Posing after their performance at the 41st Annual 2010 Pee Wee Russell Memorial Stomp at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany on March 7 are (from left): Jon DeFiore (accompanist, not scholarship recipient) from New Jersey City University along with 2010 scholarship winners Ark Ovrutski (Rutgers University), Adrian Mooring (William Paterson University), Chris Simonini (Rowan University), and Jeremy Fratti (New Jersey City University).
Photos by Tony Mottola.
Jeremy Fratti, Tenor Saxophone, New Jersey City University (Don Robertson Scholarship). A graduate student from Bayonne by way of West Palm Beach FL, Jeremy started music study at age 9 on alto sax and now plays all the woodwinds. His favorite musicians are Rollins, Coltrane and Shorter and Duke and Mingus are two favorite composers. Meeting and getting a nod from Mulgrew Miller at a wedding gig is among his most memorable musical experiences. Jeremy writes and arranges for his nine-piece band, the “Jazz Conceptions Orchestra,” which has played the Iridium a few times. Their first CD was released last spring.
Chris Simonini, Piano, Rowan University (Bill Walters Scholarship). A freshman from Vineland NJ, Chris began studying guitar at 14. His favorite musicians are Bill Evans and Coltrane, and favorite composers are Debussy, Bach and Shorter. He draws his inspiration from the treasury of great jazz music and legendary musicians, past and present. He’s been writing music and improvising from the age of 15, and his most memorable musical experience was his first paying gig. Two of his outside hobbies are snowboarding and the beach.
Adrian Mooring, Bass, William Paterson University (Jack Stine Scholarship). Adrian is a sophomore from Brooklyn following in the footsteps of his father, noted bassist and educator Bill Mooring. He has been studying and writing music from an early age and also plays, piano, drums and guitar. He counts Keith Jarrett and Elvin Jones among his favorite musicians. His current favorite tune is “In the Red” by Abbey Lincoln. When he started to improvise a few years ago, it was then that he decided on a career as a jazz musician. Possessing an intellectual bent, he is spending a lot of time lately writing music for his band.
Ark Ovrutski, Bass, Rutgers University (Pee Wee Russell Scholarship). Ark is a grad student from Kiev, Ukraine with a BA in Music and a BS in Mathematics. He began to study music at 10 years of age on the violin. Musicians Oscar Pettiford and Ray Brown and composers Golson, Mingus and Stravinski are favorites. Ark has been improvising and writing music from age 20 and his favorite tune is the next one he writes. He has a busy career freelancing with many of the top professionals in the business, and he’s been involved in several CD projects including two as leader.