Jazz Groups

The Guarneri Jazz Quartet has established a dedicated following for its innovative interpretations of jazz classics and originals. The group features some of the most creative musicians in the San Francisco Bay Area, and reflects their wide diversity and vast experience. Its members have performed and recorded with artists including Ahmad Jamal, Jimmy Smith, Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson, Mose Allison, John Heard, George Duke, Donald Byrd, George Cables, Sun Ra, Pharoah Sanders, and Roger Kellaway.

Guarneri Jazz Quartet

tbd is a new quartet featuring Mario Guarneri and Erik Jekabson on trumpet and flugelhorn, with Akira Tana on drums, and John Wiitala on bass.The quartet play their music in a linear way, creating implied harmonies and stretching traditional forms.


To find out about upcoming appearances of the Guarneri Jazz Quartet and tbd, please check the Jazz in the Neighborhood performance calendar.

For booking information about concerts or clinics, contact Mario Guarneri at mario@jazzintheneighborhood.org or 415.457.6529.

Guarneri Jazz Musicians

Mario Guarneri, trumpet

Mario brings a fresh creative voice and amazing technical ease to the group’s performances, along with an intense desire to touch people through his music. His career has encompassed everything from playing with Louis Armstrong at the age of thirteen to performing with the Los Angeles Philharmonic for fifteen seasons and the L.A. Chamber Orchestra for ten seasons. Mario has recorded albums on the Crystal and Nonesuch labels, and appeared on more than 300 television and motion picture soundtracks, most notably as soloist for Godfather III. He has performed with a diverse list of creative musicians including Earl “Fatha” Hines, Frank Zappa, Sarah Vaughan, Cleo Lane, and Roger Kellaway. Mario is also the inventor of the berp, a learning tool for brass instruments that is sold all over the world. Since returning to the San Francisco Bay Area where he was born and raised, Mario has concentrated his energies on the Guarneri Jazz Quartet and tbd. He teaches trumpet and improvisation at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Akira Tana, drums

Born and raised in California, Akira earned degrees from Harvard University and the New England Conservatory of Music. He has appeared on more than 150 recordings and worked with Sonny Rollins, Sonny Stitt, Zoot Sims, Hubert Laws, Milt Jackson, Jim Hall, Art Farmer, the Paul Winter Consort, Paquito D’Rivera, James Moody, J.J. Johnson, Lena Horne, The Manhattan Trnsfer, Ruth Brown, Charles Aznavour, Maurice Hines, and Van Dyke Parks. Akira co-led a quintet with the bassist Rufus Reid called TanaReid and has five releases, Yours and Mine and Passing Thoughts on Concord Records, and Blue Motion, Looking Forward, and Back to Front on Evidence Music. Akira has also released three albums on the Sons of Sound label as a leader: Moon Over the World, Secret Agent Men, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, featuring James Bond movie themes and more. An active teacher and clinician, Akira has taught at Rutgers University, Queens College, Jersey City State College, and New York University, and is currently on the faculty at San Francisco State University. He is a product endorser of Yamaha Drums, Bosphorous Cymbals, and Vic Firth Sticks.

Randy Vincent, guitar

Randy began his career in Florida and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1980. Since then he has divided his time between performing and teaching. He has played and recorded with a wide array of musicians including Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Bill Watrous, Herb Pomeroy, Ernie Watts, George Cables, Tony Dumas, Billy Childs, Bob Sheppard, Steve Smith, and Turtle Island Quartet. Randy’s own two albums, Mirror Image and Nisha’s Dream, are available online. He has taught jazz guitar at Sonoma State University for several decades and has conducted clinics throughout the United States.

Erik Jekabson, trumpet

Erik Jekabson is a freelance trumpet player, composer and educator who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Erik has spent time on the road with Illinois Jacquet, John Mayer, Galactic, and the Howard Fishman Quartet, performing at such notable venues as the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, the Algonquin Room, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Madison Square Garden and the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Late Night with David Letterman.

Erik currently leads his own ensembles in the Bay Area, and has performed with them at the DeYoung Museum, Jazz at Pearls, Pacifica Performances, the Downtown Berkeley Jazz Festival, the Jazzschool, the Red Poppy Art House and the Piedmont Piano Company. Erik performs with local Bay Area musicians such as the Happy Hour Jazz Quintet, Terry Disley, Mario Guarneri, Marcus Shelby, Larry Vuckovich, Lavay Smith, and the Jazz Mafia.

John Wiitala, bass

John has performed with Joe Henderson, James Moody, Benny Golson, and Pete Jolly. He has performed and recorded with Mark Levine, Scott Hamilton, Jessica Williams, Bruce Forman, and Wesla Whitfield. He is currently teaching at the Jazz School in Berkeley, Jazz Camp West, and Stanford Jazz Camp.

Guarneri Jazz