drums, percussion, and composition
Ernie studied Jazz at North Texas State University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Since then, he has been one of the most sought-out drummers and percussionists in the area. Ernie has played on 3 CDs and a DVD with The Al DiMeola Electric Band, as well as all of the world tours for that band from 1996 to 2006. He has also played for 12 years with Ramsey Lewis and is also featured on 2 of his CDs. The list of people he has played with is extensive. It includes tours, gigs and/or recordings with Joe Williams, Douglas Spotted Eagle, Patricia Barber, Stefon Harris, Art Porter, Stanley Turrentine, Dizzy Gillespie, Dianne Reeves, Bill Summers, Kert Elling, Jimmy Stewart, Karen Briggs, Billy Dickens, Steve Cole, Phil Upchurch, Baabe Irving III, Von Freeman, Melvin Rhyne, Bobby Lyle, Richie Cole, James Moody, Rufus Reid, Buster Williams, Ursula Dudziak, Joe Zawinul, Slide Hampton, Frank Morgan, Arturo Sandoval, Charles Earland, Wycliff Gordon, Michael Wolff, Marvin Stamm, Clark Terry, Pharoah Sanders, Ahmad Jamal, James Spaulding, The Bodeans, Kenny Drew Jr, Anthony Jackson, Orbert Davis, Gazyna Auguscik, and Red Holloway, and clinics with Victor Wooten, Steve Bailey, Jack McDuff and Joey DeFrancesco. Ernie has also performed in numerous jazz, funk and worldbeat concerts under his own name.
As well as being a large part of the national jingle scene, he is featured on over 60 recordings including Al DiMeola’s “The Infinite Desire”, “Flesh on Flesh” and “Consequence of Chaos”, Al DiMeola’s Live DVD in 2004, Ramsey Lewis’ “Apassionado” and “Meant to Be” with Nancy Wilson, Michael Cunningham’s CD with Jimmy Haslip and Mike Stern. He also played on Ramsey Lewis’ TV show “Legends of Jazz” with Kurt Elling and Al Jarreau.
Ernie also co-wrote and performed on the soundtrack and appeared in the 1995 motion picture “A Family Thing” starring Robert Duvall and James Earl Jones. Ernie is also an experienced teacher. In addition to currently being a drum professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago, he was a Ravinia Jazz Mentor from 1995 to 2003. This program allowed Ernie to go into Chicago’s inner–city high schools to tutor you drummers and percussionists to prepare them for professional gigs as well as impart on the lessons in life skills. Ernie is currently involved in regular residencies around the city as well as with various recording projects including akalibrio and Stonecutter Records “Acoustic Chicago” project.
bass and composition
Born January 22nd 1976, raised in Florida, Jeff Hanley is a multi dimensional musician. Starting on the guitar at age 4 he switched to the electric bass guitar a few years later playing in mostly original rock bands influenced by Led Zeppelin with his older brother/guitarist Dan Hanley. When he started high school he landed his first steady paying gig with jazz vocalist Linda Cole. Linda’s son Anthony Cole (drummer for Grammy winner / jazz saxophonist/ Sam Rivers) was also on these gigs. From the gigs with the Cole family Hanley met many of the musicians he would work with while living in Florida. He was exposed to many different kinds of music at this time Jazz/Blues/Rock/Soul/Motown/Gospel/Brazilian/Cuban/and Classical. Aside from the work with Linda Cole, Jeff was also in several original projects that Anthony Cole led.
Numerous outstanding student awards punctuate Hanley’s musical education. He was chosen for the All-State Jazz Ensemble two years in a row in high school and also received a full ride to the University of North Florida along with other scholarships awarded to him at that time. While attending the University of North Florida Jeff began playing the acoustic bass and diving seriously into Jazz. He soon was getting calls from the professors Kevin Bales (pianist for Rene Marie), Barry Green (Guitarist), and Bunky Greene (Jazz saxophone legend) to perform various gigs, recordings and concerts in the Southeast. Also at this time Jeff was a member of the world renowned Nathan Page Group. Through a concert series at U.N.F. Jeff performed with Arturo Sandoval, Herbie Hancock, Joe Lovano, and Toshiko Akiyoshi on separate occasions. Jeff also dove heavily into Funk and Soul music at this time spending equal time on his fender electric bass playing in various groups in night clubs.
Hanley moved to Chicago in 2001 and shortly began playing with some of the finest musicians in the area. While living there he joined the (Marsalis Music Recording Artist) Doug Wamble Quartet. The band was based out of New York so Jeff was flying back and forth from Chicago to NY and to many other cities in the U.S. and Europe for gigs. Although this was his main gig while living there he was included in many other projects in Chicago. Hanley has been living in NYC for the past two years and has performed/recorded with drummers Jason Marsalis, Ken Peplowski, Kenny Wollenson, and saxophonist Branford Marsalis, among many other great musicians while living there. Other notable gigs have included playing in Pop bands opening for Gloria Estefan, Fergie, 50 Cent, Duran Duran, Pussycat Dolls, Kanye West, and Carlos Santana. While living in Chicago Jeff was introduced to Jim Warner through engineer Josh Rickter and has been a member of his project for the past three years playing both electric and acoustic bass and also helping organize/chart his music. It’s been an incredible experience being part of such an elaborate project ranging in many styles of music and working with the many amazing musicians. Jeff continues to be a part of the group and plans to tour in the fall of this year.
guitar and composition
After graduating from NIU with a bachelors’ degree in jazz guitar performance in 1995, Neal moved to Chicago and has been freelancing there ever since. Neal has performed or recorded with Lin Halliday, Howard Levy, Grazyna Augusick, Leslie Gore, Ed Thigpen, and most notably, singer/pianist Patricia Barber. Neal has toured Europe, Canada, Brazil, South Korea, Russia and the U.S. with Patricia and he is featured on her Blue Note Records releases VERSE (2002), LIVE: A FORTNIGHT IN FRANCE (2004), MYTHOLOGIES (2006), and THE COLE PORTER MIX (2008). Neal has also appeared on recordings by Chicago-based musicians/groups including William Kurk Enterprise, Chris Madsen’s Kings of the Lobby, Jo Ann Daugherty, Typhanie Monique, Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble, Matt Geraghty, Sharay Reed, and Brian Gephart. As a leader, Alger’s Blue Note Quartet and his Brazilian Trio have graced the stages of all of Chicago’s jazz venues including the Jazz Showcase, Chicago Jazz Festival, Andy’s Jazz Club, Green Mill, and Pete Miller’s Steakhouse. Over the past 20 years, Alger’s versatility have enabled him to perform in such varied contexts as Neo-Soul/R&B, jazz-rock fusion, Afro-Cuban music, classic rock, movie soundtracks, and studio work for various formats. Neal is passionate about jazz education and is on the faculty at both Elmhurst College and Roosevelt University.
piano, keyboards, and composition
Pianist Marcin Fahmy, originally from Krakow, Poland is a graduate of Karlowicz Music School and DePaul Univeristy. Having started piano lessons at the age of eleven he quickly developed interest in improvisation and Jazz. Since his arrival in the US, his talent and dedication yielded many accomplishments and opportunities. While still in high shool, Marcin was one of only two pianists in the country chosen to play in the Grammy All-American Jazz Ensembles, joining an elite group of musicians in a series of concerts and recordings in New York City. This event gave him the opportunity to work with artists such Wynton Marsalis, Jon Faddis and Chick Corea. He was also invited to perform at the 1997 Grammy Awards and many its accompanying events. He has since been fortunate to share stage with some of the key figures in music today including , Gary Peacock, Peter Erskine, saxophonist Bill Evans, Dick Oatts, Nicholas Payton, Koko Taylor and Kenny Werner. He is currently one of the most sought after pianists performing in Chicago
bass, guitar, vocals, and composition
Since graduating from DePaul University School of Music, Dave Hiltebrand has been steadily rising as a distinguished musician, songwriter and producer. He spent four years as a member of the critically acclaimed Latin group, Casolando, who were highly regarded by Billboard and Rolling Stone magazines. Their music was featured on numerous network and cable television shows, as well as the major motion picture “Way of the Gun” which starred James Caan and Benicio Del Toro.
After leaving Casolando in 2001, Dave met and began working with Narada/Blue Note recording artist, guitarist Nick Colionne, with whom he has spent the last seven years as his bass player and musical director. Dave and Nick co-wrote the national and international chart topping contemporary jazz song “Always Thinking of You.”(2006)
In late 2003, Dave began a musical partnership with Narada/Blue Note saxophonist Steve Cole which led to co-writing and co-producing Cole’s album “Spin”(2004). The first single,”Thursday” stayed in the contemporary jazz top ten for most of 2005. Dave was featured playing bass as well as acoustic and electric guitars and keyboards on “Spin”(2005) as well as “True” (2006).
As a sideman, Dave has had the great opportunity to work with such artists as Nick Colionne, Steve Cole, Torcuato Mariano, Jeff Kashiwa, Kim Waters, Marion Meadows, Mathew Von Doran, Ronnie Laws, Terry Steele, Mike Cunningham, The Chicago Children’s Choir, Sergio Pires, Dale Prasco, Typhanie Monique, Neal Alger, Dave Onderdonk, Mr A.L.I. and many others. Currently Dave is working on his first album of original material which he describes as “an imagined filmscore.” The album,”Life In Motion” was released in the fall of 2007
saxophone and composition
Steve Eisen has been a free-lance saxophonist and flutist in Chicago for 40 plus years in all types of live performance and recording work; whether it be Jazz, Rock, R & B, Caribbean, Brazilian, Funk and Folk he is at home in any contemporary musical genre.
Steve’s current roster of employers includes:The Chicago Jazz Philharmonic (CJP), The Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble (CALJE), Chevere, Jim Peterik’s Life Force,Jim Peterik’s World Stage, James Sanders and Conjunto, Chicago Catz, Tributosaurus,Bonnie Koloc, The Jamez Band, Jambon and Generation.
Throughout his career, Steve has also worked such great artists as Spoon, C.J. Chenier,Styx, Roger Waters, Arturo Sandoval, Toninho Horta, Dave Valentin, Dr. John, Aretha Franklin,The Ojays, Ivone Lara, The Temptations, Nancy Wilson, Louis Bellson, Jimmy McGriff, Four Tops, Barry White, Andy Montanez, Kurt Elling, Bebe and CeCe Winans,The Commodores, Chuck Mangione, The Smithereens, Johnny Winter, Dennis De Young, Harvey Mandel,Frankie Valli, Ramsey Lewis, Joffrey Ballet, The Soul Stirrers,Willie Dixon, Al Kooper, J.M. Silk, Elsa Suarez, Manfredo Fest,Harvey Mandel, Cat Anderson, Vassar Clements, Manhattan Transfer, Asleep at the Wheel, Sonia Dada, Frank Mantooth,Nancy Wilson, Nicholas Tremulis, Enuff Z’nuff, Big Twist and the Mellow Fellows, Jesus Enriquez,Willie Torres,Paulinho Garcia,Grazyna Auguscik and many others.
lead vocals, background vocals, and composition
Cheryl Wilson is a session singer who has had multiple No. 1 dance songs on the UK Billboard charts and has performed with many notable artists including Celine Dion, R. Kelly, Alice Peacock, Mavis Staples, The Smashing Pumpkins, Bertie Higgins, Michael Bolton, Bill Withers, Peabo Bryson, David Foster, Josh Grobin, Enrique Iglesias, Nick Carter, KMFDM, Cameo, Rod Stewart, Ray Charles, Natalie Cole, Mel Torme, Spike Lee, Tony Bennett, Peter Cetera, and Martha Wash. She has also sung in commercials for companies such as McDonald’s and is a member of the Jazz & Contemporary Studies Faculty at Roosevelt University in Chicago. She contributes vocals to Jim Warner’s Chicago musical project, Akalibrio. Her performance on the KMFDM song “Power” was described as “soul-mama vamping”.
MARI ANNE JAYME
lead vocals, background vocals, and composition
Mari Anne Jayme (pronounced ‘high-me’) spent time playing the piano and singing as a pastime, and later went on to study music and the vocal arts in college and graduate school. As a professional musician, she finds pleasure in singing traditional Jazz, R&B/Soul, and Original music. You can find her making good music & conversation, and promoting the consciousness that exceeds the current physical vibration of thought on Planet Earth.
“Remember that it is practice that makes perfect, that it is motive that transfigures design, that it is beauty that transfixes the soul.” -Saint Germain
Let everything happen to you, beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.” -Rilke
Vocalist Mari Anne Jayme is indeed a musician, having had an upbringing steeped in weekly piano lessons and soaking up popular music with radio & music television. She has filled the professional roles of student, teacher, singer, pianist & accompanist, composer, arranger, choreographer, dancer, drummer, voice & piano instructor, adjudicator, auditioner, auditionee, choir director, bandleader, and bassist.
She previously taught Jazz Voice at Columbia College Chicago and at Jacksonville University in Florida. Alongside being a vocalist and teacher, she currently writes, arranges, and directs music Center For Spiritual Living in Chicago, and travels worldwide to perform in USO Shows with Gary Sinise’s Lt. Dan Band.
Mari Anne received a Master of Music from Roosevelt University in Chicago and a Bachelor of Science from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. She also attended at the University of Kentucky, where she majored in Vocal Performance, and at Eastern Kentucky University, where she focused on Music Education and the Percussive Arts. Mari Anne began her professional music career in Jacksonville, Florida, and also sang in ‘Voices of Liberty’ at EPCOT Center in Walt Disney World. She has been living in the Midwest for eight years.
lead vocals, background vocals, and composition
Ryan Behling is a vocalist and recording artist from Chicago, IL residing in the central coast of California. Ryan sings and plays bass and/or keyboards for RON: The Band and KAVA and records, mixes, masters and produces his own solo albums. He has toured extensively with the bands KAVA, RON, AfroZep, Starrunner, 56 Hope Road, Hundo and Henderson Inches.
lead vocals, background vocals, and composition
Gus Reeves is a professional singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. While living in Chicago he was honored by the Illinois Arts Council with an Artist Fellowship Award and worked regularly at the famous Chicago Recording Company. He currently resides in Vashon, WA and works out of his home studio, serving clients around the globe, specializing in composition, lead vocals, and backing vocal arrangements. His great loves besides music are his wife, his daughter, his dog, and books.
vocals and composition