Michael Morgan’s “inspired, multifarious, musical bash” takes its inspiration this year from the peerless soul of Nina Simone and the boogie-woogie of Fats Domino. Special guests (including Jazz Mafia) abound in this annual rollicking holiday party.
Special post-concert show with Cosa Nostra Strings
$15 - $60
6pm and 8pm shows
$65 includes dinner and show
What do you get when you throw together classical string players, a vocalist/spoken word/human beat box artist, a jazz trombonist, and hip sensibility? Well, the obvious answer is you get the Cosa Nostra Strings plus special guest Emcee Infinite. This outfit, playing two shows Spoonbar, is the latest brainchild of Adam Theis – the aforementioned jazz trombonist – who is the instigator and top gun of an octopus-like organization called the Jazz Mafia.
Together for more than 15 years, the Jazz Mafia is like something you might get if you combined George Clinton, P.T. Barnum, Woody Herman’s Thundering Herd, and Sun Ra. In its lifetime this musical big tent, with Adam as ringleader, has spawned probably a dozen bands, including the Realistic Orchestra, the Brass Mafia, Shotgun Wedding, and now the Cosa Nostra Strings. Theis and his team are like the Borg from Star Trek: Next Generation, an unstoppable alien species that assimilates all civilizations it encounters – resistance is futile. Only unlike the Borg, these musicians are benevolent.
And cutting-edge. That’s the quality shared by all the Jazz Mafia subgroups – a commitment to breaking ground, frequently by absorbing trends in electronic music and hip hop. Theis brings a jazz sensibility to it all, which means the artists can play and the audience always knows it’s in good hands.
The Cosa Nostra Strings consist of three conservatory trained string players; Shaina Evoniuk on violin, Keith Lawrence on viola, Lewis Patzner on cello; an eclectic percussionist, Aaron Kierbel; and Emcee Infinite (a.k.a. Carlos Aguirre), a singer and spoken word artist and human beat box who can vocalize the sounds of an entire band.
Then there’s Theis himself, a trombone ace and talented composer who in 2008 won an Emerging Composer grant from the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation to compose “Brass, Bows & Beats: A Hip Hop Symphony” consisting of 50 jazzers, orchestra players, and vocalists that toured around the country in 2009-2010. Adam is a Festival veteran. He first played the festival in 1999 with his group Cannonball.
Only six musicians will throw down at Spoonbar, but the dynamics will be more than enough to fill the room.
Cosa Nostra Strings feat. Trance Thompson
The Dynamic Miss Faye Carol
Noah and the Arkiteks (solo)
The “Genius of Soul” is nearly unsurpassed in his contribution to American music. In over fifty years of writing, performing, and recording, Ray Charles left his indelible mark on rhythm and blues, jazz, soul, rock & roll, and even country. His iconic songs will be made new with the sounds of funk, cumbia, hip-hop, acoustic chamber music, and more. Performances by The Dynamic Miss Faye Carol, the soulful Noah and the Arkiteks, KATDELIC (featuring former member of Parliament Funkadelic, Ronkat Spearman), the always high-energy Bang Data, and Jazz Mafia spin-off group Cosa Nostra Strings featuring Trance Thompson.
The Summer Series
Over four nights this Summer at SFJAZZ, UnderCover Presents pays tribute to two legendary artists, one landmark album, and a seminal studio band. Each unique night, showcases 4 different Bay Area ensembles as they present bold reinterpretations of this iconic music.
Shaina K. Evoniuk -- violin
Keith Lawrence - viola/vocals
Lewis Patzner- cello/trombone
Adam Theis- trombone/bass
Aaron Kierbel - cajon/percussion
The Cosa Nostra Strings, a spin-off of Theis’s Jazz Mafia, shares this stylistically expansive, personnel-overlapping program. Featuring Theis and Evoniuk, violist Keith Lawrence, and Lewis Patzner on cello and trombone, Aaron Kierbel on Percussion, the CNS specializes in original hybrid crossover music encompassing acoustic heavy metal and soaring power ballads.
Jazz Mafia’s Current roster of projects includes:
The Shotgun Wedding Quintet
The Soiled Dove (Modern Circus w/ Vau De Vire)
Adam Theis MOBtet
Cosa Nostra Strings
NOT a Brass Band
Jazz Mafia Plays Prince, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson
Reservations strongly recommended.