While an ensemble called Circus of Saints has been performing improvised and composed instrumental and vocal jazz and progressive music since the late 1990s in New York City, The Florida Gulf Coast, and currently in the DC Area, the current members in the line-up are listed below in alphabetical order by last name.
Daniel Barbiero – Acoustic Bass
A native of New Haven, CT, Daniel Barbiero has been active in creative improvised music in the Baltimore-Washington area as a performer, composer, and sometime bandleader. He has played in many different types of ensembles, including modal and slightly off-center mainstream jazz bands, an unorthodox improvising string quartet, and groups fusing jazz improvisation with North Indian and Middle Eastern structures. He has also arranged and performed early music as well as contemporary composed music. His solo improvisations have been used as a setting for dance and movement.
Marvin P. Vernon of https://www.tradebit.com has said: “Daniel Barbiero is a bassist whose music is quiet, intelligent, and has elements of jazz, third stream and avant garde…While it might be called jazz, its tone is meditative, almost spiritual sounding. ‘Zen jazz’ might be a good working description.
Rico Clark – Low Brass
Rico (born Rico A. Clark on January 31, 1973, in Tampa, Fl) is a classically trained low-brass and bass guitar musician and member of the Mystic Sheiks of Morocco band. In 2002, he started performing at the Busch Gardens theme park and has performed all over the US as well as Rio De Janeiro, Puerto Rico, France, England, and Spain.
Rico''s classical training began in High School and the US Navy band at the School of music in Little Creek, VA and was instrumental to his conversance with Jazz, voice, and big band performance. He is also capable of performing various styles of dance and writing music and lyrics.
In 1997, he began his life as a professional musician playing out in local bands in the Jacksonville Fl local scene. It wasn’t until he starting playing at the Busch Gardens theme park when his fame increased to world renowned status playing with the Sheiks of Morocco. The band is a unique part of the Busch Gardens Theme park. They are the ambassadors to the park and provide premium entertainment for all who enters the park.
Rico enhanced his repertoire to encompass the bass guitar. Practicing daily to capture the essence of the bass greats before him, he started with funk hits from the 70’s and expanded to abstract styles of victor Wooten and Steve Bailey. Using Four, Five, and Six string bass guitars he has the ability to play light flowing bass lines and using his thumb to slap and thump the thunderous sounds a bass player only knows how to do.
Nick Costa - Drumming
Nick lived in northwest CT until he was 18. He learned to play harmonica at age 7 and was deeply into that for a few years. His mother sang, and his father played a wide variety of music at home — bebop, big band, Scottish bagpipe music, Chinese pop, Jimmy Durante, Russ Colombo, Louis Armstrong, Sidney Bechet, Gilbert and Sullivan, Carlo Buti, and lots of opera and Broadway show music.
In 7th grade, his school had a band program. He wanted to play clarinet or trumpet, but rental fees were infeasible. Haskell Harr book 1, a pad, and a pair of 3S sticks were available for $3.00. His mother funded these, and he was off. Careful study of Harr, practiced on a pillow, gave him decent hands within about 6 months. He started playing along with the radio too, mimicking whatever he could hear. He was self taught until college, where he was able to squeeze in some formal study with Gerald Unger, Vernon Ewan, Preston Thomas, and John Riley.
After school, Nick went into the Air Force. This exposed him to folks of different cultures and values, expanded his frames of reference, and encouraged developing management, language, and leadership skills. It also gave him 2 degrees, a house, medical care, and a pension that pretty much lets him play what he likes.
In 1995, Nick came to the DC area. He retired in 1999. He started studying with Ralph Peterson, who, along with O''Donel Levy and Mark Russell, helped him grasp the difference between playing the instrument on a high level, and using it to play the music on a high level. He’s worked fairly regularly, in several genres, since.
Dana Jessen - Bassoon
Bassoonist Dana Jessen (b.1983) is a versatile musician with a strong commitment to contemporary and improvised music. As an active performer, she has played at numerous venues across the country including Boston’s Jordan Hall and New York City’s The Stone.
She has performed with the Harvard Group for New Music, Sonic Circus, Joe Morris Ensemble, and the Circus of Saints. Regularly involved in new music premieres and commissions, Dana has worked closely with a number of composers including Katarina Miljkovic and Eric Spangler (a.k.a. DJ Dubble8).
Dana receivedmusical training from Louisiana State University (B.M.) and the New England Conservatory of Music(M.M.). In her spare time, she enjoys backpacking and microbreweries.
Jeff Kahan – Oboe & Cor Anglais
JEFF KAHAN studied oboe performance at Rice University and University of Texas at Austin and performed in orchestras, wind ensembles, chamber groups, early music ensembles, and contemporary music ensembles.
In Austin, he also played with the 1000 Nights Middle Eastern Orchestra which culminated in a live performance of a new score to the 1924 silent film Thief of Baghdad. Since his return to Northern Virginia in 1999, he has played with a plethora of ensembles including the Jewish Community Center Symphony Orchestra, the Riverside Wind Symphony, Pan American Symphony Orchestra, the Friday Music Morning Club Orchestra, various musical theater groups and is currently enjoying making music with Circus of Saints and serving as principal oboist of The McLean Symphony.
John Kocur - Sax
John Kocur is a saxophonist and composer specializing in improvised music but equally capable in all genres. Born January 18, 1984 in Medford, NY John currently located in the Washington, DC area. He is pursuing a Master''s Degree at Howard University in Washington, DC and graduated in 2006 from George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. He has performed with the Thad Wilson Jazz Orchestra, Virginia Grand Military Band, the Too Damn Big Orchestra, McLean Church Big Band, Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra, Capitol Music Trio, and the Capitol Focus Jazz Ensemble. In the summer of 2007, John appeared with the Howard University Jazz Ensemble in Tokyo, Japan and at the opening of the first Nagano Jazz Festival.
Billy Sokol – Bass and Lapsteel
Born in Huntington, New York, Sokol''s early exposure to the theme from Courageous Cat & Minute Mouse, Henry Mancini, Herb Albert, and Burt Bacharach, and 20th Century Classical composers via his dad''s living room Hi-Fi during the 1960s and 1970s, created a foundation for a life as a player, composer, and producer.
Billy studied piano in grade school and started on upright bass when he was 13.
Growing up at a moment in time and a place when your typical neighborhood garage band would cover Return to Forever, Mahavishnu, Jeff Beck, Yes, and Pink Floyd, Billy gravitated towards instrumental music.
Billy studied improvisation and figure studies with Darrell Dobson and attended Ithaca College School of Music. During his years in Ithaca, Bill played in a series of jam bands before moving to Long Island.
From early 2001 through 2004 Bill Sokol and later Circus of Saints recorded and performed in solo, duet, trio, and quarter formats in Tampa, St. Pete, and Clearwater at clubs and concert venues. Steve Connelly from Roger Mcguinn''s Byrds, and the Headlights was on guitar, Ted Yarusso on Drums, David Cotton singing, and Dean Germain on Hammond B-3.
Since 2004 Bill Sokol has been focusing on small groups built alternatively around loose and improvised performances built around simple instrumental compositions OR highly composed recordings. Many of these compositions were done with Glenn Trojnar (harmonica) and Mr. Sokol''s Piccolo Fretless Bass
In 2006 Billy wrote an original score for a theatrical production of "Misery" based on the Stephen King story. In 2007, Billy was commissioned to compose an original score for the Dayton Ballet''s upcoming production of Streetcar Named Desire. Billy continues to compose, record, and perform songs written for the Piccolo Fretless Bass, Lapsteel, Dobro, keyboards, and samples.
Born May 10, 1961
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