"Entranced the audience..." -- Marian Hubler, Bread & Roses Presents producer
"These guys have mad chops" -- Phil Toole, host of The Unbound Sound Show, FCCFree Radio
"Fabulous...ethereal...wonderful sounds" -- David Stafford, host of Friday Folk-Off, KKUP
Hardly Strictly Jazz is an instrumental acoustic duo of fingerstyle guitar and violin, performing original compositions and stylized arrangements of standards, Traditional and pop tunes. An eclectic repertoire spans Burt Bacharach to Rickie Lee Jones, Herb Alpert to Joni Mitchell -- all infused with folk/blues/celtic/jazz guitar sounds and improvisational violin riffs. *Not* straight-ahead jazz, but "a jazz-like approach to the small ensemble reimagined on ten strings".
Tracks in italics on site player list.
Recent slideshow video.
"While performing with vocal groups over the years (Jon Rubin Group, Bright Side Band, Hardly Strictly Trad.), there would always be one or two instrumental numbers in each set played as duets between guitar and violin. These provided some of the best moments for audience and players alike. The HSJ sub-project gives my bowed-string collaborator and me the freedom to explore this '10-string' guitar/violin sound with less emphasis on Traditional, more on improvisation and groove..." -- JR
Jon Rubin began leading guitar/violin duos in 2009, developing an original sound combining folk/blues, celtic, and jazz influences. He has 'honed the tone' in hundreds of performances from the Central Coast to San Francisco, working with an all-star roster of violinists including current collaborators...
David Boyden has studied with noted violinists Kate Stenberg of the Del Sol String Quartet and Zak Grafilo and Fred Lifsitz of the Alexander String Quartet. He attended San Francisco School of the Arts, the Walden School's Young Musicians Program in New Hampshire, Mark O'Connor's fiddle camp in New York City, and San Francisco State University as a Theodore Presser Music Award Scholar. In addition to performing with Hardly Strictly Jazz, David plays with The Pine Needles, 29th St. Swingtet, and Kaptain Bottletop.
Adrianna Ciccone is a young Canadian fiddler with a “distinctive stamp and swing that is both rooted and infectious”. She crosses back and forth across the continent with ease, showcasing Cape Breton reels, crooked French-Canadian brandys, the rollicking rhythms of Ottawa Valley stepdancing tunes, way down to Southern Appalachian stringband tunes; even incorporating Irish and Métis influences. Her debut album, The Back of Winter, produced by Bruce Molsky, won Instrumental Artist of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Folk Music Awards.
Cal Keaoola is a native of Hawaii, a violinist well versed in all styles from gypsy to blues to latin. He is featured on three Grammy Award-winning albums of Hawaiian music in the early 2000’s; and has played with legendary rock band It’s a Beautiful Day and iconic Celtic fiddler Alasdair Fraser. As former faculty and Artist-in-Residence of the esteemed N.C. School of the Arts and Salem College in Winston-Salem, Cal continues to teach & coach students in classical/jazz violin in the Bay Area. Cal and Jon have been playing together since 2009.