perform on television until two days after they were scheduled. Sleep-deprived due to the schedule changes, when the band was called back for an encore, the bassist forgot to take off his sunglasses. During a second encore, all of the band members sported sunglasses, along with George, who regularly wore them due to being blind. Charlie added that when the band would arrive late for a gig, George would humorously say it was because he was driving. Last year, instructors from the music departments at local Cal Poly and Cuesta
College, both of which have outstanding music programs, approached Charlie to work with some of their students. To that end, the non-profit (501 C3) Central Coast Jazz Institute was recently established, which is “dedicated to the instruction and preservation of American jazz music.” Charlie spoke passionately about how the donated funds provide scholarships for jazz instruction of private students of all ages, as well as a lecture series. More information can be found at www.ccjazzi.org.
Charlie Shoemake and Barry Harris
ing with Charlie gave him a foundation that he still uses, even with “new improvisation and harmony.” When asked about his being the first composer for JLCO other than Wynton Marsalis, Ted replied that he was the first “featured” composer, although they had some prior visiting composers who had provided some arrangements. Ted noted that this Portrait in Seven Shades helped forge a new direction for JLCO. Although he did not mention it, Portrait in Seven Shades was a Grammy-nominated album representing seven different artists including Claude Monet, Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Marc Chagall, and Jackson Pollock. On the Shoemake’s website, Ted is quoted, “When I began lessons, I could hardly play. Three years later, not only could I play, but I was working professionally with many groups, including Lionel Hampton, Toshiko Akiyoshi, and even Charlie’s own quintet. Charlie was the ONLY teacher in Los Angeles with a method of teaching jazz improvisation that actually worked.” In the early 1990s, Charlie closed his school and relocated with Sandi to what he described as “the beautiful little ocean village of Cambria” where they began bringing in major jazz artists. During their two Sunday show times, Charlie accompanies the guest artists by playing piano or vibes and Sandi graces the stage for select vocals. The series was held at the Hamlet Restaurant in Cambria (which is currently under renovation), and is presently appearing at D’Anbino Vineyard and Cellars in Paso Robles. A list of the stellar artists who have performed at the series and more interesting information on Charlie and Sandi can be found on their website www.talsanmusic.com. When asked to share a humorous or interesting experience, Charlie said that due to an unavoidable delay due to a national crisis, the George Shearing Orchestra didn’t actually J U N E
Published on May 28, 2013