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Saxophonist Steven Lugerner & His Band Jacknife to Preview Spring 2016 CD "The Music of Jackie McLean" with November West Coast Tour Dates
(Published: September 28, 2015)

San Francisco Bay Area woodwind expert Steven Lugerner continues his explorations of the music of jazz legend Jackie McLean with Jacknife, a hard-hitting West Coast post-bop quintet that Lugerner premiered earlier this year. The group has completed work on an album, The Music of Jackie McLean, slated for release on April 22, 2016, and will be appearing at several West Coast venues this fall. Lugerner is also planning spring dates to coincide with the CD release that will feature the virtuoso pianist and former McLean sideman Larry Willis.

Exploring tunes from McLean's seminal early- and mid-1960s Blue Note albums Jacknife, It's Time, Let Freedom Ring, and New Soil, the new session brings together a formidable cast of rising talent, including pianist Richard Sears, bassist Garret Lang, drummer Michael Mitchell, and trumpeter JJ Kirkpatrick. Jacknife will be performing at the Blue Whale, Los Angeles (11/4), and at the Red Poppy Art House (11/6) and Chez Hanny (11/8), both in San Francisco.

Larry Willis made his recording debut on McLean's 1965 date Right Now and appeared on the original Jacknife album (1966) and other recordings by the saxophonist. Lugerner connected with Willis this past summer at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, where Lugerner has been Faculty Coordinator since 2013 and Willis was a visiting artist.

Although Lugerner never had the opportunity to meet McLean, who died in 2006 at age 74, he listened deeply to the alto giant's recordings as he was coming up. "I studied with alto saxophonist Mike DiRubbo, who studied directly with McLean at the Hartt School," says Lugerner. "Mike was a huge influence on me when I was in college."

In addition to his work with Jacknife this fall, Lugerner will be hosting/leading the Stanford Coffee House Monday Night Jazz Jam, which begins tonight (8-10pm) and runs for seven consecutive Mondays through 11/9. Lugerner and pianist Malcolm Campbell will be supported by a rotating cast in the rhythm section, including bassists Josh Thurston-Milgrom, Matthew Wohl, and Zach Ostroff, and drummers Michael Mitchell, Austin Harris, Britt Ciampa, and Adam Starkopf.

In a relatively short period of time, 27-year-old Bay Area native Steven Lugerner has collaborated with a heavyweight roster of jazz masters, including pianist Myra Melford, percussionist John Hollenbeck, tenor saxophonist Dayna Stephens, altoist Miguel Zenón, soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom, flutist Jamie Baum, and drummer Matt Wilson. His latest album, the digital-only release Gravitations Vol. II (2015), is a gorgeous duo project that places piano great Fred Hersch in an entirely new context.

A skilled and diversified woodwind doubler on saxophones, bass clarinet, B-flat clarinet, oboe, English horn, flute, and alto flute, Lugerner is suitably focusing on the alto saxophone for his work with Jacknife: "This is one project where I can bring just one horn."

Jacknife personnel for the November shows includes JJ Kirkpatrick on trumpet and drummer Michael Mitchell on drums, with pianist Carmen Staaf and bassist Garret Lang performing in Los Angeles, and pianist Adam Shulman and bassist Josh Thurston-Milgrom on the Bay Area dates. •

Steven Lugerner in Performance

Wednesday 11/4 Blue Whale, Los Angeles (with Jacknife)

Friday 11/6 Red Poppy Art House, San Francisco (with Jacknife)

Sunday 11/8 Chez Hanny, San Francisco (with Jacknife)

Monday nights 9/28-11/9 Jazz Jam at Stanford Coffee House (CoHo)

More Information: http://www.stevenlugerner.com

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