, and they relocated to Scotts Valley. Initially, they had little time for enjoying concerts, or theater productions, as they focused on building Michael’s medical practice and starting a family. Toby began teaching in the Santa Cruz County schools, and later served as president of the Scotts Valley Board of Education. Today, in addition to her community work, she is the business/accounting manager for Michael’s medical practice. They are also parents of a son and daughter, Jonathan and Jane, now adults, and have five grandchildren. “It wasn’t until 1986 that I saw my first concert at Kuumbwa. It was Stan Getz,” says Michael. Infrequent concert goers at first, the Alexanders soon became Kuumbwa members. “Toby and I feel very lucky to live here. Branford Marsalis has said Kuumbwa is second only to the Village Vanguard (in New York) as the best jazz venue in the world. That’s not bad company. But, unlike the Vanguard, Kuumbwa is a nonprofit organization that also provides music education programs. It picks up the slack from the budget cuts in school music programs. I think that, for a small town like Santa Cruz, to have access to the level of artists that you usually find only in larger cities is very unique.”  –Kurt Brinkmeyer

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