Happy to Be Here
A 3-man quartet? Absolutely! Three talented musicians playing four instruments: sax, piano, bass & drums--classic jazz quartet instrumentation. Steve Schuster switches off between sax and bass, usually in the middle of each song. Dick Bay plays piano, his left-hand handling the bass duties while Steve is playing sax. And Duncan Draper provides the rhythmic backbone on the drums. And while a 3-man jazz quartet is a rarity, this is no novelty act. These veterans of the San Francisco Bay Area music scene know how to make a whole room swing, as well as how to make a ballad weep. They can find magic in popular 60s/70s rock tunes, in the supple rhythms of Brazil, and in their own exceptionally engaging compositions. The group is innovative but accessible -- and relentlessly entertaining. Call it 'jazz with a kick.' While all are capable technicians, they share a belief that performing should be about the art of musical expression, rather than a showcase for technical calisthenics. Their melodic emphasis is key to their ability to touch broader audiences than many jazz artists. Multi-instrumentalist Steve Schuster has played and recorded with some of the biggest names in Bay Area music, including the Grateful Dead, the Jefferson Starship, Sly and the Family Stone, the Quicksilver Messenger Service, as well as the Jerry Garcia Band, Mickey Hart, Robert Hunter, Grace Slick, George Clinton and Parliament, the Funkadelics, Bobby Wommack, James and Bobby Purify, Bobbi Humpheries and Ron Carter. Pianist Dick Bay has played with Who's-Who-In-Jazz altoist Sonny Simmons, as well as tenor player Jack Bonus and singer Jacqueline de la Faire. In his previous incarnation as a country/rock musician he also performed with acclaimed singer/song-writer John Hiatt, the late great Hank Ballard & the Midnighters, and Nashville recording artist Gene Cotton, as well as recording with Ramblin' Jack Elliot. Duncan J. Draper is a versatile multi- instrumentalist who has been actively working in the Bay area for the last ten years. He honed his percussion skills, specializing in Brazilian rhythms, working with leading northern California percussion teacher Kim Atkinson and his samba performance group Carnaval Spirit.