Posing at the 2008 Pee Wee Russell Memorial Stomp (from left): Pablo Rodriguez (New Jersey City University), Brandon Blackburn (Rowan University), Adam Lomeo (William Paterson University), Matt Janiszewski (Rutgers University), and Donald Malloy (Rutgers University). Photo by Tony Mottola.
Brandon Blackburn, Drums, Rowan University (Bill Walters Scholarship). A junior from Hutchinson, Kansas, Brandon has been studying and improvising on drums since the age of 12. Among his favorite musicians are Oscar Peterson, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea and jazz legend Joe Morello, who is also his teacher. He’s already played Carnegie Hall. His favorite musical style is funk and among his favorite composers is J. S. Bach. He believes that “interpretation and expression of self through music inspires belief in something much bigger than ourselves.”
Adam Lomeo, Guitar, William Paterson University (Jack Stine Scholarship). Adam is a junior from Utica, New York. He’s been studying music since the age of 6, improvising since the age of 9, and has written many jazz compositions beginning at age 14. His biggest musical thrill to date was sitting in with the great Russell Malone in a Manhattan club. Adam began performing in bars and blues clubs when he was 12 with his younger brother who sings and plays harmonica.
Pablo Rodriguez, Trombone, New Jersey City University (Don Robertson Scholarship). Pablo is a graduate student from West New York, New Jersey who has been studying music since he was 13. He plays guitar, piano, electric bass and recorder. He began improvising and composing while still in high school. Herbie Hancock and Jobim are among his favorite composers. While studying at William Paterson and the Manhattan School of Music, Pablo developed a love for arranging. He is a well-rounded young man with interests in cycling, basketball and philosophy; he is also a full-time music teacher in the West New York school system.
Matt Janiszewski, Saxophone, Rutgers University (Pee Wee Russell Scholarship). A graduate student from Avon, Connecticut, Matt began studying music at 10 and now plays all the saxophones, clarinet and flute. Among his favorite musicians are Coltrane, Bird, Joe Henderson and Ralph Bowen (RU Jazz Director). He’s composed and arranged many charts for all size groups beginning at age 16. His favorite musical style is hard bop, and his biggest musical thrill was sitting in with Michael Brecker at his master class.
Donald Malloy, Trumpet, Rutgers University (Pee Wee Russell Scholarship). Donald is a graduate student from Cleveland, Ohio, who began studying music with drums at 11 and by 14 knew he was going to be a jazz musician. Before graduating from high school, he had already played with the likes of Terence Blanchard, Bobby Watson and Winard Harper. He was awarded a scholarship to the prestigious Oberlin Conservatory where he studied with jazz greats like Marcus Belgrave, Billy Hart and Gary Bartz. Donald was commissioned to compose the piece “Stark Winters” for the independent film Man Cry and has composed a four movement suite for the Jazz Heritage Orchestra entitled “Spirit of New Orleans.” For Donald, “Music is life.”