Enjoy a jazzy Christmas at the FirehouseTrumpeter Jeff Bordes & Friends will host "A Jazzy Soulful Christmas" tomorrow night at the Firehouse Arts Center featuring Zakiya Hooker, Don Lewis and the CoolTones Big Band. The artists will merge the sounds of New Orleans, the swing of big band, and the soul of the blues with the spirit of Christmas.
Trumpeter Jeff Bordes & Friends to feature Zakiya Hooker, Don Lewis
"My last performance in Pleasanton was in January, and it was nearly sold out," said Bordes, who is a 1992 graduate of Amador Valley High. "That performance was pushing the envelope a little, and fortunately Pleasanton came to like it."
For tomorrow's show, he said he's put together something more "audience-friendly" with the CoolTones Big Band, which performs mostly old swing style.
"I'm using them because some of my favorite Christmas tunes have a big band," Bordes said. "You hear them so much, I love when I hear a new arrangement. I've had a big interest lately in blues, New Orleans music, and I'm looking forward to taking that twist."
Bordes picked up the trumpet in elementary school and never looked back, although he said he uses the piano for composing. He went to Vintage Hills Elementary and Valley View in the fifth grade, continued at Wells Middle School in Dublin for its music program, and then Amador Valley High School. He went on to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston, graduating in 1997.
"I spent quite a few years on the road touring professionally with various groups, then settled in the Bay Area," Bordes said. "Then I got married and had kids. We just had No. 3."
He has toured in Japan and across the United States with groups such as the Bill Berry Big Band and Dizzy Gillespie, and teaches in schools and music festivals. He's also performed live and on recordings with jazz artists Branford Marsalis, Alex Acuna, Giovanni Hidalgo, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, Sheryl Crow, Dana Carvey and, most recently, John Mellencamp.
Also on stage tomorrow night will be Zakiya Hooker, who made her debut performance in 1991 with her father, John Lee Hooker, at the Kaiser Center Theatre in Oakland. Since that time, she has performed with artists such as Etta James, Charles Brown, John Hammond and Taj Mahal.
Local musician Don Lewis, who will round out the program, performed with the Tuskegee Chorus at Tuskegee Institute and played for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Freedom Rallies. Later, combining his interest in engineering with his musical talent, Lewis became one of the pioneers in synthesizer use and technology.
In 1987, Lewis created Say "Yes" to Music!, which has brought inspiring musical assemblies to thousands of students and teachers across the United States and Canada.
"I saw Don Lewis as a kid in elementary school, and I always remembered that assembly," Bordes said. "Then he took me under his wing in high school and taught me a few things."
Bordes lives with his family in Tracy, and his day job is director of sales and marketing for Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood. He performs frequently, mainly with his Jeff Bordes & the Jazz Desperadoes.
"I'm playing all over the place, up and down the coast and in San Francisco," he said.
But tomorrow night will find him returning home to Pleasanton, with a jazzy, funky, bluesy holiday celebration.
Jazzin' up the holidays
What: "A Jazzy Soulful Christmas"
When: 8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 10
Where: Firehouse Arts Center, 4444 Railroad Ave., Peasanton
Tickets: adult: $15, $20 and $25; child: $12; senior: $20. Purchase online at www.firehousearts.org; call 931-4848; or go to the box office from noon-6 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturday, and for two hours prior to the performance.
—Dolores Fox Ciardelli