Nineteen is one of the South Bay's premier jazz orchestras. Most of our members are working musicians and music teachers, but we also have engineers (including senior members of Apple's GarageBand software team), marketers, a financial advisor, and a CEO. The band's inception was some thirty years ago, as the semi-professional community jazz band at West Valley College, in Saratoga, California. Joe Davis, a fine trombonist and the founder of the jazz program at West Valley, directed the band for many years.
In 2002, after Mr. Davis's retirement, Gus Kambeitz, a San Jose native, became director, after earning a master's degree in music at Washington State University. Under his leadership and vision we started our seasonal guest-artist series, and began performing in several downtown venues, outside the auspices of the college. Now having evolved from a community-college band, we became the West Valley Jazz Orchestra.
In 2009 we entered into a partnership with the San Jose Jazz Society (the producer of the annual San Jose Jazz Festival). As the official musical voice of the Society, we became the San Jose Jazz Orchestra. The band had been gradually transformed from a campus-bound group to a vital part of the city's jazz scene.
We collaborated with the Society to present a miriad of concerts and educational outreach programs around the greater San Jose area: we were the house band for the Tabard Theatre's production Stompin' at the Savoy, we continued our guest-artist programs at the SJ Jazz Festival and at other locations throughout the year, and we initiated a Local Composer's Showcase, wherein the finest new works, selected by a panel of distinguished composers and educators, are given public performance.
In Spring of 2011 we embarked on the next phase of our evolution, as an independent entity, with a new, weird name, suggesting our size. We have a full concert schedule, and have been privieged to present a great variety of music and world-class guest musicians to the public.
We look forward to seeing you at our upcoming concerts.
Study with us! We have several teachers in the band. For information on lessons, please see our contact page. All ages and levels are welcome.
Submit your originals! We support the efforts of contemporary composers and arrangers. If you are interested in hearing your work played, or rehearsing it with us, or would like it considered for inclusion in the Local Composer's Showcase or our regular repertoire, please refer to our contact page.