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Jason Yeager & Randal Despommier: CD Release featuring Aubrey Johnson

New York musicians Randal Despommier (saxophone) and Jason Yeager (piano) make their Berkeley debut at The Back Room, presenting their new collaborative album, All At Onceness (Red Piano Records).

The record is a soulful mix of improvisational arrangements of Baroque, Romantic, twentieth-century and contemporary pieces, melding the spark and spontaneity of jazz improvisation with the sensitivity of chamber music. With source material ranging from Bach to Stravinsky, Scriabin to Messiaen, these intrepid composer-improvisers stake out their own territory in a diverse program that combines folk-like melodies, evocative harmonies, and infectious rhythms.

Critical to the project is featured vocalist Aubrey Johnson, who has collaborated with top artists ranging from Fred Hersch to Bobby McFerrin. Despommier notes that, “Aubrey sings with such soul and warmth; she’s a real singer/poet who ‘breathes life into the words’ as the madrigalists would say.”

He goes on to say, “Jason and I were both interested in building off of the jazz tradition by turning to the classical oeuvre and vice versa. During our jam sessions, we’d mess around with jazz standards, preludes by Scriabin, and folk songs; then we’d arrange, rearrange, and sometimes ‘de-range’ pieces, as Jason puts it; the result was what we felt to be a coming-together of various musical styles from the past and present. We decided to call this approach All At Onceness, a term coined by the Canadian media scholar, Marshall McLuhan.”

Randal Despommier is a New York-based composer, saxophonist, and educator from New Orleans, LA. His unique and extensive background in jazz, blues, and Western classical music results in a distinct twenty first-century compositional voice. Despommier's original music ranges from contemporary art songs to jazz adaptations of Medieval and Renaissance music. His debut album, an original song cycle entitled Circus of the Soul, will be released on Albany Records later this year. He directs the music program at Bard High School Early College in Manhattan and has taught jazz history with the Bard Prison Initiative.

Jason Yeager is a New York-based pianist, composer, and educator, whose music is informed by jazz improvisation, contemporary chamber music, and Latin American folk rhythms. His most recent album, United, with violinist Jason Anick, was awarded 4.5 stars and named one of 2017’s top releases in Downbeat Magazine. His fourth recording as a leader, All At Onceness, with composer/saxophonist Randal Despommier, was released on Red Piano Records in April 2018. Yeager has performed and recorded with such artists as Luciana Souza, Matt Wilson, Ayn Inserto, Linda Oh, Greg Osby, Sara Serpa, and George Garzone, and has performed across the US and abroad in Argentina, Panama, and South Africa. In addition to his performance and composition work, Yeager teaches piano at Berklee College of Music.

Tickets are $18 advance, $20 door general admission, and $15 for students with ID. Advance tickets are available at the link below, or you may purchase your tickets at the door the night of the show. Doors open one half hour before show time. We accept cash only at the door (ATMs are nearby). 

The Back Room is an all-ages, BYOB (for those 21+) space, dedicated to (mostly) acoustic music of all kinds. You are welcome to bring your own adult beverage with no additional corkage fee. If you need more information or have any questions, please call us: #510-654-3808. Thank you for your support!

Earlier Event: January 13
Audrey Martin - SOLD OUT!