DBF 2011 Performers

Attendees at the two-stage event will experience international drumming styles through outstanding performances from some of the world’s top musicians, mostly living within a 100 mile radius of Kingston. A full list of performers to date is right over there on the left. (updated frequently!)

A partial list & bios of performers (the full list is over there on the left.):

Ward Todd, Master of Ceremonies


Jack DeJohnette, Drums

Jack DeJohnette (born August 9, 1942) is one of the greatest jazz musicians of our time. He first became known as a member of Charles Lloyd’s band, a group that pianist Keith Jarrett was a part of at that time. He played with Bill Evans in 1968 on the acclaimed Bill Evans at the Montreux Jazz Festival and from 1969 to 1972 played with Miles Davis (Bitches Brew). In February, 2009, DeJohnette received the Grammy Award for the Best New Age Album, “Peace Time”.

DeJohnette successfully incorporates elements of free jazz while maintaining the deep groove of an R&B drummer. His exceptional experience of time and style, combined with astounding improvisational ingenuity, make him one of the most highly regarded and in-demand musicians.







David Sancious, Keyboards

David’s first exposure to the music industry came as an original member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.

Performing on keyboards and guitars, and as composer and producer, David has recorded and toured with a wide variety of some of the most notable talent in the music industry including:

Bruce Springsteen: Keyboards
Peter Gabriel: Keyboards
Sting: Keyboards/Guitar
Eric Clapton: Keyboards/Guitar
Jeff Beck: Keyboards
Santana: Keyboards/Guitar and
Yousou Ndour: Keyboards/Guitar/Producer


Luisito Quintero, Percussion

Luisito Quintero was born in Caracas, Venezuela, where he was surrounded by Afro-Venezuelan and Afro-Cuban rhythm and music. His father, a respected percussionist in his native country, tutored and encouraged Luisito on timbales through his adolescent years. Luisito comes from a long line of outstanding musicians which includes his uncle, Carlos Nene Quintero and cousin Robert Quintero. Luisito studied at the respected Orquesta Simfonica de Venezuela (The Symphonic Orchestra of Venezuela), and his percussion technique soon garnered attention from his colleagues. He joined the popular music ensembles Grupo Guaco and Oscar D’Leon, where he enjoyed widespread worldwide exposure. Aside from his skillful timbale work, Luisito also plays congas, bongos, drum set, djembe, dundun and a wide variety of assorted percussion instruments. His technique on all of these instruments is masterful and unparalleled. Luisito has worked and recorded with, The Rolling Stones, Vanessa Williams, Paul Simon, Santana, Jack De Johnette, David Sanborn, George Benson, Tommy LePuma, Joe Sampler, Bill Cosby, the late Celia Cruz and Tito Puente, Cachao, Eddie Palmieri, Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan, Richard Bona, Ravi Coltrane, Claudia Acuna, Nathalie Cole, Diana Krall, Roy Agrove, Giovanni Hidalgo, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Spanish Harlem, Willie Colon and countless other high-profile music acts. Luisito is comfortable working in any genre of music from Symphonic to Jazz and from Latin to House. One of his recent projects finds him as musical director for Louie Vega and the Elements of Life Band as well as extensive work with Jack DeJohnettes Latin Project. He has also had the privilege to go on tour and record with the Tony Award & Grammy winner jazz artist, Dee Dee Bridgewater. Quintero has earned more than thirteen Grammy certificate awards for his participations in numerous recordings for re-known artists like: Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Diane Krall, Spanish Harlem, George Benson among others. Luisito’ first solo project under Vega Records/BBE, “Percussion Maddness” and “Percussion Maddness Revisited” took him on a sold out European Tours spanning the entire continent with performances in NORWAY, SCOTLAND, GREECE, MOROCCO, SPAIN, BULGARIA, UNITED KINGDOM, THE NETHERLANDS, IRELAND AND GERMANY. The album “Percussion Maddness Revisited” feature great appearances with Anane, Chulius of Los Amigos Invisibles, Blaze, Milton Cardona, Jose Mangual, Jr & Claudia Acuna. Quintero is now preparing his new recording project which promises to be a very pleasant and exciting surprise to the music industry and worldwide fans alike. As one of the most sought after percussionist in the country at this time, Luisito Quintero will continue to build his legend as a skilled clinician who shares his limitless knowledge of music to younger percussionists around the world. Today, he is an established and respected musician, teacher, band director, and master percussionist, and continues to push the boundaries of his craft.

Yusnier Sanches, percussion







Jerry Marotta, Drums

Jerry Marotta (born February 6, 1956) is one of the most versatile drummers on the scene. Jerry was a member the band Orleans (75-82), Peter Gabriel’s band (77-86), Hall and Oates (79-81), the Indigo Girls (91-99) and the Tony Levin Band (95 – present).

He played drums on Stevie Nicks’ and Michael Campbell’s song “Whole Lotta Trouble” for the 1989 album “The Other Side of the Mirror”.

In addition to his work as a sought after studio and stage drummer, he is a renowned singer, composer and record producer.


Nicole Hart, Vocals

Coming to national attention in 2008 on the Blues, Roots, Soul & R&B scene, Nicole Hart made an impressive beginning completing three highly successful tours: she was the featured female performer of Jacksonville Beach, Florida’s “Springing the Blues”; the featured female headline act of Laconia, New Hampshire’s Big Three Motorcycle Week; she performed many more prominent festivals, including the Jersey Shore Red Bank Jazz & Blues Fest, among other renowned venues on the national circuit. Her initial independent CD release, “NICOLE HART & THE NRG BAND, LIVE!” received airplay on radio stations worldwide.

In 2009 she signed with Blues Leaf Records. Her debut release, “TREASURE,” debuted on the Living Blues charts at # 14, and is still in rotation on XM/Sirius Satellite Radio and the nationally syndicated Music Choice television channel. In May 2009, Nicole received the “Female Vocalist of the Year” award at the Los Angeles South Bay Music Awards.

As a modern day Blues woman, Nicole straddles a diverse musical terrain defined by such icons as Koko Taylor, Susan Tedeschi, & Bonnie Raitt.

Sid McGinnis, Guitar
is an American musician and guitarist, best known for his work on the CBS Television show, Late Show with David Letterman, as part of the CBS Orchestra.

The Pittsburgh-born guitarist made his first appearance in the Late Night with David Letterman band in 1984 as a guest guitarist, and has continued as a permanent guitarist with Letterman’s television shows since then. He is the only member of the orchestra who wears headphones during each performance. He hands out picks before each show. He also plays pedal steel guitar, as he did backing Judy Collins on “Someday Soon”.

Outside of his work on the television show, McGinnis has toured and/or recorded with numerous artists including Ashford and Simpson, Barry Manilow, Peter Gabriel, Carly Simon, Dire Straits, Robert Fripp, The Sisters Of Mercy, Cool It Reba, Laurie Anderson, David Lee Roth, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Paul Simon, Simon & Garfunkel and others.

McGinnis was born in Pittsburgh, and lives and rebuilds his guitar amplifiers in the New York area.

Pete Levin, Keyboards

As a keyboardist/arranger, Pete has performed and recorded with hundreds of Jazz and Pop artists – including Paul Simon, Annie Lennox, Miles Davis, David Sanborn, Jaco Pastorius, Robbie Robertson, Joe Louis Walker and John Scofield – receiving critical accolades for his work during a 15 year association with the legendary Gil Evans. Best known for his work in the Jazz field, Pete released 3 solo albums for Gramavision Records in the 90s, and in recent years, 3 CDs with his organ trio – the current release being “Jump!” with Dave Stryker and Lenny White.

An in-demand New York session keyboardist and arranger, Pete has also created electronic realizations for hundreds of TV commercials, dramatic series and feature films, including “Missing in Action,” “Lean on Me,” “Silver Bullet,” “Red Scorpion,” “The Color of Money,” “Maniac,” “Spin City,” “America’s Most Wanted” and “Star Trek.” But Pete, whose wry sense of humor is never far from the surface, reveals that his favorite session produced the top-40 hit single “Close to You” by The Clams – a Spike Jones tribute band – with his brother, bassist Tony Levin and drummer Steve Gadd. 30 years later, it’s still a cult classic.


Charlie Kniceley

A fixture in the Hudson Valley music scene for over 30 years, Charlie is best known as a consummate side man, working with a long list of artists including Al Martino, Jerry Vale, Ron Carter, Eileen Fulton, Joe Beck, Ed Summerlin, Danny Lewis, Randy Ciarlante, Jack Dejohnette, Mike DeMicco, Warren Bernhardt, Pete Levin, Connie Francis, Danny Brubeck, The Hudson Valley Philharmonic, Mikhail Horowitz, Honi Coles, Billy Reed, Jimmy Eppard, Brenda Buffalino, Machan Taylor, Mimi Hines, Hal Linden, Lew Soloff, “Blue” Lou Marini and Rashid Ali.

Leading his own Jazz groups, Charlie has performed at venues all over the Tri-State area and has been featured at the Edinburgh International Arts Festival in Scotland.

Charlie can also be found building signature custom basses for award-winning luthier, Michael Tobias.





Liam Teague has distinguished himself as the recipient of many awards in his homeland Trinidad and Tobago, including championships for his ability of the Steelpan, Violin and Recorder. In addition to being the Co-winner of the National Steelband Festival Solo Championship of Trinidad and Tobago, Teague won the Saint Louis Symphony Volunteers Association Young Artiste Competition in 1998. Mr. Teague’s commitment to demonstrating the great musical possibilities of the Steelpan has taken him to Europe, Asia, North and Central America, Australia, and the Caribbean. Some of these performances include opening for the MC Hammer tour of Trinidad and Tobago, stints at the St.Lucia, Grenada and Trinidad and Tobago Jazz Festivals and appearances at the Cool Drummings Percussion Festival in Toronto, Canada. He has collaborated with several prominent musicians including: Paquito D’Rivera, Zakir Hussain, Warren Bernhardt, Paul Winter, Evelyn Glennie and Nexus.






POOK (the Percussion Orchestra of Kingston) and Energy Dance Company

The Center for Creative Education was established in 1989 in Kingston, New York. The mission of the Center for Creative Education is to create a better world by nurturing and empowering youth and community through the arts. In 2005, CCE opened a performing arts training center in midtown Kingston. This new complex has a 1300 square foot dance studio, a percussion studio, homework and tutoring center, and a computer music lab that is being developed in collaboration with the Kingston School District’s Department of Fine Arts and Enrichment. CCE has worked closely with the Kingston School District for a decade and runs three successful arts education programs in Kingston including the Percussion Orchestra of Kingston (POOK), The Energy Hip Hop Dance Company, and the arts component of the TOPS after school program at George Washington and J.F. Kennedy Elementary Schools. The Center for Creative Education is led by founder, and full-time Executive Director Evry Mann and Artistic/Program Director Bryant Andrews. Mr. Mann has 30 years of experience in arts education and is a professional musician. Mr. Andrews is a dancer/choreographer with extensive experience in social services.



Powhatan Swift Eagle of Chickahominy

Pueblo and Apache descent is a storyteller and musician. Powhatan tells stories from a variety of Native American Nations as well as sings and plays traditional and contemporary music. The traditional stories and songs he presents have been told, sung and passed down from generation to generation.




Matoaka Little Eagle

Singer, dancer, storyteller, and educator (Tewa, Apache, Chickahominy), currently residing in New Paltz.




Dennis Yerry

Iroquois musician, composer, arranger and musical director whose career has encompassed a myriad of musical genres from Native American traditional music to free improvisational jazz, cabaret, musical theater and more.










Valerie Dee Naranjo – marimba, percussion, vocals

Known for her transcription series with the late gyil (West African marimba) maestro Kakraba Lobi “West African Music for the Marimba Soloist”, Valerie Dee Naranjo plays in NBC’s SNL Band (for 16
seasons), with Broadway’s “The Lion King”, and has performed on six continents solo, and with such artists as Philip Glass, David Byrne, The Paul Winter Consort, Airto Moreira, Zakir Hussein, Glen Velez and others. The 2005 and 2008 reader’s polls for “Drum!” magazine named Valerie “World Percussionist of the Year”and the current 2011 “Mallet Player of the Year”. Ron Grunhut’s film “Knock on Wood”, documenting Valerie’s activity in Ghana, is part of several documentary film festivals. Valerie recorded several solo CDs, and 5 releases with Kakraba Lobi, Barry Olsen, and Bernard Woma. Valerie holds a BA (vocal/inst. Mus. Ed.) and Master’s Degree (perf.) and studied with such maestros as Leigh Howard Stevens, Gordon Stout, Dave Samuels, and Kakraba, with whom she toured from 1989 until 2007.

Barry Olsen – trombone, piano, marimba, percussion, vocals

Barry is the pianist for the Latin-Jazz group Syotos, led by trombonist Chris Washburne, and is featured on their five recordings. Since 1998 he is frequently heard on marimba and percussion in the orchestra of the Broadway hit “The Lion King.”

Essiet Okun Essiet – bass

Rob Levin – percussion

Vince Cherico – drums

In 2004, Vince was picked to be the drummer for the Jazz at Lincoln Center’s, Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra and recorded “Una Noche Inolvidable” which received a Grammy nomination and next “Song For Chico” which won the 2008 Grammy Award for “Best Latin Jazz Album”. In 2009 Vince was featured with the Dee Dee Bridgewater Quintet, touring and performing concerts including Carnegie Hall, the
Monterey Jazz Festival and an NPR broadcast performance live at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Vince recently recorded with the legendary Manhattan Transfer on their newest CD: “The Chick Corea Songbook”.

with special guest
Hettie Barnhill – dance and vocals

Today, Hettie’s constantly back and forth from New York City and Los Angeles, CA. Working on her debut album, set to release in 2012. She is currently choreographing for different projects and performing with the Broadway Vintage Variety Show. She is also a member of A Long Walk Home, Inc. is a 5 year non-profit organization that uses art therapy and the visual and performance arts to document, to educate and to bring about social change. Providing safe and entertaining forums through which the public learns about healing from trauma. (Rape and Violence) Hettie shares with them what has been given to her – a passion for the arts, a love for dance and a listening ear. Dance Coordinator for the 60×60 Festival. A 2011 NAACP recipient of the Top 12 Leaders 40 and Under Award in the field of Arts and Culture, IL,Chapter. Ms. Barnhill is a 2006 Honors graduate of Columbia College in Chicago majored in dance and twice honored in Who’s Who of American Colleges and Universities. Hettie has worked with numerous choreographers internationally and received many awards including several dance scholarships, such as the Young Artist Scholarship (American Dance Festival); the Wiesman Grant for her choreographic piece (Homegrown). Cast member of the Broadway show FELA! is on her list of many outstanding credits.




Nexus has been dubbed “…the high Priests of the Percussion World” by the New York Times. The first, entirely improvised NEXUS concert in 1971 marked the formation of a group that would touch and entertain people of all levels of musical learning, in all genres of percussion music. Bob Becker, Bill Cahn, Russell Hartenberger and Garry Kvistad are virtuosos alone, and bring elements of their knowledge and character to a distinct and powerful whole. They stand out in the contemporary music scene for the innovation and diversity of their programs, their impressive history of collaborations and commissions, their revival of 1920’s novelty ragtime xylophone music, and their influential improvisatory ideas.

They have enjoyed participating at international music festivals such as the Adelaide, Holland, Budapest Spring, Singapore Arts, Tanglewood, Ravinia, and Blossom Music Festivals, as well as the BBC Proms in London, Music Today and Music Joy festivals in Tokyo, and many World Drum Festivals. NEXUS was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 1999, just before celebrating their 30th anniversary season.

Especially renowned for their improvisational skills, NEXUS was called upon to create the musical score for the National Film Board’s “Inside Time”, which won the 2008 Yorkton Golden Sheaf award for best social/political documentary & the 2008 Robert Brooks award for cinematography. NEXUS also created the chilling score for the Academy Award-winning feature-length documentary “The Man Who Skied Down Everest”. NEXUS’ list of high-profile collaborations includes Steve Reich, the Kronos Quartet, the Canadian Brass, and clarinetist Richard Stoltzman.

The 2010-2011 concert season will mark their 40th year.



Nick Attanasio, Therese Cuccia and Dominick Cuccia are recognized as the leading exponents of innovative rudimental drumming. Performing from Boston to Austin and beyond, The Not So Traditional American Rudimental Drummers can also be seen throughout the northeast as the American Colonials Fife & Drum Trio, marching with the Civil War Troopers from Cornwall, New York and are featured performers on the DVD of the historic, Drummers Heritage Concert.

Eighty-six year old Nick Attanasio, bass drummer, former member of the Sons of Liberty Ancient Fife and Drum Corps is the most decorated rudimental bass drummer in the history of percussive competition. He continues to have a profound influence on the direction of the entire marching percussion world. Therese Cuccia, fife player and drummer, is a former member of the Spirit of America fife & drum corps from Epcot Center at Walt Disney World. She is a Northeastern Snare Drumming Champion and has appeared on stage at the Percussive Arts Society’s International Convention four times. Dominick Cuccia, a highly sought-after teacher, performer and corps leader, was a member of the famous Hellcats at West Point as well as group leader of Walt Disney Worlds Founders of Freedom. He is the author of The Beat of a Different Drummer.



Orlando Hernandez (tap dancer) , is 21 years old and from Hoboken, NJ. He has an ongoing duo project with pianist Jacob Sacks. He has performed abroad and throughout the United States and New York, most recently in pieces by Michelle Dorrance and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards, and as part of the Tap Messengers’ collaboration with the Revive Da Live Big Band. He was a member of the Tap Kids Touring Company (2003-2006), directed by Lisa Hopkins, and of Cats
Paying Dues (2005-2008), directed by Andrew Nemr. He is also a drummer, and he is currently a junior at Yale, majoring in English.










Tasa & Rob use their unique style of acoustic rhythms with soulful harmonies in combination with influences of many of the great singer/songwriters of several generations. Tasa’s Uncle, Rick Kvistad (Garry’s Brother) wrote the arrangement of Gene Krupa’s Drum Boogie that Tasa & Rob will perform as the finale of the Drum Boogie Festival with Jerry Marotta, NEXUS, Liam Teague and Orlando Hernandez.







Jonathan Singer, Xylophone

Carmen Staaf, Piano Keyboard

Steven Whipple, Upright Bass

Rich Stein, Percussion