Recommended if You Like
John Coltrane Ornette Colman Thelonious Monk

Genres You Will Love
Jazz: Free Jazz Moods: Instrumental Avant Garde: Free Improvisation

By Location
United States - Mass. - Boston

Bob Nieske Dennis Livingston Tom Hall Jerry Leake Randy Roos The Alchemists Facebook Page YouTube page

The Alchemists

In POTIONS, The Alchemists offer an entertaining mix of melodic, improvised, inventively original songs that are rooted in and spontaneously weave together jazz, standards, Latin rhythms, Indian beats, chamber music and other far flung corners of the music scene. CD Baby selected POTIONS, our first album, as an Editors' Pick. Our second album, JOURNEY TO THE EAST, is now available as well.

Member Bios

Tom Hall - Tenor saxophone

Tom has toured throughout the US and Europe performing and recording in a wide variety of musical styles, appearing on over 30 CDs and playing at many festivals, including The Boston Globe Jazz Festival, Moers Music Festival (Germany) and Bang on a Can New Music Festival (NYC). He has also collaborated with a wide variety of musicians, including John Medeski, D.J. Logic, Reeves Gabrels, Duke Levine, Brahim Frigbane, and Jacques Morelenbaum. He is an instructor at Brandeis University, where he founded the Brandeis Improv Collective Ensemble; the author of "Free Improvisation: A Practical Guide”; and the host and creator of ImprovLive 365.

Jerry Leake - Percussion

Jerry is Associate Professor of Percussion at Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory. He leads the the world-rock-fusion octet Cubist, whose third CD, PROMINENCE, weaves African songs and melodies into contemporary designs. He is a founding member of the world-music ensemble Natraj and Club d’Elf and performs with the Agbekor Society. Jerry has written eight widely used texts on North and South Indian, West African, Latin American percussion, and rhythm theory, along with over 30 articles for Percussive Arts Society magazine. He presented his “Harmonic Time” method at a 2011 TEDx Seminar in Cambridge, MA.

Dennis Livingston - Flute, Sopranino and Alto Recorders

Dennis’ musical life has taken two directions. As a composer/lyricist of cabaret and jazz songs, his work has appeared in four ASCAP-MAC Songwriter Showcases in NYC and similar events sponsored by the American Popular Song Society, Theater Resources Unlimited and the Boston Association of Cabaret Artists. Three revues of his songs have been presented in Boston, Washington, DC, and NYC (released in a live recording as THE STORIES IN MY MIND), as well as in solo shows in the US and abroad and on five CDs by leading cabaret performers. As an improvising, free jazz flutist, Dennis has joined musicians in jam sessions and other informal gatherings for many years. POTIONS marks his first public appearance in this role. Dennis holds a PhD in political science from Princeton University and has had careers spanning the academic world, computer journalism and policy analysis of anti-poverty programs of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Bob Nieske - Bass

Bob Nieske received his M.M. degree in composition with honors from New England Conservatory in 1981. He was the bassist with the Jimmy Giuffre 4 from 1979-1992 and appears on Jimmy’s three Soul Note recordings. Bob has also recorded with Alan Dawson, Dave Grisman, Stephane Grappelli, George Russell and the Living Time Orchestra, Bevan Manson, Jay Geils, Gerry Beaudoin, Duke Robillard, The Either Orchestra and Herb Pomeroy and in addition has performed with  Charlie Byrd, Eartha Kitt, Attila Zoller, Ronnie Earl, Tiger Okoshi, Dakota Stayton, John Blake, Jackie and Roy, Richie Cole and Larry Coryell. Bob has numerous recordings of his own groups from the Bob Nieske 4 to the Nieske 10, including BOB NIESKE’S WOLF SOUP and SIMPLICITY, which features the Bob Nieske 3 with the Lydian String Quartet. His compositions have been performed around the world by his own groups, The Either Orchestra, Matt Wilson and Jimmy Giuffre 4. Bob is currently Professor of the Practice in Jazz at Brandeis University and on the faculty of New England Conservatory.

Randy Roos - Guitar

Randy is currently Associate Professor of Guitar and Music Systems at Berklee College of Music, following 14 years in the New England Conservatory jazz department. Starting off as a surf guitarist, he moved on to become a serious blues guitarist, then a jazz guitarist-turned-composer. He was one of the original members of Orchestra Luna, a theatrical rock group and has participated in many recordings from Photogenic Memory (Agharta, Japan), George Jinda and World News (JVC) and the Narada label, among others, and often performs with world/jazz/jam band Club d’Elf. Randy began composing music for television in 1989 and has through the years scored hundreds of shows, including the last twelve seasons of Scientific American Frontiers, a PBS science series hosted by Alan Alda and several programs from the NOVA series. He was nominated for an Emmy based on his work on the European art film, A Celebration of Architecture. POTIONS is one of many CDs he has recorded, mixed and mastered at Squam Sound, his studio in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.