Music

Current Projects

Two-Tone: Poetry & Jazz, featuring poets David Meltzer and Julie Rogers, is now out on PureLand Audio.

The CD features two wonderful poets along with solo horn from Zan. David is an acclaimed San Francisco Beat poet with 40 books to his name and was one of the first modern poets to read to jazz bands. He is an exemplary reader, as his his wife, Julie, a should-be-better-known artist who writes from many vantage points, from romantic to Buddhist. Zan works to fit his horn in between and alongside the words.

First feedback, this from ace poet Gene Berson. Thanks, Gene, you're aces: "A spectacular cd! wonderful joy courage and humor; all blended like braided starlight in the listening horn!"

Two Tone is available through Zan, for $15, including postage and handling. To order, please contact him at zanstewart32@gmail.com.

The Street Is Making Music, Zan Stewart Band's debut CD from 2014, is available on Mobo Dog Records.

The album features a mix of originals and classics from pop and jazz repertoires. The originals include "Zansky," a punchy minor blues; "Gals 'Round the Hood," which moves succulently from Latin to swing; and the title track, p;art boogaloo, part groove. Classics from the jazz repertoire include Charlie Parker's "Laird Baird" and Bud Powell's "Webb City.' Such pop favorites as Victor Young's "Love Letters" and Matt Dennis' "Everything Happens to Me" are also part of the package. Samples are available on this page and on the Press page. Reviews and comments are also found on the Press page.

The Street Is Making Music is available as CD and downloads through www.cdbaby.com and www.amazon.com. Autographed copies of the CD are available by contacting Zan.

Current Ensembles

Detailed information on all the ensembles and the solo presentation is available on the Press Kit page

Zan Stewart Band, featuring Keith Saunders, Adam Gay, and Ron Marabuto

The band has a wide performance range, from a hearty, good-time feel to a more relaxed vibe, depending on the setting and the moment. Our repertoire centers around the new CD, The Street Is Making Music, but also includes a wealth of additional material, from originals to covers from the standard and jazz genres. Our performances can be tailored for any occasion. It's a fun, happening band.

The Zan Stewart Quartet Plays Hank Mobley and Tina Brooks

Tenor saxophonists, composers and arrangers Hank Mobley (1930-1986) and Tina Brooks (1932-1974) were unsung masters of the modern jazz realm, and here Zan’s quartet celebrates these under-recognized artists via their unique compositions, like Mobley's "This I Dig of You" and "Funk in Deep Freeze" and Brooks' "Open Sesame" and "Gypsy Blue."

  

Zan Stewart–Keith Saunders Duo

Zan’s and Keith’s longtime friendship and musical affinity brings a strong personal connection and emotional warmth to this collaboration. The pair base their repertoire on tunes drawn from the library of Zan’s quartet; Despite its size, the duo packs plenty of punch.

Zan Stewart solo saxophone, singer, scat singer, story teller

Zan’s wide range of aesthetic interests, deep feeling for jazz and song, and capacity as musician and story teller makes for a distinctive and compelling presentation.

Solo saxophone accompanying poets David Meltzer and Julie Rogers

Zan provides solos and solo accompaniment in working with poets David Meltzer, an acclaimed San Francisco Beat poet and author of many books, including “When I Was a Poet” (City Lights), and Julie Rogers, author of several books including “House of the Unexpected” (Wild Ocean Press).

Additional Performances

Solo saxophone designed for children, ages from toddlers to late teens, and their parents

Zan has discovered that children, including the very young, often resonate deeply with live, unaccompanied saxophone, sometimes played very softly, sometimes much louder. These performances are not primarily verbal — not an introduction to jazz, for example — but rather are essentially instrumental. They are just plain fun, as a wide variety of material is played, some certainly designed for dancing or moving around. The performance provides a means for parents and children to further connect via acoustic music and to explore/gauge a child’s interest in music, perhaps leading to studies as an instrumentalist or singer.

The performance can be for a single child and parents in a home setting or for multiple families in a larger performance space.

Teaching

Alto and Tenor Saxophone

Zan has played saxophone for over 50 years and shares his experience and knowledge in lessons designed to help students of any ability play the horn better, inviting joy into one's life. He focuses on developing a good, warm sound, proper hand technique, proper use of the breath, and essential reading skills. Ultimately, the goal is to help the student learn how to teach herself/himself. Written musical material employed ranges from classical exercises to pop songs through the ages and gems from the jazz repertoire.

Improvisation

Zan has been studying and practicing jazz improvisation since the mid-1960s and has experience soloing with scores of top musicians (see bio). His thrust as an educator is to determine what the student is trying to achieve in her/his improvisations and to help the student achieve those goals. Transcribing classic instrumental solos from recordings, playing previously transcribed solos out of books, and scatting one’s own ideas and incorporating those into one’s solos are but three of the methods Zan employs to help further a musician’s soloing capability.

Vocals and Scat Singing

Zan has been singing on stage since he was in elementary school and has been scatting since the early 1960s. He can help a singer with lyric interpretations, rhythmic feel, and presentation ideas. As a scat coach, his teaching method is based around an instrumentalist’s point of view, working with students to develop both repertoire and vocabulary by working with instrumental as well as vocal recordings.

Introduction to Jazz

One of the main reasons that jazz is out of the mainstream and not that well understood is that potential listeners, who might deeply appreciate it given the opportunity, are not exposed to it in an informative, friendly way by someone with a serious passion. Zan, who is such a person, offers classes ranging from single to 4-time sessions that introduce listeners, via classic recordings, to the core principles of music, and jazz: rhythm, melody, and harmony. By exploring timeless recordings, sometimes one track bit by bit, novice listeners gain a deeper understanding of what jazz is all about, and why devotees feel it has such lasting appeal. The goal is for listeners to leave the class with a new-found appreciation of a great art form that will bring joy and richness into their lives.

Playing Music/Basic Musicianship

This class is for those who are curious about playing music, what it might bring into their lives, what kind of work it entails, what kind of positive — and negative — results you will encounter. It is Zan’s feeling that playing music is a deeply moving, even healing experience that almost anyone can take part in. All it takes is interest, energy, and time — though even a few minutes a day can provide a benefit. Here, we explore the values of music, the kind of skills required to play, how to establish a practice regimen, how to improve, and more. Interested students can play any instrument, or simply want to play one.


For inquiries regarding any of the above classes or subjects, please contact Zan.

"That was fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!"

– Denise McCoy, music director, The Priory, Newark, NJ, 2009

“You played that good.”

– pianist Barry Harris at a workshop, LA., circa 1995.

“People ought to come down here and find out who you really are.”

– drummer Clarence Johnston at Cat & Fiddle Pub, Hollywood, circa 1995

“Don’t sound that bad to me…Keep doin’ what you’re doin’, keep cookin’.”

– Saxophonist Lou Donaldson at Smoke Jazz Club, New York, 2006.

“Great show!”

– Audience member at Smalls Jazz Club, New York, 2007.

“Thanks for that old school jazz. Made us very happy.”

– Listener at a North Berkeley music and writing salon, 2012

“You guys are a bunch of funky 'mf-ers'. Thanks for keeping the flame alive.”

– Drummer Mike Clark on a quartet performance at Nick’s, Berkeley, 2012.

“Thanks for coming down the other night. Sounded good, man!”

– Guitarist Dave Stryker re: Cecil’s Jazz Club, West Orange, NJ, 2006.

“Keep doing what you’re doing.”

– Trumpeter Joe Magnarelli at Whole Foods, West Orange, 2011.

“You sounded great. The tone is happenin'. Keep on the path and see where it takes you."

– Saxophonist Chris Byars re: Smalls, New York, 2005

"I liked your sound."

– Saxophonist Paul Jeffrey, Smoke, NYC, 2006

"Beautiful Stuff. Your band kicks ass!"

– Richard D., re: the demo tracks