In his career, Joey Berkley has always been a passionate tenor-saxophonist. Listening to his often-intense yet thoughtful solos, there is little doubt that he means every note that he plays. While one can occasionally hear hints of historic greats (such as John Coltrane and Michael Brecker) in his playing, he sounds unlike anyone else.

Born and raised in Toronto, Joey Berkley came to music early since his mother was a jazz singer who listened to records by Nancy Wilson, Anita O’Day and other vocalists around the house. After briefly playing several instruments, he settled on the tenor when he was 13, played local gigs while in high school, studied music at Humber College in Toronto and, after his graduation, moved to New York City. “It was exactly the challenge that I was looking for as a musician, measuring myself against the standard of other New York musicians.” Joey gained important experience during those years playing a wide variety of musc. He moved to Westchester in the mid-1990s where he was one of the founders of the Westchester Jazz Orchestra which he directed for three years. He also became an influential educator who is the Director of the Westchester Center for Jazz and Contemporary Music based in Yonkers, NY. His basic music philosophy is that playing and teaching are virtually the same, coming from the same creative place. “Both are dependent of each other, whether I’m in a classroom or on a stage. The Center embodies that idea and I am fortunate to have owners (Lis and Paul Sander) who support my direction.”

The tenor-saxophonist, whose previous albums include Made In NYC, More’n Four, Etched In Stone, I Hear Voices (the latter two with Funkasaurus Rex), and Joey Berkley’s Bandits, is particularly proud of his latest recording. “This is a very accurate representation of who I am musically and it reconnects with my roots. I never take anything for granted because I know that it is a privilege getting to do what I do.”

And for listeners, it is a pleasure to hear the results.

-Scott Yanow, Jazz Journalist/Historian and Author