This all-star group includes Kelly Jocoy on drums, Peter Sprague on guitar, Tripp Sprague on saxophone & flute, Mike Wofford on piano, Darek Oles on bass, Tommy Aros on percussion, and Allison Adams Tucker on vocals.
L.A. drummer Kelly Jocoy started out in San Diego in high school playing with Peter & Tripp Sprague, Rob Schneiderman’s “Manzanita Group”, John Leftwitch, Mark Lessman, Nathan East, and Tommy Aros. Kelly has been part of Peter Sprague’s “Dance of the Universe” orchestra group that included Hollis Gentry, Jeff Rue, and Butch Lacy. Kelly has been part of the San Diego dance band “The People Movers”, and has been spreading the jazz word on the LA and Del Mar music scene. Kelly has made a superb jazz recording entitled “Verities” that includes the members of this live performance.
Guitarist Peter Sprague is a composer, arranger, recording engineer, producer, musical transcriber, and life-long surfer. Peter plays many genres of music which include jazz, classical, Latin, folk, rock, and pop. Peter possesses world-class ability following the guitar lineage of great guitarists such as Joe Pass, Joe Diorio, Anthony Wilson, and Pat Metheny. Peter comes from a talented, artistic family. His mom was known for playing a great rendition of the “Saint Louis Blues”, and his father was a spirited drummer who tried to emulate Philly Joe Jones. His sister is a world-class dancer and choreographer, and his brother is a wonderful woodwinds player. His parents were tolerant and loving, and encouraged him to take music lessons as well as surfing when he could. Peter began playing the guitar at age 12, and enjoyed the music of the Beatles “Revolver” album, the music of Jimmy Hendrix, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash. His dad introduced him to Miles Davis often playing the bongos to Miles Davis album “Miles Ahead” for hours. Peter then listened to the music of Benny Carter, Stan Getz, and was truly intrigued when he heard John Coltrane playing the ballad “Dear Old Stockholm”. He also remembers listening to Blood, Sweat, & Tears, and through these various exposures began to pursue jazz. He studied with Bill Coleman and Steve O’Connor, and his close jazz music friends also studied with great teachers. At UCSD Peter learned the music of Charlie Parker, and Wynton Kelly, and then formed the “Minor Jazz Quintet” (all group members were under the age of 21). Peter then attended the Interlochen Arts Academy, where he learned Coltrane’s secret to get good (practice & practice). Peter was also moved by the music of Chick Corea, and worked at decoding his piano music. Peter studied with Madam Chaloff, and Albin Czak in Boston, and it was there where guitarist Pat Metheny encouraged Peter to play with a more looser style, and develop his own sound. When he returned to San Diego Peter established the Dance of the Universe orchestra, studied and played Chick Corea’s “Light as a Feather”, followed spiritualist Ram Dass’ “Be Here Now”, and practiced Ashtanga Yoga. Peter next began to play with saxophonist Charles McPherson, and recorded four records on the Xanadu label. He next recorded two albums for Concord Records with Steve Kujala, Bob Magnusson, and Peter Erskine. Chick Corea was a big influence on him, and Peter was invited to play with Chick, Al Jarreau, Herbie Hancock, Roger Williams, Wayne Shorter, Hubert Laws, Victor Feldman, and John Pattituci. Peter worked on organizing Chick Corea’s music into a book form for publishing. Because he could accurately transcribe music books, he was invited by Chick to direct, and arrange the classic tune “Spain” on the GRP All-Star Band recording. Peter has taught for over 30 years which includes at The Musician’s Institute, The Cal Institute of Arts, and the UCSD Jazz Camp. He also gives workshops for young, aspiring jazz musicians. Peter has toured Argentina where he shared the music of Charlie Parker, and has produced 10 songbooks including transcriptions of the music of Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins, McCoy Tyner, and assorted jazz solos. Peter has played the Brazil Jazz Festival, and with Hubert Laws and Billy Childs, and the San Francisco Orchestra. Peter formulated the group Brazil Jazz, and played 3 years with jazz greats David Benoit, Eric Marienthal, Russ Ferrante, Jimmy Haslip, Alex Acuna, and Ivan Lins. Peter established Sprague Land Recording Studio which records all types of music. Peter has also headed the group “Blurring the Edges”, and founded his own record company SBE (Strivin to Break Even). Peter has played with over 150 jazz artists, and composed and performed for the Grossmont and San Diego Symphonies. He has also performed at the Lincoln Center, and toured with vocalist Diane Reeves. Peter received a grant and was commissioned by Chamber Music America to compose and perform “Dr. Einstein’s Spin”. Peter has developed his own original twin neck guitar, founded the Peter Sprague String Consort, and been the leader of 23 recordings. In total he has played on over 190 recordings. Peter has received multiple San Diego Best Jazz Artist awards, and received numerous grants from San Diego. He received the San Diego Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015.
Saxophonist and flutist Tripp Sprague also plays the harmonica, and the electronic woodwind instrument (EWI). Like his brother Peter, Tripp has played with most of the top jazz musicians in the San Diego area, and also operates a recording studio. Tripp has played with Mose Allison, Smokey Robinson, The Four Tops, The Temptations, and recorded on numerous CDs, with artists including Kim Carnes and Todd Rundgren. Tripp co-produced and recorded “Blurring the Edges”, and received Best Pop Jazz Album at the San Diego Music Awards. He has also recorded on ‘Wall to Wall”, a straight ahead jazz project. Tripp is part of a group called “Common Chords” that works to help middle and high school students write music with other cultures to foster the next generation of intercultural cooperation and understanding. This group helps musicians from different genres of music, cultures, and religions to be musical collaborators that transports listeners to feed their soul, and unlock their mind. The different types of music played are rock, klezmer, jazz, bhangra, Indian, sufi, and qawwali into one harmonious new hybrid sound, creating the next generation of musical peace ambassadors.
Pianist Mike Wofford, a native of Texas, has lived and performed in the San Diego area for most of his life. He began playing the piano at the age of 7, and was influenced by his mom who was a professional singer. At age 19 Mike entered into the LA jazz scene in the early 1960’s. He first broke in with the Lighthouse All-Stars, and continued to play with many of the west coast jazz players including Teddy Edwards, Art Pepper, Red Norvo, Chet Baker, Bud Shank, Zoot Sims, Shorty Rogers, Maynard Ferguson, June Christy, Mel Torme, Gary Burton, and Joe Pass. Mike oversaw the music for the Bill Cosby Show with Quincy Jones, and worked with Oliver Nelson at Universal Pictures. Mike was an arranger for Capitol Records for Sergio Mendez, Mike Barone, Roger McGuinn of “The Byrds”, John Lennon, The Jackson 5, Tom Scott, Joan Biaz, and Harry Nillson. Mike was in Shelly Manne’s jazz group for 16 years, and worked with Lee Konitz, Harry “Sweets” Edison, and Benny Carter. Mike was musical director for Sarah Vaughn, and Ella Fitzgerald, and was the house pianist at San Diego’s “Elarios” and the “Horton Grand Hotel”. Mike has worked with dozens of other jazz greats, has led his own trio, quartet, and has arranged the music of Jobim, and Ellington and Strayhorn for string orchestras. Mike’s piano influences are many which include T. Monk, H. Silver, S. Clark, H. Nichols, D. Ellington, J. Rowles, R. Twardzik, G. Gould, B. Evans, C. Taylor, P. Bley, and A. Tatum. Mike is a musicians’ pianist who inspires as he plays, and as he absorbs what he hears develops his own sound. This is the very definition of a jazz musician. Mike has played on over 200 recordings as a sideman, made 17 recordings as a leader, won San Diego’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and is the director of the Annual Oregon Coast Jazz Party in October.
Bassist and composer Darek Oles is a protégé of bassist Charlie Haden. Darek grew up in Poland, and began playing music at the age of 5. He won numerous awards as a junior musician, and toured with many of Poland’s best jazz groups. He has been performing over 20 years, and is a member of the LA Jazz Quartet. Darek has played with Brad Mehldau, Larry Koonse, Peter Erskine, Alan Pasqua, Bob McChesney, Kait Dunton, and numerous jazz greats. Darek follows the musical lineage of Scott Lafaro, Bill Evans, Charlie Haden, and Gary Peacock. Darek has played on over 100 recordings, and performed in hundreds of concerts around the world. Some of Darek’s musical collaborations have received Grammy nominations. Darek was voted Poland’s Best Jazz Musician of the Year, and voted Best Acoustic Bassist by “Jazz Forum”, a European magazine. Darek has taught at Cal Institute of Arts, UC Irvine, and USC’s Thornton School of Music.
Tommy Aros is one of the most in demand percussionists based in the San Diego area. Tommy has played with Freddie Hubbard, Al Dimeola, David Benoit, Dan Segel, Mark Lessman, Charo, Trini Lopez, Tom Barabas, and has toured with Luis Miguel for over 20 years, even playing in front of 105,000 people in Mexico City. He has recorded on 7 of Luis Miguel’s CDs who has won 6 Grammy Awards. Tommy has also been a member of two popular groups, Fattburger, and Brasilia. Tommy plays a wide range of percussion instruments including the Gonpop California Conga’s, tumba, super tumba, bongos, and Gonpop timbales. Tommy is influenced by all percussionists which include Airto, and Tito Puente. Tommy has toured internationally, and regularly gives clinics in public schools. He has performed with many great jazz artists.
San Diego native Allison Adams Tucker is a multi-lingual jazz vocalist who began performing at the age of 5. Her background includes piano, flute, violin, dance, and vocals. She holds degrees in music and language. Her singing style ranges from acapella, to Elizabethan madrigals, to punk rock, to country, to commercial jingles, and jazz. Allison sings in 6 different languages plus English, and her music style is rhythmic, melodic, singing lyrics from Brazil, Italy, France, Latin America, Japan, and the U.S. She has 3 recordings as a leader, and has performed in Japan, Europe, Mexico, and many venues in the U.S. Her style covers French Chanson, vintage Argentine tango, and classic jazz standards. She sings with a supple, silky, smooth sound that is light, buoyant, and crystal clear. She impresses with tasty nuances, and a powerful, perky, upbeat style. Allison is soulful, enchanting, and sings with a rich purity that expresses an ease and imagination. Allison has impeccable pitch, and truly sings music that comes from all corners of the world. She has played on 2 of Peter Sprague’s recordings, and played with Josh Nelson, Scott Colley, Antonio Sanchez, Chris Potter, and many other talented musicians. Allison has also recorded on the “Saboteur” video game soundtrack.