"Here is a list of the wonderful musicians I have had a chance to work with over the past several years. They are all some of the best in the business. I am grateful and fortunate to work with these great musical souls!”
- John Mattern
John Mattern is an eclectic multi instrumentalist, blending influences of folk, rock, country, jazz and blues into a style uniquely his own. He was drawn into music as a sax player at 12 years of age, then got serious about it at 17 years old when he took up the 5 string banjo and bluegrass music. He went on to study music seriously at Grove School of Music and New England Conservatory, making jazz and classical saxophone his focus. Over the past decade he revisited his roots. Folk, Rock, Bluegrass, Blues, Country, Soul, Funk and Influences of Willie Nelson, Peter Gabriel, Merle Haggard, Beethoven, Townes Van Zandt, James McMurtry and Miles Davis are all a part of Mattern’s approach to writing songs.
JIM GABLE producer, bass player
Jim graduated from California Institute of The Arts where he studied video art and music composition. He worked in animation and computer graphics before becoming an award winning editor and director of commercials, music videos, live concerts, and short film projects. As a director he has directed live broadcasts to 24 countries, pay-per-view specials, television programs for PBS, CBS, MTV, ABC, and VH-1, and in 1997 he received an International Monitor Award for Best Director. Jim Gable and his partner Ann Kim have successfully worked in the US and worldwide since 1990 producing music films for Sting, Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Botti, the Rolling Stones, Aerosmith, as well as TV spots for McDonalds, Kraft Foods, Coca Cola, Gillette, and Toyota. They have won Clios, Monitor Awards, and Primetime Emmy Awards. Their award-winning entertainment specials have been seen all over the world.
Jeff Massanari, Guitar, Teacher
Jeff was born in the small town of Goshen, Indiana surrounded by the beautiful Amish countryside and most certainly would have followed his families path to academia when an unexpected move to Washington DC at age 9 changed everything.
Exposed to the vibrant music scene of Washington, DC, Jeff sought out the guitar and began playing at age 13. First focusing on blues and rock but that was all to change when a friend brought over a recording of John McLaughlin’s “Inner Mounting Flame”. From the first note he was hooked on jazz.
By the time Jeff was 17 he was performing and teaching jazz and blues in the Washington DC area when his love of jazz took him from DC to Boston’s Berklee School of Music. After studying performance and composition Jeff moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and quickly became one of the most in-demand guitarists.
Jeff wears many stylistic hats including straight-ahead jazz, fusion, blues, rock and even has some serious country chops. He is at home playing complex jazz solo guitar arrangements as well as tearing up a plate full of blues on his Strat! He is often called on to accompany visiting artists such as Seth MacFarlane, Mark Inouye and the San Francisco Symphony at Davies Hall, Stern Grove, and even including Bejing, China.
Jeff keeps a busy performance schedule including venues such as Yoshi’s, The Umbria Jazz Festival in Italy, The Monterey Jazz Festival, San Jose Jazz Fest and tours the North and South West with various groups.
In addition to his busy performance schedule Jeff has a waiting list for private instruction through UC Berkeley, The California Jazz Conservatory and private referrals. A chance meeting with John Mattern the well respected music director and talented musician in his own right at Redwood High led Jeff to not only a treasured friendship, but a long term commitment to bringing jazz to high school students. Jeff has begun his 8th year teaching at Redwood High this year.
Alan Hall, drummer extraordinaire and teacher, resides in Oakland California.
Alan’s focused attention to detail, huge musical ears, hard driving bop playing with a velvety touch make him one of the strongest drummers on the west coast and one of the most in demand percussionists in the San Francisco bay area. Alan has performed and/or recorded with artists such as Dizzy Gillespie, Eddie Harris, Paul McCandless, Rebecca Parris, Art Lande, Billy Childs and Bob Sheppard. Alan is a former faculty member of Berklee School of Music in Boston, and is currently on the faculty of The Jazz School in Berkeley California.
Visit Alan's site at http://www.jazzdrumming.com
Lee Bloom, pianist, educator and architect, relocated from Ohio in 1990 to the bay area, and has become one of San Francisco’s finest and most sought after jazz pianists.
Bloom has worked in many different musical contexts including modern jazz, folk, funk, rock, and country and western. Currently, he is the pianist with saxophone legend Hal Stein (Stein has played with Ben Webster, Charlie Parker, Charles Mingus, to name a few). Lee has recorded with many jazz groups in the United States and Europe with artists such as Eddie Marshall, Dan Hicks, Denise Perrier, Pete Yellin, Danny Spencer and Marcus Shelby. Lee’s piano playing is incredibly well structured, with a fresh, flowing, stylistic approach utilizing some of the finest interpretations of the jazz language.
Visit Lee's site at http://www.leebloom.com
Chris Amberger has been one of the first-call bassists in the San Francisco Bay Area and all over the west coast for over 30 years.
Ambergers’ hard driving bass lines, melodic soloing, and enormous creativity have brought him to perform with artists such as Freddie Hubbard, Sonny Stitt, Art Pepper, and Steely Dan. He has toured and worked with the likes of Art Blakey, George Shearing, Cal Tjader, Richie Havens, and Rosemary Clooney. Chris has recorded with hundreds of west coast artists as well as worldwide artists, such as Red Garland and Philly Joe Jones.
The drumming of Billy Johnson, one of several musicians who are sometimes identified as Robert "Billy" Johnson, could easily hold his own with any of these legendary bandleaders. In reality, his credits include working with the famous San Francisco ensemble with horns, Tower of Power, as well as singers such as Patti LaBelle and Jean Carn and the pop group Pablo Cruise. He studied under Philadelphia drummers Gerry Brown and Cornell Rochester during a period when he was regularly taking the two-hour trip north to New York City to jam. Before long collaborations developed with brothers Kevin Eubanks on guitar and Robin Eubanks on trombone.By the mid-'70s, Johnson had begun picking up touring assignments with performers such as LaBelle, Carn, and Dexter Wansel. The strong groove drummers admire in Johnson's performances seems to suit contemporary vocal stylists as well as groups into various types of fusion and funk jamming. Johnson joined Santana for the first time in 1990, staying two years. He was back in 1994, this time staying until 1997. The drummer continued to be as relevant in pop music as Carlos Santana himself turned out to be. Johnson recorded regularly with Frankie Beverly and Maze in the mid-'90s, meanwhile chilling out in the combo of contemporary jazz guitarist Joyce Cooling.
Rob Ickes. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area, Rob Ickes (rhymes with "bikes") comes from a musical family. His grandparents played old-time fiddle music, and Rob trained his young musical ear at their weekly jam sessions. Although his family wanted Rob to play fiddle, the instrument didn't interest him. Then, at the age of thirteen, Rob was exposed to the Dobro playing of Mike Auldridge, and the sound immediately caught his attention. Soon after, Rob got his first Dobro, and he has been playing music ever since. Rob moved to Nashville in 1992 and joined Blue Highway, the highly esteemed bluegrass band, as a founding member in 1994. He is recognized as one of the most innovative Dobro players on the scene today, contributing signature technique and greatly expanding the boundaries of the instrument's sonic and stylistic territory. He won the International Bluegrass Music Association's Dobro Player of the Year award for a record-setting fifteenth time in 2013; IBMA notes that he is the most awarded instrumentalist in the history of the IBMA awards. As an active session player and touring musician, he has collaborated with a wide range of musicians, including Charlie Haden, Merle Haggard, Earl Scruggs, Tony Rice, David Grisman, Alison Krauss, Willie Nelson, David Lee Roth, Dolly Parton, Patty Loveless, Peter Rowan, Claire Lynch, and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
Todd Phillips is the bassist of choice for many of the most innovative, as well as traditional, acoustic instrumental and bluegrass recordings made since the mid-1970s. A two-time Grammy Award winner and founding member of the original David Grisman Quintet, Phillips has made a career of consistently performing and recording with acoustic music’s ﬁnest and most creative artists.His tone, timing, and subtly intricate bass lines make him one of the few real stylists on acoustic bass, and he is among the very best practitioners of the instrument on the scene
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