The group includes Graham Dechter on guitar, Jeff Hamilton on drums, Tamir Hendelman on piano, and Mike Gurrola on bass. Guitarist Graham Dechter is a composer, and arranger who has performed with the Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra for 10 years. Graham’s influences include Wes Montgomery, Barney Kessel, Grant Green, Herb Ellis, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, and Ben Webster. Graham is an LA native who grew up with musical parents. His mother Maureen was involved in music theatre, and his father Brad was a renowned orchestrater and composer who worked on over 250 film scores. At a young age Graham listened to Duke Ellington, Count Basie, and Nat King Cole. He studied classical violin and composition, and credits bassist Marshall Hawkins of the Idyllwild Arts Academy as a big influence, who played with Miles Davis, Shirley Horn, and Phineas Newborn Jr. From there Graham studied at Eastman School of Music for one year, and then went on a world-wide tour with the Clayton Hamilton Jazz Orchestra for 8 years. Coming back to LA Graham studied with guitarist Larry Koonse, and from there has recorded with Jeff Hamilton, John Clayton, Tamir Hendelman, and Michael Buble. Graham has made two recordings as a leader, and played on several TV shows, and with dozens of jazz greats. Graham has a reverence for jazz guitar tradition, whether its ballads, bossa’s, be-bop, or blues Graham always plays with great intensity, and perfect technique that makes him a formidable soloist and consummate accompanist. His style can be considered bluesy, relaxed, mature, and sophisticated. Graham possesses great knowledge and ability, and is a joy to hear. Graham really has it all, the chops, harmonic depth, deep swing, melodic inventiveness, and serious arranging skills.
Jeff Hamilton is one of the most in demand drummers who plays with a versatile, driving, technical style that is full of superlatives. Jeff is an accomplished teacher, arranger, and composer who’s colorful work is sensitive, sizzling, seasoned, and intelligent. Jeff plays at the highest standard, and can be powerful yet soft, understated, and riveting. Jeff grew up in Indiana, began playing at the age of 8, and listened to big band and Oscar Peterson records. Jeff was influenced by Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Mel Lewis, Philly Joe Jones, and Shelley Manne. Jeff has worked with Tommy Dorsey, Lionel Hampton, Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, The Clayton Brothers, co-leads The Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra, Monty Alexander, Woody Herman, The LA Four, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Rosemary Clooney, Diana Krall, Scott Hamilton, Ernestine Anderson, Gene Harris, Michael Buble, and dozens of jazz greats. Jeff won the LA Jazz Society Musician of the Year Award with John Clayton, performed on Natalie Cole’s film “Unforgettable”, and on Oscar Peterson’s documentary “Life in the Key of Oscar”. Jeff has recorded 12 CD’s as a leader, and has appeared on over 200 recordings with a wide range of artists.
Award winning pianist Tamir Hendelman has played with many jazz greats including Teddy Edwards, John & Jeff Clayton, Harry Allen, Tierney Sutton, Phil Upchurch, Ricky Woodard, Sandra Booker, Barbara Morrison, Oscar Brashear, Bob Sheppard, Nick Brignola, Houston Person, Bill Holman, Julia Migenes, Roberta Gambarini, John Pizzarelli, Gladys Knight, Diana Krall, Jackie Ryan, Janis Mann, Natalie Cole, and Barbara Streisand. Tamir began playing at the age of 6, and studied at the Anazagi Conservatory in Tel Aviv. Tamir won the Yamaha National Keyboard Competition at the age of 14, and later performed in Japan and at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. He studied at the Tanglewood Institute, and with Ron Carter and Lee Konitz at Eastman College where he earned his Bachelors’ Degree. Tamir has won awards from ASCAP, and the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts. Tamir is musical director at the Lovewell Institute for Creative Arts, and is a clinician for the Thelonious Monk Institute. Tamir has performed as a guest soloist at the Henry Mancini Institute. Tamir’s playing can be described as exhilarating, intense, sensitive, introspective, captivating, hard swinging, dynamic, flawless, versatile, warm, with a feather-like touch. Tamir has 2 CD’s as a leader, and leads his own trio playing jazz standards, Brazilian, blues, and Israeli roots music. Tamir teaches at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, and Azusa Pacific University. Tamir was influenced by Miles Davis, Bill Evans, Chick Corea, Oscar Peterson, and the classical composer Ravel.
Bassist Mike Gurrola is a main stay on the LA jazz scene. As a youth Mike studied at the LA County High School for the Arts, and won competitions at the Berklee College of Music, and Monterey Jazz Festival Annual School Competition. Mike received a scholarship to Berklee where he studied and played with drummer Terry Lynn Carrington. Mike played twice as the bassist with the Monterey Jazz Festival Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, and has played at the North Sea Jazz Festival, and the Kennedy Center. Mike has studied at the Colburn School of Music, and was the recipient of LACHSA’s first Ray Brown Scholarship presented by Ray Brown’s widow Cecilia. This allowed Mike to study with bassist John Clayton who was a protégé of Ray Brown, maintaining a lasting relationship. Mike began playing professionally in high school at jam sessions around LA night clubs, and became a sideman with many jazz artists including Eric Reed, Mary Stallings, Jeff Hamilton, Houston Person, Benny Greene, Larry Goldings, Willie Jones III, Harry Allen, Jane Monheit, Kenny Burrell, and many others. Mike plays the bass with strength and humility, and a well-rounded knowledge giving the musicians and the music respect. Mike has a big warm welcoming sound with perfect intonation, and at a young age plays at a high level with creativity that is inspiring. Mike has played on 6 recordings and on various film soundtracks.