Berklee Today


1960s  -  1970s  -  1980s  -  1990s  -  2000s

Bassist Lou Benanto of Kailua, HI, left his home in the South Pacific to play three nights in Hartford, CT, with local jazz artists Ed Cercone and Dave Dannenberg.

Antonio Luigi Salvatori of Orlando, FL, is the conductor of the DeLand Little Symphony. Earlier in his career, Salvatori worked on Broadway and with the Buddy Rich Big Band Machine as a trombonist.

  (From the left): Jon Damian '74, Steve Groves '72, and Bob Hanni


The CD Evolution by saxophonist and composer Greg Abate of Coventry, RI, was included in four categories on the nominating ballot for the 2005 Grammy Awards. Visit

Composer Chuck Mymit of Rego Park, NY, was commissioned to write music for concert band, chorus, and string orchestra based on poetry by Robert Frost and a piece for the Five Towns College concert band. Both compositions will be premiered this spring. Mymit is currently earning his DMA in jazz composition.

Guitarist Charles Chapman of Boothbay Harbor, ME, published The Rhythm Guitar Tutor. This is Chapman's eighth book for Mel Bay Publications.

Ted Collins of Wakefield, RI, recently completed a tour with the Artie Shaw Orchestra led by Dick Johnson. Collins was the director of the Westerly, RI, high school's award-winning jazz band for 10 years and currently teaches in MA.

Guitarist Steve Groves of Ottawa, Ontario, is the founder of the Groves Academy of Music and Ottawa Guitar School. For his summer Guitar Summit in North Hatley, Quebec, he enlists guitar professor Jon Damian '74 and others. Guitar Summit 2005 is scheduled for July 28 to July 31. Visit

Trumpeter and vocalist Steve Lowry of Bankok, Thailand, served as the chief instructor of jazz at Siam Music Yamaha (Bangkok) until August 31, 2004. Lowry has performed with jazz groups throughout Asia.

Keyboardist Jon Hammond of New York City released the CD Late Rent, featuring such players as Barry Finnerty (guitar), Alex Foster (saxophone) Bernard "Pretty" Purdie (drums), and others. Visit

Dennis Taylor of Nashville, TN, created the new book and CD pack titled Jazz Saxophone published by Hal Leonard Corporation. It features 16 solos and an overview of the styles of several top jazz tenor saxophonists.

Richie Hart '75 of Nyack, NY, released the CD Blues in the Alley with bassist Rick Petrone '69 and drummer Joe Corsello '64 on the Zoho label. The disc also features saxophonist Gerry Niewood and keyboardist Pete Levin.

John "J.R." Robinson '75  

After playing on hundreds of hit albums, drummer John "J.R." Robinson '75 of Thousand Oaks, CA, released his debut CD, titled Funkshui. Robinson is assisted by bassists Lee Sklar and Neil Stubenhaus '75, guitarists Mike Thompson '75 and Ross Bolton, keyboardists John Beasley and Aaron Zigman, and others. Visit

Saxophonist Tom Pesciotta of Webster, NY, released his first CD, Jazz from Me to You, featuring six original compositions and two arrangements of jazz standards. Visit

Guitarist Gerry Beaudoin of Waltham, MA, released a new CD and DVD with his group New Guitar Summit, featuring guitarists Jay Geils and Duke Robillard. Beaudoin also played on the Jay Geils Plays Jazz CD.

Guitarist/songwriter "Doc" Mark Drinkwater of Gardiner, ME, released his debut CD It's Not Too Late, last fall and has two more album projects and a book in the works. Visit his website at

Emil Viklicky of Prague, Czech Republic, had his work The Mystery Man premiered by the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and two narrators. The piece is based on the prison letters of former Czech president Vaclav Havel. Visit

  Gail Jhonson '79

Pianist/vocalist Gail Jhonson of Van Nuys, CA, has released a new CD titled Keep the Music Playing. (Visit She is also the music director for Warner Bros. recording artist Norman Brown, teaches at Musician's Institute, and authored the book Funk Keyboards for Hal Leonard Publications.

Bassist Mark Snyder of Milton, MA, is a member of the faculty at Noble and Greenough School in Dedham and plays with the Common Ground Band and Safam. His quartet recently released the CD Groove This. Visit

Guitarist Dave Askren performed with the Latin jazz group Rhubumba at the January IAJE conference in Long Beach, CA. The group's self-titled CD was released on the Sea Breeze label.

Guitarist Bruce Arnold of New York City released Early Music with his band Spooky Actions. The disc features Arnold, John Gunther (woodwinds), Mike Richmond (bass), and Kirk Driscoll (drums) playing early chants and melodies with a contemporary twist.

Singer/songwriter Paul (Bettencourt) Gabriel of West Warwick, RI, produced the CD Love, Courage, and the Open Road featuring 10 of his original songs.

Baritone saxophonist Claire Daly of New York City released Heaven Help Us All. Her Swing Low CD is in the interactive listening stations at the library at the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, AK. Daly also won the recent Down Beat critics poll as rising star on baritone and talent deserving wider recognition. Visit

Guitarist Paul Nelson of Stamford, CT, wrote the title track and played guitar for legendary blues artist Johnny Winter's Grammy-nominated CD I'm a Bluesman on the Virgin/EMI label.

Drummer Bill Spoke of Hollywood, CA, played drums on Sure Signs by folk-rock artist Jason Saulon. Visit

Pianist Nathan Aronow of Newton, MA, released the CD Hearing Things featuring his original jazz compositions. He also leads the Nate Aronow Nextet. Visit

Guitarist Kevin Barbour of Nashua, NH, released the CD Changing Skies. Barbour produced the contemporary jazz disc and played all instruments. Visit

Guitarist Benn Correale of Cooper City, FL, has released 180 Degrees-A Flamingo Road Jazz Compilation with his band 180 Degrees. The disc features contemporary Christian smooth jazz selections.

Songwriter Monique Dayan of Los Angeles, CA, finished her bachelor of music degree at California State University and is working on a master's degree in music education. She teaches elementary school music.

Engineer K.K. Proffitt of Nashville, TN, owner of JamSync Studio, mixed the 5.1 soundtrack and authored the DVD for the Tony Cane-Honeysett film The Royal Academy. Visit

Saxophonist Scott Robinson of Teaneck, NJ, gave his first solo concert in 23 years on November 4. The original music, featuring Robinson on saxophones, clarinets, flutes, theremin, and other instruments, was mathematically based.

Jacob Slichter of Brooklyn, NY, is the drummer for the band Semisonic and author of So You Wanna Be a Rock and Roll Star. Visit

Guitarist Doug Jackson of Huntington Beach, CA, recently performed with Kenny Loggins, Pauline Wilson, Terry Sylvester, and Ambrosia. He teaches guitar at Biola Universtiy in La Mirada, CA. Visit

Skip Spratt '82  

Saxophonist Skip Spr att of Berlin, NJ, had two of his masterclass CDs published by Saxophone Journal and Dorn Publications. Spratt currently teaches at Berlin Community School. Visit

Saxophonist Ben Schachter of North Wales, PA, released a new CD, titled Nothingman with his group Sung/Unsung. This disc and his four previous CDs are available at

Guitarist Ahmad Mansour of Geneva, Switzerland, released a trio recording of his original jazz compositions titled Short Cuts with bassist Terje Gewelt '87 and drummer Erik Smith. Visit

Guitarist/arranger Ken Fix of North Hollywood, CA, orchestrated the musical Dorian for a Noho Arts Center production. Fix also played guitar and flute in the pit orchestra.

  Mike McManus '85

Singer/songwriter Mike McManus of Agoura Hills, CA, released his first children's CD, Uncle Moondog, to rave reviews from kids and parents. Visit

Guitarist/composer Dan Palladino of East Brunswick, NJ, released the CD Honey, Grab Your Coat! with his band the Mung Brothers. Palladino and Rich Gantner cowrote all of the songs and played all of the instruments on the album. Visit

Georg Brandl Egloff of Los Angeles, CA, wrote music for the film The Chumscrubber and the TV shows ER, Third Watch, and The West Wing, and played organ behind James Taylor on The West Wing. He also wrote, performed, and produced music for the Forest CD.

Pianist Christian Jacob of Van Nuys, CA, released the CD Styne & Mine featuring the music of Jule Styne and some of Jacob's originals. Jacob is backed by bassist Trey Henry and drummer Ray Brinker, and vocalist Tierney Sutton '87 sings on two tracks.

Fred Katz of Washington, DC, presented a paper at the recent Audio Engineering Society Convention. He is the director of electronic music and MIDI education at Omega Studios' School of Applied Recording Arts and Sciences in Rockville, MD.

Tony DiMito of Valley Village, CA, served as the music editor and/or composer for the TV show Grounded for Life and the movies of the week Suburban Madness and The Reagans.

Guitarist Mordy Ferber of Greenwich, CT, recently performed with bassist Jeff Berlin and drummer Adam Nussbaum at the Blue Note in New York and with Bob Moses in Asia.

Saxophonist Michael Rosen of Rome, Italy, is working for RAI, the Italian national television company, playing jazz in Italy and Switzerland, and planning a new CD with Peter Erskine and Palle Danielson.

Saxophonist Ole Mathisen of New York City released the CD NYNDK on the Jazzheads label. Players on the disc include Chris Washburne (trombone), Søren Moller (piano), Ray Vega (trumpet), Per Mathisen (bass), and Tony Moreno (drums).

Joe Stoebenau of Sinking Spring, PA, authored a book titled Teach Yourself to Play Pedal Steel Guitar. Stoebenau also plays dobro, trumpet, harmonica, guitar, and French horn and is writing a new book titled Playing Jazz on French Horn.

Guitarist/vocalist Nick Bomleny of Windermere, FL, is playing locally with the 1980s tribute band Switch. Visit

Jennifer (Rowe) Dixon of Orlando, FL, is an associate with the law firm of Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed in Orlando. A graduate of Florida State University College of Law, Dixon's practice focuses on musical artist representation.

David Harris of Charlotte, NC, operates Studio B, a mastering facility featured in the October issue of Pro Sound News. Harris has mastered projects for Hootie and the Blowfish, Reverend Horton Heat, and Southern Culture on the Skids. Visit

Elise (Bain) MacDonald of Wilton, NH, is the director of instrumental music at High Mowing School in Wilton.

Bassist Paul Rogalski of Longmont, CO, and his band Mojama released Drivin', the band's debut CD of original songs.

Pianist Ken Berman of New York City released the CD Ken Berman Trio with bassist Ippei Ichimaru and bassist Miki Matsuki. The disc features four Berman jazz originals.

Vocalist Lauren Glick of Ocean City, MD, performs with Campfyre Girls and Lauren Glick and Company. She has released her third CD titled Keep on Movin'.

Bassist Ivan Bodley of Brooklyn, NY, appeared in a documentary with Sam Moore and played on Ben Jelen's Give It All Away CD. He also performed Alexander Markov's Rock Concerto in Bursa, Turkey, in February. Visit

Composer Bill Brown of Los Angeles, CA, is the composer for the TV series CSI:NY and scored the movie Lady Death. Visit

John Kendall of Sarasota, FL, teaches at Sarasota Middle School and the Florida West Coast Symphony's adult education program.

Tyrone Lancaster composed the score for the movies Timeserver and Barrymore's Dream.

Pianist Mika Pohjola of New York City arranged and produced music for the CD Scandinavian Yuletide Voices. It features eight singers and 10 instrumentalists performing Scandinavian Christmas songs. Visit

Songwriter Sandrine Ligabue of Astoria, NY, wrote a song that was used in a September 2004 episode of Smallville. It appears on her debut album Histoires d'Eau.

Kasson Crooker of Belmont, MA, is the audio director at the video-game development company Harmonix Music Systems in Cambridge, MA. He has also released eight albums with the bands Freezepop, Splashdown, and Symbion Project.

Vocalist JoJo David of Needham, MA, released the CD Small Hours with pianist Adam Birnbaum. Visit His wife, Anne Marie David '93, also released her first vocal album titled Peace Be With You. The couple had their first child, Madeline, in October.

Vocalist Lisa Donahey of Van Nuys, CA, has been the voice on a variety of Disney projects and was a featured soloist on the Three Musketeers DVD. She also sang on the short film I Am Stamos that was scored by Karl Preusser '94.

Guitarist "Metal" Mike Chlasciak of North Arlington, NJ, released the CD Metal for Life with his band Pain Museum and members of Testament, Death, and Iced Earth. Chlasciak also signed a publishing deal with Warner Chappell. Visit

Saxophonist Brian Kane of Urbanna, VA, has published the books Creative Jazz Sight Reading and Jazz Style and Technique with Jazz Path Publishing.

Chapman Stick player Tom Griesgraber of Encinitas, CA, opened for the California Guitar Trio on their US tour and released the CD A Whisper in the Thunder. Visit

Taku Hirano of Los Angeles, CA, plays percussion on the DVD Fleetwood Mac: Live in Boston and is touring with Bette Midler.

Pianist and composer Paulo Tozzi of São Paulo, Brazil, authored the book Method for Improvising in Jazz. Visit

Pianist/composer Sila Cevikce of Cambridge, MA, released the CD A New Abode on SteepleChase Productions, which was coproduced by Kim Bock '96. Cevikce scored a short film titled Catskill Chainsaw Redemption and composed a song cycle titled Songs of Self. Visit

Singer and songwriter Jose Conde of Brooklyn, NY, released the Latin music CD titled Ay! Que Rico. Visit

Takako Ishikawa-Temple '96  

Takako Ishikawa-Temple received a Creative Arts Emmy for sound editing for the HBO series Deadwood. She is currently a sound-effects editor for the series Joan of Arcadia.

Bassist Jay McGuire of Los Angeles, CA, a member of the metal band Otep, was profiled in Bass Player magazine. Otep released the CD House of Secrets in July. Visit

Composer/guitarist Tyra Neftzger of Nashville, TN, released the CD Psalmthing Blue with his quartet Third Inversion. Visit

Vibist Christos Rafalides of Astoria, NY, toured Greece with Manhattan Vibes featuring vocalist Mark Ledford '82, saxophonist Donny McCaslin '88, drummer Steve Hass '97, and bassist Mike Pope. Rafalides played on projects for Chaka Khan and George F., Mike Stern '75, and Dave Weckl.

Justin Ballard of Quincy, MA, played guitar in a production of John Cameron Mitchell's rock musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch.

Guitarist Vlad DeBriansky of Oakland, CA, released his US debut album Vladosphere, distributed by Orpheus Records. Visit

Andy Fox of Deptford, NJ, released a solo acoustic guitar CD titled The Long Walk Home. Fox also records and performs with Denise O'Brien. Visit

Rob Healy of Morristown, NJ, founded the electronic music net label Anthrophone and plays with the electronic band Lightfromadeadstar. Visit

Pianist/songwriter Jim Bianco of Los Angeles, CA, released the CD titled Handsome Devil.

Anat Cohen of Astoria, NY, played clarinet with the Brazilian group Choro Ensemble at a performance in New York's Carnegie Hall. Visit

Saxophonist Nicolas Gross of Geneva, Switzerland has been performing with Vincent Bourgeyx '98, Nicolas Meier '98, Denis Jusseaume '97, and Ludovic Tirelli '02. He also recorded an album with pianist Christophe Misteli and discs with Edouard de Ganay '98 and Alain Perrenoud '99.

Bassist Whynot Jansveld of Brooklyn, NY, toured America and Australia with Gavin DeGraw. Visit

Flutist Mattan Klein of New York City played at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, with the Crossroads Ensemble.

Saxophonist Jerome Sabbagh of Brooklyn, NY, has released a new CD, titled North. It features guitarist Ben Monder, drummer Ted Poor, and bassist Joe Martin playing Sabbagh's original jazz tunes. Visit

No-Kyung Lee of Busan, Korea, recorded her solo piano compositions on the CD Light Up. Korean jazz magazine MMJazz recently featured her CD and an interview.

Singer/songwriter Katie Miner of Franklin, TN, released her debut CD, Loaves & Fishes, featuring 10 of Miner's original songs. Backing her were Shane Adams '95, Sandy Tipping '99, and Jan Stolpe '98. Visit

Pianist/composer Yuko Takahashi of Arlington, MA, released her second CD, Letters from Ms. M., featuring her original new-age and pop instrumentals. Akiko Joo '98 appears on one track. Visit

Composer/arranger Yu Yamasaki of Funabashi-shi, Japan, released an instrumental CD featuring the Yamasaki Pops Orchestra titled Christmas Concert last fall.

Guitarist Marcelo Birrer Fujisaki of San Gabriel, CA, had his profile and demo posted on the undiscovered talents section of the Guitar Nine Records home page until January 31.

Natasha Bishop of Sherman Oaks, CA, an agent for the Ultra Agency, has started the Natasha Bishop Company and represents Justin Tranter '01 and Upper Structure. Visit

Ralph Brandon of Brooklyn, NY, started a production company called Lucid Music with Raghu Seshadri '02. Brandon is doing graduate studies in composition and film scoring at New York University and working as a music editor for One Life to Live.

Drummer Randy Cloutier of North Providence, RI, recorded with the Dean Marcellana Latin Jazz Trio featuring Berklee faculty bassist Oscar Stagnaro. Cloutier also plays with the Gary Sugal Contemporary Big Band.

Pianist Wydell Croom of Germantown, MD, received a Tiffany Gospel Award for being instrumentalist of the year and released a CD titled Season. Visit

Engineer Richard Oliver Furch of Los Angeles, CA, recently worked on projects for Macy Gray, Outkast, Usher, Fountains of Wayne, and the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. Visit

  Eugene Toale '00

Eugene Toale operates the recording studio Light at the End of the Tunnel and has recorded Mya, Brandy, Raekwon, and Kanye West. West's College Dropout, which Toale recorded, sold two million copies and received 10 Grammy nominations.

Composer Alekros Vretos of Argos, Greece, released the CD Yunan with the Leiti Ensemble. Vretos plays oud on 10 originals and traditional Greek and Middle Eastern melodies.

Percussionist/composer Alyosha Barreiro of Mexico City, Mexico, has written music for theater productions and recorded two CDs. He performs frequently in Mexico.

Nick DeKoff of New York City is the supervisor of music talent and new media at Creative License. He has worked on major commercial campaigns for Chevrolet, Gatorade, MCI, Samsung, and others.

Juri P. Jones of Brookline, MA, served as the musical director for the musical comedy The Diet Monologues at Old South Church in November. Visit

Luis Rodriguez of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, teaches at the Conservatory of Music of Puerto Rico and recorded the CD Jazz Is Just the Beginning.

Percy Rosale of Philadelphia, PA, launched a music review site at

Soshi Uchida of Tokyo, Japan, debuted with his group Grooveline at the Blue Note clubs in Fukuoka and Nagoya. The band's CD Street Vibes was released by Victor Records. Visit

Bassist Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee of Point Reyes Station, CA, released Borrowed Time, a CD featuring Mark Turner '90, Dayna Stephens '01, Albert Sanz '02, and Ferenc Nemeth '01. Visit

Darcie-Nicole Wicknick and James Auburn (Tootle) '97 cofounded the Boston Hip-Hop Alliance. Visit Auburn is the music director for Nichelle Mungo '97.

Songwriter Aruna Abrams of Los Angeles, CA, won first prize in the pop category at the 2004 USA Songwriting Competition. Natsumi Sakaguchi '03 won an honorable mention award.

Bassist Steve Jenkins released Mad Science with David Fiuczynski (guitar), Adam Deitch '98, Charles Haynes '99, and Tony Escapa '01 (drums), Sam Kininger '95 (saxophone), Jeff Bhasker '99 (keyboards), and coproducer Dan Brantigan '02 on trumpet and flugelhorn. Visit

Bassist Jenni Tarma of London, England, toured and recorded with Melanie C (former Spice Girl) and also performs and records with Warner Bros. recording artist Har Mar Superstar and the band Ray.

Percussionist Nolan Warden of Boston, MA, performed at the 2004 Seoul Drum Festival with the percussion trio Handful. He is studying ethnomusicology at Tufts University. Visit

Vocalist Heather Carbonell of Sayreville, NJ, and drummer Eric Johnson '03 will get married in June.

Songwriter Alicia Champion of Redondo Beach, CA, and Kelly Bowen '95 produced the first San Diego Indie Music Fest in November featuring Jonatha Brooke, Erika Luckett '88, Adrianne Gonzalez '99, Kevin Wood '01, and Kyler England '00.

Dan Eppel of Cape Town, South Africa, plays with various acts and teaches anthropology at the American International School in Cape Town.

Devon Bartlett of Denver, CO, works at INDIEgo Jazz Promotions and the Synergy Music label.

(From the left): bassist Annie Clements '04, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, and Theresa Andersson  

Bassist Annie Clements of Metairie, LA, performed with singer Theresa Andersson at Wembley Arena in London for a 50th anniversary celebration of the Fender Stratocaster. Clements jammed onstage with members of the Stones, Queen, Pink Floyd, the Eagles, Bad Company, and others.

Eimi Tanaka of Haworth, NJ, Yong-Su Choi 04, Esther Lee '04, Bum Jun Lee '04, and eight Berklee students produced a concert for the Korean Cultural Center in September with Korean music stars Bum Soo Kim, Drunken Tiger, T, and Berklee faculty members Gabrielle Goodman and Jim Kelly at the Berklee Performance Center.