I grew up listening to Benny Goodman, Louie Armstrong and Lester Young, mostly. We had a big Stromberg-Carlson record player and I remember the needles for the 78 rpm came in little brown envelopes, six to a pack, I think. When Les Paul and Mary Ford came out with “How High the Moon,” I wore out the record in about a week, so my father bought me another, and then another. I believe now that my deep love of music comes from this period.
I started on alto sax when I was ten, took some private lessons, and played throughout grade school and high school. Fast forward about 22 years. I had switched to tenor, was playing top forty clubs and wedding gigs but feeling kind of empty musically. Then I got lucky. A drummer friend of mine, Peter Scattaretico, who was studying with Lennie Tristano, invited me to come to a concert he was playing at Carnegie Recital hall (September 9, 1979). Pete told me it was a trio, so I assumed meant the usual piano, bass and drums. It was, in fact, a bass, tenor sax, and drum trio. With the exception of Lester Young, I had never before heard a tenor saxophone that so totally mesmerized me. I went backstage and met tenor player Lenny Popkin, who agreed to take me as a student. His guidance during that time was exactly what I needed. I stayed with Lenny for two years or so, until he stopped teaching. After that, I continued studying improvisation with Connie Crothers. And during this period, I began to play sessions with Liz Gorrill [now Kazzrie Jaxen], an incredible musician who inspired me, coached me, and kept me focused. My association with both Connie and Liz showed me the way to express my deepest feelings though my horn.
My first public performance as a jazz musician was in October of 1989— a duet concert with Kazzrie at Greenwich House Music School in New York City. The recording of that concert, A Jazz Duet, was released in 1991 to critical acclaim and soon we were performing in clubs around the city.
Over the years, I’ve been lucky to continue performing in the U.S. and Europe with many incredible musicians — too many to list here. I’m currently working with Kazzrie Jaxen in both quartet and trio settings, at venues such as the Rutgers Institute for Jazz Studies, Dizzy’s Club (at Jazz at Lincoln Center), and the Outpost Performance Space in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I live and teach improvisation in Garrison, NY.