The Songbook Trio
Glenda’s soulful voice and improvisatory expressivity make her one of today's most creative and exciting contemporary singers. A curator of Jazz song, Glenda’s The Songbook Trio covers music of the Great American Songbook and beyond from the 1920’s to now.
Grant Levin, piano, and Charles Thomas, bass, are two of the best jazz musicians in San Francisco. They perform everywhere, including Yoshi’s Filmore, Yoshi’s Oakland, Café Stritch, Sheeba Piano Lounge, Black Cat, Filmore Jazz Fest, and more. Both have impressive discographies, jaw-dropping technical prowess on their instruments, and boundless creativity.
With masters of jazz, Grant and Charles, shaping and driving the music with songstress, Glenda, you never know where the song will take you, but you are sure to enjoy the ride!
Grant Levin is a multi-faceted contemporary pianist, bandleader, and composer, performing in various configurations from intimate settings to concert halls and festivals. His musical aesthetic is based on dynamics, showcasing the piano as an infinitely powerful instrument, allowing the audience to experience the sonic possibilities. Another concept Grant Levin practice with his music, tied in with the notion of unlimited growth, is the idea of restraint. Only with restraint can you achieve that kind of freedom within music. If you allow the music to become very quiet, a sudden loud note will become very powerful. “The best performances I have played have been with the idea in mind that there is power in the reserved, in not fully displaying one’s strength”, Levin explains. Grant has worked with many great musicians such as: Pete Yellin, Jerry Dodgion, Dayna Stephens, Noel Jewkes, John Santos, Howard Wiley, Ray Obiedo, Dean Reilly, Melecio Magdaluyo, Marcus Shelby, and numerous others. He has also performed with Little Anthony and the Imperials on keyboards.
Charles Thomas grew up in the fertile heart of San Francisco's famous Fillmore district and became a well-known Bay Area bass player in the pop, reggae, jazz, and classical idioms. He studied formally and informally various musical styles, from Fillmore blues and San Francisco acid rock/funk, to classical and jazz, graduating with degrees in music, first from City College of San Francisco and then San Francisco State University. While completing his degrees, Charles toured the Pacific Northwest with the great Sierra Leone guitarist and singer, Sooliman Rogie. He then was invited by Esther Phillips to join her band and tour as her bassist for 4 years. He's also played with Les McCann, Billy Paul, Julian Priester, Lenny Williams, Karlton Hester, John Handy, Little Anthony, The Fifth Dimension, and many others. In addition to performing, composing, arranging, and producing music, Charles runs his company, Sea Tea Music Co., which is a production and creative force specializing in working with artist and companies with recording and sound track projects.
Glenda Bates is a soulful musician and multi-instrumentalist. Her innovative approach blends classical techniques with jazz repertoire and improvisation, lending a fresh voice to the Bay Area music scene. A vocalist all her life, Glenda grew up singing in church and school choirs, music theater programs, and anywhere she felt! A Classical oboist, she also studied improvisation and jazz throughout her degree programs, balancing the strict nature of Classical repertoire with the freedom of Jazz and improvisation. Dr. Bates earned her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Oboe Performance from Stony Brook University, her Master’s of Music from the University of Maryland, and her Bachelor or Arts in Music from the University of South Carolina. She has performed with Adam Theis, Jazz Mafia Choral Syndicate, Ray Anderson, Lluís Capdevila, Jenna McSwain, Eldad Tarmu, and Rafi Malkiel, and more. In addition to freelancing throughout the Bay Area as an Oboist and Vocalist, Glenda teaches music from Pre-K to Univeristy.