The Stray Horns


The Stray Horns

Apr 20, 2024
8:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Rendon Hall/Fiddler Annex @ California Jazz Conservatory

2040 Addison Street , Berkeley
This concert is sponsored by JAMBAR

Immerse yourself in the captivating sounds of Thelonious Monk as the Stray Horns, a dynamic 5-horn little big band, explores the renowned pianist and composer’s iconic repertoire. Led by veteran Bay Area musician David Slusser, the Stray Horns boast an ensemble of stellar talent you won’t want to miss!

Band Members and Instrumentation:

Christopher Lowell Clarke – trumpet
Mara Fox – trombone
Steve Adams – alto sax
David Boyce – tenor sax
David Slusser – baritone and soprano sax
Safa Shokrai – acoustic bass
Greg German – drums

Group Bio:

David Slusser started his career in cinema as a member of a PBS film crew in Cleveland in 1975. He has been performing improvised music in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1977. After working at legendary KRE radio in Berkeley, he started on the ground floor of Lucasfilm’s sound division prior to the construction of Skywalker Ranch. David has worked for George Lucas, Francis Coppola, David Lynch and the early Pixar Directors. In 1993 he received an Emmy award for editing in the Young Indiana Jones television series. Staying active musically, David developed a lasting relationship with composer John Zorn, recorded his own band Rubber City with homeboy Ralph Carney, played in trio with drummer Han Bennink and vocalist Mike Patton at the 1996 Saafelden Jazz Festival in Austria, received two prizes in the 1999 Julius Hemphill Composition Awards, including first prize for jazz orchestra, played again with Patton in his large ensemble at the 2010 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, and was an electronics sideman in trumpeter Dave Douglas’s “found film” performance at Stanford in 2014. More recent work has been creating a book of arrangements for the five horned Stray Horns ensemble.

Steve Adams plays saxophones, flutes, electronics, and composes. He’s been in the Rova Saxophone Quartet since 1988 (“the new guy”) and has toured widely and recorded over 30 CDs with them. He has performed with Anthony Braxton, Sam Rivers, Dave Holland, Roscoe Mitchell, John Zorn, Steve Lacy, Fred Frith, and with many other groups. Steve is also a member of the electronics duo Hanes/Adams, the Vinny Golia Large Ensemble, Quartet and Bay Area Sextet, Matt Small’s Crushing Spiral Ensemble, and also leads his own groups. His duo with Vinny Golia recently released the CD The Philosophy of Air on pfMENTUM, one of seven recordings he has released under his own name, as well as many other projects available at

David Boyce spent his formative years in NYC, soaking up the city’s vast multi-cultural offerings. In 4th grade, he discovered his father’s extensive jazz record collection and became obsessed with Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Sonny Rollins and John Coltrane. At the age of 13, he began his studies of the saxophone, starting on alto and then switching to tenor. Music quickly became the focus of his non academic endeavors. He graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations, taught elementary/junior high school in the Bronx. After his plans to move into the city became thwarted due to gentrification and high rents, he moved out to San Francisco just in time for the Loma Prieta earthquake. Living in the Bay Area offered him the chance to pursue music as a full time career. In 1991, he co-founded the iconic AfroFuturist jazz trio Broun Fellinis (31 years running) and became an active free lance musician involved in many musical pursuits that include all styles of Jazz, Post rock, HipHop, World music, Improv and Electronica. His music has taken him to Europe, Japan and Canada as well as around the US. Currently, he performs with Broun Fellinis, Black Quarterback, Shimmering Leaves, Radio Sofia, 6Roses, The Supplicants and Black Edgar’s Musik Box.

Christopher Lowell Clarke born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, began playing trumpet in elementary school and continued his musical training at The School for the Creative and Performing Arts. He was awarded the Fish Middleton Rising Young Jazz Artist Scholarship and went on to study at The College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. While there, Clarke played with many artists including Joe Henderson, Joe Lovano, Bobby Shew, and Byron Stripling. In 1994 he began his professional career playing at the East Coast Jazz Festival and continuing on to a four year stint with Carnival Cruise Lines. Clarke’s career has continued to flourish, performing in numerous jazz festivals, recording, teaching and playing locally in the Bay Area.

Mara Fox is an established freelance trombonist and educator in the Bay Area. For more than 25 years she has amazed audiences all over the world, working in Jazz, R&B, Latin and Classical genres. Mara recorded and toured internationally with Conjunto Cespedes, and with the Klezmorim. Locally, she plays with a wide variety of well-known groups including the 2013 Grammy winning Pacific Mambo Orchestra, the Montclair Women’s Big Band and The Purple Ones. She has also played with the Berkeley Symphony, San Francisco Sinfonietta, Mike Vax Big Band and the Bay Area Salsa All-Stars. Mara teaches privately and at St. Theresa School and Head Royce Academy. She has been a faculty member at the Stanford Jazz Workshop, Jazz Girls Day at Berkeley High and SF Jazz Center.

Greg German has been playing music in one form or another for most of his life. After years of playing tenor saxophone and guitar, he found his way to the drum set at the relatively “late” age of 23. He studied drums privately with Eddie Marshall, Pete Magadini and Alan Hall. He also credits much of what he knows to studying the work of drum masters such as his first “drum hero” Stewart Copeland, as well as Elvin Jones, Tony Williams and Roy Haynes to name a few. Over the last 30 years, he has been performing with SF Bay Area bands that run
the spectrum from pop and rock to latin and Brazilian to chamber music and jazz in its many varieties. He has recorded with numerous groups including Marcos Silva, Terrence Brewer, Humanistic, Ben Stolorow, Gerald Beckett, Steve McQuarry, Alt Jazz Ark Ensembles and Resonance. He has also performed with other distinguished artists such as Madeline Eastman, Claudia Villela, Benny Rietveld (Miles Davis, Santana), Barbara Morrison, Sandy Cressman, The Alchemist Quintet, and the Mandala Orchestra.

Safa Shokrai is inspired by solid objects and abstract concepts. He strives to create the soundtrack for the film we all live in. Based in the Bay Area, Safa Shokrai has performed in many bands as both a freelancer and band leader in his 25 years as a professional musician. He has had the opportunity to study with jazz legend Ray Brown, the late great Jeff Chambers, and local stalwart Marcus Shelby. Safa has had the opportunity to travel around the world making music and brings all the music styles he has absorbed into his practice, from Tuareg to South Indian to European Romani. Currently he is working on composing new music for several bands he is involved with, including The Lost Shapes and Levitator, and is looking forward to recording some albums this year.

Proof of vaccination is no longer required for Covid-19. Masking is optional and masks are available upon request. The California Jazz Conservatory kindly requests that anyone feeling unwell refrain from attending in-person events of any kind. 

This concert is sponsored by JAMBAR