With an accredited, eclectic background in everything from Latin to Country, and Jazz to Soul, Jeff approaches the drum kit with the enthusiasm of a kid raised on a lifetime of Detroit rock radio, because that’s who he is.
Jeff was born in Pontiac, Michigan. He began studying drums at the age of ten and continued with private lessons through High School. During his time in the Northern Detroit Suburbs he performed with the Oakland University Wind Ensemble and toured in a regional production of the musical “Godspell”.
He went on to study Music at Western Michigan University where he received his Bachelor of Arts. While he was there he was fortunate enough to study with the incredible Billy Hart. He also studied Orchestral Percussion with the great Judy Moonert. While there he performed and recorded with the Grammy Nominated WMU Jazz Orchestra, the WMU Symphony Orchestra and played countless Jazz gigs around West Michigan. He also played in several musicals at the Kalamazoo Civic Theater. One of Jeff’s fondest musical experiences was playing with the rock group called Delta Fawcett of which he was a founding member.
After college Jeff landed a job as the accompanist coordinator for the well respected Western Michigan University Dance Department where he still works today.
In 1995, Jeff joined the Kalamazoo based rock band Knee Deep Shag. With this group he has toured all over the greater Midwest including trips to New York, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas and Philadelphia, playing nearly 100 shows per year. They appeared on television on the Jenny Jones Show and the Mitch Albom Show and opened for many national acts including the late John Entwistle of The Who, Collective Soul, The Guess Who and Loverboy (yes, Loverboy).
Along with Knee Deep Shag Jeff has played in many different musical settings including sitting in with Larry Goldings and Danilo Perez. He’s also played with Columbia recording artist Steve Tyrell and was featured on WGN, a nationally syndicated cable channel, with the Chicago based Lakeside Singers.
Jeff also dedicates his time to Butterfat Trio, a group he started as a side project with Knee Deep Shag keyboardist Rob Cookman. Butterfat Trio is a “Jazz-ish” group that allows Jeff to explore several different styles of music. The group has one CD, entitled “Under Dog”, under it’s belt and plan to do many more.
Along with being an accomplished drummer Jeff is also a composer. Many of his tunes are played and have been recorded by both Knee Deep Shag and Butterfat Trio. “Get Used to It”, a Knee Deep Shag tune penned by Jeff, received an Honorable Mention in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition. Songwriting is a side of music that Jeff enjoys very much and is something he hopes to focus on even more in the future.
With help from his good friend Martin Klemm Jeff set up a small studio in his home (Quarter Point Studios) primarily for his own use. He quickly discovered that he could work well with other artists in this environment and started producing. He’s worked on demo material for Matt Gross and Phil Barry from Knee Deep Shag. He also recorded and produced a young jazz trio, Honorable Mention, from Kalamazoo.
Along with producing Jeff realized that he could use his Quarter Point Studio to remotely record drum tracks for other artists, cutting their cost on studio time. In this way he has recorded with Bob Wallis, Scott Thompson, Mark Moore, John Sanger and Co., Mike Davis, You All Everybody, Chicago area producer Jimmy Riley, and on Knee Deep Shag band mate Phil Barry’s Debut Solo release. Yet another avenue that Jeff is very interested in.
Jeff has joined the Chicago area cover band Spoken Four. He dedicates most of his time to this group, as they play all sorts of events, along with clubs and festivals. The music ranges from Motown to current hits and everything in between. Cover bands are relatively new to Jeff and he’s really enjoying the challenge!
Jeff still has time for some freelance work as well allowing him the chance to play loads of different types of music with great Musicians, something he truly loves!
With Butterfat Trio:
2004 Best Local Jazz Album – “Under Dog”
6th Annual 88.1 FM WYCE Jammie Awards
With Knee Deep Shag:
2002 John Lennon Songwriting Competition Honorable Mention for “Get Used to It” penned by Jeff
2002 Musicians Atlas Independent Music Award
2000 Pine Knob Opening Act Competition: First place
2000 Lucky Strike Band to Band Competition State Finalist
1999 Detroit Music Award