Free jazz concerts at La Sierra University help keep American music alive – press enterprise


  • Jazz saxophonist Chuck Manning performs with Henry “the Skipper” Franklin, double bass; and former Tonight Show drummer Marvin ‘Smitty’ Smith at a Pierce Street Jazz concert at La Sierra University in Riverside on August 22, 2018. (Photo courtesy La Sierra University)

  • Jazz saxophonist Chuck Manning performs with Henry “the Skipper” Franklin, double bass; and former Tonight Show drummer Marvin ‘Smitty’ Smith at a Pierce Street Jazz concert at La Sierra University in Riverside on August 22, 2018. Pianist Theo Saunders is not pictured. (Photo courtesy La Sierra University)

  • Three-time Grammy nominee Barbara Morrison performs at Pierce Street Jazz at La Sierra University in Riverside, with support from pianist Theo Saunders; Henry “the Skipper” Franklin on double bass; and thresher Tina Raymond on July 18, 2018 (Photo courtesy La Sierra University)

  • On July 18, 2018, three-time Grammy nominee Barbara Morrison performed for Pierce Street Jazz at La Sierra University in Riverside, with the support of pianist Theo Saunders; Henry ‘the Skipper’ Franklin, bass; and thresher Tina Raymond. (Photo courtesy La Sierra University)

La Sierra University’s free Pierce Street Jazz concerts regularly bring together Southern California’s top musicians dedicated to the preservation of jazz, considered an original American art form.

The series began in the summer of 2009 when former university president Warren Trenchard and chemistry department chairman Marvin Payne met bassist Henry “The Skipper” Franklin during his local performances.

Franklin, 77, has his roots in the heyday of Southern California jazz and is well known for playing on Hugh Masekela’s 1968 hit song, “Grazing in the Grass.” He has been featured with many big names in jazz including Freddie Hubbard, Willie Bobo and Count Basie.

Faculty members and Franklin brainstormed the idea of ​​a free professional music series that would support jazz and function as a community outreach effort.

Concerts are held on Wednesday evenings, usually once a month, at the Troesh Conference Center of the Zapara School of Business on the La Sierra University campus, 4500 Riverwalk Parkway, Riverside.

Pianist Theo Saunders joins Franklin in the rhythm section. Ramon Banda is the regular drummer, but recent replacements have included Tina Raymond and Marvin “Smitty” Smith, well known for his years as a drummer on The Tonight Show.

Recent guest artists include LA jazz and blues singer Barbara Morrison and saxophonist Chuck Manning. There will be no concert in September when the students return from summer vacation. The series will resume in October or early November.

For more information on Pierce Street Jazz or to join the program’s mailing list, call 951-785-2148 or visit www.facebook.com/piercestreetjazz/

Nobel laureate Barry Barish joins UCR faculty

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Barry C. Barish will join UC Riverside faculty on September 1.

Barish, Linde Emeritus Professor of Physics at Caltech, shared the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of gravitational waves with fellow Caltech physicist Kip Thorne and MIT physicist Rainer Weiss.

The award recognized their “contributions to the LIGO detector and gravitational wave observation,” according to a press release from UC Riverside.

Physicist Barry C. Barish will join UC Riverside faculty on September 1, 2018. Barish won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of gravitational waves.

On September 14, 2015, LIGO, or Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, first detected the gravitational waves predicted by Albert Einstein over 100 years ago. A collision between two black holes generated the waves, which took 1.3 billion years to reach the LIGO detector. Barish carried out the LIGO project, allowing the first observation of this phenomenon, according to the statement from the UCR.

“I hope to bring new research perspectives, and in particular, to help educate the very special student body at UCR,” Barish said in the statement.

Barish received his bachelor’s degree in physics in 1957 and his doctorate in experimental particle physics in 1962 from UC Berkeley. He joined Caltech as a post-doctoral fellow in 1963, became a professor in 1966, and was appointed Linde Professor of Physics in 1991.

Cal State professor receives award

Cal State San Bernardino professor Francisca Beer will receive the California State University Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award for her work in promoting and facilitating academic research and student creative activities.

Beer, a professor of accounting and finance, is one of 26 academics in the California state system recognized for working to improve student outcomes.

Under his leadership, Cal State San Bernardino created the “Meeting of the Minds,” a campus-wide, one-day symposium that highlights student research across disciplines through poster sessions, oral presentations, creative performances and keynote speakers.

The winners will be honored at the upcoming 2025 Graduation Initiative Symposium in San Diego in mid-October.

Each prize includes a $ 5,000 cash bursary and $ 10,000 to be allocated to university departments to support the activities of the winners.


Willie J. Johnson