Young Jazz Lions Looking For A New Den

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Young Jazz Lions Looking For A New Den

Blog Name:Jazz 88.3 Blog

Blog Author:Vince Outlaw

Posted on:June 4, 2015

Word came to Jazz 88.3 via Facebook from San Diego Jazz trumpter, band leader, educator, and entrepreneur Gilbert Castellanos...

 Hello family & friends, I am sad to say that the month of June will be the last month for the Young Lions series at Croce's Park West. I want to thank the people who came out on Wednesday nights to support the young musicians. I am proud of the young talented musicians for the work they put into promoting their night, preparing and rehearsing music for their sets, and showing true professionalism on stage. This is really where my passion and heart and soul is, watching these young adults blossom into amazing musicians! I also want to thank Ingrid Croce and Jimmy Rock for giving us a home to perform for the last 16 months. I DO NOT want this to be the end of the young lion series! It's crucial that we keep this going for the future of jazz in San Diego! As of today, I am searching for a new home for the series! I would love to get the program back on it's feet by July! Please feel free to inbox me if you would like to share your thoughts/suggestions! 

Keep jazz alive!!!

With love and respect,


Gilbert estimates that there have been over 200 young musicians that have played for the series, with 80% of them still in high school. The evening usually draws a big crowd with standing room only being not uncommon. Gilbert's goal is to "find a venue that can guarantee the young musicians a fee" in order to keep the evening free and "really pack the joint!" According to Gilbert, the lions have been doing a "great job" promoting their nights on the bandstand. 

Jazz 88.3 is helping to get this search underway with this blog post, but this is an opportunity that will take the community of business leaders, art directors and presenters, music educators to move forward AND ESPECIALLY the support of Jazz, Music, Education, and Art Lovers and Supporters dedicating themselves to go and see and hear and exhort The Future of Jazz forward to do as Gilbert says, KEEP JAZZ ALIVE, at whatever home these Young Lions find next. 

If you have ideas for a venue to keep the Young Lions series alive, contact Gillbert Castellanos via email at, his personal Facebook page or the Gilbert Castellanos Music Facebook Fan Page (and give it a "Like" too ;) 

READ THE FULL ARTICLE for stories, pictures, and videos about the Young Lions Series from around the Internet.

Young Lions Series In The News

The Young Lions series has gotten some great write-ups in the press and I'm sure the story of finding and settling in at a new home would garner more....
The age limit to be a young lion is 23 and under. The program’s emphasis is on the leader of the band. The chosen musician has to act like a true leader. It is his or her responsibility to put the group together and put the sets together. Castellanos explains that it is the leader of the band who has to be under 24. As the leader puts the band together, he or she can call on other young musicians or veteran players. The other members of the band do not have the age requirement.

To audition to be in the Young Lions program, young musicians send Castellanos audio files or videos of their performances. Though he doesn’t expect that all the young musicians share the same talents as veteran performers, he nonetheless sets some pretty high standards and not everyone gets a shot at a Wednesday night. He also expects the musicians to dress well when they perform. He says, “For us musicians this is our church. Are you going to go to church and not dress right?”
On a Wednesday around dinnertime, Gilbert Castellanos arrives in a courtroom-gray pinstripe suit, blue button-down, and maroon tie. He carries a valise that looks as if it were filled with legal briefs. It is not. It contains his trumpet and a flugelhorn. From the stage in the new music room at Croce’s in Bankers Hill, backed by an acoustic jazz combo, a woman’s voice far more seasoned and mature than the singer’s actual years wraps itself around an old jazz standard. When finished, she turns, blushing, and shoots a nervous grin in her parents’ direction. They are seated nearby in the almost-capacity dining lounge.

“She just won a huge jazz contest,” Castellanos whispers. “They’re going to fly her to Tokyo for the finals.”

Tonight is billed as Gilbert Castellanos’ Young Lions series. It puts jazz musicians as young as high school age on a professional stage in front of an audience, in a rite of passage that is as old as jazz itself. “This kind of experience makes the music,” says Jazz 88.3 program director Claudia Russell. “This is how all the greats got great.”
This amazing event will take place every Wednesday night. Gilbert Castellanos will be presenting a new and fresh Rising star(under the age of 25) that will knock your Socks off! Gilbert will also be joining these fine and talented artist every week for the first set of the night. This will all be a special night of music that is worth checking out!

Brilliant young jazz violinist Nora Germain will be performing one night only at Croce's Park West as part of Gilbert Castellanos' "Young Lions" jazz series, featuring a different jazz artist of his choosing under 25 years old for every show. This week, April 16th, Nora Germain will be leading her band featuring Ed Kornhauser on piano, Will Pierce on bass, and Gilbert Castellanos as a special guest.

NOTE: Nora Germain is recording a new album! Young lions moving up the food chain!

Young Lions Series On The Screen (Pictures and Video)

Here are some shots of the series from various places on the Internets ;)

And a YouTube video playlist so you can see and hear The Future of Jazz in action...

...and one more time....

If you have ideas for a venue to keep the Young Lions series alive, contact Gillbert Castellanos via email at, his personal Facebook page or the Gilbert Castellanos Music Facebook Fan Page (and give it a "Like" too ;) 

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