Jazz Ain’t Nothing But The Blues

Mondays 6:30 - 8 pm 7/8 - 8/19 (7 weeks)

Jazz Ain’t Nothing But The Blues
Age Adult
Event Type Class
Department Vocal Performance
Day Mon
Instructor Rhonda Benin
Status inperson event

The blues and jazz have much in common, from their origins in the African-American communities of the southern United States at the beginning of the 20th Century. Both the blues and jazz have multiple definitions that sometimes go beyond music and speak to the processes and viewpoints that give these revered musical art forms relevance today. From the perspective of musical structure, jazz as we know it would not exist without the blues. The twelve-bar blues chorus, with its familiar harmonic structure and narrative form, was the single most popular template for early jazz improvisation. Early jazz giants used blues songs as the foundation for many of their most important creations. As jazz evolved and jazz musicians applied more sophisticated ideas of rhythm and harmony, the blues remained a constant. The bond between the blues and jazz has only been strengthened by the many connotations beyond the musical definitions of these two art forms. When we view the blues as an attitude of facing the uncertainties of existence with a clear vision, a sense of humor, and a spirit of resilience, and when we view jazz as a process for ensuring meaningful and spontaneous collective creation, it becomes even clearer that the blues and jazz only reinforce each other. We will examine, learn, and perform jazz/blues tunes from jazz giants such as Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington, Joe Williams, and Jimmy Rushing.

Please note: This class culminates in a performance in the final week of the term (week 7). All Jazzschool student performances are free and open to the public! 

This class meets IN-PERSON at the California Jazz Conservatory.

About Rhonda Benin

San Francisco Bay Area vocalist, Rhonda Benin has earned a reputation for not just a good voice but showmanship, magnetic stage personality, humor, and of course her great dancing. Rhonda’s impressive resume includes performances at SF Jazz, Yoshi’s, MOAD, The Healdsburg, Sonoma, Burlingame, Sausalito, Filmore, and Calistoga Jazz Festivals. In the summer of 2012 Rhonda traveled to Hangzhou, China for a 3-month engagement at the JZ Jazz Club and was 2014 USA headliner for The Kigali Up Music Festival in Kigali, Rwanda. In addition to singing, Rhonda is producer and founder of the Women’s History Month’s show “Just Like A Woman” a tribute to Bay Area Women In Music and the entertaining, informative piece, “Jazz Ain’t Nothing But The Blues”.  Benin is a 22-year member of The GRAMMY nominated vocal ensemble Linda Tillery and The Cultural Heritage. She appears on the CHC’s 7 Cd’s and has toured 30 countries performing and recording with legendary artists such as Taj Mahal, Wilson Pickett, Richie Havens, Odetta. Al Green, Keb Mo, Santana, Patti Austin, Janis Ian, Jackson Brown, Hugh Masekela & Sweet Honey In The Rock.
In 2006 Rhonda produced her first solo CD, A Matter of the Heart a classic mix of jazz, blues, and soul and is currently working on her 2nd CD. Rhonda is on the teaching staff of Healdsburg Jazz ‘s Operation Jazz Band, San Francisco Arts Project, LEAP, Cal Performances, Youth In Arts, The Bay Area Jazz Society and conducts her own school assemblies and workshops, “The Voice, The Hands, The Feet”, “Twist and Shout” and “Love Letters Make Me Misty Blue.”   “Benin’s got a coolly hip vocal, with a bit of hush and sugar and an undercurrent of big booming power. She can bend notes with a bass, talk serenade with a piano and steam the kettle from the drums”. – Ran Pacifica Tribune.