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Sunday, April 16, 2023 | 2pm
First Unitarian Church (536 Linton St, Cincinnati, OH 45219)


British jazz pianist and composer Sir George Albert Shearing was the composer of over 300 titles, including jazz standards “Lullaby of Birdland” and “Conception.” His popular jazz group the George Shearing Quartet was a regular on Billboard charts during the 50s, 60s, 80s and 90s. Joining Phil DeGreg will be former Diana Krall bassist Paul Keller and versatile vibraphonist Cary Kocher. Drummer John Taylor and guitarist Taylor Nelson will complete the quintet.


Jazz@First Series Sponsor: Al Harris



About the Artist: Paul Keller, bass

String bassist Paul Keller is a Michigan jazz hero; he loves his life in Saline, MI where he lives with his wife and two kids and performs locally - in Detroit and across his home state of Michigan. Paul wear many jazz hats: He leads several successful and busy jazz ensembles including his 27-year old, 15-piece big band The Paul Keller Orchestra; he's an in-demand side man, a prolific composer, a creative and skilled arranger, an enthusiastic and innovative jazz educator, a recording company owner and producer, and a nationally recognized recording artist. Paul can be heard every week at his home base - Zal Gaz Grotto in Ann Arbor (on Mondays with his PKO big band and on Tuesdays with the Easy Street Jazz Band).


Keller spent several years on the road with guitarist Russell Malone and later with singer/pianist Diana Krall. Together with Russell and Diana, Paul recorded Diana's grammy-nominated GRP/Impulse CD All For You. These days, Paul performs frequently with guitarist/singer and jazz super-star John Pizzarelli - they just toured Brazil for a week. Paul travels the world to play special concerts and festivals with a myriad of jazz stars including Jackie Ryan, Scott Hamilton, Larry Vuckovich, Benny Green, and Warren and Alan Vache.


More information at



About the Artist: Cary Kocher, vibraphone

Cary studied music at the University of Michigan to study music. After drumming and touring with the jazz group “Fast Tracks”, he began teaching in the Ann Arbor Schools and took up jazz vibraphone. He was drafted into service on the slow weeknight at the Bird of Paradise Jazz Club and the Keller/Kocher Quartet was born with bassist Paul Keller. In addition to performing gigs, they have released several albums. Kocher directed middle school bands for several decades and also taught jazz vibes at the U of M. He has a diverse playing schedule as well, including jazz groups, wedding bands, a Latin jazz group “Los Gatos” and the Ann Arbor Symphony.


About the Artist: Phil DeGreg


Phil DeGreg began playing the piano in his childhood and now performs as a jazz pianist internationally. His earliest jazz influences were Bud Powell and Bill Evans, but he is accomplished and comfortable in a wide range of jazz styles, ranging from mainstream to bebop to Brazilian jazz. A graduate of Yale and the University of North Texas, he toured with the Woody Herman Orchestra in the 1980’s, and has 10 CD’s to his credit as a leader. For 13 years he accompanied many national and international jazz artists in the house trio in Cincinnati’s famous Blue Wisp Jazz Club. He has been on staff with the renowned Jamey Aebersold Summer Jazz Workshops since 1983, and has performed and taught in Europe and South America.


Phil DeGreg is the retired Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts study grants. In 2008 he was awarded a 4 month Fulbright Fellowship as a lecturer in Brazil.


His text “Jazz Keyboard Harmony” is a practical text for teaching jazz harmony for all musicians, and is used all over the world in universities and for private study.


Learn more about Phil DeGreg on his website

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