Jaz Sawyer Ensemble ft. Kim Nalley
The Message Forward Suite – World Premiere
Saturday, November 13, 2021
7:00 PM | Bing Studio



Jaz Sawyer, drums 
Kim Nalley, lead vocals
RyanNicole, rap  
Tongo Eisen-Martin, word spoken
Cava Menzies, piano/keyboard
Geechi Taylor, trumpet
Melecio Magdaluyo, saxophones
Ajayi Jackson, bassoon/congas/percussion
David Ewell, bass




Introduction      Our Past, Present and Future      

Duet                  Jaz Sawyer & Tongo Eisen-Martin                                                        

Quartet             ONE DAY project – Jaz Sawyer Quartet featuring
                         Tongo Eisen-Martin

Ensemble          The Message Forward Suite (Jaz Sawyer)            
                         Movement 1: Foundation                                       
                         Movement II: Ancestor Call                  
                         Movement III: The Message
                         Movement IV: Assembly
                         Movement V: Move to Progress


Generously supported by the Koret Foundation

Season Sponsor: 


PROGRAM SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Please be considerate of others and turn off all phones, pagers, and watch alarms. Photography and recording of any kind are not permitted. Thank you.

HEALTH AND SAFETY: All patrons are required to wear a mask at this performance. 


Composition Description

The Message Forward is a five-part composition that reflects the social climate and challenges of today with a message concerning the strength of community and the power of education for the youth leaders of tomorrow.                     

Movement I: Foundation 
The foundation of innovation must include the acknowledgment of our ancestors, innovators, the influencers and gamechangers that were resilient in facing adversity within the circumstances of their time. It is essential we teach and uplift our youth so they can develop the new ideas and solutions not only for our present day, but for future generations. This all begins with a solid foundation.

Movement II: Ancestor Call               
Finding a way to connect to one’s spirit, history, and individual growth is necessary to discovering your purpose in the world. Traditionally, the significance of “the village” is a model of how a community should prosper. All life events, ceremonies, and activities are rooted in the path laid down from the ancestors, and as a global community we need to move forward towards our full potential.

Movement III: The Message (Duet)
Today, the conversations about race, economic inequality, and justice are at a critical juncture in which our society must decide to layout the message of harmony to elevate our achievements both individually and collectively and how we are all effected in what we do. Even when situations are uncomfortable with the greater discussion, we all must continue to listen, understand, and exchange ideas to achieve this.                        

Movement IV: Assembly                                           
The culture is always changing and evolving and it's important everyone has a voice. We cannot move forward in our societal goals of prosperity and new groundwork without the people from our collective global village and community. As artists, we attempt to express what our future could be.                        

Movement V: Move to Progress
Artists express and figure out solutions often through their craft and inspire others to lay new groundwork. The systemic challenges we all face in the global climate of today should all be met with respect and accountability. In the pursuit of progress and peace it’s important to continue the conversation against inequality in all its forms so we may discover remedies and gain results.  


About the Artists

Jaz Sawyer 
Dr. Jaz Sawyer (with one “Z”) began playing drums at age of 2 in the Haight Ashbury district of San Francisco, California. Several of Jaz's early mentors and teachers include Eddie Marshall, John Santos, Donald Bailey, Michael Sipro, Ed Kelly, Mondre Moffatt and Raymond Froehlich (SF Symphony). Jaz's musical studies have taken him through music programs at the Ruth Asawa School of The Arts, SF Conservatory of Music, Stanford Jazz Workshop, Michael Carvin School of Drumming, and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.

Dr. Sawyer possesses an eclectic and refined personal style of drumming that stems from his deep roots in his Classical, Jazz, West-African and Afro-Caribbean musical training. Jaz has worked with many notable artists, including Wynton Marsalis, Abbey Lincoln, George Benson, Bobby Hutcherson, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Randy Weston, and Phil Lesh & Friends in some of the world’s premier concert venues, including The Blue Note, Village Vanguard, Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, and the Sydney Opera House.

Jaz has earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (The New School/Mannes College), a Master of Public Administration & Public Policy degree (Metropolitan College of New York), and a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership (Northcentral University). Dr. Sawyer is actively involved with music education in communities within the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles. Sawyer's latest EP project ONE DAY released in August 2021 and features San Francisco's 8th Poet Laureate, the very gifted Tonga Eisen-Martin who is featured in the evening's program.

Kim Nalley
Awarded "Most Influential African American in the Bay Area" in 2005 and "Best Jazz Group" in 2013, vocalist Dr. Kim Nalley is already being called "legendary." Michael Tilson Thomas (MTT) discovered Nalley singing to packed audiences live with no amplification. MTT hired Nalley to sing the Gershwin Songbook with the San Francisco Symphony and continued to develop her career as a worldwide touring and recording artist.

Nalley was taught piano by her great-grandmother and studied classical music and theatre in school and went on to work professionally to develop her craft on the scene. Dr. Nalley has performed globally, including major jazz festivals such as Monterey, Umbria Jazz, SFJAZZ, and Jazz at Lincoln Center. Kim lived in Europe for several years before returning to San Francisco to re-open the jazz club Jazz at Pearl's. During her tenure from 2003 to 2008, Nalley raised the club to iconic international acclaim as the owner and artistic director.




Upcoming Events

Requiem: Fire in the Air of the Earth
A new work by Kyle Abraham and Jlin | A.I.M
Sat, Dec 4 at 7:30 PM | Memorial Auditorium




Selected Shorts
Sun, Dec 5 at 2:30 PM | Bing Concert Hall






Generously supported by the Koret Foundation

Season Sponsor: