2018 Bakersfield Jazz Festival

2018 BJF Day One
Friday, April 27

7 PM • CSUB Amphitheatre • CSUB Campus
Doors open at 6
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The Lao Tizer Band featuring Eric Marienthal • 9:20 PM

With more than five years since their last release, The Lao Tizer Band has taken the time to grow in every aspect. An updated larger band is exploring some new methods on their upcoming CD/DVD combo, Songs From The Swinghouse: recorded live in just three days at Conway Studios in Hollywood, the band explores three cover tunes with vocalist, a first for the group, alongside original instrumental tracks, bringing them to new heights of excellence and exuberance.

Featuring a thoughtful and at times surprising choice of tracks, while adding to an already stellar lineup of players with the addition of a seasoned vocalist, this is an album that has set a new path for the band and its dedicated fans. Songs From The Swinghouse features eight blistering original instrumentals and three iconic classic rock songs with reimagined arrangements. "We've never done anything with a vocalist and we've never done any cover songs, so this is the first time that I decided to delve into that realm, to basically expand the scope of our music," says Tizer. Critically acclaimed music- film director, Andy LaViolette (Snarky Puppy, Bokante, David Crosby, etc), documented the entire session in a simultaneous, 8-camera HD video shoot for the included DVD.

Tizer eschews being formulaic. "I try and just stay true to my muse and to use every bit of my facility to create great music that hopefully has its own voice and continues to evolve as I continue to evolve as a person. It's very reflective of me, it's all I've done all my life.”


Carl Allen and the Art of Elvin • 8:10 PM

Carl Allen’s multifaceted career provides the perfect template for what a modern musician should be. As Sid Gribetz of Jazz Times wrote, “more than just another fine drummer, Carl Allen has it all together as a bandleader, businessman, and producer, becoming a force in today’s jazz world.”

Allen joined trumpeter Freddie Hubbard a year before his graduation,  served as his Musical Director for eight years, and recorded several recordings with the trumpeter including Double Take and Life Flight. Allen also played with Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, Benny Golson, Jennifer Holliday, J.J. Johnson, Rickie Lee Jones, Sammy Davis Jr., Branford Marsalis, Kenny Garrett, Lena Horne, Ruth Brown, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Bobby Hutcherson, Mike Stern, Nellie McKay, Terence Blanchard, Phil Woods, Benny Green, Cyrus Chestnut, Joe Henderson, Billy Childs and many others.

“My ultimate goal is to get to level like Art Blakey, Art Taylor, Elvin Jones, and Billy Higgins … who every time they sit down behind a set of drums it’s swinging….” With over 200 recordings to his credit, the gifted Milwaukee-born, New York-based drummer, sideman, bandleader, entrepreneur, and educator, Carl Allen’s profound and propulsive percolations provided soulful and syncopated support for nearly three decades.


Velorio • 7 PM


As purveyors of fine traditional and updated Latin Alternative sound performing up and down the west coast, Velorio blurs the lines between traditions from the past to the present with a style and edge all their own. Writing and recording original dance heavy, feel good music that touches both the soul and heart con sabor, it’s an irresistible combination that’s been proven and repeatedly put to the test since their inception a decade ago.

Heralded as one of Bakersfield and California’s most talented and popular live acts, Velorio spends as much time on crafting new material as they do generating their buzz on and offstage. With both an extensive national tour and countless statewide treks under their belt, their commitment to broadening their appeal also caught the eyes and ears of national cable network SiTV who tapped the group to appear on their reality competition show “Jammin” that teamed the group with celebrity coach, Pitbull in 2008. The following year, MTV Tres featured the group helping establish their name as a contender among the new wave of Latin acts breaking new sonic ground.

Now with the release of the band’s long-awaited, buzz-worthy new single “Tus Labios”, co-produced and recorded with help from Ozomatli bassist Wil-Dog Abers, the band is poised to garner a wealth of new fans along with radio play among longtime musical peers. “Tus labios” will be released to all digital outlets on October 21st, 2017 including iTunes and more.

Velorio - Musica Para Tu Vida! Music For Your Life!”




2018 BJF
Festival Entry Stage

Viento Jazz Orchestra

6 PM • 7:45 PM • 8:55 PM

Music Director of Viento, Jorge Luis Santos (b. 1988), is a California-Based trumpet player and soloist. A Los Angeles native, Santos holds an AA in Music from Bakersfield College. Has was a featured player in the bands The Rhythm Embassadors, Salsa Solution, Thee Majestics, J2 and the Bizzness, Mind Body and Soul Band and most recently with La Marcha as Lead trumpeter. His principal teachers are Kris Tiner and Willie Murrillo. Santos currently leads the latin jazz group called Viento. He has had also been a Featured artist at the Bakersfield Jazz Workshop.

Joining Santos at #BJF32 are: Singer Juan Gonzales, Backup singer Katyushka Sanchez, Piano Tony Rinaldi, Bass Jay Jay Hicks, Trumpet Brent Williams Trombones Anthony Aguilar & Omar Murrillo, Saxophones John Calo, Timbales Jonathan Ulises Lujano, and Congas Louie Pola.


2018 BJF Day Two
Saturday, April 28

2 PM • CSUB Amphitheatre • CSUB Campus
Doors open at 1
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Poncho Sanchez • 9:10 PM

For more than three decades as both a leader and a sideman, conguero Poncho Sanchez has stirred up a fiery stew of straight-ahead jazz, gritty soul music, and infectious melodies and rhythms from a variety of Latin American and South American sources. His influences are numerous, but among the more prominent figures that inform his music are two of the primary architects of Latin jazz – conga drummer and composer Chano Pozo and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie.

"These two musicians were the pioneers of what is now known as Latin jazz," says Sanchez. "Chano Pozo was a genius. He's considered the godfather of conga drummers, and he's someone whom I respect a great deal. And of course, Dizzy Gillespie was an iconic artist in American jazz. I had the honor and pleasure of working with him on several occasions. These guys were the first musicians to bring elements of Latin music to American jazz – which has resulted in some of the greatest music of the last 50 or 60 years.

Dave Stryker Quartet • 7:50 PM

Whether you’ve heard guitarist Dave Stryker leading his own group (with 28 CD’s as a leader to date), co-leading The Stryker/Slagle Band, or as a featured sideman with Stanley Turrentine, Jack McDuff, and many others, you know why the Village Voice calls him “one of the most distinctive guitarists to come along in recent years.”

“I have followed Dave Stryker’s playing since his early days in Omaha through his long stay with Stanley Turrentine and his longstanding relationship with the great alto player Steve Slagle (another undersung heavy out there) and he just gets better and better with one of the most joyous feels around.” –Pat Metheny

The Funky Knuckles • 6:25 PM

The inevitable result of a talent-soaked soul and jazz community, The Funky Knuckles are taking the sound of Dallas to an entirely different level. They have been together for six years and have played on stages across the U.S and around the world.

The band is comprised of musicians and producers who have worked with some of the most respected acts in the music industry (Beyonce, Erykah Badu, Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke, Talib Kweli, Chris Dave, The Polyphonic Spree, etc.), yet possess a sound distinctly separate from any of their individual projects. The Funky Knuckles move together musically as a school of fish, never complacent and always stretching the boundaries of improvisation and composition. Whether performing original music or standards, they draw from each member's musical experiences to create their unique genre-bending sound. They are currently touring internationally and working on new music for their 4th album.

Amina Figarova Sextet • 5:10 PM

Amina Figarova was born in 1966 in a most unlikely place for a jazz musician, Baku, the capital city of Azerbaijan on the Russian side of the Iron Curtain. Her parents encouraged her at the tender age of two years old to pursue playing the piano. As a classically trained musician, Figarova was influenced by such usual masters as Johann Sebastian Bach, Sergey Rachmaninov, and Claude Debussy, and played scores of Alexander Scriabin. But her mother and father loved jazz, and she was fortunate to be able to hear albums by Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Oscar Peterson, and Ella Fitzgerald, items that were in short supply in Azerbaijan.
Her regular working band includes such Holland-based musicians as flute player Bart Platteau; saxophonists Tom Beek and Kurt Van Herck; trumpeters Marcel Reys, Nico Schepers, or Ernie Hammes; bassist Wiro Mahieu; and drummer Chris Strik. She is included on the CD collection of musicians from Azerbaijan, Departure Point: Baku.

Marlon Mackey • 4:00 PM

Vocalist Marlon Mackey is one of the busiest musicians in the Bakersfield scene. You can catch his unique mix of pop, jazz, R&B, hip-hop, and improvisation all over town nearly every weekend. Come on out and celebrate this talent at the Jazz Festival and show Marlon some love! Joining Marlon on the main stage is Tony Rinaldi, keys; Jared Gardnew, bass; and Cesareo Garasa, drums.

CSUB Jazz Collective • 3:00 PM

Kern County Honor Jazz Band presented by Dignity Health • 2:00 PM

2018 BJF Festival Entry Stage

The Akoustics

3:40 • 4:45 • 6:05 • 7:30 • 8:45

The Akoustiks, based in Bakersfield, CA, take the classics we all love and enjoy, along with today’s music, and arrange the music in a different way - hoping to expand your listening pallet. This eclectic ensemble looks for any opportunity to perform and help you believe in what they are doing. They do not limit themselves to any specific genre, and the different cultural backgrounds that they all bring to the table is only a small part of who they are. These musicians complement each other vocally and instrumentally. If you are looking for something classy, something different, The Akoustiks are that – different. This is a talented group that cooks with a different instrumentation which helps give the listener a tastier perspective on classics and originals alike.