Nov. 23, 2009
By Darla Martin Tucker
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (www.lasierra.edu) Trombonist David Dahlsten, “The Senator,” has played it up with Bobby Womack, Buddy Miles and other rhythm and blues and jazz greats. On Dec. 2 he’s bringing his talents and a quartet of gifted musicians to La Sierra University.
The David Dahlsten Quartet will perform the second of La Sierra’s recently launched “Pierce Street Jazz” concerts. Admission is free. The performance will take place at 7 p.m. at La Sierra’s Alumni Center, 11500 Pierce St., Riverside. For more information call 951-785-2148, or e-mail email@example.com.
The quartet of seasoned musicians includes Dahlsten on trombone; worldwide performing pianist and composer Theo Saunders on piano; Ramon Banda on drums, a former 24-year member of the Grammy award-winning Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band; and Henry “The Skipper” Franklin, who’s played his upright bass with Al Jarreau, Stevie Wonder, Count Basie, Freddie Hubbard, Milt Jackson and many other high profile artists.
Dahlsten, son of CBS Orchestra trombonist Chick Dahlsten, grew up with the ever-present sounds of big band. He took up the trombone himself at age 12 and later played with the Peter Mariblum Youth Symphony and the Robin Hood Band. Inspired by the musical diversity of Los Angeles, Dahlsten began experimenting and composing with Latin jazz and rhythm and blues grooves. During his adult career he toured and recorded with the Buddy Miles Band, recorded with Ray Draper, Bobby Womack, Jack Daugherty and Johnny Martinez.
Saunders has performed in many of the world’s most prestigious jazz festivals and concert halls with distinguished artists including Hubbard, Carla Bley, David “Fathead” Newman, Barbara Morrison, Charles Lloyd, Claudio Roditi, Victor Brasil, Raul De Souza, Bobby Rodriguez, Gladys Knight, the Four Tops and many others.
He has directed music for opera productions and international musical theatre. As a composer, Saunders has numerous compositions to his credit as well as original scores for theatre, radio and multimedia production. Artists Franklin, Ray Armando, Benn Clatworthy, Bobby Matos, and Bruce Paulson have recorded his compositions.
Drummer Banda grew up in Norwalk, Calif., part of a large musical family. When Banda was a boy, the family performance group, The Latin Boys, played at parties and weddings around Southern California. Banda started out on the guitar but switched to drums in 1967 when his cousin Mike Chavarria Jr. was called to serve in Vietnam. Banda and his electric bass-playing brother, Tony Banda, performed weekend gigs during their grade school years with several bands including with Poncho Sanchez.
For more than 40 years Franklin has honed his craft with the greats of the business. To name a few, he has played with Al Jarreau, Stevie Wonder, Count Basie, Freddie Hubbard and Milt Jackson and was part of the legendary Hugh Musekela’s band during the late 1960s. A native of Los Angeles, his storied background includes recordings on gold albums and performances on more than 100 records, many of which he produced. He creates albums under his label, SP Records. “I strive and work hard to do the best for jazz,” Franklin says in his biography. “It’s America’s only art form.”
Franklin performs jazz at Riverside¹s Mission Inn each weekend. Drawing upon numerous industry contacts, he organizes each band for La Sierra¹s concerts. He pulled together groups for four, well-received summer concerts and for a performance earlier this month.
“It’s important to bring jazz to all communities, especially here because here there are no real jazz clubs on a regular basis,” Franklin said. “Jazz is America’s own home grown music and it needs to be supported before it becomes extinct in its own country. ...It’s a shame. I just came from Hungary and Serbia doing festivals and there were people of all ages waiting in line to hear the music. The Europeans appreciate the music more than we do.”
About La Sierra University
La Sierra University, an institution nationally acclaimed for its diverse campus and its service to others, offers a transformational experience that lasts a lifetime.
U.S. News & World Report named La Sierra University the most racially diverse university in the western United States the past five years. In December 2008 the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching included La Sierra on its 2008 Community Engagement Classification lists consisting of 119 colleges and universities around the United States. In early 2008 and 2009 the Corporation for National and Community Service selected La Sierra for the Honor Roll with Distinction, part of the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll program. The award recognized La Sierra’s students for providing approximately 45,000 hours of service. Such efforts included international economic development projects by La Sierra’s World Cup-winning Students In Free Enterprise team, and community projects through La Sierra’s campus-wide, Service-Learning program.
The Seventh-day Adventist denomination established La Sierra University in 1922 on acreage formerly part of the Rancho La Sierra Mexican land grant. Today the institution provides more than 120 bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees for about 2,000 students. Programs are offered in the School of Business, the School of Education, the School of Religion, the College of Arts and Sciences and in the Evening Adult Degree Program.
“To Seek, To Know, and To Serve” is the key to the mission that drives La Sierra University, with all areas of campus encouraging students to develop a deeper relationship with God.
PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University