Monday, June 17
Aaron Blumenfeld - piano
Tom Connell – drums
John Purves – saxes, clarinets
Rolf Johnson - trumpet
Jamison Smeltz – alto sax, clarinets
Greg Sankovich - piano
Karl Hartmann – bass
Aaron Blumenfeld is a composer, author, teacher and concert pianist who has worked intensively in three widely disparate fields of music: classical, jazz and Jewish music. He received his M.A. in music composition from Rutgers University, New Brunswick for his research into early jazz piano music, which eventually resulted in two published books on the art of blues and barrelhouse piano improvisation. He received a grant from the New Jersey Council on the Arts to compose his BARRELHOUSE PIANO CONCERTO, which was performed in the S.F. Bay Area in 1980. Many of his extensive list of compositions include movements of jazz music.He has been a frequent recipient of ASCAPLUS ( ASCAP) AWARDS.
He taught a popular course, Free Improvisation at the Piano at the University of California, Berkeley Extension School for twenty years and at the Berkeley Jazz School for five years.
Prior to his work in the field of Jazz, Mr. Blumenfeld worked extensively in the field of Jewish music as a composer, teacher, cantor and conductor of synagogue choirs. He has composed several large symphonic works on Jewish themes.
Mr. Blumenfeld is primarily a classical composer. He has composed eleven piano concertos (three have been performed,) many works for various chamber ensembles, much music for solo piano and many art songs. Ten songs from his two operas were recently performed in Berkeley as part of the (Berkeley, CA) Trinity Chamber Concerts series, a venue which has presented much of his chamber music for several years.
All of Mr. Blumenfeld’s original manuscripts are in the music archives of the University of California, Berkeley.
The Connell-Purves Group is an eclectic, modern jazz ensemble. The group is led by drummer/composer Tom Connell and saxophonist/clarinetist/composer John Purves. The remaining members are long-time Bay Area players with long and varied resumes, with credits that read like a “who’s who” of Bay Area jazz. The group plays a diverse, original style of jazz that incorporates bebop, modern/free jazz, and modern classical music with Mediterranean, Middle-Eastern, Afro-Cuban, and Brazilian sounds. The group performs compositions primarily by its two leaders. The most direct influences on the group’s sound are probably John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, and Ornette Coleman.
Mr. Connell has been drumming virtually since birth, and studied rudimental and drum set technique throughout his childhood in Wisconsin. Tom studied jazz and Latin percussion with Louis Ferkovics in Florida, jazz and classical theory at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, and classical composition at the American Conservatory in Chicago with Dr. William Crowle and privately with Stephen Wolff. At the same time he was performing with many rock, jazz, and percussion ensembles throughout the Midwest. Since moving to California in 1996, Tom has studied composition privately with Aaron Blumenfeld, performed and recorded with the avant-rock group grown, as well as writing and performing with his own jazz groups, most recently the Connell-Purves Group.
Upon first hearing Charlie Parker and John Coltrane in his youth, John Purves decided the saxophone would be his instrument of choice. John spent a number of years studying saxophones and flute in Los Angeles with multi-woodwind/composer Lonnie Shetter as well as playing in college big bands and smaller group ensembles in the L.A. area including Gary Foster and Bobby Bradford’s groups at Pasadena City College. He also co-led a Jazz Quintet of his own before moving to San Francisco in 1991. John’s woodwind playing has been featured on two full-length CD’s by the group Quiet Celebration and some of the same music has been heard on TV shows such as A&E’s Biography, Beyond the Davinci Code, MTV and VH1. John has also privately released two full length CD’s and one EP of under the alias Purjah.
The Connell-Purves Group has been playing together for over four years. The have released three full-length CD’s (Imaginary Characters, Nickel Town, and Cross Relations), and are currently writing and rehearsing material for their fourth CD.