Meet Alex Pinto

I first saw Alex Pinto perform with his trio towards the end of 2010 at a little place in the Mission, sadly now gone, called Kaleidoscope. It was clear right away that he was a unique musical talent. The following April, I went to the Revolution Cafe for his CD release party. I had just gotten back from my second stint in Thailand, so I hadn’t seen his trio in the intervening period, but I had been plugging his shows on my Facebook music page, Live ‘n’ Local SF, which, like a woman obsessed, I maintained even while living in Thailandcrazy_photo

That night at the Revolution, I thought about introducing myself, but the place was packed, so I left it for another time. I did, though, write something about the show in Fenderhardt, my blog. Looking back now, it’s funny to read those words again, written almost two years ago.

“Pinto is an accomplished young jazz guitarist who blends Hindustani classical music with contemporary jazz and indie rock. In addition to his original jazz compositions, he also does a number of very sweet interpretations of some Radiohead songs. He just released his debut album, Inner State. Definitely one to watch out for!”

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Presenting the Spark Series

After the resounding success of the first ever San Francisco Offside Festival in May, we are working hard on our second annual festival. But you don’t have to wait till Memorial Day weekend to sample the best of the Bay Area’s innovative jazz scene. Coming in March, SF Offside presents three exciting shows at three different locations in the Bay Area, including (for the first time!) an Oakland show.

Thursday March 7, 8-10pm @ Red Poppy Art House

2698 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94110

Eric Garland’s Hodge Podge Ensemble + Marcus Stephens’ Markstep Trio

$10-20 sliding scale

 

Friday March 15, 9-11pm @ Café Royale

800 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94109

Aram Shelton’s Golden Age

Free admission

 

Wednesday March 27, 7:30-9:30pm @ Awaken Café

1429 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

Alex Pinto Trio + Roger Kim’s First Day

$5-20 sliding scale

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The Latest from Offside!

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost five months since the festival! Our heads are still spinning…

A huge thanks to all the incredible composers and musicians that contributed their talents, and to everyone in the community who supported our vision in so many ways. We were blown away by the response to the festival and are excited to keep working on this project going into 2013.

Which gets us to the first piece of news we’d like to share! We are delighted to announce that San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music just accepted our application for fiscal sponsorship. That means that as SF Offside moves forward, we will be in a better position to find donors and apply for grants so that we can cover all our expenses and adequately compensate all the performing artists that make SF Offside what it is.

Without a doubt, SFFCM is a great fit for Offside. Just check out their five-week Sunday series JAZZ+ at the de Young Museum, which features Offside alums Lisa Mezzacappa, Erik Jekabson, Marcus Shelby, Kasey Knudsen, and David Ewell. Continue reading

Get to Know the Bands of SF Offside – Alex Pinto Trio

Festival co-director Alex Pinto and his trio will be opening up the second night of the festival on Friday May 25th at 50 Mason Social House. Although Alex has been in the Bay Area only a short time, he has already made a name for himself as a young guitarist and composer to watch for. Trained in Hindustani classical music as well as jazz, Pinto has a distinctive, modern sound all of his own. His debut album, Inner State, was released last year to much critical acclaim.

I asked Alex the same questions he posed to all the other bands in the festival.

SFOFest - Tell us about your first gig.

AP - Our first gig was probably at Cafe Royale about a year ago, but we didn’t start feeling like a band until we opened for Kneebody in Nov 2011. We were all amped for that show and seems like after that we were just at another level.

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

AP - We would need a time machine, but opening for the following groups / people would be the ultimate experience: The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jimi Hendrix Band of Gypsys, and sitarist Nikhil Banerjee.

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?

AP – I’m driving. Shaun would probably want to drive, practice, and cook simultaneously, but he would be the best chef. He’s got fancy tastes when it comes to food and drinks. And we would be driving to find Scott.

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

AP – I’m looking forward to spending time hanging out and listening to some of my favorite musicians in the Bay Area.

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

AP – Music without words blending modern jazz, Hindustani classical music, and the rock of our youth.

San Francisco Offside 2012

Jazz is alive and well and living in San Francisco! So say the creators of San Francisco Offside, and the many talented local musicians taking part in this year’s inaugural festival.

Born of a passion to celebrate the unique creativity and diversity of the local jazz scene, SF Offside has gathered together some of the Bay Area’s most exciting musical talent for an event unlike any other. The three-night festival showcases notable local musicians and composers, like Marcus Shelby, David Boyce, Darren Johnston, Lisa Mezzacappa, Larry Ochs, Erik Jekabson, Aram Shelton, Eric Garland, and many more.

Night One: “Excursions” – Thursday May 24 @ El Valenciano, 1153 Valencia Street

The festival kicks off with three different ensembles with one thing in common—mastery of traditional techniques coupled with fearless commitment to exploring innovative territories. Bassist Lisa Mezzacappa opens the evening with her improvisational “garage jazz” quartet, Bait & Switch. Following is an experimental trio featuring saxophonists Dave Rempis from Chicago (the festival’s only non-local musician!) and Larry Ochs of ROVA with the ubiquitous Darren Johnston on trumpet. These Are Our Hours, a brand new quintet featuring core members of the Oakland Active Orchestra, close the evening with explorations grounded in jazz and free improvisation.

Night Two: “Onward” – Friday May 25 @ 50 Mason Social House, 50 Mason Street

The second night of the festival takes a decidedly contemporary look at straight-ahead jazz and presents three Bay Area composers and their respective trios—bassist Marcus Shelby, trumpeter Erik Jekabson, and guitarist Alex Pinto. Celebrated as a leading light of the Bay Area’s jazz scene, Shelby will perform with a fresh trio that features the talented young pianist Joe Warner and the versatile Tiffany Martin on vocals. Jekabson, respected both as a bandleader and as a sideman, brings his post-bop improvisational sensibilities to the mix, while Pinto, a young guitarist trained in Hindustani classical music (who also happens to be the festival’s co-director), has a distinctive modern sound all of his own.

Night Three: “Junction” – Saturday May 26 @ Special Location TBA

The festival closes with an evening of genre-expanding music that intersects jazz in distinctive ways. Secret Sidewalk, an innovate quintet bridging electronic/sampled music and jazz, spotlights Marcus Stephens on sax and electronics. Blending rock and jazz strategies, the recently formed Klaxon Mutant Jazz All Stars is an illustrious quintet featuring music by all five members—Eric Garland, Henry Hung, Kasey Knudsen, George Ban-Weiss, and Colin Hogan. Bay Area staple and masters of improvisation, The Supplicants, with guest drummer Hamir Atwal, end the evening with a musical journey that takes many unexpected directions. (The venue for the closing night of the festival will be announced May 21st.)

SF Offside Festival

A co-production of local jazz guitarist Alex Pinto and local music curator Laura Maguire, SF Offside was created to fill a perceived gap in the regional jazz festival circuit. With an exclusive focus on homegrown talent, the mission of SF Offside is to draw attention to the incredible creativity to be found right here in our own backyard, and to build larger audiences for specifically local jazz offerings. The hope is that San Francisco ultimately gets the recognition it deserves as home to a rich, diverse, and exceptionally talented jazz community.

RSVP