The Connell-Purves Group
Tom Connell – drums
John Purves – tenor sax, bass clarinet
Jamison Smeltz – alto sax, clarinet
Rolf Johnson - trumpet, flugelhorn
Greg Sankovich - piano
Karl Hartmann – bass
The Connell-Purves Group is an eclectic, modern jazz ensemble. Led by drummer/composer Tom Connell and saxophonist/clarinetist/composer John Purves, the group plays a diverse, original style of jazz that incorporates bebop, modern/free/poly free jazz, and modern classical music with Mediterranean, Middle-Eastern, Afro-Cuban, and Brazilian sounds. The group performs compositions primarily by its two leaders. The most direct influences on the group’s sound are probably John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, and Ornette Coleman.
Mr. Connell has been drumming virtually since birth, and studied rudimental and drum set technique throughout his childhood in Wisconsin. Prior to moving to California in 1996, Tom studied jazz and Latin percussion with Louis Ferkovics in Florida, jazz and classical theory at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, and classical composition at the American Conservatory in Chicago with Dr. William Crowle and privately with Stephen Wolff, while performing with many rock, jazz, and percussion ensembles throughout the Midwest. In California, Tom has studied composition privately with Aaron Blumenfeld, performed and recorded with the avant-rock group "grown", as well as writing and performing with his own jazz groups.
Upon first hearing Charlie Parker and John Coltrane in his youth, John Purves decided the saxophone would be his instrument of choice. John spent a number of years studying saxophones and flute in Los Angeles with multi-woodwind/composer Lonnie Shetter as well as playing in college big bands and smaller group ensembles in the L.A. area including Gary Foster and Bobby Bradford’s groups at Pasadena City College. He also co-led a Jazz Quintet of his own before moving to San Francisco in 1991. John’s woodwind playing has been featured on two full-length CD’s by the group Quiet Celebration and some of the same music has been heard on TV shows such as A&E’s Biography, Beyond the Davinci Code, MTV and VH1. John has also privately released two full length CD’s and one EP of under the alias Purjah.