An Evening with the Gabriel Hernandez Band and Sharon Bercutt, Jazz Composer


Jazz Concert
“An Evening with the Gabriel Hernandez Band”
and Sharon Bercutt”
Tue–Wed, Mar 3–4, 5:30–7pm
El Vergel French Bistro
Limited Seating
Reservations with credit card only
415 110 2254
Dinner followed by concert

By Jay Golding

The excitement is palpable among Gabriel Hernandez, Antonio Lozoya, Azande Cummings, and Camille Garcia, the four extraordinary San Miguel de Allende musicians preparing for a historical, two-night concert of the music of Sharon Bercutt, a Los Angeles jazz composer and part-time San Miguel resident for the last 13 years. Although her music has been played and recorded by others, and her CD has been a favorite in Japan, Switzerland, and on US college campuses, this concert will be her long-overdue debut in this town. Bercutt spent her  childhood in Paso Robles, a tiny central California town, population 2,500. Her family surrounded her with classical music from birth—her mother, was an amateur pianist, father, a baritone, and brother, a French horn player. According to her mother, “ As a baby, Sharon screamed if we turned off the music and waved her arms, legs, and cooed in time once the music returned.” Piano lessons followed at age five. Sharon immediately began creating melodies from these early chords.

Years later in Los Angeles, while babysitting for the little sister of a teenage horn player, she was mesmerized by Chet Baker’s “The Lamp is Low” and George Shearing playing “The Roses of Piccardy.” She was hooked! Eventually, she was introduced to her mentors Kent Glenn and James Argiro, American jazz pianists, composers, arrangers, and conductors, and Moasir Santos, baritone clarinetist and one of the most beloved Brazilian jazz composers!

She created a body of work that the late-pianist Glenn described as “a surprise” and “a pleasure to work with.” “After starting out as a piano student, Sharon developed into a song writer and composer I greatly respect.” “She will find corners in the music that seem to me unique and overlooked.” Her tastes are broad, eclectic, and well digested: from Bud Powell, Bill Evans, and Thelonius Monk, to George Gershwin and Samuel Barber, from Scarlotti and Bach to the harmonic minor keys of ancient Jewish music.

There is good reason for the enthusiasm of the San Miguel musicians. Bercutt’s harmonic work is unabashedly original yet unforced. Her music is fresh and continues singing in the mind’s ear. I share the responses of other jazz critics, musicians, and ‘aficionados’ who have written about her:

“Sharon Bercutt is a talented composer… a new voice to watch!” Chuck Niles. KLON, Jazz Radio, Long Beach, California.

She writes “natural melodies that linger…” Paul Kreibich, drummer, Los Angeles, California.

“… innovative yet moving!” Jolenta Bresson, photographer and jazz enthusiast, Studio City, California.

“Her music is uplifting” Jim Stone. WLNZ, The Jim Stone Show, Lansing, Wisconsin.

Don’t miss this memorable evening.