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St Alban's Episcopal Church

1501 Washington Avenue

Albany, CA 94706

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Four phenomenal jazz clarinetists = one amazing concert! Beth Custer, Sheldon Brown, Ben Goldberg, and Harvey Wainapel.

About this Event

Clarinet Thing is a chamber quartet featuring the crème de la crème of Bay Area jazz clarinetists Sheldon Brown, Ben Goldberg, Harvey Wainapel, and Beth Custer. Founded in 1989 by Custer, Clarinet Thing performs beautifully-crafted jazz and new music, completely unamplified, on the entire family of clarinets — from the baby Eb clarinet to the large contra bass clarinet. Clarinet and jazz enthusiasts of all ages abound at their concerts. Their 2nd CD release Cry, Want includes arrangements created by Sheldon Brown of tunes by Jimmy Giuffre, Carla Bley, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Alexandre Stellio, as well as originals by band members. Clarinet Thing was recently commissioned to arrange many Ellington tunes and these pieces have grown to be favorites of band members. A new recording is forthcoming.

About the artists:

Sheldon Brown has been active on the Bay Area music scene for over 30 years, leading his own groups and playing in some of the most interesting and creative ensembles in the Bay Area and beyond. In 2013 he received grants from Chamber Music America and San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music (now InterMusic SF) to compose Blood of the Air, an extended composition based on the speech melodies and poetry of Beat-era Surrealist poet Philip Lamantia. Blood of the Air premiered at the 32nd Annual San Francisco Jazz Festival in June of 2014, and the studio recording of the work was released in October of 2018 on Edgetone Records. Brown toured internationally as a featured soloist with Cuban pianist Omar Sosa for 5 years and appears on many of Sosa’s CD’s. Brown is a member of Club Foot Orchestra since 1990, and contributed compositions to Club Foot’s scores for the animated series The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat, which aired on CBS, and Club Foot’s scores to Pandora’s Box, which was performed at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theatre, and Club Foot’s scores to Metropolis, Buster Keaton’s Sherlock Jr. and The Hands of Orlac. Brown has been a key member of Clarinet Thing (led by Beth Custer), since 1991, and has contributed many original works and arrangements of pieces by Thelonious Monk, Herbie Nichols, Jimmy Giuffre and many more to the band’s repertoire. Brown also writes for and performs with Electric Squeezebox Orchestra, Ian Carey Quintet + 1, Darren Johnston Sextet Matt Small’s Crushing Spiral Ensemble and many other original music groups.

Beth Custer is an Emmy Award winning, San Francisco based composer, performer, recording artist, bandleader, and the proprietor of BC Records. She has numerous recordings out with The Beth Custer Ensemble, Eighty Mile Beach, Fred Frith, Clarinet Thing, Trance Mission and Club Foot Orchestra. Beth has composed for the contemporary chamber ensembles Left Coast Chamber Ensemble, Zeitgeist, Turtle Island and Kronos String Quartets; for the theatre productions of Campo Santo Theatre, Berkeley and San Diego Repertory Theatres, Magic Theatre, California Shakespeare, Overtone Industries, and Cornerstone Theatre; for the dance troupes AXIS Dance Company, Joe Goode Performance Group, Roco Dance, Flyaway Productions, Ledoh, Harupin Ha, and Osseus Labyrinth; for the films of Judith Ehrlich, William Farley, Brad Coley, Cathy Lee Crane, Julie Wyman, Melinda Stone, George Spies, Koohan Paik, KQED’s Independent View and Deep Look, and with Club Foot Orchestra, a season of CBS/Film Roman’s Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat.

Clarinetist and composer Ben Goldberg grew up in Denver, Colorado. He was a pupil of the eminent clarinetist Rosario Mazzeo and studied with Steve Lacy and Joe Lovano. Since 1992, when his group New Klezmer Trio "kicked open the door for radical experiments with Ashkenazi roots music" (SF Chronicle), Ben has shaped a career through curiosity and experimentation across many genres and styles. The New York Times has noted that Ben’s music “conveys a feeling of joyous research into the basics of polyphony and collective improvising, the constant usefulness of musicians intuitively coming together and pulling apart.” He has twice been named Rising Star Clarinetist by Downbeat Magazine. Ben has released over thirty records of his own compositions. His groups include: Invisible Guy; Tin Hat; Orphic Machine; Unfold Ordinary Mind; The Cool Philosophy of Ben Goldberg; DIALOGUE, a duo with pianist / composer Myra Melford; the Ben Goldberg Trio with Greg Cohen and Kenny Wollesen; Ben Goldberg School; and Ben Goldberg’s Brainchild, an eleven piece ensemble performing Ben’s on-the-spot compositions. Ben plays in Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom and is on the Music faculty at the University of California, Berkeley. He also runs BAG Production Records.

Saxophonist/clarinetist HARVEY WAINAPEL has his feet firmly planted in two musical worlds. His jazz experience has led to performances and/or recordings with the likes of McCoy Tyner, Kenny Barron, Joe Henderson, Johnny Coles and the Metropole Orchestra. He has toured internationally with Ray Charles, Joe Lovano, and Airto Moreira & Flora Purim. Wainapel’s deep love for and research into Brazilian music has resulted in performances and recordings with Guinga, Amilton Godoy, Léa Freire, Jovino Santos Neto, Marco César, Spok, Filó Machado and Paulo Bellinati, among many other notables from that country. To date Harvey has presented his work in clubs, festivals and studios in 22 countries. The DownBeat Magazine International Critics Poll has twice named Wainapel a "Rising Star" on clarinet.

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St Alban's Episcopal Church

1501 Washington Avenue

Albany, CA 94706

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