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December 22, 2015 > New Fremont jazz album hits all the right notes

New Fremont jazz album hits all the right notes

By Sara Giusti

Lake Elizabeth, delicious Southeast Asian cuisine, Mission Peak, and... jazz! Lucky for us, Fremont is adding jazz to its repertoire with the release of a new album performed, recorded, and produced right here in Fremont.

Fremont musician and vocalist John Vargas has been behind the Tri-City areaÕs jazz scene for years. In 2011, he started 510JAZZ, a collective of local jazz musicians who perform at private and public events throughout the East Bay. 510JAZZ performed weekly at NewarkÕs Love at First Slice from October 2012 until the pizza restaurantÕs unfortunate closing after a fire last year, and weekly at IrvingtonÕs Cafe Robles for half of this year, ending in June. Vargas also compiles jazz events happening all over the Bay Area on the collectiveÕs website, This month, 510JAZZ is excited to announce the release of its very first album, ÒBossa510,Ó out on December 22.

The albumÕs name is derived from bossa nova, a genre of Brazilian music that fuses samba and American jazz, and the East Bay, or Ò510.Ó Bossa nova rose to fame in the 1960s, and is considered one of the most well-known genres of Brazilian music. The genre is known for its emphasis on classical guitar, plucked with fingers rather than a pick. Vargas was first introduced to bossa nova in the early 1980s. ÒI loved the simplicity of the sound Ð and especially the beauty of the composition,Ó he explained.

ÒBossa510Ó is Fremont-bred from beginning to end. The album is being released by 4Play Records, a label created and managed by Vargas and his son, David, a rapper and producer under the stage name D-Varg. Their goal is to increase the visibility of musical talent in ÒThe 510,Ó and the Tri-City area. CDs are being manufactured by FremontÕs own ISO Media as well.

The sixteen-song album features fifteen local musicians. Five original members of 510JAZZ are from Fremont: John Vargas (composer, executive producer, vocalist), David Vargas (composer, producer, engineer, vocalist), Ravi Jayasinghe (bass), Sam Brignon (drums), and Mark Rickey (piano). Ed Lee (guitar), David Stockman (congas), and Chris Koraltan (drums) are also from Fremont. The remaining six artists are from the greater San Francisco Bay Area: Esther Berndt (alto sax), Tom Povse (flute), Oshra Sedan (vocals), Randy Merrill (trumpet, flugelhorn), Nikki Rey (vocals), and Jamillions (vocals).

ÒBossa510Ó is ripe with lyrical tributes to places locals will recognize, such as YoshiÕs, Mountain Winery, the Bay Trail, Highway 1, and more. A delectable and unique mix of musical genres, from classic bossa nova to hip-hop and American jazz to R&B, ÒBossa510Ó takes listeners from the Tri-City and beyond to back home again.

ÒOur title track ÔBossa510Õ is homage to the local music scene. We are proud of the musicians all around the San Francisco Bay...These are some of the most talented people in the world, they're right here in our backyard Ð and most of them are not famous yet. Often times they play for free Ð sometimes they are paid with a meal or tips. You can see these amazing musicians at the corner coffee shop, for the price of a latte. Amazing!Ó said Vargas. His passion for jazz and the local music scene is contagious, and ÒBossa510Ó reflects such energy and excitement; listeners will definitely bob their heads to this albumÕs captivating beats.

In early December, 510JAZZ members were interviewed by KPFA, and the albumÕs songs were aired on the station in mid-December as well. An album release party is scheduled for February 12 at Oasis Palace in Newark; stay tuned for more information and updates at

Vargas and his musical comrades hope to create more albums from local artists in the future. ÒÔBossa510Õ is a shakedown cruise for us. If this works, we plan to do this as many times as we can Ð for 510JAZZ and for other artists. At 4Play Records, we're all about original music,Ó he said.

CDs will be available to purchase from directly; check the website for purchase links to iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play on December 22.

ThereÕs much to be proud about living in Fremont, and now its own jazz album is on the list. Check out ÒBossa510Ó and support local music!

Connect with 510JAZZ at,, and

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