Monday, September 29, 2008

Nor Cal Welcomes Joe Perea

Joe Perea former Director of Instrumental Music at Richland College, where he directed the steel band ensembles, the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and the Jazz Ensemble has reportedly moved to Santa Rosa Junior College in Northern California.
Joe was the founder of The Richland College Steel Band, the premier community college steel band program in the DFW metroplex. All their steel pan instruments were built and tuned in-house Joe with assistance by members of the group.
Together with the Richland Music Club, they host the annual Carnival of Steel music festival every April on the Richland College campus. With over 1000 attendees, the Carnival of Steel brings together elementary, high school, college, and professional steel bands from all over Texas and beyond for a daylong event of performances, cultural activities, and educational presentations.
He holds degrees from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the University of North Texas. As a steel pannist, he has performed with Phase II Pan Groove, as well as with many of the top steel pan artists including Ken "Professor" Philmore, Len "Boogsie" Sharpe, Tom Miller, Ray Holman, Andy Narell, and Robert Greenidge.
He has developed his skills in the craft of pan building and tuning through the guidance of people including Ellie Mannette, Alan Coyle, Tony Slater, Wallace Austin, Darren Dyke, Phil Solomon, and many others.
He served as Program Coordinator for the Over-the-Rhine Steel Drum Band in Cincinnati, OH and later toured with the University of North Texas Steel Band. He started the steel band program at North Garland High School in Garland, TX and has consulted with numerous school and community-based steel band programs around the US on grant writing and curriculum development.

Steel Band Expereince Group Class Resumes

Hi All…many of you responded to my “Sat., Sept. 6 Group Steel Drum Class” posting that a weeknight class would fit better with your schedules. Thank you for all of your input. (A BIG thank-you, again, to everyone who participated in the Sat., Sept. 6 class. It was a pleasure to work with all of you!)

I’m happy to report that Steel Jam’s next “Steel Band Experience” group class offering is:
--Tues., Oct. 21, 6:30-8:00 PM (Steel drums are provided.) --$75 fee. (Advance payment required to secure your reservation.)

Go from rank beginner to member of a steel drum band in a fun, 90-minute session!
This class is designed especially for those who don’t have time to invest in a multi-week course or for those who simply want to try a single, introductory session.No previous musical or steel drum experience (or even talent!) is required.

Class location: the Sunset neighborhood in San Francisco. (Easy access to parking and within a 2-3 block walking distance from public transportation.) Class instructor is Mary Spalding, founder and band leader of STEEL JAM. ********Space is Limited******** Call now (415-731-3550) or email to find out how to secure your reservation for your FUN “Steel Band Experience!”

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Steel Jam at SF Zoo

STEEL JAM performs for:
the San Francisco Zoo’s “Members Night Tours”
--this Fri. and Sat., (Sept. 26 & 27), 6-8:30 PM

(Fri. for Members whose last names begin with the letters A - K; Sat. for Members whose last names being with L - Z.)

FREE to SF Zoo Members only. For more information, or, to join or renew your Zoo Membership to enjoy FREE admission to the Night Tours (plus enjoy a bonanza of other benefits for a full year), go to or call (415) 753-7172.

Hope you can join STEEL JAM for an evening of fun for the whole family!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Phil Hawkins at Anna's Jazz Island

Phil Hawkins, Ray Obiedo, Bob Crawford, Marc van Wageningen, Paul van Wageningen, Michael Spiro get together for an exciting evening of Caribbean Jazz as as they perform songs from Phil's "H2O" and some NEW MUSIC from the upcoming cd!: Sun. Oct. 5, 8pm, Anna's Jazz Island, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley. $10. Reservations Recommended: 510-841-5299

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Santa Clara Stirs it up for Harry Best and Shabang

By Tricia Chambers

Musician, composer and Caribbean-born Harry Best, is no stranger to performing solo. But when he played his steel drum calypso music at Central Park last Sunday, he brought along his five-piece band. And from the hoots and howls sent up by the audience, I’d say they were quite appreciative.

“It’s about 50 degrees in San Francisco where we just came from, so it’s a little hot here” said Best who then proceeded to heat up with the pavilion even more with his island jams.

Best performed a few of his original compositions as well as what he called his Harry Belafonte and Bob Marley revue, on 55-gallon finely-tuned steel drums known as pans.

Before long, Best was receiving requests to play songs that included Bob Marley’s “I Shot the Sheriff.” He also inspired the audience to sing along to “Kingston Town.”

Couples-dancing returned to the Pavilion in a big way, led by 18-month-old, flower thermas-sipping Tea Ballew, a tot whose foray into the dance world is keeping her Mother hopping.

“I used to dance,” said Santa Clara native, Sally Culbertson as she leaned against the cool metal railing and clapped to the bouncy island music. Daughter Martha, visiting from Seattle stood by her side.

“We were in my back yard and I thought I heard music,” said Culbertson. “So I told Martha that we had to go. I forgot today was Sunday.”

Barbara D’Angelo, a Santa Clara resident formerly from Aruba, didn’t brave the dance floor but had fun just the same.

“I come to these concerts a lot,” she said. “This music is very popular in my country.”

Shabang is rounded out by steel drum player Dexter Bruce, formerly of Our Boys Steel Orchestra. According to Best, it’s bass player Ed (Mac) Mc Carver who is the pillar of the band. Tyrone Gray, a drummer who can’t play without a broad smile is another Boys Town veteran.

After the 90-minute show, Shabang packed their instruments to head up north to the colder weather. Day light come today and found me sad to say that Shabang will not be back for many a day. But I do have it on good authority from a very reliable and colorful toucan that Shabang might just return next summer.

Yes, Santa Clara sure knows how to show visitors a good time!

If you would like to learn more about Harry Best and Shabang, visit

New Steel Drum Class in Marin

Mark Rosenthal is starting an Adult steel pan class in Marin Tues. nights 6:30-8:30pm (see attached).
Please pass it on if you know anybody interested. It's at Davidson Middle School where they have a room fully set-up with lot's of pans including 2 sets of 6 bass. Starting next week Sept. 23rd.