Music plays a primary role in my life: performing, listening, and thinking it.
Four years at New England Conservatory, in what was then known as the Third Stream department, broadened my musical palette through ear training and exposure to classical and folk music from around the world. Jazz was the genre where, for me, all of this could flourish together. My teachers at NEC were Ran Blake, Miroslav Vitous, and Mick Goodrick. All of this in the company of Jaki Byard and George Russell, two late greats.
Bass is home base. But I have experience in keyboard and guitar, the latter of which I have been teaching my daughter for several years. I delight in her playing, as well as in my son’s, whose talent on the drums is remarkable. The family’s iPods are testimony to our eclectic tastes, encompassing jazz, heavy metal, rock, reggae, country, Brazilian, African, Japanese, and a heavy dose of Greek and Pontic music – the influence of Patricia.
I first got to know Arvo Pärt in 1990 while I was living in England. Then I got to know his music, after which time nothing was the same.
In 2011 my colleague Nicholas Reeves and I began to conceive what would become The Arvo Pärt Project. Lodged at St. Vladimir's Seminary, the Project exists to explore more fully the connection between Pärt's near-universal appeal as a "spiritual" composer, and the particular spirituality of his Orthodox Christian faith.
The Arvo Pärt Project produced widely acclaimed concerts in spring 2014 at Carnegie Hall, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (Temple of Dendur) in New York, and the John F. Kennedy Center and the Phillips Collection in Washington DC. These were performances by the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir and the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Tõnu Kaljuste. This was Arvo Pärt's first appearance on the US East Coast in thirty years.
Since then, the Project has produced lectures and panel discussions, collaborations with such artists as Laurie Anderson, and my book, Arvo Pärt: Out of Silence.
visit the website for more information: Arvo Pärt Project at SVS
I have played bass since 1973. I've played several instruments over the years, including a 1920's Czech string bass that is still with me. Since 1977 my main instrument and constant companion has been a custom fretless 1972 Rickenbacker. People often comment on its rich, warm tone, often mistaken for that of an acoustic bass.
Living in Geneva, Switzerland from 1995-2000, I performed regularly with two different piano-based groups: Le Swingtime, and Al Blatter Trio. It was great playing for European audiences in small cafés dedicated to jazz. Arriving in Yonkers, NY to a new job and a new house, with a young family, music necessarily took a backseat, for almost ten years.
In 2010, after a one-time performance with some truly great jazz players, I began sitting in at local clubs. I still go, nearly every week, to keep the improvisatory juices flowing.