Jazz Notes, July/August 2013


The Jazz Kiln, Summer 2013

Back by popular demand! Kuumbwa Jazz is pleased to offer a second series of its

six-week workshop on jazz improvisation. The Jazz Kiln is Kuumbwa’s newest education program and is designed to offer a safe place for musicians of all ages to explore their musical boundaries. The workshop is directed by renowned jazz educator, composer and pianist Eddie Mendenhall. Eddie believes that you can learn the jazz language by studying the history of jazz (listen!) and pursuing an enjoyable dedication to your instrument. Each student may have a different path to proficiency on the instrument, but improvising is always about your ears and how you communicate your instincts, feelings, and meaning in performance. These workshops are intended to help music students find their jazz voice, expressing themselves with confidence through improvisation and understanding their role within an ensemble.

Classes are held at Kuumbwa Jazz Center on Tuesday nights July 9th – August 20th: no class will be held on July 30th. Tuition for the series is $200 with advanced enrollment only. Details and registration information will be posted on the website in June. http://kuumbwajazz.org/education/jazz-kiln


Club Kuumbwa

Some of you may have noticed a new addition to our programming this year: Club Kuumbwa.  The new concert series is a monthly opportunity to see up-and-coming, independent bands (both local and national), in a casual setting with budget-friendly cover charges and drink specials.

Not just focusing on jazz, Club Kuumbwa presents music across genres, from folk and bluegrass, to indie rock, to soul.  For these shows, the club is designed in a casual setting, much like your favorite bar, with tables, chairs and plenty of open room in front of the stage.  These shows have a later start time and go on until the “after hours,” allowing the audience to take full advantage of a late-night Friday or Saturday club scene. This all-ages concert series will continue on July 19th with Alex Pinto Trio – a fusion of Indian music and jazz; and August 24th with Honey Wilders – rock n’ roll and power–pop. For more information, visit:



Kuumbwa Profile:  Mark Teixeira

“I’m totally lucky to be involved here at Kuumbwa”

If you have perused or purchased any merchandise at Kuumbwa’s gift shop in recent years, you just might recognize Mark Teixeira as a familiar face. “I’ve been volunteering for about five years,” says Mark. “And for the past year, I’ve been coordinating the work schedules for the gift shop volunteers. I’m a project manager at my ‘day job,’ so this is kind of a natural extension of what I already do, organizing people.” He jokes a bit about looking forward to being a Kuumbwa volunteer through his ‘golden years’ once he retires, but he is serious and enthusiastic about his dedication to the organization and its place in the Santa Cruz community. “I’m totally lucky to be involved here at Kuumbwa,” he will tell you. “It’s a great bunch of people to be around.”

Originally from New Jersey, Mark’s family moved to San Jose in 1968, when he was eight years old. “Around the house, I was exposed to a lot of music that my father and older sisters were listening to. My dad encouraged us to keep an open mind to everything, all styles of music. We were hearing classical, rock, folk, bluegrass, all the psychedelic ’60s era stuff, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Pink Floyd, and so on. My father enjoyed a lot of the fusion/jazz that was evolving at the time, so I heard Miles, Deodato, and other musicians that were part of that movement.” Teixeira also says listening to the adventurous improvisations of the Grateful Dead was his gateway to a fuller appreciation of jazz and the musicianship of jazz musicians such as Stephane Grappelli, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and John Coltrane. “I was lucky to be living in the Bay Area back then. Going to concerts at Bill Graham’s Winterland was like a ritual in the ’70s, planning out the whole day, and standing in line to get good seats. I remember seeing the final Winterland concert. Looking back, it was a fantastic time.”

After graduating college, Mark ventured back to Silicon Valley to pursue job opportunities. About ten years ago, he returned to the Santa Cruz area to work at Bell Sports. He now works at Fox Racing Shox. “I love engineering and working as a project manager because I get to interface with creative people and have everyone working towards a common goal. It’s a fun job,” he says. “And I like being able to apply those skills to what I do at Kuumbwa.” Teixeira was a UCSC student majoring in math and physics when he first attended a concert at Kuumbwa. “I went to hear Larry Coryell. That was in ’83 or ’84, and I’ve been going to Kuumbwa ever since.” Of recent performances, he mentions the “Monterey Jazz Festival On Tour” concert with Chris Potter, Benny Green, and Christian McBride as a standout. “How lucky we are here in Santa Cruz,” he remarks. “Kuumbwa gets the best jazz acts in the world, and the sound is superb. We’ve got the best facility in the Bay Area.”  – Kurt Brinkmeyer

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