Biographies

John Kalleen – Trumpet & Flugelhorn

“I love music!” exclaims John who was exposed to music at a very young age.

“Music was always being played or performed in my house, everything from Miles to Mozart.” Beginning on piano at the age of eight under the tutelage of his pianist/composer father, John soon started having his own ideas about music. At a jazz concert John heard how the young Freddie Hubbard played the trumpet and it became clear to John that he would express his musical creativity with the trumpet. John’s mother bought him his first trumpet at the age of twelve. At sixteen John formed a Dixieland jazz combo performing regularly at local venues and at state music education competitions wining numerous awards. John’s unique dark sound and trumpet style developed from the influence of such jazz trumpet greats as, Chet Baker, Clifford Brown, Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard and Lee Morgan. John’s most beloved jazz artist/trumpeter-vocalist was the late Chet Baker. He undoubtedly has influenced John’s style of playing the most! John explains that “Chet’s solos were beautiful melodies onto themselves and his vocals were from the soul!” On rare occasions you may hear John performing a vocal or two himself.

Before creating “The John Kalleen Group” in 2005, he lead and performed for thirteen years with the “High Society Jazz Band” and “The Tout Va Bien Jazz Quintet”. Although John has performed primary all over the west coast, he also enjoys performing in New Orleans (Fritzel’s) and Amsterdam N.L. (Café Alto) when visiting family in Europe. John enjoyed a successful business career for over twenty-five years as the President and CEO of Computers America Inc. John has gone back to his roots and heartfelt passions of devoting himself again to his music.

When John not playing the trumpet you’ll find him engrossed in his other passion on the tennis court.

Peter Graves – Saxophones

peter_graves_bioPeter Graves was born and grew up on the east coast where he performed regularly for many years throughout New Jersey, New York and Long Island.

Mastering both the alto and tenor saxophones, Peter has a big and warm sound rooted in the classic “Blue Note” straight ahead style of the 1950’s and 60’s.
Even though Peter works in the hi-tech industry by day, for over 20 years he has continued to enjoy performing in the Bay Area in a variety of musical settings ranging from jazz, funk, blues and  rock.

He has performed with some of the top bay area talent including Dave Matthews, Larry Dunlap, Barry Finnerty, Terry Haggerty, Calvin Keys and Carl Lockett, just to mention a few.

He was also a regular member of the Ray Fischer Sextet ( drummer for Earl Hines, Lionel Hampton) sextet for several years. Although he doesn’t have his own discography to date, he has performed in many combos and big bands with such international artist as John Handy, Arturo Sandoval, Tom Scott, Kurt Elling, Shelley Berg, Jamie Davis and Steve Miller.

Jon Herbst – Piano

Jon Herbst - Yoshis 2011
Jon Herbst is a Bay Area based film music composer, arranger, music producer and jazz pianist. He has written scores for Academy Award winning documentaries, independent films, PBS and cable TV series, commercials, games and interactive media, corporate videos and museum installations.

As a young student, Jon endured the obligatory classical piano lessons with more
than a little ambivalence, but soon came to realize that jazz, with it’s emphasis on improvisation, was much more his style. He went on to earn a degree in film scoring and jazz piano from Berklee College of Music.

Before setting out on his own as a freelance musician and engineer, Jon spent several years honing his skills as a producer and engineer in broadcast radio and television. At Coventry Studio, a facility he designed and built primarily for his film scoring work, Jon has produced, engineered and performed on numerous jazz CDs.

Jon currently performs with variety of ensembles ranging in size from duo to big band. He has had the honor to perform with jazz greats Phil Woods and Bob Mintzer as well as many stellar local musicians.

Two years ago, with Mario Guarneri, Jon co-founded Jazz In The Neighborhood, a non-profit organization dedicated to nurturing and enhancing live jazz in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Blake Richardson – Upright Bass


When it comes to bassists in the San Francisco bay area, nobody has played longer and with more bands than Blake Richardson. With a music career stretching over 30 years, Blake has performed practically every genre of music that has come on the bay area music scene.

Although he enjoys performing many different genres of music he loves to play jazz. “Jazz is one of the most creative and collaborative forms of music on the planet”, says Blake.

Blake has also spent many years performing in the Boston area and has toured internationally. He also performs with the swing band Hot House and has performed with Bobby Hebb. Blake has also toured with Dan Hicks and His Acoustic Warriors. Blake and John have been performing together for over ten years.

Alex Aspinall – Drums


Alex Aspinall has been playing drums for over twenty years. He graduated with a BA in Music from Sonoma State University in 2002 with distinction in the field of jazz. While at Sonoma State, Alex studied intensively with jazz drummer George Marsh. Alex has also studied with David Brady, Harold Jones, Eddie Marshall, Akira Tana, Paul Van Wageningen, Ted Moore, and at the Drummer’s Collective (New York City).

Alex has appeared on recordings by: Noam Lemish, Randy Vincent, Edo Castro, Shea Breau Wells, and Gentry Bronson.

Since 2002, Alex has worked full time as a musician, both as a performer and educator in the Bay Area.