2021 Burlington Discover Jazz Festival

Alex Minasian Quartet featuring Bill Pierce, Brandi Disterheft, and Joe Farnsworth

Church Street in front of City Hall


Alex Minasian - Piano

With two degrees from NYU, Alex Minasian has, at a remarkably young age, established himself as a versatile pianist, educator, and impresario in many different musical genres. As a pianist, Alex has has studied with some of the greatest pianists in jazz history, including Hank Jones, Don Friedman, Jean-Michel Pilc, and James Williams, and has performed in most of the country's most famous jazz rooms, such as Birdland, the Blue Note, Cafe Carlyle, Yoshi's, Bohemian Caverns, Herb Alpert's Vibrato, Iridium, Jazz @ Lincoln Center, and the Apollo Theater. He has shared the stage with such legends as James Ingram, Arturo Sandoval, ?UESTLOVE, Sam Moore, Marylin McCoo, Joe Pesci, Antony Hegarty, Steve Jordan, Mel Carter, Lenny Welch, Curtis Fuller, Hank Jones, and Clark Terry, and with such jazz greats as Brian Lynch, Billy Pierce, Sheila Jordan, Gary Bartz and Hugh Masekela.

Bill Pierce - Saxophone

Bill Pierce is one of America’s most talented jazz artists and educators. In 1980, he joined Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers and served as its musical director. Even during his early performing and touring years, Bill toured with internationally acclaimed artists such as Stevie Wonder, Bobby Watson, Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Donald Harrison, and more. He joined the Tony Williams Quintet in 1985, touring Europe, Asia, and America and made five recordings with the group. Since 1986, Bill has continued to teach, perform, and record under his own name. Each area of his professional life has continued to thrive, highlighted by his appointment as Chairman of the Woodwind Department at Berklee College in 1997 and membership to the Kevin Eubanks quartet since 1999.

Brandi Disterheft - Bass

It’s not only her fiery bass playing that make audiences stand-up and holler, but also her innovative live shows showcasing her uptempo, swinging originals and ambient voice. Winning a JUNO for her Debut album, Brandi had the honor to be the bassist for the legendary Hank Jones on the album Pleased to Meet You and has since captivated international audiences at jazz festivals in Japan, Haiti, Canada, Europe, and the US, and at prestigious venues, including Carnegie Hall and the Vienna Opera House. Recordings and performances include collaborations with top drawer musicians such as Anita O'Day, Benny Green, Cyrus Chestnut, Vincent Herring, and Renee Rosnes, to name a few.

Joe Farnsworth - Drums

One of the most highly regarded jazz drummers on the scene today, Joe is known for his blazing speed, precision, musical, and melodic playing. Joseph’s career includes recording over 100 albums as leader and side-man, as well as jazz festivals and world tours with Pharaoh Sanders, Horace Silver, Harold Mabern, McCoy Tyner, Cedar Walton, Diana Krall, Benny Golson, George Coleman, Johnny Griffin, Lou Donaldson, Benny Green, Barry Harris, and Curtis Fuller, to name a few. He is currently the drummer for McCoy Tyner and a member of the Pharaoh Sanders Quartet, Harold Mabern Trio, and is a founding member of the renowned One for All Quintet. Recordings as leader include Drumspeak, Beautiful Friendship, feat. Cedar Walton and Curtis Fuller, Prime Time, Super Prime Time, and Make Someone Happy.

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