About Us

Partnering with Lori Bell Summer, Fall 2016

Partnering with Lori Bell – Spring – Fall 2016

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Joe Garrison & Night People – A Society of Friends

Night People has been aptly described by Robert Bush of the San Diego Reader as “an orchestra of extraordinary color and depth that also serves as a showcase for the solo powers of some of San Diego’s most talented improvisers.” About Night People graphic The irrefutable power of this group is achieved by tight ensemble playing balanced against improvised sections. Continuity is maintained throughout by strong grooves.

Night People was created by Composer/Director/Pianist Joe Garrison in 1989 as a large jazz ensemble for concerts commissioned by the Ruse Collective and funded in part by grants.   Garrison’s music has garnered numerous awards and commissions throughout his 45+ year career.  More recently Night People has been performing throughout the year as a full ensemble of 14 to 16 musicians in various live music venues around San Diego including live broadcasts on KSDS FM Radio’s Jazz Live program.

Garrison is a true innovator in the realm of modern jazz, and he also composes for a wide range of ensembles such as singer/piano, music for 3 pianos to large-scale pieces for jazz nonet, all the way to full-out Big Band. His music is adventurous and original, making full use of ensembles, forms, textures and harmonies that all fall within the category of ‘avant garde.’  As he puts it, “Music is pre-verbal energy and modern Jazz music is greater than the sum of its parts. It is a collaboration which requires the best of all players.”

Garrison has gathered the best talent and virtuosity that San Diego has to offer.  Several band members have completed studies at highly recognized conservatories and universities such as UCSD, Oberlin, Stanford, Berklee College of Music in Boston, California Institute of the Art, SDSU, Rice University, Cal Arts LA, University of Miami, Western Michigan University,  and Purchase.  Some are successful touring musicians. Some, like Lynn Willard, are long standing accomplished and gifted musicians in the San Diego music community, with wide-ranging interests and skills.  Some are notable for accolades, such as Grammy winner Kamau Kenyatta; Derek Cannon, Director of Jazz Studies and Music Department Chair at Grossmont College; and Ariana Warren and Chris Warren, both recent doctoral recipients from UCSD. Some are composers in their own right, and most are teachers of music.

Night People players are always excited to play Garrison’s compositions, enjoying the challenge and the complex harmonies that they are unlikely to be called to play anywhere else in their musical careers.

When this band plays, one may hear influences from all eras of music: Leonin and Perotin, Claudio Monteverdi, Hector Berlioz, Igor Stravinsky, Harry Partch, Terry Riley, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, Charles Mingus, and Miles Davis. The Night People ensemble and sound is constantly evolving.  Currently the rhythm section is often comprised of two drummers, twin basses, guitar and piano. Brass is often 7 or 8 strong with trumpets/flugelhorns, and trombones/bass trombone combinations.  Woodwinds include oboe, clarinet/bass clarinet, alto and soprano saxes and flute/alto flute. Recent incarnations have included Latin percussion, classical percussion and live electronics.

There is plenty of space for Night People musicians to stretch out in the forms that Garrison writes. These players respect each other, love playing with others of this caliber and more poignantly, they like each other!!! Thus, Society of Friends.

Night People Jazz has been called music without boundaries.  The band itself is a band beyond boundaries. For music lovers of all stripes, this is original music at its most explosive and least resistible.

Reviews: Read the latest buzz about Joe Garrison and Night People!


The Composer / Conductor / Founder

Joe Garrison
Joe Garrison

Composer/pianist/conductor Joe Garrison has been described as “adventurous,” “original,” “intense” and “psychotic.”  You can say the same of his jazz ensemble “Night People.” Garrison comments, “Music is pre-verbal energy and Jazz is greater than the sum of its parts. It is a collaboration which requires the best of all players.” The power is achieved by tight ensemble playing balanced against improvised sections. Continuity is maintained throughout by strong grooves. Garrison is influenced by innovators from all eras of music: Leonin and Perotin, Claudio Monteverdi, Hector Berlioz, Igor Stravinsky, Harry Partch, Terry Riley, John Coltrane, Thelonious Monk, Wayne Shorter, Charles Mingus, Miles Davis.  He has written original music for most groups he has played in throughout the years and composes for a wide range of ensembles such as singer/piano, music for 3 pianos to large-scale pieces for jazz nonet and  all the way to full Big Band. Garrison has garnered numerous awards and commissions throughout his 45+ year career, including two full length movie scores. He also won two Rusefest commissions, “My Brothers, My Sisters” and “Night People and Other Survivors,” both funded in part by grants from the San Diego Foundation and other Arts organizations and were broadcast on Jazz Live – KSDS FM Radio.

The Players


Ariana Warren

Ariana Warren

Gifted clarinet and bass clarinet player Ariana Warren grew up and began her musical career in Seattle, Washington. Mrs. Warren is a DMA  in Contemporary Performance from the University of California, San Diego studying with Dr. Anthony Burr. She earned a bachelor of music and master of music degrees at the Peabody Conservatory under the tutelage of Edward Palanker, and a Certificate in American Contemporary Music from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County under the direction of Dr. E. Michael Richards. Mrs. Warren, an affiliated artist with San Diego New Music, is a founding member of Odd and Even, a music and dance improvisation collective, and the Devil May Care Duo, a new music commissioning percussion and clarinet duo.


Brian O’Donnell

Brian O’Donnell, a native of San Diego California, recently completed his Master of Music Degree with Dr. Denson Paul Pollard at SUNY Purchase where he held a Graduate Teaching position. He earned his undergraduate degree in music as a full scholarship student with Jeannie Little at Louisiana State University. Mr. O’Donnell began his studies with Vince Hernandez and Sean Reusch. He made his Carnegie Hall début in 2004 as soloist with the Carlsbad High School Wind Symphony, and has since performed in major venues throughout the world including Kennedy Center, Copley Hall, Escondido Center, Smetana Hall in Prague, Mozarteum in Salzburg, the Hermitage Theater in St. Petersburg, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York. Mr. O’Donnell is a multi-faceted musician, at home in both jazz and classical genres.  He has performed with the Purchase Jazz Orchestra, New York Chamber Brass, Camerata Virtuosi of New Jersey, and the Westwind Brass Quintet. In 2012, Brian was featured as a soloist with The Purchase Symphonic Wind Ensemble and received an honorable mention as a finalist in the Southeast Trombone Symposium’s International solo competition. Recent seasons have seen Brian performing with Joe Garrison and Night People and the San Diego Opera. Mr. O’Donnell is currently on faculty at Palomar College and maintains a large private studio throughout the San Diego area. When not making music he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, cooking, and brewing beer.

Lynn Willard
Lynn Willard

Lynn Willard is Night People’s keyboardist.   Lynn is an extraordinary pianist, synthesist, organist, keyboardist, arranger, and composer.  He is skilled in all styles of modern music arranging, composing, performing, and teaching.  Lynn treasures his music community and loves to hang and collaborate with the many active gifted players & singers, pc music composers, rappers, turntablists, street/pro-artists, photographers, community activists, producers and directors.
Lynn has a special connection with jazz funk, R&B, and Latin Jazz. Lynn has made musical history in S.D. since ’92. He has two fusion quartet projects: SuperFuse and Storeylines with Jim Storey.  Lynn is the house pianist at Seaside Center in Encinitas.  He is active as a teacher and freelancing keyboardist.

Kirk Original 1012
Kirk Johnson

Growing up in Chicago Kirk Johnson was immersed and influenced by a dazzling mobile of blues, jazz, funk, classical and soul. His exposure to top jazz and blues artists along with the musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra paralled his visits to the Chicago Art Museum and Dance Companies; all leading Johnson to a love and dedication to the performing arts. Kirk has studied at Western Michigan University, the California Institute of the Arts, the summer school of the Paris Conservatory in Nice, France and the Centro Musical Antonio Adolfo in Rio De Janeiro. He has studied and performed with downbeat poll winner James Newton, Berklee School of Music Brazilian flutist Fernando Brandao and international pianist Tamir Hendelman. Kirk was flutist and piccolist with the National Orchestra of Malta for three seasons as well as the Opera Theater Orchestra. There he performed for many heads of State from the European Union. He has performed on National Public Radio, Los Angeles International Film Festival scores, Alaskan Cultural Concert Tours and as a studio session musician. As a music educator Kirk has taught at the American International Schools abroad and the University of Colorado International College. A resident of San Diego, Mr. Johnson has traveled extensively performing, and teaching in ensembles and orchestras throughout four different countries in Asia, Europe, The Middle East and Brazil for a period of 10 years.

Kamau Kenyatta


Kamau Kenyatta currently resides in San Diego, CA. He is a Grammy award winning producer and arranger. Kamau is a tenured lecturer at the University of California’s Jazz Studies Department. He was honored with the prestigious Barbara J. and Paul D. Saltman Distinguished Teaching Award at UCSD in May 2009. Originally from Detroit, his versatility comes from his early exposure to a vast array of musical styles.  Kamau has worked with jazz greats such as Hubert Laws, Donald Byrd, Yusef Lateef, Jim Pepper, and Earl Klugh. World tours have taken him to over 20 countries and include stints with The Supremes, Carl Anderson, Oscar Brown, Jr., SWV, Silk, the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band and New Kids on The Block. Kamau has also collaborated with Hubert Laws in writing the score for “Small Steps, Big Strides” a Fox network documentary concerning the history of African-American film. He has also written and supervised music for “The Dawn At My Back,” a Sundance Film Festival award-winning interactive DVD-ROM memoir. “Destiny,” his most recent recording as a leader, was released in the spring of 2007. It features Hubert Laws. Kamau produced “Water” and “Be Good” for vocalist Gregory Porter on the Motema label – both were nominated for Grammy awards. In 2013, Kenyatta served as associate producer and arranger for Porter’s Blue Note Records debut disc “Liquid Spirit.” The work won a Grammy for “Best Jazz Vocal Album,” in February 2014. In 2012, Kamau played soprano saxophone and acted as producer on Joe Garrison and Night People’s CD, “Veranda.”

Gilbert Castellanos
Gilbert Castellanos

Trumpet player extraordinaire, Gilbert is a great friend of Night People. A tireless advocate for Jazz as art, he booked the first show of Night People’s newest incarnation and appears with the group from time to time as a gracious, uber-talented guest player.

Born in Guadalajara, Castellanos is a graduate of both Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music and Cal Arts in Los Angeles. Besides performing with the likes of Wynton Marsalis, Les McCann, Diana Krall and Dizzy Gillespie, he also finds the time and energy to teach workshops, lead bands, compose and arrange music.



Cannon0593Derek Cannon

Derek is an accomplished performer and music educator  who holds Bachelor of Arts in Music and Master of Music degrees from San Diego State University. During his time as a student at SDSU he won many soloist awards at jazz festivals throughout the state. As a free-lance artist he has performed with Natalie Cole, Clark Terry, The Four Tops, The Temptations, and The Spinners to name a few. Locally, he is a member of the Anthology House Band, The Soultones, the Steely Damned, Gene Perry and Afro-Rumba, The Manny Cepeda Orchestra, and a host of other area musical groups. Derek’s recent recordings include “Coup d’ Eclat,” with Monette Marino, 2010, “From Me To You,” with Paula Prophet, 2010, “Free Your Mind,” with Walter Beasley, 2009, “Destiny,” with Kamau Kenyatta, 2008, and “Come On Over,” with Allison Adams Tucker, 2008. Derek is currently Music Department Chair, and Director of Jazz Studies at Grossmont College. In addition to being a member of the music faculty at Grossmont College, he also chaired the Jazz Studies Department at Chicago State University from 1995-1999, and is currently a member of the jazz studio faculty at San Diego State University.

Lori BellLori Bell

Lori Bell is a flutist and composer of admirable depth and broad musical sympathies. Equally fluent in both jazz and classical idioms, she has contributed to the development of higher standards of performance while earning acclaim from both peers and critics for her artistry on stage and in recordings. In 2011 and 2014 Bell won two Global Music Awards, the Award of Excellence and the Gold Medal for her depth of playing, composing and arranging.

Chris Warren
Chris Warren

A wizard with live electronics, Chris Warren brings a new and glorious dimension to the Night People universe. Warren is making a name for himself in the burgeoning world of sound design, and he brings a unique expertise in sampled and live electronics to his compositions and performances.

Chris Warren builds unique musical instruments and performs with them with his band A Hundred Ghosts.  He is the lead inventor at SuperHoax, a designer of innovative audio software, and the researcher behind EchoThief, a new way to capture acoustic spaces as reverberators.  Dr. Warren earned a Ph.D. in Computer Music from UC San Diego and an M.A. in Music, Science, and Technology from Stanford University.  He is currently a resident artist at Space4Art in San Diego.



Chris Duvall
Chris Duvall

A recent graduate of the University of California at San Diego, Chris Duvall is equally skillful with both the electric bass and the upright acoustic bass. This versatile musician has mastered a wide spectrum of popular music styles, from reggae, funk and hip hop to contemporary, outside-the-box Jazz, as interpreted by Joe Garrison and Night People.


Michael HayesMichael Hayes

Drummer and percussionist par excellence, Michael Hayes brings his own brand of sensitivity, virtuosity and humor to Night People’s vibrant shows.

Doug Meeuwsen
Doug Meeuwsen

Trumpeter Doug Meeuwsen has been involved in the San Diego scene since the late 1980s. Originally from Holland Michigan, he pursued music at Western Michigan University, North Texas state, and San Diego State. A versatile player, playing two salsa gigs, a jazz thing and a classical thing all back to back is not uncommon. He also teaches music for a living in Orange County.

Scott Paulson
Scott Paulson 

Saxophonist, bass clarinetist, oboe and English horn player, Scott is also a master soundscape artist. No stranger to experimental music-making, Paulson fits right in with the Night People vibe. He also specializes as the UCSD Carilloneur. This classically trained director of The Teeny Tiny Pit Orchestra is a true musical neo-Dadaist.

Robert Zelickman
Robert Zelickman 

Longtime teacher and Lecturer of Music at UC San Diego, clarinetist Robert Zelickman has also found time to conduct the UCSD Wind Ensemble and co-direct the Second Avenue Klezmer Ensemble. He  teaches both clarinet and contemporary music performance, and has himself performed with many well-known orchestral groups.


Dave Millard
Dave Millard 

A consummate performer, Jazz artist, and all-around musician, Dave Millard plays the alto violin, alto saxophone, cello, guitar and several different flutes.

Dave was born in San Diego, but has studied and played music all over the world. He is an irresistibly positive force in San Diego’s Jazz community.




Ian Tordella
Ian Tordella

Saxophonist Ian Tordella is an emerging voice on the West Coast jazz scene, and has worked with guitarist Peter Sprague, trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos, pianist Joshua White, saxophonist Jason Robinson, and others. Raised in the Washington, DC area, Tordella attended the University of North Texas before transplanting to California in 2003, where he furthered his studies under altoist Charles McPherson and studied composition with pianist Rick Helzer.

Charlie Arbelaez

Charlie Arbelaez has racked up many years performing as a saxophonist, not only in and around the San Diego region, but also in the United States Marine Corps. His heritage is Colombian, and reflects in his music, which can be considered broadly diverse and multicultural in approach and range. Major influences are luminaries such as Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley, Charles McPherson, and Kenny Garret.

Connor Hughes
Connor Hughes

A newcomer to San Diego, 19-year-old Connor Hughes made his musical debut with Joe Garrison and Night People. Connor began his musical career in 2006, having picked up the alto saxophone in elementary school.  He discovered jazz upon joining Mission Viejo High School’s accomplished Jazz Ensemble, under the direction of trumpeter Doug Meeuwsen. On a fateful Friday night at The Loft, Connor met Joe – the rest, so they say, is history. Connor currently attends UCSD for Philosophy and Music, fostering his skills with multi-instrumentalist Kamau Kenyatta.  He is set to graduate in 2017.

Jonathan Rudin with Horn
Jon Rudin

Jonathan Rudin is passionate about many things in life, and has often been called a Renaissance Man.  Music is right at the top of the list.  Classically trained on French horn (most commonly referred to as “the horn”), he has played with symphony orchestras most of his adult life.  He has been a proud member of the La Jolla Symphony & Chorus since moving to San Diego from Minnesota in 1999.  However, he grew up in Northern Virginia and prior to his ten-year stint in the arctic tundra (that would be Minnesota), he lived in Israel – a land steeped in a rich history and mixture of many cultures and musical styles, where just about every day was an exciting adventure. Jonathan says he is so pleased to embark on the musical direction of jazz, and blessed to rehearse and perform with many extremely brilliant musicians who play from their hearts and support a newbie taking his first steps on this exciting journey.  Jonathan has retired as a dentist, having worked in a wide variety of venues including the military, community clinics, and in research.  Now, he is happily spending his time training health care facilities on how to stay safe and use best practices.  Besides his love for music, Jonathan is also passionate about fine art photography and woodworking.  He makes unique and challenging puzzles and other works of art, often using re-cycled (referred to as “up-cycled”) materials.  His creations can be seen on www.rudincreations.com.  Jonathan thanks Joe and the rest of the musicians for this wonderful opportunity to learn and grow!

Jordan Morita
Jordan Morita

Trombonist Jordan Morita holds a Master of Music degree from San Diego State University. Jordan hails from El Centro, California, but is a graduate of the University of Miami Frost School of Music. Now a sought-after performer in a wide range of musical styles throughout the Southern California region, he has the chops, as well as the foundation to back them up.

Kevin Espinosa
Kevin Esposito

Trombonist Kevin Esposito has played music from traditional big band eras to his current featured position with Night People, and practically everything in between. He has been among the instrumentalists who backed Natalie Cole and Tony Bennett, rock artists, and Top 40 Jazz cover artists such as Tom Blair and Shirley Saunders.

Bryan Smith

Bryan Smith has recently moved to San Diego after completing advanced music performance studies outside California, including a Masters in Music from Rice University. Bryan specializes in both the trombone and the tuba, performs with orchestras, small ensembles, Jazz and commercial bands, and also gives private music lessons.

Tonga Ross Ma'u
Tonga Ross Ma’u

Music was always circling Tonga Ross-Ma’u: a piano and drum set waiting patiently to be used in the living room, a handful of guitars littered around the house, the sound of his father’s band rehearsals filling his ears on some evenings while on other nights the focused silence of composing. These were the elements that filled his childhood and first summoned his desire to learn the art of music.As a multi-instrumentalist, educator, band leader, and producer, Tonga continues to develop his best musical self as well as share his knowledge and experience to better educate the communities that surround him. Tonga currently plays with a variety of established San Diego musical acts (Semisi and FulaBula, Joe Garrison and Night People, One Drop) as well as leads/co-leads new projects (Ascent Trio,Bomb Squad). He works free lance with many different live and recording projects around San Diego/Los Angeles area and helps coordinate the music education non-profit Kainga Music in San Diego as its Vice-President.Tonga Ross-Ma’u is an artist built by the men, women, musicians, mentors, family, friends, sights, sounds, and spirit of art that has surrounded him throughout his life. It’s what fuels his own music, his ambition, and his passion to educate the community.

Doug Walker
Doug Walker

Often recognized as one of the few left-handed upright bassists on the planet, Doug Walker was born and raised in Sacramento, CA, with an interest in music reaching as far back as he can remember. Although he first studied the alto saxophone from ages ten through twelve, he discovered the electric bass at age fourteen and quickly became serious about the craft.

Doug’s interest in jazz and the acoustic bass flourished while studying with Dr. Joe Gilman at American River Community College, where he immersed himself in numerous academic and professional ensembles. Doug then pursued higher education at San Diego State University on full scholarship, studying with bassists Bob Magnusson and Gunnar Biggs, ultimately earning the Master of Music degree in jazz studies by 2007.

Based in San Diego, Doug continues to perform and record within a circle of exceptional musicians. He endeavors to play an integral role in a wide range of creative projects, spanning the entire spectrum of jazz and spilling into bluegrass, Americana and other folk-influenced genres.

Charles Weller

Charles Weller a multi-instrumentalist and active performer/teacher in the San Diego area.  He is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston, and over the years has performed with such artists as:  Steve Heck, Dave Clark, Tom Appleman, Craig Hlady, Shep Meyers, Peter Sprague, Gilbert Castellanos, Rob Whitlock, Ben Schacter, Tripp Sprague, Dave Marr, Dave Patron, Dave Millard, Anthony Smith, Josh White, Jeff Miles, James East and many, many others.


David Castaneda
David Castañeda

Multi-Percussionist/Composer/Arranger, David Castañeda was born in Oakland, and raised in the Bay Area, California – he currently is based out of Los Angeles. David quickly showed an interest in the many genres of music he was exposed to in his childhood. Beginning on the alto saxophone in elementary school, David constantly sought to make music and make small bands with his peers. David continued his study of music through high-school where his interests expanded. By the time David graduated high school, he was also studying Flamenco Guitar, Piano, Drum-set and Latin Percussion. Upon entering college, David was already composing and arranging for the small bands he lead. He would quickly find himself playing percussion for the advanced bands at his junior college. Outside of academia, David was playing professionally in Salsa bands around the San Francisco Bay Area. He would find many friends in the circuit and perform with international icons such as Carlos Caro, Louie Romero, and Edgardo Cambón. He would also meet Leo Servín and Julio Aréas, which proved to be two of David’s closest mentors in his musical career. David quickly began taking lessons under Julio until his move to San Diego. After moving to the University of California, San Diego, where he majored in Jazz Composition and the African Diaspora, he began to study and collaborate with greats such as David Borgo, and Mark Dresser. At UCSD, David would commit himself to studying Arrangement and Jazz Theory under grammy awarding winning producer Kamau Kenyatta. He and Kamau would go on to work together in San Diego and Los Angeles – Kamau quickly becoming one of David’s most influential mentors.

Wanting to test his compositional abilities, David founded his ten piece Timba band Kini Kini, and more recently, his Latin Jazz Quintet, as platforms for experimentation and exploration. Working with UCSD’s the Loft, David realized shows with local music icon and grammy winner, Allan Phillips as well as internationally recognized percussion legend, Jose Luis Quintana “Changuito”. Outside of UCSD, David has played in various bands in the San Diego Area, including Charlie Chavez y su AfrotrukoErnie Bequer y Orquesta La Cura, as well as The Hutchins Consort. Currently, David is pursuing his M.M. in Afro-Latin Music at The California State University, Los Angeles. He is studying Drum-set under Euro Zambrano, Arrangement under Paul DeCastro and recently played and studied with Drum-set icon Calixto Oviedo.


Fernando Gomez
Fernando Gomez

Drummer Fernando Gomez delves into everything from rock to reggae, along with contemporary and Latin Jazz. He imbues his art with an indisputably vibrant hand and energy that combine beautifully with his precise technique.

Rob Thorsen Bassist

Jazz bassist Rob Thorsen maintains a diverse and busy schedule in Southern California as a performer, educator, clinician and composer. He has found his true voice in the upright bass and performs regularly throughout the United States and Mexico with artists including the Mike Wofford/Holly Hofmann Quartet, Charles McPherson, Steph Johnson, Gilbert Castellanos, Mundell Lowe and a host of others. He has released five recordings as a leader and the most recent, entitled “Rob Thorsen Trio Live,” features the phenomenal talents of drummer Duncan Moore and pianist Joshua White, the 2nd place winner of the Thelonius Monk 2012 piano competition. In addition to performing with his own quartet he has also created “Jazz an American Art Form” – a hugely successful jazz educational program that has been presented to over 9,000 students this year. Rob was also recipient of numerous awards in 2013 including the Young Audiences “Artist if the Year”, the Jim Croce “Artist of the Year”, KSDS Jazz 88.3 Top 10 releases of 2013, and nomination for San Diego Music Awards “Jazz Artist of the Year” “When I began playing upright bass, the fact that I felt the sound as much as heard it had a profound effect on me. I was hooked for life.” – Rob Thorsen

Antar Martin
Antar Martin

Versatile bassist Antar Martin has carved out a respected niche for himself as a master of both the acoustic bass and the electric bass. Just about every style of music is fair game for this fine musician, including classical, fusion, rock, and of course, contemporary Jazz.



Richard Sellers
Richard Sellers

Richard Sellers has been playing drums professionally for over twenty years. In that time, he has performed with countless groups and ensembles in a variety of styles, including straight-ahead jazz, avant-garde jazz, Brazilian, Latin, funk and hip-hop. In addition, he has worked extensively as a teacher, applying his unique rhythmic approach and meticulous technical methods. A native of Valencia, California, Richard received early training from Stewart Fischer (brother of jazz giant Clare), Earl Palmer, and Joe Porcaro. The support of such greats prepared him for his move to San Diego nearly fourteen years ago, when he began to make frequent performance appearances at San Diego State University, and gigged incessantly with the best professionals in town. This experience includes a lasting musical liaison with Joe Garrison and Night People. Richard was regarded as one of the premier drummers in Southern California, and he found himself sharing the stage with World Class artists such as Hubert Laws, Kenny Rankin, George Bohannon, Bob Magnusson, Marshall Hawkins, Clare Fischer, Gary Foster, Jackie and Roy, Andy Simpkins, and Kamau Kenyatta. These players and many others respected him immediately for his uncanny talent with brushes, his undeniable energy, and his strict attention to dynamics and groove. Richard has made high-profile appearances at the Namm Show, an internationally recognized musical and technological convention. In 1980, he received the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award, and he was honored as an exceptional soloist at the 1983 Fullerton Jazz Festival. He is affiliated with Smith Custom Drums, Turkish Cymbals, and Alternative Percussion. –cHeFRnB ThAT Be mE !!!

Curt Miller HeadshotCurt Miller

San Diego based clarinetist Curt Miller specializes in the performance of contemporary chamber music. A frequent collaborator with a wide range of composers, Curt has performed in dozens of premieres and worked with established composers such as Helmut Lachenmann, Chaya Czernowin, Rebecca Saunders, Roger Reynolds, Josh Levine and Lewis Nielson on performances of their solo and chamber ensemble works. He has performed internationally in ensembles and as soloist  at venues such as the Lucerne Festival, Harvard’s Fromm Players series, Monday Evening Concerts and Miller Theatre and in San Diego with new music ensemble Palimpsest and Camera Lucida.  As member of the trio ensemble et cetera he has begun to expand the repertoire for clarinet, double bass, and percussion through commissions and realizations of works for open instrumentation.  Through his more recent interest in electronics and sound installation Curt works with visual artist Nichole Speciale on installations which reference and extend drawing and painting through sound and video. Curt received his BM in clarinet performance under Richard Hawkins at Oberlin Conservatory and an MA in contemporary music performance at the University of California San Diego under Anthony Burr where he is currently studying for a DMA. In addition to his active performing schedule Curt educates through private clarinet instruction and work as a teaching assistant at the UC San Diego in music theory and history.

Paul Nowell 3Paul Nowell

Paul Nowell, also known as “Paul The Trombonist” is a Los Angeles based music producer/songwriter/performer/film maker and acclaimed trombonist. If you were to total up all the appearance’s of Paul on youtube, he has been viewed over 3,000,000 times. As a teenager, while playing with his own group at a jazz club in Cleveland, Paul was approached by Duke Ellington’s nephew, Ron Ellington Shy of the Drifters and Coasters fame. Immediately after, Nowell began working with Ellington Shy on his musical arrangements. Paul was also chosen to play with Chico Hamilton for the 2004 Tri-C Jazz Festival. In 2007 he was a member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, toured the world with them and in 2008, he played trombone for Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan on his Tony award winning (2010 Best Musical) “Memphis”. He has also served as a trombonist in the queen of soul, Arethra Franklin’s band and also Johnny Mandel’s Orchestra. Nowell graduated Berklee College of Music on scholarship and has studied with some of the finest trombonists alive such as Phil Wilson, Andy Hunter, Jeff Galindo, Hal Crook, Karin Harris, Mark Mauldin, Bill Yeager and Scott Kyle. It is due to their amazing direction that Paul has developed the warm, full-bodied trombone sound and unique melodic interpretation that he has today. As a trombonist, Paul has shared the stage or appeared in video with Arethra Franklin, Jimmy Heath, Tay Zonday, Bill Hollman, MysteryGuitarMan, Clare Fischer, Melissa Manchester, Bobby Shew, Destorm, Frank Stallone, Shay Carl, Kurt Hugo Schneider, Barbara Morrison, Rachel Goodrich, Emma Fitzpatrick, Conrad Herwig, The Stylistics, Spoon, Pete Christlieb, Don Braden, The Spinners, James Moody, Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, Fabian, The Temptations, Four Tops, Gary Puckett, Lucien Barbarin, Richie Ray, Ernie Krivda, Phil Wilson, Bob McChesney, Aaron Weinstein, Andy Hunter, Dominick Farinacci, Sammy Nestico, and Arturo Sandoval.

Aldrin Payopay RecordingAldrin Payopay – Recording Engineer

When it comes to recording as an art form, Aldrin Payopay possesses proven skills and an almost intuitive dexterity. Currently, he holds the position of Assistant Recording Engineer for the UCSD notable, Josef Kucera. Hear some samples of Aldrin’s work in these catalog listings.

RJ w_ocean bkgnd copyRichard James – Recording Engineer, Veranda

Richard James is an innovative and talented artist with far-ranging interests. Richard has a background in classical and jazz piano, studying privately in New York, beginning at age 6. He studied string bass in San Diego for several years with Bert Turetzky and played in many local orchestras. He has performed solo and with groups extensively over the years in restaurants, nightclubs and concert situations and worked countless private engagements for clients in virtually all the major spots around San Diego, e.g.  the Civic Theatre and Symphony Hall, all the major hotels and casinos in the area.  As  lead music contributor from 1996 through 2001 for the  popular  bluemountain.com  website he was called upon to create pieces to accompany online greeting cards. Richard also served as musical director at the OB Playhouse for the show The Spaceman of Ocean Beach.