Adam Bates: Assistant Director, Xylosynth

Adam Bates holds a Master of Music degree in Contemporary Music at Western Oregon University. He plays vibraharp and arranges for the American Metropole Orchestra.

Harmonically and melodically, Bates' influences include a wide spectrum of artists. He is fond of chord colors typical of later fusion artists such as Weather Report, Oregon, Chick Corea and Pat Metheny — harmonies consisting of major sevenths, suspended fourths or seconds and added upper extensions. With this harmonic palette, Bates strives to bridge the gap between what he calls "complex skyscraper jazz chords" and the triads and chord fragments typically used by rock and blues musicians.

Adam attributes his penchant for somewhat abstract melodies to his love for the music of Frank Zappa. He points out that "I have always tried to mimic Zappa's way of writing a seemingly disjunct melody with just the right amount of repetition to make it hum-able."    


The Orchestra

Tom Bergeron: Alto/Soprano Saxophone

Tom Bergeron holds a doctoral degree in saxophone and has performed throughout the United States, and in Europe and Brazil. He has appeared with artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, Natalie Cole, Robert Cray, Mason Williams, and The Temptations; and has played with orchestras from Manchester, NH, to Santa Cruz, CA. 

He began his musical life as a multi-instrumentalist in New England, studying piano and music theory with Roland Belisle, who learned stride piano from Fats Waller. He turned his focus to the saxophone when he began study with the legendary concert saxophonist Donald Sinta.

Tom is a professor of music at Western Oregon University, where he teaches Saxophone, Music Theory, and Brazilian Music. He has recorded and produced over two dozen records as a leader or sideman, and is the founder of the independent record label, Teal Creek Music.

Sherry Alves: Vocal Director

Sherry Alves received a Masters in Contemporary Music and Bachelors of Music in Voice from Western Oregon University.  In addition to being active performer throughout the United States, she is the Vocal Director for the American Metropole Orchestra.  She has written for and performed with the likes of Allen Toussaint, Liz Wright, Lynn Anderson, Sonny Turner of the Platters, Dave Frishberg and Mentor Williams.

Sherry is an Adjunct professor of music at Western Oregon University where she teaches private lessons in voice, Music of Broadway, and directs the jazz/pop vocal ensemble called the Western Hemisphere Voices.  Sherry is also the vocal instructor for the Mel Brown Summer Jazz Workshop.

Renato Caranto: Tenor Saxophone

Born in a small province in the Philippines in 1955, Renato studied music with his musician father from a very young age. Renato arrived in America in 1981 and meticulously studied and honed his skills on the road touring with various top-40 cover bands. He burst onto the Portland, Oregon music scene in 1992 and has not stopped since.

Renato is now a firm fixture in the music community throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond. He has recorded and/or performed with many notable local greats as well as many nationally known talents (Esperanza Spalding, Bernard Purdie, Arturo Sandoval, Curtis Fuller, Javon Jackson, James Carter, Clarence Clemons, the Temptations, the Four Tops, Grant Green, Rob Paparozzi of Blood, Sweat & Tears, Bruce Conte and Mic Gillette of Tower of Power, Teddy Edwards, horn section for Harry Connick, Jr). 

He performs regularly on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Jimmy Mak’s with the Mel Brown Septet and Mel Brown B3 Organ Group.  Renato is currently touring with Grammy winner, Esperanza Spalding throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Europe and Asia.

Christopher Woitach: Guitar

Christopher Woitach studied jazz guitar with Chad MacLoughlin and Steve Brown in Ithaca, NY, and Jim Hall in New York, NY. He studied counterpoint with David Borden and composition with Robert Keefe in Ithaca, NY.

Woitach’s current projects include writing music for a new recording with his group, the Cathexis Orchestra, recording a new duo CD with guitarist John Stowell, and working on a compositional collaboration with electronic music composer Joseph Harchanko. He is an adjunct professor of jazz guitar at Western Oregon University.

His latest recording is "Dead men (are heavier than broken hearts)", a tribute to the great Raymond Chandler. For information, click here.

Jason Palmer: Drums

Jason Palmer is a drummer, percussionist, composer, and educator living in Portland, Oregon. He is nationally active in drum set performance, with appearances at St. Peter’s Church and the Knitting Factory in New York, the Rochester Jazz Festival, the High Sierra Music Festival, the Gene Harris Jazz Festival, and the Calgary Jazz Festival. In addition, Jason acts as Department Chair of Music, Dance, and Theater at Portland Community College’s Rock Creek Campus.

Jason attended the University of Oregon, where he received a Bachelor’s degree in Percussion Performance and Jazz Studies (Magna Cum Laude), as well as a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies. Regionally, he has performed as a drummer at The Waterfront Blues Festival, the Cathedral Park Jazz Festival, the Portland Jazz Festival, the Oregon Bach Festival, and the Oregon Festival of American Music. His performance and recording experience includes work with such artists as Danilo Perez, John Clayton, Ben Monder, Bobby Shew, Ron Miles, Dick Oatts, Dave Frishberg, Bucky Pizzarelli, John Zorn, Steve Wilson, Dick Hyman, Ken Peplowski, and Chuck Redd. Additionally, in 2011, Jason began his tenure as the drummer with the American Metropole Orchestra.

Upon moving to Portland, OR in 2011, Jason began playing regularly with the Randy Porter Trio. With this trio, Jason has performed at the Sitka Jazz Festival, the Portland Jazz Festival, and the Oregon Coast Jazz Party as well as recording an album set for release in 2014.  Jason’s other recorded work includes releases on Origin Records (Toby Koenigsberg Trio), Space Age Bachelor Pad (Cherry Poppin’ Daddies), and Crescent Records (Don Latarksi and Rue De Blues). His recordings have been reviewed in Cadence, All About Jazz, and the All Music Guide.