Diamond Jazz is a collaboration of four talented, energetic musicians who share a love for performance and improvisation in a wide variety of genres, ranging from Herbie Hancock to Duke Ellington, Wayne Shorter to Rodgers & Hart, Oliver Nelson to Louis Bonfi, Hoagy Carmichael to Johnny Mercer, and Miles Davis to Cole Porter.
Phil Diamond (flute) grew up in Los Angeles, and has been a performing musician almost all of his life. Classically trained on piano, Phil gave his first piano recital at the age of five. Branching out to flute at age nine (under the instruction of Roland Moritz of the Los Angeles Philharmonic), and guitar at age 13, Phil has performed on all three instruments over the years in a wide variety of settings, including rock bands, cocktail trios, concert and marching bands, orchestras, musical theater pit bands, jazz ensembles, and folk groups. His musical interests range from jazz to classical, country western to standards, and Latin to pop and rock. He has performed on television several times and in venues ranging from Bay Area nightclubs and restaurants to San Francisco’s Orpheum Theater and Caesar’s Tahoe. He has performed on jazz flute with a number of Bay Area ensembles, including the Jon Steiner Trio, the 19 Broadway Swing Band, and the Bill Canada Jazz Experience.
Russ Taylor (piano and keyboards) is a Bay Area native who has been playing the piano since age 5. In addition to studying piano, Russ was also trained on the classical pipe organ and performed in organ recitals. He played cocktail piano in a restaurant during his college days, and since then has played in a number of different musical groups, including a 17-piece jazz big band, a jazz octet, and other small group jazz combos in various venues around the Bay Area.
Philip Knudsen (drums) grew up in Lafayette. In the third grade, he fell asleep during a live performance of Gene Krupa playing “Sing, Sing, Sing,” and when he woke up he decided right then (probably by osmosis) that he wanted to be a drummer. Philip has performed in Dixieland, concert, and marching bands, as well as a number of jazz groups including a five-year stint as the drummer for the Jon Steiner Trio at 19 Broadway. In 1968, Philip lived for a year in India, where he studied the Tabla (an Indian hand drum). He returned from India by traveling and performing through Europe and at a jazz club in Moscow.
Mark Culbertson (bass) has a Bachelor of Arts in Theory-Composition from Chapman University, and Master of Music from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. He has studied with Michael Manring, Bertram Turetzky, Joelle Leandre, David Young, John Clayton, Jim Campilongo, Kenneth Gaburo, Victor Savant, and Herbert Brun. He has performed with Berkeley Opera, Symphony of the Redwoods, as well as the Studio Five Jazz Band, Roy Loney, and Patti Austin. He is currently the Director of the Dominican University Jazz Band, and a music instructor at San Domenico School, Marin Waldorf School, and Dominican University, while offering private coaching at San Rafael High School and the College of Marin Orchestra. He recently recorded with Iggy and the Stooges and appeared on their album, Ready to Die.
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