Native Cincinnatian Mike Andres, saxophonist and woodwind player, organized his first jazz combo with classmates at age thirteen. After gigging his way through Elder High School and through a stint in the Marine Corps, he enrolled at CCM as a music education major in clarinet, honing his classical skills, and continuing to play jazz throughout his studies.
While at CCM he met and learned from those he admired, particularly Jimmy McGary and Gordon Brisker. Performing on jazz concerts sponsored by the Union and broadcast on radio from UC, Mike met Frank Brown, Eddie Morgan, Lee Stolar, and others who would become longtime friends and collaborators. At that time Clyde Trask, who hired many local jazz players for his very successful Cincinnati territory band, invited him to join his group, and he played there for several years.
Mike worked extensively with Frank Vincent, Dee Felice, Cal Collins, John Von Ohlen, Mary Ellen Tanner, Tom Sco eld, and Kenny Poole, as well as with Frank Proto and the Symphony Jazz Ensemble. A founding member of the Blue Wisp Big Band, he continues to treasure playing with his colleagues there, especially with original sax section members Herb Arono , Joe Gaudio, and Larry Dickson. He played with Carmon DeLeone’s Studio Big Band, and with Dick Meyer’s band.
Mike was a staff musician at WLWT for 15 years, playing daily on the Bob Braun show, with short stints on the Nick Clooney and Dennis Wholey shows. Mike was the principal saxophonist with the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops for forty years, and is heard on many of their albums. He is featured as the clarinet soloist on their recording of Rhapsody in Blue with Erich Kunzel and William Tritt.
He has recorded with James Brown, Mel Torme, Doc Severinsen, Eddie Daniels, Dave Brubeck, Gerry Mulligan, and others.
As a woodwind specialist, he has played with literally hundreds of artists, acts and shows. For many years he served as a musical contractor–– providing musicians for the Broadway Series, Riverbend, the Taft Theater, and the Cincinnati Ballet Orchestra. He contracted several tours for Perry Como, and Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé.
Mike has taught at the College-Conservatory of Music, helping to found the Jazz Studies program there, and at Miami University; and he is a Board Member of Cincinnati Musicians Association.
Taught by his father, Clyde Brown, Frank started playing the cornet at age three and soon carried the title “The World’s Youngest Cornet Soloist.” The horn was too heavy so they made him stand on the dining room table and tied the cornet to the dining room chandelier so he could just blow it instead of having to hold it. Within a year, he was playing and traveling in the Keith-Albee Vaudeville Theatre circuit. He made two movies and was unable to appear with Shirley Temple when the child school laws changed and he was unable to miss school.
At six he studied trumpet with the legendary Frank Simon, Sousa’s first cornet soloist, and studied with Henry Wohlgemuth, principal trumpet in the Cincinnati Symphony, in preparation for an orchestral career. At 15 he ended his formal studies and became interested in jazz and popular music; working in dance and jazz clubs including traveling with the Buddy Morrow Orchestra.
After serving in the U.S. Army and by the age of 27, he began focusing on leading and performing with big bands. Frank has performed with jazz and popular artists from Woody Herman to Duke Ellington, Johnny Mathis, Henry Mancini, Andy Williams, Tony Bennett, and many more—including as lead trumpet for soul singer James Brown.
Frank was the musical director for three television shows—Dennis Wholey (1969-1973), The Nick Clooney Show, and for Vivienne della Chiesa. In 1969, he performed at President Richard Nixon’s inauguration. In 1973,
he joined the faculty of the Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music, heading up the newly created jazz department. He continued playing regularly with pianist Frank Vincent and together they co-wrote the Phil Donahue theme song.
He performed with the Symphony Jazz Ensemble led by bassist Frank
Proto during the 1970s. His recording of “A Foggy Day” on Portrait of
George is considered to be a masterpiece of sensitive ballad playing. Until
his death in 1983, he continued as a Cincinnati contractor for shows,
Frank’s dynamic and powerful ‘sound’ that was unique to his playing, was
produced not only by his excellent talent but by a horn he had made by taking the bell of one horn and having the valves of another horn grafted into it. The horn has been fondly referred to as ‘The Flame.’
Frank passed away in 1983.
Vocalist Ann Chamberlain was surrounded by Jazz from the moment she was born. Dad, Hugh Chamberlain, was a professional sax player. Whether she and Mom, Mary Kathryn, were with him on the road, or hosting jam sessions at home, or playing great jazz recordings—there was always music. It didn’t hurt, of course, that Ann was blessed with a beautiful voice and unstoppable talent.
Ann left Findlay, Ohio after High School and was soon on the road with gigs all over the country. Based in Indianapolis, Ann and pianist/former husband Jeff Morgenstern toured for many years. They produced much more than beautiful music: but the love of their lives, daughter Molly Morgenstern. After divorcing and moving to Cincinnati, Ann continued to work with the best Jazz artists in the area and nationally, such as singing on a recording job with John Clayton and singing with Tony Bennett.
Life changed forever when Ann met and married trombonist Eddie Morgan, the other love of her life. Eddie, also a Cincinnati Jazz Hall of Fame inductee, returned to town after many years of performing in Las Vegas with the Frank Sinatra and Frank Sinatra, Jr. orchestras. This opened the door to many musical adventurers all over the world as Ann joined Eddie on the road when possible, and she opened for the Frank Sinatra, Jr. Orchestra when they played at Sawyer Point.
Ann and Eddie formed a Trio with pianist/organist Wayne Yeager. They played all of the area’s jazz venues for many years, including an 11-year gig at the Paci c Moon in Montgomery and Newport.
Their CD, “Hearts Desire” is considered a true work of art by all involved, highlighted by a note Ann received from Barry Manilow, praising her
for her impeccable performance of his song: “When October Goes.” To quote Cincinnati’s own Dee Felice: “Ann Chamberlain is a real, honest-to- goodness bona de jazz singer.”
And to quote Ann herself: “I want to learn more and more tunes and sing
with better and better players. If success comes out of that, then that
would be terrific with me. But that’s not why I sing.” Chamberlain said she does not sing by choice; rather she sings ‘out of identity’. As she put it, “It’s not something I do, it’s something I am.”
Emidio “Dee” DeFelice Jr. was born in Cincinnati on March 14, 1931 to Emidio and Ida, immigrant tailors from Italy and Austria. Raised in Corryville, his career began at 8 years old when he and his brother would tap dance at Italian weddings. Rhythm was his thing. At age 14, he purchased his first set of drums for $20 and played his first gig in 1947 with his brother Frank and childhood friend Bill Berry. Upon his return from the U.S. Navy to civilian life and music, he played many local venues.
In the late 50’s he and Frank Vincent started jamming together in clubs in Newport and became The Dee Felice Trio. Jack Prather played bass until Lee Tucker took Jack’s place. They played together for over 20 years.
Later the trio became The Mixed Feelings when they added guitar player Bugsy Brandenburg and singers Gwen Conley, Randy Crawford, then later Mary Ellen Tanner and Brenda Woodrum. The Mixed Feelings toured the country playing numerous clubs, and back home they performed at the Playboy Club and The Buccaneer.
The Dee Felice Trio toured with James Brown in the early 70’s and recorded 2 LPS, Gettin’ Down to It with James singing, and In Heat, featuring the trio. James Brown from liner notes of In Heat: “I personally feel that Dee, Frank and Lee are three of the ‘Strongest’ musicians around today.“
He also became the musical director on WCPO’s The John Wade Show. In the early 80’s, Dee put together The Sleepcat Band, a Dixieland band with talented local players; and then he opened The Dee Felice Café in 1984. The stage was built up behind the bar where Dee could leave his drums set up and he and other local musicians could play together.
The last band Dee put together was The Jazzmanian Devils, a 12-piece big band playing original charts from that era with some of the best musicians in the Tri State area.
During his musical career, Dee performed with many great artists to numerous to list and after he passed, friend and and bassist Lou Lausche wrote this: “Dee was the best drummer I ever played with. He was always humble about how good he was which was one reason I think everyone loved him so much.”
Phil DeGreg began playing the piano in his childhood and his earliest jazz in uences were Bud Powell and Bill Evans. Phil is accomplished and comfortable in a wide range of jazz styles, ranging from mainstream to bebop to Brazilian jazz.
He has released eleven recordings as a leader and has been recorded as a sideman on many other jazz projects. His most recent recorded
project called “Melodious Monk” done with trumpeter Kim Pensyl features the music of Thelonious Monk in duo and trio settings without drums. A review in All About Jazz writes: “....Phil DeGreg’s masterful piano interprets Monk brilliantly and Kim Pensyl’s trumpet is the perfect complement.”
A native of Cincinnati, Phil completed a degree in psychology from Yale University, nished a Masters degree at University of North Texas, and subsequently toured the world for a year with Woody Herman’s Thundering Herd.
A recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts grants, he was named one of the 10 nalists in Jazziz Magazine’s 1995 “Keyboardists on Fire” competition, and was a 1996 nalist in the Great American Jazz Piano Competition.
For 16 years, he served as the house pianist at Cincinnati’s famous
Blue Wisp Jazz Club, accompanying visiting artists on weekend, and has appeared at all of the major Jazz Festivals. Phil has performed in clubs and concerts throughout the United States and around the world including Brazil, where he was awarded a four-month Fulbright Fellowship to lecture about jazz in Brazil.
Phil considers music to be a gift and is dedicated to sharing his love of jazz through teaching. He is currently Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, where he teaches jazz theory, arranging, piano, and ensembles. He also has taught for many of the prestigious jazz workshops like the Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops (since 1982) and the UK Jazzwise Jazz Camps (since 1996).
He has appeared as a visiting artist/clinician at colleges and high schools throughout the U.S., Europe, Central and South America. Phil has presented lecture/demonstrations to many music education professionals, and has published articles for Jazz Player Magazine. In 1995 he published “Jazz Keyboard Harmony,” a chord voicing method written for non-pianists and beginning jazz pianists, which is now used in private teaching and at universities throughout the world.
“Don’t just sit there. Go in the instrument room and find something to play.”
Those were the words that forever changed the life of trombonist/composer Marc Fields. The school- owned baritone saxophone that he played was away being repaired and his junior high band director, Willie Charles Turner, couldn’t watch him sit around doing nothing during band class. When Fields came out of the instrument room,
he was carrying a trombone, and it became his love and inspiration. Fields started when he was in the ninth grade.
Graduating from Withrow High School, Fields then graduated from the University of Cincinnati on a Corbett scholarship. He landed the trombone position at WLWT and played six years on the Bob Braun Show, under the musical direction of Cli Lash and Teddy Rakel.
Playing in the house band at the Beverly Hills Supper Club in Southgate, Kentucky, he worked with many popular artists like Nancy Wilson, Dionne Warwick, Robert Goulet and many others. He also joined The Cohesion Jazz Ensemble with Bobby Scott, Edmund Oxley, Jim Anderson, and Steve Schmidt. Fields also tried his hand at composition and this became an avenue that he would continue to explore in the years to come.
In the mid-1980s, Fields joined the Ray Felder quintet, but in 1989, Fields got an o er to play with Ray Charles and the Ray Charles Orchestra. This turned out to be a de ning period of his career. He was on the road with Mr. Charles until 1995, doing six world tours and performed on the Ray Charles Fifty Year Anniversary television special.
Upon leaving the Ray Charles Orchestra, Fields began his teaching
career at University of Cincinnati CCM where he still teaches in the jazz department. He teaches jazz trombone and oversees the Blue Note Combo and the Charlie Parker combo.
During his career, Fields has had the occasion to perform with many jazz greats like Mulgrew Miller, Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Harry Sweets Edison, Rufus Reid, Jimmy Heath, and many others.
His only solo recording to date, Salutaris Plates, has received critical acclaim, much noted for its original compositions and arrangements. Marc Fields continues to play with many local groups including the Pot Kettle Black Jazztet and the Blue Wisp Big Band.
Art Gore’s drumming style is characterized by signature driving cymbal beats, crisp, sharp snare accents, and well-placed bass drum “bombs.“ During his three decade career, he has performed and recorded with such artists as George Benson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Lonnie Liston Smith, Pharoah Sanders, Woody Shaw, Larry Young, Bobby Watson, Freddie Hubbard, John Sco eld, Hank Marr, J.J. Johnson, Joey
DeFrancesco, Kenny Dorham, Hank Crawford, James Moody, and Ahmad Jamal, to name a few. Dr. Lonnie Smith has said of Art, “Art has the kind of rhythm and drive that’s always right there.”
Art Gore was born into a family of musicians, which began his early exposure to music. By age sixteen he was playing professionally. After graduating from high school, Art attended Berklee College of Music
and then was drafted into the armed forces for two years. His musical development continued by playing with the First Armored Division Band and orchestra and leading his own groups.
After serving in the military, Art returned to the Berklee College of Music where he studied with renowned drum instructor Alan Dawson and later at the New England Conservatory of Music under Vic Firth. In 1972, Art joined Dr. Lonnie Smith, which later lead to them both traveling and recording with the Grammy-winning guitarist and vocalist George Benson.
Upon leaving George Benson’s band, Art began working with Lonnie Liston Smith. Art’s recordings with Lonnie were some of the most important of his early career. Many jazz enthusiasts consider one of the recordings, “Expansions” (RCA 1975) a jazz-fusion classic. “Voodoo Woman” is one of the compositions that Art recorded with Lonnie and is included as part of the Recommended Recordings of the Decade for the Smithsonian Collection of Jazz in the Seventies.
(Bio excerpted from Yamaha Artists)
Frank W. Payne is a legend in the history of First Baptist Church of Kennedy Heights and in the Cincinnati jazz scene. Frank moved to Kennedy Heights in 1954, lived in Silverton, and now is again living in Kennedy Heights with his wife, Louise. They have been married for 44 years.
At six, Frank began taking piano lessons. He attended: public schools in Covington, KY; Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee; Paris School of
Music, Covington, KY; Cosmopolitan School of Music, Cincinnati; and the University of Cincinnati.
He formed The Frankie Payne Trio and performed on WLWT, WZIP radio and many venues in the city. During his career he jammed with great artists like Duke Ellington and Rosemary Clooney. Frank has played at jazz clubs and hotels locally and served on the trustee board of Local #1, a musicians union, for 25 years where he received his 50-year pin from that organization.
Frank was Associate Musician at First Baptist Church of Kennedy Heights for 42 years and served as Minister of Music at First Baptist Church of Covington, KY for many years. He continues to play on occasion at churches throughout the area.
Frank was the court messenger at the Federal 6th Circuit Court and was appointed Associate Librarian in 1954 by then Circuit Judge Potter Stewart. He was appointed Senior Librarian in 1971. He was the only black who has held that position in any U.S. District Court of Appeals. He retired from the Federal Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit as Court Librarian in1984, serving the Court for over 30 years. Held in high regard, he was honored with a ceremony and reception, previously bestowed only on
a retiring judge.
Although he was well respected for his work with the court and enjoyed a ful lling career there, his rst love has always been with music. The schedule that he kept was a demanding one, working every night of the week in clubs and hotels, a Sunday a.m. radio show, then one or two church services and a Sunday matinée. Looking back, he realizes he lost out on family life and regrets he didn’t realize that at the time.
Frank Payne has received awards from the Collective Empowerment Group Business Excellence Award, 2013 and the William Lawless Jones Award from UC College- Conservatory of Music Jazz Studies, 2007.
(From 4/18/2014 interview by Christine Schumacher in a Kennedy Heights publication)
Frank Vincent was born on April 10, 1938, in Falconer, NY. An accordion player in his early years, he performed after high school with a country western group called the Western Heirs. In 1958, he later joined a lounge band and
they played the old Blue Angel in downtown Cincinnati. He then stayed to study at CCM and collaborate with drummer “Dee” Felice.
In a Cincinnati Enquirer article by Cli Radel, Frank re ected on another pianist – Glenn Gould that he cited as his rst inspiration. “His records would drive me over the brink. When he played you could feel the passion. That was the key word. Passion. He had the ability to bring out certain hidden sections that other players would just skip right over. He had the mind to make you aware of that.” Cli wrote, “The longer Vincent spoke, the more it sounded as if he were talking about himself. He, too, has the ability to bring out hidden sections which others ignore.”
He performed in area clubs for over 50 years. When not playing with his trio here, he toured with R&B legend James Brown or jazz singers Mel Torme and Mark Murphy. Rick VanMatre, University of Cincinnati College- Conservatory of Music professor emeritus called Frank “one of the few jazz musicians that could truly be called a poet.” A 2002 Enquirer story called Mr. Vincent “one of Cincinnati’s musical treasures for many years.”
Vincent’s trio had long running gigs throughout the area including the Playboy Club, Buccaneer Inn, Carousel Inn, and the Harley Hotel. The list of renowned musical colleagues is long and too numerous to list, but anyone Frank played with shared a kindred musical bond and friendship that ran deep.
The Frank Vincent Trio regularly played the Celestial Incline Lounge in Mount Adams. He was a superb solo pianist, but he also knew just how to play for a singer. “He knew that less was more,” said Lynne Scott, who sang with the trio at the Celestial from 2003 to 2011.
He recorded several CD’s, including “Close Enough for Jazz” in 2001 and “Melange” in 2002 with bassist Mike Sharfe, drummer Marc Wol ey and vocalist, Larry Kinley.
Frank passed away April 17, 2014 and is dearly missed by his family, friends and those who shared his passion for jazz and music.