Company

Bio Picture Matthew Sandoski
Executive Director

Matt began studying music at the age of 5, started his first band at age twelve (playing guitar and bass), and began working professionally in the music business at age sixteen. Throughout high school and college, Matt played in up-and-coming local bands while also diving head first into the production side of the music business. Matt has been touring nationally and internationally since 1997 with bands such as Citizen Cope, Alice Smith, Benevento Russo Duo, among many others.

In 1998, Matt graduated Cum Laude from the University of Colorado with a B.S. in Music with an emphasis in Audio Engineering, while also studying jazz guitar. Using this degree as a launching board, Matt spent seven years as Mastering Engineer at the internationally renowned Airshow Mastering Studio in Boulder, Colorado. During his stay at Airshow Mastering, Matt worked on over 500 records, some of which were major label releases.

Matt's talent and passion paved the way to two GRAMMY nominations during his tenure as a Mastering Engineer, with a GRAMMY win in 2002. In 2006, Matt received an opportunity to return to his touring roots and hit the road with international touring artist Citizen Cope. This lead to four years of nonstop touring where Matt intimately learned the in's and out's of professional concert production. Matt still works as a FOH, recording, mixing and Pro Tools engineer in his spare time. In December of 2009, Matt and his wife welcomed the arrival of their first child.  Matt decided it was time to get off the tour bus and open the Montclair School of Rock so he could stay close to home with his son, who inspires him musically everyday.

Bio Picture Kevin March
Creative Director/Drum Instructor

Kevin is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music.  His vast professional experience includes stints as a member of The Dambuilders (Atlantic/Elektra Records), Shudder To Think (Epic Records), and critically heralded indie rock heroes Guided By Voices (Matador Records).  He’s performed on recording sessions for Jeff Buckley, The Breeders, James Iha (original member of Smashing Pumpkins), and A Camp (featuring Nina Persson from The Cardigans), and on songs that were featured in such films as “Velvet Goldmine”, “Boys Don’t Cry”, “The Woodsman”, and the Jack Black hit “School of Rock”.  He also co-produced the 2013 album “Warned You” by NYC-based rock quartet The NowhereNauts along with Grammy-winning recording engineer Carl Glanville (U2, Jason Mraz, Billy Joel, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson).

Bio Picture Philip Silverberg
Keyboard/Guitar/Bass/Vocal Instructor

How did Phil Silverberg get to Carnigie Hall? Practice, practice, practice of course! Phil was introduced to music at a very young age. His parents played a diverse selection of music in the house, and Phil picked up on it quick. He taught himself piano, and began learning music theory and classical piano techniques. He also took up saxophone at his school, an instrument he would continue to play all through his years at Lafayette College where he majored in music.
Phil found another avenue in the music business when he purchased some recording equipment, and began producing and mixing local NJ bands. That same year, he auditioned for Chambers Singers at Lafayette and won the Bass II position. The group toured extensively in Italy as well as performing at New York's legendary Carnegie Hall.
During the summers Phil worked as an audio engineer and stage manager for Live Nation working primarily at Blender Theatre at Gramercy, and The Fillmore in NYC. After graduating he partnered with friends and musicians to start their own recording label named The Dreamcatchers Life, where Phil functions as Co-Executive Producer, audio engineer, house instrumentalist, and songwriter.

   Now, Phil wants to help students at the School of Rock take it to the next level.
     " I sincerely believe that everyone should at least attempt to learn an instrument. For me it's an outlet like no other. To be able to connect with another human without uttering a  word is a priceless experience and to be able to pass that experience on to kids is invaluable. I believe that music helps create a bridge between people. Students that come to the School of Rock will be able to teach me as much as I am able to teach them.  My ultimate goal is to see these kids surpass me in every capacity.  If that is what ends up happening, then I've   done my job properly! "
   Phil teaches piano, vocals, saxophone, harmonica, and drums at School of Rock Montclair.

Bio Picture Mark Dollar
Show Director, Guitar & Bass Instructor

Mark Dollar is a guitarist/singer-songwriter/artist who has been celebrated for his work around the world. He has worked dilligently to perserve real music in the way of passion and talent. He currently resides in Montclair NJ, where he is as deep into his artistry as he has ever been before. He works as an in house studio guitarist to more than a couple of high-rate industry studios in the greater New York/ New Jersey area, such as Divine Mill, Tallest Tree Studios, Mozart Studios and others. His work has been under the naked ear as well, working with artists such as Pink, Lindsey Lohan, Britney Spears, Omarion, Queen Latifah, Kool & the Gang, Whitney Houston, as well as many local artists in the area. With this deep of a resume, you might think that Mark is too busy to give it all back to the future guitarists of the world. However, Mark is thrilled to be a part of the School of Rock Montclair team! " A LOT of the stuff I have learned over the years isn't taught within music schools, and no price, no formal training can teach you how to FEEL." Mark Dollar is a perfect example of how School of Rock Montclair brings real, current working musicians to teach your children how to ROCK!

Bio Picture Maurice Watson
Drum Instructor & Show Director

Maurice Watson is a diverse, and talented drummer hailing from Newark, NJ. With 20 years of performing and recording experience under his belt and only in his 20's, music has been a commitment in his life from a very early age and it shows. Cutting his teeth with family members in the Newark gospel music scene, he developed a polished, yet rough and hard-hitting style which has found him completely prepared to tackle ANY musical endeavor he has come across. He attended Franklin Pierce College (now, University) in New Hampshire and began drumming for Metalblade/Blackmarket recording artists Deadwater Drowning as well as a host of other Metal and Hardcore Punk projects all around New England. He rubbed elbows and played shows with many bands he loved and respected, such as Suicide Silence. It was during this time, that Maurice took proper instruction from Brooklyn, NY's multi-instrumentalist Nathan Davis to sharpen his skills in Jazz, other Percussion, etc. Years after graduating Maurice found himself back home in NYC/NJ with a new set of skills and ready to start work on Rock/Pop band Aliens with his long time cousin, best friend, guitarist and collaborator Mark Dollar. Maurice also found himself in session work for artists in the greater New York City area, sharing stages with the likes of Trey Songz, hellogoodbye, Keri Hilson, Ludacris, and many more.

Bio Picture Thomas Nadolski
Guitar/Bass Instructor & Show Director

Tom’s love of music began as a diaper-clad toddler in Jersey City, listening to his dad play The Beatles on accordion.  After years of attempting to wrangle the accordion he was fortunate to find an old acoustic guitar in the basement. Since then he has never put it down. Self-taught for the first 5 years (with the assistance of a single Mel Bay book) Tom enhanced his education at New Jersey City University where he studied classical guitar, jazz guitar, music theory, sight-reading, ear-training and music technology.  From 1991 to the present he has been involved in numerous rock bands and has performed in clubs all over the New York/New Jersey area including CBGB’s and The Bitter End. No job is too big or too small for Tom, and he has played guitar in every conceivable situation, ranging from dressing up as a cow for Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream in NYC to playing at the Greensboro Coliseum in North Carolina for 30,000 people.
His love of music lead him to the audio field working as a live sound engineer and a recording engineer. He worked at the infamous Chung King Studios in NYC where he recorded countless artists including Blondie, Talib Kwali and Mos Def. A "full-circle" moment occurred at Chung King where Tom had the pleasure of teaching Jack Black how to play “Stairway To Heaven” on guitar during a session for a commercial spot for the “School Of Rock” movie. 
Despite Tom’s love for performing, few things can compare to sharing the gift of music and his 20 years of knowledge with any one who is willing to learn. He thrives on the satisfaction of unlocking the joy of music for students, and specializes in turning mistakes, or “happy accidents”, into Teachable Moments.
Tom is thrilled to be part of the School Of Rock in Montclair, where he is part of a fantastic team that shares his love of musical gift-giving and strives to help each and every student find their own inherent and individual musical voice.

Bio Picture Steve Murphy
Drums Instructor & Show Director

A Native New Yorker who has worked with:

Groups/Artists; Trans Siberian Orchestra, Alan Parsons, Jack Bruce,
Todd Rundgren, Mark Farner (from Grand Funk), The Turtles, Micky  
Dolenz (from The Monkees),
Dave Mason (from Traffic), Dee Snyder (from Twisted Sister), John  
Entwistle (from The Who),
Steve Lukather (from Toto) and many many more.

Producers/Engineers:  Phil Ramone, Frank Filipetti, Alan Parsons,  
Eddie Kramer, Paul O'Neill and many more.

Has performed in over 40 countries worldwide, at such venues as:   
Madison Square Garden (NYC), Giants Stadium (NJ), Citi Field (NY),
Miller Park (Milwaukee), The Greek Theatre (Los Angeles), The  
Paramount Theatre (Asbury Park NJ), The Kremlin Palace (Moscow),
Auditorio Nacional (Mexico City), The Astoria (London) and many many  
more.

Has also been featured in several nationally televised commercials as  
well as feature films.

Steve Plays:
Canopus Drums
Sabian cymbals &
Vic Firth drumsticks

Bio Picture Sean Eden
Guitar Instructor

Sean Eden was a member of the acclaimed New York band Luna, who released 7 studio albums, several EP's, a live record, and toured nationally and internationally for 13 years. Luna also composed music featured in the scores of several films, including SidewaysRolling Stone magazine described Luna’s album “Penthouse” as one of the “essential albums of the 90s”. Sean's guitar playing has been described as “so luxurious it’s practically decadent” (Nylon), “amazing, echo-plexed, atmospheric” (NewBeats) and Rolling Stone’s Joe Levy said “Luna’s guitar players shine in live performance, where Sean Eden heads for the rafters.” He is currently recording a solo album, and also plays in the bands Night People, Elk City, and Gramercy Arms.

Bio Picture Lewis Robinson
Vocal Instructor

Lewis Robinson never fails to captivated audience with his warm outgoing personality, extraordinary vocal skills and his compelling performance style. A specialist in vocal and stage performance for over 30 + years, Lewis brings his experience from theater, being a singer songwriter, to coaching and directing his students at the School of Rock Montclair. As and educator in the Montclair, NJ, elementary school system, he brings his love and knowledge of music and dynamic performance energy to the students and faculty alike.

 

An accomplished and studied drummer, Lewis Robinson has also thrilled audiences worldwide as lead vocalist with his own band singing jazz favorites, R&B and original compositions.

He has also received directorial awards from Italy and has performed and recorded numerous radio and television ads.

 

Credits include; 

Amen Corner, directed by Phil Black, written by James Baldwin 

Broadway @ Nederlander theater NYC.

Red Sneakers, directed by Liz Swados, @ The Perry Street Theater,NYC.

 

Dancin in the streets, directed by Billy Wilson

Fords theater in Washington DC

Next Move theater in Boston Massachusetts:

 

Blues In The Night 

South American tour.  with blues singer Ruth Brown:

 

European musical tours of 

West side story, Hair, and Jesus Christ Superstar:

 

The Rocky Horror Picture Show,

 American University of Paris,France:

 

 

Bio Picture Josh Bertelli
Guitar Instructor

 

Josh was lucky to acquire an old PA system and drum set early on in his life which led to a love of performing and writing music.  He switched to the guitar before high school where he and his friends formed an original rock band inspired by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and Phish.


During his senior year of high school, Josh had a music theory teacher that eventually led Josh to Berklee College of Music to study classical composition.  This is the first time Josh realized the amazing influence a teacher could have on a student!  Josh was addicted to listening to classical and jazz and was inspired to compose, write songs, and record his own music.  Being inspired by the amazing teachers at Berklee, Josh then went semester after semester, summers straight through, until he graduated 3 years later.


Arriving back in New Jersey, he continued making music and started teaching guitar where he took lessons as a child.  Josh then went on to obtain his Masters degree in Music Education from Montclair State University.  Throughout he has been playing many gigs at places such as Maxwells, Arlene’s Grocery, Pianos, Mexicali Live, and the Dewey Beach Jam Fest.  His bands, The Fantastic Vibrations, Mr. Pants and the Adventure Soundtrack and Turn on the Galaxy have always thrived in original music and improvisation.  He has written and co-written an abundance of songs and performed them on the drums and guitar.   He has also recorded over 20 complete albums of original music in his personal studio.


Combining all the elements of music and music education he has learned throughout the years, the School of Rock is the perfect environment for Josh to teach exactly what he truly loves!  Now, a father, watching his daughter learn, play, and discover music is one of the greatest moments of his life!

 

 

 

Bio Picture Eamon Kenny
Guitar Instructor

Eamon Kenny is a guitarist, vocalist and composer from Montclair, New Jersey. Encouraged by his father, a composer for television and radio, Eamon has gone on to become a musician well versed in many styles. He has played venues all over the tri-state area with various pop/rock cover bands, and is also the leader of his own jazz trio. In addition, his guitar playing has been featured in numerous television commercials, both local and national.

 

Eamon is a graduate student at New Jersey City University, where he is currently working towards a Masters in jazz with a concentration in arranging and composing. He has been fortunate enough to study with many accomplished professionals, including arranging with Grammy-nominated writer Pete McGuinness, improvisation and theory with Bob Malach and Mark Sherman, piano with Allen Farnham, and guitar with Paul Meyers and Josh Rubin.

Bio Picture Aliah Sheffield
Vocal Instructor

There’s no question about it: singer-songwriter Aliah Sheffield has always loved music. For her, it isn’t just a “thing” she does, it’s a way of life. It’s in her blood; her heart; her soul.

 

Born in Newark, New Jersey and raised in Savannah, Georgia, Aliah has always been a singer. Her musical influences cover a wide range—Deniece Williams, Donny Hathaway, Aretha Franklin and Patti LaBelle, to name a few. She played a number of instruments in grade school, including clarinet and saxophone. In high school, she was encouraged to explore the piano as she discovered her songwriting abilities. While studying film scoring at Berklee College of Music she began to experiment with fusing genres, particularly soul and R&B, to create her unique keyboard driven style. Yes, her music is heartfelt; her vulnerability definitely shows. But at the same time, her songs are also inspiring and empowering.

Today, Aliah is fulfilling her dream of performing and sharing her music, capturing audiences in settings from intimate to grand. Working with industry veterans as well as other rising stars, she is currently writing and recording songs for her debut album.

Aliah Sheffield is ready to take the world by storm, so have your best umbrella ready!

Bio Picture Dayn Viglione
Guitar/Bass Instructor

Dayn Viglione is a guitar and bass instructor with nearly 10 years of playing experience. Shortly after picking up the instrument, he formed his first band at the age of 16. Since then a year hasn't gone by where Dayn wasn't actively involved in a live-performing band. While well-versed in an array of theoretical music concepts, from blues to jazz, classical guitar and heavy metal, Dayn believes that performing in a group setting is the best way to hone your musicianship, bouncing off the creativity of others to truly find your musical confidence.

Bio Picture Kathleen Ackerman
Vocal/Guitar Instructor

 

Kat has been playing guitar for 11 years and singing for what can be described as a lifetime. At the start of her career she both sang and played guitar for her church choir, and soon found herself playing and touring with multiple bands, one being The Radio Speaks. Kat was also “a one woman show” for two years, performing original compositions for a crowd eager to see her week after week. Currently working on a solo album, she is still involved in side projects and is an accomplished artist. Kat is eager for each and every lesson at School of Rock Montclair!

 

You can check out songs featuring Kat in her previous band The Radio Speaks here: myspace.com/theradiospeaks

Bio Picture James Stivaly
Guitar Instructor

Bio coming soon

Bio Picture Kevin Parker
Bass Instructor

Kevin Parker began playing bass guitar over 33 years ago for, little Stevie and gospel superstars. He is skilled as a bass and lead guitarist, composer and arranger. It has led him to perform with many great artists such as, Bishop, Walter Hawkins, Vickie Winans, Michael Bolten, Ray Charles, The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, Rev. Stephanie R. Minatee and The Jubiliation Choir, Alvin Darling and Celebration. Just to name a few. 

Bio Picture Tom Frustieri
Drum Instructor

Tommy became fascinated with the drums at the age of five. LDB (Little Drummer Boy) was his first influence. The passion LDB brought to his brilliant performance touched young Tommy in a way that made the big toe stand up in his booties… He had found his “Special Purpose.” 

From there it was a steady diet of The Monkees, Archies, Banana Splits, and Ricky Ricardo…“BabalooOOOOO”!!!!! 

The Partridge Family of course had an effect on any little kid trying to rebel against his parents and society during that turbulent era in America’s history, and yet despite having a pretty major crush on the lovely Lori Partridge, Tommy was quite irritated by the drumming of Chris Partridge who often “appeared” to be playing on the opposite beat, when in fact it sounded perfect! What the H#%*ck?!? 

Not long after that Bobby Brady got a drumset and young Tommy knew it was time to get serious! 

The Beatles, Rolling Stones, and Jackson 5 were the next step… Hey, The Beatles and Jackson 5 both had cartoons, and The Rolling Stones did “Gimme Shelter” which, for some odd reason Tommy was allowed to view at WAY too young an age... Shortly thereafter he saw live footage of Keith Moon playing drums with The Who and was SO moved that there could be no doubt…He had to ROCK!!! 

Tommy is the youngest of four children in a very musical family. His parents always had jazz and big band music playing in the house, and his older brother and sisters all sang and played instruments. They were all very big and very positive influences both musically and in life.
With much thanks to his siblings and older cousins, Tommy was joyfully enlightened to the sounds of Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Chicago, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath. It was around this time that Tommy received his first Buddy Rich album… His “Jazz Odyssey” had begun!

From fourth grade on Tommy enrolled in all the music classes his school had to offer.

He had outstanding musicians as band teachers all throughout school, but especially at Wayne Hills High School where Rocco Patierno and most notably George Hickswa were paramount in helping shape the musician that Tommy would eventually become. Marching band, concert band, percussion ensemble, jazz combo, big band, and his all time favorite; Jazz Improvisation Class with Mr. Hickswa! That class was truly a rare treasure to all who studied with diligence!!! Tommy even played in the pit orchestra for his “High School Musical”…and had FUN doing it! His quest to make it “cool” to be a “band geek” culminated with all the members of his rock band, Legacy, involved with some form of school band.

Tommy considers himself fortunate to have studied privately with some of the finest drummers and drum teachers the New York area has to offer, including John Riley, Tommy Igoe, Kenwood Dennard, Sandy Genarro, Eliot Zigmund, Horacee Arnold, and most importantly his mentor, the GREAT John Hvasta who taught Tommy from age thirteen until he was nineteen years old. John is a virtuoso musician who guided Tommy and took him under his wing introducing him to the creative, artistic aspects of Drumming. Jazz, funk, and Latin styles were the main focus of study, with an intensive concentration on rudiments and technique...cuz you must learn to LOVE THE BORING STUFF TOO! Lessons often went on for hours. John was a wonderfully inspirational teacher!  

Linda Everswick
Saxophone Instructor

Bio coming soon

Bio Picture Meredith Borden
Vocal/Keys Instructor

Meredith Borden has been pursuing the art of singing since she was a young girl growing up in Central Massachusetts where she got her start singing extensively in school and church choirs. Borden went on to earn her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Vocal Performance from New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, with a focus on opera under the renowned impresario John Moriarty. Harnessing her burgeoning talents as singer, dancer and actress, Borden made her move to the Big Apple in 1991 at which point she began working steadily as a professional performer in musical theatre, classical concert / opera, and rock/blues venues. Off-Broadway companies she has performed with in the course of her singing career range from New York Gilbert & Sullivan Players (on tour and at City Center in NYC), to the European touring company of the musical HAiR in Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland. She has performed lead and featured roles at regional and summer stock companies including The Weathervane Theatre (NH); Seaside Music Theatre (Daytona Beach, FL); and American Repertory Theatre (Boston, MA). Some of her roles include Christine inPhantom of the Opera, Fiona in Brigadoon, Maria in West Side Story, and Isabel inPirates of Penzance. Borden toured for 6 months as a singer/dancer with the Rotterdam Revue Company on board the SS Rotterdam performing from Alaska to South America to Hawaii. Currently, Borden rocks it out as lead singer in the electric delta blues-rock band WILLIE McBLIND, whose second CD Bad Thing recently got a 4 star review in Downbeat Magazine, making it one of Downbeat’s BEST CD’S OF 2010. More about Meredith’s work with her band can be read at: www.williemcblind.com.

 

In addition to teaching at School of Rock, Meredith has taught in a wide range of educational environments, including a high school vocal performance class as part of the Artsbridge Charter School program in Hoboken, NJ; vocal instructor at Guitar Bar in Hoboken, NJ; and children’s choir director at Saint Lawrence Church in Weehawken, NJ where she directed a project composing, arranging and producing a CD entitled AMEN!sung by the SLC girls’ choir set to their own poetry. At SLC, Borden also coached and trained the lead child singer in a production of “Amahl and the Night Visitors”. Other musicals her students have performed in include “Seussical the Musical” and “13 The Musical”. Meredith has drawn upon years of experience in teaching and performing to develop her own unique approach to suit each student’s styles, levels, repertoire, goals and needs. Borden also incorporates physical movement and theatrical stage presence as a way to open up the student’s sense of vocal and physical freedom. Borden helps each student to build and nurture his or her voice in a healthy manner founded on solid breathing and vocal exercises, combining elements of classical, blues and rock stylings, and thus developing musicality and training the ear, and instilling confidence as a performer. She encourages each student to find his or her potential so that he or she can shine vocally and learn the joy of singing, performing and loving music!!

Bio Picture John Ginty
Guest Professor

John Ginty loves an audition. As a drummer going into high school, he decided to audition for Morristown High School Colonials Marching Band, not as a cymbal player, which is what almost all freshman start out as, but as the quad player, a spot reserved for juniors and seniors. John won that audition, and for the next four years handled almost all of the drum duties at MHS including pit band, jazz band, jazz chorus, and orchestra. John was named Drum Captain of the Marching Colonials in 1989. He expanded his playing to include vibraphone, and became very proficient on the instrument. He graduated in 1990, winning the national Louis Armstrong Jazz Award, for creativity in improvisation in the field of jazz.

After graduating, John turned to the Hammond organ. An odd choice indeed, especially considering that his grandmother Honore was a church organist who passed away years before John was born. He was playing in local New Jersey cover bands, and began teaching drums and piano to students out of the local Morristown music store.       John played on many recording sessions in New York, Nashville, and Los Angeles in the mid 90's, and one night got the call every musician dreams of.  " Jewel called on a Tuesday, and wanted to know if I could do MTV Unplugged on Thursday, and SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE on Saturday. I ran all the way to the record store to buy her record! " 
    This was the start of a long line of success for John in the music business. John toured and recorded with artists such as NEAL CASAL, WHISKEYTOWN, SANTANA, MATTHEW SWEET, SHERYL CROW, BAD RELIGION, and was an original founding member of ROBERT RANDOLPH and the FAMILY BAND, in which John received a JAMMY award, two GRAMMY Nominations, as well as a GOSPEL MUSIC DOVE Award for Urban Album of the year, 2003. In that same year, John also appeared on the BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA's GRAMMY Award winner "Higher Ground". His discography now spans over a decade, and demonstrates his eclectic influences and unique sounds on the keys.

    In a simple twist of fate, one day while recording at Cello studios in Los Angeles, some friends in a band called MOONEY-SUZUKI were down the hall working on a movie soundtrack. They needed some keys, and "borrowed" John during dinner breaks to play piano and organ. The result was a movie called "SCHOOL OF ROCK"! You can really hear Ginty's Hammond cut through on the "big concert" scene at the end of the movie! 

   John has spent most of the last five years touring with CITIZEN COPE, in support of "the Clarence Greenwood Recordings", and "Every Waking Moment", two amazing records, where John not only played the piano and organ parts, but also did the string section arrangements. 

He now resides in Bernardsville, New Jersey and has his own recording studio "The Shark Tank". He fronts his own band, the Hammond organ driven "John Ginty Band", and he can often be seen "sitting in" with WARREN HAYNES and members of the ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND, and BOB WEIR of the GRATEFUL DEAD.  After many years of touring the U.S.A. and Europe, John is settling down and taking a much needed break from the road. He is thrilled to bring his experience to the School of Rock in Montclair.

"The most important thing to me is to have students understand the concepts that will always lead them to "love the audition" in everything they do in life.."

Bio Picture CHARLIE HUNTER
Guest Professor

Charlie Hunter is an American guitarist, composer, and bandleader.

First coming to prominence in the early 1990s, Hunter has recorded 17 albums. Hunter plays custom-made seven and eight-string guitars, on which he simultaneously plays basslines,rhythm guitar, and solos. Critic Sean Westergaard describes Hunter's guitar technique as "mind-boggling ... he's an agile improviser with an ear for great tone, and always has excellent players alongside him in order to make great music, not to show off."

 

 

Hunter was born in Rhode Island. When he was four his mom packed him and his younger sister in an old yellow school bus and headed west. After several years living on a commune in Mendocino County they settled in Berekely, California. Hunter graduated from Berkeley High School and took lessons from famed guitar teacher Joe Satriani. At eighteen he moved to Paris. Returning to the Bay area, Hunter played a seven-string guitar and organ in Michael Franti's political rap group, The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. In 1992, they were one of the opening acts for U2's Zoo TV Tour.

Since the debut of his self-titled Charlie Hunter Trio (which included John Ellis on sax and Jay Lane on drums) in 1993, Charlie Hunter has recorded seventeen albums. He co-founded Garage A Trois, a jazz fusion band with Stanton Moore and Skerik. He has collaborated with Bobby Previte for an ongoing project entitled "Groundtruther." He also recorded and toured for Bobby Previte's The Coallition of the Willing in 2006. He appears on acclaimed jazz bassist Christian McBride's Live At Tonic. On both The Coalition of the Willing and Live at Tonic he plays 6-string guitars. His earliest known released recording without unusual guitars is as a guest bassist for the band Sweet Potato from California's East Bay. The song "Crankshaft" can be found on the Ubiquity Records compilation Mo Cookin from 1994 and the song "Monkey Wrench" can be found on the Ubiquity Records compilation Still Cookin from 1995. He also played guitar on the track "Me and Chuck" from the Les Claypool and the Holy Mackeral album, Highball with the Devil, released in 1996.

Charlie played in the band T.J. Kirk active 1990s that merged the music of Thelonious Monk, James Brown, and Rahsaan Roland Kirk. T.J Kirk is: Will Bernard - Guitar, John Schott - Guitar, Charlie Hunter - 8-string guitar and Scott Amendola - Drums. Three recordings of the time are called: T.J. KirkAugust 8, 1995, If Four Was One September 24, 1996 and Talking Only Makes it Worse released in 2005. Hunter contributed to three songs for D'Angelo's Voodoo (2000), including "The Root". Hunter has stated that the session for the song was the most challenging session he has worked on.

In the summer of 2007, Charlie toured with a trio that included New York keyboardist Erik Deutsch and New York/New Orleans drummer Simon Lott. This trio recorded the July, 2007 Fantasy release Mistico. In 2008, Hunter recorded his first self-release, Baboon Strength. Featured on the record are Erik Deutch on keys and Tony Mason on drums. Hunter returned to the studio in Fall of 2009 to record with drummer Eric Kalb.

In 2008, eminent clarinetist and composer Ben Goldberg put together a project entitled "Go Home" with Charlie on guitar(s), Ron Miles (trumpet) and Scott Amendola (drums). The alternately funky, beautiful, spacious and deep compositions showcase all the musicians. The group performed at the Jazz Standard in New York from October 29 to November 1, 2009 with Curtis Fowlkeson trombone, replacing Miles on trumpet.

Hunter was also an inaugural member of the Independent Music Awards' judging panel to support independent artists.

Charlie Hunter is represented by Tree Lawn Artists, Inc.

 

Charlie Hunter will be a monthly guest professor at both School of Rock Wayne and Montclair and we are very excited to have him!