Erik Jekabson Quartet and John Santos: Live at the Hillside Club

Erik Jekabson Quartet and John Santos: Live at the Hillside Club
Jazz, Latin Jazz


This recording captures a night of spontaneous, grooving, soulful, moody, and subtle music, performed by five San Francisco Bay Area jazz musicians.

Live at the Hillside Club, The Erik Jekabson Quartet & John Santos with Grant Levin, John Wiitala & Smith Dobson, Jekab’s Music 003, 2014

Live at the Hillside Club features trumpeter Erik Jekabson and his quartet performing live along with percussionist John Santos at the Berkeley, California establishment in October of 2011. The album follows up his 2010 studio album Crescent Boulevard and acclaimed 2012 string-tet album Anti-Mass. Both Jekabson and Santos (who received a Grammy nomination in the Best Traditional World Music category for his 2009 album La Guerra No) are highly respected educators and working musicians based in the Bay Area. Together, they make engaging, sophisticated jazz that touches upon post-bop, experimental modal music, and Latin jazz. Here they are backed by Jekabson’s adept working quartet featuring pianist Grant Levin, bassist John Wiitala, and drummer Smith Dobson. On this night, they performed a handful of Jekabson’s compositions including the roiling modal opener “Occupy,” the Kenny Dorham Afro-jazz-inspired “Like Kenny,” and the expansive, late-’60s Miles Davis-inflected “Actual Tune.” Also included are the ensemble’s lively takes on Thelonious Monk’s “Rhythm-A-Ning” and Sonny Rollins’ “Pent-Up House.” This is adventurous, organic music performed in front of a warmly receptive audience by a band that never fails to swing.

Erik Jekabson is a freelance trumpet player, composer and educator who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is equally busy playing and composing for different bands, leading his own groups and teaching a wide variety of students. Erik has three CDs out under his own name: his most recent album is “Anti-Mass”, released in 2012. “Anti-Mass” and “Crescent Boulevard”, released in 2010, are on his own Jekab’s Music label, and “Intersection”, which was recorded in New York in 2002 was released on the Fresh Sound/New Talent label. Erik also co-produced and played on two other recordings which are widely available: “Vista: the Arrival” and “New World Funk Ensemble”, and has recorded as a sideman on over 25 other jazz recordings, as well as doing session work in many other genres of music and on movie and video game soundtracks. He’s spent time on the road with Illinois Jacquet, John Mayer, Galactic, and the Howard Fishman Quartet, and has performed at such notable venues as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Algonquin Room, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Madison Square Garden, the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with David Letterman.

Erik currently leads his own ensembles in the Bay Area, and has performed at the DeYoung Museum, SFJazz’s Summer Series, the Napa Valley Jazz Society’s Parlor Series, Jazz at Pearl’s, Pacifica Performances, the Downtown Berkeley Jazz Festival, the Jazzschool, the Red Poppy Art House and the Piedmont Piano Company. He has also appeared as a sideman at the San Jose Festival, the San Francisco Jazz Festival, the Monterey Jazz Festival, the North Beach Jazz Festival, and the Gualala Jazz Festival. Erik maintains a busy schedule as a freelance musician and often performs with local Bay Area musicians such as the Jazz Mafia, Terry Disley, Mario Guarneri, Marcus Shelby, Larry Vuckovich, Lavay Smith, and the Happy Hour Jazz Quintet. Erik has a Bachelors Degree from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and a Master’s Degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and is currently teaching at the Jazzschool Institute, Chabot College, Cal State East Bay, and Los Medanos College. He has also given clinics at Santa Rosa Junior College and Loyola College in New Orleans, and is a regular instructor at Jazzcamp West, the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the Lafayette Summer Jazz Workshop and at the Brubeck Institute. Erik has also written two books of jazz duets for trumpet.