Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Thu, May 9 2024 7:30 PM

The Sound Room
3022 Broadway Oakland, CA

The SticklerPhonics CD Release

Jazz is an art form defined by surprise and uncertainty, but one safe bet is that Scott Amendola’s presence on the bandstand means that something interesting is about to go down. The Berkeley drummer has provided a turbo-charged flow of creativity for the Bay Area music scene since the mid-1990s both as a ubiquitous sideman (Charlie Hunter, T.J. Kirk, and Jenny Scheinman) and a bandleader with a knack for composing thrilling anthems.

His latest combo is SticklerPhonics featuring tenor saxophonist Raffi Garabedian and trombonist Danny Lubin-Laden. A Modern Micro Brass Band... Jazz, Groove, Funk, and much more! Drums, saxophone, and trombone, why not? With each player in The SticklerPhonics, the concept of working as a unit is crucial. Playing in the pocket, giving each other space, getting the audience to move... Like nothing you’ve heard. Playing original music.

The trio has plunged into the unmediated terrain that opens up in the absence of the usual guidelines, “a situation where there’s no bass and no chords,” Amendola said. “The sound is ever evolving. We’re really settling in, but there’s also the feeling like there are places to go. We’ve been adding my electronics and Danny bringing in a little looper. We’re just getting started.”

With all three players contributing original compositions, SticklerPhonics is a volatile combo that can draw on a vast continuum of jazz practices, from traditional jazz polyphony and ambient soundscapes to funk and free jazz. Amendola, who first gained national attention in the Grammy-nominated three-guitar and drums band T.J.Kirk, has a deep well of experience in unusual instrumental settings. His long-running duo with Hammond B-3organist Wil Blades got its start when they developed an impressively detailed version of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn’s late masterpiece Far East Suite.

Born in New Jersey and long based in Berkeley, Amendola has woven a dense and far-reaching web of bandstand relationships that tie him to leading artists in jazz, blues, rock, new music and beyond. A creative catalyst as a bandleader, composer, and accompanist, he’s collaborated closely with artists such as guitarists Nels Cline, Jeff Parker, John Schott and Charlie Hunter, organist Wil Blades, violinists Jenny Scheinman and Regina Carter, saxophonists Larry Ochs and Phillip Greenlief, and clarinetist Ben Goldberg, players who’ve all forged singular paths within and beyond the realm of jazz. He’s led or co-led some two dozen albums and contributed to more than 100 recordings.

A Berkeley native now living in Oakland, Lubin-Laden studied with Art Baron, Alan Ferber, Lee Konitz and Ambrose Akinmusirie at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music. In addition to SticklerPhonics,he performs in a wide array of settings, including the Jackie McLean repertory band JACKNIFE, Oakland R&B legend Johnny Talbot and DeThangs, the Electric Squeezebox Orchestra, and Brass Magic, the stylistically encompassing ensemble he co-led with Raffi Garabedian. Healso leads his own projects.

Born and raised in Berkeley, Garabedian studied with jazz heavyweights such as Tony Malaby, Mark Turner, Chris Cheek, Bill McHenry and Andrew Cyrille at the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.He’s recorded and performed with a variety of artists, including Jorge Rossy, Ben Street,Dayna Stephens, and R&B innovator Johnny Talbot. He can be found playing around the Bay Area with the ElectricSqueezebox Orchestra and leading his own quartet and octet, and also performs with his brother, New York bassist Noah Garabedian.
Audio samples in which musicians at this event play: