San Francisco Music Studio Records All Three 2011 Jazz Search West Winners

Berkeley, California (EastBayDaily) — Priscilla Rice, the owner of Live Oak Studio ( in Berkeley, California has donated professionally engineered studio time to a winner of Jazz Search West at her enchanting, suburban San Francisco recording studio for the last three years. This year, because of special circumstances, Live Oak had the privilege of recording all three 2011 winners.

Jazz Search West is a competition that gives emerging jazz singers and musicians the opportunity to gain exposure performing for live audiences and judges, who give every performer constructive tips. The annual event is hosted by Living Jazz (, a unique brand of program that focuses on friendship and human interaction while inspiring people through the shared love of jazz and related genres. The organization’s inclusive and supportive activities build and sustain joyful communities that foster diversity by embracing people of all ages, economic and cultural backgrounds.

“Living Jazz makes music come alive, nurtures creativity, and enriches people’s lives, while building a greater sense of community through the love of jazz,” said Rice, who also serves as chairman of the board for Living Jazz. “Jazz Search West is an opportunity for emerging talent to gain exposure and visibility, for the public to enjoy new talent and support local artists, and for musicians and vocalists to advance their musical careers.”

Sixteen year old Thea Rose Cristman, a sophomore in a Marin County high school, was the third-place Jazz Search West winner in 2011. She used her prize, four consecutive hours of studio time at Live Oak Studio, to record “Walking After Midnight,” “Cheek to Cheek,” “The Shadow of Your Smile, “’Round Midnight” and “Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay.”

Cristman was accompanied by legendary jazz pianist and Jazz Search West judge Ben Flint and 20-year veteran jazz singer Kellye Gray, Cristman’s inspirational voice coach from Jazz Camp West—another supportive Living Jazz community organization.

Cristman, who sings with many Bay Area jazz ensembles, including the Medicine Ball Band and the Jim Whiteside Trio, is a favorite at Caffe Trieste, weddings and parties. She also performs with Andrew Dudnick at the Ageis retirement home, and she is the singer for her high school’s newly formed jazz band, which is named Burst.

The young singer’s Live Oak Studio recording will be used as a demo to get more work and be sold to raise funds to go back and record a full CD at Live Oak in the future.

“It was great to be able to get professional help from adults who were so supportive,” said Cristman. “They all made sure I had everything I needed.”

The second prize winner, a jazz drummer named Isaac Schwartz, won a recording session with Flint. For the session, Schwartz also brought in a bass player and 2011 Jazz Search West first-place winner Janeare Ashley, who sang “My One and Only Love” for one of the recordings.

“Live Oak Studio is awesome,” said Schwartz. “On top of it being a nice space designed to capture sound well, the Bay views are amazing and the atmosphere is very relaxed—which is always great when recording.

“Sometimes drums aren't seen as having the same capabilities or emotional power of other instruments, so during the 2011 competition I played the melody to the song I chose, ‘Cherokee,’ before the other musicians came in—and I ended up winning second place. Being recognized for what I do on an instrument that’s not typically in the forefront is very satisfying.”

Isaac is planning to use the Live Oak Studio recording as a demo for gigs and anyone else who is interested in his work.

Although she recorded at Live Oak Studio with Schwartz, the first place winner Ashley’s Jazz Search West actual prize was free tuition to Jazz Camp West, an 8-day jazz music, dance and vocal program held at YMCA Camp Jones Gulch, near Half Moon Bay.

About Jazz Search West

Launched in 2009, Jazz Search West is the Bay Area’s first annual Jazz talent search. Weekly competitions are held each March in various jazz venues in Oakland and San Francisco. A panel of prestigious judges provides feedback to each contestant.

Three finalists are selected at each weekly public event and perform at the Grand Finale held at Piedmont Piano Company in Oakland. Four top winners are ultimately selected and awarded prizes designed to enhance their musical career.

About Live Oak Studio

Since 1984, Live Oak Studio, a greater San Francisco music recording studio, has recorded music legends, including Destiny’s Child, Boyz II Men, Will Smith, Alicia Keys, Tony! Toni! Tone! and E-40. The Berkeley studio utilizes a Digidesign Pro Tools HD-based system to record breakthrough and award-winning albums for artists all of genres. The East Bay recording studio specializes in audio, voiceover, live band recording, audiobook and narration recording services. The studio can also help artists with mixing, editing and creating audiobooks, podcasts and meditation CDs.

For more information about recording at Live Oak Studio, please call (510) 423-0771 or visit them on the web at


Priscilla Rice
Live Oak Studio