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​Jazz at the Pollock Featuring the Reed Gratz Band


Enjoy an evening of jazz, funk, blues, Latin and R&B, at the Jazz at the Pollock concert with the Reed Gratz Band. The concert is in the Pollock Theatre at College of the Desert on Friday, Feb. 22, 2019, at 7 p.m. Admission is free with a suggested donation of $5 for students, $10 for public.

Reed Gratz, keys & compositions.  Reed is a Professor of Music at the University of La Verne.  He has taught at Washington State University, University of Miami, University of Innsbruck, Utrecht Conservatory and Leiden University, and for ten years as visiting professor of music at Claremont McKenna College.  He served on the Advisory Board of the American Jazz Institute with Mort Sahl and Lee Konitz.  Reed has been awarded a jazz composition grant from the NEA; a research grant in African American music by the NEH; two Senior Fulbright Lectureships, (University of Innsbruck, and the Walt Whitman Distinguished Chair of American Culture Studies at Leiden University) and the Excellence in Teaching Award for undergraduate faculty at the University of La Verne.  He’s a member of the La Verne Academy.  Reed has worked with George Russell, Herb Alpert, Bruce Hornsby, John Patitucci, Barbara Morrison, Sir Willem Nijholt and many others.  He has composed music for more than a dozen plays.  His CDs are Below Sealevel and Piano, Piano Two To Too, Reed Gratz Band featuring Michael O’Neill, Travelogue, and Long Way From You (all available at and iTunes), View From the South, and Quaadrille. Reed has been nominated for a Music Educator Grammy Award. Hear his music on Youtube, iHeartRadio, Spotify, and other streaming sites and apps.

Michael O'Neill, guitars. Michael’s services as a guitarist and vocalist have been called upon at the highest levels of the music industry for over 30 years. Starting with his appearances on the Crusaders Street Life tour to his ongoing work with George Benson and Natalie Cole, Michael has played on hundreds of recordings, worked on dozens of World Tours, recorded five solo cd’s, scored several films, composed music for many TV Shows, made numerous television and video appearances, and provided hundreds of titles for background music sources. Working with George Benson since 1981, Michael has appeared on The Best of Benson Live, George Benson and Al Jarreau’s cd Givin’ It Up, Benson’s Absolute Live and Live in Montreux 1986 dvd’s, and served as Associate Producer on Benson’s cd Songs and Stories which garnered a Grammy Nomination. Michael has worked with Barbra Streisand, Stevie Wonder, Toni Braxton, Joe Sample, Rickie Lee Jones, Al Jarreau, Michael McDonald, Kenny Loggins, KD Lang, Vince Gill, John Legend, Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin, Michael Buble, Earth Wind and Fire, Al Green, Boney James, Sheila E., Hubert Laws, and many others. 

Andrew Ford, bass.  Andrew is a bassist, composer, arranger, producer and educator. He has performed with legendary artists in almost every major genre of music, while also having a Masters degree in Education from University of La Verne. He has shared the stage or studio with Al Jarreau, Whitney Houston, David Crosby, Barry Manilow, Robben Ford, Chaka Khan, George Duke, Gladys Knight, James Ingram, Israel Houghton, Dianne Reeves, Peabo Bryson, Patti Austin, Lynne Fiddmont, Christopher Cross, Jerry Butler, Michael McDonald, David Pack, The Emotions, Phil Perry, The Stylistics, Brenda Russell, Larry Carlton, Oleta Adams, Jeffrey Osborne, Melissa Manchester, Jeff Lorber, Deniece Williams, Johnny Hammond, Greg Adams, Randy Crawford, Norman Brown, Graham Nash, Boney James, Kirk Whalum, Michael Paulo and many others. Andrew has completed 7 bass instructional videos for, covering everything from blues to r&b, walking bass, reggae, rock, motown and overall groove. He has taught bass or done seminars at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood(BIT), Citrus Community College, the Los Angeles College of Music, and the University of La Verne. He has also taught Music Business courses at the college level. Andrew has written or co-written many songs, including “Flame” which is on the Best of GRP CD, Tomorrow Today by Al Jarreau, and the 2013 Grammy Nominated Al Jarreau live project, one song, 3 different cd’s! Andrew has also had success writing for tv and film, with a number of songs in regular rotation. He recently co-wrote the theme song for the award-winning HBO short film “Muted” starring Chandra Wilson

Mike Bennett, drums.  An innovative and progressive musician, Mike Bennett continues to emerge as one of the nation's top drummers. His tremendous musicality and onstage charisma has led DRUM! Magazine to call him, "a full fledged chameleon, showing restraint or blasting chops when called for, with a clean sound, metronomic feel, and a distinctly melodic soloing style." Modern Drummer Magazine agrees saying that Bennett is, "on the fast track...a versatile drummer who is building a reputation as one of L.A.'s finest.” Able to easily cross many contemporary and world genres, Bennett has performed with artists such as Hilary Duff, Richie Kotzen, Benise, Mary Mary, Alicia Keys, Bruno Mars, Sabrina Carpenter, Slash, Stevie Wonder, Marie Digby, Jamie Foxx, Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band and many others on stages around the globe. He has also made television appearances on programs such as The Tonight Show, The Ellen Degeneres Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Good Morning America, The Today Show and many more. Off stage Bennett is an in-demand producer, programmer and television composer for networks including NBC, FX, HISTORY, DISCOVERY, MTV, VH1, HGTV, DISNEY CHANNEL, A&E and many others.
Co-Owner of Music Evolutions Studios, he keeps up an active schedule recording for projects around the world in their state of the art recording studio. He has also authored the Demystifying Drumming book series and continues present clinics and workshops internationally.

Andres Espinoza Agurto, percussion, A native of Chile, Dr. Andrés Espinoza Agurto has been playing percussion since he was eight years old. He studied Afro-Cuban percussion at the Escuela Nacional de Arte (ENA) in La Habana, Cuba, graduated summa cum laude from Berklee College of Music (receiving a BM in Jazz Composition) and holds an MM in Jazz Studies and Ethnomusicology from the University of York (England). He received his PhD in Ethnomusicology from Boston University in 2014. His dissertation is entitled Una Sola Casa: Salsa Consciente and the Poetics of the Meta-barrio, and analyzes the impact of salsa music as a forging element of social and political identity within Latino and Latin American communities. Other research interests include the application of ethnomusicology to jazz performance and composition, Afro-Latino music, modern art music, and Spanish language rap. He is also the composer, musical director, and percussionist of the Andres Espinoza World Jazz Ensemble, the Andres Espinoza Octet, and the Latin fusion sextet Los Songos Jalapeños. He has performed and taught in many countries around the world, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Cuba, England, Italy, Mexico, Peru, and the United States, and has been a faculty member at Roxbury Community College, Boston University, Emmanuel college, the University of Maine system, and currently at the University of La Verne where he teaches Music Histories and directs the Latin Jazz & Salsa Ensemble.