|Brian Felix : Keyboards|
My parents are both artistically minded, and I was encouraged at an early age to play
the piano. My dad has also been a life-long pianist, which definitely had and influence on my attraction to
the instrument. I started taking classical piano lessons at the age of five, which I pursued until
I was in middle school. I remember going back and forth between liking disliking classical piano,
and eventually shied away from it because I felt (at my ripe young age) that it was too stifling.
(I didnít want to play the proper fingerings, and probably didnít want to practice what my teacher
gave me). At this point I wanted to explore other musical styles, mainly rock Ďní roll, which I
had been listening to all my life. I began taking lessons with Janet Lemansky, who gave me
assignments that I considered to be more cool than straight up classical piano.
We did hybrid pieces, such as a medley of Beethovenís "Moonlight Sonata" and Skid Rowís "18 and Life."
Around this time, she also introduced me to jazz, thus piquing my interest in a style that I would
grow to love.
In high school, I didnít totally focus on the piano. I was involved in my high school jazz band, but played saxophone for three years and bass for one. During my freshman year, my first band, the Purple Martins, was born. Along with three of my best friends (who also happen to be great musicians), we played a variety of gigs throughout high school, performing a combination of covers and original material.
|When we all went to college, the band broke up, and I was off to the sunny banks of the Raritan-Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey! School brought a variety of great musical experiences, both in class and extra-curricular. Victor Diggs and the Boogie Love, which eventually became a 10 piece funk arsenal, was the first and longest running band I was with. This was the first band where I played keyboard full time, and was a great group of creative minds to be a part of. I also played in Velour, another New Brunswick Funk Ensemble, with Pete. Around this time, I also got more serious about jazz, and was able to study with Noah Baerman, who really inspired me and taught me an enormous amount. In the fall of í97, I was able to acquire lessons with Kenny Barron through the jazz department. Playing piano an hour a week for two years with this guy was an unforgettable experience.|
In addition to lessons, I was taking traditional harmony classes as well as jazz
classes and combos. It was through these groups that I first met Daniel Fusco in the fall of í97. In
the winter, Daniel, myself, and the legendary Andrew Lindstrom started a funk trio called Trim.
I canít even possibly go into how Trim influenced me; Letís just say it was a pivotal experience for me.
Itís also worth noting that during this time, Ilya sat in with the group,
thus marking the true first
OM performances. (Even if it was for only one tune).
We gigged heavily for the entire spring, and then played our last show (as the original Trim)
in April of í98. In June, Dan moved out to Oregon, but Andrew and I had a year left of school.
Rather than ending the group, we were lucky enough to find Bob Hart, a great musician and person,
to play bass with Trim for the final leg.
In May of í99, I graduated, and both Victor Diggs and Trim played their final shows. On June 10th, I jumped into the aforementioned Budget Rent-A-Van with my dad and made for Talent, OR. June 13th marked the beginning of OM. What has happened since then can be seen on our VH1 special entitled "Punk Ass Jersey Boys," which will air later in the year 2000.
Piano influences, in no particular order: Herbie Hancock, Bill Evans, Bernie Worrell, Stevie Wonder, Chick Corea, Brad Mehldau, John Medeski, Page McConell, Kenny Barron, Claude Debussy, Keith Jarrett, Wynton Kelly, Steve Felix.
If you made it through this whole thing, please email me so I can congratulate you at Brian@OmTrio.com.