Meet the Howard Wiley Trio

Howard Wiley emerged on the Bay Area music scene at the age of 15 and hasn’t looked back. A highly accomplished saxophonist who regularly works with the likes of Marcus Shelby, Faye Carrol, and Lavay Smith, Wiley is a true musician’s musician, with a vast repertoire under his belt and a firm belief in what swings and what, well, doesn’t quite live

Photo credit: Daniel Atkinson

Photo credit: Daniel Atkinson

up to his standards. In addition to keeping a busy performance schedule, Wiley is an active educator, leading workshops and mentoring young musicians throughout the Bay.

His most recent works have stemmed from the music of the Angola State Penitentiary, with Wiley composing two albums of material for a “soul chamber ensemble” that feature his pieces inspired by the spirituals and work songs that were sung by the inmates of the prison in the early 1900s.

Wiley will be in the trio format on Friday, May 24th at Duende for his first performance with SF Offside, joined by longtime collaborators Marcus Shelby on bass and Sly Randolph on drums. This stripped down format will allow listeners to hear Wiley in an unfiltered environment, with his tone, melodies and rhythmic prowess on full display. Meet the leader of this powerhouse trio, meet Howard Wiley:

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Meet Dave Mihaly

Dave Mihaly is a towering figure in the Bay Area jazz/creative/indie/pop/folk/polka (ok, not polka, but maybe) music scene. Standing at nearly 8 feet tall (ok, more like 6 and half) and seemingly playing 40 inch kick drums, or sometimes none at all, he crafts smorgasbords

Photo Credit: Ceocles Serafimidis

Photo Credit: Ceocles Serafimidis

of sounds from far east instruments to good ol’ snare drums whether accompanying the likes of Jeremy Rourke, grooving with Killbossa, playing free or leading his own projects.

If one musician had to act as flag bearer for the Bay Area, it would be Dave. Not only would the flag reach nearly 20 ft high, it would be hoisted by someone devoted to melody and texture; someone who plays in at least one band you’ve heard of; and by one of the most generous and supportive musicians you can come across. The Offside crew is honored to present his group, Dave Mihaly & The Shimmering Leaves Ensemble, as they close out this year’s festival on May 25th at the Community Music Center. Meet Dave Mihaly:

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Meet Sheldon Brown

Sheldon Brown has been a mainstay on the Bay Area jazz and creative music scene for over 25 years. An avid composer and multi-reed instrumentalist, Brown leads a number of projects in the Bay Area including Distant Intervals, an ensemble with music derived from speech melodies, to a quintet that plays the music of Herbie Nichols. SONY DSC

I first came across his music and playing through Eric Moffat who booked The Sheldon Brown Group at El Valenciano in the Mission in 2011. The performance was memorizing, featuring extended meters, fierce improvising, and beautifully constructed melodies. The band sounded awesome. Laura and I would later meet Sheldon again in 2012 at an orientation meeting hosted by the San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music to welcome newly funded projects. After catching up with him, it was clear integrating his great work into upcoming SF Offside programming was a must. Sheldon Brown makes his first appearance with SF Offside on Saturday, May 25th at The Community Music Center in San Francisco.

Meet Sheldon Brown:

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Meet Asonic Garcia & Mike Boo of Mucho Stereo

Asonic Garcia and Mike Boo have been active participants in SF Offside programming, making their first appearance at last year’s festival in May with the genre-defying group, Secret Sidewalk. Laura and I loved them so much we asked them to perform at a special SF Offside presents show at Viracocha in November 2012, joining a bill with the newly formed Sonny Sharrock Experience.

Photo credit: Paciano Triunfo

Photo credit: Paciano Triunfo

Manning turntables, samplers, synths and other electronicss, Asonic & Mike lay down infectious grooves, tight beats, and compose alternative soundscapes that get listeners nodding their heads and shaking their feet.

This year the two are teaming up with with long time Bay Area drummer Jaz Sawyer in what will be a radical meeting of electronic and analog worlds. This brand new project is Mucho Stereo.

Meet one half of this dynamic duo – meet Mike Boo:

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Meet Jaz Sawyer of Mucho Stereo

A gifted performer, educator, entrepreneur, and promoter, Jaz Sawyer is the very model of a modern jazz musician. Jaz can be found touring the globe with the likes Dee Dee Bridgewater, releasing records on his own label, educating young minds on the nuance of swing, and causing a general ruckus behind any kit that he’s playing.

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With roots in the Bay Area and stints across the country, including in NYC, New Orleans, and now Los Angeles, Sawyer has left an indelible mark in every musical community he’s been a part of.

This year marks Jaz’ first appearance with SF Offside. Always open to new ideas and concepts, I pitched Jaz the idea of creating a new band that showcased him alongside two of the Bay Area’s most accomplished beat makers and producers—Mike Boo and Asonic Garcia of Secret Sidewalk (who performed in last year’s festival). This new trio, Mucho Stereo, stretches the confines of improvisation, melody, and form, all with Jaz laying down the groove and staying in the pocket.

Meet Jaz Sawyer:

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Meet Sonny Sharrock

I met Sonny Sharrock at Eric Moffat’s place in the Mission in 2010. Eric and I were mixing my album and laying on the floor among piles of records, books, tapes, and CDs was a pretty simple looking jewel case titled Ask The Agessonny sharrock

“That is the last great jazz album,” Eric quickly told me, as I opened up the CD and took at look at the personnel and track listing. Elvin Jones, Pharaoh Sanders, and Charnett Moffett playing with this guy I had never heard of. We stopped what we were doing, as Eric had to right this wrong.

“Get ready to hear an 18 wheeler screeching down the highway,” Eric said as he put on “Promises Kept,” track one of Ask The Ages.

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Get to Know the Bands of SF Offside – The Supplicants

The Supplicants headline SF Offside’s final night of music on Saturday, May 26th at Viracocha. The Supplicants have been performing in the Bay Area for over 10 years, mesmerizing audiences with a haunting sound and performances overflowing with emotion and intensity. Featuring David Ewell on bass, David Boyce on saxophone, and special guest Hamir Atwal on drums, SF Offside is honored to have The Supplicants close out this year’s festival.

SFOFest – Tell us about your first gig.

David Ewell – I don’t remember – maybe the basement at Kells? It was more than ten years ago….

SFOFest – If you could open for any band, past or present, who would it be?

DE – It would be fun to open for:

Kadri Gopalnath + Flying Lotus duo, Kool G Rap in 1989, Alice Coltrane in 1970, or the National Ballets of either Cambodia or Guinea.

SFOFest – If you’re on the road, who’s the driver, who’s the chef, who’s late leaving in the morning, who loses their cell phone etc?

DE – We don’t tour.

SFOFest – What’s one thing you’re looking forward to about the SF Offside Festival?

DE – Looking forward to the hunt.

SFOFest – Describe your band’s music in 15 words or less.

DE – Fragmentation, Acrimony, Decadence, Decay, Decline, Dull Inefficiency, Apocalypse, Joy, Prayer, Re-Birth, Triumph of the Underdog.

Get to Know the Bands of SF Offside – Rempis/Ochs/Johnston Trio

The Rempis/Ochs/Johnston Trio will be making a special appearance at the May 24th SF Offside concert at El Valenciano. The trio features Bay Area trumpet maestro Darren Johnston, saxophonist Larry Ochs, best known for his work with the groundbreaking ROVA saxophone quartet, and saxophonist Dave Rempis from Chicago, who has the unique distinction of being the only non-local of the festival! Learn more about this horn trio that embraces sincere musical freedom and tonal exploration.

SFOFest – Tell us about your first gig.

DJ – Our first and only previous time playing as a trio before this week was at the Active Music Series in Oakland, run by Aram Shelton. Rempis was in town visiting family so we took advantage of his visit by opening up for the Oakland Active Orchestra. We all do a lot of one-off improvised music shows, but this one was really special. Everyone listened so well, and improvised with such generosity and sense of form, that we all started wishing we could do it more. Ochs was trying to convince us that we needed to go break into a studio and record all night that same night! So now Dave’s back in town and we’re psyched to be playing this new festival alongside some of our favorite cats. This time we’re getting ready to record the next day too.

SFOFest – If you could open for any band, past or present, who would it be?

DJ – I’m not sure we’d be able to agree on a band to open for. Some might say Anthony Braxton. That of course would be fantastic! I think I’ll say the Tuneyards though.

SFOFest – If you’re on the road, who’s the driver, who’s the chef, who’s late leaving in the morning, who loses their cell phone etc?

DJ –  Hmm. I’d be late leaving in the morning, I’d lose my cell phone, and I’d probably drive, so as to not get left behind when I’m late in the morning. Maybe one of those guys can cook.

SFOFest – What’s one thing you’re looking forward to about SF Offside?

DJ – I’m looking forward to hearing my peers and celebrating the musical diversity of our local scene.

SFOFest – Describe your music in 15 words or less.

DJ – Our horn trio performs highly interactive, all improvised music that mixes jazz with modern classical music (“new music”) and more. At times melodic, rhythmic, and at times purely textural.

Get to Know the Bands of SF Offside – Secret Sidewalk

Secret Sidewalk will open SF Offside’s third and final night of programming on May 26th at Viracocha. Originally started as a live electronic beat band by Mike Boo, Alex “Pu22l3” Abalos, and Asonic Garcia, Secret Sidewalk organically transformed into a Bay Area Voltron when joined with the amazing musicianship and likeminded experimentation of saxophonist Marcus Stephens and drummer Mike Reed. Get to know the genre-bending group, Secret Sidewalk.

SFOFest – Tell us about your first gig.

SS – The first gig as a trio was 4/20/10 at Som Bar for Change the Beat, a monthly presented by Mophno. The first gig for the full quintet took place at Coda’s Slumpnight. The night was hosted by Aspect McCarthy. No one in the band remembers the date but fun was had and faces were potentially melted.

SFOFest – If you could open for any band, past or present, who would it be?

Our dream opening slot would be for either Portishead, MF Doom, or Stark Reality.  If none of those acts were free, we’d settle for a spot opening for one of Herbie Hancock’s electric bands.

SFOFest – If you’re on the road, who’s the driver, who’s the chef, who’s late leaving in the morning, who loses their cell phone etc?

SS – When we’re on the road, Mike Boo is the driver, Asonic is the chef, Mike Reed is the baker, Alex (Pu22le) is too busy to do anything because he’s building a new cell phone, and Marcus throws amplifiers.

SFOFest – What’s one thing you’re looking forward to about the SF Offside Festival?

SS – We look forward to raising eyebrows and tilting heads at the Offside Festival.

SFOFest – Describe your band’s music in 15 words or less.

SS – Our music is from the BAY!  Electro-acoustic music by and for people
with eclectic tastes.

Get to Know the Bands of SF Offside – Erik Jekabson Trio

The Erik Jekabson Trio will be performing during SF Offside’s second night of programming on May 25th at 50 Mason Social House. Erik has made a name for himself as a top-call trumpet player on the Bay Area scene, easily shifting from writing for and leading his own ensembles to appearing as a sideman in many notable projects. He is also an active educator teaching at a range of music institutions in the Bay Area. Get to know The Erik Jekabson Trio.

SFOFest – Tell us about your first gig.

EJ – We played at a private party in the Oakland hills where Rita Moreno was hanging out. She ended up hanging out with the band a bit, Peter and Vince were just too cool.

SFOFest – If you could open for any band, past or present, who would it be?

EJ – Hmm, maybe Bud Shank.

SFOFest – If you’re on the road, who’s the driver, who’s the chef, who’s late leaving in the morning, who loses their cell phone etc?

EJ – We all take turns driving, and all take turns navigating, and Peter decides where we go out to eat.

SFOFest – What’s one thing you’re looking forward to about the SF Offside Festival?

EJ – The chance to be part of something new that’s so positive, and to hear the other bands we’re playing with.

SFOFest – Describe your band’s music in 15 words or less.

EJ – Grooving, playful, relaxed, transparent.