July 23, 2012
By Darla Martin Tucker
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (www.lasierra.edu) Blues and jazz guitarist John Payne is back to lead a band of top jazz musicians in La Sierra University’s Pierce Street Jazz series.
The John Payne Quartet will perform July 25 at 7 p.m. at La Sierra’s Alumni Center, 11500 Pierce St., Riverside. Admission is free. Payne’s band will feature Theo Saunders on piano, Clarence Johnston on drums and Henry “the Skipper” Franklin on upright bass.
For more information call 951-785-2148. A campus map is at http://www.lasierra.edu/resources/campusmap/. The Alumni Center is located approximately one block from La Sierra’s main campus, in front of the La Sierra Natural Foods Market. The event is part of La Sierra’s on-going Pierce Street Jazz concerts which offer the community free jazz by professional players.
Payne has performed for Pierce Street Jazz in previous shows, bringing his grooving blues and jazz talents to Pierce Street’s audiences. Payne spent his early years in West Texas listening to the area’s fiddle and guitar music with the western swing sounds of Hoyle Nix. 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 26 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.
Drummer Johnston brings to the stage his renowned talent and decades of experience playing with numerous jazz greats including Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Stitz. His international performance experiences include such famed venues as Buckingham Palace. Johnston, a professional musician, teacher and a leader of intergenerational drumming circles, is a product of the East Coast jazz scene and of the Connecticut School of Music. He forayed into the Los Angeles jazz arena in 1972.
Pianist Saunders has performed in many of the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals and concert halls with distinguished artists including Hubbard, Carla Bley, David “Fathead” Newman, Barbara Morrison, 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.
Bassist Franklin has performed on more than 150 albums and compact discs including gold releases, many of which he produced. Last March he released his 24th album, “Soul of the World,” recorded with his band on his SP Records label. Franklin was part of the legendary Hugh Masekela’s band during the late 1960s and has performed with many other jazz and pop greats. When not on tour in various parts of the United States and the world, Franklin plays his upright bass at The Historic Mission Inn in Riverside, Calif. He also organizes concerts for La Sierra’s Pierce Street Jazz series.
PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University