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Judge for Justin Hellman

Oakland, CA
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Portrait of Justin Hellman
The sound of Justin Hellman’s ensemble has evolved over time. “It writhes -- with the fresh blood of locals Justin Hellman on bass and Eric Vogler on guitar” (SF Chronicle 8-05), who have been creating, performing, and arranging together for several years, developing an approach that is exciting and fresh while rooted in the jazz tradition. With influences like Pat Metheny, John Scofield, and Wayne Shorter, the group strives for a dynamic sound that carries a great deal of tension and release yet also possesses an element of lyricism

Bandleader Justin Hellman is quickly making a name for himself in the Bay Area jazz scene as both a leader and a sideman. He has a bachelor’s degree in music from UC Berkeley and has studied privately with Michael Manring, Kai Eckhardt, and Stephen Tramontozzi. Over the years, Hellman has performed with countless bands and a variety of different genres has had a chance to perform with Bay Area greats like saxophonists Paul McCandless and Dave Ellis, bassoonist Paul Hansen, keyboardist Taylor Eigsti, and guitarists Henry Kaiser, Julian Lage, and Will Bernard. His creativity and energy on acoustic and electric bass make him an exciting young voice within many genres of music

Tenor saxophonist Dave Ellis graduated from Berkley High in 1985 and moved on to the Berklee College of Music, where he graduated with a degree in music production and engineering. Upon returning to the Bay Area in 1992, Ellis teamed up with eight-string guitarist Charlie Hunter and drummer Jay Lane to form the immensely popular Charlie Hunter Trio. After releasing his first disc as a leader, Ellis was named Best New Talent (along with Diana Krall) in the 1997 Jazziz magazine Readers Poll. In 1999, he received 2 California Music Awards for Outstanding Jazz Album and Outstanding Jazz Artist in Northern California. While establishing his solo recording career, Ellis was playing live for tens of thousands of Deadheads in arenas and stadiums around the country with Bob Weir's Ratdog, Phil Lesh and Friends, and the Other Ones--sharing the stage with Bonnie Raitt and Rickie Lee Jones, sitting in with the Black Crowes, and performing at Bill Clinton's 1996 inaugural ball

The drummer, Deszon Claiborne, has studied with Billy Cobham, Ralph Humphrey, James Levi, Richard Peterson and Kenneth Nash. He is a first call drummer for way too many groups to mention. Notably, he has recorded and performed with Don Cherry, Ornette Coleman, Bo Didley, Phyllis Hyman, Jay McShann, and Alex Acuna

Bay Area native Eric Vogler is the guitarist in the group. He studied music at UC Berkeley with Steve Coleman, Bevan Manson, and Ted Moore. Vogler has performed at some of the best venues in the area, including Yoshi’s, Zellerbach, and Hertz Hall, and he has worked with a diverse array of artists including Howard Wiley, Dayna Stephens, and Ambrose Akinmusir

Hellman’s debut CD, Shakin’ It Like a Blue Funk Monkey, shows his many sides as a composer. The tracks range stylistically from funky acid jazz to straight ahead to drum n bass, yet there is a consistency that helps define the group’s dynamic, interactive sound. The album features saxophonist Roshywn Bullock, drummer Tyrel Willis, and guitarist Eric Vogler, 3 stellar musicians who have played with the likes of Chick Corea, Roy Hargrove, Stevie Wonder, Ira Sullivan and Freddie Hubbard.

For Booking Information Contact: Justin Hellman 510-338-0015
justin@tentacle.net www.justinhellman.co
 
 
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