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Dan Karlsberg | The 'Nati 6

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The 'Nati 6

by Dan Karlsberg

Beautiful, inventive, creative music in the tradition of the American art-form known as Jazz.
Genre: Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Ballade No. 2
4:53 $0.99
2. Freddie Freeloader
7:51 $0.99
3. Ballade No. 1
7:05 $0.99
4. Prelude
5:10 $0.99
5. Oh! Susanna
8:19 $0.99
6. Tchaikovsky 1
3:36 $0.99
7. Pavane of Sleeping Beauty
5:05 $0.99
8. Mr. Shands Jr.
6:29 $0.99
9. Tchaikovsky 2
3:52 $0.99
10. Modest Minor Melody
5:43 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
When music lovers think of Jazz, places like New York, Chicago, New Orleans and Kansas City most likely come to mind. But pianist and composer Dan Karlsberg points out that many artists who made those cities famous came from elsewhere, including Cincinnati. To that end, he pays tribute to his hometown’s Jazz heritage with his new album, “The ‘Nati 6.”

"Sometimes, it feels like Cincinnati is the musical underdog, but you won't find another city this size with the Jazz scene we currently have, and the rich history and traditions," Karlsberg said.

“The ‘Nati 6” is not just the title of the album; it is the name of the group of extraordinary musicians Karlsberg recruited for the project, all veteran performers who have recorded and toured with some of the world’s best-known contemporary Jazz artists, while still calling Cincinnati home. They include:

- Bassist Jim Anderson, who has worked with the notable Art Blakely, Ernestine Anderson, Hank Crawford and Nat Adderly.
- Drummer Art Gore, who has performed with George Benson, Teru Nakamura and Herbie Hancock.
- Pianist and trumpeter Kim Pensyl, who has twice been named one of Billboard’s Top -20 Contemporary Jazz Artists of the
Year, and has had four Top-10 albums on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart.
- Saxophonist Brent Gallaher, who has toured with the Glenn Miller Orchestra and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.
- Trombonist Marc Fields, who toured with the Ray Charles Orchestra, six times.

And then, there is Karlsberg himself, who in addition to leading his own group has worked as a sideman with Tim Warfield, Donald Harrison, Ted Nash, JD Allen, and many others. He is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), who now teaches there as well as at the acclaimed Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan. A lifelong resident of Cincinnati, Karlsberg has spent years performing with the area’s top Jazz musicians, leading him to select five of his favorites to join him on “The ‘Nati 6.”

Comprised of 10 tracks, “The ‘Nati 6” defies easy classification. Though unequivocally Jazz, the album has hints of classical, folk and pop music scattered throughout. It is a style Karlsberg loosely describes as “Vince Guaraldi and Cecil Taylor meet Mozart.”

"It definitely has some avant garde aspects, but the album's focus is mainly on beautiful melodies," he said. “Some of the tracks are really complex. Each one is different, but most were inspired by something personal.”

Three of the tunes are dedicated to people Karlsberg knew who passed away—his grandparents (“Ballade No. 2”), a young woman who worked at the Riddle Rd. Market, a corner store in his neighborhood (“Ballade No. 1”), and a boyhood friend (“Mr. Shands Jr.”)

“Roger Shands and I were in Jazz band and symphonic band together in high school, and we played basketball together,” Karlsberg said. “He was a great friend. The song ‘Mr. Shands Jr.’ is my tribute to him.”

Five tracks on “The ‘Nati 6” were inspired by other composers. “Tchaikovsky 1” and “Tchaikovsky 2” are Karlsberg’s arrangements of the opening theme to the Russian composer’s first string quartet. “Freddie Freeloader,” meanwhile, is Karlsberg’s arrangement of the more contemporary classic by Miles Davis.

“Most jazz musician are very familiar with ‘Freddie Freeloader,’ especially jazz pianists,” Karlsberg said. “I wanted to take the tune and show it in a new light. My arrangement was very influenced by the music of Eddie Harris, Andrew Hill, the ‘Blues’ ala Cincinnati style, along with the original recording of the tune on ‘Kind of Blue.’”

Track 5, “Oh! Susanna,” is based on the Stephen Foster classic, which also happens to be one of Karlsberg’s favorite songs, melodically. Though another song with the same title is on Karlsberg’s debut album, released in 2007, the new version is substantially different. Another classically inspired tune is “Pavane of Sleeping Beauty,” which is Karlsberg’s interpretation of a piano piece by Maurice Ravel.

“The ‘Nati 6” is Karlsberg’s third album, and while it is stylistically similar to his first two, astute listeners will notice less emphasis on piano and more emphasis on the ensemble as a whole.

“It’s not about me; I wanted it to be about the group, equally,” Karlsberg said. “My presence is felt through the whole album, whether I am in the background or in the forefront, but this project is more about my composing than my playing. I am excited about the music, and it was such an honor to work with such amazing artists.”



Marc Fields studied with Oliver Nelson, Ron Carter, Roland Hanna, Phil Woods and Tony Chipurn. Since 1989 he has been a trombonist with Ray Charles Orchestra and has given six world tours. From 1975-1982 he was the trombonist for WLW-TV Staff Orchestra. He is a composer and soloist in the Cohesion Jazz Ensemble, making frequent club appearances and playing jazz festivals. He is active in freelance work in tri-state area.


Kim Pensyl is a prolific jazz recording artist, composer, arranger, and producer who has twice been named one of Billboard’s Top-20 Contemporary Jazz Artists of the Year. A pianist and trumpeter, he has had four Top-10 albums on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz chart.

He has recorded with jazz legends such as Toots Thielemans, and modern greats like Joey Calderazzo, Bob Mintzer, Chiele Minucci, Andy Narell, Will Kennedy, Steve Rodby, and Alex Acuna. He has performed at such esteemed jazz venues as The Blue Note, Blues Alley, Caravan of Dreams, Scullers, the Beacon Theatre, and the Great American Music Hall. He has also appeared at the Clearwater Jazz Festival, Sunfest, Summerfest, Stone Mountain Jazz Festival, and Pacific Jazz Festival among others. Also, Kim has toured with the Woody Herman Orchestra and Acoustic Alchemy. He has more than 100 published works recorded and over 150 compositions and arrangements in his catalog. Great reviews from DownBeat, Jazziz, Jazz Times and others have followed him during his career, echoing the feelings that fans have about his music.

Kim is an associate professor of music in the jazz studies and commercial music production departments at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and is very active in his college teaching and program development, including the new Commercial Music Production program. Kim writes and performs with the Faculty Jazztet and guest artists at CCM, like Dave Liebman, Arturo Sandavol, Wynton Marsalis, Bob Mintzer, Terri Lyne Carrington, Rufus Reid, John Clayton, and Mulgrew Miller among others. Kim performs around Cincinnati and Central Ohio in various groups with Phil DeGreg, Rick VanMatre, and many others. He is a member of the Blue Wisp Big Band, Pat Kelly’s Psycho Acoustic Orchestra, Hank Maunter’s Masterworks Orchestra, Carmon DeLeone’s New Studio Big Band, and Brasilia.


Brent Gallaher moved to Cincinnati Ohio in 1988 to study jazz at the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music (CCM) and has resided there since. He took time off from the university to tour with the Glenn Miller Orchestra in 1991-1992. After touring with the orchestra, he returned to Cincinnati and to the CCM, finishing his degree in 1994.

After graduating Brent choose to remain in Cincinnati where he had the opportunity to regularly practice his craft with great jazz artists such as Cal Collins, John Von Ohlen, Kenny Poole, Steve Schmidt, Wilbert Longmire, Bob Bodley, Bobby Scott, Ron McCurdy, Art Gore, Jimmy McGary, Jim Anderson, Morgy Craig and many others.

In November 1998, Brent was called to tour with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra under the direction of Buddy Morrow. Brent was with the Dorsey band for just under a year. He returned to Dorsey in 2000 and was with them for an additional seven months. After Dorsey, Brent returned to Cincinnati working as a freelance musician, private instructor and clinician.

In August of 2003, Brent completed the recording of his first CD Vanessa's Song and it was released in March of 2004. This CD features the talents of Jim Connerley on piano, Jim Anderson on bass and Tony Franklin on drums. Brent also recorded with Over the Rhine, in the fall of 2004, on their album Drunkard's Prayer—Virgin/Back Porch Records..

March 2010 marked the release of Brent's second recording project titled Lightwave. This features the talents of Dan Karlsberg on piano, Steve Whipple on bass and Anthony Lee on drums.

Presently, Brent continues to freelance and can be heard with his own bands as well as with a wide variety of groups including the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, the Pete Wagner Band, the Blue Wisp Big Band, the Art Gore Quartet, and the Cincinnati Pops.


Jazz bassist, Jim Anderson, has long been a respected performer and jazz composer. His jazz experience is world class, having toured with the notable Art Blakey, Ernestine Anderson, Hank Crawford, and Nat Adderly. Locally, Jim has been a co-leader of the highly esteemed Cohesion Jazz Ensemble and is continually in demand to perform in local and regional groups. Jim has most recently performed with Joshua Redman at CCM and with Gary Bartz & Lewis Nash at the Dayton Art Institute. He has also performed with the Javon Jackson Quartet featuring Jimmy Cobb and Benny Green and Delfeayo & Jason Marsalis.


Art Gore took private study with Vic Firth (Boston Symphony) and Alan Dawson. During his early career, he toured and recorded with George Benson for five years as well as recorded with Teruo Nakamura and Herbie Hancock (on Rising Sun and Manhattan Special for Polydor Records), Larry Young, and Lonnie Liston Smith (on Expansions for RCA).

In Cincinnati, Gore is the leader of the Greenwich Trio and a member of the Blue Wisp House Trio. He was awarded the Elliott "Elli" Mannette Outstanding Musical Innovation Award by the State of Ohio in 2001.


Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Dan Karlsberg has been studying and playing piano since the age of 5, with an emphasis on both classical music and jazz. He earned both Master and Bachelor degrees in jazz studies from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Karlsberg is active both as a performer and teacher. He performs regularly with his own group (the Dan Karlsberg Group), for which Marc Medwin in Cadence Magazine comments:

“This is a group functioning on the highest level of communication and commitment… they tackle freedom and restraint with equal vigor, convincing on whatever musical front they choose.”

In addition to leading his own band, Karlsberg has worked as a sideman with various musicians including Donald Harrison, Tim Warfield, Ted Nash, JD Allen, John Fedchock, Don Braden, Marvin Stamm, Dan Fehnle, Aurell Ray, Roni Ben-Hur, John Von Ohlen, Brad Goode, the Blue Wisp Big Band, Cohesion Jazz Ensemble, Ron Enyard, Mike Wade, Jamey Aebersold, among many others.

As a teacher, Karlsberg is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music for the Commercial Music Production Program. He also teaches piano at the Prep. Department at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, as well as at Mehas Music in Blue Ash, and teaches annually at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan.



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