Montclair Women’s Big Band

Saturday, May 27, 8pm at Community Music Center | Get tickets |

Jazz in the Neighborhood presents the Montclair Women’s Big Band, a Bay Area treasure, as they celebrate their 20th anniversary. Founded in 1997 by veteran trumpeter Ellen Seeling and saxophonist Jean Fineberg, the group is an alliance of some of the region’s most formidable jazz women, who range in age from their twenties to their seventies. Forging a singular blues-drenched sound with a deep Latin pocket and captivating original material, audiences are electrified by the band’s powerhouse ensemble, addictive grooves, and inspired solos.

Ellen Seeling is a pioneering trumpeter who was the first woman to graduate from Indiana University’s prestigious Jazz Studies Program in 1975. By the late 1970s she was well established on the New York scene as an eminently versatile player who moved seamlessly among gigs with top jazz, salsa, R&B, rock and disco acts. After relocating to the Bay Area in 1989 and founding the Montclair Women’s Big Band with Jean Fineberg, Seeling created the Jazzschool Girls Jazz and Blues Camp, and the Jazzschool Women’s Jazz and Blues Camp. These are still the only camps of their kind: specifically for girls and women with an all-woman faculty. She also founded the first nonprofit advocacy group in jazz for women and girls, JazzWomen and Girls Advocates. In 2016 the group successfully collaborated with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra to assist in their adoption of blind auditions as a hiring procedure. This is the first time any jazz organization will use blind auditions.

As for the other Montclair Women’s Big Band players, every musician is a professional performer. Many are leaders of their own groups as well as being recording artists and in-demand players. They are also middle and high school jazz band directors, private-lesson teachers, on university or college faculties, have their own music-related businesses, or work as composers or sound engineers.

The line up includes Kasey Knudsen, Mad Duran, Jean Fineberg, Eli Maliwan, Carolyn Walter, Ellen Seeling, Tiffany Carrico, Marina Garza, Sarah Wilson, Mara Fox, Emily Sanchez, Bonnie Maddox, Becca Burrington, Erika Oba, Michaelle Goerlitz, and Alan Hall.

For this event they’ll be performing an eclectic set list of big band classics, Latin styles, new arrangements, and original compositions by women composers, some of whom are in the band. Their forthcoming CD, Women’s Work, is an album of ten originals by different women composer/arrangers. Other CDs will be available for sale at this event along with band T-shirts, and a new book which includes a chapter on Ellen Seeling, Freedom of Expression: Interviews with Women in Jazz, by Chris Becker.

544 Capp Street, San Francisco
$15 general admission. $10 students & seniors.


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