My Story

I’m a musician, an educator and a student

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When I was fifteen my dad took me to hear pianist Cedar Walton’s trio at Sweet Basil.  The connection between him, drummer Billy Higgins and bassist Ron Carter made a huge impression on me.  I started to learn the double bass.  Subsequently, I spent a lot of time in the Upper West Side jazz bar Augie’s — now Smoke — listening to master bassist Dwayne Burno and many other giants.  Sometimes I would be invited to sit in at the end of the night.  At age seventeen I performed with the All-City High School Jazz Ensemble at Lincoln Center.  After graduating from Oberlin College and Conservatory I returned to NYC to perform and teach in my community.

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I got my start as a “professional” musician playing in the parks and on the streets of NYC, so when things were in various states of shut down during the Spring of 2020, I went back to my roots and started playing in the parks with one of New York’s premier percussionists and soneros — Jainardo Batista.  Before long, we had generated some buzz, including a tweet by the mayor citing us as proof that NYC was still alive and kicking.  Venues with outdoor spaces started to invite us to play and we gained momentum as a band, playing together more and more, rehearsing new repertoire, and building our following the whole time.  To sum it up, we had a very atypical experience as performing artists during the pandemic, performing almost as much or more than we were in the before times.  Our next step will be to record an album.

Cuarteto Guataca is currently playing weekly in Manhattan, Brooklyn and NJ. Click on ‘shows’ for details.

I also perform regularly in solo and duo settings for Concerts in Motion.

With Gaston at Weill '02

Living in NYC has allowed me to continue a rich musical education as I learn on the job in a variety of genres.

Years with The Cotton Club All-Stars inculcated me into playing swing for dancers.

I learned to play Cuban son from José Luis Martínez, one of the founding members of Cuba’s iconic Los Van Van.

I was schooled in folkloric music by Roberto Fuentes, founder and director of Venezuela’s Alpargata Cantorum.

With Los Acustilocos I arranged and played for tenor Gaston Rivero at Carnegie Hall and presented my original music at Merkin Concert Hall. While home base is the double bass, I love to practice other instruments like accordions, guitars and keyboards.

As a busker or street performer I cut my teeth with The Flying Neutrinos and Frank Schaap.  Frank and I have an album together called Two Buskers’ Blues.

I enjoy subbing regularly with local doo wop groups Cover Story, Spank and Acapella Soul.

Book me for your next event