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"Pop Lives"

Roland "Roy" Stefani


Vision Music Proudly Presents...

It is with great pleasure that we present a page at Vision Music devoted to the music of my father. Many of our fans are well aware that the website is dedicated to the memory of my parents, who were not only professional musicians, but the epitome of sharing with others.

When we lost Pop back in December of '91, I made a sincere promise to my mother that eventually, somehow, some way, I would find a means of exposing his beautiful original compositions for others to enjoy. Mom also passed away, just a few months later.

This page will contain many of Pop's original jazz, blues, and latin compositions, arranged in lesson format for guitarists, featuring standard notation and tablature. Audio format is flute (Pop doubled on that instrument) over piano trio, and includes jam sections for improvisers. The page will also feature quotes, photos, and rare mp3 recordings of him performing in Bay Area jazz clubs. Pop lives on at Vision Music!

- Mark Stefani



About the Music...

Amazingly, my father didn't write his first original composition until he was 52 years of age! From then until his passing at 66, he wrote hundreds of terrific tunes, a true reflection of a life spent learning from great players and composers.

La Guapa was our maiden voyage release. If you like the music of Jobim, Bonfa, and others, you'll love this bossa nova, one of many Pop composed. Arranged in 'Wes-style' octaves for aspiring jazz guitarists. Includes a solo chorus. To access, click here. To see the original, handwritten score, click on the image above.

Little Boy Blues is the latest addition to Pop Lives. Don't be misled by the title, because this is a highly-melodic jazz composition reminiscent of Bird's Blues changes. Slow swing and in the key of Bb. Same chart format as before. To access, click here.


Note to Guitarists... 

To hear an MP3 version with yours truly playing "Little Boy Blues" on guitar, click here. For more original tunes by myself and others, visit our Special Spotlight page.



About the Man...

Roland Stefani was born in San Francisco, California, in 1925. One of five brothers, he took up the trombone as an early teenager, and played in junior high and high school bands. It was there that he met the love of his life, Margaret Marcus, who played oboe and also led an all-girl band. Mom later became the jazz vocalist in Pop's quintet, which featured Bay Area jazz guitar legend, Eddie Duran, and his two brothers. For years they played all the top hotels and venues in San Francisco.

Pop learned about jazz by transcribing, using his family's wind-up Victrola. He was a huge fan of blues and big band music, and began arranging seriously at 18 years of age, writing for 6-piece, 9-piece, and full orchestras. Over the years he developed a great reputation for getting a big sound out of a small ensemble, probably due largely to the influence of his notable jazz mentors, like Basie, Ellington, Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, and others.

Despite numerous offers to go on the road with top band leaders, Pop was a dedicated family man who raised five sons of his own, so he remained a local artist. However, he became very popular and well-known, even outside of the Bay Area. Jazz pianist Earl "Fatha" Hines would hire him every time he came through town, and Dizzy Gillespie was one of many famous musicians who were well aware of this soulful horn player from SF.



About the Impact...

I can't even begin to describe the positive influence that Pop had on me during my youth. Both of my parents were extremely artistic, yet never forced music on their sons, although two of my brothers, Paul (guitarist/educator) and Luke (trombonist) are excellent players.

The childhood pictures shown above are from my biography page, and are very precious to me. Pop carried them around in his wallet for most of his adult life. They were scratched and badly tattered, but I managed to resurrect them, thanks to digital technology.

Those who have read my articles at the Coach's Corner page will attest to Pop's many words of wisdom, including a few of his more classic quotes shown below. Whenever anyone needed advice or guidance, he was there in a heartbeat!


In Memory Of...

Roy Stefani

Margaret Stefani

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