When I was five I was introduced by my grandparents, Roy and Isobel Boller to the Great American Songbook and classic tunes of Dean Martin, Cole Porter, Tony Bennett, Duke Ellington, and, of course, my all-time favorite vocalist Frank Sinatra. There was something special about Frank. He was so unique and smooth with his phrasing. No one can perform like the Chairman Of The Board.
I participated in school choruses and choirs from 3rd grade through my senior year of highschool. NYSSMA adjudications, All County, Area All-State, and All State choirs were all an important part of my training. When I was 8, I began taking piano lessons. My grandmother even gave me her piano so that I could practice. I joined the Western New York Children’s Choir, Buffalo Choral Arts Society, and American Music Abroad Empire Tour, which gave me the opportunity to perform in such places as New Orleans, Hawaii, France, Austria, Italy, Germany, and Switzerland. Never having been out of the country, touring with these choirs was an amazing experience. Little did I know that it would be my first trip to New York City that would change my life forever.
Because of friends’ encouragement to try out for American Idol and my own temptation of seeing the city that never sleeps, I convinced my mother to take me to New York City for the 3rd season “American Idol ” auditions being held at the Jacob Javits Center in Manhattan. Thinking that I would not make it through the first round of tryouts, I planned out our week of sightseeing. This plan never took effect and I made it through not only the first round but all the way to the top six contestants. The show paved way for me to pursue my dreams. I spent the summer of 2004 touring with the “top 10 ” from season 3, appearing in 49 shows in 46 cities across the USA and Canada. I also had the opportunity to appear on several national television shows including: Ryan Seacrest Live, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, The Late Show with David Letterman and Live with Regis and Kelly.
During October and November of my senior year in high school, I spent weekends in NYC and LA recording my first album “RED ” produced by Steve Tyrell with Maverick Records. In December 2004 I did my first solo concert at the Atlantis Hotel in Nassau, Bahamas for Song Airlines, following their maiden flight to Nassau from NYC. I also performed for the 1st time with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra in the Holiday Pops Concerts conducted by Marvin Hamlisch. In late winter 2005 I performed in Washington, DC for NAMM in a concert with the Commodores after lobbying Congress for support of music education in schools, a cause dear to my heart.
June 2005 brought the release of “RED ”, a five-day appearance at the prestigious Feinstein’s Jazz Club at The Regency Hotel, NYC and graduation from high school. I also appeared at Shea’s Buffalo, The Dakota in Minneapolis, Baton Rouge, The Grove in LA, and for the American Red Cross, Hunter’s Hope, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Habitat for Humanity, Essential Care (hospice for children), The Variety Kids Telethon, The Jerry Lewis Telethon, The Buffalo Philharmonic for Victims of Katrina, and a fundraiser for my high school music department.
In 2009, I graduated Magna Cum Laude from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA with a degree in Professional Music. Throughout the four years at Berklee, I had the opportunity to work with various faculty and students in projects and performances on campus. Outside of school, I was able to continue to perform the music that I love with a New England big band: The Beantown Swing Orchestra. I also performed on Silver Seas Cruises for John Hancock, at Paramount Studios for a private New Years Bash, and at Lowell Memorial Auditorium to raise funds for geriatric housing. Inspired by the curriculum that Berklee offered, I began writing compositions of my own, one of which debuted on my joint production of “ Home For Christmas ”, my second album.
Having been produced, arranged, and recorded in my hometown of Buffalo, NY using musicians of the Queen City, I returned home for its’ special Western New York release. Bringing the community closer together, the album was sold at local retailers and restaurants and a portion of each album sold was donated to the American Red Cross: Buffalo Chapter. In 2009, I performed at Gleasner Hall with Mary Kate O’Connell and the Colored Musicians Club Big Band as well as for the second time with the BPO at the First Niagara Holiday Pops to help promote the release of “Home For Christmas ”.
From 2010 to 2011, I joined the staff of WICN 90.5 FM Jazz Plus, as an early morning radio DJ, hosting "A Tasteful Blend" on Thursdays and Fridays. I continue to tour and record as the lead male vocalist with the Beantown Swing Orchestra and Mighty Groove, a top 40 band.
Danny Fratina is a composer, arranger, transcriptionist, trumpeter, and clinician. He writes and arranges music for bands and orchestras around the world. His work includes commissions for dozens of big bands, film, major universities, symphonies and even the United Nations in Boston. He has twice been a finalist in the ASCAP Young Jazz Composer Awards. Danny earned a degree in Jazz Composition from the Berklee College of Music in 2007.
Randy Pingrey is a freelance trombonist and composer based in Boston, MA. He started playing professionally in the exciting indie rock scene of Eau Claire, Wisconsin and was a member of the Grammy-award-winning band Bon Iver. Randy currently plays with the Ayn Inserto Jazz Orchestra, Evan Ziporyn's Critical Band, his own band The Olson Pingrey Quartet, and many other exciting projects. He can be heard on CDs for the Tzadik, Saddle Creek, Red Piano, and Jagjaguwar labels.
Getting his start in the Midwest, saxophonist Mike Wyatt has had the opportunity to stretch his musical wings with a variety of recognized groups in an array of styles.
Through continuous listening of many local groups and performers, he discovered his own love for improvising in many styles and aligned himself with legendary Cleveland tenor saxophonist Ernie Krivda (Cadence/CIMP recording artist & of Quincy Jones fame) for direction. After several years of study with Krivda, Mike worked his way in as a regular member of Ernie Krivda’s Fat Tuesday Big Band, a high-energy 18-pc. big band that is renowned for its authentic yet uniquely hip blues, bop, boogie, & shout.
Through networking with the members of the Cleveland jazz circuit, Mike met Vaughn Wiester, an accomplished trombonist and former performer/writer for the Woody Herman Orchestra. Wiester put Mike in the saxophone section of his Famous Jazz Orchestra when moving to Columbus, OH, where he played weekly with such special guests as John von Olen, Jim Rupp, John Fedchock & Bill Holman.
It was in Columbus where Mike also landed his next musical break. A phonecall from percussionist Ed Davis paved the way for what became a spot in one of Ohio’s hottest and upcoming acoustic rock/pop bands, American Cherry. Through a fusion of many different elements of jazz, funk, folk, latin, and afro-cuban, American Cherry’s danceable, pop-sensitive music landed Mike performances opening for such bands as Styx & Peter Frampton.
Mike graduated from Berklee College of Music in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Business/Management. Mike had the opportunity to study with some of the best saxophone teachers around, including Andy McGhee (of Count Basie fame), Jackie Beard, & Dino Govoni. Mike also performed in many different high-caliber bands while at Berklee and in Boston: The Back Bay Brass Jazz Orchestra, The Chord Scale Madness Ensemble, The Berklee Salsa Ensemble, and most notably, the Beantown Swing Orchestra, an 18-piece classic swing band fronted by American Idol Season 3 finalist, John Stevens. Mike & the band were also featured on the silver screen in the 2008 comedy “My Best Friend’s Girl,” starring Alec Baldwin, Kate Hudson, Dane Cook, & Jason Biggs. Two Hour Change, a 7-piece funk/soul/R&B group in which Mike started in Boston, was also a big hit in New England, performing originals and covers in a wide variety of venues, both for public club gigs and private events. The band released a single in 2008 called “These Blues,” co-written by Mike with lead singer Evan Cole and produced by Alan Evans, drummer and producer of the popular trio, Soulive.
In the summer of 2010, Mike moved his musical operation to Austin, TX, “The Live Music Capital of the World,” where he continued to freelance as a saxophonist-for-hire and a graphic designer. Alongside Danny Fratina & Clint Simmons, Mike founded the Austin Swing Orchestra, an 18-piece classic big band modeled after the Beantown Swing Orchestra.
In the fall of 2012, Mike found himself back in New England and is currently working the music scene in the Boston area.
Eric Lane received a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance from New England Conservatory. His formal studies began with the Suzuki method for piano. At age nine, Lane was introduced to jazz, and by age twelve he was performing professionally in clubs in his home state of Colorado. Currently residing in Boston, Eric performs extensively in the New England area and has toured the United States and Canada several times. As a member of the Superpowers, Lane is featured both as a composer and as a performer on the record entitled Boston Afrobeat Presents:The Superpowers. As a member of Out to Lunch, he can be heard on the record entitled Excuse Me While I Do the Boogaloo. Both the Superpowers and Out to Lunch have recorded a second album respectively, which was released in the summer of 2009. Eric started with South Shore Conservatory in 2008.
Carl Eisman is a Boston based guitarist, composer and educator.
Originally from Rockford, Illinois, Carl re-located to Boston, MA in 2004 to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music. While at Berklee, Carl was awarded an achievement based scholarship and studied with some of the worlds greatest jazz performers and educators such as: Mick Goodrick, Tim Miller, Hal Crook, Greg Osby, Ed Tomassi, Ed Saindon, Dave Santoro, David Gilmore and others. Carl graduated Berklee Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelors of Music in performance.
Since finishing Berklee, Carl has been actively pursuing a career in performance and education. He has performed in many of Boston and New York's well known venues and all over the east coast, both as a sideman and leader. Venues include: Boston's Symphony Hall, Wally's Jazz Cafe, Darryl's Corner Bar, The Acton Jazz Cafe, Club Church, The Hanover Theater, Wonder Bar, Arlene's Grocery, The Trash Bar and many more!
He currently leads a trio which is devoted to the performance of re-imagined jazz standards, as well as a quartet that is dedicated to the performance of his original jazz repertoire. Carl's compositions and guitar playing are influenced by the music of Wayne Shorter, Joe Henderson, John Coltrane, Roy Hargrove and J-Dilla to name a few.
Carl is a founding member of the hip-hop, neo-soul, jazz group "Coolidge Road", (formerly known as Clockwork). Coolidge Road performs original music of which Carl is one of the primary contributors, as well as arrangements of hip-hop, soul and funk standards.
Coolidge Road has accompanied many Boston and New York based artists and has been often called upon to be the house-band for many events around Boston, including a year residency at the Blue Wave as part of Boston's legendary, "Poetic Escape". Coolidge Road has shared the stage with artists such as: Souljah Boy, Fabolous, Red Cafe and Nyne West. Also, Def Comedy Jam poets: Black Ice, Emreld Green and La Bruja. In 2012, the band recorded an E.P. entitled, "Fortitude", which is due for release in the fall.
Carl regularly supports a roster of students on guitar, bass, voice and ukelele. These students range in age from 5 to 55 and range in skill from beginner to advanced. In addition to instrumental studies, Carl integrates his knowledge of harmony, ear-training and improvisation with his students. He has a passion for sharing the gift of music and finds it to be a vital part of his own progression as an artist.
Brad Barrett is a highly skilled bassist and has performed virtually all genres of music. His musical stylings and high-level improvisational skills have landed him academic scholarships, tours, and unique performance opportunities in many states as well as Europe and Asia. Brad has recorded with Ran Blake, Bob Moses, Jerry Leake, and Hankus Netsky. He has also performed at the Panama Jazz Festival, Idlywild Jazz Festival, USO Tour (Asia) as well as with a variety of bands over the past 10 years. Brad is currently pursuing his Ph.D. in Jazz Improvisation at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.
Based in Boston, MA, Paul Geresy brings to the table a diverse palate of musical experience and a deep knowledge of the history of the American drummer. Born in New Brunswick, NJ, Paul moved around throughout the Southern USA for most of his life, spending time in Dallas, TX and Atlanta, GA. It was in Atlanta where Paul developed a deep love for jazz, performing with small groups in many jazz clubs in the Atlanta and Athens areas including Huey’s and Churchill Grounds – all before graduating high school.
Upon graduating high school, Paul moved to Denton, TX to attend the University of North Texas, a great school with an extensive history of jazz education. While at UNT, Paul performed in numerous school small and big bands, orchestras, and percussion ensembles – all while freelancing in the Dallas area as a performer and educator.
Feeling the need to be on the East Coast, Paul relocated to Boston, Massachusetts in 2007 to pursue a master’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music. Since arriving, Paul has been fortunate to perform or work with Jerry Bergonzi, Bob Moses, Bob Brookmeyer, George Garzone, Dave Holland, Robin Eubanks, Lee Konitz, Sam Rivers, George Russell, and many others. Paul performs locally in Boston, nationally, and internationally with various small and large ensembles, while maintaining a full and active teaching studio.
Paul holds degrees from the University of North Texas (BA ’05) and the New England Conservatory of Music (MM ’09).