The Jon Jang Ensemble

San Francisco International Arts Festival, Asian Pacific Island Cultural Center, Jon Jang Performances, and Asian Improv aRts Present


The Jon Jang Ensemble

In honor of themes #BlackLivesMatter and #SayHerName, the Jon Jang Quintet with guest artist Amanda Kemp will be performing works that pay homage to the Black Liberation Movement. The ensemble features Amanda Kemp, poet performer; Howard Wiley, multiple percussion; Gary Brown, double bass; Hitomi Oba, tenor saxophone; Nick Nick DePinna, trombone; and composer-ensemble leader Jon Jang on piano.

Tickets: general admission $20 advance, $25 door. Reserved seating $25 advance $30 door. Front row reserved seating $30 advance $35 door. Duration: 90 minutes, no intermission.



Dr. Amanda Kemp (playwright, poet performer), Visiting Scholar in Africana Studies at Franklin & Marshall College, is "on a mission to heal the planet."  A playwright and Pennsylvania Commonwealth Lecturer on poet Phillis Wheatley, Dr. Kemp’s unique blend of performance and lecture have been sought by schools and colleges throughout the U.S.  She earned a B.A. and Phd from Stanford and Northwestern Universities, respectively. She is currently touring a performance project "Inspira:  The Power of the Spiritual," her film “To Cross an Ocean Four Centuries Long,” and "Say Her Name: A Tribute to Black Women."  


Jon Jang (composer, pianist) became the first Chinese American to compose a symphonic work, The Chinese American Symphony that honors Chinese American history.  Jang and James Newton composed When Sorrow Turns to Joy – Songlines: The Spiritual Tributary of Paul Robeson and Mei Lanfang and has recorded with Newton, as well as with David Murray and Max Roach. Jang toured with Max Roach in United States and Europe including the Royal Festival Hall in London.  Jang has taught at Stanford University and was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr.-Cesar Chavez-Rosa Parks Visiting Professor recognition at the University of Michigan.


Akira Tana (multiple percussion).Born and raised in California, Tana earned degrees from Harvard University and the New England Conservatory of Music. Tana has performed with Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt, Zoot Sims, Hubert Laws, Milt Jackson, Jim Hall, Art Farmer, Paul Winter Consort, Paquito D'Rivera, James Moody, J.J. Johnson, Lena Horne,Manhattan Transfer, Ruth Brown, Charles Aznavour, Maurice Hines and Van Dyke parks. He has appeared on over 200 recordings including recordings as a leader and co-leader with Rufus Reid. Tana co-led a quintet with the bassist, Rufus Reid called TanaReid. Tana is currently on the music faculty at San Francisco State University and the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley.

Gary Brown (double bass) has recorded and performed with such notable artist as Flora Purim & Airto, Steve Winwood, George Duke, Santana, Lyle Mays, Azar Lawrence , Narada Michael Walden, Gregg Rolie, Dianne Reeves, Roy Ayres, Ernie Watts, Jeff Beck, Torninho Horta, Larry Coryell, Phararoh Sanders, Eddie Henderson Andy Narrell, Pete and Sheila (Sheila E.) Escovedo, Bernie Worell,  and Patrice Rushen. Brown is currently in ensembles with Gregg Rolie , Akira Tana, Babtunde Lea, Narada Michael Walden and the Rebeca Mauleon Group

Hitomi Oba (tenor saxophone) was raised in Berkeley, California. Hitomi completedher MA at the University of California Los Angeles in Music Composition after receiving her BA in Ethnomusicology/Jazz Studies. Recent projects include her small ensembles, sixteen‐piece jazz orchestra, Jazz Nexus, electro‐acoustic pop duo, Nova, and the jazz opera, “STRANGE FELLOWE”.  Her second jazz album, “Negai”, released under Japanese label M&I received a prestigious “Swing Journal 42nd Annual Jazz Disc Award.” Hitomi is one of the co-founders of the new music collective, LA Signal Lab. Hitomi  teaches music theory at UCLA, integrating classical, jazz,  popular music and world musical genres.

Nick DePinna (trombone) was raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Nick completed his M.A. at UCLA in Music Composition. He has performed with Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gerald Wilson, Herbie Hancock, Hubert Laws and Wayne Shorter. Recent projects include his small ensembles in collaboration with Hitomi Oba, as well as their sixteen‐piece jazz orchestra, Jazz Nexus, electro‐acoustic pop duo, Nova, and the jazz opera, Strange Fellowe. Nick is one of the co-founders of the new music collective, LA Signal Lab, comprised of fellow composer-performers with backgrounds in both jazz and classical music traditions. As a composer, Nick has been a part of The Kennedy Center Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Young Composers Program, as well as the SFJAZZ Young Composers Collective

May 21, 2016 at 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Gallery 308, Fort Mason Center for Arts and Culture, San Francisco International Arts Festival
2 Marina Blvd
Gallery 308
San Francisco, CA 94123
United States
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