Arts & Events

Berkeley High Alumnus Julian Pollack at Yoshi's on Monday

By Ken Bullock
Friday June 04, 2010 - 01:49:00 PM

Pianist-songwriter Julian Waterfall Pollack will appear with his fellow Berkeley High alums, bassist Noah Garabdeian and drummer Evan Hughes, to celebrate his new CD INFINITE PLAYGROUND (Junebeat Records), on Monday, June 7, 8 p. m. at Yoshi's Jazz Club, Jack London Square in Oakland. Tickets: $14. 238-9200; 

Pollack, son of Berkeley musicians Allan Pollack and Susan Waterfall, co-founders of the Mendocino Music Festival, former student at Crowden School, has been hailed as an unusually talented—and swinging—young pianist since playing in the Berkeley High Jazz Ensembles and at local venues like the JazzSchool, where he returned with his trio this winter. He's been praised by the likes of Marian McPartland, of NPR's Piano Jazz ("A wonderful new player on the jazz scene ... Watch out for this kid!"), Tootie Heath of the Heath Brothers ("I want to be the first to say it: Julian is a genius.") and other noted players, including saxophonist Joe Lovano and vibraphonist Dave Samuels. 

Pollack, who's played piano since five, and started out listening to Oscar Peterson at eight (he still cites Peterson as an influence), says his goals in music are "to contribute beauty" and clarity, and "to blur the lines" between jazz, classical and pop. (More at:

He’s played at clubs like Small's, opening for Chick Corea at the Blue Note in New York, at festivals from Montreux to Monterey and last New Year's Eve at Chez Panisse. He will play July 15 at the Mendocino Jazz Festival, in an ensemble featuring him and his mother on pianos, playing "Hallelujah, America!", a program of American music including works by Copland, Carter, Harrison, Cage, Gershwin Crumb, Stephen Foster, and John Adams' "Hallelujah Junction."