SATURDAY STAFF STORIES:
Q: How long have you been with MCG Jazz?
A: 5 years in February
Q: Why did you join MCG Jazz?
A: I've wanted to be with MCG Jazz since seeing Spyro Gyra here when I was in college. I love the feeling our concerts provide of seeing the best artists in the world as intimately as if the concert was in your living room. Since I've been here, I've discovered the spirit and positivity of the place and the way it has impacted my whole perspective on life.
Q: What do you do at MCG Jazz?
A: As production manager, I spend much of my time planning and executing the logistics of our concerts, handling the technical details of lighting, sound, video, and what happens on stage. I also often get the opportunity to serve as mixing engineer for artists during concerts. Also I've been lucky enough to work on some of our album recording projects, produce our weekly radio show, and support our events at different locations around the city and region.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
A: Everything happens in its own time. I waited 15 years for the opportunity to work at MCG, and if I hadn't waited that long I wouldn't necessarily have been ready for it or appreciated it the way I do today. Lots of things are like that....music, production of concerts, life situations. The right time will come.
Q: Do you have a mentor? If so, tell us about them.
A: I consider myself fortunate that even before coming to MCG Jazz, Marty Ashby was very generous with giving advice and guidance on my career path. I've also been very fortunate to have the ear and support of several other strong mentors including audio engineer/producer George Walker Pettit whom I call my audio sensei, and music industry professionals like AJ Reitz who mentored me in the music retail field for many years. Both of these have probably taught me as much or more about life as they have about the music business.
Q: What do you love most about what you do?
A: I think I have the best job in the world because at its core, its very essence, my job is to listen to some of the best musicians in the world play music. What could possibly be a downside to that?
Q: Tell us a surprising or a fun fact about you.
A: I grew up in upstate New York, and after 24 years of living in Pittsburgh I'm still wild about both the Buffalo Bills and winter weather. I'm also entirely devoted to the art form of telling dad jokes.
Q: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
A: The best part of my life is my family, especially time with my two sons Benjamin and Henry. I'm happiest when I'm with them and my partner Dolores.
Q: What type of jazz is your favorite to listen to/play?
A: Whether its vocal or instrumental, I tend to focus on small group jazz. Many of my favorite recordings come from the ECM label because I love their intimate, pristine, detailed recordings. I love especially jazz guitarists and any singer who can tell a great story with their songs.
Q: What is something that has surprised you about working at MCG Jazz?
A: When I was interviewing for my position a lot of emphasis was put on the requirement to drive our company vans doing artist transport. Thats actually become one of my favorite duties because it's where you really get to know the musicians and often hear some great off-the-record stories.
Q: Who is an artist you want to see perform at MCG Jazz and why?
A: I've never had the opportunity to see guitarist Charlie Hunter anywhere and have always found his ability to play both bass lines and guitar parts on one instrument amazing; some of his organ "trio" records are my favorites by any artist.