Berklee Today

Alum Notes

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Pianist/arranger/composer Jeff Steinberg of Nashville, TN, is president and CEO of Rare Air Records, his own production company. The label's first album, Steinberg's Friends & Heroes, is a tribute to jazz legends Horace Silver, Thad Jones, Henry Mancini, and others.



Composer Joseph Levy of Givat Shmuel, Israel, released a CD titled Classical Image. The disc features violin and flute concertos, string ensemble pieces, and a full orchestra selection recorded by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

Michael Haydn '71


Singer/guitarist Michael Haydn of Edgartown, MA, has released a CD called 5 x 5. The disc features five jazz and five blues tunes. Email him at

Pianist Randy Klein of New York, NY, composed the score for the PBS Great Performances documentary Free to Dance. It chronicles the entire history of American dance and was aired nationally in June. He scored a second documentary entitled Beyond Tara: The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel, which premiered on the American Movie Classics channel in August.


Pianist Al Nathan of New Hartford, NY, teaches at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Utica, NY, and performs regularly with his group Al Nathan & Blue Streak.


Drummer Nick Puin of North Olmstead, OH, teaches band for Maple Heights City Schools and is a member of the Cleveland Composers Guild. His string quartet will be performed by the esteemed Cavani Quartet in October. He also performs with the Nick Puin Trio.


Saxophonist Robin Blakeman of Brighton, England, has formed a sextet to perform tributes to the late great saxophonist Joe Henderson.

Guitarist Kim Cascone of Pacifica, CA, recently completed a 10-city European tour in support of his forthcoming CD on the Mille Plateaux label.

Bassist Carlos Laguana of Hagatna, Guam, is band director at Jose L.G. Rios Middle School in Piti, Guam. He is a host DJ for Musicians Workshop at KPRG, Guam's public radio station. He also performs with drummer Larry Franquez '84 and teaches applied music at the University of Guam.


Drummer Brian Murphy of Glendale, CA, received a Garland Award for music direction for his work on Stephen Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along. The L.A. Weekly nominated Murphy for an award for best vocal/music direction.

Vern Holloman '78
James Gentry '79

Vern Holloman of Newport News, VA, recently released the CD The Best of Vern Holloman for Kids, a compilation of his educational music for children. The CD is available online at,,, and


Drummer Edward Dzubak of Redding, CT, received his third Emmy Award as part of the composing team for The Young and the Restless led by music directors Pam Magee and Jim Kowal. Dzubak has been composing for daytime drama, advertising, and cable documentaries for the past 10 years.

Electric bassist Craig Garfinkel of Avon, CT, is leader and bassist for the group Mystery Feet with fellow alumni Frank Varela '75 and Scott Allshouse '96. The group will release their debut CD on Mountainside Records.

Tenor saxophonist James Gentry of Redlands, CA, leads the James Gentry Quintet. The group recently released Nica's Dream, a recording featuring originals and jazz standards.

Drummer Welmer Lathon of Milwaukee, WI, is owner and webmaster of of the e-commerce company P.W. Lathon. See their website at



Guitartist Gregan Wortman of Billings, MT, continues to produce the cable-access variety show, Psycho Circus and feature-length videos. The most recent video, Mud Bog and Baja, is available from his company, Kruzn Dog Productions. See his website at

Pianist Matthew Quinn of Newport, RI, released New Port, a Quiet Storm with backed by Richard Haddocks, Rebecca Parris, Jeff Stout, Mike Turk, Arnie Krakowsky, Bill Miele, and Jack Menna. The disc features standards and three originals.


Guitarist Raymond Barley, Jr. of Pittsburgh, PA, is a music instructor at the Community College of Allegheny County.

Shaakir '81

Saxophonist Shaakir of Houston, TX, has released a new CD titled Smooth Sensual Sax for his own Shaakia Productions. His cover of "Just My Imagination” has been picked up by radio stations in the smooth jazz market.

Composer Cathy Block of Doylestown, PA, composed a new musical entitled That's What Kids Do!, now available in a studio cast CD recording. In addition, Block has penned songs for artists Diana Ross, Kool & the Gang, and Al Jarreau. Her song "Never Explain Love” was featured as the closing credit song in Spike Lee's film Do The Right Thing.

Drummer Barry Harvey of Brisbane, Australia, has completed his book entitled Text of Music Phrase, designed to help musicians with sightreading and phrasing concepts. Visit his homepage at

From the left: pianist Matthew Quinn '80 and vocalist Ruthie Ristich '82


Guitarist Fabien Degryse of Braine-l'Alleud, Belgium, released his third solo album with his quintet. The album is available on CD or in MP3 format at

Vocalist Ruthie Ristich of Cambridge, MA, is finishing a master's degree in film studies at Harvard University. Later this fall, she will release a CD featuring duos with pianist and former faculty member, the late Alex Ulanowski. She performs regularly with pianist Matthew Quinn '80

Micah Solomon of Flint Hill, VA, is president of Oasis CD Duplication located in Flint Hill. See his company's website at

Deena Anderson of Cambridge, MA, and Jeff Robinson '84 of Arlington, MA, are helping to produce the 2002 Cambridge Center Poetry Festival. The festival will feature poet Quincy Troupe who has written two popular books on Miles Davis.

Guitarist Ahmad Mansour of Oslo, Norway, has released Apples and Oranges on the Resonant Music label based in Oslo. The disc features fellow alumnus Terje Gewelt '87 as producer and bassist.

Erik Andrews '84


Songwriter Erik Andrews of Malibu, CA, had his song "Maybe Tonight” recorded on the self-titled debut CD by pop artist Brooke Allison on the Virgin/2K label. Andrews has also had songs featured in daytime soap operas and on the Lifetime cable network.

Tenor saxophonist Philippe Crettien of Hopkinton, MA, has been appointed band director at the Rivers School in Weston, MA. Crettien also directed jazz workshops at the July Toulon International Jazz Festival in France.

Drummer Larry Franquez of Mangilao, Guam, performed with jazz artist Tom Harrell at the second annual Tumon Bay Jazz Festival held in Guam this July. Franquez endorses products by Sabian, Vic Firth, DW Hardware, and Sunlite Drums.

Electric bassist Joel Goodman of Port Washington, NY, composed the score for the short film The Follow, directed by Wong Kar-wai. The movie, which stars Mickey Rourke and Forest Whitaker, is available at

Guitarist Pete Huttlinger of Nashville, TN, appeared on the cover of the June issue of Fingerstyle Guitar magazine, which included Huttlinger's solo guitar arrangement of the Steely Dan song "Josie.”

Drummer Marco Pelliteri of New York City, bassist Gildas Boclé '85 of Paris, France, and keyboardist Jean-Baptiste Boclé '88 of Brooklyn, NY, toured last summer backing the Gipsy Kings.

Pianist Barry Rocklin of Revere, MA, performed at resorts in Norway and Sweden during July and August and will perform on Royal Carribean's Voyager of the Seas cruise line in November.

Alto saxophonist Glen Tomassi of Caracas, Venezuela, is founder of the Nuevo Mundo Saxophone Quartet and is performing with the Via Alterna jazz quartet. They recently released First Reunion on the Lyric label.


Bassist Arnon Palty of Tel Aviv, Israel, is chair of the bass department at the Rimon School of Jazz in Tel Aviv. He's working on a new album blending Middle-Eastern and jazz music.


Guitarist Jon Durant of Cohasset, MA, released the CD Brief Light on his own label, Alchemy Records. The disc features bassist Tony Levin, percussionist Vinnie Sabatino, keyboardist Michael Whalen '84, and guitarist Randy Roos '78.

Vocalist Heidi Vierthaler of Boston, MA, was elected as a delegate for Ward 5 to the Massachusetts Democratic Convention in June 2001. Currently, she is working on the Harvard Living Wage Campaign at Harvard University. See the group's website at


Electric bassist Kai Eckhardt of Berkeley, CA, is working as a solo recording artist after backing artists such as John McLaughlin, Wayne Shorter, and Zakir Hussain. He was recently interviewed by Bass Frontiers magazine.

Pianist Satoko Fuji of Saitama, Japan, recently released a new CD entitled April Shower, which features solo piano pieces and duets with violinist Mark Feldman.

Drummer Akihiko Matsui of Saitama, Japan, is composing progressive jazz music featuring multimodal harmony, odd time signatures, and polyrhythms for the groups Junky Funk, Line Drive, and Jackpot.

Steve Herberman '88
Elise Letourneau '89
Photo by Tom Altany
Ira Kaspi '90


Guitarist Steve Herberman of Silver Spring, MD, has released his debut CD as a leader, Thoughtlines, on the Reach Music label. He teaches jazz guitar at Towson University in Maryland.


Pianist Elise Letourneau of Pittsburgh, PA, recently released her debut album entitled I Will Sing for You. The disc is available at

Guitarist Gernot Wolfgang of Los Angeles, CA, contributed music to the film Scenes of the Crime and assisted film composer Christopher Young on the score of Swordfish.



Vocalist Ira Kaspi of Helsinki, Finland, released her debut CD Inner Voices with her group, Ira Kaspi TownBeat. She recently completed a tour of Finland with the group and performed with the UMO Big Band.

Electric bassist Chris Sharkey of New Orleans, LA, recently won first place at the New Orleans French Quarter Festival 2001 Battle of the Bands with his group the No Cover Charge Jazz Band.

Vocalist Doug Sinning of Oviedo, FL, is rereleasing a digital remix of Alexian: The Mother, The Magick, The Music, a recording of pagan-themed music. He is also founder of Earth Tones Studios, the largest online Wiccan/Pagan music store in the world.

Pianist Alexis Tcholakian of Paris, France, has released two CDs, entitled Point de vue and Le songe de l'athanor with his group, the Alexis Tcholakian Trio. See the group's website at

Drummer Hans Benjamin Schuman of Brooklyn, NY, is founder of the JazzReach Performing Arts and Education Association, which promotes jazz awareness. JazzReach recently hosted a benefit at the Blue Note Jazz Club featuring saxophonist Joe Lovano '72, guitarist Bill Frisell '77, bassist John Patitucci, and drummer Brian Blade.


Guitarist Tim Bedner of Pittsburgh, PA, is an adjunct professor of guitar at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Bedner compiled and edited a guitar instruction book by Joe Negri titled A Common Sense Approach to Improvisation.

Guitarist Matt Watkins (aka Willus) of Independence, MO, released a CD of his original blues/country/thrash music. See his website at


Vocalist Maria Entraigues of Los Angeles, CA, recorded main songs for two feature films, Diamond Hunters and The Magnificent Ambersons. The first was a duet with former Toto vocalist Jean-Michel Byron.

Pianist/composer Steven Bergman of Milford, MA, was composer and musical director of The Curse of the Bambino. The musical was the most successful production in the history of the Lyric Stage Company of Boston and was hailed by the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and Proscenium Magazine. A CD recording is available at

Matthew Goldberg '92 (center) at a recent jam session with guitarist Richie Sambora and vocalist Jon Bon Jovi (right) of the supergroup Bon Jovi in Miami, Florida.

Guitarist Matthew Goldberg of Cooper City, FL, recently played with the group Bon Jovi at a rehearsal for VH1 Storytellers at the Hit Factory in Miami, FL. Goldberg currently performs with the local group Shad, which features Berklee student Tom Owen on keyboards. In addition, Goldberg is working as a session guitarist at Full Sail Studios in Orlando and Crescent Moon Studios in Miami. His website is

Saxophonist Rob Hall of Glasgow, Scotland, has completed an audiovisual CD-ROM titled A Highland Canvas. The contemporary jazz work is the result of a collaborative effort between Hall and two visual artists. Hall also works with Gaelic singer Anne Martin.

Percussionist Mark Vadnais of Pawtucket, RI, teaches general musica in Barrington, RI, and plays throughout New England with the band Metro Soul.

Kyler England '93
Photo by Gabrielle Revere


Singer/songwriter Kyler England of New York City released How Many Angels?, an EP produced to benefit the Triangle Hospice in Durham, NC. Keyboardist Richard Oliver Furch '00 produced the disc. Visit Kyler's web site at

Guitarist Todd Evans of Oakland, CA, is touring with the Celtic rock group Tempest which released a CD titled Balance for the Magna Carta label.

Matthew Jackson of Nashville, TN, was inducted into the Order of the Coif for academic excellence at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis and received the Golden Quill Award at the Wiley Rutledge Moot Court Competition.

Drummer Brian Kelley of Braintree, MA, released his debut CD entitled Ketchup and Rivets. It features original jazz and funk music and cover songs. Kelley also performs with the group Part Time Lovers.


Drummer Nathaniel Morton of Sherman Oaks, CA, is currently performing with Atlantic Records artist Poe.


Multi-instrumentalist Eric Barao of Providence, RI, and his band the Cautions, were chosen as finalists in the Coca-Cola New Music Award competition. The band includes guitarist Jeff Caglarcan '94, drummer Chris Newbern '94, and bassist Matt Boynton '95.

Guitarist Colin O'Brien of North Reading, MA, recorded the CD Heights and Spiders with his group Cosmic Rescue Plan in his own studio. He also teaches 50 students each week.


Pianist Pablo Ablanedo of Cambridge, MA, released From Down There on Spain's Fresh Sound New Talent label. Berklee alumni on the project include trumpeter Avishai Cohen '99, saxophonist Anat Cohen '98, saxo-phonist Jerome Sabbagh '95, guitarist Juancho Herrera '92, and drummer Franco Pinna '00. You can reach Ablanedo by e-mail at

Shinya Fujinami of Tokyo participated in the Gospel Music Workshop of America in Minneapolis, MN. He directed the choir and oversaw the recording of his song "Thank You Lord” for a CD resulting from the workshop. Contact him via e-mail at

Pianist Cyril Gerstein of Newton, MA, took first prize at the 10th Annual Arthur Rubenstein International Piano Competition held in Tel Aviv, Israel. Gerstein has performed with the Zurich Tonhalle and Israel Philharmonic Orchestras, the Madrid Radio and Television Orchestra, and others.


Drummer John Blackwell of Columbia, SC, was featured on the cover of the October issue of Modern Drummer. He is currently on tour playing drums with Prince.

Jonathan Blake of Salem, MA, is studio manager for the Clive Lacey Studio at Perkins School for the Blind, a talking-book recording facility in Watertown, MA. He and his wife Jessica (Veltins) Blake '97 recently had a son named Owen.

Diego Jinkus Î97

Guitarist Diego Jinkus of Aventura, FL, has worked with artists like Juan Gabriel, Erykah Badu, and Christina Aguilera. He also writes for the monthly magazine Musico Pro. See his website at

Marian Heller of Hoboken, NJ, made her stage debut in August at the New York Interntaional Fringe Festival in the stage production of Debbie Does Dallas. Heller will appear in a jazz cabaret this winter and record a CD next spring. See her website at

Andrew LeVay of Chestnut Hill, MA, received his J.D. degree from Boston College Law School. He is currently a clerk for a federal judge in New York.

Jason Poss and wife Danita Ng-Poss of New York City, NY, received the Pete Carpenter Fellowship and the Silver AXIEM awards for their work in film composition. Danita is an independent composer for film and television and assistant producer at Headroom Digital Audio in New York. Jason is a freelance composer and vibraphonist.

Guitarist Wesley Wilkes of San Diego, CA, lost his possessions, address books, instruments, and compositions in a fire. He would appreciate hearing from classmates who might have tapes of his compositions or performances from his Berklee years. He can be reached by phone at 619-226-8229 and by e-mail at

Pianist Maria Clementine Wulia of Bali, Indonesia, scored a feature film entitled The Jakarta Project. The soundtrack is available on Warner Music Indonesia.


Guitarist Rubens de la Corte of São Paulo, Brazil, is musical director and lead guitarist for vocalist Angelique Kidjo who is currently touring with Macy Gray and the Dave Matthews Band.

Akiko Iwase '98

Pianist Akiko Iwase of Brooklyn, NY, recently recorded a trio CD with bassist Ron Carter and drummer Bill Stewart titled From New York. Iwase performed at the Terni Jazz Festival in Italy and was the music director for a tribute to John Coltrane show in Tokyo in September.

Drummer Sangpil Yoon of Kyungkee, Korea, was featured in the April 2001 issue of KoreAm Journal, a Korean-American magazine. Yoon performs regularly with the Sangpil Yoon Quintet.



Drummer Ramón Angel-Rey of Boston, MA, has been touring with the Abe Rábade Trio, featuring Abe Rábade '98 and Paco Charlin '99 and has recorded with Charles Neville.

Electric bassist Christian Schenk of Rochester, NY, has worked with JoAnn Vaccaro and Brad Batz and a Dave Matthews Band tribute act called the Tripping Billies.

Trombonist Nick Vagenas of Newburyport, MA, and the Nick Vagenas-Patrick Cornelius Quintet released a self-titled CD featuring Vagenas, Cornelius (saxophone), Kendrick Scott '99 (drums), Charles Haynes '99 (drums), Peter Slavov (bass), and Dan Kaufman (piano). Vagenas was recently chosen to participate in the Thelonius Monk Institute class.

Guitarist Christoph Zahnleiter of Cambridge, MA, is performing with the Chris Zahnleiter Group, and recently released Eight Standards. The CD features fellow alumni Ben Zwerin '99 and Jamie Chan '99.


Krystal Demaine of Boston, MA, completed a seven-month music therapy internship in Asheville, NC. She has started a local music therapy program for a Massachusetts health and education service and works with students in Boston-area schools.

Songwriter/engineer John Maragos of Boston, MA, released a five-song CD titled I Belong to You on his own I-POP Records label. Visit his website at

Live Ambiance, clockwise from the left: Duke Bojadziev '01, Jem Solomon '01, Martin Zarzar '02, Marc Camiolo Î01, Vlada Tomova '01, and Jason Currin '01.


Woodwind player Marc Camiolo of Brooklyn, NY, and his band Live Ambiance released a self-titled CD featuring six original compositions. The band includes vocalist Vlada Tomova '01, keyboardist Duke Bojadziev '01, bassist Jem Solomon '01, and percussionists Jason Currin '01 and Martin Zarzar '02. They play Sunday nights at the Zeitgeist Gallery in Cambridge, MA, and will tour Europe this winter.

Guitarist Lionel Loueke '01 of Benin, West Africa, was invited to record with jazz artists Wayne Shorter, John Patitucci, and Brian Blade in late July. Loueke was also chosen to attend the current Thelonious Monk Institute class which began in September.