The Frank Gerard/Ray Chamberlain Quintet featuring vocalist Brenda Jensen
Friday, August 25th 5:00pm - 7:00pm
The Peace Garden
JAZZ GUITAR – Frank Gerard has been a continuing fixture on the Buffalo jazz scene since 1964 both as a performer and a teacher. In 1965, Frank began performing at the Town Casino and the Glen Casino (owned by Harry Altman). For ten years he played with the Gap Band, and also spent three years working with local jazz trumpeter, Dick Russo. Frank has played in countless venues of all sizes and settings, and continues to do so. For the past eleven years, he has played regular gigs in a combo featuring the late, jazz great, Ray Chamberlain. Ray was also one of Frank’s influential guitar teachers. Renowned Philadelphia jazz guitarist, Dennis Sandole, instructed Frank for two years back in 1972. (Mr. Sandole mentored many jazz legends including John Coltrane and Pat Martino.) Frank spent time teaching at May’s Music and then opened his own studio – Parkridge Music – in 1984, where he continues to mentor and teach many local area guitarists and musicians. Former students include Buffalo Music Hall of Fame members, Alyn Syms and Mark Panfil. Frank is a member of the Buffalo Musicians’ Association.
VIBES – Chuck Corluccio had an early start with music learning to read from his Dad (a guitar teacher). Realizing that the guitar was not his instrument of choice, Chuck "discovered" the vibraphone. After playing for quite a few years, he had the opportunity to study with local jazz musician, Dave Kayne, who shared with Chuck some of the nuances of the genre. Within a short period of time, Chuck was introduced to Frank Gerard and their partnership continues to this day.
PERCUSSION – William “Bill” Bates has been a regular player in the Buffalo area and beyond since the ‘60s. Starting to play in 1959, his instructors included John Rowland (a percussionist who spent four decades with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra). Bill has played in countless groups - running the style gamut from rockabilly, blues, country, Motown, swing, jazz… you name it. This broad range of experience allows him to play with a diverse group of musicians. While Bill has had the pleasure of filling in with many top musicians in Western New York and Southern Ontario, he has played with several groups, including Tommy & the Midnights, The Milestones, Numeral IV, The Great Day, Frank Gerard-Mike O’Boyle Organ Trio, Jimmy Kay, Full Tilt Blues Band, Nickel City Clippers, Four Point Play, Bison City Stompers, Jeffrey Arthur Group, Joe Giambra, Joe Baudo, Razz Ma Tazz, Summer of ’69, Jazz Quest Trio, Bates-White Duo.
VOCALIST – Brenda Jensen’s exposure to performing started when her accordion teacher took the then 8-year to the homes of his other students to “perform.” Formal ballet training in Toronto with the National Ballet of Canada was the next taste of crowds and performing (Maple Leaf Gardens, etc.). Intrigued by guitar and “self-taught” as a pre-teen, there followed the occasional singing/playing gigs at open mics, church, and writing/singing songs for local elementary school programs. A chance encounter during the late '90s brought Brenda in contact with the some local jazz players. Since then, with the input and saint-like patience of some very gifted musicians and teachers, Brenda was introduced to the (formerly unknown) world of jazz standards. With major thanks to locally gifted musicians/mentors (I miss you Sal Azzarelli), she rejoices in her good fortune. If only she could channel the likes of Anita O’Day and Ella!
ELECTRIC BASS –The evolution of Alex Sabuda's musical skills has been guided by the influences of some of the areas distinguished jazz teachers, such as, Frank Gerard, John Murphy, and George Jones. Alex is a multi-instrumentalist who performs with jazz, rock and country groups. He teaches private lessons at his East Main Music Studio in Springville, NY. He has been sitting in with Gerard-Chamberlain Quartet for the last 10 years. Now, he is honored to have the opportunity to step into the role of bassist for the group… the role previously occupied by the irreplaceable, late, great Ray Chamberlain.
We lost our beloved friend and musician, Ray Chamberlain on April 12th. The late, great, Ray Chamberlain had played professionally since the '50s in venues stretching coast to coast ever adding to his reputation as a national level guitar player. He had toured and worked with the likes of Frances Faye, Liberace, Teddy Charles Trio, Stan Kenton, Don Menza, Jerry Lewis, Larry Covelli, Sam Noto, Connie Francis, Andy Williams, and Paul Anka. He had studied with Guy Bucella, Harry Volpe, Billy Bauer, Allan Ruess and Howard Roberts. When a childhood-related nerve injury surfaced in 1970 (diminishing his ability to use two fingers on his left hand), the unstoppable Ray picked up an electric bass. By 1975, he was performing again, and continued to perform and delight both audiences and his peers. Ray was inducted into the Buffalo Music Hall of Fame in 2016.