Thu Ho with the Noel Jewkes Trio: Live at the Sausalito Seahorse

Thu Ho, Noel Jewkes, Chris Amberger, Grant Levin
Jazz: Contemporary Jazz


Experience jazz as an art of storytelling in the most vulnerable, intimate, and nuanced of ways. A heightened sense of lyricism and memorable improvisational melodies emerge through the musical interplay between these fine San Francisco/Bay Area artists.

Album notes

This album materialized in a very natural and organic manner. Attracted to Thu’s vocal phrasing and romantic lyricism, revered, veteran saxophonist Noel Jewkes (aka “Dr. Legato”) invited her to sing with his ensemble regularly at the Sausalito Seahorse. It was quickly apparent to the sound engineer and listeners that their collective sound and musicianship embodied a rare flavor of velvety textures, harmonic opulence, and lyrical elegance that should be recorded live to best capture their creative spark and effervescent spontaneity.

Having trained in Jazz, Broadway, Classical, and R&B music, Thu Ho’s voice is imbued with a unique blend of power, clarity, richness, depth, and warmth. Her vocal styling is infused with the artistic sensibilities from a diverse musical upbringing, and heavily influenced by Sarah Vaughan, Helen Merrill, Nancy Wilson, Amy Winehouse, Dianne Reeves, and Ella Fitzgerald. Thu received voice training under the private tutelage of Mr. Merrill Shea, on faculty at the Boston Conservatory of Music, and has captivated 700-person audiences at the prestigious SFJAZZ Center as the featured vocalist for SFJAZZ Monday Night Band 2017-2019.

One can hear the entire history of modern jazz in a single evening by listening to the majestic phrasing and adventurous harmonies of Noel Jewkes. No wonder he is revered by musicians, critics, and music lovers alike as the premiere Saxist-by-the-Bay. Noel has recorded with Jon Hendricks, Wesla Whitfield, Mary Stallings, Paula West, Mike Greensill, Lavay Smith, Bill Bell, Mimi Fox, Graham Bruce, Bobbe Norris, Larry Dunlap, Larry Vukovich, Pat Yankee, and Jerry Hahn.

Chris Amberger has been a rock-solid part of the Bay Area’s jazz community for over 40 years. After graduating from the prestigious Berklee College of Music, he toured around the world with a plethora of world-class musicians, while playing as the house bassist at the legendary North Beach Keystone Korner between tours. Chris has recorded with many of the greats in jazz including Tommy Dorsey, George Shearing, Rosemary Clooney, Red Garland, and Art Blakey.

Grant Levin’s style showcases the piano as an infinitely dynamic instrument. His ingenuity and creativity are evident in his vast palette of colors and textures, refreshing voicings, and exciting solos. As an adjunct faculty member at Chico State University, Grant taught music theory and jazz piano. He has worked with numerous renowned bandleaders including Noel Jewkes, Dayna Stephens, Eric Wyatt, John Santos, Howard Wiley, and many other greats.