Holiday music at Center for the Arts comes out swinging
By Lou Fancher
In-person activities at Piedmont Center for the Arts are revved up—and swinging!—during December as the adoption of the vaccine dims the harsh glare of the pandemic and people return to indoor entertainment. Perfect for the season, “Music for the Holidays” is an upcoming afternoon benefit concert for the center on Dec. 19 featuring piano trio, In the Tradition.
Pianist Bill Jackman, bassist Rich Trevor, and drummer Anthony Pegram are veteran musicians who bring a soulful, rousing throwback pop and jazz program including classic tunes such as Watch What Happens (jazz, Latin, 1964), Frosty the Snowman (1950), Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1949), Till There Was You (1950), White Christmas (1940), Winter Wonderland (1934) and more. Special holiday medleys celebrate the season and a world premiere, Blues for Michael Morgan (jazz blues, swing), pays tribute to the late Oakland Symphony Music Director who died in 2021.
The trio arrives at the center with well-established roots in Oakland. Jackman is an Oakland native and graduate of Oakland High School. A member of the trio for 27 years, he was a student of the late Oakland jazz pianist Art Fletcher and is a Lupita Records recording artist who has recorded six albums (www.LupitaRecords.com). He owns and operates Jackman Statistics (www.JackmanStatistics.com).
Trevor traveled from the Midwest where he was born, raised and attended college to arrive in Oakland over 40 years ago. While working in the tech industry, he continued to perform with blues, rock and jazz bands, eventually becoming the bassist for the house band at Eli’s Mile High Club in Oakland. Expanding his skill set to include the acoustic upright base, Trevor added French café music, and classical music to his repertoire. He is a bassist with the Prometheus Symphony Orchestra of Oakland and while performing with the In The Tradition Trio, continues to work full-time in tech and is the father of two children attending college.
Pegram has been drumming with jazz combos, R&B groups and big bands in the Bay Area for over for decades. In addition to having accompanied singers such as Maxine Glover, Denise Perrier and Kenny Washington, he has joined as drummer the San Francisco All Stars Big Band, Count Basie Tribute Orchestra, City Swing and community college bands. During the past 13 years, Pegram has served as the drummer with the house trio for Sunday Jazz Brunch at Scott’s Restaurant in Oakland’s Jack London Square.
Most musicians are great storytellers, and because the trio members collectively represent close to 200 years in the Bay Area, listeners might expect that memories will be shared on Saturday afternoon. In an email exchange with Jackman in 2019, he said his maternal grandmother, May Jennings, arrived in Oakland during the early 1900s with her two sisters, Delia and Jane, having traveled the United States from Galway Ireland. He learned from family folklore that affluent families in Piedmont who sought domestic help during the early 20th century frequently hired young Irish girls. “My grandmother was hired by a rich Piedmont family. The name might have been Stratton or Stratford, I’m not sure. The family loved my grandmother and treated her well. She remained their employee until she married my grandfather, Patrick Doran, also from Ireland.”
The piano trio is dedicated to maintaining the traditions of classic jazz piano trios and preserving jazz standards and the pop tunes of the Great American Songbook.