One of the things that makes being a professional musician fun and keeps it interesting is the variety of working with so many different people in a wide range of genres and settings. Presented here is an overview of some of the various artists I'm making music with currently...
Bill's latest version of his group continues the evolution of his concept, growing from the Soulgrass incarnation with its strong Bluegrass/Americana-meets-jazz flavors to a more powerfully direct rock sound, keeping the jazz improvisation element front and center. Bill is one of the most accomplished and distinctive saxophonists of his generation in jazz, having played with Miles Davis and John McLaughlin before embarking on his solo career, and it's a very enjoyable challenge to rise to the burning level he and the band go for every night.
Bob is an incredibly talented pianist, composer, and producer I've had the pleasure of working with since the early nineties. Bob's music is in that super groovy place where smooth jazz, R&B, funk, latin, Brazilian, and straight ahead meet to hang out and chill! Bob's drive and restless creative spirit have taken him in a number of interesting directions, and it's been an exciting ride to listen and watch as he fearlessly tries different combinations of musicians and genres to see what's around the corner. There are great musicans everywhere you turn – but the way Bob's heart and soul and personal values inform every note he writes and plays put him in a very special category.
I'm thrilled to be a part of this great group, featuring Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole and, most recently, Marcus Anderson when they appear in and around the NY area.
I knew Ken through a gig with Philippe Saisse when he contacted me about recording material he was composing for a musical (or "bluesical", as he called it). What started as a plan to record a quick, bare bones demo blossomed into a full blown band recording. I was happy to be able to assist Ken in lining up the studio and musicians and provide a second set of ears in the arranging, editing, and mixing phases. The result is a fantastic CD I'm very proud to be a part of.
"Failing Forward – The Bluesical" was presented this year at several NY area venues in both an intimate cabaret setting and a full-roar band extravaganza (with myself as musical director for the latter), featuring the great Tabitha Fair. Check the site for great clips from both shows.
Don Harris, Tyger MacNeal and myself – a bass, percussion and trumpet power trio. I've been friends with Tyger and Don for years – Tyger and I go back to our earliest days as young musicians in CT and Don and I have close to fifteen years of playing in each other's bands and finding ourselves on concerts and recording sessions together. The other thing we all have in common is that we live in Northwestern CT, which is why, after I had found a local open mic in nearby New Milford CT that I was frequenting and enjoying, I thought of Don and Tyger when I got the urge to bring a few of my guys into the picture. Serendipity being what it is, I had called some other local pros to see if they might be cajoled into an off-night hang – but these guys are the ones who took me up on my offer. We launched into a free improvisation with Tyger's electronic/acoustic hybrid kit and Don's delay pedals that I was sure would clear the room – or worse, get us kicked to the curb. To our amazement, people erupted in applause and cheered for more. And thus a band was born.
We've since recorded several sessions here at Flying Squirrel studio and appeared twice on a wonderful music variety show produced and recorded here in Connecticut by David And Douglas Bibbey called Hi5TV. A link to the first of those performances can be found on the video page. More will assuredly ensue when we are lucky to find the rare slots in our schedules when all of us are back here in our lovely home state.
I've been a part of John Fumasoli's ten piece jazz fusion mini-big band since the late '80's, and played on both of the band's recordings, as well as mixed and co-produced the most recent, Blast From The Past. John and I are gearing up to launch into another recording project this summer with the band at the Carriage House studio in Stamford CT. By interesting coincidence, the Ken Gioffre Group (also occasionally functioning as the Dave Anderson Group – which is to say, Ken, Thierry Arpino, Rob Aries, and myself) make up four tenths of the current Jones Factor line-up.
The best "These guys are way too good to be playing in a bar somewhere" bar band you'll ever hear! Joel Rosenblatt (BS&T, Spyro Gyra, Michel Camilo), Bill Heller (Rippingtons, Eric Marienthal), and myself join Jay on guitar and vocals to play enough classic rock to keep the audience happy... and enough fusion to call it a fun night out during the week when we'd be home otherwise!