I started taking music lessons from Khaliq “Drew” Al-Rouf in 1999; the alto sax became my primary instrument starting that year. I have included the college essay that I composed about Drew and how he gave me the gift of musical expression, written during September and October of 2007. He remains one of the strongest influences on my life, and I hope to make him proud in all that I do with my musical life. My brother, sister, and I all play music because of Drew. Lisa is a clarinetist, alto and tenor saxophonist, and pianist, and recently performed with a klezmer band across Seattle; Michael is also a pianist and alto saxophonist, but has been steadily mastering the drums for a number of years now thanks to great guidance from Chris Nicolo. I hope Lisa, Michael and I will one day adopt the name “Field of Roses” for our family band, as that is what our last name means in German.As for myself, I play Cannonball alto, Selmer Aristocrat II tenor, and Selmer sopraniño saxophones, Takamine G Series acoustic and Schecter S-1 Elite Diamond Series electric guitars, and have been twanging around a Fender banjo since the end of January this year. While the three of us don’t get to play together as often as we might like, my siblings and I have had special opportunities to play together; one of those opportunities was an event playing for the luxurious Stamford Hospital “Dreamball 2009” with Michael and our great teacher, mentor, and Daniel Elfman impersonator Chris Dingman. Chris plays vibraphone and piano, and has recently given me tips on some of his favorite California music locations.
Before college, I was the tenor saxophonist in a ska band “The Skandals” that ran between fall 2005 and summer 2007. The group performed at the Knitting Factory in New York City two times, a Rye Country Day School charity function and a few private events in Rye, NY. Mostly, The Skandals was an awesome time and it produced some great ska tunes for all of Rye. Then I was in the band “DBF” alongside my near and dear friends Phil Zatari (Providence College ’12), Howe Pearson (Wesleyan University ’12), John Herbster (Loyola Maryland ’12) and Charlie Skelsey (St. Michael’s ’13), with featured awesome guests such as Joshua Reynolds (Boston University ’11), Nate Pearson (Denver University ’11), and Jamie Krasner (RISD ’11). The band had a brief run on the Westchester talent show circuit with Teddy Boyle (University of Vermont ’11), and played a set in front of four thousand tired joggers at Stamford Hospital’s “Hope in Motion” Cancer Benefit Walk in Stamford, CT. In December 2009, the band changed direction and renamed itself “Saint Mungo’s Churn“, releasing a literally priceless EP album titled “D.B.F.”
As for my musical career at Brown so far, I have played saxophone in the Ron Sanfilipo Jazz Combo (Academic Year 2008-9) alongside singer Jacob Combs (Brown ’11), drummer Natan Last (Brown ’12), saxophonist Jeff Herman (Brown ’12), bassist Heidi Jiang (Brown ’11), guitarist Walker Ray (Brown ’11), and pianist Ben Slater (Brown ’11), played in the ska band Worst Case Flamingo alongside trombonist Lee Saper (Brown ’12), trumpeter Jeff Weinreb (Brown ’12), drummer Sam Helman (Brown ’12), guitarist Andrew Rapp (Brown ’12), alto saxophonist Phil Zatari (Providence ’12) and bassist Marshall Katheder (Brown ’12), and have now started two bands that performed in April, one known as The Trappists, with Lee Saper and Andrew Antar (Brown ’12) and the other known as the Williams Street Band, featuring John David Pinto (Brown ’10). During the summer of 2010, The Trappists recorded a show in Mountain View, California and released an album called “Mawrth.”
During the first semester of 2010, I’ve been recording and playing with old and new friends. Justin Satriano (Brown ’10), Anne Willard (Brown ’11), Sean Ramirez (Brown ’11), Melissa Diaz (Brown ’11), Steffen Marcus (Brown Grad Student ’11) and I performed at The Susan Satriano Memorial Foundation Concert on October 2 in Oceanside, NY, as a band called Cargo. Phil Zatari and I have played as ” Salmon Fill”, and performed at “Love Art Hate Racism.” I’m enrolled in TSDA 0960A: Musical Theater Songwriting, where students are working together and writing a new song each week. I’ve been performing with Mike Goodman (Brown ’13) as “Goodman and the Dapper Dans” at the BCA Speakeasy Sessions on October 16 and as “October Surprise” on October 23rd, but I’m sure our name will change again a few more times. The Ron Sanfilipo Jazz Combo 2010-11, featuring Annie Brown (’12), Natan Last (’12), Taran Ragurham (’14), Jon Aronson (’13), Justin Satriano (’10), Jonah Wolf (’12) and Matt , performed my Jazz version of “Quarter to Nine” on our October 21st concert.