Alumni Spotlight

SSU Jazz Alums Get Five Stars in Downbeat Review

Two former students of jazz faculty Randy Vincent and George Marsh – guitarist Liberty Ellman and drummer Elliot Humberto Kavee – have received a rare five-star review in Downbeat magazine for their work on the Zooid album Tomorrow Sunny/The Revelry, a project of cutting-edge jazz composer Henry Threadgill. The London-born Ellman, recipient of the 2011 Downbeat Critics Poll for Rising Star Guitar, lived his earliest years in New York but spent his adolescence and most of his 20s in the Bay Area, emerging with a bachelor of arts degree in Music from SSU. Before moving to New York, Elliot Humberto Kavee was the drummer of choice among the Bay Area’s most gifted creative musicians, playing on over 40 critically acclaimed recordings. In addition, Kavee was a musician, composer, musical director, actor and writer with the Tony award-winning San Francisco Mime Troupe for seven years — the only musical director in the group’s 40-year history to win a dramalogue award.

Arnerich plays Chopin

Music alumni and pianist Mathew Arnerich plays his personal interpretation of Chopin's Ballade in F Minor. Matt explains; Chopin's 4th ballade is arguably his greatest piece. There are passages of great power and strength but also passages of quiet reflection and repose. I find the piece is often played too fast. I wanted my performance to call attention to those passages that are normally rushed, to allow each note to breathe and speak. I wanted a new tempo to feel like the passing of a season and moments of silence to feel as long as an age.

Composer: Frederic Chopin
Pianist: Matthew Arnerich
Audio/Video: Dave Garcia

Tyler Blanton

Music alumni and Jazz vibraphonist Tyler Blanton has taken New York by storm! Check out Tyler's new website for photos, music samples, and more.