Born: November 2, 1951 Primary Instrument: Piano
Joe Ercole started playing piano at the age of 9. He studied at Peabody Conservatory of Baltimore on a scholarship. Once a month the faculty monitored Joe’s progress. He would have to play in the concert hall for the faculty behind closed doors. After a year, a handful of professors would offer to teach him for free and come to his house. To cut down on travel time his father elected to have them come to him. That went on for 4 years. Then Joe heard the Beatles and turned his interest toward that genre of music, despite his father’s disappointment. At the age of 13 he started a band and started to play rock and roll and Motown cover tunes.
At 16 he heard Jimmy Smith the jazz organist and his attention turned to jazz. He would listen with his head between 2 speakers for hours. He became very curious as to what he was listening to. A friend told him about Berklee College of Music. He inquired, and decided that this is where he wanted to go to college. While he made plans for the move he studied classical and contemporary music with Dr. Drucker of Julliard. After he had things in place and begging permission from his parents he moved at 20 years of age with his girlfriend Denise. They spent 2 years there and Joe and his new wife ran out of money and went on the road with an R&B show band called The New Censation. After touring Europe and the states they decided to move back to Boston and finish school. While attending Berklee, Joe studied with renowned jazz teacher Charlie Banacos on Saturdays for 3 years and studied Be-Bop and contemporary jazz. Joe absorbed it like a sponge. He spent 12 hours a day practicing and transcribing the greats such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, McCoy Tyner, Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett. He would painstakingly listen to vinyl records and transcribe note for note what was being played. That was quite a tall order by anyone’s standards.
He then graduated at the top of his class summa cum laude and moved back home. He was hired to write music for an off-Broadway musical called “Kaboom” in New York produced and directed by “Godspell’s” John Michael Tebelak. His music got great reviews from the critics. He began teaching and enjoyed showing other musicians everything he learned.
Then he decided to get in the business of writing original scores for TV, radio, and documentaries. While he was doing this he continued to study with Dr. Zlotnick, a professor of music from New England conservatory.
After starting a company known as Clean Cuts Music, he composed all the music for regional and national commercials, writing for the biggest advertising agencies in the world, McCann-Erikson and W.B.Donor as well as others. He won Clios, Emmys, and other advertising awards. During this time he wrote and produced a techno CD called No Code. A single called “Brake” was an underground favorite in the New York and Miami club scene. His next project was Manhattan Nights, which was his solo smooth jazz debut. Tracks like “Bluesville” and “Blackbird” were noted by reviewers but got lost in the shuffle because of improper promotion from the record label. He then got signed to N-coded Music, a label of Warlock Records in New York. He composed, produced, and formed a new jazz group called Bona Fide. They had a #1 hit in 2001 and were voted best new smooth jazz act of the year (Oasis Award). Joe got rave reviews for his keyboard wizardry and his producing skills. “The Avenue” and “Club Charles” are still in regular rotation on Atlanta’s smooth jazz station 107.5 as well as other stations nationwide. HBO heard his tracks on the 2nd CD called “The Poe House” and licensed five of them for Sex and The City.
Joe scored his first full-length film called Pousse Cafe which premiered at the Sundance film festival. He also scored a short Film called Groom with a View that premiered at a film festival in Fire Island and scored notable documentaries on the children's foster care system in America (The Beat Down Club) and recently a number of documentaries on the Holocaust for a charitable organization called 42:7 trust formerly known as Exobus.
In the meantime Joe met Dr. Sherif Meleka from Egypt who is a poet and lyricist who asked him to produce a CD of Arabic songs. At this time Joe was very interested in this form of music and had the pleasure of working with top Egyptian musicians who were flown to the USA for this project. For the past nine years Joe has studied the music of Arab countries, which brings about his new release called EXPOSED. This highlights a new mix of jazz and Arabic flavors in some of his tracks. Exposed also has tracks of Joe's signature funk-jazz flavor with an addition to film score-like music that will take the listener to far away places and dreams.
Joe now lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife Denise and continues to write for National commercials, award winning Documentaries, film trailers and producing artists of various genres and is now ready to release his new CD Exposed.
Awards:3 Emmys Clios Oasis (Best new Artist} 2001 Tellys
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