Prolific contemporary jazz guitarist & bassist extraordinaire
NILS feat. Tony Saunders
510 Embarcadero West
Oakland, CA, 94607
Doors 7:30 PM / Show 8:00 PM
Start the New Year right with two outstanding musical talents. Nils, one of the most prolific contemporary jazz guitarists, and Tony Saunders, bassist extraordinaire and two-time Emmy winner, team up for an evening of sensual and soulful smooth jazz.
Nils’ chart topper, “Pacific Coast Highway” was Billboard’s Jazz Chart “Song of the Decade” 2000-2010. Nils has had over 15 top twenty radio hits and has contributed to projects with George Benson, The Temptations and George Clinton. He has been a consistent favorite with jazz audiences worldwide.
Tony Saunders, San Francisco born and raised son of legendary keyboardist Merl Saunders, has performed and recorded with music legends Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, Ringo Starr, Joe Sample, David Crosby and Jerry Garcia. His recent solo projects have been highly acclaimed throughout the contemporary jazz genre.
NILS, one of contemporary Jazz’ most well known and revered musicians, who for nearly 20 years as a solo artist has been a force to be reckoned with, achieving major accolades along the way, most notably from Billboard, scoring the esteemed charts song of the decade, 2000-2010 (“Pacific Coast Highway”), song of the year, 2011 (“Jump Start”) and over 15 top 20 radio hits.
Nils has headlined some of the largest festivals and clubs across the US and Europe throughout his stellar career, sharing the stage as well as recording with many titans of the industry including George Benson, Dave Koz, Chante Moore, Rick Braun, Nathan East, The Temptations, and countless others.
Born and raised in Munich, Nils (pronounced Neels) Jiptner picked up his first guitar as a teenager. While his first inclinations were to follow the lead of his idols Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin, it wasn’t until he was introduced to funk music that he was hooked; he spent “endless nights” learning and copying rhythm players like Nile Rogers, Al McKay and Paul Jackson, Jr. He was also a huge jazz fusion fan, inspired by The Yellow Jackets, Jeff Lorber Fusion and Larry Carlton.
In 2014, nine years after his massive radio single “Pacific Coast Highway” established him as one of contemporary jazz’ top artists and producers, Nils took an exciting look back on a decade of non-stop hit-making with the release of the compilation Jazz Gems: The Best of Nils. The album, which takes stock of his extraordinary career, included only one new track – giving the prolific guitarist and composer extra time to pen his most explosive and infectious tunes ever for his latest release “Alley Cat” (2015). In addition to capturing a wide range of emotions on his guitar, the 12 tracks showcase, more than ever before, Nils’ masterful skills as a producer and inventive sonic architect.
As the creator of some of the genre’s most identifiable hits – including, “Pacific Coast Highway”, “Let’s Bounce,” “Jump Start”, “Summer Nights”, “Catnap” and “Shake It,” Nils has become a powerful behind the scenes force for many established and emerging artists. Working at his L.A. based studio, he has written songs and helmed tracks and full projects for a plethora of up and coming and already established artists. All the while continuing to cultivate and refine his distinctive, personal, sound.
Tony Saunders Biography
Tony Saunders’ life story could be the script to a hit movie. Son of legendary keyboardist and composer Merl Saunders, Tony’s life has been a musical adventure. As a child he was taught piano by Herbie Hancock, and for his tenth birthday he received an electric organ as a gift from Sly Stone. Growing up around his dad and the Fantasy Records family of artists he was constantly surrounded by music royalty. His passion for the bass guitar began while sitting in on recording sessions with musicians Anthony Davis, who played with Walter Hawkins, and Lee Miles of Miles Davis fame. “I got to see them both in the studio on a project my dad produced. These guys had a feel that drew me to the bass. That’s all I wanted after seeing them play.”
Tony graduated from the prestigious Conservatory of Music in San Francisco as a piano player, but soon after began honing his skills on the bass. He was influenced by the sounds of James Jamison, Stanley Clark, Jack Cassidy, and others. Tom Fogarty of Creedence Clearwater Revival gave Tony his first bass guitar. Chuck Rainey and John Kahn took an interest in Tony, giving him bass lessons and a legacy to live up to. By the time he was 17 he played his first gig with Jerry Garcia and his dad in the Merl Saunders/Jerry Garcia Band.
Tony’s musical journey has continued on from that era through today. He has played and recorded with an astounding list of great musical talents, including Eric Clapton, David Crosby, Joe Sample, Chaka Khan, Ringo Starr, Stevie Wonder, Bo Diddley, The Hawkins Family and many others. “This just touches the edge of who I have been blessed to play with,” says Saunders. Tony has played on hundreds of albums, won two Emmy Awards for soundtracks, written award winning movie scores and commercial jingles. Tony continues to record his own projects and produces for an impressive list of talent. Tony’s latest album Uptown Jazz is his third release on San Francisco Records.
& bassist extraordinaire