Mitchel Forman (piano)
Born in Brooklyn many moons ago, Mitch began studying classical piano at age 7. At 17 he entered the Manhattan School of Music for three years of study and began working with bands in New York.
Shortly after graduating from MSM Mitch began touring and recording with Gerry Mulligan, playing in both his big band and quartet. Work with Stan Getz followed. In 1980 his solo career began with a piano performance at the Newport Jazz Festival. This recording became Mitch’s first album, “Live at Newport”.
The next few years brought new challenges with work on the road with Phil Woods, Carla Bley, Mel Torme, and Astrud Gilberto. He also recorded two solo piano albums for Soul Note and toured in Europe regularly.
Mitch spent the early 80′s as one of the most sought after studio musicians in New York, working with a multitude of gifted artists (see discography) not the least of whom was guitarist John McLaughlin.
Mitch joined McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu and spent a year and a half on the road with McLaughlin, recording and contributing to two of the band’s benchmark recordings – the seminal “Mahavishnu” and “Adventures in Radioland”.
He then joined legendary ex-Weather Report saxophonist Wayne Shorter, touring, recording and contributing to Shorter’s “Phantom Navigator”.
With all this world-class experience under his belt he naturally progressed to leading his own band and recorded his group debut for Windham Hill, “Train of Thought”. At the same time he continued to work with other luminaries like guitarist John Scofield (“Blue Matter”), Mike Stern (“Upside Downside”) Janis Siegal, Dave Samuels, Diane Schuur, Gary Burton (Reunion GRP), Pat Metheny, Wayne Shorter, Simon Phillips, Freddie Hubbard, Bill Evans, and Ricki Lee Jones.
Mitch continues to record and play under his own name and has recently started his own record label, “Marsis Jazz”. His most recent releases have been “Perspectives” “Mr. Clean” and “Patience”, all on his own label. He also co-leads the band Metro with guitarist ,Chuck Loeb. Metro’s six albums, the debut “Metro” the follow-up “Tree People” (Lipstick), “Metrocafe”, “Metrolive”, “Express”and “Grapevine” have all met with critical acclaim. The quartet with Wolgang Haffner on drums and Mel Brown on bass tours annually in Europe.
Kevin Axt (bass)
Kevin Axt was born in Burbank, CA and has been a freelance musician in Southern California since 1982. He began studying classical guitar at the age of 13, later adding tuba, electric bass and finally string bass to his instrumental arsenal by his late teens. He attended USC on an orchestral scholarship studying string bass with LA Phil co-principal bassist, Dennis Trembley.
Kevin has performed, recorded and toured with artists as diverse as Natalie Cole, Jack McDuff, Jimmy Smith, Hank Jones, Phil Woods, Lalo Schifrin, Shelby Lynne, Queen Latifah, Placido Domingo, Pat Williams, Russell Watson, Patti Austin, Bobby Shew, Chuck Mangione, Bernadette Peters, Cristian Castro, Lea Salonga, KD Lang, Dave Koz, George Benson, The Tierney Sutton Band, David Benoit, Bob Florence, Mitch Forman and Chuck Loeb, Robben Ford, Jack Sheldon, Etta James, James Moody, Christopher Cross, The Manhattan Transfer, Cheryl Bentyne, Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Glenn Frey, Gordon Goodwin and the PHAT band, and Melissa Manchester to name just a few.
Kevin has appeared on approximately 200 albums and has played bass in dozens of theater, film and television productions including American Idol and X Factor. Kevin has played on projects that have garnered a total of 14 Grammy nominations to date. He also received a Grammy Nomination in 2012 as a co-arranger in the Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocals category.
Steve Hass (drums)
After attending Berklee College Of Music on scholarship from 1993 to 1996 Steve was asked to join the Ravi Coltrane Quartet. He toured and recorded with the band from 1996 to 2002. The music was a mixture of traditional jazz, funk, and odd meter fusion. During this time Steve was also a studio drummer in New York City playing on dozens of national jingles, record dates, television shows, and movie soundtracks. He was also a member of Ruben Wilson’s “Masters Of Groove” where he shared the drum chair with the legendary Bernard Purdie. In addition, during this period Steve toured with Christian McBride, Suzanne Vega, Miri Ben-Ari, Bob Berg, and Richard Bona amongst others.
In 2003 Steve began touring and recording with multiple Grammy winners and Atlantic recording artists, The Manhattan Transfer. He remains the first call drummer for The Manhattan Transfer, and works with them as his schedule permits. He is the first touring drummer in the history of the band to actually record with them. He is featured on 3 album releases and 1 live concert DVD. In late 2003, Hass released a solo album named Traveler. The CD displays Hass’ skills as a talented producer. His usage of sonic layering and drum loops is reminiscent of Jon Brion.
In 2005 Steve joined John Scofield and Mavis Staples to support Scofield’s Verve release “That’s What I’d Say”. The band toured around the world from 2005 until December 2007 playing R+B, Soul, Jazz and Latin. Scofield also used Steve in his jazz trio, along with bassist John Benitez for select local N.Y dates. In 2006 Hass had an eight-page feature interview in Modern Drummer Magazine. He is now a regular educational contributor in the “ask a pro” and “workshop” columns. In 2007 Steve established a second residence in Los Angeles and quickly became a popular choice for musicians and producers on the L.A scene, both live and in the studio. His company Hassbeat Productions Inc. provides studio services to artists worldwide while allowing Steve to record drum tracks for a variety of artists around the world. He continues to tour with a variety of artists.
Since moving to Los Angeles Steve has become a regular with renown artists such as Billy Childs, Bob Sheppard, Brandon Fields and Alan Pasqua as well as maintaining his presence in the studio with contemporary rock singer/songwriters. 2012 has been his busiest year yet juggling recording sessions for producers The Difference, Rami Yadid and Ken Wallace and tours with R&B great Patti Austin, top selling fusion/new age pianist Keiko Matsui and The Manhattan Transfer. He continues to work with R&B/Jazz Grammy winner Patti Austin in all variations of her touring band.