MUSICIANS’ BIOS (in alphabetical order)
BILL BELL (Arranger/Pianist)
Throughout his career, Bill has performed with such internationally known artists as Nancy Wilson, Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderley, Freddie Hubbard, and Joe Williams, to name a few. He has toured as pianist/musical director for the great Carmen McRae, and has appeared on recordings for John Handy, Joe Henderson, Benny Carter, and Roy Eldridge. Mr. Bell, also known as “The Jazz Professor”, has composed scores for both the Oakland and San Francisco Symphonies.
RON BELCHER (Bass).
In addition to playing at many jazz festivals in the United States and Europe, Ron has performed with Branford Marsalis, Delfeayo Marsalis, John Handy, Ernie Andrews, Buddy Conners, Mondre Moffett, Rob Schneiderman, Akira Tana, Eddie Marshall, Ed Kelly, Pete Escovedo, Rodney Franklin, Regina Carter, Donald Bailey, Bill Bell, Eddie Henderson, Robert Stewart, Babatunde, Faye Carol, Kito Gamble, Tee Carson, Ledisi, & Dee Spencer.
FRED BERRY (Trumpet)
In addition to being a highly esteemed jazz educator on the faculty at Stanford University, he has performed and recorded with artists such as Count Basie, Benny Carter, MCoy Tyner, Joe Henderson, Bobby Hutcherson, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Nancy Wilson, Natalie Cole, and Lena Horne. He currently serves as Northern California Musical Director for the Louie Bellson Orchestra.
BRAD BUETHE (Guitarist)
In the 70’s, Brad backed such greats as Jon Hendrix and Joe Williams. In addition to the Playboy Jazz Festival, Brad has also played at jazz festivals in Monterey, San Francisco and North Beach.
HOWARD CESPEDES (Baritone sax)
Howard can be heard on recordings with Pete Escovedo and The Contemporary Jazz Orchestra. Performances include The Temptations, The Supremes, Bobby Short, Patti Lupone, Full Faith, and The Four Tops. His compositions have been performed at the Monterey, Playboy and Montreux Jazz Festivals.
JEFF CHAMBERS ( Bass)
Jeff’s ability to play both acoustic and electric bass allows him to express himself musically in a variety of idioms. Consequently, the large list of great jazz artists with whom he has either recorded and/or toured includes: Dizzy Gillespie, Les McCann, Al Jarreau, Ahmad Jamal, M.C. Hammer, Jeffrey Osbourne, Benny Carter, Tommy Flannagan, McCoy Tyner, Joe Williams, Kenny Burrell, and Linda Hopkins.
GENE HARTWELL (Pianist/Arranger)
Mr. Hartwell has played with Helen O’Connell and Betty Grable, He has been one of the most sought after pianists/accompanists in the San Diego area for over 40 years.
PETER HORVATH (Keyboards)
Peter is indisputably one of the most sought after studio keyboardists in the business.
Born in Hungary, he established himself in the Austrian jazz scene at a young age, and toured with jazz notables there such as Leo Wright. Since moving to the U.S., he has toured with a long line of world-class artists, including jazz greats Bobby Hutcherson, Joe Henderson, and Bob Sheppard. Some of the artists with whom he has recorded and performed include Ray Obiedo, Keith Washington, and Richie Cole. His first solo recording “”Foreign Matter” has taken off like wildfire and is enjoying enormous national contemporary jazz radio.
HAROLD JONES (Drums)
Mr. Jones’ bio reads like a “Who’s Who” of jazz from 1960 to the present day.
Not yet twenty, he played on Eddie Harris’ “Exodus to Jazz”, the first jazz LP to sell 1 million copies. At 21, he played at the White House with the first jazz band to ever play there. In 1967, he was called in to fill in for Count Basie’s drummer for 2 weeks, and ended up staying for 5 years! Even though he was the youngest member of the band, he won the Down Beat Magazine International Jazz Critics’ Poll for best new artist. After 5 more years off and on with Basie, Ella Fitzgerald invited him to be one of her musicians. He also worked with Nancy Wilson, Carmen McRae, Tony Bennett, and Sammy Davis, Jr. He then toured the world with Sara Vaughan for 10 years. In 1990, he played on Natalie Cole’s “Unforgettable ” tour. He has been a participant on 5 Grammy winning albums.Other artists Mr. Jones has performed or recorded with include: Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington, Bing Crosby, Billy Eckstine, Mills Brothers, Frank Sinatra, B.B. Ling, John Lee Hooker, Ray Charles, and Quincy Jones. The list goes on.
TIM LANDIS ( Guitar)
Tim has been playing guitar in the Bay Area for the past 30 years. He has backed up a host of singers, some of whom include: Faye Carol, J.J. Malone, Big Mama Thornton, King Floyd, Pamela Rose, and Jackie Payne. He is guitarist with the world reknown Glide Memorial Church
JAMES LEVI (Percussion)
James Levi’s innovative playing has earned him the recognition as one of the foremost drummers in the music industry. James has performed and recorded with such great artists as the following: Herbie Hancock, Marvin Gaye, Cal Tjader, Al Green, Stevie Wonder, Carmen McCrae, James Brown, Patti Labelle, Esther Phillips, Jimmie Smith, Freddie Hubbard, and a host of many others, too numerous to list.
CHARLES MCNEAL (Saxophonist )
Charles has performed with The Temptations, Phil Woods, Roberta Flack, Madelyn Eastman, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Wynton Marsalis, Nell Carter, John Handy, Bobby Hutcherson, and Vince Lateano.
BOB MAGNUSSON (Bass)
As Joe Rothman, the critic for West Coast Jazz Party, wrote: “When you mention jazz bassists who live in California, Bob Magnusson is one of the first on everyone’s mind.”
At the age of 21, Bob began a one-year stint with Buddy Rich . In 1971, Bob became a member of Sara Vaughan’s trio (with Jimmy Cobb). After two years with Sara, he moved to San Diego, where he became a member of the San Diego Symphony Orchestra. In 1975, Bob rejoined Sara Vaughan, and moved to the Los Angeles area, where he was involved in recordings, television, films and jingles. His personal discography lists in excess of 150 albums and CD’s. Counted among his most memorable experiences were performing with the Art Pepper Quartet, the Benny Golson Quartet, and the Joe Farrell Quartet. In addition, Bob has recorded for a number of fine pop artists including: Madonna, Linda Ronstadt (with whom he worked for 3 years), Natalie Cole, Neil Diamond, Bonnie Raitt, and 10,000 Maniacs.
Other jazz artists with whom he has worked include: Hank Jones, Joe Pass, Kenny Rogers, Roger Kellaway, Tommy Flanagan, Cedar Walton and Bud Shank.
TONY MARILLO (Drummer)
Tony has toured with Anthony Newley, Doc Severinsen, Steve and Edie, Ann Margret, Shirley MacLaine, Joel Grey,and Dinah Shore. He has also appeared on the Mike Douglas show.
MEL MARTIN (Woodwinds)
Mel has proven to be one of the most versatile and creative musicians to emerge from the San Francisco Bay Area. His virtuosic abilities on woodwinds combined with his vast range of experience has brought him to a position of pre-eminence as one of the most inventive and innovative of performers. His unique abilities as an improviser, arranger and composer have made him a favorite of such greats as Benny Carter to Dizzy Gillespie, John Handy, Stan Getz, McCoy Tyner, and Freddie Hubbard. He has recorded and performed with Santana, Boz Scaggs, Cal Tjader, Vince Guaraldi, Hubert Laws, and Wes Montgomery. In 1977, he received the Musician of the Year award from the San Francisco chapter of Grammy (NARAS
TERRY MILLER (Bass)
Terry is undoubtedly one of the busiest bassists in Northern California
Mr. Miller has played and toured with Prince, The Steve Miller Band, Stanley Turrentine, and Lorinda Almeda.
ALEX MURZYN (Sax, flute)
Alex’s versatility and passion have earned him the right to perform and record with many critically acclaimed and respected artists, some of whom include: Huey Lewis, Pete Escovedo, the Dizzy Gillespie Band, The Temtations, the O’Jays, Ray Obiedo, and Stanley Clark. Alex’s three CD’s of his own have received heavy airplay on radio stations such as the “Wave” in Los Angeles, and KKSF in the Bay Area. They were also rated as number six in the Gavin Report and seventeen in Billboard’s New Adult Contemporary category. Besides his abundant talents, Alex is probably one of the nicest guyus you’d ever want to meet…inside or outside a studio!
DAVID OTTESON (Trombone, Bass Trumpet)
David plays trombone, bass trombone, bass trumpet, euphonium, and tuba. He has performed with Rosemary Clooney, Steve Allen, Mel Torme, Shirley Jones, Jerry Lewis, Joey Heatherton, and Fred Travelina. He also was with the band Infinity.
MAX PERKOFF (Trombone)
Max has performed with Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, the Mike
Vax Great American Jazz Band, The Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, the King
Perkoff Band, Chicago Blues Power, Jules Broussard, and Mel Martin to name a
few. He has performed at jazz festivals and theaters from California to New
York, and with the Marin Symphony and the Virginia Symphony
THADDEUS PINKSTON (Arranger/Pianist)
Mr. Pinkston’s skills as a sensitive and impeccable accompanist in all styles of music have earned him the highest respect of the singers and musicians with whom he works.
Thaddeus was musical director and co-composer on “Saint Tous” done at La Mama with Andre De Shields. He also musical directed and played piano for the Fifth Dimension’s rendering of “Ain’t Misbehavin”. He has accompanied a host of stellar performers and ensembles including A.C.T., Telluride Jazz Festival, Tyne Daly, Michelle Lee, Tommy Tune, and Lisa Vroman.
DAVID ROKEACH (Drums)
David has been working in San Francisco and L.A. for more than 20 years. David toured nationally and internationally with Ray Charles from 1990-1991. This included concert videos and many television appearances, including the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and Doc Severinsen’s orchestra. In recent years, he has performed/recorded with Patti La Belle, Aaron Neville, Mavis Staples, Lou Rawls, Grammy winner Joe Henderson, Down Beat poll winner Mark Murphy, Charlie Musselwhite, Wilson Pickett, Steve Miller, Louis Bellson, Ernestine Anderson and more.
Since 1998, David has had the honor of playing with the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin. He also did the show “Divas Live” with Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, Gloria Estefan, Shania Twain, and Carole King.
In addition to teaching at the Berkeley Jazz School and the Stanford Jazz Workshop, last year he played in “Les Miserables” and “Ragtime”.
TONY SAUNDERS (Bassist, engineer, arranger)
Born into a famous musical family, Tony was destined to become one of the most respected members of the entertainment industry. Tony was fortunate enough to receive his first piano lessons from the world-renowned musician, Herbie Hancock, and intensive bass guitar training with the legendary Chuck Rainey and John Kahn.
Tony has won many awards for his compositions, including 2 Emmys.
The list of greats with whom Tony has performed and recorded is too huge to fit, but here are some of the luminaries: Abba, Al Jarreau, Stevie Wonder, Sly Stone David Crosby, Dave Grisman, Dr. John, Elton John, Ernestine Anderson, Esther Phillips, Tony Bennett, Ringo Starr, Johnny Mathis, Jerry Garcia, Patti LaBelle, Average White Band, and Randy Crawford.
JOHN L. WORLEY JR. is a musician, composer and jazz educator and has been a member in many of the Bay Area’s creative music ensembles. Being adept at a multitude of styles, John has played with many national and international artists in Canada, Europe, Central and North America. His recording and performance credits include: Stanley Clarke at Yoshi’s, Wayne Shorter Sextet and the Monterey Jazz Festival Chamber Orchestra at the 2000 Monterey Jazz Festival, Richie Cole and the Alto Madness Orchestra at the 2000 TCI San Jose Jazz Festival, Boz Scaggs 2000 Blues Revue, Asian American Orchestra at the 1999 Chicago and Monterey Jazz Festivals, 1998 Monterey Jazz Festival’s tribute to Bobby Hutchinson with McCoy Tyner, Rebeca Mauleon and Round Trip. He has also played with Wayne Wallace and Rhythm and Rhyme, Louie Bellson, Joe Henderson Big Band, Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman, Quincy Jones, Pete Escovedo, Sheila E., Natalie Cole, and Wayne Wallace and Rhythm and Rhyme.
John is currently teaching trumpet and jazz combo at San Francisco State University, a coach and instructor at the Stanford Jazz Workshop and is an endorsing artist for United Musical Instruments and plays King, Conn and Benge trumpets.