Composer/keyboardist Michael Pelz-Sherman has been performing professionally on piano, keyboards, and percussion since the age of 16. Born in St. Paul, MN, since the early 1980's, Michael has continued to refine his voice, absorbing influences from a wide range of styles and cultures. A graduate of Indiana University and UC San Diego music programs, Michael studied composition with Earl Browne, Donald Erb, Harvey Sollberger, Rand Steiger, Roger Reynolds, and Brian Ferneyhough. While a student at IU, he was awarded 2nd prize in the SCI composition competition for his piece "Earth, Wind, and Wire". He played keyboards and wrote music for the Minneapolis Jazz fusion group "Little Green Men", whose album "Jazz From Mars" won "Best Jazz Recording" at the 1989 Minnesota Music Awards. He also toured the Soviet Union that same year as part of the group "Rockhouse", with vocalist Prudence Johnson.
An accomplished software engineer and computer-musician, Michael served as a Musical Assistant at IRCAM in Paris, France in 1992, where he created an original real-time computer-assisted performance system and designed sounds for Netherlands composer Klass Torstensson's Urban Songs. His compositions have been commissioned and performed at the Crested Butte Music Festival, and he is an active member of the International Society of Improvised Music. He has presented his original research on free improvisation at the Guelph Jazz Colloquium and McGill University, Montreal.
Michael's formal musical training, combined with many years of professional experience playing rock and jazz clubs throughout the country, provides him with a huge expressive pallete and an endless wellspring of musical ideas. His Ph.D. dissertation, "A Framework for the Analysis of Performer Interactions in Improvised Music", created under the guidance of trombonist/impoviser/author George E. Lewis, demonstrates his deep love for and understanding of the history, development, and structure of creative improvised music that has risen out of the fertile soil of American Jazz.
Michael currently resides in Cary, North Carolina (USA) with his wife Dori and their three children, where he teaches piano and performs regularly with his jazz trio MPS Trio, the North Carolina Jazz Ensemble, and acoustic alt-rock duo The Lounge Doctors. He has also played as a freelance keyboardist with Big Rick and the Bombers, Mighty Lester, and The Will McBride Group.
Drummer Charles Barchuk has played drums professionally for decades. A veteran of the 80's cover band scene, Chuck brings a unique mix of jazz sensibility, intense creativity and rock power to the MPS Project. He teaches at Progressive Music in Raleigh, NC and plays with a number of excellent bands in the Triangle.
Sean Geist has been playing electric bass nearly 30 years. Looking to expand his voice on the bass instrument, and inspired by Scott LaFaro, Christian McBride, Steve Rodby, Gary Peacock, Ray Brown and others, Sean decided to pursue the upright bass, and has added his own unique voice to the instrument, while featuring it in his repertoire and local performances.
Sean has studied (and/or attended master sessions/clinics) with a who's who of bassists: Jerry Jemmott, Mike Frost, Victor Wooten, Steve Bailey, Chuck Rainey, Matt Garrison, Oteil Burbridge, and many others.
Sean is the founder of the Fusion Collective South (having been a member of the NY-based Fusion Collective "North"); he has also been featured in Raleigh-based bands The MPS Trio, The Paul Bomar Trio, Mighty Lester, Cafe Mars, Retro Buzzkill, and The Will McBride Group, amongst others.
Sean continues to perform around the Raleigh/Durham area, and is thrilled to be featured on the MPS Project's debut CD, and future performances with this dynamic trio!
E. Scott Warren is a professional bassist based in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Scott attended the jazz studies program at the University of North Texas and played professionally for the last 20+ years in a variety of styles and contexts. Scott has played and studied with a number of remarkable musicians, including: John Adams (Woody Herman), Keith Anderson, (Marcus Miller, Erykah Badu), Annagrey, John Bryant (D'Drum, Ray Charles), Keith Carlock (Steely Dan, Sting, James Taylor, Rudder), Dan Wojciechowski (LeAnn Rimes, Olivia Newton-John,Peter Frampton), among many others. Scott is currently touring with Blu Bop, a Tribute to the Music of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.
Kyle Duppstadt is a drummer/percussionist currently teaching and performing in the Triangle and surrounding areas. He has studied his craft at the North Carolina School of the Arts music conservatory and Berklee College of Music with professors such as John Beck Jr., Darren Barrett, Bruno Raberg, and most importantly, Rakalam Bob Moses. From February until May 2011 Kyle traveled to Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil seeking out traditional rhythms and music in a more “organic” context than a conservatory can provide. His main interests are African and Afro-influenced rhythms, those which traveled to the Americas from Africa during the slave trades like Jazz & Blues, Samba, Afro-Caribbean music. The freedom and honesty in improvisational music such as jazz has greatly influenced his playing and teaching style.