Category Archives: Piano

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.

Tom Ranier

Artist Profile:

Tom Ranier

Tom_RanierTom Ranier is known primarily for his jazz piano playing but he is also a very accomplished saxophonist, clarinetist, composer and arranger. He has risen to the top of the California jazz scene and is generally regarded as one of Southern California’s top jazz improvisers. One of Tom’s trademarks is his extraordinary technical ability which, at the keyboard, is reminiscent of Oscar Peterson’s bravura and bluesiness, Chick Corea’s intricate and beautiful melodies and Bill Evan’s chordal brilliance.

As a composer and arranger, Tom exhibits a broad orchestral palette andtom_ranier_2 a keen sense of melody and harmony. This is clearly illustrated in his latest recording effort entitled “In The Still Of The Night” which showcases eleven of his original compositions for keyboard, saxophone, clarinet and string orchestra.

As a jazz educator, he is currently involved in a New Jazz Studies Program at U.C.L.A. headed up by famous jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell. Tom’s teaching responsibilities in this program are in the areas of jazz piano and jazz theory.

Tigran Hamasyan

Artist Profile:

Tigran Hamasyan

tigran_hamasyan_1Tigran Hamasyan was born in Gyumri (Armenia) in 1987. From the age of 2 he showed an extraordinary interest towards music. The tape player and piano became preferable than many other toys he had.

At the age of 3 he was singing the great deal of Led Zeppelin's, Deep Purple's, Beatles', Louis Armstrong's, and Queens' songs trying to accompany himself on the Piano. (the amateur video records of this period are available). It was obvious for the parents the music is inseparable part of this child's life. At the age of 7 he entered the world of jazz. He was listening different jazz melodies and improvising on piano all day long. Soon he began to attend music school for classic education. In 1997 their family moved to Yerevan. The profound study of the art of Duke Elington, Thelonious Monk, Charlie Parker, Art Tatum, Miles Davis, Bud Powell and others was begun. He comprehended everything so fast and so deeply, that soon reached a high technique and unique jazz thinking. At the same time his own first compositions appeared.

The First International Jazz festival of Yerevan (held in 1998) opened a new stage in his creative life. His participation revealed a real discovery in the jazz community. He then began to receive a lot of invitations to play on concerts and sessions. The Second Yerevan Jazz Festival held in 2000 was more fruitful for the young musician. He was acquainted with jazz stars Chick Korea, Avishai Cohen, Jeff Ballard, and Ari Roland. Right here he met Stephane Kochoyan who played a pivotal role in presenting and promoting Tigran to the European jazz community. In 2001 he invited Tigran to take part in several festivals in France, where he played with Philip and Christophe Letigran_hamasyan_2 Van.

Here the young musician was introduced to Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, John Mc Laughlin, Joe Zawinul, Danillo Perez, John Patitucci. He also played with Pierre Michelot & Daniel Humair. Tigran was highly regarded by jazz authorities. Then followed a period of wide study of modern jazz and Armenian folk music which later helped him to achieve higher levels. In 2002 Tigran won the 3rd prize in Martial Solal International Jazz Piano Competition held in Paris.

In April from 25th to 27th Tigran participated in the "Jazz a Juan Revelations 2003" contest and won the first prize in the category of Jazz Instrumental. Tigran won the 1st prize and also public prize of Montreux Jazz Solo Piano Competition which took place in July 2003 from 8 to 12. In 2003 - 2004 he was engaged in many festivals and concerts around the world. Several CDs have been recorded.

In March 2005 he participated at 1st Moscow International Jazz Piano Competition and won the 3rd prize. In June he won the 1st prize of 8th Monaco Jazz Soloist Competition. The new CD has been recorded in Los Angeles with Ben Wendel (sax), Francois Moutin (bass), Ari Hoenig (drums) and Rouben Hairapetyan (duduk, zurna), that will be released in March 2006 by "Nocturne Records" (Paris). On September 17th, 2006, Tigran was awarded the First Prize in the Thelonious Monk Jazz Competition. He has been now studying music at The University of Southern California in Los Angeles

Theo Saunders

Artist Profile:

Theo Saunders

theo_saundersTheo Saunders has performed in many of the world's most prestigious jazz festivals, concert halls and night clubs, with distinguished jazz artists including: Freddie Hubbard, Carla Bley, Charles Lloyd, Bob Brookmeyer, Harold Land, Buddy Collette, Eddie Harris, James Moody, Bobby Hutcherson, Teddy Edwards, Jack Dejohnette, Jimmy Garrison, Pharoah Sanders, Sonny Fortune, Slam Stewart, Zoot Sims, Rashied Ali, Chris Conners, Morgana King & Roseanna Vitro. His diverse musical activities have included musical director for opera and dance productions, for cabaret singers, and international musical theatre. He has played with many well known Latin, R&B, and rock artists, including Claudio Roditi, Victor Brasil, Ray Mantilla, Willie Bobo, Gladys Knight, Four Tops, Elephants Memory, and is a former member (Piano) of the Jazz Tap Ensemble.
As a composer, Theo has numerous jazz & rock compositions to his credit as well as original scores for dance, theatre, radio and multimedia production. His compositions have recently been recorded by Henry Franklin, Ray Armado and Bruce Paulson. His biographical sketch appears, in "People in Jazz-Jazz keyboard improvisors of the 19th and 20th centuries" by Bill Lee.

"Musician Theo Saunders never fails to amaze and to satisfy his listeners with his pianism. His virtuosity at the keyboard, his creative programming and selection of players usually results in a superb evening of entertainment." --Bob Agnew (L.A. Jazz Scene)

"...the real solid values of Saunders' writing, along with his playing, constitute the album's chief virtue." - Downbeat

"A rhythm team composed of Theo (Ted) Saunders on piano...provided blistering support on the up-tempos, with exemplary solos." -Leonard Feather, LA Times

"Pianist Saunders' powers of interpretation and invention are forces to be reckoned with; on an average night he's provocative, on a good night he's mind-bending." - Joseph Woodard, LA Times

"Saunders provides shimmering backdrop and some sparkling lead efforts of his own. Saunders excites you with deliberate thematic development which builds to climatic resolution." - The Portland Journal"
"Theo Saunders has a talent for constructing elegant solos in which linear melodies melt seamlessly into rich, two-handed chords" - Alexander Gelfand (Jazziz)

"Pianist Theo saunders plays laudably in both jazz and Afro-Cuban styles and can mix them nicely." - Harvey Pekar (Jazziz)

Discography

As Leader: *Theo Saunders Trio Live! with Jeff D'Angelo and Mark Ferber. *Three for All (Blue Chip Jazz) with Mike Stephans, Chris Symer. *Sueblue (Discovery) with Charles Owens, John Heard, Dick Berk.

As Co-leader:
*High Standards (Polydor) with Mike Stern, Steve Slagle, Victor Lewis and Harvey Swartz

As Sideman:

*Living Time (Columbia) with George Russell & Bill Evans (co-leaders) with Tony Williams, Joe Henderson , Ron Carter, Snooky Young, Garnett Brown, Sam Rivers, Jimmy Guiffre, Stanley Clarke. *Blues & Other Happy Moments with Barone Brothers (leaders with Tom Scott, Dick Spencer, John Heard, Shelly Manne, Alex Acuna.) *The Two Quartets (Discovery) with Charles Owens and John Heard, Carl Burnett. *Light Year (Inner City Records) with David Pritchard. *Jazz Antiqua (RCA Red Seal) with Frederic Hand and Jane Ira Bloom. *Alive In LA (Catalyst) with Pat Britt, Henry Franklin, and Ron Jefferson. *Let's Face The Music (BCM Records) with Benn Clatworthy, JimPaxon, and Christoph Luty. *Free Association (Household Ink) with Headless Household, Dave Binney and Jeff Elliott. *The Beautiful Never (JB Records) with John Burgess, Henry Franklin, and Willie Jones III. *Bass Encounters (Resurgent Records) with Henry Franklin. * Peligroso (Cubop Records) with Dave Pike. *Mallet Hands (Cubop Records) with Ray Armando. *The Music of Eric Von Essen Vol. 3 (Cryptogramophone Records). *Noche (Sea Breeze Records) with Jerry Kalaf. *Gertie, (Mainstem Records) Theo, Phil and Me-Benn Clatworthy. *Carla Bley-Live in Montreal (DVD) . *Acknowledgment (LifeForce Records) with Bobby Matos *All God's Children (Skipper Productions) with Henry Franklin *Two for the Road (Cougar Records) with the Estrada Brothers

Major Festivals, Concert Halls and Clubs

JVC Jazz Festival - NYC Antibes Jazz Festival - Juan-Les-Pin, France NOS Jazz Festival - Amsterdam North Sea Jazz Festival - Den Hague, The Netherlands Sarasota Springs Jazz Festival - Sarasota Springs Montreal Jazz Festival, Montreal Palais D"Europe - Le Touqet, France Canada Jam II - Toronto, Canada Montreaux Jazz Festival - Montreaux Avery Fischer Hall - NYC Carnegie Hall - NYC Greek Theatre - Los Angeles Riga Sports Palace - Latvia Montmarte - Copenhagen Metropol - Berlin Village Vanguard - NYC Sweet Basil - NYC Ojai Jazz Festival - Ojai, CA UCLA Jazz Festival Santa Monica Jazz Festival Santa Barbara Jazz Festival Catalina's - Los Angeles Jazz Bakery - Los Angeles

Compositions

Musical Score for Waterside - Plexus Dance Theatre, Venture, CA. Musical score for Vincent - A Passionate Journey Into The Life Of Van Gogh, a play by Leonard Nimoy. Music for Chekhov Short Stories, a series for Public Radio. Music for The Wood Demon, a Chekhov play produced by the Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles, CA. Musical score for the Sequoia National Park Centennial Multimedia Presentation. Over One Hundred jazz & rock compositions.

Musical Director

Musical Director (MD) for the play Peace Child, produced in both the US & USSR. MD for Trio, an opera by Noa Ain - performed at the Berkshire Music Festival; first American Music Theatre Festival, Philadelphia; and at Carnegie Hall. MD for The Outcast, an opera by Noa Ain, performed at Merkin Hall, NYC, Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Houston Grand Opera. MD for singer-actress Lanie Kazan.

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.

 

Tamir Hendelman

Artist Profile:

Tamir Hendelman

Tamir_HendelmanAward-winning jazz pianist Tamir Hendelman has performed with the Jeff Hamilton Trio, the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Harry Allen, Teddy Edwards, Warren Vache, Houston Person, Jeff Clayton, Nick Brignola, Phil Upchurch, Rickey Woodard, John Clayton and Barbara Morrison. He also leads his own trio. Beginning his keyboard studies at age 6 in Tel Aviv, Tamir moved to the US at age 12 in 1984, winning Yamaha's national keyboard competition 2 years later at age 14. Concerts in Japan and the Kennedy Center followed. Tamir then studied at the Tanglewood Institute in 1988 and received a Bachelor of Music Composition degree from Eastman School of Music in 1993. He then became the youngest musical director for Lovewell Institute, a national arts education non-profit organization.

Since returning to LA in 1996, Tamir has been in steady demand as pianist and arranger, touring the US, Europe and Asia, and receiving awards from ASCAP and National Foundation For Advancement in the Arts. In 1999 Tamir was a guest soloist with the Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra.

Tamir joined the Jeff Hamilton Trio in 2000, contributing arrangements, recording and touring Japan, Europe and the US. In 2001 he became a member of the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, with whom he premiered John Clayton's new orchestration of Oscar Peterson's Canadiana Suite in the Hollywood Bowl in 2001. In 2002 he also toured Europe with Tierney Sutton and the Bill Holman Big Band and in 2002-3 Tamir recorded for Yamaha's Disklavier piano.

Sue Palmer

Artist Profile:

Sue Palmer

sue_palmer_1If it's funky Boogie-Woogie that you're after, then Sue Palmer and her Motel Swing Orchestra is just the ticket for you.

This show features Sue Palmer and her Motel Swing Orchestra at Dizzy's in the Gaslamp in San Diego with Sue Palmer on piano, Sharon Shufelt on drums and vocals, Oliver Shirley on upright bass, Steve Wilcox on guitar, April West on trombone and vocals, Johnny Viau on sax and bongos, Deejha Marie on vocals, Romy Kaye narrative and vocals, David Mosby narrative and vocals, and Chuck Perrin narrative.

sue_palmer_2Take a the opportunity to expose yourself to a foot-stompin' old good-time show as Sue kicks it into high gear with the Motel Swing Orchestra..

Shep Meyers

Artist Profile:

Shep Meyers

shep_meyersWhen you think of a cool, smooth touch on the keyboards, then you must be a fan of Shep Meyers. Take a listen to the show sample, and indulge yourself as the smooth, well-crafted playing of the Shep Meyers Quartet.

Shep Meyers is a pianist, conductor, composer and arranger, from New York City, who has been living in San Diego, California for the past twenty-six years. His impressive list of credits include recording with Ella Fitzgerald, and playing with other musical greats such as Woody Herman, Billy Daniels, Julie London, Terry Gibbs, and Anita O'Day, as well as comedians Lenny Bruce, Steve Allen, Redd Foxx, and Henny Youngman. Shep served as conductor for comedian

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."