The Diablo Jazz Company is made up of highly talented and established Bay Area jazz artists graduating from the most prestigious music institutions around the United States. Their commitment to their art, as well as their established relationships in the artistic community of San Francisco distinguish them musically and personally. Our mission is aimed at growing the economic stability for their careers, so that they can thrive and cultivate their unique voices.
Tiffany Austin had sung on three continents—around her native Los Angeles while attending college, then for a year in London, and eventually for five and a half years in Tokyo—before setting music aside upon being accepted in 2009 at the University of California's Boalt School of Law in Berkeley. Yet the itch left by the music bug never went away, and a year into her law studies, she enrolled on a full scholarship at the nearby Jazzschool (now the California Jazz Conservatory), where her refreshingly original singing style attracted the attention of such innovative young San Francisco Bay Area bandleaders as bassist Marcus Shelby and tenor saxophonist Howard Wiley. Although she did earn a Juris Doctorate in 2012, while her peers were taking the bar exam Austin decided instead to devote her life to her first love.
Regarded as one of the fastest rising jazz singers in Northern California with a tradition-rooted yet thoroughly modern style, Austin is now stepping further forward with her debut CD, Nothing But Soul, on her own Con Alma Music label. The album is the outgrowth of a November 2013 SFJAZZ “Hotplate” concert for which she reimagined compositions by the great American songwriter Hoagy Carmichael. For the recording, which was produced by saxophonist Howard Wiley, Tiffany was joined by bassist Ron Belcher, drummer Sly Randolph, and Glen Pearson, one of the busiest and perhaps most versatile pianists in the Bay Area.
Since settling in San Francisco in 1997, Canada-born trumpeter/composer/songwriter Darren Johnston has collaborated and recorded with an extremely diverse cross-section of artists. His interests rotate around composing instrumental music, writing songs, and performing all styles of jazz, experimental and purely improvised music, as well as traditional music of the Balkans, Greece, Macedonia, Turkey, and the Arab world. These interests have coalesced into his primary ensemble of late, Darren Johnston’s Broken Shadows.
He has performed and/or recorded with luminaries such as Electric Squeezebox Orchestra, Fred Frith, Meklit Hadero, ROVA Sax Quartet, Myra Melford, Ben Goldberg, Matt Wilson, Mark Dresser, Marshall Allen, Dave Rempis, Larry Ochs, Marcus Shelby, and others.
As a composer, he has written for small jazz groups, big bands, string quartet, chamber ensembles and more.
He has written for dance companies such as Axis Dance, Amy Seiwert’s Imagery, Robert Moses’ Kin, Liss Fain, and others, as well as for short films. In his song-writing the last few years Johnston has focused on using found text to create lyrics from. In 2012 he composed a suite extracting text from a series of interviews he conducted with a diverse collection of immigrants living in the Bay Area called “Songs of Seven Miles.” The following year he continued this technique by commissioning letters from immigrants who wrote either to their own selves at the time they first arrived in the US, as if they were able to send a message with insights and advice back through time, or to a beloved of their choosing back in their country of origin. He then set the resulting songs on an elementary-school class, three middle-school classes, a high-school choir, a collection of professional singers, a Bulgarian tupan drummer, and six horns, all using body-percussion and choreography, in order to form the Trans-Global People’s Chorus. Other projects as a band-leader include the award winning Nice Guy Trio, The Darren Johnston Quintet, and the category defying Broken Shadows, which mixes song-writing with musicians from jazz, classical, Balkan, and other musical communities.
Daniel Riera is a flutist, bassist, wind-controllerist, producer, composer and sound designer from San Francisco, CA. He is active as a stage performer with groups such as Blind Willies, Marcus Cohen and The Congress, and Ra Data. He’s also a hip-hop producer with credits including 2013 iTunes chart topping album, Cardboard Castles by Watsky. Daniel releases his solo hip-hop/electronic music under the alias Tito Tunes.
His musical training began at the age of ten with San Francisco-based flute virtuoso and composer John Calloway, who remains a great influence on his development in Jazz and Latin styles. Daniel continued his studies at San Francisco’s School of the Arts, and Berklee College of Music where he earned his degree in Music Synthesis.
Since 2012, Daniel has been an instructor at AAU teaching Music Notation and Score Preparation. He’s also involved with the group Today’s Future Sound, which provides music production education to underserved middle and high school communities in the Bay Area.
Hamir Atwal is an up-and-coming American drummer/composer based near Berkeley, CA.
Drummer/Percussionist Hamir Atwal is a Berklee College of Music graduate who has taught at Music Academy International, Stanford University, the Stanford Jazz Workshop, the JazzSchool, CSU-Stanislaus, and Santa Rosa Junior College. Hamir is an active endorser of DREAM Cymbals.
He has performed with such acts as the Glimpse Trio, tUneyArDs, Michael Coleman, the Ben Goldberg School, and was a part of his own percussion group entitled CavityFang. He has played in such notable venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, the Village Vanguard, Nancy Jazz Pulsations, and the Monterey Jazz Festival. He can regularly be heard throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Hamir has played and/or recorded with saxophonists Joe Lovano, Greg Osby, and Patrick Wolff; Bassist/Producer Bill Laswell; and clarinetist Ben Goldberg.
Bassist and composer, creates music of myriad forms in the San Francisco Bay Area.
An active part of the musical community of San Francisco, he has performed with the California Symphony, Modesto Sympony, performed and recorded chamber music with the Real Vocal String Quartet, Friction Quartet, Thalia String Quartet, Amaranth String Quartet and served as assistant faculty for the Vivace Chamber Players in Seattle. In addition, he has performed and recorded with Ethiopian Jazz singer Meklit Hadero, Balkan jazz group La Péche, and trumpeter Darren Johnston (playing jazz, folk, and Balkan musical styles). As a composer, he wrote music for Teobi’s Dreaming, a commission funded by the Zellerbach Family Foundation and the San Francisco Arts Commission. His work has also been commissioned by the San Francisco Youth Theater and the San Francisco International Arts Festival.
Mr. Karr has performed at larger venues such as the Berlin Philharmonie, Munich Philharmonie, Concertgebouw, Benaroya Hall, Davies Symphony Hall, the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Beloved Festival, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival and the Regency Ballroom, local venues such as Viracocha, Amnesia, Red Poppy Art House, and the Subterranean Art House, recorded for Strings Magazine, and busked on the streets and subway stations of San Francisco.
His major teachers have included Doug Miller (jazz bass), Barry Lieberman (former Assistant Principal Bass, Los Angeles Philharmonic), and Scott Pingel (Principal Bass, San Francisco Symphony).