‘Why we joined the union’

Volume 113, No. 10November, 2013


Top row: Tony Lujan, Francois Grillot and Matt Kane.
Bottom row: Reggie Berg and Ryan M. Vaughn

I joined Local 802 to do more union jobs and help support the music union community. My musical goal in NYC is to become involved with jazz, Latin jazz, big band and Broadway, and to record as much as possible. I recently played on the national tour of “Sister Act.” I got the gig after being referred to the contractor. My principal instruments are trumpet and flugelhorn, and I compose and arrange as well.

Tony Lujan

I joined Local 802 because I am doing copying and arranging work that requires me to be in the union. I have been in NYC since 1980, and my goal has always been to better myself as a musician. I worked recently at the Cotton Club in Harlem, playing a fundraiser for the Dizzy Gillespie Memorial Fund. I also played with the Bern Nix Quartet at the Iridium. My principal instrument is bass.

François Grillot

I joined Local 802 to be a part of the larger music community of NYC, and to have some peace of mind knowing that I have support and representation. I moved here from Kansas City to grow as a person and a musician. I’m doing that by surrounding myself with players who are creative, forward-thinking, proactive, and producing original music. I feel original music brings forth one’s voice as a musician, especially when spiritually aligned with a higher purpose and pursued with urgency. I also came here to hear and experience the cats who have inspired me to play jazz. I’ve been lucky to have witnessed my drum heroes Elvin Jones, Billy Higgins, Roy Haynes, Michael Carvin, Paul Motian, Al Foster and other major influences like Pat Metheny and Keith Jarrett. That is invaluable to me. Recordings and videos are one thing but the real experience is what it’s all about for me. One of my most recent gigs was recording an album with guitarist Tony Romano. My principal instrument is the drum set. I also play guitar and bass for writing. I’m studying piano currently.

Matt Kane

I joined the union because once I started getting a fair amount of freelance work on my own, all of the more experienced players were telling me that I absolutely had to join Local 802 if I wanted to start getting some serious work and serious connections. Ultimately, because I do so many things musically – classical piano, jazz piano, Broadway, copyist work, transcriptions, arrangements, classical compositions – my goal right now is to just stay active musically while living in the greatest musical city on earth! Jazz is where my heart is, but I am always thankful for other types of work as well. I recently performed Schoenberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire” at the Mannes Concert Hall, playing for “Opera On Tap” auditions. I also wrote three small ensemble arrangements for a jazz singer, two transcriptions for a pop singer, and a lot of copying work for Rachel Pine. I also hold a degree in composition and am having my most recent work, “Sonata Americana” for bassoon and piano, premiered at NYU by bassoonist Dan Shelly.

Reggie Berg

I recently rejoined Local 802 because I began to see an increase in the amount of jingle and recording work I was booking. My musical goal in NYC is more or less the same as it has been for the past eight years: to continue to make a living as a professional musician. As a working drummer and percussionist, I aspire to continually meet new people, perform in new places and experience as much music as possible. I love the hustle and bustle of being a sideman, especially in NYC. The intensity of day-to-day NYC living keeps me motivated and inspires me to focus on future possibilities, both in performing and business. My most recent gigs of note have been with singer/songwriter Teddy Geiger. For the past few years I have been playing a fairly unique percussion setup consisting of cajón, cymbal and other miscellaneous percussive toys. This percussion setup has been especially lucrative for work with singer/songwriters, because it is both affordable and portable. My principal instrument is and has always been drumset. However, recently I have become known around town for my skills on cajón and percussion, specifically on singer/songwriter gigs and in the studio.

Ryan M. Vaughn