Wayne Bergeron is enjoying a career as one of the most active players on the Los Angeles scene. With studio dates, International touring, jazz concerts, guest soloist appearances and clinics he has no intention of slowing down.
In 1986 Wayne landed the lead trumpet position with the Maynard Ferguson Band. He can be heard on such MF recordings as “Body & Soul”, Big Bop Nouveau” & “Brass Attitude.” Remarking on the talented trumpet player, Maynard Ferguson had this to say during a radio interview: “Wayne is the most musical lead trumpet player I’ve ever had on my band.” Bergeron’s first solo Big Band CD entitled “You Call This A Living?” earned him a Grammy nomination in 2004 for Best Large Jazz Ensemble as well as rave reviews from fans and press world wide.
Wayne is a National Artist for the Yamaha Corporation of America who is in the final stages of releasing the WB signature model custom trumpet. Wayne enjoys his work as a clinician/guest soloist and continues to tour in the US as well as abroad. In Oct. of 2004 Wayne had the honor of performing as a featured artist at Stratospheric, a 4 day festival honoring the legendary trumpeter Maynard Ferguson.
As a sideman Wayne has been involved with hundreds of CD projects that include Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Chicago, Bette Midler, Ray Charles, Diane Reeves, Celine Dion, Billy Joel, Diana Krall, Mel Torme, Barry Manilow, Arturo Sandoval, Robbie Williams, Keeley Smith, Josh Groban, Ronnie Milsap, Lee Ann Womack, Lou Rawls, Green Day, The Offspring, Bobby Caldwell, Rosemary Cloony, Diane Schuur, Brian Setzer, Joe Cocker, Eric Marienthal, Dave Koz, David Benoit, Warren Hill, Tito Puente and The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra.
A partial list of film credits include The Incredibles, Pink Panther, Mr & Mrs. Smith, Ice Princess, Team America, National Treasure, The Aquatic Life, Friday Night Lights, Tarzan 2, Spiderman 2, Anchorman, White Chicks, The Notebook, The Day After Tomorrow, 3 Musketeers, Starsky and Hutch, Pirates of the Caribbean, Paycheck, Hollywood Homicide, Legally Blonde 2, Drumline, Catch Me if You Can, Undercover Brother, Pluto Nash, John Q, Evolution, American Pie 1& 2, Analyze This, Scream 3, The Kid, South Park, Flubber and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
His trumpet solos can be heard on High Crimes, Rounders, Fled, Hey Arnold (the movie), The Mask, Drowning Mona, The Rat Pack, Child Star, Norma Jean and Marilyn, Aladdin King of Thieves, Return of Jafar, Foolproof and Two Days in the Valley.
Bergeron has worked on over 250 TV & motion picture soundtracks. Numerous TV credits include shows such as ESPN & TNT sports themes, Entertainment Tonight Theme, American Idol, Emmy Awards, 2005 Academy Awards, Latin Grammy’s, Frank Sinatra’s 80th B-Day Special, Tony Bennett TV Special, Jerry Lewis Telathon, Jeopardy, America’s Funniest Home Videos, Futurama, Buzz Lightyear, Hercules, Lloyd in Space, Hey Arnold and Promised Land.
In addition, his trumpet solos have been heard on music from King of the Hill, The Division, The Agency, Mouseworks, House of Mouse, Arrested Development and Sabrina The Teenage Witch. Bergeron has also played on hundreds of TV & radio jingles. Wayne’s passion for big bands finds himself seated in some of LA’s most well respected bands. He has recorded with Quincy Jones, Gordon Goodwin, Pat Williams, Sammy Nestico, Jack Sheldon, Tom Kubis, John La Barbara, Ralph Carmichael, Bob Florence, Frank Capp, Matt Cattingub, Bill Liston, Kim Richmond, Ray Anthony, Roger Neumann, Bill Perkins, Buddy Childers, Bill Elliott, Chris Walden, Gary Irwin, Bill Watrous and Bob Curnow.
Warren Lovell fronts Big Time Operator. "We would play four to five nights a week," he says of the years 1997 - 1999, when the band played Croce's, the Cannibal Bar, and Tio Leo's. "A lot of the swing dancers who would show up would only drink water. [Live swing] wasn't profitable for the bars. The dancers killed it."
Though Lovell became a police officer in 2000, he and BTO have been doing private corporate gigs since the dropoff in swing's popularity.
"You pretty much have to have a side job [as a member of the SDPD] to make ends meet. The city doesn't pay its cops well.... Most cops I know don't live in San Diego because they can't afford it. They have to commute from Temecula or Alpine."
Lovell and his wife have three children. His 18-month-old son was killed in a May 2004 auto accident.
"I took a month off from [SDPD] work. I needed to get grounded. Two days after he died, I had a gig. The event company said, 'You don't have to do this show.' But I put on a different face and did the show. That's part of being a professional. The police department taught me a lot about that."
Asked if he thinks there will be another swing revival, he replies "I think the only thing that would do that would be a movie that would incorporate a big band. Royal Crown Revue started the whole thing. The movie Mask broke them.... We want to give people an alternative to the crap that is being put out today." By "crap," Lovell means "...anything that doesn't take a lot of talent to play. It's a matter of education. You don't see a lot of educated people listening to hip-hop."
Walter Smith III
Walter Smith III began playing the saxophone at the age of 7 in his hometown of Houston, TX. At Houston's High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, in 1998, Smith received a Clifford Brown/Stan Getz Fellowship from IAJE and NFAA; the NFAA Young Talent Award, a full tuition scholarship to attend Berklee College of Music; and a United States Presidential Scholar in the Arts medal, Walter Graduated from Berklee in 2003 with a degree in Music Education.
While in Boston, Walter was selected by the Boston Jazz Society to receive its annual award whose past winners have included Branford Marsalis and Donald Harrison. In July of 2002, Walter walked away from the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland with third place in the 1st annual International Saxophone Competition, as well as winning the Audience's Favorite at Manhattan School of Music on a full tuition scholarship to receive a master's in jazz performance. While in New York, Smith kept himself busy touring and performing with such artists as Roy Haynes and Ralph Peterson, as well as Bilal and Destiny's Child. Smith recently performed in a Tsunami benefit concert with R&B vocalist Lauryn Hill in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Walter has performed all over the world participating in numerous national and international festivals as well as famed stages in the U.S. such as Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center. Smith has shared the stage and/or appeared on recording with many jazz notables including Roy Hargrove, Sean Jones, Terence Blancharrd, Darren Barrett, Eric Reed, Makoto Ozone, Mulgrew Miller, Jason Moran, Joe Sample, Rueben Rogers, Bob Hurst, Donald Harrison, Antonio Hart, Joe Lovano, Bill Pierce, Myron Walden, Walter Beasley, Lewis Nash, Eric Harland, Ralph Peterson, Terri Lynne-Carrington, and a host of others.
Walter's debut recording as a leader was released in March of 2006 on the Fresh Sound New Talent label and features many of his original compositions. The band is comprised of some of the best young musicians on the scene today, including Aaron Parks, Robert Glasper, Lionel Loueke, Lage Lund, Gretchen Parlato, Rueben Rogers, Vicente Archer, Kendrick Scott, Eric Harland, and Matt Kilmer.
Most recently Walter has finished a two year program with the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz in Los Angeles and has already completed tours of both Vietnam and India with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. Starting in the Fall of 2007, Walter will be teaching at the Los Angeles County High School of the Arts, and is currently touring with the Sean Jones Sextet, Christian Scott and Jason Moran's Monk Town Hall project titled "In My Mind".
In 2007 Walter is an integral part of two Grammy-nominated recordings including Christian Scott's "Rewind That" that was nominated for Best Contemporary Jazz Album, and Michael Buble's "Caught in the Act" which was nominated in the Traditional/Pop category. All to be released before the summer of 2007, Walter is featured on upcoming new releases by trumpeters Christian Scott (Concord Records) and Sean Jones (Mack Avenue Records), drummer Kendrick Scott (World Culture Music), as well as several other recordings to be released in 2007 and 2008.
Walter is an openly creative multidirectional drummer/percussionist. His richly eclectic and unique gift encompasses a plurality of styles–from rock to latin to world music–in a way that is extremely rare in a realm dominated usually by “doing-one-thing” specialists. Combining powerful technique, uncanny sense of time, deep understanding of the essence of different cultural musical manifestations with a profound sense of stylistic appropriateness, Walter embodies -“The drummer/percussionist of the new century”- quoting his mentor Alex Acuña.
There are drummers, and there are percussionists. Very, very few of his generation have an equally flawless command at the Drum set, Latin percussion (from congas, to bongos/timbales), other World Music percussion (African, Brazilian, Afro-Uruguayan, and Indian… among other), and Electronic percussion (both as a programmer/performer). All of these are brought together and nurtured by a profound sense of purpose and meaning, defined by him as his “calling”. Walter wants to dedicate his playing to JESUS CHRIST, “The One Whom every perfect gift comes from”.
Playing drums from a very early age, Walter Rodriguez, born in San Juan. P.R., played his first TV show at the age of seven. His father, top studio call on the island for over 20 years, was his first teacher and still his greatest inspiration. While playing side by side with his dad, he was surrounded by today’s musical greats Alex Acuna and Giovanni Hidalgo; simultaneously enhancing his musical knowledge by studying piano and working as a sound engineer. At the age of 22, Walter moved to Los Angeles to study at Musicians Institute of Technology, specifically the PIT (Percussion Institute of Technology) division.
While getting involved in the local music scene, Walter and Alex Acuna connected, this time Alex taking Walter under his wing and becoming his spiritual and musical mentor. Where others would concentrate on fewer options/activities as time passes-by, Walter is heading to broader, more musically challenging directions. He is not only dealing with harmonic and other relevant music-theory elements, but also opening an even bigger sonic “palette” by studying -yet- other World-Music percussion traditions, including the Australian didgeridoo [the oldest woodwind instrument ever] and the Indian tabla, to mention a few. Walter’s excellent musicianship is only a part of his appeal as player and performer. His innate charisma, adding warmth and flare to any stage, and his smile frequently pointed out, as “lighting up the whole world”, are only surpassed by his sense of meaning and purpose. He defines the essence of his musical endeavor as two-fold: To shine for GOD Almighty in JESUS’ Name, and to affect people in a positive way in a world desperately needing so.
Walt Fowler, originally from Salt Lake City, Utah was born into a legendary musical family led by his father, renowned jazz educator, Dr. William L. Fowler. He kicked off his professional career as a trumpet player at the age of 19, when he joined Frank Zappa and the Mothers in 1974. In 1975, Walt and his brothers, Bruce, Steve, Tom and Ed formed "The Fowler Brothers Band," and released two jazz albums to critical acclaim. Following their release, Walt’s musical career continued to escalate as he toured with prominent artists such as Billy Cobham, Johnny Guitar Watson, Ray Charles, Buddy Rich, George Benson and Diana Ross.
In the mid 1990’s, Walt began a new venture orchestrating major motion picture soundtracks. He is credited as an orchestrator and/or featured soloist on blockbuster films such as The Lion King, Backdraft, Gladiator, Shrek, Ocean’s 12 and 13, The Bourne Supremacy, The Da Vinci Code, Pirates of the Caribbean 1,2, 3 and 4, The Good Shepherd, Transformers 1, 2 and 3, The Simpsons Movie, and most recently, The Dark Knight , Angels and Demons and The Amazing Spiderman 2 to name a few.
In addition to orchestrating, Walt has been performing with James Taylor since joining his band in 2001 for the “Pullover” tour. Walt has also performed live and/or recorded with an illustrious list of artists which includes James Brown, Roberta Flack, Stanley Clarke, George Duke, Yazawa, The Doors, Edgar Winter, Manhattan Transfer, Fishbone, Paula Abdul, Billy Childs, Banned From Utopia, Toto, Andy Summers, Allan Holdsworth and most recently Steve Gadd. The Steve Gadd Band has just finished recording their second studio album scheduled for release in 2015.
Few drummers playing today can successfully combine the rich history of Latin, Afro-Cuban and World Percussion with the drum set. For Walfredo Reyes Jr., fusing the two disciplines has been his driving passion. In fact, by blazing this path, Reyes has challenged the technical levels of our instrument.
Born in Cuba, raised in Puerto Rico and culminating his musical style in the U.S., Wally (Walfredo Jr.) learned the traditions from the master, his father Walfredo Sr. He married those principles with his love of the drum set, coming up with his own truly global rhythmic style. Simply put, Wally is able to sound like a drummer and a percussionist at the same time. Add blistering chops and a penchant for playing unusual patterns to the mix, and you have only a small idea of what this man can do.
Not surprisingly, this "one man percussion show" has gathered an impressive list of gigs over the years, including touring and / or recording with: Carlos Santana, Traffic, Steve Winwood, Jackson Browne, Celia Cruz, Gloria Estefan, David Lindley, Ricki Lee Jones, Richard Marx, Sergio Mendes, Smokey Robinson, Robbie Robertson, Joe Sample, Boz Scaggs, Christina Aguilera, Ricky Martin, Johnny Hallyday.
Because of his versatility, Walfredo is one of the most in demand musicians in the world today. He currently lives in the Los Angeles area where he continues to expand his talents to recording, producing, composing, education, live performance and touring.
If ever man and instrument were meant for each other, Tripp Sprague and the saxophone are that match.
Tripp’s first professional gig came at the young age of thirteen when he and his brother Peter, and three friends, put together a quartet to play at the Golden Rollin’ Belly in Del Mar. From that beginning his repertoire has expanded from bebop, through Brazilian, blues and standards, to fusion and pop; Tripp and his sax are fluent in all. He is one of the top players on the San Diego music scene. He performs regularly with groups led by Peter Sprague, Jaime Valle, Shep Myers, and others. His versatility has led to performances with such internationally renowned acts as jazz singer Mose Allison, singer Kenny Loggins, The Little River Band, Motown legends Smokey Robinson, The Four Tops, and The Temptations.
Tripp has recorded on numerous CDs with such highly regarded artists as Kim Carnes, Todd Rundgren, Willie and Lobo and Sean Watkins of NIckel Creek. Tripp also co-produced and performed with the group ‘Blurring the Edges’ on a CD by the same name, which won ‘Best Pop-Jazz’ album at the San Diego Music Awards. He runs his own recording studio in which he has produced CDs for numerous artists.
‘Wall to Wall’ is Tripp’s first self-produced CD. Those who have heard the pieces on the album, all of which are arranged, and written by Tripp, have unanimously declared it well worth the wait. It features some of San Diego’s top jazz musicians: pianist Rob Whitlock, guitarist Peter Sprague, bassist Bob Magnusson, and drummer Duncan Moore.
Trey Henry Musical Beginnings I took up the string bass when I was 13 in order to avoid a seventh grade art teacher with an unpleasant reputation. Then when I first saw the bass I had to play in class, I had to fight back tears. It had peoples initials carved into it (including mine) and I knew my friends would be ruthless. Most of my friends were guys that I played in bands with. They’re still my closest and certainly lifelong friends.
As a musician that is almost entirely produced by the LA Unified School District, I didn’t have a formal lesson until high school. The first thing my teacher demanded was that I get a briefcase for equipment and sheet music, and a date book.
My parents were very encouraging, by not being discouraging. They let me rehearse with various rock bands at their house and occasionally loaned me money for some of the worst musical instruments in history.
My main focus was to be versatile, I love and respect just about every form of music and have always strived to experience them all. I thought making a living as a musician would be cool, too.
I didn’t come to jazz however, until college. It struck me as something profoundly challenging and beyond me. It is a musician’s music though. And I soon became addicted. Creating musical thoughts that are appreciated and understood no matter who’s playing or listening… Rare and priceless.
I guess what really blows my mind about jazz, is the unity. The ability of people from vastly different backgrounds, people who love each other, hate each other, have never met or spoken to communicate on an intimate level spontaneously.
The first band I was in was called Essence. Our first gig was a retirement party. We were playing “Sailing” by Christopher Cross and a guest had a heart attack and died on the dance floor right in front of us. Omen?
Out of all the great musicians I’ve played with, Andre Previn really scared me. I went to Japan with Previn and Julie Andrews. She was singing with the NHK Symphony and he was conducting. She was doing several melodies. – Sound of Music, Mary Poppins etc… Each melody was endless. We rehearsed for hours because no one including Previn had seen the music. We returned the next day for rehearsal and Previn had no scores. He had memorized the entire program over night.
Gerald Wilson called me last minute to play at “Marla’s Memory lane” in Compton, CA. I showed up and there were maybe three charts in the book. The rest were missing. I played far more wrong notes than right ones that night and I felt awful. Then at the end he came up to me and said “Can you come back tomorrow?” I’ve been with him now for 17 years.
I’ve had a recurring musical epiphany. It’s happened with just 3 musicians – Ray Brinker, Christian Jacob, and Herbie Hancock. When you play with great players you want desperately to contribute. With these musicians you simply listen to what they play and your fingers go directly to all the right places and you sound like a genius.
I first began working with Christian and Ray with the Maynard Ferguson band. The first gig was at “The Caravan of Dreams” in Dallas, TX. I felt very self conscious because I didn’t think I could hang with those guys.
The music on Styne and Mine is amongst the most demanding and challenging music I’ve ever been involved with from beginning to end. I expected to be nervous and intimidated but as we rehearsed and became more familiar with the music, I realized this could turn out to be a very honest and natural performance captured on a CD. After listening to the finished product, I can say this is by far the most accurate portrayal of me as a musician and an excellent opportunity to hear 3 musicians be themselves.
I’m in one band, The Tierney Sutton Band, because I’m able to be myself as a bass player, a musician, and a person. If I can find another group of people like that, I’ll be in two bands.
One of the truly great events of my life was doing a demonstration of the bass at my daughter’s preschool and seeing the pride in her eyes.
1980 I played the sousaphone in the Rose Parade. 7 miles, horses, etc.
Improving as a musician is a slow, painstaking and in some cases imperceptible process. Allowing yourself to change as a musician is as important, if not more. Change isn’t necessarily good, but it is evolution, and can open creative doors.
The younger brother of Percy and Jimmy Heath, Albert "Tootie" Heath has long been a top hard bop-based drummer with an open mind toward more commercial styles of jazz. After moving to New York (1957), he debuted on record with John Coltrane.
Heath was with J.J. Johnson's group (1958-1960) and the Jazztet (1960-1961), worked with the trios of Cedar Walton and Bobby Timmons in 1961, and recorded many records as a sideman for Riverside during that era. He lived in Europe in 1965-1968 (working frequently with Kenny Drew, Dexter Gordon, and backing touring Americans), and, after returning to the U.S., he played regularly with Herbie Hancock's sextet (1968-1969) and Yusef Lateef (1970-1974).
After an additional year in Europe, he joined the Heath Brothers band (1975-1978) and then settled in Los Angeles, where Tootie Heath continued freelancing, recording with the Riverside Reunion Band.
Bassist Tony Banda made his entry into the world in May of 1956. Growing up in the Los Angeles area he gained initial exposure to music through his family. By the age of 5 years old he was performing steady weekend gigs with the family group, thus receiving invaluable "on-the-bandstand" experience at an unusually young age. It was during these formative years that Tony's love and appreciation for all types of music grew immensely, especially Jazz / Latin / Rhythm & Blues.
With over 40 years of experience and a wide spectrum of musical concepts from which to draw from it's easy to see why he is one of the top players on the music scene today. He counts among his many influences legendary Jazz Bassist Ray Brown, Paul Chambers, John Heard and Al McKibbon. Latin greats Bobby Rodriguez, Cachao, Andy Gonzalez and Soul music innovators James Jamerson, Rocco Prestia, Bernard Odum and Larry Graham.
For the past 22 years Tony's signature rock steady feel has been the anchor for one of the worlds most celebrated music ensembles the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band. As an original member of the group Tony Banda travels the world recording and performing with some of the greatest names in Jazz today at festivals and prestigious venues such as, Carnegie Hall. Since 1996 he has also been performing with the Banda Bros. Group, which he co-leads with his brother Ramon. The group which features him on acoustic upright is a vehicle for his more adventurous side and has been receiving rave reviews from critics and fans alike.
Tony has always taken immense pleasure in performing. His joyful spirit and outgoing personality connects with the audience and allows them to become a part of the musical experience and is one of the many highlights of Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band performances. Without a doubt, Tony Banda's powerful grooving bass lines on the groups 1999 Grammy Award winning CD Latin Soul propel the performance to a higher level.