Charlie McCarthy Quartet

Photo by Gregory Bartning

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Charlie McCarthy is a saxophonist who has played and recorded with many of the greats in Jazz including Ella Fitzgerald, Joe Henderson, Sarah Vaughan, Bobbie Hutcherson, George Shearing, Madeline Eastman, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Wilson, Lena Horne, Stan Getz and Joe Williams.

Charlie graduated from San Francisco State College where he was a member of the quintet which was named the best in the Intercollegiate Music Festival.

While serving in the Air Force Band in Germany he won a scholarship to Berklee school of music in Boston, where he studied composition and saxophone with Andy McGhee and Joe Viola.

Charlie did stints on the road with Grease, The Beach Boys and Van Morrison Before landing a gig with Lena Horne. "Working in a jazz quintet behind Lena was one of my best experiences," says Charlie.

He then settled in San Francisco, working Broadway Shows and all manner of jazz gigs: trios, quartets, quintets, big bands, guitar/flute duos, salsa bands, Al Molina's Latin-Bebop Band, The Bandidos, Latin Jazz Fusion with Canoneo, Mark Levine's Nonet with Woody Shaw.

Charlie teaches privately and as the Woodwind Professor at San Francisco City and Sonoma State Colleges.

Charlie has recorded a TV special for PBS as part of a jazz quintet with Rosemary Clooney, performed with the Louie Bellson Orchestra, Joe Lovano's Octet, James Moody, David Sanchez and with the Maria Schneider Orchestra at the SF Jazz Festival.

Look for Charlie on soon to be released CD's by guitarist Sebastien Lanson, bassist Walter Savage and Gary Flore's Caliente 2004.

Charlie's own CD Sno Bro features Mark Levine, John Wiitala, Alan Hall and John Santos.

Bassist Chris Amberger is a Berklee School of Music graduate.

He has toured and recorded with many of the greats in jazz including Tommy Dorsey, George Shearing, Rosemary Clooney, Red Garland, and Art Blakey.

Charlie and Chris played together in the Berklee School of Music recording band many years ago, and are looking forward to this reunion.

Leonard Thompson-Piano

Raised in the quiet Orange County suburb of Capistrano Beach, Leonard was exposed to the music at an early age, both by way of his father, a first rate musician and jazz pianist, and his mother, who had a passion for jazz and played bass as well. Leonard has studied both jazz and classical music since age 8, starting with his father, Rex and continuing privately with others.

He started playing professionally in 1993, while attaining his degree in Geology from UC Santa Cruz. Since that time, Leonard has kept busy as a freelance sideman for instrumentalists and vocalists throughout the Bay Area. He has appeared at many area performance venues, including Yoshi's, Kuumbwa Jazz Center, The Jazz Store, Garden City, Jazz at Pearls, and The Monterey and San Jose jazz festivals.

Aside from gigs, Leonard is currently enjoying a renewed focus on writing original material.

Leonard was heard here previously with the Mitch Marcus Quintet.

Alan Hall - drums.

Alan has played and/or recorded with: bassists Stuart Hamm, Brian Torff and Kai Eckhardt; guitarists Larry Coryell, Mick Goodrick and Joyce Cooling; saxophonists Ernie Watts, Paul McCandless, Bob Mintzer, John Handy, Jerry Bergonzi and Eddie Harris; trumpeter Bobby Shew; pianists Art Lande, Billy Childs, Tom Coster, Kit Walker and Smith Dobson; and vocalists Mark Murphy and Rebecca Parris.

Alan's work has been heard on jazz radio stations nationally and his original compositions have been recorded and released on the Blue Crescent and Polymorph record labels. His performances have been aired on B. E. T.'s Jazz Discovery Series and KRON TV's Daybreak.

He is currently a member of several groups including Ray Brown's Great Big Band, Dave Eshelman's Jazz Garden Big Band, and Michael Smolens' quintet, Kriya.

He is a faculty member of The Jazzschool in Berkeley, CA. and a participating faculty member of The Brubeck Institute, University of the Pacific, Stockton. CA. He was previously a member of the percussion faculty at Berklee College of Music in Boston from 1986-1993, and the University of California at Berkeley from 1998-2000.

Alan was heard previously at Chez Hanny with the Michael O'Neill Quintet.