Guitarist Payne to play Pierce Street Jazz

Guitarist John Payne
Guitarist John Payne

July 13, 2010

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – ( Jazz and blues guitarist John Payne will take to the stage July 14, leading the John Payne Quartet in La Sierra University’s latest Pierce Street Jazz concert.

The show begins at 7 p.m. and will take place at La Sierra’s Alumni Center, 11500 Pierce St., Riverside. Admission is free. Payne’s band will feature Theo Saunders on piano, Kendall Kay on drums and Putter Smith on upright bass.

For more information call 951-785-2148. A campus map is at The event is part of La Sierra’s on-going Pierce Street Jazz concerts which offer the community free jazz by talented, professional players. The periodic concerts kicked off last fall with quartets organized by noted jazz bassist, Henry Franklin who has performed in jazz combos for many years at Riverside’s Mission Inn.

Payne’s early years were spent in West Texas listening to the area’s fiddle and guitar music with the western swing sounds of Hoyle Nix a few miles down the road. As he studied jazz with Bob Brown in Albuquerque, N.M. he took on a strong influence of Wes Montgomery, Grant Green, and Kenny Burrell. The blues of greats like Long John Hunter and others were also there mixed in with the hints of swing.

Payne spent several years in El Paso, Texas, and for the past 24 years has been in Santa Barbara where he divides his time between playing and teaching. He has played with Randy Tico, Bob Ledner, Lorca Hart and many others. He currently is performing duets with Loren Monda. Wednesday’s concert marks a reunion for Payne and Saunders. The two musicians performed together several years ago.

Saunders has performed in many of the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals and concert halls with distinguished artists including Carla Bley, David “Fathead” Newman, Barbara Morrison, Charles Lloyd, Claudio Roditi, Victor Brasil, Raul De Souza, Bobby Rodriguez, Gladys Knight, the Four Tops and many others.
He has directed music for opera productions and international musical theatre. As a composer, Saunders has numerous compositions to his credit as well as original scores for theatre, radio and multimedia production. Artists Henry Franklin, Ray Armando, Benn Clatworthy, Bobby Matos, and Bruce Paulson have recorded his compositions.

Bassist Smith has performed with a long list of music’s famed acts including the Theolonius Monk Quartet, Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Diane Schuur, Herb Geller, Marlene Dietrich, Buddy Rich, T-Bone Walker, Ray Charles and many others.

He maintains an active career as a jazz bassist in Los Angeles and has recorded six trio albums with Alan Broadbent during the past 25 years. He has two albums under his own name, “Lost and Found” for VJ Records, and “Night Song” for Gam Records. His band Left Coast recently recorded their first album and plays concerts in Los Angeles.

Smith served as ‘Artist-in-Residence’ at Polytechnic University in Christchurch, New Zealand during 1998 and has done clinics at colleges across the United States. He is a regular guest lecturer in Charlie Haden’s improvisation classes at Cal-Arts Valencia. He served on staff at Musician’s Institute in Los Angeles for 20 years. His book, “Improvisation Handbook- Notes” is in its third printing.

Smith has also participated in many Mark Masters American Jazz Institute concerts, performed in Tim Hagen’s wonderful “Sketches of Spain” tribute to Miles Davis, several presentations of the music of Jack Montrose including the historic Clifford Brown arrangements and, most recently, a performance with Gary Foster, Joe Labarbera and the inspiring young tenor player, Mark Turner.
Born in Durban, South Africa, drummer Kay showed an interest in the drums at an early age. He pursued this interest, eventually playing and recording with most of the major artists, including Steve Kekana, Mike Makelemele, Johnny Fourie, Alan Kwela and Izzio Gross.

In 1983 Kay moved to Texas and studied at North Texas State University, graduating with a degree in jazz studies. Kendall arrived in Los Angeles in 1987 and has been playing and recording there ever since. His performance credits include work with Kenny Burrell, Phil Upchurch, Bob Sheppard, Jeff Beale, Dan St Marseille, Dave Ferris, Lamont Johnson and many others.


PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University
Riverside, California
951.785.2460 (voice)


  • Last update on  July 13, 2010