Our panel of outstanding musicians/mentors have been chosen for their lifelong commitment to the art form as performers and teachers.
Terrence Brewer • Clairdee • Mimi Fox • Tammy Hall • Erik Jekabson • Darren Johnston • Lisa Mezzacappa • Ami Molinelli • Erika Oba • Akira Tana • Adam Theis • Dillon Vado
Erik Jekabson is a Bay Area musician, currently living in El Cerrito. He graduated in May 2006 from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music with a master’s degree in composition and is now working as a freelance composer, arranger and trumpeter, leading his own bands as well as playing with bands like the Realistic Orchestra, Mitch Marcus Quintet +13 and the Contemporary Jazz Orchestra. Erik also teaches at The Jazzschool, Berkeley City College, Los Medanos Junior College, Chabot College, Cal-State East Bay and the Waldorf Middle School in San Francisco, and has given clinics at Santa Rosa Junior College and Loyola College of New Orleans. His most recent CD, “Crescent Boulevard” was released in 2010 on his own Jekab’s Music label. Click here for more information about Erik Jekabson.
Since settling in San Francisco in 1997, Canada-born trumpeter, composer and songwriter Darren Johnston has collaborated and recorded with an extremely diverse cross-section of artists, yet always finds ways to be true to his own unique voice in each context: from straight-ahead jazz luminaries such as bassist/composer Marcus Shelby, to experimental icons like ROVA, Fred Frith and Myra Melford, rising star in the singer/songwriter world like Meklit Hadero, or traditional Balkan brass band giants Brass Menazeri. As a bandleader he has made his mark with the award winning The Nice Guy Trio, The Darren Johnston Quintet, the category defying Broken Shadows, and more.
He has received commissions for dance companies such as Kunst-Stoff, and Robert Moses’ Kin, and AXIS Dance, presenting organizations such as Intersection for the Arts, the De Young Museum, and the Yerbas Buena Garden Festival, and his music has been used in a few independent films. His original works have been supported by the Zellerbach Family Fund, Meet the Composer, and SF Friends of Chamber Music. In June of 2013, he premiered a commission from the Yerba Buena Gardens Festival, “Letters From Home,” developed in collaboration with choreographer Erika Chong Shuch, for which he is forming a multi-generational chorus with over eighty participants, the Trans-Global People’s Chorus.
As an educator, Johnston currently teaches privately, at the Community Music Center in San Francisco’s Mission district, the Oakland School for the Arts, and as adjunct faculty at the University of California, Berkeley. Johnston has a BA from the Cincinnati Conservatory of music, and an MFA in composition from Mills College. Click here for more information on Darren Johnston.
Akira Tana was born in San Jose, California. He received degrees in East Asian Studies from Harvard University in 1974, and in percussion from the New England Conservatory in 1979. Tana has worked and recorded with jazz greats such as Paquito D’Rivera, Art Farmer, Jim Hall, Lena Horne, Milt Jackson, J.J. Johnson, Hubert Laws, The Manhattan Transfer, James Moody, Sonny Rollins, Zoot Sims, Sonny Stitt, and The Paul Winter Consort. As a jazz educator he has given workshops and clinics at many U. S. colleges and universities, including the Berklee College of Music, and the University of Miami. Akira Tana plays Yamaha Drums, Vic Firth Sticks, and Bosphorus Cymbals exclusively. Click here for more information about Akira Tana.