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  • 6/29/17 – The Recess Bureau

    The Recess Bureau Set To Open Up the 2017 Branford Jazz Series on June 29th

    -“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Perhaps this well-known American essayist/poet didn’t quite have bassist and creator of the jazz group known as The Recess Bureau, Jeff Moro, in mind when he spoke these words, however, they certainly resemble the path that this collective group of musicians took en route to being the opening act of the 2017 Branford Jazz Series on June 29th on the Branford Town Green, starting at 6:30 p.m.
    Created in July of 2015, the Recess Bureau is a collective of musicians who strive to continue on the ever evolving path of music and explore possibilities of improvisation, and aims to go against the standard of jazz. Inspired by the curiosity of bassist, Moro, who wanted to go against the grain and take a step aside from the traditional jazz writing style, and offer music that was accessible to all who were/are willing to listen, the Recess Bureau also keeps up with the jazz tradition while progressing the music forward. He produced their 2016 self-titled EP and continues to write more for future records.
    In his short time since graduating from Western Connecticut State University, bassist and bandleader Jeff Moro has produced/mixed and mastered 5 records, one of which was the self-titled, “The Recess Bureau” EP.  Aside from being the bandleader in The Recess Bureau, he is a part of Hartford based hip-hop groups “Clas!ck” and “Joey Batts & Them.” He also plays upright bass in a Danbury based rockabilly group called, "The Red Hots,” and also has upright bass duties in the Rosemary Minkler Trio.  Jeff has studied/played with world renowned musicians such as John Patitucci, Michael League (Snarky Puppy), Jeff ‘Tain’ Watts, Jimmy Greene, Kenny Barron, Joe Lovano, Renee Rosnes and 4 time Emmy award winning composer, Ed Dzubak.

    Willie Bruno is a native of Darien, Connecticut and has been playing the drums since the age of 8. During high school he was chosen as the first chair drummer for the Connecticut All State High School Jazz Band from 2006 to 2007. After graduating high school Willie attended Western Connecticut State University for two years with a jazz performance degree. Willie then attended Berklee College of Music in Boston with a performance degree, making the Dean’s List at both institutions and graduating from Berklee Summa Cum Laude in the spring of 2013. Over the course of Willie’s career he has had the opportunity to perform with such great musicians as Rufus Reid, John Scofield, Maria Schneider, Dave Liebman, Vic Juris, Bob Franceschini, the Dafnis Prieto trio, and more. Willie’s teachers include John Cutrone, Jeff “Siege” Siegel, Fred Klatz, Henrique De Almeida, Kim Plainfield, Chris Coleman, and former Berklee percussion department chair Gary Chaffee. Willie has played in various local jazz and rock groups performing for private and public functions. In 2007 he performed with The Side Notes at Stamford, Connecticut’s Alive at Five concert series opening for The Cars featuring Todd Rundgren.

    Chris Thomas is a drummer and percussionist from New Milford, Connecticut. He is a graduate of Western Connecticut State University with a degree in Jazz Studies, where he studied with Jeff Siegel, and played alongside names such as Gerald Clayton, and Joe Lovano.  Aside from playing percussion for The Recess Bureau, Chris also plays drums touring and recording for Sawyer Fredericks, the 2015 winner of NBC’s The Voice.

    Born and raised in Waterbury, CT, Rosemary Minkler is an accomplished young pianist, composer, and audio engineer. She grew up surrounded by music and began studying piano at an early age. She continued these studies on a full scholarship to Western Connecticut State University, where she received a degree in Audio and Music Production with a concentration in Jazz Piano. Here, she studied jazz piano with Peter Tomlinson, classical piano with Russell Hirshfield, classical composition with Kevin Isaacs, and applied audio with Douglas O’Grady and Edward Dzubak. In addition, she worked closely with guitarist and composer Jamie Begian as well as renowned jazz saxophonist Jimmy Greene. During her time at Western Connecticut State University, Rosemary was an intern for Stamford-based audio engineer Greg Tobler, whom she still works with. Rosemary’s most recent release, Prospectus, is her debut as a bandleader, composer, and audio engineer.

    Fernanda Franco is a vocalist from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She was raised in Bethel, CT and studied Opera at Western Connecticut State University.  She performs regularly with the Recess Bureau and is currently working on her debut solo album.

    Gannon Ferrell started playing guitar at the age of six. Since then, he graduated with a degree in jazz performance from Western Connecticut State University, where he studied with Chris Morrison. He gigs regularly with jazz funk fusion band The Recess Bureau, jazz metal fusion band Mid Atlantic Title, and once shared the stage with Gerald Clayton.

    Timothy Lewis is an active performer and teacher, and holds a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from Western Connecticut State University. Tim regularly performs on Flute, Clarinet and Saxophone, in groups such as The Connecticut Transit Authority: The Ultimate Chicago Tribute and Mid Atlantic Title. Tim currently teaches at the Cheshire Academy, The Darien Arts Center, and Bearclaw Academy of Music in New Milford Connecticut. He has worked and performed with musicians such as Jimmy Greene, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Mulgrew Miller, Curtis Fuller, George Garzone and many other world class musicians.

    Dakota Austin, raised as a Connecticut native in Burlington, CT was mentored by the minds of Obie Gereau, Rene McLean, and Jimmy Greene. Through Western Connecticut State University, Dakota has had the opportunity to open for as well as play alongside with many masters such as: Kenny Barron, Joe Lovano, and Kenny Garrett. He’s finishing up his degree of Music Performance at Western Connecticut State University. Besides contributing to the Recess Bureau, he is also working on projects with Sub-Urban and HEEL, which are all based out of Connecticut. He also has a feature on upcoming artist, Bryson Teel’s most recent EP titled, “Wherever You Are”.

    Keenan Asbridge is a trumpet player from Hebron, Connecticut. Most of his grade
    school music career consisted of playing in the concert and jazz bands that the school offered, as well as studying trumpet and piano privately, and playing keyboard in an original band called Hiatus. He currently resides in Danbury, right down the street from where he attended school at Western Connecticut State University from 2009-2014. During his time in college, Keenan studied jazz trumpet with Dave Scott; as well as close personal instruction from Jimmy Greene, Andrew Beals, Jamie Begian, David Ruffels, Chris Morrison and Peter Tomlinson. Since his time at Western Connecticut, Keenan has become a part of two original bands called Mid Atlantic Title, and the Recess Bureau; both of which he plays the trumpet in. Keenan has continued to study the trumpet privately with Jumaane Smith, lead trumpeter of the Harry Connick Big Band. Aside from playing, Keenan teaches trumpet and percussion at an after school music program at Children’s Community School in Waterbury, CT called Bravo! Waterbury. Keenan also teaches at Waterbury Arts Magnet School, and privately at Bearclaw Academy in New Milford, CT.

    “Being the first act to play at this year’s Branford Jazz series is an experience we in The Recess Bureau are ecstatic about,” said Moro. “Having the opportunity to play original music in front of a big crowd of attentive listeners is something we can only dream about, but for this evening we’ll have the chance to live it.”

    For questions about the series, please call 203-488-8304 or email to: branfordjazz@gmail.com