Music, for me, has been a lifelong preoccupation. I can claim a 25-year music career that started with writing and recording music influenced by progressive rock, shifted to live performance in a funky style of jazz and blues, and now also involves spontaneously composing music using the voices of participating humans as the main instruments.
Born and raised in central New York State, I was introduced to music through grade-school trombone lessons. As a teenager I was inspired by progressive rock—I liked that the music strove for real artistry. I taught himself how to play piano, absorbed the sounds of Queen, Rush, Styx, Asia, Yes, Howard Jones, and (slightly later) Prince, and started writing songs. My first rock performance experience was as a vocalist in a “rock ensemble” group organized by the music department of my high school, which performed a variety of the light pop-rock tunes of the time.
Upon graduating high school and going to college, I continued writing music and spent some time singing in pick-up rock bands and in of one of the school’s extra-curricular a cappella groups as a founding member. There I was first introduced to a MIDI studio, and used it to make some of my first self-produced recordings. There, also, I first started listening to the artist Bobby McFerrin. Following graduation I moved to Baltimore, MD, set up my first home MIDI studio, and continued to write.
Two years later I returned to college to earn a music degree. While there I received four years of classical vocal instruction, composition workshops of a decidedly avante-garde bent, and traditional music theory. My writing started to turn from progressive rock’s more traditional, quasi-symphonic bravado towards art rock’s more experimental sounds. (I also wrote a paper on the origin of the drum set that might be of some interest.) During this same time period, I received three years of jazz theory and keyboard instruction and two years of jazz vocal workshop instruction, and was introduced to the music of the Swing era. By graduation I had learned a whole catalog of jazz songs and gained some performance experience in the Washington, D.C. area as a jazz vocalist.
In terms of recorded output, the years immediately following graduation were my most productive. My debut disc Wanderlust was completed in 1998, and featured a selection of my progressive- and art-rock influenced songs written between 1987 and 1996. Later that year an EP of instrumental material called Forget the Words appeared, with songs culled from my collection of master tapes from the same period. The following year saw the completion of Jazz, an album that marked the beginning of my explorations of different traditional jazz styles. These works were later “released” on the fledgeling website mp3.com in its first incarnation as a haven for independent artists.
Meanwhile I gained more experience and explored different jazz styles by singing as a guest vocalist with a wide variety of jazz groups in Baltimore, and subsequently Philadelphia, PA. In 1999 I settled in central Florida, where I became a founding member of the funky blues band the Syndicators. The group had some regional success, and in 2003 was hand-picked by the Bose corporation to be one of only 24 bands nationwide to help them introduce their new live amplification system. When the group split in 2005, I founded a funky jazz and blues band called Upbeat, which appeared at venues throughout the greater Orlando area, including the Hard Rock Live. I also sat on the Board of Directors of the blues society in central Florida, the Orange Blossom Blues Society.
In 2010, I relocated to south-western Virginia. The five years since then have been an entirely new story. This page is incomplete without it.