Jazz Coordinator, Drums
Drummer Vinnie Sperrazza graduated with honors from William Paterson University in 2002 with a Bachelors in Music. In 2000, while at William Paterson, he met and began working with the world-renowned jazz pianist James Williams, starting a musical relationship that lasted until Mr. Williams' passing in July 2004.
Moving to Brooklyn in 2002, he began involving himself in the borough's thriving creative music scene, and is currently leading two projects. The Vinnie Sperrazza-Matt Blostein Band features original music and draws on a diverse array of musical styles and experiences. Their first album was released in January 2008 on the Ann Arbor-based Envoi Recordings label. In August 2008, Fresh Sound Records will release a trio recording with bassist Dave Ambrosio and pianist Jacob Sacks.
Bass, Latin Jazz Ensemble
David Ambrosio, originally from the New York area, has lived in New York City since 1988. As one of the more in-demand bassists in the New York scene for over 10 years, he can be seen performing regularly in the many Jazz clubs and performance venues in and around the New York City area. In addition to this, David has extensively toured the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan as a performer and clinician. In 2003 he traveled to Russia, Central Asia and the Caucasus's on a six week tour with the Adam Klipple Quartet for the US State Department/Kennedy Center sponsored Jazz Ambassador's program. A year later they returned to do a more extensive tour of Russia as well as Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan to perform and record with Uzbek and Kyrgyz folk musicians. In 2001 he traveled to Cuba to perform with Grupo Los Santos and to work with Cuban Folkloric music and dance ensembles as well. Over the last few years some of the prominent festivals he has performed at include Canada's Montreal and Guelph festivals, JVC Jazz and Vision festivals in New York City and the Nancy Pulsations Festival in Nancy, France.
Pianist Erik Deutsch has recently moved to NYC after a decade in Boulder, Colorado. His performance credits span a wide range of genres including James Blood Ulmer, Scott Amendola, and DJ Logic. Long-term collaborations include touring and recording with pianist/drummer Art Lande and trumpeter Ron Miles. His most recent release 'From Seed to Stone' comes from County Road X, a unique Americana ensemble. After receiving his degree in classical piano performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Erik has enjoyed teaching students of all ages and styles while tailoring his method to each individual and their personal goals.
Shane is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and has been working professionally in NY and Los Angeles for the last several years. After graduation he joined BMG recording artist Steve Coleman's band and played on three CD's in addition to regular touring in Europe. After relocating to Los Angeles he was signed on with Indie-Folk queen, Ani DiFranco, and spent two years touring and recording with her band. While still in L SM faculty members Mike McGinnis, Dave Ambrosio, and Brian Drye.
To hear samples of Shane's playing and writing visit the kneebody website at kneebody.com
Trombone, Large Ensemble
Composer and trombonist JC Sanford leads the improvisational trio Triocracy and has also performed with John McNeil's Insomnia, Allan Chase, Chico & Arturo O'Farrill, the Andrew Rathburn Big Band, the Mili Bermejo/George Schuller Octet, and Andrew Green's Narrow Margin. As a
composer/arranger/bandleader, JC co-leads the Schumacher/Sanford Sound Assembly, a modern jazz orchestra that features his own compositions.
He also conducts the Grammy nominated John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, was the conductor of the orchestra accompanying Alice Coltrane (featuring Ravi Coltrane and Jack DeJohnette), and has guest conducted the BMI/New York Jazz Orchestra, the Diane Moser Composers' Big Band, the Luther College Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Band, and the University of Northern Iowa Jazz Band I.
He is a founding member of the composers' federation Pulse and has been a member of the BMI Jazz Composers' Workshop led by Jim McNeely and Mike Abene for 6 years. JC has been commissioned for large ensemble works by the University of Northern Iowa, New England Conservatory Jordan Winds, the Air Force Reserve Band of Georgia, The Skyline Brass Quintet (including a week long residency), and the Dave Liebman Big Band.
(Note: All faculty members instruct Small Ensembles.)