Event:
Jazz with local all-star musicians led by Tommy James

The Statewide Cultural Extension Program (SCEP), a program of UH Mānoa Outreach College, expands its SCEP Live Online offerings with a fall concert series. For four consecutive Fridays, starting on October 2nd, live musical performances by local artists will be streamed for audiences to enjoy in the comfort and safety of their own homes. The free hour-long performances will start at 7:00pm.

On October 2, the SCEP Live Online fall concert series will present an evening of jazz. Versatile jazz pianist, composer, arranger, and music director Tommy James leads an all-star ensemble of local jazz musicians including Dean Taba (bass), Darryl Pellegrini (drums), DeShannon Higa (trumpet), and Reggie Padilla (tenor sax).
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Tommy JamesOver a span of almost five decades, pianist-arranger Tommy James has worked with a wide group of artists both in the studio and in live performances on six continents. A thirty year member of Duke Ellington Orchestra, he served as its conductor-director from 2011-2017. He has provided musical support for artists Stanley Turrentine, Freddie Hubbard, Roy Ayers, Grammy winners Cleo Laine and Maureen McGovern as well as the great Joe Williams. Also Lionel Hampton, Roberta Flack, Manu Dibango and Roy Ayers. Also active In the theater, he music directed two international tours of the Emmy Award winning musical “Bringin’ da Noise Bringin’ da Funk” starring tapdance legend Savion Glover. He retired from New York in 2012 and now lives in Honolulu.

Dean TabaDean Taba is a freelance bassist, composer, producer, and educator living in Honolulu, HI. He began his musical studies on the piano at the age of 6 and played french horn at Stevenson Intermediate and McKinley High School as well as the Hawaii Youth Symphony. It was a desire to play in the high school jazz band that introduced him to the bass and improvised music.

After studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Dean moved in 1984 to Los Angeles to further refine his skills on both the Acoustic and Electric bass. For 20 years, Dean worked in the studios of LA with his musical heroes, mentors, and contemporaries recording countless albums, TV shows, jingles, movies, and video game soundtracks. He was even instrumental in creating Trilian, an award winning Virtual Instrument. In spite of a very busy recording and touring schedule, Dean made time to teach at The Dick Grove School of Music, Musician’s Institute, and the Los Angeles Music Academy, as well as recording three of his own albums.

He is now back home in Honolulu performing, teaching, recording, and producing some of Hawai‘i’s most influential and innovative artists. He is also very excited to be leading a new program for High School students called the Hawai‘i Youth Symphony Combo as well as the director of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Jazz Ensemble.

Darryl PelligriniOhio native, Darryl Pellegrini earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education and Jazz Performance from Youngstown State University and his Masters Degree in Music Performance from Manhattan School of Music. Throughout his career in New York City music scene, Darryl has toured and performed with numerous jazz greats such as, the Woody Herman Orchestra, Lionel Hampton, Dizzy Gillespie, John Faddis, Jack Wilkins, the Village Vanguard Orchestra, Milt Jackson, Clark Terry, Frank Wess, Frank Foster, Joe Lovano, Lew Tabackin, Chris Connor, Toshiko Akiyoshi big band, John and Bucky Pizzarelli and Harold Danko just to name a few. He has also toured and recorded with Chuck Mangione, Mike Longo and the New York State of the Art Jazz Ensemble, and Scott Whitfield Big Band East.

In Hawai‘i, Darryl has performed with Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, Natalie Cole, Aaron Neville, Mary Wilson, Rubin Studdard, Don Grusin, Larry Coryell, Lea Salonga, and has recorded and performed with The Matt Catingub Orchestra of Hawai‘i, and The Honolulu Symphony Pops Orchestra. He is currently the percussion teacher at Punahou Music School, touring and recording with Grammy nominee, Amy Hanaiali’i.

After 20 years of freelance performing, teaching, touring, and subbing on Broadway in such hits as The Lion King, Fosse, Swing, Kiss of the Spider Woman, 42nd Street, West Side Story, City of Angels, and recording for numerous commercials, television shows, movies, and cartoons, Darryl now happily teaches, performs and resides in Hawai‘i with his wife and child.

Reginald PadillaReginald Padilla was born and raised in Long Island, NY. He began his musical journey at the age of seven on the piano, and by nine, began studying the saxophone as well. While studying classical piano, Reggie was also exposed to a wide variety of music. He earned his Bachelors Degree in Classical Piano Performance from Long Island University at C.W. Post, and a Master’s Degree in Music Education from New York University.

Throughout his career, Reggie has had the opportunity to study and participate in master classes with Lew Soloff, Phil Woods, Jim Snidero, Doc Severinsen, Marcus Roberts, Billy Taylor, Pete Malinverni, Bob Albanese, Don Friedman, and Martin Wind.

In January 2007, Reginald relocated to Honolulu, Hawaii, and continued his musical journey. Reggie continues to perform and record around the world on both tenor saxophone and piano. He has a private lesson studio, teaching both saxophone, piano, classical, jazz, theory, and improvisation.

DeShannon Higa

DeShannon Higa is a multi-talented performer, composer, and arranger. His professional experience spans over 30 years and has performed locally and globally with many renown artists including Al Jarreau, Jeff Lorber, Michael Feinstein, Burt Bacharach, the original Elvis Presley band, Diana Krall, David Tao, and Wynton Marsalis.

He has recorded music for film, radio, video games, studio & live CDs. He has done session and solo work locally for Raiatea Helm, Fiji, Mike Love, Jimmy Borges, Hula Joe & the Hut-jumpers among others. DeShannon was a featured soloist on the 2016 multiple Na Hoku Hanohano award-winning album JIMMY BORGES, which won four awards including Best Jazz Album and Album of the Year.

DeShannon is a founding member of the jazz group Bop Tribal, who released their debut album in 2008, winning the Hawaii Music Award for best jazz album, and received a 4-star rating in the prestigious Downbeat Magazine. He currently leads several bands of his own creation including Subtonic Orchestra, Quadpod, and Solid Gold Brass. He is the official musical composer and arranger for the world renown Royal Hawaiian Band (est. 1836). Under his own label WIND & SONG PRODUCTIONS with wife and singer Rocky Brown, DeShannon composed, arranged, produced, and recorded his first solo studio album “Words Cannot Express” in late 2018 to critical acclaim. DeShannon received two Na Hoku Hanohano Awards nominations in 2019 for Jazz Album of the Year and Most Promising Artist.

When he’s not busy touring or performing, DeShannon enjoys flying drones, music production, basketball, gourmet cooking, and traveling. DeShannon is an Adams Brass artist and plays Adams instruments and Monette mouthpieces. 

The fall concert series is a joint effort between the UH Mānoa Outreach College, UH Mānoa Music Department,the East-West Center Arts Program, and Friends of Manoa Library.