Cory Combs

Cory Combs Trio


Cory Combs is a bassist, composer and teacher living in San Francisco, California. He has played with many internationally known artists, including Michael Manring, John Hollenbeck, Tony Malaby, Matt Wilson, Andy Narell, Michael Spiro, Joe Henderson, Clark Terry, Benny Golson, John Wubbenhorst, Jim McNeeley, Kenny Werner, Nancy Wilson, Steve Houghton, Joey Baron, Hank Roberts and many others. He can be heard on the CD Postcards from California, his first release as a solo artist.

Along with his performances as a bassist, Combs is an active composer, writing new music for his own ensembles, and by commission. His new trio CD, Valencia, features John Hollenbeck on drums and Dan Willis on woodwinds. With twelve new compositions and five group improvisations, the CD covers a wide range of styles and sounds. The trio was recently featured as the headliners of the Wichita Jazz Festival in Wichita, Kansas.

Combs earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the Eastman School of Music. He is currently the music director at Waldorf High School in San Francisco where he focuses on bringing new and original music for the ensembles. In also teaches music technology and music history classes at the Nueva School, in Hillsborough, CA. In the summers Combs directs the jazz program at the American Festival of the Arts in Houston, Texas and is an active guest artist and clinician at universities and high schools.



Cory Combs Trio
With John Hollenbeck and Dan Willis

Valencia features twelve new compositions by San Francisco bassist and composer Cory Combs and five improvisations by the trio.

The composed music was written with the other members of the trio in mind. John Hollenbeck’s drumming is world renowned, having performed with a wide variety of artists, from Fred Hersch to Kenny Wheeler. His playing is always inspired and original, full of taste and spontaneity, drawing from a rich background of styles and sounds. His own compositions and ensembles lead the cutting edge of new jazz.

Dan Willis is a bandleader, saxophonist and woodwind doubler in the New York City area. He has played with Michael Brecker’s Quindectet, John Abercrombie, Ben Monder along with many others. He has a forceful, melodic and sensitive approach to any instrument he plays. Capable of a wide range of sounds and styles, his playing always serves the music in surprising and inspiring ways.

Each new composition on the CD covers different musical territories. Two compositions emulate the classic Brazilian bossa nova and choro styles, yet with a modern jazz bent. The choro features Bay Area mandolin legend Mike Marshall as a guest artist.

At other times the CD hints at the masters that inspired Combs, from Thelonious Monk and Ornette Coleman, to Keith Jarrett and Astor Piazzolla.

Along with its conscious tributes to the greats, Combs also wrote music that is less easily relegated to one style. There are hints of tango, carnival music, avant-garde walls of noise, film-music textures and ragtime. There is even a short interlude where Combs accompanies his five-year-old niece as she talks about a dream.

Through this wide range one gets the larger picture to include mood, ambience and emotion. Through harmony, melody and improvisation Combs hoped to create a picture of a surreal inner world: dark, personal and slightly skewered, yet accessible and full of interesting twists and turns.