reviews of interest

Dayna Stephens House Jam


The room’s dim lighting is accented by small lamps and candles with musicians and listeners coming through the door on a cool, foggy East Bay night to the tune of, “Hey!…what’s up?!?!?   You bring your horn…?”.  An evening at The Dayna Stephens House Jam is like an evening of good friends getting together in someone’s living room to kick it.   And kick it they did

Accomplished saxophonist Dayna Stephens and his trio (which included Sameer Gupta of The Supplicants on drums and Matt Montgomery on bass) get the evening warmed up with a couple cuts of their own.  Actually, “warm up” doesn’t do this trio justice.  Halfway through their first tune, the room is way past warm.  It’s no wonder Dayna Stephens has played with names like Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock…every note punches a hole in the back wall of the room.  Every note counts.  And yet, every note is unexpected.  Stephens' improvising skills leaves the audience members looking at each other and just shaking their heads in disbelief.   

Before the night is through, the stage has spilled over with more sax players, vocalists, bassists and drummers than I ever imagined the East Bay could hold.  The musicians, most coming out to play on their only night without a gig, seem to be having a blast playing what they want, how they want…unrestricted by a set list or club owner expectations.  As The Jazz House flyer says, “bring your instrument, or bring your ears…” and hear local jazz stars all in one place, playing together, on the same night.  For five bucks this is a tremendous musical value - a real treat in the Bay Area.  And who knows, next week could be even better!