Recommended if You Like
Cannonball Adderley John Coltrane John Coltrane / Joe Lovano

Genres You Will Love
Moods: Featuring Saxophone Avant Garde: Structured Improvisation Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz

By Location
United States - California - LA

Bakersfield New Music Collective album release announcement! Artist's Website Sell your music everywhere

Ray Zepeda

Founder and Artistic Director of the nascent Bakersfield New Music Collective (BNMC), Ray Zepeda, explains that “the mission of the...Collective is to present exceptional, uniquely American art that inculcates our values, celebrates our identity, inspires us, and enhances American life and in so doing, work to form a society wherein such art may thrive”.

Comprised of Bakersfield's finest and most forward-thinking artists and new music advocates, the Collective recently presented a concert of works by Babbitt, Zepeda, and other BNMC members entitled “Re-Imagining Milton Babbitt: A Centennial Celebration for an Exceptional American” featuring DJ mash-ups with live instruments embarking on improvisational forays over tone rows and electronic sounds in addition to traditional chord changes. The technical and artistic demands are extraordinary for every chair, many of which are held by members of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra and music faculties of Bakersfield College and California State University, Bakersfield. Moreover, audiences are challenged to assimilate an abstract music of a complexity that obfuscates the lines of both jazz and contemporary concert music leaving nary an idle ear.

In deference to the San Joaquin Valley city primarily known as California's oil and agricultural engine, Zepeda continues, “I have long felt that there is this cauldron of creative energy in Bakersfield that has not had the voice or outlet it could have. The Collective could play a small part in an awakening that will allow local composers and performers to present new works to the local Community and try and build from there. This is only the maiden voyage”.

The BNMC will be featured on two tracks on Zepeda's next release, "America", on Soundsketch Records.


One of the most versatile exponents of the latest cadre of young musicians to emerge in the post-“Young Lions” era, saxophonist/composer, Ray Zepeda, differentiates himself not only by his diverse musical background but also by his life story – a sojourn that began in the shadows of oil wells and derricks in Taft, California (35 miles West of Downtown Bakersfield), followed by his formative musical development in Los Angeles’s beach cities which led to a 5-year stint in Boston where he broadened his musical perspective and started composing, only to return to establish himself in the Los Angeles jazz and contemporary scene. The economics of jazz notwithstanding, rest assured that Ray Zepeda has lived the jazz way, improvising a life, as it were, – exploiting every opening, pulling on every thread no matter how tenuous or impossibly thin, and approaching life with a humility that has allowed others to shine and benefit from his gifts – and, undeterred by numerous vicissitudes, did achieve his highest level of success during the most severe economic turndown in memory. This is not as much an artist’s story as it is a uniquely American one.

In addition to his electronic and musique concrete works, Zepeda has written for all combinations of chamber ensembles and for full orchestra. His jazz oeuvre includes pieces for trios, quartet, sextet, Latin ensembles, and big band. When combining the two genres, Zepeda has a penchant for both the Babbitt/Boulez school of pitch class organization and free atonality. His album, "Step By Step" (Soundsketch Records SSR-0001), enjoyed significant radio airplay nationwide and abroad resulting in marked chart movement. It features Bill Evans Trio drummer, Joe La Barbera, and Zepeda’s compositions and arrangements ranging from the contemplative to the aggressive.

A veteran of the Los Angeles jazz, reggae, punk, pop, and house DJ scene, Zepeda has performed/recorded with Lou Rawls, Carl Carlton, Russ Ferrante (Yellowjackets), John Patitucci, Joe La Barbera, Pete Escovedo, Donald Vega (Ron Carter Trio and Quartet), Barbara Morrison, Thelma Jones, Carl Saunders (Stan Kenton/ Bill Holman), Dave Tull (Chuck Mangione/ Michael Buble), Lanny Morgan (Supersax/ Natalie Cole), Mike Bennett (Hillary Duff, Kenny G, JC Chasez, Richie Kotzen), Darek Oles (Dianne Reeves, Brad Mehldau), Johnny Blas (CuBop Records) and many others. Since beginning his professional career playing lead alto in various big bands at age 15, his musical palette has expanded to serious composition and avant-garde, Latin, and contemporary jazz to funk/soul/R&B and pop to punk rock.. Mr. Zepeda holds the Master of Music in Jazz Studies from the University of Southern California where he studied with saxophonist, Bob Sheppard, and composer/theorist, Robert S. Moore; and the Bachelor of Science from Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied Composition with Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur Grant-winning composer, John Harbison.

DJ Raully D:

Doug Davis bio:

Jim Scully bio:

Jay Smith Group bio: