Concerts Sponsored & Organized by the Pleasanton Jazz Society

Jazz at Inklings Concerts

Friday evening concerts with the Tri-Valley Jazz Trio and guests




First Published May 28, 2018 | Article Presented by the "Jazz at Inklings" Concert Productions

When the "Jazz at Inklings" concerts began on a Saturday morning in a medium-sized concert hall behind a coffee shop in downtown, it was never realized what musical heights they would reach.

One Saturday morning in early July, the James Hall Trio performed at Inklings Coffee to an audience small compared to the packed crowds at later concerts. But we can be sure that many of those listening could tell that this band had promise - one of those listening became a co-founder of the Pleasanton Jazz Society. Experienced adult bassist Matt Finders (former trombonist for the Tonight Show and Benny Goodman Band), at the time 12-year-old pianist James Hall, and young drummer Ren Whitney produced some music that was the introduction to the still-functioning Jazz at Inklings concert series.

As a result of this July concert, another Jazz at Inklings concert was scheduled, this time on the evening of Friday, September 8th, at Inklings, with a new musical group called the "Tri-Valley Jazz Trio" and guest San Jose jazz trumpeter Modesto Briseno. The Trio still included Matt Finders and James Hall, but now included local music teacher Kelly Fasman on the drums. The band was ready to perform on the evening of September 8th.

In the meantime, the Pleasanton Jazz Society, which had been formed in late July, had put important effort into promoting the September concert at Inklings, and prior to the concert a news article was published about the approach of this Pleasanton Jazz Society "Jazz at Inklings" concert. Two sponsors joined the bandwagon, one of them being the hosts of the concert, Inklings Coffee, and the other being the Pleasanton Jazz Society.

After the July concert, it was not expected that the September 8th performance would be a full house. However, by the time the music was at full swing, people were running back and forth between the storage room and the concert hall, bring out chairs by the scores for all the crowds who had journeyed to the Inklings concert hall to listen to the music. The concert hall was packed with music fans from around the area.

Of course, the success of the September concert resulted in more concerts being scheduled for November 2017, December 2017, and, in the longer term, through summer 2018. All of the concerts were scheduled on Friday evenings around 7 PM, and, of course, at Inklings Coffee. They all included the Tri-Valley Jazz Trio and a guest musician.

At the November 2017 concert with guest tenor saxophonist Guido Fazio, the jazz reached new heights, and the concert hall was filled with approximately a hundred people at a time. Like every other concert at Inklings, there was no admission charge, and people were allowed to come in and leave when they chose - although few left early, of course!

The November concert was followed by another in December with saxophonist Noel Catura, and this one at its peak attendance was close to a full house. This was followed by yet another well-attended Inklings concert with guitarist Hugo Wainzinger in January and another with Charlie Parker-like alto saxophonist Andrew Speight in early February. After this, there have been three concerts, one with Guido Fazio on saxophone again, one with Benny Torres as guest saxophonist, and finally Modesto Briseno again on trumpeter.

As of late May 2018, further concerts have been scheduled in June, July, August, and September 2018, all with first-class guest saxophonists as the guest artists. Some especially notable upcoming concerts include New York City saxophonist Michael Marcus on June 8th and famous jazz saxophonist Anton Schwartz on July 20th.