The Alchemist Quintet


The Alchemist Quintet

May 18, 2024
8:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Rendon Hall/Fiddler Annex @ California Jazz Conservatory

2040 Addison Street , Berkeley
This concert is sponsored by JAMBAR

The Alchemist Quintet performs modern jazz, mostly originals, with diverse influences. Notes on a page are bent, reshaped, reimagined. Simple elements become more valuable. You might hear a middle ages English dance, an Indian raga, a taste of bebop from a college town, a lush chordal piece with Eastern European influences. An ensemble celebrates their instruments and diverse backgrounds to create music not heard before… but remembers, newness can not forget the past.

Members of the band have recorded or performed with Ian Anderson/Jethro Tull, Joe Lovano, Gloria Estefan, Marcos Silva, Kai Eckhardt (John McLaughlin), Terrence Brewer, Gerald Beckett, Steve McQuarry, Oscar Stagnaro (Paquito D’Rivera), Resonance Jazz, Mark Feldman, Benny Rietveld (Miles Davis, Santana), Barbara Morrison, Sandy Cressman, The Stray Horns, and the Mandala Orchestra; in the US, Europe, Mexico, Argentina, Brasil, and in the Bay Area, notably at SFJazz and Yoshi’s.

Band Members

Doug Pet – Saxophone
Michele Walther – Violin
John Kiskaddon – Piano
Ted Burik – Bass
Greg German – Drums

Artist/Group Bios

Doug Pet is a San Francisco-based saxophonist and composer who has led and performed with groups on both coasts, as well as abroad in Argentina, Brazil, and Austria. Born and raised in New Milford, CT, Doug sparked an early love for jazz and improvisation studying with local great, Scott Chamberlain. He went on to train at the New England Conservatory, as part of the Tufts/NEC double-degree program with Tufts, with such jazz icons as Miguel Zenón, Jerry Bergonzi, George Garzone, Allan Chase, Frank Carlberg, Rakalam Bob Moses, and Cecil McBee. Doug’s music is rooted in traditional jazz and swing but infuses elements of bossa nova, as well as Argentine and Jewish folk music.

Violinist Michèle Walther is a performer, composer, arranger, and educator from Switzerland and San Francisco. Michèle has performed in venues throughout Europe and North America with Ian Anderson/Jethro Tull, Gloria Estefan, Joe Lovano, Oscar Stagnaro (Paquito D’Rivera), John Cage, Basel Sinfonietta, Mark Feldman, Wolfgang Dauner, and more. Recent performances include Resonance at SFJazz Center and Yoshi’s, and “A Living Tribute to Carla Bley” at SFJazz, where she was featured in “Birds of Paradise”. You can find her compositions on many recordings and in the documentary “Not Without Us”, which aired on PBS. In the Bay Area, Michèle can be heard with the Musical Art Quintet, Climate Music Project, Jazz Mafia, Resonance Jazz, her solo & looper program, and many others. Ms. Walther earned her M.M. at the Conservatory of Music in Basel, Switzerland, and later graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston, majoring in jazz violin performance. In her spare time, you can find her hiking, meditating, or watching out for dolphins.

Greg German has been playing music in one form or another for most of his life. After years of playing tenor saxophone and guitar, he found his way to the drum set at the relatively “late” age of 23. He studied drums privately with Eddie Marshall, Pete Magadini and Alan Hall. He also credits much of what he knows to studying the work of drum masters such as his first “drum hero” Stewart Copeland, as well as Elvin Jones, Tony Williams and Roy Haynes to name a few. Over the last 30 years, he has been performing with SF Bay Area bands that run the spectrum from pop and rock to Latin and Brazilian to chamber music and jazz in its many varieties. He has recorded with numerous groups including Marcos Silva, Terrence Brewer, Humanistic, Ben Stolorow, Gerald Beckett, Steve McQuarry, Alt Jazz Ark Ensembles and Resonance. He has also performed with other distinguished artists such as Madeline Eastman, Claudia Villela, Benny Rietveld (Miles Davis, Santana), Barbara Morrison, Sandy Cressman, The Stray Horns, and the Mandala Orchestra.

At John Kiskaddon’s first piano lesson at 8, he was hooked! His teacher taught him reading, but encouraged him to improvise. 13 years later, he graduated with honors from Berklee College of music. He draws inspiration from a melting pot of sources: the opera, symphonies, madrigal singing, but jazz in movie and TV show soundtracks set the stage for a love of lush chords, cool jazz from Miles Davis, lyrical notes from Bill Evans. Mesmerizing vibes from Cal Tjader, Driving grooves from Joe Sample and luxurious voicings from Lyle Mays and Keith Jarrett. His performances began with a solo piano improv for 800 students at middle school, then spans decades of cocktail parties, restaurant gigs, weddings, funerals, political fundraisers, and corporate events. A true highlight was playing piano for Congresswoman Barbara Lee at a fundraiser for Stacy Abrams for Governor! While he loves solo piano, there is nothing greater than playing with superb musicians and he is delighted to be part of the Alchemist Quintet.

Ted Burik grew up back east and moved to the west coast 25 years ago. He has performed jazz, blues, and classical music for over 30 years in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, and the San Francisco Bay Area. To best capture the deep sonic possibilities found in the bass, he focuses on performing modern and traditional jazz on both upright bass and electric fretted and fretless basses. While in New York, he studied and performed with Rick Petrone, Bassist with Maynard Ferguson’s big band, and has studied with Naim Satya in the Bay Area. In Seattle’s thriving jazz scene, he performed extensively with the Dave Anderson Quartet (Pony Boy Records), the Gilbert Garcia Group, and Black Lab Music. Today, Ted is quite busy playing jazz in the Bay Area, performing regularly with Resonance and Milestones. He is also a founding member of Jumping the Shark, an original blues rock ensemble that is currently recording its first album.

Proof of vaccination is no longer required for Covid-19. Masking is optional and masks are available upon request. The California Jazz Conservatory kindly requests that anyone feeling unwell refrain from attending in-person events of any kind.

This concert is sponsored by JAMBAR