Mario GuarneriCraig GiudiciBrian HoGabe LeeLeela Paymai

Mario Guarneri, Founder and Artistic Director

Mario Guarneri

Mario Guarneri is a musician who has “done it all”, from playing Dixieland jazz with Louis Armstrong at the age of thirteen to fifteen seasons with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under the batons of Zubin Mehta and Carlo Maria Giulini. He has toured Europe with the Los Angeles Brass Quintet and performed with the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, Radio City Music Hall and even the Barnum and Bailey Circus. Mr. Guarneri has recorded solo albums on the Crystal and Nonesuch labels, one of which was nominated for the Prix de Rome. For a decade, Mario was the principal trumpet with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and has played on hundreds of TV and motion picture soundtracks, including solo performances on Lonesome Dove and Godfather III. He has taught trumpet for over 35 years, and is currently a trumpet instructor at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Guarneri also performs regularly with his jazz quartet in the San Francisco area, and has recorded four CDs. In 1986 he developed the Buzz Extension and Resistance Piece (B.E.R.P.) for all brass instruments, a dynamic advancement in brass pedagogy. Since then, he has lectured extensively on the BERP concept. In recent years, he has presented lectures at the International Trumpet Guild, the New York Brass Conference, and numerous state and regional music conventions across the country. Guarneri has taught master classes in Asia and Europe, and has established a worldwide reputation as a creative musician of the highest level. In addition to working tirelessly on a volunteer basis, Mario is also one Jazz in the Neighborhood’s biggest financial supporters.


Craig Giudici, Volunteer Coordinator

Coming to JITN with a background well outside of music and the arts, Craig brings the curiosity and interests of a lifelong, self-described music junkie. With music always playing in the background, Craig has worked in financial services, market research, dabbled in technology and more recently found his niche through volunteering or working directly with organizations such as SF/Marin Food Bank,, Friends of the Urban Forest, SF Animal Care & Control, SF Bike Kitchen, and now Jazz In The Neighborhood. For him, variety and that chance of first discovering the ‘new thing’ are what keep it all interesting. As with the organizations he’s worked with, so it is with the music he regularly seeks out and listens to – finding connection and maintaining a variety matter. Craig’s as likely to have Gil Evans or Kamasi Washington playing in the background as the Arctic Monkeys or Bryan Ferry. The unifying thread is the idea that artists and the worthy organizations supporting them matter and need community support. That community-artist connection needs to happen either through open-minded, enthusiastic audience support or through volunteers lending a hand in making things run smoothly. These days, you’ll find Craig happily pitching in on both sides of the house.


Brian Ho, Financial Officer

Brian Ho began playing piano at the early age of five taking lessons at both Stanford and San Jose State. By the age of sixteen, he began to play professionally and started teaching. After his college years spent studying music at UC Davis, he decided to pursue his love of music as a leader, composer, and arranger. Brian now leads his own group on the Hammond Organ and is an in demand sideman. While Brian still stays rooted in the tradition of classic Hammond Organists such as Jimmy Smith, Shirley Scott, and Jack Mc Duff; with his vast knowledge of styles and influences he has developed his own unique and modern take on organ jazz.


Gabe Lee, Marketing and Media Coordinator

Gabe Lee is a jazz drummer based out of the Bay Area. Gabe developed his voice between influences from Brian Blade, Dave King, and Paul Motian while studying with Jason Lewis at San Jose State University. He is a member of the Arnie Co Nonet, and can be found on the upcoming live album In Our Backyard from the Inner Circle Jazz Orchestra. In addition to his career as a musician, Gabe works with Jazz in the Neighborhood and the Independent Musicians Alliance developing and overseeing programs such as the Safe Place to Play and the Directory of Performing Jazz Educators.


Leela Paymai, Guaranteed Fair Wage Fund Coordinator


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