Voted "Best of the East Bay" (2003), the group was founded in 1990. UpSurge is an ensemble of piano, bass, drums, and frontline ‘horns’—saxophone, trombone, and jazzpoets Raymond Nat Turner and Zigi Lowenberg, who bend metaphors and split similes throughout the swinging ride. On their recordings, several Bay Area luminaries also join forces with UpSurge as special guests.
With imaginative compositions, innovative arrangements and in-your-face consciousness, UpSurge is honing one of the most original group sounds on the music scene today. Their sound is a compelling mix of jazz, poetry and politics. But UpSurge isn’t afraid to challenge fans or themselves by incorporating other elements such as funk, klezmer, calypso and found sound.
UpSurge is the ultimate hybrid. They’re New York, and Los Angeles (co-leaders hail from both coasts). They’re African-American, Jewish-American, and more. They march to a different drummer on the high wire of unpredictability. Their second release, Chromatology, mixes conscious words with assorted grooves and feels, dissolving boundaries that separate genres and people. This isn’t surprising. UpSurge’s diverse influences range from Abbey Lincoln, Sonny Rollins, to Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, Bertolt Brecht and Langston Hughes. The group’s critically acclaimed debut CD, All Hands on Deck, garnered them an Indie Award nomination by the Association for Independent Music (AFIM) in 2000.
UpSurge has appeared at major festivals and venues including the Monterey Jazz Festival (with legendary drummer, Donald ‘Duck’ Bailey), Vallejo Jazz Festival, Panafest (Ghana, West Africa), Yoshi’s, Cornelia Street Cafe (NYC), as well as Brown and Tulane universities.
“Chromatology is 15 tracks of well-executed, captivatingly conscious music. Very cool and engaging release from this East Bay institution.”—Bay Area Buzz Magazine
“UpSurge! has created an excellent follow-up to its acclaimed 2000 debut, All Hands On Deck.”—Chuy Varela, Music Director, KCSM–San Mateo, CA
Available at: www.amazon.com, www.cdbaby.com, www.tower.com, www.upsurgejazz.com and other fine record stores.
All Hands on Deck - debut CD
UnBugged - single; 2 tracks from Chromatology
Chromatology - second CD
- in rotation at SF Bay Area's jazz station, KCSM (#1 Jazz Station in #3 Market)
- KPFA, Pacifica Radio’s flagship station covering Northern and Central CA (59K watts)
- KPOO, SF
- KKUP, San Jose area
- KALW, SF
- Release was worked by promoter to over 100 Jazz, college, and community stations garnering national radio play especially fall 2003/winter 2004.
Up to 90 minutes as Featured act
15–45 minutes as Opening act
Original JazzPoetry; Jazz standards; and interpretations of poetry classics
2. Last Time I Saw Sonny
3. Urgent! The Body Language of David Murray
4. Ms BC
5. Abbey's House
6. Listen! A Long JazzPoem for Jon Hendricks
7. Oaktown Blues—Just Like That!
8. Priester Rivers