2017 Bakersfield Jazz Festival

2017 BJF Gala and Launch Party
Thursday, April 27

6:30 PM • Doré Theatre • CSUB Campus
Doors open at 5:30
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Woodwind player, and composer, Jacam Manricks opens the 31st Annual Jazz Festival on Thursday, April 27th as the featured artists for the BJF Gala and Launch Party! Manricks will talk about his career, music, and improvisation to an audience of local high school and college students, and community members before taking the stage with the CSUB Jazz Collective for a performance of music for 10-12 person jazz ensemble.

Manricks is a fixture in the New York contemporary jazz scene, and currently touring in support of his new studio album, "Chamber Jazz".


2017 BJF Day One
Friday, April 28

7 PM • CSUB Amphitheatre • CSUB Campus
Doors open at 6
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Friday, April 28, 2017, saxophonist Donny McCaslin and his band, featured on David Bowie‘s Blackstar, will bring their massive energy to the BJF. They are touring in support of their October 14 release of Beyond Now, a highly anticipated album dedicated to David Bowie. Recorded nearly three months after Bowie’s passing, the project is deeply influenced by their extraordinary experience collaborating with one of the greatest artists of all-time on his final album.
With three GRAMMY® nominations and 11 albums to his name, McCaslin’s path to Bowie and Beyond Now can be traced back to 2011 with the release of his album Perpetual Motion, taking on an electric direction for the first time in contrast to his previous acoustic projects. Two subsequent albums Casting for Gravity (2012) and Fast Future (2015) released with his working band were directly influenced by electronica artists (covering groups such as Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada, and Baths), which netted McCaslin a 2013 GRAMMY® nomination for “Best Improvised Jazz Solo.”
The Bakersfield Jazz Festival is excited to present Donny McCaslin in 2017!


Ghost-Note will bring their infectious grooves to the 31st Annual BJF. If the Grammy Award winning band, Snarky Puppy, was a heart, drummer Robert "Sput" Searight and percussionist Nate Werth serve as its explosive pulse. World renown for their artistic communication through rhythm, this dynamic duo debuts their own project, expanding their percussive voice into a night of melody through innovative grooves and captivating artistry.

The music of Soulajar defies simple categorization. Its' players are humble young artists with diverse influences and a shared love of stretching musical boundaries. Their sound is a refreshing blend of innovative compositions; fusing elements of rootsy soul and tasty melodic pop rock to form an undeniably unique flavor of song craft.
Live performances are stuffed with funky grooves, bone chilling soul, and exhilarating instrumental jamming. The band always leaves room for improvisation which keeps fans returning almost compulsively by knowing they will always hear something new and progressive.




2017 BJF Festival Entry Stage

J2 & the Bizzness

6 PM • 7:50 PM • 9:10 PM

Jay Jay Hicks (J2) began playing bass at 17 years old at his church - St. John MBC - and with various local bands. In 2008, studying recordings of his earliest influences like Bootsy Collins, Stanley Clarke and Jaco Pastorius, J2 realized that each of these titans of the bass had elevated the bass to the forefront of the ensemble – making it a solo instrument. After that, he decided to start a jazz-funk band and J2 and the Bizzness was born. After hearing Marcus Miller’s “The Sun Don’t Lie” J2 was inspired to design a half-fretted/half-fretless 8-string bass built by luthier JD Pinckney. This allowed J2 to be able to present two bass timbres on one fretboard. The rest is history! J2 has continued his studies with Bunny Brunel and is endorsed by Classic Bass Works and Conklin Guitars.


Joining Jay Jay for the festival are: Nick bonner (guitar/bass), Lamar Allen Brooks (drums), Austyn Williams (vocals), Jehdiah Woodrow (vocals), Jorge Santos (trumpet), Marcus Jenkins (guitar), Rodrick Pleasants (keyboards), Isaiah Morfin (saxes), Taylor Watkins (vocals). For more information please visit JayJayHicks.com




2017 BJF Day Two
Saturday, April 29

2 PM • CSUB Amphitheatre • CSUB Campus
Doors open at 1
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Guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel, is an American jazz guitarist and keyboardist who came to prominence in the 1990s. With a career spanning almost twenty-five years, collaborating with dynamic peers like Brad Mehldau, Brian Blade, Mark Turner, Joshua Redman, Chris Potter; and esteemed jazz elders like Joe Henderson, Paul Motian and Gary Burton, Rosenwinkel’s indelible mark in music is the consummation of being steeped in the rich and deep traditions of jazz, springing off of the shoulders of such vital underpinnings to elevate his own art to new heights, evolving the language in a way no other guitarist has since his arrival.
The Bakersfield Jazz Festival is proud to host Kurt Rosenwinkel and his new project in support of his album Caipi at the 31st Annual Bakersfield Jazz Festival!

Christian Scott, also known as Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah, is a two-time Edison Award winning and Grammy Award nominated trumpeter, composer, producer and music executive and co-headlining act on Saturday, April 29th, 2017 at the Bakersfield Jazz Festival. Christian is the nephew of jazz innovator and legendary sax man, Donald Harrison, Jr. He began his musical tutelage under the direction of his uncle at the age of thirteen.
Since 2002 Christian has released seven critically acclaimed studio recordings and two live albums. According to NPR, "Christian Scott ushers in new era of jazz". He has been heralded by JazzTimes magazine as "the Architect of a new commercially viable fusion" and "Jazz's young style God."
In June 2015, Christian established a partnership between his newly formed Stretch Music label and the lauded Ropeadope Music family. “Stretch Music” is a jazz rooted, genre blind musical form that attempts to “stretch” jazz’s rhythmic, melodic and harmonic conventions to encompass as many other musical forms, languages and cultures as possible.
The Bakersfield Jazz Festival proudly presents Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah’s Stretch Music at the 31st Annual Bakersfield Jazz Festival!

With only a couple of albums under their belt – 2012’s Be Free and 2014’s Please Rewind – horn/reed players Andris Mattson, Max Bryk, and Amber Navran of the jazz and soul trio Moonchild have built a considerable following among both the neo-soul-hungover crowd and traditional jazz lovers who don’t mind the genre’s evolution. For much of this, we have lead singer Amber Navran to thank, whose voice whistles and whooshes in and out of the band’s soul claps, horn melodies, and synth shades. This is most evident on Please Rewind’s “Don’t Wake Me,” “Just A Minute,” and “Nobody,” on which Navran’s voice evokes Erykah Badu-esque charm, but with a vocal-defying soprano that’s almost too cool for jazz and too controlled for soul. An arresting voice like hers knows no boundaries, and her bandmates Max and Andris create lush templates to adapt to any genre while still maintaining a jazz aesthetic. The end result is an infallible cross-breed of lush boom bap and soul power, aligning with Moonchild’s orbit. It’s no wonder artists like Stevie Wonder, Jill Scott, Robert Glasper, James Poyser, Jazzy Jeff, 9th Wonder, Giles Peterson, and Leela James have been singing their praises

The Bakersfield Jazz Festival is happy to host Moonchild this year - their unique sound is sure to be a highlight of the event!

The Kandinsky Effect is a post-modern jazz Trio searching for new ways to improvise within the jazz idiom by blending the borders of jazz, rock, electronica, hip-hop, and experimental sounds to create a truly singular voice within instrumental music. Improvisation is ever-present, and spontaneity is paramount.

The band has been touring extensively throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe over the last few years building new audiences with an adventurous yet accessible sound and a flair for the unexpected.



Norwegian keyboardist, Haakon Graf, will bring his high energy brand of jazz/rock fusion to the stage on April 29. Graf, winner of a European Grammy, is bringing some of the best musicians from Los Angeles to join him; Doug Webb on saxes, Rob McDonald, bass, Munyungo Jackson, percussion, and Rayford Griffin, drums.

For more information on this group - be sure to check out Haakon Graf Music!

2017 BJF Festival Entry Stage

CSUB Jazz Players

1 PM • 4:50 PM • 6:15 PM

Student and alumni musicians featured at the CSUB Jazz Coffeehouse series and performing their original compositions with jazz classics and contemporary masterworks: Alejandro Arvizu and Martin Meija, trumpet; Jonathan Luevano, tenor and alto sax; Omar Murillo, trombone; Tony Rinaldi, keyboards; Nicole Dandy and Matthew Parziale, guitar; James Dandy, bass; Michael Juarez and Simon Fraser, vibes and drums; Janine Parham, vocals; and Kyle Burnham, drums. For this festival performance, works by Geoffrey Keezer, Scott Henderson, Russell Ferrante, Bennie Wallace, and Wayne Shorter.

At 4:50 PM Alejandro Arvizu leads his group Standard Procedure:

Alejandro Arvizu (b. 1992) is a California-based teacher and composer. Graduating from California State University Bakersfield (CSUB) as a Music Education major in 2015, Alejandro is working toward his teaching credential for the state of California. Standard Procedure is an amorphous group mainly consisting of bandleader and composer Alejandro Arvizu and pianist, and also composer, Tony Rinaldi. Standard Procedure focuses on playing jazz standards, original jazz compositions, and jazz arrangements of video game music, modern and retro, featuring music from Youtuber “insaneintherainmusic”. Our latest group consists of: Alejandro Arvizu (Trumpet), Tony Rinaldi (Piano), Matt Parziale (Guitar), James Dandy (Bass), Kyle Burnham (Drums).

At 6:15 PM Tony Rinaldi will lead his group through a series of original tunes.

2017 BJF Festival Entry Stage

Kama Ruby and the Rough Cuts

2:40 PM • 3:40 PM • 7:30 PM • 8:50 PM

Kama Ruby and The Rough Cuts are a California based musical group that incorporates a variety of musical genres, from straight ahead jazz, adult contemporary, rock, and chill music, resulting in unique takes on popular as well as seldom heard musical works.

The group is led by Kama Ruby, a jazz vocalist/actress/dancer originally from Bakersfield, CA. A veteran performer since she was a little girl, Kama has a lifetime of experience in musical theater, film, television, and dance. She has performed at the Utah Shakespearean Festival, the Kern Shakespeare Theater, the Rogue Fringe Festival, the Nevada Conservatory Theater, and many other venues.

Kama's first album “Kama Ruby, Straight-up & Chilled” and her sophomore album, "Kama Ruby: Rock Dreams in Jazz" are both a mix of jazz standards, acid jazz, classic rock, and pop tunes. The recordings capture the live feel of her performances and her unique take on familiar works. Both albums have enjoyed international sales as well as considerable airplay on numerous jazz oriented radio stations. Continuing a natural progression of how she interprets past classics, her upcoming third album will be best described as sitting in the "chill" genre. Entitled “Mind’s Eye,” the album is set for release in the Spring of 2017.

Appearing for the first time at this year’s Bakersfield Jazz Festival, Kama Ruby and the Rough Cuts feature a stellar lineup of accomplished musicians from Los Angeles, Nashville, and the Bakersfield area. In addition to Ruby (lead vocals), the group features Jane Getz (piano, vocals), Peter Burns (guitar), Ray Zepeda (saxophones, flute), Tom Stillwagon (guitars, electronic effects), Glen Fong (bass), and Kyle Burnham (drums).

For booking or other information, please visit her website, Kamaruby.com.