I was born in Philadelphia and grew up in Amherst, Massachusetts. I learned about music in what I think for the time was an open-minded environment. My first memory as an infant is crawling up to a speaker in my parents living room and putting my head right up to it so that I could hear Beethoven as loudly as possible. Jumping ahead and missing a few later steps the result was that I developed less of an allegiance to style than to sound. I love the myriad ways that music sounds. I like music with and without beats. Because I play bass I probably play more music that is in time than out of time, but I love both.
My passion for music has led me on so many stylistic paths. Nominally I'm considered and probably consider myself to be a jazz musician. But (and I am hardly unique in this respect, but it does bear mentioning) I've played in African-American church bands, Synagogue bands, Polka bands, Klezmer bands, Blues bands, Big bands, Punk Bands, Radical Jewish movement bands, Rock and Soul cover bands, and Italian wedding bands, but I find myself very much at home when I am playing Jazz, whatever the new thing is that I am doing at the moment, and contemporary improvisation.
I have composed music for a wide range of artists and ensembles, including several collaborations with dance and film. My most recent compositions have focused on melding jazz improvisational practice with Jewish liturgy. In addition to performing regularly in a duo with pianist Warren Byrd and leading our group, The Afro-Semitic Experience, I am active participant in the Radical Jewish Culture movement. I have recorded and performed with Frank London and played, composed and written arrangements for the Ayn Sof Arkestra and bigger band. I also founded the Nu Haven Kapelye, Southern New England's largest Klezmer orchestra. I play jazz with whoever calls me and I continue to play with Bassology, a straight ahead jazz project that got started in 1994.
I have had the opportunity to perform and record with many musicians and this list barely scratches the surface: Aaron Alexander, Richie Barshay, Will Bartlett, Tommy Bayiokos, Joe Beck, Ron Braggs, Warren Byrd, Rex Cadwallader, Abu Alvin Carter, Sr., Alvin Carter, Jr., Chris Casey, Jesse Chevan, Noah Chevan, Will Cleary,Gerald Cleaver, Anthony Coleman, Mike Cohen, Baba David Coleman, Christina Crowder, Harold Danko, Matt Darriau, Giacomo Gates, Gary Grippo, Jesse Hameen, Jason Kao Hwang, Saskia Laroo, Frank London, Rich McGhee, Daniel Mendelson, Cantor Freda Mendelson, Cantor Jack Mendelson, Mixashawn, Tim Moran, Stacy Phillips, Herb Robertson, Cookie Segelstein, Paul Shapiro, Laura Wetzler.
If you and I have played together and you're not on this list I am sorry--please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will add you to it!!
Finally, I believe in jazz education in all its shapes, sizes, methods, processes, and encounters. I am proud to be a member of the board of trustees of the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation.