Tom Scott and the LA Express was one of the early 70’s first funk jazz bands. Tom recreated this band with a current group that includes outstanding new personnel to perform the bands original repetoire. The quintet consists of leader Tom Scott on saxophones, Mahesh Balasooriya on keyboards, Andrew Synowiec on guitar, Chris Colangelo on bass, and Gary Novak on drums. Tom Scott is a veteran composer, arranger, producer, musical director, and saxophonist who has earned 3 Grammy’s and 14 Grammy Nominations over 4 decades. Tom’s first recording as a leader came in 1968 at the age of 20. Tom has made 35 solo recordings to date, and his music has been played by dozens of recording artists that include Tupac, Madonna, Bruno Mars, Snoop Dog, Massive Attack, Wu-Tang Clan, N.W.A, and the Chemical Brothers. Tom has played on over 500 recordings as a guest artist with diverse artists like Barbara Streisand, Quincy Jones, Thelonious Monk, The Blues Brothers, Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, and Aerosmith. Tom has been a player and arranger for Joni Mitchell, Steely Dan, Carol King, Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, Blondie, Captain and Tennille, Whitney Houston, and on movie soundtracks like “Taxi Driver”, “Blade Runner”, “Heaven Can Wait”, “Sea of Love”, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, “Toy Story 2”, and “Monsters Inc.”. Tom has composed film scores for “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes”, “Uptown Saturday Night”, “Stir Crazy”, “Hanky Panky”, “The Sure Thing”, “Just One of the Guys”, “Soul Man”, and “Shakes the Clown”. Tom has composed and conducted for TV’s “Family Ties”, “Starsky & Hutch”, “Square Pegs”, and background scores for “Baretta”, “Cannon”, “Barnaby Jones”, “Streets of San Francisco”, “National Geographic Explorer”, and numerous TV specials and network musicals. Tom has been the music director for the Academy’s, Emmy’s, Celebration at Ford’s Theatre, People’s Choice Awards, Comic Relief, Carol Burnett Show, Pat Sajak Show, Joni Mitchell, George Harrison, Olivia Newton-John, and the GRP All-Star Big Band. Tom has toured 5 continents as a leader of his own group, and is an active clinician throughout the U.S. and Canada. Tom performs and teaches master classes in woodwinds, arranging, and film composing.
Mahesh Balasooriya is a jazz and classical pianist. A native of Sri Lanka, Mahesh attended USC and has won numerous music awards. He performed the Schumann Concerto with the Hamilton Symphony on the Disney Channel, was selected for the Student Latin All-Star Band, and was chosen as one of two pianists world-wide entering the Henry Mancini Institute Program. Mahesh won the Most Outstanding Rhythm Performer at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and was selected to tour with an all-star jazz band in Japan. Mahesh won the first place Rotary Club Competition, won the Best Jazz Music Award at the Fullerton Jazz Festival, and won first place in the Charlie Dolo Coker Competition. Mahesh won first place in the National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts Talent Search, won first place in the John Coltrane Competition, and won first place in the Omega Psy Phi Competition. Mahesh was a finalist in the Emerging Young Artist Competition, and the 2002 Music Center Spotlight Awards. Mahesh is a 3 time consecutive performance winner at the Hamilton Music Academy, performed in the Stan Getz/Clifford Brown Fellowship, and won the IAJE Conference Outstanding Achievement Award given by pianist Billy Taylor. Mahesh has worked with many jazz greats, and has appeared on four recordings. Jazz DJ Chuck Niles calls Mahesh “The Charlie Parker of Sri Lanka”. Mahesh has performed at the Hollywood Bowl, Paramount Studios, Universal Music Productions, and Sony Studios. Mahesh has studied with Shelly Berg, Buddy Collette, and Jeffrey Lavner at the Colburn School of Music. Mahesh has composed a concerto for both orchestra and piano.
Andrew Synowiec is a session guitarist who’s playing can be heard on dozens of TV and film soundtracks, and multiple artists’ recordings. Andrew is one of LA’s busiest session guitarists and can be heard on blockbuster movies like “Frozen”, the NFL Theme Song on Fox TV, billboard hits, and incredibly diverse spectrum of artists from Michael Buble to Rob Zombie. Andrew has contributed to records selling over 10,000,000 copies world-wide, and garnered 17 combined Grammy Nominations. Andrew has played around the globe from Madison Square Garden in New York to the Blue Note Jazz Club in Tokyo Japan. Andrew has appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, MTV, VH1, and performed with recording artists from Indie-Electro Innovator M83 to country music star Jo Dee Messina, to the LA Philharmonic. Andrew recently played on Barbara Streisand’s “Encore” and the acclaimed motion picture “The Secret Life of Pets”. Andrew has played on everything from 10 second jingles to Grammy winning records. For over the last decade Andrew has played on over 165 recordings.
Bassist, composer, teacher, and clinician Chris Colangelo is a master on the instrument. Chris plays with a deep, resonating tone, and astonishing articulation that reverberates a lyrical quality with a seductive, narrative power. Chris’s sound is full, fat, and sassy with understated swagger. Chris majored in jazz performance at Rowan University. Originally from New Jersey Chris has played in Philadelphia, the Delaware Valley, and Atlantic City. Since the early 90’s Chris has lived in LA and has played with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, the Count Basie Orchestra, the Tonight Show Band, and dozens of jazz greats. Chris tours with vocalist Jack Jones, and Mary Wilson. Chris has recorded 5 CDs as a leader/co-leader.
Drummer Gary Novak, a Chicago native, has collaborated with dozens of music artists. Born in a musical family, Gary’s parents were both pianists. Gary played with his mother Carol and her trio at the London House in Chicago, and with his father Larry Novak, a famous Chicago pianist, at Mr. Kelly’s Nightclub at a very early age. In high school Gary played with jazz greats Buddy DeFranco, Joe Williams, Milt Hinton, Kenny Burrell, Barney Kessel, and Louie Bellson. At the age of 19 Gary moved to LA and has worked with Maynard Ferguson, Brandon Fields, Michael McDonald, Natalie Cole, David Sanborn, and Anita Baker. Gary has toured with Lee Ritenour, the GRP All-Stars, George Benson, Chick Corea’s Electric Band II, Bob Berg, Allan Holdsworth, and Alanis Morissette. Gary has appeared on nearly 200 recordings in his career spanning the musical spectrum of jazz, classical, pop, rock, R&B, reggae, vocals, and film scores.
Saturday January 21st 7:00pm at Pete Carlson’s Tom Scott and the LA Express, five talented world-class musicians playing exciting, fun-filled, jazz funk music with a modern contemporary sound at the highest level. Don’t miss it!!!