Don Alberts has developed his music through his relation with well known musicians and performers having playing associations with great players like Leroy Vinnegar, Chet Baker, Shorty Rogers and Bud Shank, recordings with renowned bassist David Friesen, and a period as house pianist at the famous "Bop City" in San Francisco during the height of the 1960's creative music period.
Played with: Chet Baker, Leroy Vinnegar, David Friesen, Shorty Rogers, Bud Shank, John Handy, Bobby Shew, Francis Vanek, Al Molina, Vince Lateano, Bruce Foreman, and many others.
A native of the San Francisco area, he attended San Jose City College as a music major and studied with Thomas Ryan at San Jose State. Don has appeared in many JAZZ venues and major festivals throughout the Northwest and Canada including the "Mount Hood Festival Of Jazz" in Portland, Oregon and studied piano for time with Jerome Grey of Seattle.
He also has gained note as a composer whose works are performed currently by trumpeter Al Molina, Tom Harrell, Saxophonist Francis Vanek and other San Francisco area artists.
In the period of the 1960's he wrote music for the crossover band "Flower" of which he was a member contributing his compositions; "The Lizard," "Waltz Ingenue,"and "Cerabella,"and also wrote compositions for he Virgil Gonsalves Group.
Don grew up in the Bay Area and learned his skills playing the San Francisco clubs in the 60's which exposed him to the challenging music of Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Bud Powell, much of which became part of his foundation, a style rooted deeply in bebop and the blues. The romantic side of his playing comes from the influence of pianist Bill Evans with whom he exchanged some key compositions. One of those compositions was "Time Remembered."
Beginning piano at the age of ten, his earliest influence was the Boogie Woogie style of Mary Lou Williams. He eventually heard all th great players and pursued the music of his favorites; Teddy Wilson, Earl Hines, Errol Garner, George Shering, Nat Cole, Oscar Peterson, Bud Powell, Hampton Hawes, Red Garland, McCoy Tyner, Sonny Clark, and Mulgrew Miller.
One of Don's early compositions, "The Lizard" appears on the CD album "Home Coming" with Tom Harrell, released in 1999 by bassist Gordon Stevens and published on "Life Force Records." A second CD album on "Chill House Music" CHM 0002, was released in March of 2002 entitled, "Heroes," a trio format with bassist David Friesen and drummer Alan Jones which includes material from an earlier session for the album "Local Hero." The re-release of that 1988 recording is now available as a CD.
This package includes some fine solo piano work and the re-introduction of three originals; "Local Hero," "Sarah's Theme," and "Until I Met You."
Two more compositions; "The Blue Mirror" and "Furnace Blues" can be found on Francis Vanek's 1985 release, "Redwood Range" on Valentine Records.
A 1981 recording with the Northwest band, "Tangier" included three of his compositions: "Nightly Dancer," "Dixie Flyer," and "Tabledance," all of which were published on "Cisco Records."
You may have caught him on television playing piano on the "The Late, Late Show" with Tom Snyder during an interview with Cheech Marin while filming at the Cypress Club in San Francisco. Don is frequently found playing at Pearl's, on Columbus avenue in San Francisco and also at The Cypress Club where he has played on Saturday nights for the past five years with his own trio that includes, Frank Passantino (bass) and Buddy Barnhill (drums). All three are included in the historic photo "The San Francisco Giants of JAZZ."
Don's primary focus is in developing music for the trio and expanding his musical scope with new and innovative compositions, some of which have extended into Latin forms and unique jazz adaptations. The present trio is a unique combination of long time friends who respond sympathetically to the music. Together they produce a continuity of sound that is only possible through a deep awareness of the music genre and of each other.
Bassist Frank Passantino could not be better chosen. His "first-call" status for touring National artist has set him apart from the rest. He appears on records too numerous to list, but his recent tour with Richie Cole produced some landmark recordings. Frank Passantino was born in San Francisco 1935. He started playing bass in 1959 and studied with John Mosher. Frank has played with Al Jarreau, Kai Winding, Kenny Drew Jr., Dave Pell Octet, Tee Carson, and Ernie Andrews. His longtime friendship with Don Alberts underscores a wealth of mutual resources the combination of which lends vitality and passion to the present trio's musical setting.
Drummer Buddy Barnhill first began with Don Alberts in his high school years and actually grew up with the music. He possessed a rare talent for JAZZ drumming early on and has matured his playing to a precision level. Desired by many bands, he has toured the world playing with well known Jazz Masters.The reunion of these three talents is unique. There are always many options for players of their caliber, fortunately for the music, they chose each other.
Percussionist Curt Moore has added greatly to the final sound found here on the "Intuition" CD. Curt is the leader of his own highly successful latin ensemble, "Soul Sauce."
The newly released CD "INTUITION," THE DON ALBERTS TRIO, is a landmark achievement, the capturing of the original work of the band as developed at the Cypress Club in San Francisco. All compositions are by Don Alberts except his one homage to his long time friend Bill Evans, the tune "One For Helen," done here as a Mambo.
"Rejuvenation" released in 2005 is a trio recorded in Taos New Mexico with drummer Deigo Arencon and bassist Don Russo featuring five of Don's original compositions plus two standards, Nardis and Autumn Leaves, published by DonMar Music Productions, 2005.
Awards: Don has received the prestigious ASCAP 2005 Jazz Composers Award for his recent book "Don Alberts Original Jazz Compositions Volume Five" published by Chill House Music. Available on the web at www.chillhousemusic.com and from the artist.