New World Jazz Project artists
Born in St. Augustine, Florida, the path of bandleader Niall McGuinness on saxes, flute and percussion led to Miami, where he graduated from the University of Miami School of Music. In South Florida, Niall developed an affinity for Latin music, where salsa gigs were the normal musical engagement. He has toured Central and South America, and performed several long engagements in NYC. It is in the genre of Latin jazz Niall found he could freely improvise, yet maintain a groove to which the listener can readily relate.
The giants of jazz music have always been Niall’s strongest musical influences. Saxophonists John Coltrane, Joe Henderson, Dexter Gordon, and Cannonball Adderley are his major mentors on tenor and alto sax. On soprano sax, Wayne Shorter provided beaucoup inspiration, and Flutist Dave Valentin is a heavy influence on Niall’s musical palette.
Keyboardist George Tavoularis began playing music in the mid-sixties with bands in Southern California. At the age of 16, George was signed to a record label in Los Angeles, giving him an opportunity to hear and work with some of the best studio players of that time.
In 1976 after being on the road for a number of years, George moved to Hawaii, and had the opportunity to work with some of Hawaii's best jazz musicians. George credits Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Joe Sample as some of the strongest influences in his playing.
Amiably referred to as the “Poster Child” of the New World Jazz Project, bassist Kyle Rothchild hails from Carson City, Nevada where he currently resides. Kyle started on the electric bass at the age of 13 and added upright bass to his talents at the age of 18 while attending the Univ. of Nevada, Reno, where he holds a Bachelor of Music. Kyle also earns his living as an audio designer in Reno composing music and creating sound effects for different types of gaming platforms.
The jazz bassists of the be-bop and swing eras, as well as the musical approaches of James Jamerson and Jaco Pastorius heavily influence Kyle’s playing. Kyle has been performing with the New World Jazz Project regularly since 2004.
Raised in New York, drummer Eric Finkelstein is the youngest of his musical family-- his two brothers are drummers as well. When he moved to the West Coast 25 years ago, Eric was booked with a show in Lake Tahoe and fell in love with the region; he has lived there ever since.
Eric's love for Rhythm and Blues, Latin and Afro-Cuban jazz can be heard in his playing, which incorporates a solid groove and a great feel. Eric also plays a variety of hand drums and percussion. He currently lives in Minden, Nevada, with his wife and their many animals.
Percussionist Eric Middleton, in addition to his work with the NWJP, performs with his own group "No Comprende", and is principal percussionist for both the Reno Philharmonic Orchestra and the Nevada Opera Orchestra. Eric has played with many of the showroom orchestras in Reno and Lake Tahoe, and maintains an active freelance schedule.
In 2003 Eric earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Texas. While in Texas, Eric performed regularly with the Austin Symphony and San Antonio Symphony Orchestras, in addition to various salsa and jazz ensembles. Eric currently resides in Reno, Nevada, with his wife, two daughters and four cats.
Guitarist Joey Berger has been performing and teaching around the Reno/Tahoe area for the past 13 years. Joey has also performed with Little Anthony and the Imperials, Bobby Caldwell, Tony Clifton, Greg Adams, Randy Brecker, and is currently a member of the Reno Jazz Orchestra.
After graduating with a bachelor in music from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2008, Joey has been on the Adjunct Faculty at UNR, teaching private lessons.