JAZZ SEARCH WEST SEMI-FINALS

Jazz Search West Semi-Finals at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley feature the top 15 performers selected from our five exciting preliminary events. 8 of these contestants will be chosen to move on to the Grand Finale at Yoshi’s Oakland. 4 top winners will ultimately be awarded prizes designed to enhance their musical career such as a demo CD, recording studio time, free tuition to Jazz Camp West and performance opportunities.

2019 Semi-Finals

SEMI-FINALS
TUESDAY APRIL 16, 7PM - 10PM
FREIGHT & SALVAGE
2020 ADDISON ST.
BERKELEY CA 94704
ADMISSION: $16 ADVANCE / $20 DOOR 

Drinks and Food available.

Please note: Not official performance order

 

Meet the 2019 Semi-Finalists!

 
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Erin Honeywell - Vocals

  1. How long have you been singing?
    For as long as I can remember, I've been singing. When I was little, I would use the handle of the vacuum cleaner as my microphone, and music was just always playing in my house.

  2. How were you introduced to music?
    My parents first introduced me to great music, especially my mom. She would would sing us Stevie Wonder for our lullabies, and always had some form of soul, jazz, or blues playing in the house. It was in Middle School and High School, however, that I really got into jazz. I was just amazed at the beauty of jazz standards and the amount of creativity and playfulness they demanded. Luckily, I had a great teacher who encouraged me.

  3. Who are your biggest musical influences?
    Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, and Aretha Franklin. I have SO many influences, but they're the biggest ones. They started my life long love affair with music, and they continue to teach and inspire me with their virtuosity and feeling.

  4. Why do you want to compete in Jazz Search West?
    At first, the idea of any sort of competition was a bit shuttering, and it still kind of is. But for the sake of my own development, I know I need to quiet my ego and look for opportunities to grow. This was a perfect chance to do that. Win or lose, I knew I'd be able to connect with more jazz-lovers and get some constructive feedback. I also love that all the prizes are designed to really push your career forward, and it would be really nice to have some help with that.

  5. What are your goals as an artist?
    As an artist, I want to create music that moves people and be a vessel for heart-opening connection. I would love to travel the world with people and players who inspire me to be better and create that high that only comes from good music. I want to feel grounded in my body, connected to the harmony, and sing the truth. For me, witnessing other artists in their truth is THE most inspiring act. I want to be a part of that culture of authenticity.

  6. What would winning Jazz Search West mean to you?
    Winning Jazz Search West would be an incredible honor and an incredible validation. Pursuing music is often filled with a lot of doubt and rejection, and winning this competition would just be an amazing push forward, both personally and professionally.

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Jayla hernandez - Drums

  1. How long have you been playing/singing?
    7 years

  2. How were you introduced to music?
    I was introduced to music by my grandfather

  3. Who are your biggest musical influences?
    Art Blakey, Kenny Clarke, Clarence Johnston, MCCoy tyner.

  4. Why do you want to compete in Jazz Search West?
    To be able to have a opportunity to compete in something I enjoy and show off my amazing skills 

  5. What are your goals as an artist?
    To be the the best jazz drummer I can be !

  6. What would winning Jazz Search West mean to you?
    This would mean that I was able to accomplish a challenge and many more to come!!


Arthur Eriksson - Saxophone

Interview answers coming soon!

  1. How long have you been singing?
    Six years on sax

  2. How were you introduced to music?
    I began playing piano when I was three. Music has always been in our house.

  3. Who are your biggest musical influences?
    Saxophone-wise: Charlie Parker, Hank Mobley, David Sanborn, Michael Brecker. Music composition-wise: Anything I can listen to.

  4. Why do you want to compete in Jazz Search West?
    JSW's goals for the contest are the same as mine. Showcase up and coming musicians, get more exposure in the bay area, and meet cool and interesting people in the process.

  5. What are your goals as an artist?
    Perform music that leaves both an entertaining and artistic impression on the audience and compose music that everyone can approach while also achieving artistry.

  6. What would winning Jazz Search West mean to you?
    Winning would be great, and I am looking forward to meeting the other great musicians who are also participating.

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Yolandra Rhodes - VOCALs

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  1. How long have you been singing?
    I have been singing since a child, I still consider myself an amateur on some levels because I believe there are forever opportunities to stretch my vocals.

  2. How were you introduced to music?
    I was introduced to music as a child in church, I followed my sister who has performed lead vocals with Walter Hawkins, opened for Donny Hathaway and the Whispers. I grew up on Motown, pop, gospel and jazz. I found I love gospel and JAZZ!

  3. Who are your biggest musical influences?
    Sarah Vaughn, Bill Holiday, Barbara Morrison and Anita Baker

  4. How did you hear about Jazz Search West?
    I was introduced to Jazz Search West by a musical peer.

  5. Why do you want to compete in Jazz Search West?
    Not so much for the competition of it, but for the love of music. I learn so much from the other contestants, I lean into the excellent feedback from the judging panel which allows me to further perfect my craft.

  6. What are your goals as an artist?
    I would love to produce my own CD with a mix of Original tunes and my renditions of the classic. I would love to travel and perform live to appreciative audiences.

  7. What would winning Jazz Search West mean to you?
    The world! Everything!! Joy and personal accomplishment!!! Winning would be a culmination and confirmation of my musical efforts to this point. 

  8. What would winning Jazz Search West mean to you?
    Jazz Search West is renown and respected, Jazz Search West has helped catapult performers not only personally but professionally. Moreover, I would love to take part in the jazz camps that currently I can’t afford.


Rebecca Holtz - Vocals

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  1. How long have you been singing?
    I've been singing jazz music for the past 9 years.

  2. How were you introduced to music?
    Grateful to have a musical family and a thriving creative community where I grew up. Big shout out to Eugene Uman and the Vermont Jazz Center for their mentorship!

  3. Who are your biggest musical influences?
    Ella Fitzgerald, Cécile McLorin Salvant, ZAZ, Jose James, Dinah Washington, and Nancy Wilson.

  4. Why do you want to compete in Jazz Search West?
    I'm relatively new to the Bay Area and haven't had formal training in a while. JazzSearch has been a great opportunity to get constructive feedback and hear a range of talented, innovative artists!

  5. What are your goals as an artist?
    To inspire the audience. To move people to emotionally connect with the performance and, hopefully, with each other.

  6. What would winning Jazz Search West mean to you?
    It would be a huge honor and encouragement to move me forward on this musical path.


Charles Chen - Piano

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  1. How long have you been playing/singing?
    I've been playing the piano for 25 years.

  2. How were you introduced to music?
    My grandfather helped fix electronics in the 60s, so we always had a bunch of records at home. I grew up listening to people like Ella Fitzgerald and Wes Montgomery.

  3. Who are your biggest musical influences?
    Peter Horvath is my jazz teacher. Ellen Wassermann is my classical teacher. They've been very influential in my growth and I take all their advice.

    I spent about an hour writing this paragraph and ended up basically reconstructing the Wikipedia list for jazz and classical pianists. Let's just say I stand on the shoulders of masters, and so here's two that you know and two that you may not know:
    Jazz: Oscar Peterson, Keith Jarrett, Jaki Byard, Elmo Hope
    Classical: Glenn Gould, Artur Rubinstein, Dinu Lipatti, Radu Lupu

  4. Why do you want to compete in Jazz Search West? 
    I just want to perform for more people!

  5. What are your goals as an artist?
    Perform once a month
    Record an album
    Learn all of Bach's Well Tempered Clavier

  6. What would winning Jazz Search West mean to you?
    It would be awesome because I want to play on the Fazioli in Piedmont Piano again!


Aidan McCarthy - Bass

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  1. How long have you been playing/singing?
    I started playing guitar when I was 8 years old, mostly rock music and the blues. I shifted my focus to jazz when I was 13. I was inspired by another young bass player I played with during a 1 week summer camp. The bass' position suited me in the jazz group better than guitar, so I made the switch.

  2. How were you introduced to music?
    My dad introduced me to music. He's a classically trained percussionist, who played jazz and rock as well. When I was three years old, he gave me his childhood turntable and his boxes of records. I remember listening to only those records for hours and hours and hours. From then on I was enamored by music.

  3. Who are your biggest musical influences?
    My first big musical influence was Frank Zappa. His genre-bending, creative music and personality inspired me to be myself and pursue what I love. Other major influences are John Coltrane, Ray Brown, Scott Lafaro, Eric Dolphy, Johnny Griffin, etc.

  4. Why do you want to compete in Jazz Search West?
    I want to compete in Jazz Search West because I believe competition and receiving constructive feedback on my performance are essential for developing and growing as a musician.  I have never attended a school where music was prioritized and valued. I always pursued music outside of school, so Jazz Search West is a great way for me to glean things from seasoned pros in a performance environment. Additionally, competing in such a large competition with so many other talented players broadens my horizons with Bay Area musicians. Any one of the potential prizes would offer great opportunity for my career.

  5. What are your goals as an artist?
    As an artist, I would like to move people.  If people are swaying to the music, tapping their foot or emotionally taken to a new place, I am happy. I want to better myself spiritually everyday as well as put my own imprint on this beautiful music that I love so much. And at the end of the day, its such a blast!

  6. What would winning Jazz Search West mean to you?
    Winning Jazz Search West would be a huge honor and achievement for me. Its a well known competition that would help me further my developing career. Winning would help propel me down the path I am forging myself!

Cristen Spencer - Vocals

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  1. How long have you been playing/singing?
    I have been singing since 2011, in jazz band and choir.

  2. How were you introduced to music?
    My family is a very musical family, so expressing myself musically was very innate. My way was via performing and singing. Soul, gospel and power rock were what got me going

  3. Who are your biggest musical influences?
    Some of my biggest musical influences are Ella Fitzgerald, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Larry Graham, Outkast, and Lianne La Havas, and Mccoy Tyner

  4. Why do you want to compete in Jazz Search West?
    I want to compete in Jazz Search West to become a better performer, and get powerful and knowledgeable constructive criticism about my craft and the way that I can improve it

  5. What are your goals as an artist?
    My goals as an artist are to always perform things authentic to me and to BAM, become a pro, and enjoy the journey!

  6. What would winning Jazz Search West mean to you?
    For me, winning Jazz Search West would be a great accomplishment and would place me and opportunities to work with others and to grow personally as an artist.

Hannah Mayer - Piano

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  1. How long have you been playing/singing?
    I have been playing piano for 10 years.’

  2. How were you introduced to music?
    I grew up listening to a lot of musical theatre albums, which now I look back on with newfound appreciation for the composers and the melodic motifs written throughout that help tell stories. In addition to some classical technique, my first piano teacher taught me to play chords and sing, accompanying myself. This led me to play jazz in middle school where I learned to translate chords into a jazz setting. From there I became interested in jazz and fell in love with the music.

  3. Who are your biggest musical influences?
    Currently I am very inspired by the playing of Wynton Kelly, Bud Powell, Cedar Walton, and Herbie Hancock.

  4. Why do you want to compete in Jazz Search West?
    I want to compete in Jazz Search West because it is an extremely supportive environment where I can receive feedback to improve my playing. The experience will also allow me to meet and hear other talented musicians from around the Bay Area. 

  5. What are your goals as an artist?
    I would love to be able to create music that people can connect and relate to.

  6. What would winning Jazz Search West mean to you?
    Winning would be such an honor, and would help me in becoming the musician I aspire to be in terms of personal connections, opportunities, and self confidence.

Erik Nelson - SAXOPHONE

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  1. How long have you been playing/singing?
    I've been playing for 9 years.

  2. How were you introduced to music?
    Elementary school band.

  3. Who are your biggest musical influences?
    John Coltrane and Michael Brecker.

  4. Why do you want to compete in Jazz Search West?
    For fun.

  5. What are your goals as an artist?
    Do something new and interesting.

  6. What would winning Jazz Search West mean to you?
    Launching my career hopefully.


Nathaniel "Nate" Tinner - VOCALS

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  1. How long have you been singing?
    I've been singing for over 20 years.

  2. How were you introduced to music?
    I was introduced to music by my parents; my mother was the music director at my family's church when I was young, so I was in the choir there for several years. We were also very into listening to music on the radio as a family.

  3. Who are your biggest musical influences?
    Kim Burrell, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and David Phelps.

  4. Why do you want to compete in Jazz Search West?
    To hear local talent, get feedback from jazz professionals, and to perhaps have a launching point for further work in jazz.

  5. What are your goals as an artist?
    To sing and create songs that I enjoy, and to enrich the community by performing them!

  6. What would winning Jazz Search West mean to you?
    It would mean that I can keep singing jazz for lots of people, hopefully for a long time!


Marcello Severo - PIANO

  1. How long have you been playing?
    12 years

  2. How were you introduced to music?
    I began taking piano lesson at the age of 4.

  3. Who are your biggest musical influences?
    I am influenced by experimental jazz musicians, such as Charles Mingus and Miles Davis. I also take influence from modern classical musicians like Debussy, Bartok, Steve Reich, and John Adams.

  4. What are your goals as an artist?
    It provides more opportunities for me to perform jazz.

  5. What are your goals as an artist?
    I would like to collaborate with like-minded musicians and get my compositions performed.

  6. What would winning Jazz Search West mean to you?
    If I won the competition, I would appreciate the recognition and the potential prizes, like a recording session.


Rhonda Sauce - Vocal

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  1. How long have you been singing?
    I've been playing music instrumentally for about 19 years, however, I've only recognized my voice as a legitimate instrument in the last 10 or so years; since then I've been exploring the many ways in which I can use voice to express music.

  2. How were you introduced to music?
    I don't think I've ever had a proper introduction to music; music seemed to always be around. When I was young, I distinctly remember the radio being on all the time, hearing old Motown, Funk and Jazz classics. To be honest, I don't think I knew what or who I was listening to at the time, but I was fascinated with these various sounds and sought to emulate them both instrumentally and vocally. With a bit of time and formal training, I've been able to explore jazz more intimately, while creating my own identity within the genre pulling from these older influences.

  3. Who are your biggest musical influences?
    What a loaded question! First and foremost, Django Reinhardt, he was my first introduction to Jazz. From there, American Jazz artists like Cole Porter, Eddie Jefferson, Coleman Hawkins, Ella Fitzgerald, Sydney Bechet. 

  4. Why do you want to compete in Jazz Search West?
    To be challenged! Hearing all of these talented performers is reigniting my infatuation for jazz and singing. It's so encouraging to be around musical contemporaries-- so much so that I enjoy practicing again.

  5. What are your goals as an artist?
    I want to hone my technical skills as a vocalist and push the bounds of what an be done with the voice. When I hear scat and vocalese artists like Jon Hendricks, King Pleasure, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and Al Jarreau, it really challenges how I conceptualize my voice as an instrument and the many things I can do with it. It inspires me to come up with new and different methods of making sound, challenging traditional beliefs of what it means to "sing jazz."

  6. What would winning Jazz Search West mean to you?
    Winning Jazz Search West would definitely validate my abilities as a vocalist-- since my primary musical training has been solely instrumental, I carry a certain insecurity with regard to my voice because I don't exactly know what I'm doing-- I'm just having fun making sounds that are easy on the ears.

Skyler Nolan - Saxophone

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  1. How long have you been playing?
    I’ve been playing saxophone for about 7 years now

  2. How were you introduced to music?
    I went on a field trip to the local high school in 4th grade and heard a saxophone quartet, I knew almost instantly that was what I wanted to do.

  3. Who are your biggest musical influences?
    I listen to all different people but the players who have had the most influence on my saxophone playing are Ben Webster, Joe Henderson, Bob Berg, and Joshua Redman but Roy Hargrove has always been my biggest inspiration as a musician.

  4. Why do you want to compete in Jazz Search West?
    I moved to the Bay in August but I haven’t gone to many sessions so I was hoping to meet some like minded people in the area.

  5. What are your goals as an artist?
    I’d love to tour with my own group playing originals and arrangements of both jazz standards and popular music that the non-jazz listener would enjoy

  6. What would winning Jazz Search West mean to you?
    Winning Jazz Search West would help me build my resume for gigs, for my future musical endeavors and the prizes of both a gig at Yoshi’s or professional studio time would be extremely beneficial.

Aaron Kover - piano

  1. How long have you been playing?
    I've been playing piano for 13 years. Jazz specifically for 6 years.

  2. How were you introduced to music?
    I'm the third of four children in my family, so I was introduced to music by my older siblings and my parents.

  3. Who are your biggest musical influences?
    Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Kendrick Lamar, D'Angelo. Along with my high school band director Scott Brown and my private instructor Cynthia Hughen.

  4. Why do you want to compete in Jazz Search West?
    The opportunity to play with professional musicians in a small group setting, the valuable feedback/adjudication, and the chance at the amazing prizes.

  5. What are your goals as an artist?
    To create and play music that gives people joy, and relates to them in a unique way. 

  6. What would winning Jazz Search West mean to you?
    It would mean a lot for me personally, because most of my musical success has been in a big band setting, where I am not always the center of scrutiny. This contest gives me the opportunity to see where I place as an individual among my musical peers, as opposed to where I usually am the most comfortable, the big band.

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