Primary Instrument: Piano
I have been working as a performing and recording artist since age 13. I began as a rock & roll/blues guitarist. From the age of 16, I worked with the late producer and Connecticut recording industry legend, Thomas Doc Cavalier worked as house studio guitarist at Trod Nossel Studios in Wallingford, and was the original lead guitarist for popular northeast rock act, The Scratch Band. Besides recordings with the Scratch Band and as a sideman for other Trod Nossel acts, I recorded with the great Ben E. King (of The Drifters fame), British folkrock icon, Donovan, and worked on numerous projects with the legendary Rolling Stones producer, Andrew Loog Oldham. It was a fun and exciting time for a teenager.
In 1973, I heard my first Coltrane album and my first Bill Evans Trio album. The beauty I heard in Bill's playing changed my life. In 1974, at age 21, I switched to piano and began what continues as a lifelong study of jazz. I studied for 2 years at Housatonic Community College. The shortlived, but remarkable jazz program at Housie was started by the late, great trombone legend, Sonny Costanzo. I was priviledged to study with incredible teachers including Tom Faye and the incomparable Don Freidman. I studied harmony and dictation with Hindemith protégé and true musical genius, the late Joe Iodone. And Sonny routinely brought in such giants as Clark Terry, Jimmy Heath & Zoot Sims for performance clinics. After leaving Housie, I continued studies privately with Drew Salperto, Andy Laverne, Mark Templeton and others. The work and the learning never ends, and I owe a great deal to these great talents and great teachers for their guidance.
Once I gained a modicum of proficiency on piano, I was able to work Top 40 and club date (wedding band) gigs, while the jazz studies continued. By the late 70's, I was getting a few actual jazz gigs. In 1980, I met jazz guitar great, Mike Musillami, who had a profound influence on my playing. Mike and I gigged around Connecticut in duo, trio and quartet settings for several years. About that time, former mentor, Sonny Costanzo began using me on his small group gigs (trio to sextet), as did bandleader/trumpeter Harold Zinno. I met up with a wonderful New York jazz singer, Nicole Pasternak, and began gigging with her in southwest Connecticut (and still do!). My affiliation with Nicole has given me the opportunity to work with such New York greats as the legendary tenor man, Ralph Lalama (one of the best tenor players alive!), and bassist extraordinaire, Dennis Irwin. During the 80's I played the jazz gigs weeknights, and did the money gigs on the weekends. These were with the popular New Haven based club date/nightclub band, Jumpstreet with Dan Marcuccio, Mark DePaola and Linda Ransom (the best pure singer I ever worked with). I worked the New York and Boston society gig scene with the late bandleader Arti Lee - what an education that was! During the 90's, I cut back on pop and dance gigs, playing exclusively jazz gigs. I became a regular with the Bill Cofrances Quartet, a relationship that continues to this day, as it does with Nicole and Harold. I've also had the pleasure of working with amazing jazz bassists Jeff Fuller and Dave Santoro over the past 15 years.
I've also had the honor of recording with many of the aforementioned jazz artists, including Mike Musillami, Jeff Fuller, Harold Zinno, Nicole Pasternak and guitarist, Dave Dana. And my first trio CD, Streams with Tom Devino on drums and Steve Taylor on bass has just been released and is avaialabe on CDbaby.com.
It has been an honor and a privilege to have known, studied with, played with and learned from these and so many other talented artists over the past 40 (yikes!) years. I give my heartfelt thanks to all of them for their gift to me. If you keep your mind and your ears open, you will learn something new every gig, and from each musician you play with. So much to learn - so little time!