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Band Biographies

Primary Musicians:

Alan Gaumer

Craig Kastelnik

Gary Rissmiller

Nelson Hill

Tom Kozic

FIRST CALL Guest Artists:

Bill Washer

Neil Wetzel

Bobby Routch

Dave Mohn

Alan Gaumer Alan Gaumer, trumpet, began playing the trumpet in 1958. He was a member of Kal’s Kid’s appearing on the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour and numerous other television shows. Participating in band, orchestra, and stage bands through elementary, junior and high school he graduated from Freedom High School in 1969. He studied with John Nero and Willard Schissler and performed with the Allentown Band under the direction of Albertis L. Meyers. Alan then attended the U.S. Navy School of Music. Upon graduation he spent the next three years living in Gaeta, Italy touring Europe, Africa and Asia with the Navy Show Band. Prior to his discharge in 1973 he was offered the jazz trumpet position at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. From 1973-75 he toured first as trumpeter and later as drummer with the well known group KATO. Settling back in the Lehigh Valley, Alan was an integral part of the popular group P.F. & the Flyers and his own A.G.Q. After attending Rutgers University, Alan spent two years touring South America and West Africa with the U.S. Navy Show Band. After discharge in 1982, he worked for the next several years at well known hotels and resorts.

Alan has been the jazz trumpet Artist/Lecturer at Moravian College since 1994 and served as Fusion ensemble director in 1998-99, 2003-04 ,2005-06 and 2007-08. He has performed with a long list of well known jazz personalities including: Randy Brecker, Phil Woods, Al Cohn, George Young, Bob Dorough, Tom Harrell, Bill Watrous, Urbie Green, Kim Parker, Vic Jurris, Charles Fambrough, Bill Washer, John Swanna, David Leonhardt, Steve Gilmore, Bill Goodwin, Bobby Routch, Tom Schuman of Spyro Gyra and others. In performance he and his wife (ROBIN BRYAN) form the duo Body & Soul. Additionally he together with: NELSON HILL, TOM KOZIC, CRAIG KASTELNIK, and GARY RISSMILLER form the quintet CO-OP BOP. He has been the recipient of several grants. He lists several recording credits including a collaboration with the Moravian Jazz Faculty and a collection of original compositions by the Quintet CO-OP BOP. One of the two most recent recordings being a guest appearance on a Christmas CD with a long time friend from Navy Band days in Italy, Diana Peterson. Finally he and Nelson Hill are the featured horn soloists on a CD of original compositions from Bernie Klemmer due for release in 2008 and produced by the multi grammy winner Phil Nicolo. Additionally Alan & Co-op Bop are rostered artists with Young Audiences of Eastern Pennsylvania. The Quintet uses familiar cartoon themes such as The Flintstones and Pink Panther to teach young students about our rich national treasure called JAZZ.


Yamaha 8310ZS custom Bb trumpet.
Bach 37 lightweight, silver-
          plated Bb trumpet(vintage)
Bach Stradvarious flugelhorn
Amborg piccolo trumpet

Remo drum set
misc. cymbals - Zildjian & Paiste
Extensive hand percussion collection
          ex: multiple whistles (Brazil)
Korg Triton Workstation
Korg N5 Synthesizer
Korg M1 Workstation (vintage)
Yamaha QY300 Sequencer
Akai wind controller/synth.

Sound Re-inforcement + misc.:
Mackie power amp M1400
Behringer mixer UB1222FX-Pro
EV Speakers
EV endym series mics

Nelson Hill Nelson Hill is a saxophonist, clarinetist and flutist from Mt. Bethel, Pennsylvania. He has studied privately with Phil Woods, Hal Galper, Eddie Daniels and James Caruso. Nelson graduated from the Eastman School of Music in 1981 with a B.M. in saxophone performance. At Eastman, Nelson studied with Ramon Ricker, Bill Dobbins, Rayburn Wright, William Osseck and Mardelle Marcellis. He performed with the National Jazz Ensemble. Upon graduation, he toured for three years with Maynard Ferguson, playing lead alto saxophone. During his stay, he recorded on the albums Storm and Hollywood.

After he left Ferguson in 1984, Nelson worked at Tamiment Resort, Harrah's Marina and Mount Airy Lodge where he performed with Tony Bennet, The Spinners, The Temptations, Wayne Newton, Jay Black, Frankie Valli and many others.

In the late 80's he formed his own band, The Nelson Hill Quartet and worked in the New York and Philadelphia regions. He also performed with Bob Dorough, Tom Schumman (of Spyro Gyra), Anita O'Day, Manny Album, Bill Mays, Urbie Green and J.A.R.O. (Jazz Artists Repertory Orchestra). Nelson has also performed with Phil Woods on such projects as The Phil Woods Big Band and Phil's Little Big Band recording such albums as Celebration, Real Life and Evolution. Along with these, Nelson has been recorded on many other CD's with various artists.

In 2002, Nelson released his first solo CD entitled Lethal. He is currently working with his quartet and with pianists Eric Mintel. Nelson will be releasing his second solo CD in the Fall of 2004. Nelson has also taught saxophone and jazz improvisation at Lafayette College, Blair Academy, and privately. His students have enrolled in schools such as Eastman, Berklee, Ithica, NYU and Manhattan School of Music.

In 2002, Nelson became an Artist Representative and Clinician for the Yamaha Corporation of America. He performs on and endorses the YAS-82Z alto saxophone, the YTS-82Z tenor saxophone and the YSS-62 soprano saxophone.


Yamaha YAS-82Z alto saxophone
Yamaha YTS-82Z tenor saxophone
Yamaha YSS-62 soprano saxophone

Craig Kastelnik Craig Kastelnik, organist, performs a wide variety of musical styles. Although Craig lives and performs regularly in the Lehigh Valley (Northeastern Pennsylvania), he has played clubs and concerts throughout the U.S. as well as cruise ships. Craig’s wide ranging musical experience included performing and touring with singer Eddie Rabbitt for three years as a musical director, where he accompanied Anne Murray, Gladys Knight, The Pointer Sisters, Bob Hope and many others. On organ (with bass pedals), he has played with many well known jazz artists such as Phil Woods and Randy Brecker, including with drummer Bill Goodwin and saxophonist Nelson Hill and jazz legend Bob Dorough.

Craig was featured at the Jazz Masters Series at East Stroudsburg University, 2001. As a composer for television and film, Craig has scored for A&E’s award winning BIOGRAPHY series, THE HISTORY CHANNEL, PBS and others. Some of the other jazz artists Craig has performed with include: Larry Coryell, Vic Juris, Bill Dobbins, Tim Hagans, Brian Lynch, Keith Copland, Bill Watrous, George Young, Gerry and Adam Neiwood, Kim Parker, Bobby Routch, Howared Alden, John Swana, Bob Grauso Big Band, Bill Washer, Howard Roberts, Jeff Hamilton and many others.


M1, Triton (W/Moss board)

(KORG endorsee)
Multiple Hammond B3 organs
+ several wood cab. leslies
Fender Rhoades Elec. Piano

Tom Kozic Tom Kozic, guitarist, has been playing the guitar since age 7. Having been schooled privately by such greats as Joe Pass, Kenny Burrell, Howard Roberts, Harry Leahey, Jack Wilkins and Tal Farlow, Tom had the opportunity of being assistant clinician to Howard Roberts seminars in the 70’s. In 1978, in fact, Tom won 1st Place in the Kenny Burrell National Jazz Guitar Competition at the young age of 19.

In addition to being a great performer, Tom has 25 years teaching experience, both privately and at the College and University level including 5 years at Lehigh University, 7 years at Moravian College (Behthlehem, PA) and 9 years at Muhlenburg College (Allentown, PA).

Tom has performed with: Brian Lynch, Tim Hagens, Steve Gilmore, Pjil Woods, Bill Goodwin, Bill Watrous, and Don Patterson.

Tom also is a major contributor to the repertoire of the Nelson Hill Quartet.

Gary Rissmiller Gary Rissmiller, drummer extraordinaire, is a musician’s musician. For over 25 years, Gary has been performing with the greatest players in the jazz genre. Rooted firmly in the experiential foundations of jazz music, Rissmiller began playing in clubs while still in high school, catapulting him into an education more valuable than any school walls via the same path as many giants of jazz.

Phil Woods, Stanley Turrentine, Randy Brecker, Charles Fambrough and David Liebman evoke respect and awe for their mastery of the jazz idiom. Rissmiller has accompanied each of them in concert halls and on festival stages. Furthermore, he has been the opening act for popular jazz greats Lionel Hampton, Cab Callaway, Joe Henderson and Spyro Gyra.

A native to Pennsylvania as well, Rissmiller is a resident performer at the Delaware Water Gap Celebration of the Arts (COTA) and Bethlehem's Musikfest. He has also been featured at the Central Pennsylvania Mellon Jazz Festival, The Scranton Jazz Festival and the Wichita Jazz Festival, among many others.

Rissmiller’s experience in club venues is extensive, with some of the more famous being The Village Gate and Tavern on the Green (NYC), The Deer Head Inn (Delaware Water Gap, PA), Ortlieb’s Jazz Haus, The Five Spot, Chris’ Jazz Club and the Blue Moon Jazz Club (Philadelphia, PA). Gary’s very own Pacific Street Records release, entitled In Time, promoted saxophone-great Phil Woods to say “Gary Rissmiller is a world class drummer with a world class working band.” In addition to traditional jazz settings, Rissmiller has played in pit orchestras off-Broadway with the Allentown Symphony led by conductor Diane Wittry and with the famed Yellow Jackets at the Zollner Arts Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Along with all of this, Rissmiller is quite busy teaching at Lehigh University, Muhlenburg College, Moravian College (all in Pennsylvania) as well as recording numerous jazz CDs which are distributed world-wide.

Bill Washer (alt. guitarist) Bill Washer (alt. guitarist), grew up in Rochester, N.Y. where he began studying guitar at the age of 13 from Donald Ames.

In High School he led several bands performing at dances and local functions. He spent the summers teaching guitar at Duke Spinner's music store and playing in Father George Wiskerchen's jazz big band at the Eastman School of Music, where he also studied music theory.

After graduation from High School, he attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston majoring in performance and composition. He also worked in the Boston stage production of "Hair", and on the road with tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson.

In 1973 he moved to New York to play guitar with the Joffrey Ballet Company and began free-lance work recording on record albums, movies, jingles, etc. as well as live performances, both in New York and on the road. In 1982 his first record album on which he composed and arranged all of the selections was released on the Japanese "Arista" label. He has recorded and/or performed with: Stevie Wonder, Whitney Houston, Liza Minnelli, Stan Getz, Elvin Jones, Gato Barbieri, Ray Barreto, Teruo Nakamura, Barry Miles, Curtis Fuller, Manu Dubango, Bob Mintzer, Bernard Purdie, Jimmy Cliff, Richie Havens, Angie Bofil, Frank Sinatra, Michael Urbaniak, Marlena Shaw, Lenny White, Stanely Clarke, Ivan Lins, and others. He has done numerous Broadway shows including West Side Story, Grease, Bring Back Birdie, Leader of the Pack, Starlight Express, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat, Dreamgirls, Bloodbrothers, 42nd Street, The Life, Footloose, The Lion King, Avenue Q, and is currently working with Liza Minnelli and singers/songwriters Ashford and Simpson. He is also teaching Jazz Guitar at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.


Dr. Neil Wetzel Dr. Neil Wetzel, is Assistant Professor of Music and Director of Jazz Studies at Moravian College; his duties there include teaching saxophone and overseeing the jazz studies program. He earned both a Bachelor of Music (Jazz) and Master of Arts in Teaching degrees from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He received his EdD at Teacher's College, Columbia University; his studies there focused on learning theories and jazz pedagogy. As founder and music director of Moravian College’s summer music camp, July Jazz Getaway, Mr. Wetzel has worked and played with many jazz greats such as Clark Terry, Ravi Coltrane, Al Grey, Terrel Stafford, Milt Grayson, Stanley Turrentine, and Bobby Watson.

Dr. Wetzel has been featured performer and guest clinician at many jazz festivals throughout the U.S. and beyond. His performing and teaching credits include a concert and clinic at the West Chester University High School Jazz Festival, and a performance with the Lehigh Valley Youth Jazz Ensemble at the IAJE Conference in Toronto in 2003. He has also played and taught at the Lana Jazz Festival in Lana, Italy (2005) as well as the Karel Velebny Jazz Workshop in Frydlant, Czech Republic (2006 & 2007). He has performed in many jazz clubs including: The Deerhead Inn (PA), Shanghai Jazz (NJ), Zanzibar Blue (Phila.), Agharta and U Mahelo Glena jazz clubs (Prague, Czech Rep.).

He has backed many of the great performers in show business including: Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole, Bob Hope, Johnny Mathis, Bernadette Peters, Tommy Tune, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, the Temptations and the Four Tops. He has also appeared with the Philly Pops Orchestra including a performance with singer Patti Page in Carnegie Hall, which was recorded and released on CD by DRG records and won the 1999 Grammy for best Pop Traditional Performance. He can also be heard on four CD’s with jazz pianist Eric Mintel: Live, Hopscotch, Dynamo and Four on the Floor. Most recently he produced and performed on Introducing the Jazz Faculty at Moravian College, a CD featuring compositions written and performed by the Moravian College Jazz Faculty Ensemble.

Bobby Routch Bobby Routch has a diversified career which includes performances in recital and chamber music as soloist with orchestra, and as jazz improviser and composer. When he was 17 he was chosen to perform the Strauss Concerto No. 1 with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has since appeared as solist with fifty orchestras throughout the United States and Europe. In addition to many performances and recordings in the classical arena, Bobby’s talents have been in great demand by many of the worlds top jazz personalities. Case in point, he toured with Gerry Mulligan’s “Re-birth of the Cool” (the Miles Davis tribute) nonet. And recorded and toured with the Phil Woods nonette. His own group, CONFLUENCE recorded on Sunnyside and toured, to rave reviews, in France and Spain. He currently is a member of the Mingus Big Band performing regularly in N.Y.C.

Bobby is on faculty at the Manhattan School of Music. Look for the release (Spring 07) recording of the “Piano-less” Quartet. A collaboration by Bobby and Alan Gaumer.


LAWSON compensating triple horn, model # 8311, in ambronze,
(made for B. R. in ’84 by Walter Lawson)
PAXMAN compensating triple horn, model # 40L, in nickel-silver
YAMAHA 3 valve , silver plate, model # 731
GETZEN 4- valve , silver plate, model # 896S
(current horn of choice !)

Cary Newell Cary Newell behind the scenes... (narrated by alan Gaumer)
Recently I had some ideas for an album cover for a CO-OP BOP cd. One thing led to another and the bottom line is I talked my friend Cary into helping me out with the computer aspects of the project.

I have no training in that regard so….. Anyway thanx to him I consider the project to have been a success. However through the project, even though I had most of my ideas firm, it became obvious to me that Cary, being the creative person he is, was brimming with ideas. Since then, WE, more correctly, HE, has done 3 more album covers for me. Run with the ball. Fly with the wind. Etc., etc. Great job. I highly recommend his talents.

It’s people like him, Jim McGee, the sound engineer for many projects, (see bio), Chris Engle (did Co-op’s DVD edit and currently, is the head sound and light technician @ Woodloch Pines Resort), and Jesse (web site) that I refer to when I say…behind the scene. Because they mean so much. THANK-YOU ALL. By the way Cary does have an outstanding resume in the progressive rock arena having played guitar for over 30 years. Born and raised in the Chester county area, he has written and produced many projects over the years.