At five-years-old, after attending a performance of the Nutcracker with its live orchestra and a cast of dancers in colorful costumes, pianist/composer Eric Verlinde begged his family to buy him an instrument. Now in his 30s, Eric runs his own production company, Freedom Jazz Productions. He has released several CDs, which features his trio and original compositions.
Eric teaches piano and has composed more than 100 pieces of music in many different genres, including jazz, gospel, funk, electronic, neoclassical, Latin jazz, avant-garde, rock, R&B and rap. He has played all over the world– Paris, Berlin, London, Boston, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Hawaii, and Vancouver.
Eric plays what’s happening in the moment. “I let the music play me, rather than me playing the music,” he says.
Chuck Kistler is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music where he studied with Garrison Fewell, Donny Nolan, Matt Glaser, and Phil Wilson. In Seattle, Chuck has been freelancing on upright bass since 2000. He has played with Clarence Acox, Greta Metassa, Thomas Marriot, and John Stowell, as well as the late Floyd Standifer, Don Lanphere, Hadley Caliman, and Bob Nixon. Chuck is a founding member of BJQ, and is also a member of the Jay Thomas Quartet.
Schooled in his native Baltimore, Andre Thomas studied music in San Diego and at the Armed Forces School of Music. Andre played with the Bernie Jacobs Group while stationed in Norfolk, Virginia. He moved to Seattle from Japan in 1987 with the Navy Band.
While in the service, Andre performed ceremonial music for formal military occasions and dance music for events like Seafair. “We also did special performances for elementary schools that featured everything from Mancini to rock ‘n roll,” he says. But Andre’s real love is jazz. “My father was a jazz drummer and my biggest influence.”
During the late 1990s, Andre hosted the Sunday evening jam session at Tula’s, a leading Seattle jazz club. He has found many opportunities to play throughout the area and has performed as a sideman for a host of musicians such as Big Joe Turner, Jimmy Witherspoon, Don Ellis, Art Pepper, Clark Terry, Herb Ellis, and others. He also leads his own group, Quiet Fire, in appearances throughout the Seattle region.