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A l u m      B i o s 

On this page we archive
our bio entries for some
(but not all) of the
musicians
who
have played in the
touring band since 2000.

NOTE: These bios
have not been updated since
their appearance on sd.com,
and in most cases they will be
very if not extremely out of date.
Please visit the artist's site
for up-to-date info.

 

[ Link: Touring Band 2015 ]

 

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Tawatha Agee [Backing Vocals: '08, '09]

Ari Ambrose [Saxophone '00]

Ted Baker [Keyboards: '00-'03]

Tom Barney [Bass: '00-'03]

Cornelius Bumpus [Saxophone: '00-'03]

Cynthia Calhoun [Backing Vocals: '00-'03]

Victoria Cave [Backing Vocals: '00]

Nelson Foltz [Trombone Sub in '08]

Ricky Lawson [Drums: '00]

Janice Pendarvis [B. Vocals: '09 Left Bank Holiday]

Chris Potter [Saxophone: 1/00]

Catherine Russell [B. Vocals: '08, '09, '11, '13]

Bob Sheppard [Saxophone: '00]

Marvin Stamm [Trumpet Sub in '09]

Jeff Young [Keyboards, B. Vocals: '06 - '08]

 

 
   

T a w a t h a    A g e e   
Backing Vocals '08 - '09

   
  Tawatha Agee   Danfans may recognize Ms. Agee from her vocal contributions to Everything Must Go, Becker's Circus Money, and her stand-in performances at the 2003 Roseland gigs.

Tawatha has always believed the most informative biography is the body of work one has produced during their career. She also believes that the body of work should reflect and exhibit a broad landscape of musical tastes.

Here is her menu:
Tawatha Agee has performed and recorded with: Lenny Kravitz, Roxy Music and Bryan Ferry, Dave Matthews Band, Luther Vandross, Mtume, Blue Man Group, Steely Dan, Roxy Music, Scritti Politti, Sting, Moby, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Diana Ross Divas 2000, Michael Franks, Blues Traveler, Celine Dion, Linda Ronstadt, Black Crowes, Rufus Wainwright, Al Jarreau, Milton Nascimento, Bob Dylan, Jim Steinman, Kd Land, Bonnie Tyler, Aaron Neville, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, David Bowie, Ric Ocasek, Annie Lennox, Joe Cocker, Michael Jackson, Barry Manilow, Laurie Anderson, Shannon Curfman, Waterboys, Emmy Lou Harris, Lyle Lovett, J Geils Band, Jewel

You can hear Tawatha on the following jingles: Colgate, Reeses Peanut Butter Cup, Folgers Coffee, Verizon, Playtex, Coffee Mate, Dove Soap, Prevacid, KFC, Compaq Corp, Burger King, Dunkin Donuts, Pillsbury, GE, Ensure, Ivory Liquid, Pizza Hut, Gillette, Maybelline, MCI, Swiffer, Sandals Resort, Tylenol, Ford, Fibercon, Caress Soap, Rite Aid, Head & Shoulders, Pepto Bismol, Purina Cat Chow, Clairol, General Motors Corp, Revlon, Goodyear Tire, Jello, Herbal Essence Shampoo, Jif Peanut Butter, Coca Cola, Crest Toothpaste, CVS, Burger King (with Shaq), U.S. Airlines, Levi's / Wrangler, Northwest Airlines...and more.

       
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A r i   A m b r o s e  
Saxophone '00

   
  Baker   Danfans loved Ari's playing with Steely Dan throughout the 1996 Art Crimes World Tour. Ari again lent his awesome musicality to Steely Dan's early 2000 performances in Japan and through the first North American dates.

Ari began playing saxophone in junior high school in the Washington D.C. area. While in high school he studied with Dr. George Ross, Andrew White, and Stanley Turrentine, and was the recipient of several outstanding soloist awards at various local and national jazz festivals. During this time Ari performed with area musicians such as Butch Warren, Carter Jefferson, and Tom Williams, and with visiting NY musicians such as Randy Brecker, Billy Hart, Geoff Keezer, and Stanley Turrentine.

In 1991, Ari moved to New York City to attend the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with saxophonist Dick Oatts. During this time, Ari traveled with the Ryan Kisor quintet and played in the NYC area with musicians such as Brad Mehldau, Steve Turre, Peter Erskine, Michael Leonhart, Jon Hendricks and Wynton Marsalis (with David Berger's Jazz Orchestra).

After graduating, Ari began performing regularly with the Monday night Village Vanguard Jazz Orchestra and recorded with Michael Leonhart, Evan Marks, George Colligan, and the MSM Jazz Orchestra. In 1998, Ari made his debut recording on the Steeplechase label featuring Billy Hart and Dennis Irwin. Since then and as of this writing, Ari has made four more recordings on Steeplechase featuring Billy Drummond, Jay Anderson, George Colligan, and Jeff Williams. In 2000, Ari performed and traveled with Jane Monheit.

       
     
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T e d   B a k e r  
Keyboards '00-'03

   
 
Photo: steelydan.com
  Ted Baker's work on "Two Against Nature" and "Everything Must Go" has justifiably earned no small amount of attention and praise. His contributions to Steely Dan's live band are just as impressive. Ted has technique and touch to burn which, when combined with his expansive conception and soulful rhythmic precision, make for a tasty earful indeed.

Although getting a bio from Ted has been somewhat akin to performing a dental extraction on a mountain goat, we have been able to glean the following:

Ted was born and raised in the Philadelphia environs. After studying at Oberlin, Ted spent most of the 80's playing with sundry Philly groups such as Grover Washington, Dexter Wansel, and Jean Carne. He was also part of the original bands "Basement Culture" and "The Elevators". Shortly before moving to New York in 1990, Ted started touring with The Philip Glass Ensemble, an association that continues today.

Once in New York, Ted reports that "the voice of Broadway kept calling to me". Productions to which he has donated his keyboard magic include The Who's "Tommy" (original production, Broadway, London, and on tour in North America); Randy Newman's "Faust" (Goodman Theatre, Chicago); and Broadway's "The Lion King", from which he took leave in order to tour with Steely Dan in 2000. Ted was also on leave from the Art Garfunkel tour, where he teams up with SD alumnus Warren Bernhardt.

Finally, Ted reports that his studio work on Two Against Nature was "without question the pinnacle of a session musician's existence"...but we must point out that this assessment was offered before he was awarded the coveted Bunsen Prize on July 13th, 2000.

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T o m   B a r n e y  
Bass '00-'03

   
  Barney
Photo: steelydan.com

  Tom credits heredity (he is the son of the late musician Tom H. Barney) and his education (at the Crane School of Music and with bassist Bob Cranshaw) for much of his musical ability and achievement.

But whither Tom's legendary "big bottom groove" springs, it seems that everybody wants a piece. He has recorded and performed with a veritable Who's Who of the entertainment industry, including David Sanborn, Eric Clapton, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Dizzy Gillespie, George Duke, Chaka Khan, Jeffrey Osborn, Aretha Franklin, Judy Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Burt Bacharach, Ice T., Al B. Sure, All Saints, Mary J. Blige, Carlos Santana, Lauryn Hill... and many others.

Tom was a member of the Saturday Night Live Band for several years in the '80s and '90s, and you may have also seen him on David Sanborn's "Night Music", "New York At Night", or any number of his turns on "Good Morning America", "The Today Show", or playing for numerous major award shows. The occasional composing and work on numerous movie soundtracks round out his stellar resume, to which the "Schatzi The Safety Bear" '00 Award is but the latest notable addition.

   
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C o r n e l i u s   B u m p u s  
Saxophone '00-'03

   
  Bumpus
Photo: Pete Fogel

On Feb 3 2004,  |
our dear friend Cornelius passed away.  |
The SD stage will never be the same  |
without him.  |

  A favorite of audiences everywhere, Cornelius Bumpus was the keeper of a rare and wonderful flame: a master of the classic and soulful saxophone sound.

Cornelius began his musical career at age ten playing alto saxophone in the school band in Santa Cruz, California. Through the encouragement of his parents, his love of music grew, and by age twelve he had joined his first working band. He then led a rhythm and blues band for seven years. In 1966, Cornelius spent six months performing with Bobby Freeman, writer and recording artist of the classic song, "Do You Want to Dance?" In 1977, he joined Moby Grape and wrote one tune for the "Live Grape" album.

During the 1980's, Cornelius rose to worldwide acclaim performing with The Doobie Brothers. For 10 years, Cornelius and the Doobie Brothers had countless hit songs and were awarded many gold and platinum records. Cornelius even contributed a song on the One Step Closer album. Cornelius recorded two solo albums and toured with his own band. Stints were also put in with Jeff Lorber and Lacy J. Dalton.

Since relocating to New York in 1986, Cornelius performed and recorded with a host of artists, including Etta James, Hugh Masakela, Michael McDonald, the New York Rock and Soul Revue, Boz Scaggs and Phoebe Snow. Cornelius' tremendous talent was featured in Nite Sprite since 1986 and he toured with Steely Dan since 1993.

Cornelius had established his own website at corneliusbumpus.com, where you can find information about his '00 CD, Known Fact - and more.

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C y n t h i a   C a l h o u n  
Backing Vocals '00-'03

   
 

Calhoun
Photo: ©2000 Amanda Parks

 

  Cynthia Calhoun made legions of new fans in the summer of 2K with her class act from the edge of the Steely Stage. We all will be seeing much more in the future from this performer of talent and grace.

Cynthia was raised in Pensacola FL in a family of eight children. Her vocal credits to date - in addition to her work on Two Against Nature - include stints with soul great Betty Wright, Gloria Estefan, Jon Secada, Al Jarreau (with whom she shared a duet spotlight on tour), Barry White, Boz Scaggs, and Paul Simon. She has gigged with several L.A. bands and written and recorded for films and TV.

Cynthia is also a talented film and television actress, having appeared in Menace II Society, Ally McBeal, ER, Rhythm & Jam, Where I Live, The Wayan Brothers, and The Parenthood.

You can visit Cynthia at her website at cynthiacalhoun.com

 

 

     
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V i c t o r i a   C a v e  
Backing Vocals '00

   
  Cave
Photo: steelydan.com
  Victoria was born in New Orleans and raised in Las Vegas by a Jazz musician father and a Playboy Bunny mother. Naturally, she found the allure of show business irresistible, and made her first professional appearance at age 5 as "Belinda Of The Day" on the Bozo The Clown Show. Somewhat later and after a brief visit to UNLV, Vicky went on to appear ("scantily clad") in various production shows and finally "screwed up the courage" to move to New York City as the '90s dawned.

Vicky found an congenial home in musical theatre, playing leading roles in "The Who's Tommy" (with friends Ted Baker and Jon Herington), "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying" and, most recently, Broadway's "Cabaret", in which she played a fair amount of alto sax. She has appeared in Europe with Barry White, Stevie Wonder, Sammy Davis Jr. and others, but claims that appearing with Donald, Walter, and the stellar SD Orchestra 2000 has been "a dream come true".

For fun, Victoria plays piano, her alto, and occasionally ice-skates for money.

     
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R i c k y   L a w s o n  
Drums '00

   
 

Lawson

R.I.P Ricky Lawson,  |
1954-2013  |

  He's been called "The Rock" and for good reason; Ricky Lawson lays down the mighty groove with an authority few can match. On 2000, Ricky was named Modern Drummer's "Drummer Of The Year" in the R&B category.

Within a few years of starting to play drums at 16, Ricky's natural talent skyrocketed him into a major career. Since then he has played with names like Phil Collins, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Al Jarreau, George Benson, Bette Midler, Eric Clapton, Lionel Richie, George Duke, The Brothers Johnson, Quincy Jones and many more.

Early on, Ricky developed expertise in jazz, country and western, pop, R&B, funk and Latin rhythms - a versatility that allows him to play with virtually anyone. His reputation is for always being well prepared for his gigs. Some of the biggest Number 1 and multi-platinum singles and albums have featured Ricky's impressive talents, including Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You", Anita Baker's "Sweet Love", James Ingrams' "I Don't Have The Heart" and Lionel Richie's "Dancing On The Ceiling". A co-founder of the group Yellowjackets, Ricky received a Grammy in 1986 for co-writing the hit song "And You Know That" on the album "Shades", which he co-produced. He also co-authored the Pointer Sisters' hit "Uh-Uh" and co-produced the album "Seriously Slammin'" and the Fattburger hit "Good News". His solo debut CD, "First Things 1st", was released in 1999.

Ricky Lawson passed away in 2013

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J a n i c e    P e n d a r v i s   
Backing Vocals '09 - Left Bank Holiday

   
  Janice Pendarvis  

From Ms. Pendarvis' myspace page:

Janice Pendarvis is an eclectic, elegant, world-class performer known for her ability to sing R&B, pop, jazz, reggae, rock and avant-garde music. She has worked with a diverse roster of artists including Sting, Roberta Flack, Laurie Anderson, Peter Tosh, Philip Glass, The Rolling Stones, Nona Hendryx, The O'Jays, Jimmy Cliff. You may have seen Janice on tour with Sting, on Late Night with Letterman, and Saturday Night Live over the years as a featured soloist or background singer.

She has sung on live shows all over the world; on records and CD's; commercials and films. Janice is featured in the documentary Bring on the Night, about the beginning of Sting’s solo career and his first band, and in the film Home of the Brave, Laurie Anderson’s filmed version of her 'Mr. Heartbreak' tour. Janice appears on Sting’s All This Time DVD which chronicles how the events of 9/11/01 intersected with the plans for a major concert at Sting’s home in Tuscany on the same day.

Equally at home in her roles as a lead singer, support vocalist, announcer, voice actor and on-camera personality, Janice also has a distinguished career in voiceovers. She has been one of the voices of NY's Channel Thirteen (WNET) for years and was featured in a new book featuring the top voiceover performers in the country, entitled, Secrets of Voiceover Success.

       
       
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C h r i s    P o t t e r  
Saxophone '00

   
  Potter   Saxophonist Chris Potter pinned back more than a few new pairs of ears with his mighty presence on "Two Against Nature".

Some of you remember Chris from the Steely Dan touring parties of 1993-4 and the PBS and VH-1 Specials. You may not know that Chris is also much in demand as a player and a leader in the contemporary jazz scene. And in 2000, Chris was the winner of the prestigious Jazzpar Prize, their youngest Laureate to date.

Chris Potter was born in Chicago and grew up in Columbia, South Carolina. He began playing saxophone at the age of 10, inspired by his parents' record collection. In 1989 he moved to New York City and joined Red Rodney's quintet while attending The New School and Manhattan School of Music. In the '90s he was involved with a wide range of projects including the Mingus Big Band and Paul Motian's Electric Be-Bop Band.

He has played in "Trio 2000" with Paul Motian and Steve Swallow, and in groups led by musicians such as Jim Hall, Billy Hart, Dave Douglas, Al Foster, John Patitucci, Mike Manieri and others. Today he tours extensively with Dave Holland's ensembles, and performs and records as a leader.

The Chris Potter website is here.

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C a t h e r i n e   R u s s e l l   
Backing Vocals '08 - '13

   
  Catherine Russell
Photo: Stephan Falke
  Catherine Russell is a native New Yorker, born with an enviable musical pedigree. Her father, the late Luis Russell, was born in Panama and moved to New Orleans and then New York City, becoming a pioneering pianist/bandleader, and Louis Armstrong's long-time musical director. Her mother, Carline Ray, is an outstanding bassist and vocalist, who has performed with Mary Lou Williams and International Sweethearts of Rhythm. Not surprisingly considering her roots, Catherine Russell is a one of a kind vocalist. She has toured the world, performing and recording with David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, Paul Simon,  Jackson Browne, Michael Feinstein, Carrie Smith, and Rosanne Cash, among others.

Since the 2006 release of her debut album, Cat, on Harmonia Mundi's World Village label, Catherine has been making new fans and friends. "She is a fresh and original voice. The most exciting debut album I've heard in a long time." writes critic and Sinatra biographer, Will Friedwald, who picked Cat among his top 10 CDs of the year. "It's a delight to hear the real thing in Catherine Russell.", writes Nat Hentoff in The Wall Street Journal. National Public Radio's top 5 jazz CD's of 2006 included Cat, as chosen by WBGO dj's.

Catherine Russell's 2nd album on World Village, Sentimental Streak, was released in 2008 to universal acclaim. Catherine was a guest on Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Ms. Russell won the prestigious German Record Critics' Award in the Jazz category and Living Blues magazine's 2008 critics' poll as "Artist Deserving More Attention." L'Acadamie du Jazz in France chose Sentimental Streak as finaliste for Prix du Jazz Vocal 2008, while Grammy Award winning writer and jazz critic Francis Davis picked Sentimental Streak as Vocal Album of the Year in the 2008 Village Voice Jazz Critics Poll. All Music Guide says, "Russell emerged as a retro old school vocalist for the ages." Her Inside This Heart of Mine (2010) Strictly Romancin' (2012) , Bring It Back (2014) and Boardwalk Empire Soundtrack (2014) have continued her award-winning streak.

Catherine's voice can be heard on Donald Fagen's Kamakiriad, Walter Becker's 11 Tracks Of Whack, and Steely Dan's Everything Must Go. Her website is here.

     
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M a r v i n    S t a m m
Trumpet '09 - Left Bank Holiday

   
  Stamm
Photo: Judy Kirtley
  A native Memphian, Marvin Stamm began his career as trumpet soloist with the Stan Kenton Orchestra, and touring later with the Woody Herman Orchestra. Upon moving to NYC in 1966, he gained considerable recognition for his playing with the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra and the Duke Pearson Big Band, as well as performing with Frank Sinatra and the Benny Goodman Sextet. Marvin also advanced a career in the New York City recording studios, recording with Quincy Jones, Bill Evans, Stanley Turrentine, Grover Washington, George Benson, Barbara Streisand, Paul McCartney, James Brown, Donny Hathaway, Burt Bacharach, Dionne Warwick, the Average White Band, and the Rolling Stones, among others. In the late 80’s, he eschewed studio work to return and concentrate his efforts on jazz performance.

Currently, Marvin's activities include performing as a soloist, in duo with pianist Bill Mays, with his jazz quartet, and as a soloist with symphony orchestras. In 2006, Marvin and Bill Mays formed a trio with cellist Alisa Horn — The Inventions Trio — that plays a wide and eclectic repertoire of music in jazz clubs, universities, and concert venues throughout the U.S. Marvin continues to tour world wide with the George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band, a select all-star ensemble. He also invests a good deal of time touring colleges and universities, offering his talents as a jazz educator.

Marvin has a number of current CDs among which are:  By Ourselves, a duo CD documenting his long-time collaboration with pianist Bill Mays; The Stamm/Soph Project - Live at Birdland — a quartet release created with drummer Ed Soph recorded in the famous New York Jazz club, featuring Bill Mays and bassist Rufus Reid; and Marvin’s most recent release, Alone Together, a DVD/CD project again featuring his quartet with Bill Mays, Rufus Reid, and Ed Soph.

Marvin's website is here.

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B o b   S h e p p a r d  
Saxophone '00

   
  Sheppard
Photo: steelydan.com
  DanFans may already know Bob Sheppard from the 93-94 SD touring season (and as represented on Alive in America), and from his session work on Becker's 11 Tracks of Whack. For his spontaneity, technique, tone, and sheer musicianship, Bob is a true original.

After receiving his Master's from The Eastman School of Music, Bob was quickly established as one of the most highly respected and well-known improvising artists on the music scene, both as an international jazz artist and as a session man for hundreds of recordings. In addition to being an accomplished saxophonist, he is also impressive on flute, clarinet, and bass clarinet.

Bob's solo recording debut Tell Tale Signs (Windham Hill Jazz - Produced by Walter Becker) includes original compositions that reflect his unique style as influenced by John Coltrane, Joe Henderson, and Stan Getz, as well as by other jazz notables with whom he has performed.

Before joining up with the Steely Dan 2K Touring band in June of '00, Bob was on the road as a featured soloist with Joni Mitchell's "Both Sides Now Tour" this past spring. Currently a member of The Peter Erskine Trio, he has also toured with Chick Corea's "Origin" and is featured on Corea's Grammy nominated Change. Over the past 20 years he has forged and maintained associations and collaborations with artists such as Freddie Hubbard, Mike Stern, Randy Brecker, Horace Silver, Lyle Mays, Toshiko Akiyoshi/Lew Tabackin Big Band, Billy Childs, and Nat Adderley. His versatile musicianship has translated equally well to pop (e.g., Rickie Lee Jones, The Manhattan Transfer, Burt Bacharach, Elvis Costello, and Randy Newman); jazz (e.g., Scott Henderson, Michael Franks) and vocalist accompaniment (e.g., Marilyn Scott, Diane Reeves, and Natalie Cole).

You can visit Bob's website at www.bobsheppard.net

       
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J e f f    Y o u n g   
Keyboards, Background Vocals '06-'08

   
  Jeff Young   Keyboardist, singer, and songwriter Jeff Young brings his melodic, soulful chops — and his awesome background vocals — to the Steelyard Sugartooth McDan stage this summer.

Jeff started out in the basement of his parent's house in New York, where his eventual choice of instrument was stimulated by his brother's request that he stop playing the drums. Jeff attended Ithaca College, gigging there and in New York City, eventually landing in Broadway's Gospel at Colonus. Rhythm-section mates from this show became the group "Jeff Young and the Youngsters", whom Fagen tapped for his New York Rock and Soul Revue in the early 90's.

A potent triple-threat talent — keyboardist, writer, and vocalist — Jeff has recorded and performed with Randy Crawford, Curtis Stigers, Shawn Colvin, Jackson Browne, Sting, Bonnie Raitt, Vonda Shephard, Tracy Chapman, Fagen's solo Morph the Cat tour...and a few dozen other names and projects you'd no doubt recognize.

His busy sideman schedule notwithstanding, Jeff's always found time to write and record his own songs: Acting on Impulse (1977), Noise for Neighbors (2000), and Songs From a Red Wurlitzer (2006) — a funky and melodic tribute to the Wurli he "rescued" from a friend's cemetery of forgotten instruments.

Jeff and his family live in Los Angeles, where he's currently Musical Director, Producer, and Composer for Malibu Sound Music Productions.

You can visit Jeff's website at s.com.

     
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