Local schools join BC to participate in Jazz Day


Kris Tiner directs the BC Jazz Ensemble Showcase Performance at Jazz Day on April 6.

Dylan Bryant, Reporter

The second annual KCMEA Jazz Day took place on campus at the Simonsen Performing Arts Center on April 6. The event brought together performers of all ages to enjoy a day of music and learning. The event was coordinated by the director of the Bakersfield College Jazz Program, Kris Tiner. Tiner is an accomplished musician who’s recorded multiple albums, and is the founder of Epigraph Records, an independent label “dedicated to new creative music in Bakersfield.”

The day began with a welcoming by Tiner, followed by performances from local high schools and middle schools. Following that was the BC Faculty Jazz Ensemble, featuring Tiner on the trumpet, Paul Perez on saxophone, Josh Ottum on guitar, Pete Scaffidi on bass, and special guest Tina Raymond on the drums.

Raymond is a critically acclaimed drummer who performs regularly with Grammy Award winning artists. She said she “had a great time playing and teaching the students,” and could see that it was a productive morning. The faculty set seemed to get a positive reaction from the students attending.

Matthew, 17, is a drum player in Centennial High Schools’ Jazz Band who said he learned a lot from watching Raymond perform both in the Faculty Set and the performance clinics. “She showed us how to play every eighth of the note, and had a really good use of volume,” he said.

After that, volunteer students were welcomed to join faculty on the outdoor stage for an impromptu jam session while others ate lunch. Joshua Negron and Andrew Heffler, both 14-year-olds in Tevis Junior High’s Jazz Band, were two of the volunteers who went for it. “It was really fun and challenging,” said Negron, who plays trombone. “We thought improvising like that would be hard, but we learned a lot.”

After lunch, students went inside to catch Bakersfield native Susan Scaffidi and her quintet perform “Billie Holliday at 100,” a tribute to the jazz legend and her career. Scaffidi alternates between lecture and song, performing some of Holliday’s greatest hits, while educating the audience on the struggle she overcame in her life. Scaffidi has a personal connection to Holliday: her mother was famed guitarist Mary Osborne, who performed several times with the musician.

Scaffidi, who occasionally writes for the Bakersfield Californian about music, prepared a study guide for students in attendance, which included questions like “What is swing music?” and “What was Billie Holliday’s contribution to swing?” Rob Martens, the jazz director at Ridgeview, also helped coordinate the event. He said the event was “going great” and that “the new model for the performance clinics seemed to help the students there learn a lot.”