Category Archives: Keyboard

Will Brock

Artist Profile:

Will Brock

will_brock_1Will Brock has done a lot of performing in and around his native Philadelphia.

We were able to catch up with Will on the stage of the Old Pasadena Jazz Festival backing up another Philadelphia friend: Gerald Veasley.

Will is a graduate of The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He teaches music theory, piano and is a vocal coach. He worked and played with Grover during his tenure as Artist in Residence at the University of the Arts. He is the leader of his own band and is co-founder of a music will_brock_2production company, Ghetto Factory Productions.

Wayne Vaughn

Artist Profile:

Wayne Vaughn

wayne_vaughn_1Keyboard player and co-writer of "Let's Groove", and a lot of other songs from that EWF period, has been working on some new material. The album is titled "3 Generations Of Groove" [L& R Records 1998] and includes a re-recording of "Let's Groove" with The Emotions doing the hooks. Vaughn also played keyboards on both Raise! and Powerlight. More about Wayne on www.wvworld.com

Wayne Horvitz

Artist Profile:

Wayne Horvitz

wayne_horvitz_1

Composer, pianist, and keyboardist Wayne Horvitz performs extensively throughout Europe, Japan, and North America. He is leader and principal composer for the quartet Sweeter Than the Day and performs regularly as an improviser on both piano and electronics throughout the world. Past ensembles include The President and the Horvitz, Morris, Previte Trio, Pigpen, Zony Mash, The New York Composers' Orchestra, Ponga and The Four Plus One Ensemble. His newest ensemble, The Gravitas Quartet, is a chamber group featuring cellist Peggy Lee, trumpeter Ron Miles and bassoonist Sara Schoenbeck.

As a composer, Horvitz has been commissioned by The Kitchen, The Kronos Quartet, Brooklyn Academy of Music, New World Records, The Seattle Chamber Players and Earshot Jazz. He has received commissioning grants from Meet the Composer, The National Endowment for the Arts, The N.Y. State Arts Council, The Mary Flagler Carey Trust, The Seattle Arts Commission, The Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund and The Fund for U.S. Artists. Recent premieres include the V Series for chamber orchestra and Mountain Language for string quartet, Vienna 2001 and 2002. In 2002 he was awarded a Rockefeller MAP grant for the creation of a new piece, Joe Hill, for chamber orchestra and voice, which premiered in October of 2004 in Seattle. His 2003 composition, Whispers, Hymns and a Murmur for String Quartet and soloist, funded in part by a Seattle City Artist grant, premiered in March of 2004. This composition and his earlier string quartet, Mountain Language are released on the Tzadik label. His newest string quartet, These Hills of Glory, was commissioned with support from 4Culture and the Mayors Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs. His recent collaboration with Tucker Martine, Mylab, was on the top 10 CD list for 2004 in jazz in both the New Yorker and Amazon.com. In February 2005 he received the Goldenwayne_horvitz_2 Ear award from Earshot Jazz for "Concert of the Year."

Works for theater and dance include music for the 1998 production of Death of A Salesman for Seattle's ACT theater (directed by Gordon Edelstein); productions of Ezra Pounds' Elektra and the American premiere of Harold Pinter's Mountain Language, both directed by Carey Perloff. In 1992 choreographer Paul Taylor created a new work OZ, to eleven compositions by Wayne Horvitz in collaboration with the White Oak Dance Company. Other theater and dance works include music for Bill Irwin's Broadway show, Strictly NY, and productions by the Liz Lerman Dance Exchage, Ammi Legendre, Nikki Apino and House of Dames and the Crispin Spaeth Dance Company.

Horvitz has also composed and produced music for a variety of video, film, television and other multimedia projects, including two projects with director Gus Van Sant, a full length score for PBS's Chihuly Over Venice and two films about the creation of Seattle’s EMP museum. His 85-minute score to Charlie Chaplin's film The Circus, for two pianos, two clarinets, and violin premiered in January 2000 in Oporto, Portugal.

As a sideman and collaborator he has performed and recorded with Billy Bang, Carla Bley, Curlew, Marty Ehrlich, Bill Frisell, Fred Frith, Robin Holcomb, Butch Morris, David Moss, Bobby Previte, Elliott Sharp, Michael Shrieve, Kazutoki Umezu, Philip Wilson and John Zorn (Naked City, Cobra, etc.), among others. He has produced records for the World Saxophone Quartet, Human Feel, Marty Ehrlich, Fontella Bass, The Living Daylights, Bill Frisell, Robin Holcomb, Eddie Palmieri and local songwriters Cathy Croce, Karen Pernick and David Russell among others.

Born in New York City in 1955, Wayne Horvitz lives in Seattle with his wife, composer Robin Holcomb, and their daughter Nica and son Lowell.

Walt Fowler

Artist Profile:

Walt Fowler

walt_fowler_2Walt 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.walt_fowler_1

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.

Tollak Ollestad

Artist Profile:

Tollak Ollestad

tollak_ollestadAs Shapes' secret weapon, he shows remarkable command of both chromatic and blues harmonicas while also contributing vocals and compositions to the group. He has performed and or toured with Michael McDonald, Don Henley, Kenny Loggins, Jewel, Seal, Desiree, Ambrosia, Sheena Easton, Chet Atkins and Tanya Tucker.

He has also recorded solos on albums for artists such as Brian McKnight, Al Jarreau, Natalie Cole, Bebe Winans, Dave Grusin, Earth, Wind & Fire, Christopher Cross, Billy Idol, Gino Vanelli, Melissa Manchester, Will Downing, Brenda Russell, John Tesh and the all girl rock group, Antigone Rising. He has appeared on a few episodes of The Drew Carey Show as well as having played theme music for ABC's Good Morning America.

He also played the harmonica on the soundtrack for the popular 90's show Northern Exposure. Tollak released his first solo cd, Walk The Earth, just before moving to Holland in May of 2004. Burn says of Ollestad, "He and I met on a silly little wedding gig, back in the days when I still did drum gigs. But, it wasn't until about five years later that we really started to get to know each other. I marvel at Tollak's talent and what's really scary is, in addition to being one of the main composers for Shapes, that he's also a hell of a good piano player as well as a great singer, too. He's the perfect guy for this band and I love working with him!".

Tennyson Stephens

Artist Profile:

Tennyson Stephens

tennyson_stephens_3Not much is known about piano sideman and occasional vocalist, Tennyson Stephens. He maybe hailed from the Bay Area and found his way to Oahu, playing gigs here and there, for favored singers and the tourists in Waikiki.

Stephens paired up with guitarist Phil Upchurch back in the ‘70s for a seminal jazz-soul album entitled, “Upchurch/Tennyson.” Much has been made of Upchurch’s rise as a busy Chicago session player who managed to produce his own sound throughout the works of John Lee Hooker, B.B. King, Ramsey Lewis, the Staple Singers, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, as well as come out with his own 1960s hit single, “You Can’t Sit Down.” Upchurch kept it going on for various record labels and still tours with several bands, including his own, today.

But Stephens – known by fellow musicians simply as Tennyson – pursued a more laidback, Hawaiian lifestyle, away from the hustle and bustle—and renowned unfortunately—of the Mainland. It didn’t mean he retired from jazz.tennyson_stephens_2

Early on, Tennyson made the rounds, from recording projects, to regular gigs. He slowed down some, because of health problems, like gout, which would flare up now and then. By the ‘90s, his appearances were few and far between.

So, when you saw him at, say, Duc’s Bistro in downtown Honolulu, accompanying Azure McCall, or at Halekulani’s Lewers Lounge with bassist Bruce Hamada, it was a real treat—for him and those he played with.

Tennyson gained a cult following for many reasons. He was exciting and mysterious. He could block chords in odd harmonies like nobody’s business. He enjoyed arranging and composing as he played his solos. And he made those he performed with work a little harder, play a little better.

 

Teddy Andreadis

Artist Profile:

Teddy Andreadis

teddy_andreadis_1Teddy Andreadis is a highly esteemed and accredited multi-instrumentalist and singer.  His talent and versatility have earned him recognition, not only in the United States, but around the world as well.

Having shared the stage with a potpourri of diversified and celebrated names like Carole King, Guns n Roses, Alice Cooper, Billy Bob Thornton, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley,  B.B. King and the Bruce Willis & The Accelerators, Teddy Andreadis has - and continues to - successfully garner the backing and enthusiasm of his peers and audiences alike.

Through the years, Teddy has gained a reputation as a rock-solid keyboardist, a wailing harmonica player, a soulful singer, B3 player and an insightful musical arranger.  In addition to his own album, INNOCENT LOSER, Teddy has contributed his talents to the albums of Thornton, Lee Oskar, Nikki Sixx, Duff McKagan and Slash's Snakepit.teddy_andreadis_2

His video work includes:  Michael Jackson's GIVE IN TO ME, Guns 'n' Roses NOVEMBER RAIN, YESTERDAYS, GARDEN OF EDEN  and ESTRANGED,  and Carole King's IN CONCERT.  He also appears on the Guns 'n' Roses USE YOUR ILLUSION Live 2-DVD set.

Teddy has appeared in TV shows including FULL HOUSE, THREE SISTERS and TRADING SPACES.

Teddy's work can also be heard on many movie soundtracks, as well.  Be sure to catch him in Tabitha Stevens' new film, THE SHAMAN.

Steve Weingart

Artist Profile:

Steve Weingart

steve_weingart_1Steve Weingart was born in Dayton, Ohio in March of 1966. In his early years, his parents saw his delight in hearing musical sounds. When his mother put him up on the piano bench at age 3, he used his fingers to pluck out notes he heard in TV music. It was after he identified the notes in a passing car horn that my Mother realized he had perfect pitch and decided that music was his calling.

So began many years of piano lessons. Steve was fortunate to study with Mr. Audley Wasson, the best piano teacher in Dayton. It was during his time with him that he studied and performed the music of the master composers from the Baroque to the Modern periods. He taught Steve what beauty can come from having the tools and the passion to reach the listeners' ears.

His studies with Mr. Wasson ended when he graduated from high school.steve_weingart_2

What Mr. Wasson didn't know was Steve was a big fan of the group 'Chicago'. He doesn't remember how he first heard that band, but when he realized who was making that music, he couldn't get enough of them. He spent many hours trying to duplicate at the piano the wonderful harmonies of their compositions.

When Steve was about 10 years old he met his future brother-in-law Randy Ross. It was Randy who introduced him to the kind of music that he would spend all of his years so far playing, learning, and exploring. He first introduced Steve to the records of Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea with Return To Forever, and Weather Report. When he listened to those great composers and improvisers, he knew what he wanted to do in life. He was not only intrigued by the melodies and harmonies, but also by the wide palette of sounds being created by the synthesizers of the day.

By the time Steve reached The College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati, Ohio, his thirst for learning about music had increased immensely. This is where he studied with the man who he considers to be his only teacher in improvisational music, Pat Harbison. One day he gave Steve 2 pieces of paper that contained extremely valuable information: scales and the chords that relate to them. For the years to come, he spent night and day playing and exploring these scales with the related chords in every possible way in every possible key signature in every song he learned. During these formative years, Steve played in various situations such as nightclubs, casuals, and jam sessions exploring the concepts Pat provided to him in those pages.

As his playing career developed, he felt it was time to move to a place where live music was more in demand. Of the choices before him then, Los Angeles seemed a better choice... the year round weather was also a consideration. In January of 1994, he packed up a truck and made the trip in 3 days. He found an apartment and began to look around town and see some of the great musicians playing at clubs and theaters. Steve slowly but surely began to play with a lot of great musicians in the area and also landed a job teaching at the Musicians Institute School.

He soon found myself playing with bands leaving town on short tours. In between those tours with various artists, he was playing with a Jazz/Latin/Funk trio with Marco Mendoza on bass and vocals, and Joey Heredia on drums when he met Dave Weckl. From meeting Dave at this performance, they decided to get together and jam. In the first moments of this jam session, they wrote a song together and realized that they had a great chemistry together in music. As it turned out, Jay Oliver (the former keyboardist with the Dave Weckl Band) had gotten busy with many other outside projects and decided on a change in direction and left Dave's band giving Steve an opportunity to join. For the past 2 or so years, he has been traveling the world with this band. Also during this time, he wrote and co-wrote songs recorded on the Dave Weckl Band CDs named 'Transition' and 'Perpetual Motion'.

On a recent break from touring, Steve had an opportunity to reflect on his experiences and the journeys that have brought him to this point in life. Out of this reflection was the inspiration for a solo CD project entitled 'Life Times.'

Some of the other people that Steve has played with iniclude:

Chaka Khan - Frank Gambale - Scott Henderson - Eric Marienthal - Kenny Rankin - Jimmy Earl - Ernie Watts - Alain Caron - Michael Ruff - Warren Hill - Marilyn Scott -Jimmy Haslip - Terry Lynn Carrington - Jason Scheff - Keith Howland - Robben Ford - John Pattituci - Bunny Brunel - Tony MaCalpine - Virgil Donati

Russell Ferrante

Artist Profile:

Russell Ferrante

russell_ferrante_1Russ’s first exposure to music came from his church, where his father was the choir director as well as being a frequent vocal soloist and having a vocal gospel quartet. His father’s whole family were music lovers and several of his brothers and sisters had marvelous voices, something Russ admits never got passed on to him. "I began piano lessons at 9 with the expectation that I'd one day be the church pianist. My musical interests took me elsewhere but my sister who is 2 years younger actually went on to fulfill my parent's dreams and is now directing the music department for a church in Watsonville, CA," Russ says.

russell_ferrante_2Beside his early interest in the piano, Russ also tried other instruments, making the most headway on drums, even going as far as playing drums on a couple of gigs and recording sessions. His experience with the drums has benefited his piano and keyboard playing and composing as a result.

As for musical education, Russ relates the following: "I took piano lessons from a wonderful piano teacher in San Jose, CA named Ann Penner, from age 9-16 or so, nothing fancy, just the basics. I got interested in jazz and pop around the age of 15 and studied that from whatever sources were available, notably scattered lessons with local jazz musicians, jazz theory books that I found or were recommended to me, and listening to my favorite recordings and transcribing songs and solos. Regrettably I never really studied music in school."

Influences

"The first recording I heard that really got me excited about being a musician was "Swiss Movement" by Les McCann and Eddie Harris. I loved the way the musicians combined jazz, R&B, and gospel music. This marriage of jazz and R&B was something I heard a lot around San Jose where I grew up. There was one musician in particular, Clifford Coulter, who greatly inspired me.

"At around the same time, I was introduced to John Coltrane's "My Favorite Things" and various recordings by Miles Davis. I didn't understand that music at all but nonetheless, I immediately loved it! Along with these recordings, I was listening to and drawing inspiration from The Beatles, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band" and Joni Mitchell's first album "Clouds"."

Non-Yellowjackets Projects

"I've been privileged to write with and produced records for: Bobby McFerrin, Michael Franks, Sadao Watanabe, Marilyn Scott, Eric Marianthal, and Sergio Salvatore among others. I've also arranged for Take 6, The GRP Big Band, Lee Ritenour, and many others." In addition to working with these fine musicians, Russ is also active in local musical projects of a much smaller scale. One such project was a local production of Really Rosie by children in his community, for which he was the musical director. He's pictured below, with Justo Almario in the Really Rosie band.

Artists Russ Has Performed With

"There are so many, but at the risk of omitting some, I'd say my favorite have been: Jimmy Witherspoon, Jim Pepper, Joe Farrell, Joni Mitchell, Bobby McFerrin, Robben Ford, Marilyn Scott, Ernie Watts, Sadao Watanabe, GRP Big Band, Lee Ritenour, Tom Scott, Take 6, Michael Franks, and Brenda Russell."

Now Spinning

What does Russ listen to? "Everything by John Coltrane, especially "Giant Steps", "Ballads", "A Love Supreme", and "Live at Birdland". Everything by Miles Davis, especially "Kind of Blue", "Milestones", "My Funny Valentine", russell_ferrante_3 "Four and More", "Sketches of Spain", "Miles Smiles", and "Nefertiti". Keith Jarrett, especially "Facing You", "My Song", "Belonging", and all the "standards" recordings. Weather Report, especially "Heavy Weather". Eddie Harris, especially "Listen Here", "Silver Cycles" and "Swiss Movement". Orchestral music by Debussy, Ravel, Stravinsky, Copeland, Bartok, Samual Barber, and much, much more."

Equipment

Russ uses a Steinway & Sons grand piano, Roland 760 sampler, Roland D550 ("yes, I still use that old thing"), Korg 01W, Mackie 1604 mixer and ADAT digital tape deck.

Home Life and Other Interests

"I have been active in the local schools, composing and performing music for school plays, volunteering in the classroom, and speaking at career days and such. I am also an avid bicyclist and an incurable NBA fan, having played one year of basketball at San Jose State Univ. before music really took hold of me.

"Family is my #1 priority, with all the care and feeding that accompanies a 20 year marriage and an 18 year old daughter, not to mention 3 cats and 1 dog, the lovable, mischievous, and incorrigible Dal, Petey."

 

Roger Burn

Artist Profile:

Roger Burn

roger_burnOriginally a drummer, Roger Burn attended college at Cal State, Northridge in 1980 as a percussion major and also studied with legendary drum teacher, Freddie Gruber. He later studied piano, vibes, marimba and composition with the late, great Victor Feldman.

Burn’s credits include appearances as a keyboardist on The Tonight Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, The John Stewart Show, The Howie Mandel Show, The Magic Johnson Show, The Arsenio Hall Show, College Fund Show, The Next Big Star with host, Ed McMahon and The Grammy Awards with artists such as Vanessa Williams, Lionel Richie, Lou Bega, Ashford & Simpson, The Brian Setzer Orchestra and Bryan Adams.

He has also worked with Barry Manilow, Ambrosia, Chaka Kahn, Shelia E., Stevie Nicks, Richard Marx and Seal. As a session musician, he’s played on motion picture soundtracks such as The Mask, Another Stakeout, McHale’s Navy, The Nanny, Freaky Friday and Sideways. He has also played on gold and platinum albums, including a gold with The Brian Setzer Orchestra on The Songs Of Westside Story, a tribute to Leonard Bernstein and again with Setzer’s orchestra on the double platinum, double Grammy-winning Jump, Jive & Wail.

Burn also recorded with The Wild Colonials and played vibes on two tracks from former Yellowjackets and Steely Dan drummer Ricky Lawson’s debut cd. He has played keyboards, piano and vibes on jingles for such brand names as Target, Cadillac, Dodge, Toyota, Acura, Pediasure and United Airlines and has also been heard on such television shows as The Gary Shandling Show, Beverly Hills 90210, The Pretender, Melrose Place, Spin City, Ed, The Drew Carey Show, Meet The Press, Politically Incorrect and recently contributed his compositional skills to the critically acclaimed drama series American Dreams.

His vibraphone playing can be heard on the Academy Award winning hit film, Sideways’ and is one of the principle members of the Sideways Jazz Orchestra. Roger is also a staff composer for Megatrax, one of world’s largest library music houses and his compositions are heard all over the world on a daily basis. Since January of 1997 he has been an instructor at The Musicians Institute in Hollywood where he teaches courses in sight reading, how to build a keyboard rig and even a class called ‘Musical Director Workshop.’