Meet Eric Garland

Drummer Eric Garland is no stranger to SF Offside. In our first outing, last May, we featured Klaxon Mutant Allstars, a quintet that crystallized at Amnesia’s tenacious Wednesday night jazz jam, which Eric currently leads. While all five members of that ensemble compose, most of their material comes from Eric (and trumpeter Henry Hung). Known for his playful, grooving rhythms on the drums, Garland’s funky compositions have a thoughtful, timeless quality to them.EricGarland

For SF Offside’s Spark Series, Garland is bringing his Hodge Podge Ensemble, a sextet for flute, clarinets, violin, accordion, bass, and drums. As he says, “This group is a chance for me to try out a part of my composing and playing as a drummer that requires a quieter touch, and that’s a great area to explore on the drums, especially in an intimate setting like Red Poppy.”

We talked with Eric to learn a little more what makes him tick, musically speaking.

Describe your music in ten words or less.

John Bonham and Duke Ellington form a duo to compete with the Black Keys. Continue reading

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 – Klaxon Mutant Jazz All Stars

The Klaxon Mutant Jazz All Stars features some the Bay Area’s finest and most versatile musicians. Henry Hung, trumpet, and Kasey Knudsen, saxophone, make up the front line, while Eric Garland, drums, George Ban Weiss, bass, and Colin Hogan, keyboard, round out the rhythm section. The Klaxon Mutant Jazz All Stars perform on Saturday, May 26th at a soon to be announced secret location. Their ambition is sky high and one day, they may change the world of popular music as we know it.

SFOFest – Tell us about your first gig.

KMJAS – We were young schoolmates in Liverpool, just a bunch of pals playing music, got a gig in Hamburg for a couple of months playing 8 hours a day, then came back to England, hooked up with a great producer, came to the States and became huge stars…wait..

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

KMJAS –  Kneebody. Deerhoof. And the obvious- Miles 60s-70s. Coltrane quartet.

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?

KMJAS – If we’re on the road, Eric is playing trumpet, Kasey the keys (K for keys, get it?), George plays the sax, Henry plays the bass cause everyone loves a short bass player, and Colin plays the drums. Wait, Colin already plays drums, so he plays the bass… oops he does that as well. Colin plays nothing cause he can double on everything….

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

KMJAS – Knowing where the heck we’re playing on Saturday!

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

KMJAS –  Swimming in joy.

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.