Piedmont Piano Company is pleased to present
Dick Whittington Trio
with Andrew Speight
An evening of "Straight Ahead" Be-Bop, featuring the compositions of John Coltrane, Benny Golson, Miles Davis, John Lewis, as well as Standards by Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and George Gershwin.
Dick Whittington - piano
Andrew Speight - saxophone
Robb Fisher - bass
Akira Tana - drums
$20 General Admission
Dick Whittington grew up in Los Angeles. At sixteen he studied with Sam Saxe, possibly the only jazz piano teacher of that era, who taught keyboard harmony and improvisation by analyzing the music of Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, and other great jazz pianists.
After high school Dick began sitting in with the great musicians on L.A.'s vibrant South-Central jazz scene. While attending Cal State Northridge, where he received a degree in Elementary Education, he was working gigs with Bobby Hutcherson, Sonny Criss, Barney Kessel, Charles Lloyd, Charlie Hayden, Scott Lafaro, Gary Peacock, and Billy Higgins, later accompanying vocalists Anita O'Day, Ernestine Anderson, Dinah Washington, and Mel Torme.
When a 1961 tour with saxophonist Dexter Gordon concluded at San Francisco's Jazz Workshop, Dick relocated to Berkeley, spending the next 30 years teaching Jazz Education in the Berkeley Public Schools, where he co-founded the nationally recognized Jazz Band Program. Among the alumni are Benny Green, Joshua Redmon, Rodney Franklin, Peck Allmond, Peter Apfelbaum, Jeff Cressman, Eric Jekabson, Craig Handy and many others.
Over the last 5 decades Dick has performed with many jazz greats, including Stan Getz, James Moody, Lee Konitz, Art Pepper, Eddie Harris, and Chet Baker. In 1987, Dick and his wife, Marilyn Ross, founded the Maybeck Recital Hall, where, for 10 years, they lived and produced over five hundred jazz and classical concerts, including the internationally acclaimed "Live at Maybeck" solo piano series on Concord Records, which features over forty-five of the top pianists in jazz. Since moving to Big Sur, Dick played 4 years at Bernardus Lodge and has been at Carmel's Cypress Inn since 2005.
Andrew Speight is an internationally acclaimed saxophonist and educator. Originally from Australia, he relocated to the United States in 1990 to perform and record with jazz luminaries. That year, he was also a prize winner in the Thelonious Monk Saxophone competition. Andrew has toured with the prestigious Lincoln center Jazz Orchestra, and the Nat Adderley Quintet. He has performed with Benny Carter, Phil Woods, Branford Marsalis, and recorded with Wynton and Ellis Marsalis. In 1999, Andrew was awarded an ARIA for best jazz album (Australia’s most prestigious music award).Recordings featuring Andrew span from 1988 to the present, in configurations from Quartet to Orchestra. He has recorded in Japan, Australia, Europe, and the United States. In 2005 an album produced by Branford Marsalis featuring Andrew along with Ellis and Jimmy Cobb won much critical praise.
Andrew was the leader and artistic director of the Generations Jazz Project. The Project resided at San Francisco State, the centerpiece being a jazz combo of undisputed jazz masters. Founding members included Jimmy Cobb, Ray Drummond, Ronnie Mathews, Eric Alexander, and Marcus Belgrave. Jimmy Heath, Frank Wess, Jeremy Pelt, Terrell Stafford, Louis Hayes, Jim Rotundi, Joe Farnsworth, and David Hazeltine are also part of the regular roster.He is also educational consultant to the Stanford Summer Jazz Program.
Bassist Robb Fisher has been a sideman for a diverse number of artists. Born in Los Angeles, Robb's father was a bassist and arranger, who had an enormous record collection. (His dad later became the first person to ever receive a Master’s Degree in jazz at USC.) Robb studied clarinet and alto sax through junior high. In high school, a love of jazz and collecting LPs engulfed him. “I started to sneak into Shelly’s Manhole on Monday nights to listen to the Mike Melvoin trio. I was mesmerized by Leroy Vinnegar’s inspiring, walking bass,” Robb says. “I knew that’s what I wanted to do.” Robb’s dad let him have his bass so he could study classical bass with Al Pollan, a studio musician in Hollywood, while attending the University of Redlands. Robb formed a piano trio with John Prince.
In 1976, Robb joined Cal Tjader’s group, which included percussionist Poncho Sanchez. It was an association that lasted over six years and a key highlight in Robb’s career. “Cal was a mentor to all his sidemen,” say Robb, “and his lyrical ballads and love of Afro Cuban rhythms was impressive.” Robb toured and recorded many albums, including anchoring Cal’s Grammy Award- winning album, La Onda Va Bien and Grammy-nominated album, Gozame Pero Ya. During this period, Robb recorded with such jazz and Latin luminaries as Art Pepper, Carmen McCrae, Clare Fischer, Tania Maria and Anita O’Day.
Robb has continued to play with a wide range of Bay Area jazz musicians, including Akira Tana, Eddie Marshall, Peter Horvath, Vince Lateano, Mark Levine, Matt Clark, Brian Cooke, Susan Muscarella and Rob Schneiderman. In the ‘90s, Robb and guitarist George Cotsirilos formed a quintet. Two of Robb’s tunes can be heard on the Monarch recording entitled The Nighthawks. He is currently playing with the highly respected Mel Martin’s group, Bebop and Beyond. Robb also teaches at the Jazz School in Berkeley and at Lafayette Summer Music Jazz Workshop. He also performs regularly with the pianist Dick Whittington at the Cypress Hotel in Carmel.
Born and raised in California, Akira Tana earned degrees from Harvard University and the New England Conservatory of Music. Tana has worked with Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt, Zoot Sims, Hubert Laws, Milt Jackson, Jim Hall, Art Farmer, The Paul Winter Consort, Paquito D'Rivera, James Moody, J.J. Johnson, Lena Horne, The Manhattan Transfer, Ruth Brown, Charles Aznavour, Maurice Hines, and Van Dyke Parks. He has appeared on over 150 recordings.
Tana co-led a quintet with the bassist, Rufus Reid called TanaReid, has five releases, Yours and Mine and Passing Thoughts, on Concord Records and Blue Motion and Looking Forward, and Back to Front, on Evidence Music. On Sons of Sound, Akira has two releases as a leader, Moon Over the World and Secret Agent Men. The third US releasee on Sons of Sound as a leader is a project by the Secret Agent Men Band playing themes from the movies of James Bond, entitled Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, featuring the vocalist, Annie Sellick. Just released in Japan is a project entitled JAZZaNOVA on Vega Records that features the vocalists, Claudio Amaral, Claudia Villela, Jackie Ryan, Carla Helmbrecht, and Sandy Cressman. Guest artists include Branford Marsalis and Arturo Sandoval. This project will be released in the US in 2017. A recent release as a leader is a recording entitled Otonowa, which features jazz interpretations of Japanese folk and pop melodies that date as far back as the 1800s. The newest release for Otonowa, the group’s name, is Stars Across the Ocean. This group has completed four tours of Tohoku performing and teaching for communites still rebuilding from the Earthquake/Tsunamai of 2011. An active teacher and clinician, Tana has taught at Rutgers University, Queens College, Jersey City State College, New York University, and is currently on the faculty at San Francisco State University and the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley, CA.
Mr. Tana is a product endorser of YAMAHA DRUMS, SABIAN CYMBALS, and VIC FIRTH STICKS. akiratana.com