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January 1, 2030
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“We appreciate the terrific performance!
Thanks again and look for our contact next year.”
I'm a jazz drummer and bandleader based in New York City for the past 30 years. During that time, my drumming and bandleading have developed together as two different aspects of the music I love to play. I love putting together my favorite musicians into ideal combinations, picking the most interesting music for each instrumentation, and then immersing myself in the music we make. This page features my four most important musical projects that I regard as my “core” concert jazz bands.
“It was fabulous to have your group join us for the AMBLE event. What a really terrific day! Congrats to you and the band for a gorgeous afternoon of music!”
Each of my bands represents a distinct musical project that I’ve developed over the course of my lifetime, based on a particular instrumentation, repertoire, stylistic concept, and core group of musicians.
The Trumpet-Saxophone Quintet
The inception of the Quintet started with my desire to perform the mostly forgotten music written by trumpeter Kenny Dorham for the quintet he co-led with saxophonist Joe Henderson in the mid-1960s. These compositions, while within the hard bop genre, are not exactly of it. They are different—dark, soulful, sophisticated, highly arranged, and with ingenious motifs and rhythmic devices that make each one of them a distinctive roadmap for improvisation. (Our video of Dorham’s composition "São Paulo" is a good example of this.) Dorham’s neglected masterpieces form the core of the group’s repertoire and concept, complemented by additional compositions by Henderson, Thelonious Monk, Freddie Hubbard, Hank Mobley, Walter Bishop Jr., Billy Harper, and others.
The members of the quintet love this music and this group as much as I do and are equally dedicated to it, often traveling long distances or turning down more lucrative gigs in order to play together.
Theme For Maxine
Coral Keys (Walter Bishop Jr.)
Crocket Ballet (Billy Harper)
Joshua (Victor Feldman)
Lost (Wayne Shorter)
Pat ‘n Chat (Hank Mobley)
Rio (Wayne Shorter)
Scene (Tom Harrell)
Sky Dive (Freddie Hubbard)
The Black Angel (Kenny Barron)
Waiting For Chet (Hal Galper)
The Saxophone Quartet
This is the instrumentation (saxophone, guitar, bass, drums) of the very first group I formed for my very first gig as a leader in 1978. From the beginning, my conception of the band was as a vehicle to explore the best non-avant-garde jazz of the 1960s, along with the best non-fusion jazz of the 70s.
The music of the current version of the quartet represents three decades of the development of this idea. Of all my bands, this one has the most difficult repertoire, with compositions by Chick Corea (Song of the Wind), Steve Swallow (Portsmouth Figurations), and Bill Evans (Fun Ride, Twelve Tone Tune Two), and others. To do this music justice requires a saxophonist with an incredible level of musicianship, willing to take the time to learn it well, and who knows the genre well. Even in New York this can be challenging to find, but luckily for me I've been able to play with two of the most amazing saxophonists in town, Donny McCaslin, and our current saxophonist, Chris Bacas, who has been with our group for about ten years so far.
As with most of my bands, the videos sound good, but the music on a typical gig is an order of magnitude higher, and the group keeps getting better as the years go by…
Agua & Viho (Egberto Gismonti)
The Bat (Pat Metheny)
Ballad For Billy (Leni Stern)
Black Narcissus (Joe Henderson)
Cyclic Episode (Sam Rivers)
Dark Light (Mike Nock)
De Pois Do Amor O Vazio (Wayne Shorter)
Elm (Richie Beirach)
Foolish Door (John Abercrombie)
Moon Germs (Joe Farrell)
Paul’s Pal (Sonny Rollins)
Portsmouth Figurations (Steve Swallow)
The Vibraphone Quartet
This band, developed over the last 15 years, is one of my most recent musical projects. Our repertoire is drawn from my favorite compositions, by Steve Swallow, Michael Gibbs, Carla Bley and others, that were originally performed by vibraphonist Gary Burton’s quartets during the 1960s and 70s, the music of Brazilian composer Caetano Veloso, and modern jazz composers such as Pat Metheny, Kenny Wheeler, Jim Hall, Joe Farrell. The common denominator between these compositions is that, to my ears, their melodies lend themselves to the sound of the vibraphone more so than any other instrument.
The videos of the group, featuring vibraphonist Behn Gillece, were filmed shortly after our first gig together. They are a good representation of our music, but not of our present level; with several more years of playing together under his belt since then, Behn’s playing of this music now is nothing short of incredible…
The Guitar Quartet
The repertoire of this band is a mixture of the lesser-known compositions of Thelonious Monk, along with modern jazz compositions that are particularly suited to the guitar that I’ve chosen over the course of the last 35 years.
The lead instrumentalists in this group are the very best jazz guitarists that I know of in New York City, including Paul Bollenback, Pete McCann, Nate Radley and Tom Guarna, all of whom I’ve been lucky to make music with many years.
An interesting experiment of mine in recent years has been to combine my favorite guitar trios into quartets featuring two guitarists in the front line. As it turns out, this is not merely a novelty; as each is able to create chordal accompaniments while the other improvises mainly single note lines, the group sound fills out harmonically, with the combinations of guitars almost sounding at times like a single instrument. It’s also a lot of fun to hear two great guitarists reacting to and interacting with each other, and working to compliment each other’s style.
“As usual, the performance by this wonderful Jazz Quintet was enjoyed by our many concert-goers and we look forward to having you join us at other Borough President events.”
My groups have performed at jazz clubs like Birdland, The Cornelia Street Cafe, and the 55 Bar, and for virtually every summer concert organization in New York City, including the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, Sunset On The Hudson, The Jazz Forum, Summer in the Square, Brooklyn Arts Council, Grand Central Partnership, Woodside On The Move, Staten Island Family Events , Vornado Realty, Dag Hammersjold Plaza, Rudin Management (Cool Music for Warm Summer Days), Music On Chelsea Piers, Harlem Meer Performance Festival, Kupferberg Center for the Arts, and Music on the Stuyvesant Town Oval.
“You guys were excellent. Not only did I have people come up to me during the concert to let me know how much they enjoyed your concert, I’ve had people calling me the past two days to ask that we bring you guys back next year. I think it is safe to say you guys will be one of the first calls we make when planning next summer’s concert series. Thank you so much for such a great concert.”