Today, the art of jazz expression and the world of formal education are fully intertwined, both demanding powerful commitment. Bassist and composer Jeff Denson has been immersed in both worlds since the late 1990s, and balanced a full career as both an acclaimed performing musician and a highly respected educator.
Denson has accompanied some of jazz’s finest artists, including Anthony Davis, Mark Dresser, Joe Lovano, Jane Ira Bloom, Kenny Werner, Dave Douglas and an ongoing relationship with the legendary Lee Konitz since 2007.
He recently released a pair of duo recordings on pfMENTUM Records: Two, with the remarkable European clarinetist Claudio Puntin; and I’ll Fly Away, a re-imagination of hymns and spirituals with pianist Joshua White, who is also a member of the Jeff Denson Trio. That trio performs both as a unit and as The Jeff Denson Trio + 1, featuring a special guest each season (Lee Konitz in 2014/15).
With a doctorate from the University of California San Diego, Denson is a full professor at the California Jazz Conservatory, also serving as its Outreach Director, nurturing young musicians into the world of professional performance, while promoting partnerships and relationships among various elements of the Bay Area scene.
A gifted multi-instrumentalist and composer, Paul McCandless has specialized in a broad palette of both single and double reed instruments that reflect his grounding in both classical and jazz disciplines. During a distinguished career spanning six decades, he has brought a soaring lyricism to his playing and composing. These elements have been integral to the ensemble sound of two seminal world music bands, the Paul Winter Consort and the relentlessly innovative quartet Oregon.
He has widely extended his reach outside of Oregon as a collaborator and solo artist and is credited with more than 150 albums and performances with such musicians as Jaco Pastorius, Carla Bley, Art Lande and Dave Samuels, Eberhard Weber, Wynton Marsalis, Pat Metheny, Mark Isham, Steve Reich, Al Jarreau, Bruce Hornsby, Victor Wooten, Fred Simon, Michael Manring, Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, and the String Cheese Incident.