Alum Notes

Compiled by Emily Dufresne


  Randy Klein '71


Bassist and vocalist Dennis Pratt of Newport, RI, plays with the Al Wilson Trio with drummer Stan Ellis '68. He is also working with Dr. Thomas Shaker on a new edition of Who's Who in Rhode Island Jazz, which was written in 1988 by Lloyd Kaplan and Robert Petteruti. The authors are scouting for information on jazz musicians who were born in Rhode Island and who have contributed to the local jazz scene over the past 30 years. Contact Pratt at


Pianist and composer Randy Klein of New York City has written an original musical titled Flambe Dreams about a man who dreams of becoming a great maître'd. Performances of the show will begin in New York in November. Klein's choral setting of the poem "For My People" by Margaret Walker, will be performed at James Madison University in April 2011.


Arranger Frank Racette of Putnam, CT, was the musical director for All Through the Night: A Tribute to Cole Porter at Nick's Bar &Restaurant in Worcester, MA. The revue featured four sold-out shows of Racette's arrangements of 50 Porter Broadway standards. Performers included vocalist Dan Burke '00, sound engineer Dorian Gatej '06 and drummer Tom Spears.


Alan Palanker of Wellington, FL, was the music director for Dennis Lambert's show The Man behind the Music in Palm Springs, CA, last November with bandmates Neil Stubenhaus '75 and Jeff Richman '75. Featured performers included Natalie Cole, Dave Koz, Siedah Garrett, the Commodores, Player, and Tavares.


Frank Racette '72  

Composer and drummer Jeffrey Meyer of New York City released the new single "Christmas" for the holiday season with pianist Michael Pellera '76, bassist Jesse Boyd, and vocalist Alison Lefevre.

Vibes player Charles Xavier of San Bruno, CA, and his ensemble released the CD Xmas Vibe, which brings an eclectic and creative edge to traditional and contemporary holiday songs. Visit


Composer Hal Goldstein of Shohola, PA, won Indaba Music's Raheem DeVaughn Remix Contest, placing first out of 600 entries worldwide. He also won a SESAC TV composers award for the fourth year in a row. His music can be heard on Fox TV, CBS News, 48 Hours, Dateline NBC, and others.


Bob Malone of West Hollywood, CA, released his new CD Ain't What You Know. Visit

Drummer Chris Massey of Langenthal, Switzerland, toured Europe in a traditional B3 organ trio with blues guitarist Chris Duarte. The trio paid tribute to jazz legend John Coltrane in an all-Coltrane program. He also endorses Istanbul Agop Cymbals and teaches at the WIAM jazz school in Winterthur, Switzerland, which was founded by Swiss saxophonist and alumnus Albert Landholt. Visit

  Charles Xavier '75

Guitarist Mark Miller of Bethlehem, CT, released One Lane Bridge, which features several guest artists, including Grammy winners David Darling (cello) and Ken Emerson (lap steel guitar). Visit

Trumpeter Chaya Tinterow of Houston, TX, has worked steadily as a trumpeter, pianist, guitarist, and vocalist during the 32 years since he left Berklee. Tinterow has performed with the Nelson Riddle Orchestra, the Houston Pops Orchestra, the Theatre Under the Stars orchestra, and the Houston Ballet Orchestra. Visit

Saxophonist Ambrose Splescia of Honolulu, HI, released a new CD titled Pleasure Pain Dezire. Visit


Trumpeter Jonathan Lax of Summit, NJ, performed with woodwind player Dave Watson at the Berwick Brewing Company in Berwick, PA, and did a solo show in Orleans, MA. He is the band and orchestra director at the Dr. Walter F. Robinson School and the Lincoln Community School, in Bayonne, NJ.


Saxophonist Aaron Heick of New York City released his first solo CD, Daylight &Darkness, featuring guitarist Wayne Krantz '76 and others. Heick has worked as a sideman for such artists as Sting, Chaka Khan, Richard Bona, Barbra Streisand, and Paul Simon. Visit

Composer Jan Stevens of Los Angeles, CA, has written music for ABC's hit TV show Scrubs for the past nine seasons. His music has also been featured on The Sopranos, Saturday Night Live, Entourage, and other shows.

Frank Amsallem'84  


Composer Chris Harwood of Gilbertsville, KY, released his latest contemporary Christian CD, My Light. The disc features all original compositions by Harwood and vocalist Christal Mason. Visit

Composer Mark Alan Schulz of Canton, OH, received an Emmy Award at the 41st annual event for his 2009 score to the documentary Final Edition: Journalism According to John S. Knight. Visit


Pianist Franck Amsallem of Brooklyn, NY, released Amsallem Sings, the eighth CD under his name. The May issue of JazzTimes magazine gave the disc a glowing review. Visit


Singer/songwriter Ronald Carter of Jeffersonville, VT, released his first children's CD Give Me an RRR! under his stage name Rockin' Ron the Friendly Pirate. Visit 1987

Bassist Terje Gewelt of Oslo, Norway, released Azure, a new CD featuring acoustic guitarist Staffan William-Olsson, accordionist Alfred Janson, and special-guest vocalist Karin Krog. Visit

Guitarist Dave Reynolds of Newbury Park, CA, earned a doctorate of musical arts in classical guitar from Shenandoah Conservatory. Currently he performs and tours with various acts. Visit

  Ronald Carter '86

The Guatemalan Association of Massachusetts at a special event celebrating the Independence Day of Guatemala at Boston City Hall Plaza recognized drummer Ricardo Monzon of Melrose, MA, for his accomplishments.

Songwriter Steve Noonan of Orono, MN, penned the song "I Can Lead," which was showcased during the August 13 Minnesota Twins home game and has also been added to the rotation for future home games. Released in 2009, the song was included in the EP Noonan recorded at Flowers Studio in Minneapolis with Nick Salisbury '00 on bass. Visit


Guitarist and vocalist Marc Brown of Huslia, AK, was named on the ballot for seven Native American Music Awards (a.k.a. the NAMMYs) including the Debut Artist, Best Instrumental, Best Producer, Record of the Year, Best Rock Recording, Song of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year categories. Visit

Composer Shawn K. Clement of Canyon Country, CA, wrote the original score to the film Quantum Quest. The project was recorded at Skywalker Ranch with the San Francisco Symphony. The score was also nominated in the Best Score category at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards and was included in Movie Score magazine's Top 10 list of most anticipated film scores of 2010. He is currently scoring for several truTV programs, including Top 20 Most Shocking and Most Daring. Visit

Steve Noonan '87  

Saxophonist and teacher Steve Neff of Brookline, NH, completed his fifth book on jazz improvisation, Mastering the Major Bebop Scale &Sound. For the past three years, he has operated a popular jazz improvisation and saxophone video lesson site. Visit

Guitarist, composer, and arranger Russ Spiegel of Brooklyn, NY, and the Russ Spiegel Jazz Orchestra, his 17-piece big band, released the CD Transplants. Spiegel also writes a weekly blog for the website Visit


Singer/songwriter Eric Fontana of Cranston, RI, played the lead role in The Buddy Holly Story productions at the Courthouse Center for the Arts in West Kingston and the Park Theatre in Cranston. Fontana also works as a session musician and assistant recording engineer and plays in the modern rock band Hope Anchor. Visit

Songwriter, composer, and producer Matthew Puckett of Los Angeles, CA, had three of his songs featured on the ABC show Boston Med including "Land," which he cowrote with Kenny Foster, "I've Been Waiting," and "Here and Now." The songs appear on his CD Red Flowers. Visit

  Kurt Rosenwinkel '90

Guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel of Lucerne, Switzerland, released the new album Kurt Rosenwinkel &OJM: Our Secret World, featuring the artist with the Orquestra Jazz de Matosinhos. Visit 1991

Bassist John Litzenberg of Natchitoches, LA, played bass, vocals, and rhythm guitar, and coproduced the recording $20 Tips Vol. 1, the latest album of blues, soul, and zydeco standards from Louisiana folk artist, bandleader, singer, and saxophonist Hardrick Rivers. Visit


Kevin Kliesch of Burbank, CA, orchestrated the score to the new Disney animated film Tangled and worked closely with eight-time Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken. Vocalist Lisa Donahey '94 sang on the film, which is coming to theaters in November.

Bassist Ivan Bodley of Brooklyn, NY, played in "The Soundtrack of Our Lives" showcase featuring songwriters Barry Mann, Jimmy Webb, and Lamont Dozier. On October 8, he was featured as a soloist in Carnegie Hall in Alexander Markov's Rock Concerto and performed with members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Little Anthony &the Imperials. Visit

Kevin Kliesch '92  

Drummer Michael Powers of Wakefield, MA, plays drums and sings backup with Jandee Lee Porter's band in support of the group's new self-released CD No Reason to Lie. The band has opened for Zac Brown, Reba McEntire, Danny Gokey, and Jo Dee Messina. Visit

Julio R. Vargas-Vidal of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, was ordained as an elder of the Methodist Church of Puerto Rico. Among his many tasks, he coordinates music for the church.


Pianist Mika Pohjola of New York City has edited Herb Pomeroy's "Line Writing" course and made it available as a digital download through Blue Music Group. Visit 1994

Guitarist Shinobu Nakamura of Urayasu, Japan, works as a record producer and has done projects for Nescafé& TV-CM in Japan.

Panos Panay of Watertown, MA, the owner of Sonicbids, was awarded a Mass High Tech All-Star Award in the Internet category. He was also named to the 40 Under 40 list of emerging business leaders in Greater Boston by Boston Business Journal.

Producer Torbin Harding of Shrewsbury, MA, produced and released the album For Real by rap and spoken-word artist Aslan King on the artist's Lo-Z Records label. The video for his first single, "BP Oil Rap (How Can You)," received 500 YouTube hits during its first week and is available on iTunes. His previous albums for Lo-Z Records include Matthew Hopewell's Viva Psychedelia and his own Lamp on the Table.


Singer/songwriter Jen Chapin of Brooklyn, NY, recently completed a tour that took her throughout New England and to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia. Visit

Composer Ian McGlynn of Somerville, NJ, composed the music for the Heineken Light "See the Light" trailer playing in movie theaters across the nation. He also composed music for the T-Mobile "School Bus" national TV spot. Visit

Pianist Paulo Tozzi of São Paulo, Brazil, released a CD of standards with the Paulo Tozzi Duo Trio featuring Jose Pienasola '00 and Vinicius Pienasola. Visit


  Julia Gorychkina '96

Pianist Julia Gorychkina of Winthrop, MA, released TheatreWorks, an album of original compositions blending elements of classical, jazz, and ambient music featuring John Baboian '77, Scott Goulding '93, and Todd Brunel. The disc was recorded by Dan Cantor '88 of Notable Productions in Watertown, MA, and mixed and mastered at Estudio Soma in Rio de Janerio, Brazil. Visit

Drummer Jarrod Cagwin of Vienna, Austria, works with Rabih Abou-Khalil, an innovator in contemporary oriental jazz, and with the Sezen Aksu group. He teaches rhythmic theory at schools in Frankfurt, Germany. Visit

Guitarist, composer, and arranger Nicolas Meier of London, the United Kingdom, and his band released their new CD Journey. He also took part in London's International Guitar Festival with his trio and will release a CD with his group Eclectica! in the fall through MGP Records. Currently he is recording with his metal band Seven7. Visit

Ben Zwerin of Brooklyn, NY, and his band Running Still released Losing My Reality. He has toured with Claudia Acuña, Lila Downs, Nouvelle Vague, and Daisy Jopling. Visit

Saxophonist Sean Nowell of Astoria, NY, released his new CD The Seeker on Posi-Tone Records. Visit


Manda Mosher '97  

Singer/songwriter Manda Mosher of Los Angeles, CA, released her new EP City of Clowns on Red Parlor Records and toured throughout the summer. Visit


Drummer Joe DeRose of San Jose, CA, and his group Joe DeRose and Amici released Sounds for the Soul with guitarist Hristo Vitchev, bassist Dan Robbins, saxophonist Dann Zinn, and Weber Iago on keyboards. Visit

Brooke Fox of Brooklyn, NY, gave a reading of her new musical project The Ballad of Rom &Julz in the Spiegeltent at Bard College. She also performed with the Above Average White Band at the NOAH Conference, an event for persons with albinism. Visit

John Propper of Nashville, TN, finished his album 13 Arrows with Black Honey. He has begun his 10th year as a teacher and the music director at Battle Ground Academy in Franklin, TN. Visit

Guitarist and songwriter André& Kunz of Olten, Switzerland, released his new CD When Kingdoms Fall. Visit

Zoran Rebrovic of Milton, MA, conducted the Junior SEMSBA orchestra, comprising junior high-school students from the southeast Massachusetts district in May 2010. The 70-piece youth orchestra performed works by Gustav Mahler, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, George Handel, and others.

Lupa Santiago of São Paulo, Brazil, was elected to the board of directors of the International Association of Schools of Jazz. Visit

Drummer Mark Sutton of Ypsilanti, MI, performed and toured with 1970s musical icons KC &the Sunshine Band and Tony Orlando. Sutton can also be heard on the album Welcome to My World by recording artist Justine Blazer. Sutton conducts clinics and masterclasses at such institutions as the Interlochen Summer Arts Camp and the Power Chord Academy in Chicago. Visit

Guitarist Patrick Walters of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, released a self-titled six-song EP of instrumental guitar music. His song "Midtown July" was reviewed in the April 2010 issue of Guitar Player magazine. Visit


Singer/songwriter Matt Cusson of Adams, MA, was featured as a singer on "Man in the Mirror," the Michael Jackson tribute tour, which is currently touring Europe. Cusson's single "One of Those Nights" was the winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and earned second place in the International Songwriting Competition. The track will be released as a jazz single worldwide through Spectra Records. His song "Every Step" is included on the album C Notes for Haiti, all of whose proceeds go to support the Haiti Relief Fund. Visit

Mixer Richard Furch of North Hollywood, CA, and opened the mixHaus Studios in Los Angeles. He has mixed for artists such as Prince, Usher, Chaka Khan, Katharine McPhee, and more. Visit

Bassist Yukiko Fujii of Boston, MA, guitarist Satoru Nakagawa '00, drummer Kosei Fukuyama '07, and their blues-roots-rock trio Tokyo Tramps won the River City Ohio Blues Competition 2010 and will compete in the International Blues Challenge in February 2011. Visit


  Matthew Cahoon '00

Singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Cahoon of Brookline, MA, and his pop-electronica project Everpresent completed a fifth release, Darklight (Maxi Single). Kenny Pappaconstantinou '05, James Willetts '00, and Steve Catizone '94 produced and engineered the CD. The music video has been featured on Pulse TV, the CW Television Network, and More Music. Visit

Composer Gunnard Doboze of San Francisco, CA, scored The Last Campaign of Governor Booth Gardner, which was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary Short category. Visit

Drummer and percussionist Peter Hasler of Zurich, Switzerland, released his second solo drumming CD, Drum Pictures and Stories, on the Swiss jazz label Altrisuoni. He owns a private school for drums and percussion. Visit

Jon Neufeld of Brooklyn, NY, and Matthew Thorton '00 released a self-titled EP with their band Hawks &Doves. The EP was mixed by Kevin Killen, who has worked with U2, Peter Gabriel, and Elvis Costello. Visit

Jonathan Perkins '00  

Composer Jonathan Perkins of New York City won an Emmy for best program or special in the Business/Consumer category for his work on the documentary Doing Business in China, for which he contributed and mixed the music score. Visit


Bassist André&s Domínguez of Maynard, MA, released the new CD Observance. Visit

Trumpeter and composer Erik Telford of Austin, TX, released EJT Music, a new iPhone app available for free through iTunes. The app includes video, news, calendar, photos, and a mailing list. Visit 2002

Guitarist and composer Woohyuk Choi of Seoul, Korea, and bassist Sungwook Kim '03 released their first album as KC Bridge. The group is a neotraditional jazz quartet that also features Mijung Lim '03. Visit

Singer/songwriter Monika Hoffman of Malmö, Sweden, released her new CD Monika Hoffman and the Scandinavian Knights, which features standards and original songs. Renowned Hungarian pianist Robert Lakatos played on the disc. Visit

Drummer Jason Smith of Kansas City, KS, and his band Heroes and Villains have been touring nationally to promote their new EP Plans in Motion. He is active in the Kansas City jazz scene and operates a teaching studio. For more information, visit

  Monika Hoffman '02


Guitarist and composer Todd Clouser of Wayzata, MN, released the new jazz-groove album A Love Electric, featuring trumpeter Steven Bernstein. Clouser's recent performances include shows with Ingrid Jensen '89, Keb' Mo', and drummer Hernan Hecht. Visit

Composer and arranger Chie Imaizumi of Denver, CO, released her second CD, A Time of New Beginnings, on Capri Records. It features alumni Scott Robinson '81 and Greg Gisbert '85. Imaizumi's Big Band Adventure was also featured on the "Avatar Studio Presents" podcast. Visit

Jazz composer Sakiko Masuda of Kobe, Japan, was one of three finalists selected in the Scrivere in Jazz 2010 competition. She has won other composition awards and written music for the Metropole Orchestra directed by Vince Mendoza. Visit

Vocalist Christopher Nicholas of Miller Place, NY, and his band Ensemble Mik Nawooj had their song "Great Integration" selected as July's second-best soul-hip-hop-r&b record by Pirate Cat Radio. Visit

Drummer and audio engineer Donovan Pyle of New York City was the assistant mix engineer for Carl Glanville on U2's 360 at the Rose Bowl DVD. Pyle and his band the Auctioneers recently performed at the Wanee Music Festival with the Allman Brothers, the Black Keys, and more. Visit

Guitarist Adam Ross of Los Angeles, CA, appeared in Rihanna's music video for the song "Rockstar 101" and played guitar on her 2010 world tour alongside Nuno Bettencourt.

Herman "Billy" Schleifer IV of Los Angeles, CA, cowrote, produced, and mixed "Last Ones Standing," the official song of the AFL Grand Final, which is Australia's equivalent to the Super Bowl.

Bassist and composer Aldemar Valentin of San Juan, Puerto Rico, released his first solo recording Finding My Path. The album was recorded live in San Juan. Visit


Heather Briere and Eric Pfeifer '06 were married on August 7, 2010, in Boston. They live in New York City, where Briere works at Carnegie Hall and scores films, and Pfeifer works as a freelance audio engineer for TV and film.

Herman "Billy" Schleifer IV '03  

Candace Burnham of South Pasadena, CA, is an intern at the Department of State at the General Consulate of the United States in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She was recently profiled in the online publication The Comm Line. Visit

Guitarist Alex Knutsen of Boston, MA, drummer Takuma Anzai '05, and their band Mission Hill opened for Bon Jovi and Kid Rock at Gillette Stadium on August 26. They released their new EP Beautiful Addiction and played at the Jason Varitek Celebrity Putt-Putt fundraiser. Visit


Guitarist and songwriter Eric French of Cranston, RI, released his debut CD, Eric French &Mr. Hyde, a dual release featuring acoustic and electric collections of original music. Visit

Guitarist, bassist, composer, and arranger Michel Gonzalez of Miami, FL, released his work Bienmesabe with Roberto Cachimuel. The pair creates traditional Latin-American songs and other compositions. Visit

Guitarist Gabriel Riesco of Madrid, Spain, released Sculptures in Time, the second album by his quintet the Gabriel Riesco Project. Visit

  Eric French '05


Guitarist Bryan Baker of Pasadena, CA, released the recording Nothing Falls from the Sky but You and I. He is currently preparing the EP Closer the Night for a November release. Visit

Guitarist Robert Julian of New York City and drummer Lucas Leto '06 released ISLA with their Latin reggae-dub band El Pueblo. Visit

Guitarist David Reffett of Woburn, MA, and his band Shredding the Envelope released the new CD The Call of the Flames, which Iron Maiden front man Bruce Dickinson hailed as a "must-have album" on his BBC radio show. Reffett has appeared in Hard Rocker magazine, Gitar Plus magazine and is a monthly columnist in Guitar World magazine. Visit

Meghan Stabile of New York City and her group Revive Da Live were profiled on the NPR blog A Blog Supreme/NPR Jazz, at Visit



Bassist and accordionist Chris Joye of Chevy Chase, MD, released his debut album, Layers, under the moniker Cue. He currently teaches bass and guitar and is a freelance composer for various media. Visit

Singer/songwriter and guitarist Angela "Angie Marie" Magliocca and her band the Outskirts released their debut EP, Gotta Start Somewhere. Visit

Guitarist Az Samad of Berkeley, CA, can be heard on his second acoustic and finger-style guitar CD, Emo Attack Turtle, and on Tara Linda's CD Tortilla Western Serenade. He received his master's degree in jazz studies from San José& State University and toured Northern California with fellow guitarist Steve Lin. Visit

French saxophonist Alex Terrier of New York City toured Taiwan, Thailand, and France in September. He endorses P. Mauriat Saxophones. Visit


Michael Flanagan '08  

Producer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Michael Flanagan of Milton, MA, released his CD Elevator Music in July. His group features Flanagan on alto and soprano saxophones, Yasko Kubota on piano, Archie Kubota on bass, Alvin Terry on drums, and Neil "Mista" Letendre on vocals. Visit

Cassandra Griffith of Marshfield, MA, recorded her debut EP, You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet, at Turning Point Records in Pembroke, MA. The EP contains a selection of pop and r&b songs, originals, and covers. Visit

Pianist Livia Lin of Brighton, MA, performed Childhood Sketches, a series of solo piano pieces for children at the Asian Music Festival 2010 in Tokyo, Japan. To fulfill requirements for her master's degree, she will present the concert "Introspective" at Tufts University on November 12. The program will include Conoscenza Interiore for octet and other small ensemble and solo compositions.


  Nili Brosh '09

Guitarist Nili Brosh of Newton, MA, recorded a CD of original rock instrumentals titled Through the Looking Glass. The disc features famed guitarist Andy Timmons, as well as alumnus Masashi Ushijima '08 (drums), Tyreek Jackson (bass), and Berklee students Josh Kwolek (bass). The album will be released November 16 through the major online distributors. Visit


Singer/songwriter Liz Longley of Downingtown, PA, performed at the 2010 Newport Folk Festival. She released her new CD Hot Loose Wire, and was the 2010 grand prize winner at the International Acoustic Music Awards. Visit