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Jenna Mammina & Rolf Sturm

Jenna & Rolf first met at the very end of 1995 in a rehearsal for a rock orchestra called “Illuminati”. It was a 20 piece ensemble that was focused on the music of the Grateful Dead. The band toured the United States and Canada, recording and touring with a of couple members from the Grateful Dead (featuring many special guests along the way). Jenna & Rolf performed for a few years together in Illuminati and appeared on 3 of the band’s recordings.

During this time period, Jenna & Rolf talked about putting a duo together…. “someday”. But time passed and they both went on to have successful, independent careers. In January of 2014, Jenna came to NYC for a music conference and the two had tea to catch up on what they’d each been up to over the years. They decided that “someday” had arrived. Jenna returned to New York in June, they played their first gig together in 18 years, and went into the recording studio the next day. They recorded twelve tunes in a day and a half and then played a few more gigs in the NYC area, laying plans for making the duo a permanent ensemble. Even before their long awaited debut makes it’s official release, Jenna Mammina & Rolf Sturm are already touring in New York and Michigan, with plans for a Mexico/California tour in the works. Audiences are unanimous, this is a very special pairing.

About Jenna:

“Exquisite!” says author/radio host Ben Fong-Torres, former senior editor of Rolling Stone Magazine and perennial king of what’s hot and what’s not. He’s talking about pop/jazz vocalist/songwriter Jenna Mammina and he is not alone.

Recognized as one of the leading women of jazz/pop crossover for three years in a row by Jazziz Magazine, she recently shared the honor of both the cover and an original song “A Love that Lasts”, included alongside Diana Krall and Norah Jones. Her song “Contradictions” was included on the 2004 KKSF Aids Relief Sampler CD, featuring Joe Jackson and Brenda Russell. Other accolades bestowed upon Ms. Mammina include Jazz Performer of the Year for the SF Weekly, a nomination for Best Jazz Album for her sophomore CD, Meant to Be, by the California Music Awards, and the Goldy Award for her tireless work with children through her nationally acclaimed program Scat for Cats. Jenna’s first album, Under the Influence, was one of the most widely praised debuts in recent memory, earning a four-star review in Japan’s most prestigious jazz magazine, Swing Journal.

With thousands of miles and performances under her tri-coastal musical gypsy skirt, Jenna has claimed the San Francisco Bay Area as her home and sanctuary. She has performed with a vast array of legendary talent, such as Bobby McFerrin, June Millington, Rickie Lee Jones, Al Jarreau, Phish, David Sanborn, Ray Obiedo, Wil Ackerman, Liz Story, Tuck Andress, and Rosemary Clooney. Jenna has graced the stages of esteemed venues like Yoshi’s in Oakland, California, Town Hall in New York, The Green Mill in Chicago, and festivals such as Jazz Aspen, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage, Monterey San Francisco, Big Sur and Mount Hood, continuing to delight sold-out crowds throughout the United States and touring over 250 dates a year.

While touring, Jenna continues to teach children ages 3-104, through her workshops Scat for Cats™, Art of the Duo™, and her latest, So You Want To be a Rock and Roll Star at schools and universities throughout the country.

Jenna’s live performances capture her audiences and hold them like butterflies in the palm of her hand:

“Jenna could sing a page from the phone book and make it sound like her own private piece of the sky. Like a devious detective, she can look around a room of any size and use that gift to freestyle a song on the spot about the people in it, including her band.”

– Kimberlye Gold

“Mammina deserves to be more widely heard.”

– Don Heckman – LA Times

“There’s a cleverness and jocularity about Jenna’s way of singing a song that coupled with her unique voice and malleable sensibility, suggests “discovery” in a big way – is just around the corner.”

– Willard Jenkins,

“She doesn’t just cover Warren Zevon, Elvis Costello and James Taylor, she reupholsters them, she unwinds a song as if each word dangled from a string of twinkling charms and delicately snaps consonants like wishbones.”

– Hew Hallock

Ben Fong-Torres couldn’t agree more. “She teases it, toys with it, laughs with it, vocally dances with it, and, ultimately, the singer, and the song embrace one another, to the pleasure of the audience. If these disks inspire you to seek out one of her club or concert engagements, be forewarned: You’ll have fun.”

“Is it blasphemy to suggest that someone else could sing Abbey Lincoln’s songs with the same grit and majesty as Lincoln herself? If so, call me a blasphemer, because I believe Jenna Mammina has done just that.”

– Neil Tesser

About Rolf:

“Rolf Sturm is an astounding fingerstyle player effortlessly alternating between swinging jazz chords and beautifully executed single note lines. His improvisational abilities are both impressive and expressive.”, writes James Scott from his Minor 7th Webzine review of Rolf’s solo CD: “Balance”. “..Sturm is a prodigious talent and is an unparalleled virtuoso of the nylon stringed guitar. “Balance” is highly recommended and should be required listening for all fans of contemporary music.”

Rolf’s guitar playing has also earned the praise of Joe Pass, Jim Hall, John Abercrombie, and Bill Frisell. He appears on over 60 CDs including recordings that feature Tony Trischka, Loudon Wainwright, Anthony Braxton, David Johansen, John Medeski, Billy Martin, Glen Velez, Maggie Roche, Jorma Kaukonen, Roswell Rudd, Dave Douglas, Ike Willis, Eddy Arnold, Pablo Aslan, Giora Feidman, and members of the Grateful Dead. He is a member of “Tomas Ulrich’s Cargo Cult” and he co-leads the NYC trio “Tricycle”. Rolf is also a member of the “Strike Anywhere Performance Ensemble” and the “Walter Thompson Orchestra”. Rolf has toured the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, and the UK, performing at dozens of jazz, jam band/rock, folk, and blues festivals (including the World Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany, the JVC Jazz Festival, the Boston Folk Festival, the Syracuse Jazz Festival, Ripplefest, Music On The Mountain Festival, and the Toronto Jazz Festival.). He has performed at Lincoln Center, and Town Hall in NYC, and at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He has appeared on soundtracks for both film and television and his music has been featured on National Public Radio’s All Songs Considered. His last solo guitar recording, “Balance”, was awarded 4 stars in DownBeat magazine.

“(FOUR STARS) Rolf Sturm…delivers 10 solo acoustic performances that resonate with verve. Sturm’s style encompasses elements of classical, American roots music, and flamenco, and he mixes them so seamlessly and constantly that they become their own anagram. Regardless of his approach, each piece is suffused with tremendous energy and movement.”

– James Hale, “Six String Magicians” DownBeat

“He is one of the best solo acoustic and electric guitarists in the business, an in-demand sideman, comfortable playing in almost any style, and much admired by established artists of all genres.”

– Rick Dandes, “Applause” Daily Item Newspaper ”

“…not since the likes of Charlie Byrd, Laurindo Almeda, Bola Sete, Eddie Duran, and Gene Bertoncini has the classic guitar made such a successful cross over into jazz… Enter Rolf Sturm and his wonderful ability to “balance” classical technique with jazz sensibilities… The lute and the guitar have a long relationship with the duende (the soulful muse as sought after in particular by Spanish guitarists). BALANCE is hard and fast evidence that the duende lives in the very soul of the guitar and in its blessed legacy of modern soul mates such as Rolf Sturm.”

– Bob Gish “Jazz Inside Magazine”

“…a distinct and compelling acoustic voice… Rolf has a sturdy melodic sense, imbued with a sense of inevitability…Rolf is also a master of scrumptious chord motion.”

-Tony Trischka (banjo master)