Elizabeth Woodbury Kasius
The original repertoire of HEARD is the work of composer-arranger-pianist ELIZABETH WOODBURY KASIUS who brings a wide array of styles –jazz, classical and world music– into her captivating soundscape. Her inspirations come from her diverse experiences and interests and are often drawn from the raw and powerful sources that nature provides. Elizabeth received her formal musical training at the University of Washington and Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, where she studied ethnomusicology, piano performance and composition with Brazilian pianist Jovino Santos Neto, trombonist Julian Priester and Big Band leader/trumpet player Jim Knapp, as well as with Nigerian Juju musician IK Dairo.
Woodwinds player Jonathan is an active freelance musician in the New York Capital Region’s jazz, world and classical scenes. A member of Heard for over 10 years, he also plays with the Hot Club of Saratoga and with Vintage Euro-pop group Golfstrom. He has performed with the Albany and Glens Falls Symphonies, Albany Pro Musica and was recently a guest performer on the recital of world-renowned chamber pianist, Andre-Michel Shub. Jonathan attended Skidmore College, where he was the recipient of the Filene Music Scholarship. Originally from Seattle, Jon attended Garfield High where he was part of their internationally known jazz program and Big Band, whom he toured Europe and Japan with his senior year. While in Seattle, he also became an accomplished mbira player, through the vibrant world music scene happening out of University of Washington.
Bobby Kendall, bass, brings his great experience as a jazz, rock, and post-rock stand-up and electric bass player to Heard. A Skidmore College graduate with a masters in bass performance from SUNY Purchase, Bobby resides in Troy, NY. Bobby has toured nationally with Americana alt group Goodnight Texas, and fronts his own post-rock group, Last Day Shining. He is also a filmmaker.
Brian Melick is a percussive treasure who is known for his unique “hybrid” sound, built from his astonishing collection of world music instruments and his mastery of their techniques. His sensitivity, musicality, and adaptability lend an eclecticism to Heard, and his playfulness is irresistible to watch and be a part of! He tours regularly with a diverse range of groups spanning musical territory from Flamenco to jazz and Celtic, including Cathie Ryan, Kevin McCrell, Maria Zemantauski, The Bernstein Bard Quartet and Joy Adler & The Souls of Evolution. He has been featured on more than 375 recordings and is endorsed by LP, Remo, and Udu Drum Inc., amongst others. Brian recently built the world’s first Lego Drum Kit, soon to be on permanent display at the Percussive Arts Society Museum in Ohio.
West African drummer Zorkie Nelson comes from a long line of Ghanaian master drummers and brings an exciting and deep richness to the music of Heard. In addition to his percussive role in the band, he also lends his talents on flute and vocals. Zorkie was a founding member of the Pan African Orchestra (PAO), with the group from 1988-97. With PAO he toured the U.S., Canada, France and the U.K. and recorded Opus 1, and also toured Denmark with the Ghana National Dance Ensemble. Now based in upstate NY, Zorkie also leads his own group, Gballoi,and was a member of drum master Yacub Addy’s Ghanaian ensemble Odadaa! for 11 years, during which time the group toured multiple times with Wynton Marsalis. He is a master percussion teacher, and was a dance musician at Russell Sage College in Troy for 10 years.