Moving Forward by The Joey Berkley Band (2019)

Moving Forward finds Joey Berkley welcoming four talented and versatile musicians who are open to a variety of style. “We did not want the music of this band to be limited,” says Joey, “so we’ve found a happy place where all of our styles and histories come together.”

Bassist Joris Teepe is a long-time associate. He produced Joey’s first CD back in 2000 and was a member of his quartet that recorded Made In NYC. Teepe’s long list of credits include albums of his own that feature such sidemen as Don Braden, Tom Harrell, Chris Potter, and Randy Brecker. Drummer Chris Parker has recorded with a countless number of top artists, from the original Brecker Brothers, Carmen McRae, Lionel Hampton and Freddie Hubbard to Bob Dylan and Aretha Franklin, and was a member of one of Joey’s most colorful groups, Funkasaurus Rex (which had a five-piece horn section). Pianist Gary Deinstadt has been a friend of Joey’s for 20 years, is a multiple Grammy winning composer, and was part of his 2009 CD More’n Four. “He is very sensitive to what is going on around him. We have a very direct musical connection and sometimes work as a duo.” Guitarist Andy Abel was part of Joey Berkley’s Bandits, his previous group and worked with Blood, Sweat and Tears, Dave Valentin and Chip Taylor. “His musical experience is more rock and pop-oriented, approaches that I wanted in the band because that is part of my history.”

The program, which is comprised of the leader’s originals plus an inventive version of a pop song, begins with “Moving Forward.” Joey describes that song as being about “pushing one’s life into new areas that are positive.” Starting as a brief tenor-drums duet before the full group enters, the performance has a lengthy melody, intense saxophone playing, and fluent piano solo that is backed by energetic drumming.

“Loss And Found” is a soulful and melodic tune with a wistful melody. “This represents getting past the traumatic moments in life by letting them go and moving on to the future.” Near the piece’s conclusion, the interplay between tenor and guitar is full of fire, as if one were purging the past in favor of new adventures.

“Dunce Cap,” a reference to a term used on an episode of the original Star Trek television series, is essentially a shuffle blues. However its quirky melody and the vamps that begin each solo (which seem to stop time) give the piece its own fresh personality. It includes blazing guitar and tenor solos, a spot for bassist Teepe, and some drum breaks by Parker.

“Goodbye” has several sections and covers a variety of moods, starting quietly with a piano introduction and Joey stating the melody before a second hotter theme emerges. A wailing tenor solo generates a lot of heat before a return to the original mood closes the piece.

The one song on this set not written by Joey Berkley is “Killing Me Softly” which was a big hit for Roberta Flack in 1973. His new arrangement retains the melody, reharmonizes the chords a bit, and is much more modern while keeping the integrity of the original song.

“Once Upon A Time” which is described as “a bittersweet piece about growing up,” is given a relatively thoughtful and soulful performance with the adventurous pianist often in the spotlight. “3/4 of 4/4” is a likable jazz waltz that features excellent piano, tenor and bass solos before a particularly colorful closing vamp. The happily funky “Alamo” pays tribute to its composer’s period as a street musician in New York and one place in Union Square alongside the cube sculpture that is called Alamo. The closing “Hymn” brings the set to a quiet spiritual close as Joey plays a heartfelt duet with Gary Deinstadt’s keyboards.

Joey Berkley’s Bandits by Joey Berkley’s Bandits (2016)

Joey Berkley’s Bandits is a mixture of sounds from Jazz, Funk Rock to Pop. Its a big sound live – a 9 piece band with 3 vocalists.

They’ve just released their debut self-titled album. The album injects jazz sophistication into R&B, funk, rock and pop, “stealing” from a wide array of musical genres. Embracing the famous Ellington quote, “there are only two types of music, good and the other kind,” as the record’s theme, all the songs feature inventive writing, great solos and ensemble precision.

No Blues for Vernon by Joey Berkley (2013)

I wrote this song as a 70th birthday present honoring Mr. Vernon Hamilton…a very special man.

Yes this is a blues-and a wee bit more.

Joey Berkley-Tenor Sax
Paul Bollenback-Guitar

No Blues for Vernon: Composed/Arranged/Recorded by Joey Berkley Mouthpiecemusic BMI 2013
Mix/Mastered by Wayne Warnecke @ Peaceful Waters Music

I Hear Voices by Funkasaurus Rex (2011)

Same Funkasaurus Rex “sound”…a horn section with power and precision, a groovin’ rhythm section, some inventive writing and great soloists.
Now featuring a group of fantastic vocalists!

I Wish/Superstition: medley arrangement giving a different spin on two Stevie Wonder classics.
Star: an original song written by Joey Berkley.

Joey Berkley-Tenor Sax; Bill Harris-Alto Sax; Tony Kadleck-Trumpet; Brian Pareschi-Trumpet; Matt McDonald-Trombone;
John Tropea-Guitar; Ted Kooshian-Keyboards; Chris Palmaro-Hammond B3; Seth Glassman-Bass; Chris Parker-Drums

Lead Vocals: Tabitha Fair (Superstition); Beverly Crosby (Star); John James (I Wish)

Background Vocals: Star Choir Fox Lane HS Vocal Students-Shelby Amato, Kyra Berger, Christina Breighner, Ashley Dassa, Nicole Gelfand, Samantha Reig, Ursula Seymour, Sara Snadowsky, Jessica Strongwater, Beverly Tai, Leigh Tooker. Director: Ed Reisert…Clint de Ganon (Star)

Produced by Joey Berkley & John Tropea
I Wish/Superstition“: Composed by Stevie Wonder, Arranged by Joey Berkley
Star“: Composed and Arranged by Joey Berkley, ©2011 Mouthpiecemusic BMI
Engineered and Mixed by John Tropea @ STP Studios Valley Cottage, NY

Additional Engineering:
Drums/Bass: Maurice Minichino @ Melatone Studios Yorktown, NY
Horn Section: John Lissauer @ Katonah Mill Studios Katonah, NY
Star Chorus: Michael Groarke
Special Thanks: Russ DeFilippis for providing studio/Hammond B3 overdub.

More 'n Four by Joey Berkley Quartet (2008)

“Berkley’s quartet is featured on More ‘n Four, with Gary Deinstadt on piano, Joris Teepe on bass and Tony Jefferson on drums. Additional horn players are also part of the mix.

“Naked Flight,” one of five original songs, has Berkley on tenor. The piece begins slowly, with the horn section softly responding to Berkley’s lead. The intensity and amplification pick up a bit before the song shifts to Deinstadt’s solo. Bass and drums stretch out as the piano goes through its paces. The horns come in briefly for a dramatic buildup. Jefferson adds more emphasis when Berkley takes over. The tenor goes through a frenetic series of rolls. The song becomes a free-for-all as Berkley is joined by three other sax players, each carving his own path.

“Unsung,” another original, is a fast-paced tune that again highlights Berkley and Deinstadt. Jefferson’s solo sets up a duet between himself
and Berkley that precedes the closing sequence.”

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“A single listen to the pop/jazz standard “Nature Boy” is proof that saxophonist Joey Berkley’s tenor is as robust and accomplished as they come. Living in New York since the late 1970s, the Canadian expat has survived and thrived in the “City That Never Sleeps”–performing with top musicians, running his own music company and teaching, while maintaining a couple of bands including the nine-piece jazz/funk Band, Funkasaurus Rex.

More ‘n Four is a straight-ahead release–a continuation and extension of his debut quartet release, Made in NYC (A-Records, 1999)–that is steeped in the sounds of saxophone greats Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane and Michael Brecker, as well as younger players including Wayne Escoffery and Jerome Sabbagh. The purpose and passion is heard through Berkley’s continuing artistic expression, one that balances a powerful tone with glowing lyricism.

The same treatment of “Nature Boy”–once sung by the superb crooner Nat King Cole–is present in Berkeley’s reeded voice–the familiar shimmering glissando (with horn section), as the saxophonist’s horn sings the gorgeous melody. Things move to full uptown swing with “Push,” the momentum provided by ace rhythm section Joris Teepe (bass), Tony Jefferson (drums) and Gary Deinstadt (drums). “Naked Flight”’s modality is just as hip; a blues with street swagger.

The band shines again on another tune sung by Cole, the classic “The More I See You.” The dexterity and emotion of Berkeley’s solo sends shivers up and down the spine. While his soprano’s tonality is not as impressive, he still has the juice on “The Alamo,” but it’s tunes such as “Don’t Look Down” that prove his abilities as a player, writer and arranger of multiple voices and intricate rhythmic changes.

The icing on this cake is applied liberally on “Is There No Escape,” where Tony Jefferson’s drumming and searing tenor obliterate the
heady bop tune. Berkeley is serious. Let’s have more of More ‘n Four.”

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Etched in Stone by Funkasaurus Rex (2008)

Funkasaurus Rex was created by Joey in 2005. Joey called upon a group of colleagues, top players on the NY “music-scene” to form this exciting jazz-funk band which injects “Jazz” sophistication into ‘Rhythm ‘n Blues’ and ‘Funk’. Whether bringing classic songs from the past into a new era with a jazz perspective, or introducing an original song from that same lineage, the band’s focus is always inventive writing, great solos and precision ensemble work.

Maintaining artistic integrity, audiences have come to expect quality as the key.  A well-loved classic or a classy original, these veteran musicians bring authentic funk into the present with power, precision and sophistication. Featuring a huge five-member horn-section “sound” along with a tight rhythm-section “groove” Funkasaurus Rex says REAL Funky Music ain’t extinct!

Joey Berkley – Tenor Sax/Arranger/Composer
Bill Harris – Alto Sax/Flute
Tony Kadleck – Trumpet
Brian Pareschi – Trumpet
Jens Wendelboe – Trombone
John Tropea – Guitar/Arranger
Chris Coogan – Keyboards
Seth Glassman – Bass
Chris Parker – Drums/Arranger/Composer

For a change of pace, Funkasaurus Rex features Berkley exclusively on tenor sax, and with a bigger band. On Etched in Stone, he funks up some classic soul and R&B hits.

“But It’s Alright” begins the set. Seth Glassman’s electric bass line is a highlight, as well as John Tropea’s guitar solo. Other musicians also contribute trumpet and saxophone solos. An all-out horn section blast climaxes the song before it reverts to the primary theme.

Tropea leads the verses on the “Can’t Hide Love.” The horns give it an Earth Wind & Fire meets Tower of Power feel. Chris Parker’s tom rolls help emphasize the bridge between chorus and verse. Bill Harris performs a David Sanborn-like alto sax solo that’s punctuated heavily by bass, drums and the other horns. Chris Coogan solos on keyboard, followed by Berkley on tenor sax. After another run-through of the verse, Tropea stretches out. The rest of the band slowly transitions into the chant that closes EW&F’s original recording while the guitar ad-libs.

Joey Berkley wears many different musical hats: Tenor saxophonist (with “no end of idiomatic facility,” enthuses The Toronto Globe & Mail); leader of the Four Good Reeds saxophone quartet; leader of the straight-ahead, acoustic Joey Berkley Quartet; and, for the past five years, leader of the horn-stoked soul-funk nonet Funkasaurus Rex, whose collective credits include Miles Davis, James Brown, and the Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey, and Duke Ellington orchestras.

On Etched in Stone (which was on the 2009 Grammy ® nomination entry list in FIVE different categories), Funkasaurus Rex stomp and rip through several varieties of classic ’70s soul in tunes originally written and performed by soulful rock ‘n’ rollers (John Fogerty’s “Proud Mary”), soulful jazz players (Les McCann ‘s “Samia”), and soul chart-toppers such as Earth Wind & Fire and The Spinners.

John Tropea nails each tune down with guitar hooks so tight and mighty—even though they can sometimes sound lost in the swell of multiple horns—that they provide the pivot point from which these songs swing. Tropea and drummer Chris Parker whipcrack “But It’s Alright” (by J.J. Jackson, who worked as an arranger for Jack McDuff and Jimmy Witherspoon while laboring to launch his own singing career), and you just can’t lay a melody down more sweetly in the pocket than Tropea in “Can’t Hide Love,” which smartly showcases the guitarist’s bop licks as the first solo, and Chris Coogan’s electric tribute to pianist Ramsey Lewis (one of Maurice White’s most trusted collaborators) as the second. But, my, how these horns blow! Berkley’s tenor sweetly reaches out for the spirit of Eddie Harris to counterpoint his arrangement of McCann’s “Samia.” “P.M.S.” (“Proud Mary Suite”?) opens in a slow big-band movement, then crashes through several wild moods (including a piano that plays “I Got Rhythm” then proceeds to tear that rhythm down) until you can barely see Fogerty’s original left in the distance behind you. It all closes in a celebration of Berkley’s “Mighty Love” for soul music that honors not only the sound of The Spinners but The Sound of Philadelphia, too. Etched in Stone carves out a magical intersection of soul, jazz, blues, and funk styles, and is one of those party-time blowing sessions that seems to rock your house just a little bit harder on a Saturday night.

Made in NYC by Joey Berkley Quartet (1999)

Migrating south from Toronto, Canada, in the late-seventies, Joey immersed himself in the competitive New York City jazz scene. The musician benefited from his experiences in Manhattan and maintains that these early years of struggle were not only necessary, but also crucial to his musical development.  His CD, released by A-Records in 1999, marked Joey’s debut as the bandleader of the Joey Berkley Quartet and featured many of Joey’s original compositions.

Joey Berkley – tenor & soprano saxophones
Darrell Grant – piano
Joris Teepe – bass
Carl Allen – drums