What piano do you prefer? (Please include make, model, yr, etc.)
A good German Hamburg Steinway. I recently played a Fazoli and enjoyed that very much as well.
Why the piano?
When I was around 8 years old my next door neighbor was my best friend and he took piano lessons. His mom made him practice frequently and I would often stick around and watch him. It was during those moments that I thought to myself “hey I could do that.” I then asked for lessons.
When did you first decide to become a jazz musician?
When I was 13 or 14. I was in a rock band and our guitarist went to Berklee for a summer program. He came back talking about the jazz he was studying and we got into it that way.
Which artists/musicians have influenced you the most? (Please include brief explanation as to why/how)
I have a special love for John Coltrane and Miles Davis. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve grown and developed an even greater appreciation for The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Who and The Rolling Stones. I like impressionistic classical music (Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Chopin). I like good music and it doesn’t matter what it is. In jazz it was John Coltrane that really got me revved up. He played hard and I was coming from being a rock and roller so I could really identify.
Which jazz performers have influenced you the most? (Please include brief explanation as to why/how)
Similar answer to which artists/musicians have influenced me the most. I have had the pleasure of playing with great artists. Michael Brecker, who I played with for years, was an influence in my personal life. Branford has been a fabulous bandleader and I feel I have matured more the last 9 years playing in his band than in my whole career.
Which pianists (specifically) have influenced you the most? (Please include brief explanation as to why/how)
Initially McCoy Tyner influenced me the most. I came from listening to Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman and Patrick Moraz. I was a huge Led Zeppelin fan, so for me if I had gotten into jazz only through Red Garland, I probably wouldn’t have liked it as much, coming from the background where I was coming from Garland sounded like a cocktail piano player. My whole career has been working backwards, periods of Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, but really McCoy, He plays In such a powerful way. I got the same feeling I got from Led Zeppelin, the energy, is what I really liked. I love all piano players really. As I have gotten older and more confident in my abilities, I’ve been able to listen to my generation, my peers and try and learn from it.
What was the first jazz composition you heard and loved? And why?
“Take the A Train”, with Oscar Peterson playing piano. At that point of my limited jazz knowledge I wasn’t thinking “like wow that’s really swinging.” But, what was clear to me was that everything was really bouncing forward with motion. His timing was so great, his feel, the way he executed was all so great.
What was your first professional gig as a musician?
I did a gig at a YMCA when I was about 12 or 13. I borrowed an amp from the another band. Shortly after that I got denied from playing in a bar. My mother had to write a note stating that I really was there only to play my music.
Did you initially go to school, college, etc. to be a musician?
I really learned about music in my twenties as a musician in New York.
If you weren’t a musician, what would you be?
I love being around people, I love cars, so probably a car salesman.
What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
What are some of your interests outside of music?
Golf, Cars, the History Channel and Seinfeld.