Jazz guitar and piano - also funk, fusion, blues, latin, etc.
Pianist, Guitarist and Composer - -
Exciting and creative, originally from Chicago (played blues guitar and bass with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and Mike Bloomfield, jazz guitar with John Klemmer and Hart McNee); Madison (co-founded the Original Imitations and Sebastian Moon; played with Michael Moss, Ben Sidran, Roscoe Mitchell); currently lives in Tenafly, New Jersey; has played jazz, funk, Latin and fusion guitar with the groups of Cecil Payne, Harold Ousley, Chico Hamilton, Howard McGhee, (including McGhee's big band with George Coleman), Patato Valdez, Cliff Dukes, The Brecker Brothers, Booker Ervin, Tom Malone, (producer of Mel's first album, Further Adventures of Sebastian Moon with pianist Jose Hunt, drummer Rudy Lawless, and saxman Joe Ferguson). He has played guitar and enhanced the groups of Ted Curson, Lonnie Smith, Milt Larkin, Bill Hardman, and many others.
Mel is a very rhythmic player, at home in a hard driving rhythm section. He has jammed and played with some of the great drummers, including Art Blakey, Roy Haynes, Philly Joe Jones, Al Drears, George Brown and Charli Persip; pianists such as Harold Maeburn, Billy Taylor, Toshiko Akioshi, Joanne Brackeen, Richard Wyands, and Sir Roland Hanna. His bass mates have included Reggie Workman, the great Jimmy Garrett (musical director of the Supremes), Wilbur Bascomb (Aretha's bassman), Vishnu Wood, Paul Ramsey, Marcus MacLaurine, Stanley Banks and Mike Richmond.
Not content to stay in one place musically or mentally, Mel counts versatility as one of his traits. He has backed up the Clown Prince of Bebop, Babs Gonzales; played 50's doowop rock 'n roll with the Crests; jammed with Rahsaan Roland Kirk; played at the Newport Jazz Festival with the U of Illinois big band. For a while, Mel could be found playing with funky jazz groups in the clubs of Harlem, and Latin groups in the Bronx after hours scene. Mel formed the Sounds of Space, a jazz/pop fusion group, and played the downtown free jazz loft scene. He organized a party and wedding band for upscale events that included veteran sidemen John Purcell, Wilbur Bascomb, Stanley Banks, Steve Butler and Jimmy Madison. He has played concerts and gigs leading a jazz quartet including Scott Avidon, Mike Richmond, and Eliot Zigmund.
Switching over to piano, Mel has gotten deep into harmonies and composition. He studied with Roland Hanna and Barry Harris. Playing keys, he created Zone, a fusion group that has performed at the Jersey City Jazz Festival, Sugar Loaf Performing Arts Center, Westbeth Music Festival, and numerous gigs and concerts around New York. Mel has stepped forward as a composer with several albums to his credit, which feature Mel's original compositions. Some tracks are available on iTunes.
Besides music, he also finds time to create museum exhibits, mosaics, poetry, photo dioramas, holographic and kinetic art, and video projects. Samples of his work are on his personal web site, www.melnusbaum.com. Mel says, People react positively to my music and art. I'm encouraged and am looking to express more creative feelings.