The San Francisco Bay Area-based Penguin Jazz Quartet began as a trio in 1994. The trio, which consisted of guitarist Pat Smith, drummer Russ St. John, and bassist Sumit Das, were soon joined by pianist Bill Walker. According to the quartet, they garner inspiration from the works of such jazz stalwarts as the Gene Harris Quartet and the Bill Evans Trio. The Penguin Jazz Quartet recorded a self-titled CD in 1996 that included both jazz standards (e.g., My Funny Valentine and God Bless the Child) along with original compositions. The Quartet performed at the 1996 Healdsburg Summer Series and continues to do stints in Bay Area coffee joints. On Ice, their second CD, was released in mid-'99 and features original tunes alongside of interpretations of such standards as Wayne Shorter's Footprints, Bill Evans' Time Remembered, and Herbie Hancock's Watermelon Man.
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