When you think of a high school jazz band, your “mind’s ear” may not immediately jump to the funky landscape of the Hammond B3 organ… but maybe it should. Kevin Coelho is one of the only organists ever to be involved in the High School All-Stars program, and he carved out a niche for himself in the way that talented auxiliary instrument players have to. Now at Stanford University, Kevin’s musical pursuits are taking many different shapes – from composer, to president of a musical consortium, to sometime SFJAZZ collaborator -- but we wouldn’t expect much less from this surprising contributor to the jazz scene.
You play an instrument that is not typically a part of big band jazz. What's your favorite recording that makes use of organ in a larger ensemble?
"Although organ may not be thought of as a typical big band instrument, there are lots of recordings of organ players with big bands, and they sound great. My two favorite albums are Joey DeFrancesco with City Rhythm Orchestra, and The Big Band of Jimmy McGriff."
Tell us about what you've been up to since you graduated.
"I’ve been studying computer science and doing some work in MST (Music, Science, and Technology) at Stanford. I’ve also been running my own 501(c)(3) student group, the Stanford Jazz Consortium. We’ve presented some medium to big names in jazz, -- Jon Batiste, Pete Escovedo, Marcus Shelby, Joe Gilman, Taylor Eigsti, -- and we host lots of workshops, jam sessions, and other opportunities for student musicians and local community members."
What upcoming shows are you looking forward to at SFJAZZ?
"So far this year, my student group has reserved tickets for Peter Bernstein, Wayne Shorter, Brad Mehldau, Esperanza Spalding, The Bad Plus Josh Redman, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Terence Blanchard’s Champion, and Cassandra Wilson, so I’m looking forward to (and have already heard great things about) those shows!"
Keep up with Kevin’s upcoming shows on his website and keep an eye out for future SFJAZZ guest blogs by this young organist.