Chase Jackson Bring Ambitious Jazz to Piedmont Piano

The vibraphonist and Berkeley High grad has been studying composition and making his way in LA.


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Berkeley jazz alumnus Chase Jackson knows his way around the vibraphone.

Photo courtesy Chase Jackson

Chase Jackson spent much of the past decade studying composition with some of the most incisive figures in chamber jazz, looking to carve out his own niche in the indeterminate space where intricately notated passages flow into improvisation. A gifted vibraphonist who graduated from Berkeley High’s vaunted jazz program (class of 2009), he went on to study at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music with heavyweights like drummer Billy Hart, trombonist and Grammy-winning producer Jay Ashby, and trombonist Robin Eubanks (a longtime member of the SFJAZZ Collective).

Since completing his master’s in music at the University of Southern California (where he studied jazz composition with Vince Mendoza and Bob Mintzer), Jackson has been making his way on the Los Angeles music scene, while maintaining a steady presence in the Bay Area via regular multi-night runs at the Black Cat. But the program he brings Oakland’s Piedmont Piano on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 16, is far more ambitious than anything he has presented at the incongruously swanky Tenderloin jazz spot.

Featuring pianist and fellow Oberlin alum Ian McArdle, bassist Giulio Cetto, and drummer Mike Quigg, Jackson’s band focuses on his original music with an ensemble distilled from his impressive 2017 debut album debut album Lay of The Land. They’re joined by the Amaranth Quartet, an adventurous string ensemble that came together at the San Francisco Conservatory in 2014 featuring violinists Emily Botel and Abigail Shiman, violist Julie Michael, and cellist Helen Newby. Combining voluptuous textures and rippling melodic lines, Jackson’s music draws on the intuitive interplay and improvisational ethos of jazz and the dynamic control and harmonic nuance of contemporary chamber music.

Chase Jackson, 4 p.m., Sept. 16, $15, Piedmont Piano Company, 1728 San Pablo Ave., Oakland, 510-547-8188, PiedmontPiano.com.

This report was originally published in our sister publication, the East Bay Monthly.

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