Shoppers who came to this weekend with an appetite for jazz were treated to a three-course sonic meal whipped up by world class musicians promoting the Stanford Jazz Festival.
Palo Alto locals relaxed Saturday afternoon in folded chairs at the Whole Foods parking lot, sipping wine and feasting their ears on phenomenal talent. The event was the first of many concerts as the Stanford Jazz Workshop begins its 40th season of providing intensive jazz workshops and performances for students and adults.
A preview to the 36 concerts that Stanford has lined up for this summer, Saturday's show displayed three unique talented groups, including the Wayne Wallace Quintet, which consists of Wayne Wallace, a grammy-nominated trombone player and composer and some of the top Latin jazz musicans in the world, such as Michael Spiro and Devid Belove. The Bourbon Kings, led by Stanford Jazz Workshop faculty member Jaz Sawyer, also played. And finally a band of students who have played together in the Stanford Jazz Workshops for the past few summers delighted the crowd.
“Whole foods has been a partner of the Stanford Jazz program for many years, providing food for our faculty,” Ernie Rideout, the marketing director for the Stanford Jazz workshops said. “The Whole Foods director came up with the idea to host it in the parking lot. They sell the food and we can get the word out about Jazz.”
Saturday's Whole Foods performance, in combination with the Stanford Shopping Center "all- star performance" on June 25, is part of the pre-festival community events, which were designed to spread awareness about the Stanford festival.
“A lot of people who live in Palo Alto do not know a lot about the jazz festivals, they don’t know that we have the best jazz musicians in the world coming here to Stanford every summer,” Rideout said.
The Stanford Jazz Workshop program began in 1972 when Jim Nadel, himself a saxophonist, realized that there were few places where passionate musicians could study the art of Jazz.
The program consists of two main parts—educational workshops and jazz festivals. Nadel invites the best jazz musicians in the world to teach jazz students workshops during the day, then at night the teachers perform in festivals, where students can observe the musicians, along with the public.
“All the kids that go to the workshops are encouraged to go to the nightly concerts and check out the artists. ” Karen Carson, who works at the Stanford Jazz program said.
The jazz camp workshop is an intensive program where jazz students come from all over the world to live on campus, attend classes and rehearse with some of the best musicians in the world.
Another unique aspect of the program is that 20 percent of the students come from under-served areas of the Bay Area and the country and attend the program on scholarships. Jaz Sawyer, who played on Saturday, initially came to the Stanford program as a scholarship student.
“Jaz grew up not having much, but he came here every summer and it really changed his life,” Rideout said. “He’s now become one of the best jazz drummers in the world.”
The summer camp coincides with the annual Stanford Jazz festivals, which features evening concerts, free noon time performances, and special activities, and events for kids and families.
From June 24-August the top jazz legends from around the world will perform at nightly concerts on the Stanford campus. To see a complete calendar of events as well as a list of all the talented performers go here.
6/24: Allen Toussaint concert. Starts 8pm at the Dikenspiel Auditorium, Stanford. Must buy tickets to attend.
6/25: Stanford Jazz Workshop All stars concert and picnic. Starts 12pm at the Stanford White Plaza and admission is free.