San Jose Jazz Collective

The SJZ Collective returns to Winter Fest to perform their twist on notable works by Charles Mingus. This ever-evolving group of master players has performed internationally during a 2018 tour of Taiwan and all over the country–including SJZ’s Summer and Winter Fests–in addition to being the core instructors at our Summer Jazz Camp in June. The brainchild of drummer Wally Schnalle, the ensemble allows each member to shine by bringing their own arrangements to the group.


Wally Schnalle has been playing drums almost 50 years and has a long history of working with San Jose Jazz. For the past 25 years he’s been sharing his knowledge and experience as a teacher, bandleader, recording artist, and sideman to Phil Woods, Eddie Daniels, Ernie Watts, Med Flory, Dave Pell, Bill Henderson, Etienne Charles, Mary Wilson as well as many great Bay Area bands. He performs and teaches in many genres, including Latin, funk, and rock and blues, but the bulk of his work is in Jazz and fusion. His own ensembles have performed widely, including gigs at the San Jose Jazz Summer Fest, Monterey Jazz Festival, Hong Kong Jazz Festival, Beishan China Jazz Festival, Portland Jazz Festival and San Francisco’s Jazz in the City series. Schnalle has ten CDs of original compositions in release and was also awarded a compositional commission from the Santa Clara University School of Music and Dance as well as an Artist In Residence Grant for The California Arts Council. In addition, he has worked with DRUM! Magazine as Music Editor at large and columnist for over 20 years. Wally earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Jazz Performance at San Jose State University. Schnalle uses and endorses Pearl Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth Sticks and Earthworks Microphones.


Brian Ho began playing piano at the early age of five taking lessons at both Stanford and San Jose State. By the age of sixteen, he began to play professionally and started teaching. After his college years spent studying music at UC Davis, he decided to pursue his love of music as a leader, composer, and arranger.   Brian now leads his own group on the Hammond Organ and is an in demand sideman.  While Brian still stays rooted in the tradition of classic Hammond Organists such as Jimmy Smith, Shirley Scott, and Jack Mc Duff;  with his vast knowledge of styles and influences he has developed his own unique and modern take on organ jazz.

One of the most influential experiences he had was playing for an African American Baptist Church for several years as a young teenager. This is where he first forged his love affair with the Hammond Organ.    Brian now performs almost exclusively as a Hammond Organ player.    He solos and comps with his right hand while his left hand and feet play organ bass in the same tradition as his organ idols, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Shirley Scott, and of course, Jimmy Smith.

Brian owns a 1960’s Hammond A100 and a 1960’s Hammond A101 as well as two vintage Leslie 122’s.   A Hammond A100 and A101 is identical to a B3 except with speakers.  When a bringing is not feasible,  Brian brings a portable digital replica of the B3.  In 2009, he became an endorser for the Hammond-Suzuki Organs.   After the endorsement, he played with the Hammond XK3c Pro XK dual manual system with the Hammond XPK-200 pedals and Leslie 3300.   In 2013, he became a Crumar Mojo artist.  In 2017, he became a Viscount Key B artist and currently he uses a Viscount Legend Live.


Saúl Sierra was born and raised in Mexico City, where he started playing professionally in 1990. He moved to Boston Mass. in 1995 and attended the  Berklee College of Music where he graduated in the summer of 1999, with a major in Performance. Some of his teachers included Oscar Stagnaro, Rich Appleman, Daniel Morris, and Jim Stinnet. He received the US Scholarship tour award and the Outstanding Performer award at Berklee.

As a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area since the fall of 1999, Saúl has performed, toured or recorded with Nestor Torres, Jimmy Bosh, Eddie Montalvo, Johny Rodríguez, Orestes Vilató, Bobi Céspedes, Antonio Sánchez, Miles Peña, John Santos, Jesús Díaz, Rebeca Mauleón, Mark Levine, Greg Landau, Mike Spiro, Jackeline Rago, Chuchito Valdez, Alexander Livinali, Wayne Wallace, Aquiles Baez, Marco Granados, Anthony Blea, Doug Beavers, and María Márquez, among others.

For the past 10 years Saúl has been a member of some of the leading bands in the Bay Area, including The John Santos Quintet/Sextet, Bobi Cespedes’ band,  Dr. Loco’s Rocking  Jalapeño Band, El Tren Trío, Anthony Blea y su Charanga, The Snake Trío, Jesús Díaz y su QBA, The Bay Area Afro-Cuban All Stars, The Venezuelan Music Project, Corazón Sur, and Sababa band.

A founding member of Vission Latina, the band that he co-leads with Carlos Caro, percussionist extraordinaire, and Marco Díaz, virtuoso multi-instrumentalist (piano/trumpet), Saúl keeps himself busy performing, composing, arranging and teaching in the world-class musical community of the San Francisco Bay Area.


Saxophonist Oscar Pangilinan is a musician and educator born and raised in the Bay Area. He is co-leader of the San Jose based jazz, funk and R&B group The Bad Ones. Oscar has performed with a variety of Bay Area based musicians, including John Worley, Brian Ho, Kristen Strom, Aaron Lington, Jason Lewis, John Shifflett, and more. He is also an active educator, working as a woodwind instructor with the Alum Rock Jazz Band for the past five years and a staff member with SJZ Summer Jazz Camp and Progressions.


John L. Worley Jr. is an accomplished trumpet/flugelhorn/post-horn artist and leader of the bands Mo-Chi Quartet, WorlView, and Bari Bari.

John has played in many of the San Francisco Bay Area’s creative music ensembles, as well as on over 70 recordings and videos. Being adept at a multitude of styles, John has played with and backed up national and international artists.

John is also an engaging and accomplished educator and as a member of the music faculty at: Stanford University in Stanford, CA; Hope St. Music Studios in Mountain View, CA; and a faculty member of the San Jose Summer Jazz Camp.

​He is a member of San Jose Jazz, BMI, American Federation of Musicians Local 6 and the International Trumpet Guild. In 2013, John was included in David Hickman’s book, Trumpet Greats, a biography of 2,200 trumpet players from the year 1600 to the present.


Hristo Vitchev is an impressionistic modern jazz guitarist and composer from Sofia, Bulgaria. Now residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, Hristo leads a variety of modern jazz formations, ranging from duets to quintets. He has toured nationally and internationally, appearing at some of the most prestigious jazz clubs and festivals, and has also performed guitar clinics in Europe and Japan. He has written more than 300 original compositions, many articles on jazz improvisation, and a book on chordal theory and construction titled “Between the Voicings: A New Approach to Chord Building for Guitarists.” The Hristo Vitchev Quartet’s 2009 debut album, Song for Messambria (First Orbit Sounds Music) quickly received outstanding reviews by the international jazz community and was selected as one of the six best jazz albums of 2009 by E-JAZZ NEWS.



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