The Bop Island Jazz Festivalat the Woodstock Playhouse
December 16th, 2018
About Bop Island
The Bop Island Jazz Festival was created out of the love and commitment of a small group of ardent jazz fans. We have three focuses:
- The Bop Island Jazz Festival
- The Bop Island Big Band
- Bop Island Records
The Bop Island Jazz Festival is comprised of a stellar group of musicians and technicians participating in a series of performances at the Woodstock Playhouse. Please join us at this historic venue for world class artists presenting Jazz in an intimate setting.
About The Festival
The historic Woodstock Playhouse is the home of a series of big band and small group concerts celebrating America’s art form Jazz.
The Bop Island Big Band
The Bop Island Big Band is 16 world class jazz and freelance musicians whose mission is to perform and celebrate the best of big band jazz and provide a forum for new works by some of today’s brightest composers and arrangers.
John F. Mastroianni
In 1987 Dave started his own record label: Abee Cake Records and started recording his own band, the Dave Stahl Band. Since then there have been 4 recordings of his band: Anaconda, Miranda, Live at Knights and Standard Issue. All the recordings are available through Dave’s label, Abee Cake Records, at PO Box 117, New Berlinville, PA 19545. Live at Knights is a live recording and all the others were done in studios in NYC. Also Dave established his own publishing company in 1987: Dave Stahl Music which is BMI affiliated. He started Dasta Music in 1989 which is ASCAP affiliated.
Dave’s main work was with Liza Minnelli. He continued to tour with her around the world as her lead trumpeter. 1987 was the record setting performance at Carnegie Hall which was recorded by Telarc, and later that year Liza toured Europe for 8 weeks. There were several concerts with Liza and Frank Sinatra, and in 1988 Liza recorded at the White House a PBS live concert attended by President Reagan and directed by Marvin Hamlisch. 1989 saw Liza touring in Europe with Sammy Davis Jr. and in 1991 Liza set another record at Radio City Music Hall and followed that with an 11 week tour of Europe which included a month in Paris with Charles Aznavour. In 1992 Liza recorded at Radio City both a CD and video of the record setting concert. In 1994 Dave took some time off from Liza to do the new version of Damn Yankees on Broadway. Originally the cast included Bebe Neuwirth and Victor Garber. The last part of the run featured Jerry Lewis in the main role.
In September of 1999, Dave was hired to play lead trumpet on the new Broadway show: Saturday Night Fever. That show ran at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City for 18 months. Liza did a 4 week limited engagement at the Palace Theatre in NYC in December of 1999 and that show was recorded on a CD. In Spring of 1999, Dave organized and formed his own Sacred Orchestra. It is a 23-piece studio orchestra (large big band with strings) plus 10 vocalists. He has been performing in churches in the eastern half of Pennsylvania since then.
Dave also reformed his local PA big band around 2001 and started doing weekly gigs with the band. Those efforts grew to working at various venues in Southeastern PA and a following that urged a recording of the band. That desire was fulfilled when Dave and his PA big band recorded their first recording on Dec 1 and 2, 2004. It was a live recording done at a club in New Holland , PA much like Dave’s previous live recording Live at the Knights. This new recording, Live at the Ritz, was officially released on March 17, 2005. It had been 15 years since Dave last recorded with his big band. Dave continues to freelance in and around NYC and also play trumpet on Broadway shows. And now, March of 2011, Dave has released a new recording of his NY band titled From A to Z. It’s a set of 12 selections that pretty much covers the styles of big band writing from A to Z.
Syracuse native Joe Magnarelli moved to New York City in 1986 and soon became a regular participant in the New York and international jazz scene. From 1987, he toured and recorded with Lionel Hampton and Brother Jack McDuff.
Joe currently has nine records out as a leader, and has played on numerous jazz labels as a sideman. In 1990, Joe was a semifinalist at the Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition in Washington, D.C.
Joe made his debut as a leader with 1994’s “Why Not” (Criss Cross). He followed that excellent album with three others on the Criss Cross label: “Always There” (1997), “Mr. Mags” (2000) and “Hoop Dreams” (2005).
He subsequently released “Persistence” (2007) and “My Old Flame” (2010), his first big band recording as a leader. He also made two albums co-leading a sextet with the legendary Philadelphia trumpeter John Swana: “Philly-New York Junction” (1998), and “New York-Philly Junction” (2003).
In 2003-2006, Mags performed with the great Latin jazz conguero Ray Barretto’s New Sextet. Joe recorded on Ray’s “Time Was, Time Is” (O+ Music), which was nominated for a Grammy.
Joe’s early career included touring and recording with Lionel Hampton, Jack McDuff, Toshiko Akioshi, Glenn Miller Orchestra, Harry Connick Jr. and the Hard Bop Quintet.
Also, Joe has worked and toured with the Vanguard Orchestra, Jane Monheit, Jon Hendricks, Jimmy Cobb, Louis Hayes, Alvin Queen, Dado Maroni, Marty Sheller, Tom Harrell Big Band, George Gruntz, Harry Whitaker, Walt Weiskopf, Grant Stewart, Charles Davis, Nick Brignola, JR Monterose, Gary Smulyan, The Carnegie Hall Orchestra, Don Sebesky, John Pizzarelli, Aretha Franklin, Rosemary Clooney, Joe Williams, Michael Feinstein, and the Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Joe is currently an adjunct professor of music at the Juilliard School of Music and Rutgers University. He also conducts clinics and master classes around the world, sharing his musical experience and his knowledge from his past teachers. These teachers have included Jack Palmer, Sal Amico, Tommy Turrentine, James Moody, Garry Dial, Arnold Jacobs, and William Vachianno.
Mags, as he is known, first played music at age 12, starting with guitar and trumpet lessons. He also picked out songs on the piano by ear. Joe’s early performance experience, from elementary through high school, came via playing the trumpet and guitar in church. Later, while attending Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, he was the pianist and choir director at the Central Baptist Church there.
In 1986, Joe received a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from the State University of New York in Fredonia, and that year, he moved to New York City to pursue a career in music.
Herm Matlock has been a music educator for fifty-one years, teaching 24 years in the public school of Indiana and New York, and 27 years at the college level, including Plattsburgh State and the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. He is currently retired as a music educator, but continues to teach as an adjunct lecturer at Plattsburgh. His playing credentials include performances along side Clark Terry, Nick Brignola, Phil Woods, and many others, including Doug Sertl.
Jazz trumpeter and composer Randy Brecker has helped shape the sound of jazz, R&B and rock for more than four decades. His trumpet and flugelhorn performances have graced hundreds of albums by a wide range of artists from James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen and Parliament/Funkadelic to Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, Jaco Pastorius and Frank Zappa.
Born in 1945 in Philadelphia to a musical family, Randy’s musical talent was nurtured from an early age. He attended Indiana University from 1963-66 studying with Bill Adam, David Baker and Jerry Coker and later moved to New York where he landed gigs with such prominent bands as Clark Terry’s Big Bad Band, the Duke Pearson Big Band and the Thad Jones Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra.
In 1967, Randy ventured into jazz-rock with the band Blood, Sweat and Tears, but left to join the Horace Silver Quintet. He recorded his first solo album, ‘Score’, in 1968, featuring a young, then unknown 19 year-old tenor saxophonist named Michael Brecker.
After Horace Silver, Randy joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers before teaming up with brother Michael, Barry Rogers, Billy Cobham, and John Abercrombie to form the seminal fusion group ‘Dreams’. The group recorded two adventurous and wildly acclaimed albums: ‘Dreams’ and ‘Imagine My Surprise’ – now collector’s items – for Columbia Records before they disbanded in 1971.
In the early 1970s, Randy performed live with many prominent artists including Larry Coryell’s Eleventh House, Stevie Wonder and Billy Cobham. He also recorded several classic albums with his brother under the leadership of the great pianist/composer Hal Galper.
By 1975, Randy and Michael were ready to front their own group, the Brecker Brothers Band. A band of immeasurable impact and influence, they released six albums on Arista and garnered seven Grammy nominations between 1975 and 1981. Their eponymous first record, which Randy wrote, arranged and produced, featured his now classic composition “Some Skunk Funk.”
In 1992, exactly ten years after they parted ways to pursue solo careers, Randy and Michael reunited for a world tour and the triple-Grammy nominated GRP recording, ‘The Return of the Brecker Brothers’. The follow-up, 1994’s ‘Out of the Loop,’ was a double- Grammy winner.
In 1997, ‘Into the Sun’ (Concord), a recording featuring Randy’s impressions of Brazil, garnered Randy his first Grammy as a solo artist.
In 2001, Randy released ‘Hangin’ in the City’ (ESC), a solo project which introduced his alter-ego Randroid, a skirt chasing, cab driving ne’er do well, with lyrics and vocals by Randroid himself. This CD was especially well received in Europe, where Randy toured extensively with his own line-up.
Randy’s next CD for ESC Records, ’34th n’ Lex,’ won him his third Grammy for ‘Best Contemporary Jazz Album’ in 2003. In May of that year he toured Europe with his Quintet in support of the CD, and in the summer went back to Europe yet again with the Randy Brecker/ Bill Evans Soulbop Band.
The summer of 2003 culminated in the special headline appearance in Japan at the Mt. Fuji Jazz Festival of the reunited Brecker Brothers.
2004 saw Randy touring Europe extensively as co-leader (with Bill Evans) of the band Soulbop. The WDR Big Band also celebrated Randy and his music that year in a performance at the Leverkusen Jazz Fest. The date was of special significance to Randy as it was the last time he played with his brother, who took ill shortly thereafter with a rare form of leukemia known as MDS.
In 2005, with Mike unable to travel to Russia for Brecker Brothers gigs booked there, Randy’s wife Ada sat in for the first time. Randy’s active schedule continued apace with the Randy Brecker Band performing throughout Eastern Europe and across the globe.
In 2007, Randy was awarded his fourth Grammy for “Randy Brecker Live with the WDR Big Band” (Telarc/BHM), the live recording (also available in DVD format) of his performance with Michael at the Leverkusen Jazz Fest in 2004. Tragically, Michael passed away that same year on Jan 13th.
2007 also saw the release of a 2 CD set of live recordings of the band ‘Soulbop’ (BHM) featuring Dave Kikoski, Victor Bailey, Steve Smith or Rodney Holmes and the late great Hiram Bullock.
Randy returned to his long-time love of Brazilian music in 2008 for the album ‘Randy in Brazil,’ which was recorded in Sao Paulo with a full complement of great Brazilian musicians and released on Summit Records. Chosen one of the top 10 CDs of 2008 by AllAboutJazz.com, the CD won the Grammy for “Best Contemporary Jazz Album,” bringing his Grammy total to five.
A “Tribute to the Brecker Brothers” featuring Randy and recorded live at the Hamamatsu Jazz Festival in Japan with Yoichi Murata’s Solid Brass & Big Band was released by JVC Victor in Japan in late 2008.
And in 2009, Randy’s roots were celebrated with the release of ‘Jazz Suite Tykocin,’ a project initiated and conceived by the Polish pianist and composer Wlodek Pawlik, featuring Randy as a soloist with members of the Bialystok Philharmonic. Tykocin is the
area in Poland where Randy’s ancestors (mother’s maiden name: Tecosky) hail from, a fact that Pawlik discovered while helping to search for a bone marrow donor for Michael. 2011 saw the release of ‘The Jazz Ballad Song Book: Randy Brecker with the Danish Radio Big Band and The Danish National Chamber Orchestra,’ which garnered 4 Grammy nominations and enjoyed enthusiastic critical acclaim. And in 2012, Sony Legacy recaptured history with the long-awaited boxed set, “The Brecker Brothers – The Complete Arista Albums Collection.”
A Brecker Brothers Band Reunion tour of European festivals in the summer of 2013 in support of Randy’s newest project, Randy Brecker’s Brecker Brothers Band Reunion, re-introduced the familiar faces of Brecker Brothers Band members from the past and their special brand of music to sell-out crowds.
A dual-disc release, Randy’s newest project will be released on September 25th, 2013 on Piloo Records. Randy Brecker’s Brecker Brothers Band Reunion features a live DVD recorded at the Blue Note in NYC bundled with a new 11-song studio recording featuring members of the Brecker Brothers bands from throughout the years including Dave Sanborn, Mike Stern, Will Lee, and Dave Weckl. George Whitty is back in the production and keyboard chair, and Randy’s Italian wife Ada Rovatti is in the ‘hot saxophone’ seat, keeping it in the family on tenor and soprano saxophone. The new dual-disc recording will be released in North America by Magenta/E-One, in Europe by Moosicus Records in November and in Japan by JVC/Victor.
A long time in the making, this project is very close to Randy Brecker’s heart. It is dedicated to his brother, Michael, and other departed Brecker Brothers Band members.
As a composer, performer and in-demand Yamaha clinician, Randy Brecker continues to influence and inspire young musicians around the world.
Born and raised in the Capital District of New York State, Doug began playing the trombone at the age of ten. By the time he was a senior in high school he was playing professionally as a freelance trombonist at local concert venues backing up various touring artists.
Doug attended the Crane School of Music in Potsdam, New York from 1979 to 1980. During his studies at Crane, he got a call to go out on the road with Paul Anka. For the next few years he toured with various pop and jazz artists before returning to the Hudson Valley of New York.
His first album as a leader was released in 1983. “Doug Sertl and The Jazz Menagerie” received a 41/2-star review in Downbeat. This album also began a 20 year association with legendary Baritone Saxophonist Nick Brignola with whom Doug would record a half dozen albums.
Over the last thirty years, Doug has built a reputation as one of today’s leading freelance and studio trombonists as well as a soloist releasing eight albums as a leader. He’s performed or recorded with a long list of artists including, Tony Bennett, Paul Anka, Andy Williams, Mel Torme, Mark Murphy, Chaka Kahn, Sammy Davis, Jr., Kenny Barron, Freddie Hubbard, Phil Woods, Conte Condoli, Carl Fontana, Anita O’Day, Slide Hampton, Bobby Shew, Roger Kellaway, Peter Bernstein, George Mraz and Many more.
Today Doug resides in the Hudson Valley of New York maintaining a busy schedule of freelance, recording and guest artist appearances.
Doug Sertl performs on XO/Jupiter Trombones Exclusively.
Bruce Eidem is one of New York City’s in-demand Broadway, freelance and studio trombonists. A jack of all trades. Bruce is equally at home in a Broadway pit orchestra, a big band or the NY Pops.
A gifted educator/clinician as well as a superb, lyrical soloist, Bruce remains busy both as a freelance and studio musicians, the Pit Orchestras of Broadway and touring with today’s greatest big bands.
Jazz saxophonist and multiple woodwind performer, Bill Todd, developed a strong connection to music early in life through a bit of family tradition, very encouraging parents and many inspiring and influential teachers.
He has gone on to perform alongside a number of noteworthy artists and ensembles such as Joey DeFrancesco, Walt Weiskopf, Cyrille-Aimee, Randy Brecker, Bob Mintzer, Catherine Russel, Slide Hampton, the Ed Palermo Big Band and has toured extensively overseas and throughout North America.
His love for music came to life though performing with several ensembles in public school, regional big bands and his own jazz saxophone quartet during his teenage years where he grew up in Buffalo, NY. He continued his studies of jazz music at the Purchase College Conservatory of Music where he studied with many influential mentors as Eric Alexander, Jimmy Greene, Steve Wilson, Jon Gordon, Pete Malinverni, Todd Coolman and Jon Faddis.
Following two years performing abroad on cruise ships and the national tour of Young Frankenstein: The Musical, he was inevitably drawn back to the inspirational talent pool of New York City. In May 2016, Bill earned his masters degree from New Jersey City University in multiple woodwind performance to further his mastery and expertise on the instruments that are his musical voice.
Performing regularly on piccolo, flute, alto flute, clarinet, bass clarinet and all the saxophones, he is proving to be a valuable asset to the NYC music scene. Bill currently lives in Brooklyn, NY and is a member of the Eyal Vilner Big Band, Anbessa Orchestra, leads his own band, is a substitute musician on the Broadway shows Kinky Boots and The Cher Show and keeps busy playing a variety of freelance engagements, studio recordings, and maintains a healthy studio of private students.
Originally from Jacksonville, Florida, Staff Sergeant Barry Cooper moved to New York shortly after graduating high school to attend the New School University, where he studied under jazz master Benny Powell. Shortly thereafter, Staff Sgt. Cooper became a regular touring member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, performed on Sunday nights at Birdland with the Chico O’Farrill Afro-Cuban Orchestra, and had many other performances with other bands around New York City. Clark Terry was also very helpful to Staff Sgt. Cooper, inviting him to perform with a very young band he put together called “The Young Titans of Jazz.” Terry invited him to record in Bern, Switzerland, and as part of a live DVD in Birdland in New York City. While on tour with Terry in Switzerland, Staff Sgt. Cooper met the members of the Count Basie Orchestra and was invited to join. Since then, Staff Sgt. Cooper has performed all over the world, playing in concert halls such as Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, and Bunkyo Civic Hall in Japan. He has played with Tony Bennett, Nancy Wilson, Dianne Reeves, Liz Wright, Dianne Schuur, Manhattan Transfer, New York Voices, Jon Hendricks, and the Charles Tolliver Orchestra, to name a few.
Ted Rosenthal is one of the leading jazz pianists of his generation. He actively tours worldwide with his trio, as a soloist, and has performed with many jazz greats, including Gerry Mulligan, Art Farmer, Phil Woods, Bob Brookmeyer, and James Moody.
Winner of the 1988 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition, Rosenthal has released fifteen CDs as a leader. Rhapsody in Gershwin (2014), which features his arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue for jazz trio, reached #1 in jazz album sales at iTunes and Amazon.Wonderland (2013), was selected as a New York Times holiday pick, and received much critical praise: “Sleek, chic and elegant” – Howard Reich, Chicago Tribune. Impromptu (2010), showcases his reimaginings of classical themes for jazz trio. “A serious listen to Impromptu will be a mind-changing experience…sit back and enjoy these wonderfully creative takes on ten compositions from the classical canon that have never sounded so cool.” – Elliott Simon, AllAboutJazz
Rosenthal’s solo album, The 3 B’s, received 4 stars from DownBeat magazine. It features renditions of the music of Bud Powell, Bill Evans and his improvisations on Beethoven themes. “With this subtly provocative solo recital, Ted Rosenthal merges three very different streams of piano history, putting his personal stamp on all of them. In Rosenthal’s hands all this music sounds as though it sprang from the same muse, and that’s the sign of a skilled, imaginative artist.” – David R. Adler, All Music Guide.
Rosenthal is artistic director of Jazz at the Riverdale Y and previously was artistic director of Jazz at Dicapo Theatre, both in New York City. He has also performed with Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, and Jon Faddis and the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band. In addition, Rosenthal is the pianist of choice for many top jazz vocalists including Helen Merrill, Ann Hampton Callaway and Barbara Cook. He appeared on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz on National Public Radio and performed with David Sanborn on NBC’s Night Music.
Rosenthal’s orchestral performances include solo and featured appearances with The Detroit Symphony, The Boston Pops, The Grand Rapids Symphony, The Rochester Philharmonic, The Pittsburgh Symphony and The Fort Worth Symphony.
A recipient of three grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Rosenthal regularly performs and records his compositions, which include jazz tunes and large-scale works. He has also composed music for dance, including “Uptown,” for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. “The Survivor,” a concerto for piano and orchestra, has been performed by the Manhattan Jazz Philharmonic and the Rockland Symphony Orchestra, with Rosenthal at the piano. In 2011, Rosenthal premiered his second jazz piano concerto, “Jazz Fantasy,” with The Park Avenue Chamber Symphony in New York City.
Rosenthal received his Bachelors and Masters degrees from the Manhattan School of Music. Active in jazz education, he is on faculty and the Board of Trustees at Manhattan School of Music and also teaches at The Juilliard School. In addition, he presents jazz clinics throughout the world, often in conjunction with his touring. Rosenthal was a contributing editor for Piano and Keyboard magazine and has published piano arrangements and feature articles for Piano Today, The Piano Stylist and The Juilliard Journal.
Born in Racine, Wisc., in 1969, saxophonist Joel Frahm studied classical piano and bassoon before taking to the tenor saxophone when he was 14 years old. In 1985, his family moved to Hartford, Conn., where he attended the jazz program at the high school. It was here that he and pianist Brad Mehldau first crossed paths and got to know each other.
After graduating high school, Frahm went to Rutgers University’s Mason Gross School for the Arts and from there earned his B.A. in Jazz Performance at Manhattan School of Music.
His natural and advanced ability for his age quickly led to a strong presence that attracted attention in New York. Initially, he worked with various blues and jazz bands meeting a coterie of like-minded musicians who were already a bit more established than he including but not limited to such artists as drummer Matt Wilson and pianist David Berkman; he would work and record with both on numerous occasions.
A player with varied musical sensibility and both traditional and modern leanings, Frahm began working with a wide variety of jazz mainstays – both those of different generations as well as a number of peers and colleagues closer to his own age. For instance, Frahm worked with elders and icons such as Maynard Ferguson, Betty Carter and Dewey Redman as well as Lee Konitz, Pat Martino and Andrew Hill. He also worked with near contemporaries or contemporaries such as Wilson, Larry Goldings, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Ben Allison, Ingrid Jensen, Dena Derose and Kyle Eastwood.
He also developed a reputation as a saxophonist who can accompany and work with singers – a quality that he exploits and mines to this day. In addition to working with the aforementioned pianist-vocalist DeRose and tonight’s bandleader Diane Schuur, a quick check of the Frahm discography underscores the point. Among the vocalists he has shared the bandstand and the studio with are: Cyrille Aimee, Rondi Charleston, Laine Cooke, Dana Lauren, Chris McNulty, Jane Monheit, Janis Siegel, Tessa Souter and Joan Stiles.
In 2004, Frahm, collaborating with Mehldau, released Don’t Explain, for the Palmetto label. No one was surprised that the two collaborated – other then by the music itself, which was just that: surprising and entertaining. At the time, Thomas Conrad, the veteran critic writing for Jazz Times, said in part, “…Frahm and Mehldau are notably successful in avoiding the primary risk of saxophone and piano duo recordings, which is their tendency to become austere, non-swinging recitals between contrapuntists. They conduct unhurried conversations over songs, closely listening and responding, like on ‘East of the Sun.’ But they also provoke, like on ‘Oleo,’ where they push one another so far from their starting point that their joint exercise in free thinking is conducted among faint shadows of Sonny Rollins’ idea. And the hook-up between these two classmates is deep: On Ornette Coleman’s ‘Turnaround,’ they function in and out of one another’s thoughts.
In the decade-plus, since, Frahm has become one of the more in-demand saxophonists – certainly standing among the top-tier players in New York as well as globally. He’s since released a number of recordings under his own name – mostly for the Palmetto, Anzic and Smalls labels. Additionally, his contributions to others’ recordings now exceed the 100-title mark.
Steve LaSpina has been a prominent bassist on the New York and national scene for over twenty years.
During that time, he has played and recorded with many great musicians in jazz history. He was a regular band member, toured and recorded with saxophonists Benny Carter, Stan Getz and Phil Woods, vocalists Joe Williams and Mark Murphy, trumpeters Clark Terry, Chet Baker and Randy Brecker, and guitarist Pat Martino. He has spent the last decade traveling around the world and recording with the legendary guitarist Jim Hall, has appeared on six of his recordings, including These Rooms featuring Tom Harrell.
LaSpina has appeared on many of the world’s foremost jazz festivals, including the North Sea and Umbia Jazz Festivals. He has been featured on a number of prominent jazz recordings such as the Return with Pat Martino. He ha also recorded several CD’s and albums under his own name, including The Road Ahead featuring Jim McNeely on the Ram Record label and Distant Dreams on the SteepleChase label featuring Fred Hersch and Ben Monder.
A respected teacher, LaSpina has been on the faculty at William Paterson University since 1999 and prior to that taught for seven years at New York University and The College of St. Rose. He is also a busy clinician, with presentations at The Berklee College of Music Skidmore Jazz Institute and annually at the William Paterson’s summer jazz Workshop.
LaSpina also has a great dedication as a composer of both jazz and classical music. He has been featured as a guest composer by the Jazz Composers Collective of New York City, and was awarded a Jazz Fellowship by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts for performance and composition. He has recorded over 75 original tunes on the Steeplechase and Ram record labels.
From the drum set Sherrie leads The DIVA Jazz Orchestra, her quintet FIVE PLAY, The DIVA Jazz Trio and co-leads the 3Divas. From Carnegie Hall, she performs with The New York Pops and from celebrated stages everywhere, she is music director and drummer for Broadway star Maurice Hines. Sherrie is also a busy freelance performer and a published composer/arranger.
With her bands Sherrie has performed at many of the world’s most acclaimed music venues and festivals; from Lincoln Center to the Kennedy Center and the Hollywood Bowl, to Jazz Festivals in Germany, Switzerland, France, Portugal, Ireland, England, Croatia, Japan, Vietnam and Israel and beyond. Additionally, DIVA was featured at the 2017 NEA Jazz Master’s Awards Ceremony, the soundtrack for the 2014 NBC-Macy’s Fireworks Spectacular; on CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood, on TCM’s televised broadcast of the 25th Anniversary of the Kennedy Center and NHK Japan’s New York Jazz. The band also co-stars in the award-winning documentary film The Girls in the Band.
Sherrie has received several awards and honors which include a 2014 Ovation award for “Best Music Direction” in Tappin Through Life; the 2009 Mary Lou Williams-Kennedy Center Lifetime Achievement Award, a 2013 State Department grant for FIVE PLAY to tour Vietnam, a tour grant from Arts International, The Kennedy Center Alliance Award for Outstanding Achievements in the Arts, a grant from Meet the Composer, a Doctoral Fellowship from New York University, the New York City Music Educator’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Education and was twice selected New York University “Music Teacher of the Year.”
As an educator, Sherrie runs a private drum set and percussion studio. She is also a clinician for Yamaha Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Aquarian Drum Heads and Vic Firth Drum Sticks. On a national level, she has served as guest conductor, soloist and adjudicator for collegiate and high school jazz and All-State festivals. Sherrie also created and directs Musical Magic, a hospital outreach program for The Ronald McDonald House – New York.
After earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1985 from Binghamton University Sherrie moved to New York City and attended New York University, where she completed a Masters of Arts in Jazz Performance in 1986 and a Doctorate of Philosophy in Jazz Performance/Composition in 2000.
The DIVA Jazz Orchestra’s 25th Anniversary Project (2018, ArtistShare) is the band’s most recent CD, featuring all original music composed by band members. Other DIVA CDs include: Special Kay (2016, Independent), featuring the music of DIVA’s founder, Stanley Kay; A Swingin’ Life (2014, MCG Label) with vocal legends Nancy Wilson and Marlena Shaw; “LIVE” at Dizzy’s Club with Carmen Bradford; and Johnny Mandel: A Man and His Music. In 2016 the 3Divas recorded their self-titled inaugural CD “live” at WVIA Radio and in 2015 FIVE PLAY recorded “LIVE” at The Deer Head Inn.
Callum Au is a professional trombonist, composer, orchestrator, and arranger. Based in London, Callum has worked with some of the UK’s top big bands and orchestras, and has fast made a name for himself as one of the UK’s finest young musicians.
Callum was privileged to be taught in his youth by veteran trumpet player Terry Reaney, pianist Brian Harrison, and top UK jazz trombonist Mark Nightingale. He was a member of Bill Ashton’s National Youth Jazz Orchestra from 2005 – 2010, during which time he played lead trombone and was one of the band’s principal arrangers.
Callum works as a trombonist and principal arrangers at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, alongside illustrious bandleader and clarinettist Pete Long). In this post, he has worked with many of the world’s top professional jazz and commercial artists, including Joss Stone, Seth MacFarlane, Jason Robert Brown, Liane Carroll, Tim Minchin, Peter Erskine, and two thirds of the Spice Girls! Callum is active as a freelance trombonist and has worked with many of the top ensembles in the UK, including the John Wilson Orchestra, Echoes of Ellington, and in the pit of several West End shows. In 2014 he performed at the BBC Proms Battle of the Big Bands in the James Pearson Big Band, where he also contributed several of the arrangements.
As a freelance composer and arranger, Callum has written or arranged music for a huge variety of ensembles and artists, including the BBC Big Band, Jamie Cullum, the RTE Concert Orchestra, Clare Teal, and the Swingle Singers. Callum is in high demand for his orchestration skills, and has arranged music for several major touring shows including ‘Lorna Luft: The Songbook of Judy Garland’, ‘The UK Salutes Frank’, and ‘From Rags to Ritzes: the Irving Berlin Story’. Callum has also arranged and orchestrated a variety of TV, film, and library music, including the film ‘A Royal Night Out’ starring Emily Watson & Rupert Everett.
In 2014, Callum was selected as one of seven up-and-coming arrangers from around the world to participate in the Metropole Orchestra Arrangers’ Workshop, where he worked with composer/conductor Vince Mendoza, and vocalist Gregory Porter. Since then, Callum has been invited to work with the Latvian Radio Big Band, in a project arranging the music of J.S. Bach for big band, featuring accordion soloist Ksenija Sidorova.
Callum is the orchestral manager and musical director of the Callum Au Big Band, which features some of the finest jazz musicians in the UK. The band released its debut album ‘Something’s Coming’ in 2012, which featured as its centrepiece a suite of music based on the musical ‘West Side Story’. The band has also worked on an arrangement of George Gershwin’s masterpiece ‘Rhapsody in Blue’, which premiered at Ronnie Scott’s in 2014 and featured pianist James Pearson. Callum also performs with his jazz quintet, co-led by baritone saxophonist Richard Shepherd, and inspired by the Brookmeyer/Mulligan group.
Callum is the trombonist and principal arranger for the ‘Close To You’ ensemble, a collaboration between the acclaimed Tippett Quartet and the James Pearson Quintet. A unique chamber ensemble featuring both jazz and classical elements, this hand-picked group explores the canon of the Great American Songbook, working with top vocalists Matthew Ford, Claire Martin, and Anna-Jane Casey.
In Autumn 2014, Callum was appointed as the guest MD of the Leeds College of Music Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, where he directed the band through his West Side Story Suite for a term. Callum has also directed workshops with the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, and his arrangements are played in many schools and colleges around the world.
In his free time, Callum likes tropical fish, Asian food, Star Trek, and strategy games.
Fully embracing the inspiring, expansive array of American jazz, soul and blues influences that have infused her dynamic career as an artist and live performer, Polly Gibbons fashions a frolicsome, freewheeling musical history lesson on Is It Me…?, her second release on the indie jazz label Resonance Records.
Capturing the joyful essence of the 12-track collection, the multi-talented British singer, a staple of the UK Jazz Scene since the mid-2000s and recently nominated Vocalist of the Year by Jazz FM says: “It’s a massive melting pot, varied but beautifully linked because I love every style I’m singing. Jazz would never have happened without the blues, which came out of the gospel tradition – and blues is the foundation of contemporary Western culture and pop/soul music, and so on.”
Polly has cultivated her craft and eclecticism over the past decade, performing at all the leading UK jazz clubs, international festivals and as a regular at the legendary venue Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, where she has sung with the All-Stars, led by pianist and house musical director James Pearson. “There’s always this element of surprise from people who haven’t seen her perform,” says Pearson, Polly’s longtime songwriting collaborator and arranger. “She astounds me, too. She’s unpredictable.” In 2016, she opened the sold out UK tours for George Benson and Gladys Knight and had two acclaimed performances at the Royal Albert Hall. She was also a featured singer with the Liverpool Philharmonic in a presentation of the music and life story of John Lennon.
Polly is quickly establishing herself in the States as well, with shows these past few years in Florida, Boston, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles and Birdland in NYC. She released her critically acclaimed UK debut album My Own Company in 2014.
Sharing Polly’s belief that creativity and art are our greatest gifts and that it’s the artist’s obligation to share their innermost truths is George Klabin, the legendary jazz producer who signed her to his label, Resonance Records and released her U.S. debut Many Faces of Love in 2015. Klabin’s production on Is It Me…? has grown in line with the emotional depth of her voice and her innate musical curiosity. She’s especially excited by the buoyant seven-piece horn section, which enhances both her R&B and big band swing vibes. The piano and most of the arranging are shared by Pearson and Tamir Hendelman, the Israeli born, L.A. based jazz pianist to the stars, including Barbra Streisand and the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra.
Continuously open to colorful new ideas, Polly and Klabin’s set list mines many unusual and unexpected, but supremely cool sources. She opens with a vibrant, jazzy twist on “The Ability To Swing,” a cut from Thomas Dolby’s 1988 album Aliens Ate My Buick, and brings a bluesy elegance to the hopeful theme of “Sack Full of Dreams,” introduced by Grady Tate in 1968 but later covered by Donny Hathaway. She taps into the Great American Songbook for a spirited stroll through “Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams” (sung by Bing, Dean, Frank, etc.) and Duke Ellington’s “I Let A Song Go Out of My Heart,” on which Polly and L.A. studio trumpeter Willie Murillo showcase their chops at a whirlwind pace.
Polly captures compelling slices of different aspects of Americana via the sparsely arranged “Wild Is the Wind” (title song from the 1957 film, originally recorded by Johnny Mathis and, of course, the iconic version by David Bowie) and a lively retro-big band spin through a sizzling Bill Cunliffe arrangement of “Basin Street Blues,” a song she had recorded on her first demo at the age of 18. Polly’s other re-imaginings include a whimsical and waltzy take on “Pure Imagination” (from the 1971 film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory); and the bold and soaring seduction she brings to Aretha Franklin’s classic “Dr. Feelgood..” The collection’s final track, the soulfully swinging “Don’t Be On The Outside” – which has been recorded by everyone from Sarah Vaughan to Shirley Horn – is officially a bonus track on the CD. As the only live track on the collection, it has a unique flavor all its own that sets it apart from the 11 studio tracks.
It’s testament to Polly and James Pearson’s intuitive chemistry as songwriters that their three originals hold up so well against the nine other chestnuts on Is It Me…?Polly takes us to church and explores her rich passion for gospel on the smoldering “Midnight Prayer,” which earned the two first place in the singer-songwriter category of the 2014 Indie International Songwriting Contest. She brings jazz and R&B together powerfully on “You Can’t Just,” a song about a love that’s on the rocks. The graceful, easy flowing title track “Is It Me…?” offers a gentle oasis in the midst of the deep blues, soul and jazz intensity, with Polly pondering a move from fear to confidence while figuring out, as she muses, “how to love someone else and let that person love you.”
A farmer’s daughter who grew up in Framlingham, a small market town in Suffolk, England, Polly is one of seven siblings in a family that shared all types of different musical loves. Her mum cherished classical and choral music (Bach, Mozart, Chopin), her dad was an electric bassist who played in bands in the 70’s, her brothers loved R&B and her sisters were all vinyl collections, playing everything from hip hop and soul to jazz and folk.
Polly took obligatory piano lessons at age four, but didn’t realize she could sing till she was around 13. Crippled by an initial shyness, at her first public performance at a school Christmas concert, she sang with her back to the audience. Though she sang hymns regularly at the Baptist church her family attended, her musical sensibilities were galvanized when her sister played Billie Holiday’s “I’m A Fool To Want You” — which Polly found “extraordinary!”
Inspired by Billie, the budding singer experienced an initial flurry of excitement in discovering jazz and blues, listening to such artists as Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Nina Simone, Miles Davis, Donny Hathaway, Thelonious Monk, etc. She notes, however, that although she doesn’t have a very “folky” voice, she was also greatly influenced by artists like Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Rickie Lee Jones and Bob Dylan, and she continuously listens to classical music, too! Participating in a local music workshop, she met British singer Ian Shaw, who took Polly under his wing and secured her first gig in London when she was 17. Participating in other workshops, she cultivated her talent with bassist Gill Alexander, Jacqui Dankworth (daughter of Cleo Laine) and later, James Pearson.
Reflecting on her subsequent success on the British club scene, Polly says, “I have found that singing is most inspiring for me when I bring a certain lightness of being to it, a certain joy and levity that allows me to communicate more fully with my audience – as if each moment was both ordinary and extraordinary at the same time. I have learned to follow my passion wherever it leads me. It’s a fascinating journey that’s always in flux and there are always exciting new goals to work towards.”
Polly’s road now leads her to one of those extraordinary places with the release of Is It Me…? The album is a journey all its own – a culmination of so many moments that also signifies a meaningful new beginning for both the singer and contemporary jazz.
John F. Mastroianni
John has performed as a professional musician since he was fifteen years old. His talents as a saxophonist, woodwind doubler, composer, and arranger have led him to a diversity of musical experiences.
John earned a B.S. in Music Education and a B.M. in Jazz Studies from the University of Bridgeport, an M.A. in Jazz Performance/Composition from New York University, and is currently enrolled in the 092 Administrative Certification Program at the University of Bridgeport. He has studied saxophone with Phil Woods, Dick Oatts, Joe Lovano, and Gary Klein, and composition with Jim McNeely, Bill Finegan, Tom Boras, Neil Slater, and Mike Carubia.
John has performed, toured and/or recorded with artists such as Mel Lewis, the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, Smokey Robinson, Louie Bellson, Charli Persip and Supersound, Harvie Swartz, Jim McNeely, Jay Leonhart, Rufus Reid, Gerry Mulligan, Lew Anderson, Clint Holmes, Roger Kellaway, the Glenn Miller Band, Sonny Costanzo, Johnny Mathis, Aretha Franklin, Natalie Cole, Donna Summer, Tony Bennett, Barry Manilow, Nick Brignola, the New England Jazz Ensemble, and many others! He also has performed with the Rhode Island Philharmonic, the Norwalk, New Haven, and Hartford Symphonies, and at the Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun, Shubert, Palace, Goodspeed Opera House and Oakdale theaters. John also played in the orchestra for the Broadway(NYC) production of “Three Penny Opera,” and has been a featured artist at the New England Saxophone Symposium.
John’s three recordings as a leader, entitled Cookin’ On All Burners (Stash), The Time Being (Jazz Alliance), and Live at the Silvermine (Jazzheads), have all earned him critical acclaim. He is also a featured soloist and composer/arranger on the New England Jazz Ensemble recordings, Version 3.0 (Brownstone), Storm Before the Calm (Sea Breeze), Wishes You A Cookin’ Christmas (Sea Breeze), Live at the Pittsfield Jazz Festival (Sea Breeze), and Peter and the Wolf (NEJE).
In addition to being a free-lance musician, John performs with his own quartet, and leads his own sixteen piece jazz orchestra that he composes and arranges all of the music for. John’s music has been performed and recorded by his quartet and jazz orchestra, the Sonny Costanzo Big Band, the John Allmark Jazz Orchestra, the Army Blues Band (Washington D.C.), the New England Jazz Ensemble, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, DIVA, and many high school, college, and professional jazz ensembles throughout the United States. His big band charts are currently published by Walrus Music Publishing/Otter Distributors, and Barnhouse/Smart Chart Music Publications.
John has taught at New York University, Albertus Magnus College, the University of Bridgeport, the New York State Summer School for the Arts, Bridgeport Central High School, New Canaan High School, Hall High School, the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz at the Hartt School of Music, and for the Canton Public Schools. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor in Residence of Jazz Studies at the University of Connecticut, and the founder and music director of the Young Artists Summer Jazz Workshop. In December 2002, John was named by SBO Magazine as one of 50 directors in the United States that “make a difference,” and in March 2004, John was chosen by the Connecticut Music Educators Association (CMEA) as the Secondary School Teacher of the Year. In 2010, he was honored by Starthmore’s Who’s Who as an individual who has demonstrated leadership and achievement in his profession. John was chosen as the 2013-14 West Hartford Public Schools Teacher of the Year, and he is a two-time Music Educator GRAMMY nominee. He was honored by the University of Bridgeport as a 2014 Distinguished Alumni. John was named and honored as the 2014 Connecticut Teacher of the Year!
Since moving to New York in 2001, Frank Basile has been fortunate to establish himself as one of today’s most in-demand baritone saxophonists.
Dubbed a “prized sideman” by The New Yorker, Basile has been called upon to perform with, record with, and tour the world with many of jazz’s finest musicians and ensembles. Among this distinguished list are The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, The Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band, The Jimmy Heath Big Band, The Bob Mintzer Big Band, The Jon Faddis Jazz Orchestra, The Joe Lovano Nonet, The Dave Holland Big Band, Dennis Mackrel’s Manhattan Symphony Jazz Orchestra, The Christian McBride Big Band, The Count Basie Orchestra, Michael Bublé, Pablo Mayor’s Folklore Urbano, The Richie Vitale Quintet, The Fabien Mary Quintet, and The Osian Roberts-Steve Fishwick Sextet.
Born in Illinois in 1978 and raised in Nebraska, Frank Basile began his musical studies in grade school. After four years on clarinet and alto saxophone, he made a permanent switch to the baritone saxophone. Once in high school, Basile’s interest in jazz began to grow and, with the help and encouragement of his parents, he sought out further instruction on the ins and outs of this great music. Basile was soon playing in numerous big bands and combos throughout the Omaha area.
Basile enrolled at the University of North Texas to continue his musical studies. While at UNT, Basile played in the world-renowned One O’clock Lab Band for six consecutive semesters. After graduating with honors and a bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies from UNT, Basile moved to New York in the summer of 2001 as a selected member of the first Jazz Studies program at the Juilliard School.
As an educator, Basile has maintained a private studio for the past decade and has served as an adjunct faculty member at The New School. He has also been called upon to teach lessons or masterclasses at such institutions as New York University, the Eastman School of Music, Temple University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, SUNY Purchase, the University of Nebraska, and the New York Youth Symphony Jazz Orchestra.
In addition to his activities as a sideman and educator, Basile also takes an active role as leader of his own quartet, quintet and sextet. To date, Basile has released three recordings as a leader, and his band has headlined at many of New York’s major jazz clubs.
Rick Montalbano, pianist, organist, composer and arranger, started his career in the early 1960’s and has performed with a long list of jazz greats.
Rick served as pianist/conductor for singer Lou Rawls in the early 70s. He currently plays solo piano at The Savoy in Rome, NY., performs with and contracts bands for the Showroom at the Turning Stone Casino and is much demand as an accompanist.
In addition to operating the Music Factory recording studio, Rick teaches jazz piano at Colgate University, Hamilton College & Syracuse University and is the assistant director of the Central New York Jazz Orchestra.
Fall 2018 Concert Schedule
With Rick Montalbano – B3 Organ
Joel Frahm – Tenor Sax
Diego Ramirez – drums