BIO

HAROLD SHERMAN

BuckMark, LLC
P.O. Box 24815
Lexington, KY  40524-4815
(859) 271-4284

A solo performer who plays piano and sings, I am from Lexington, KY, where I was born and raised.  I have lived here all my life, except for the 11-year period that included playing on the road and living in New York.  Primarily a jazz player, my educational and professional backgrounds collectively include classical, rock, country, Latin-American and Jewish music.

My recollections of earliest childhood performances include recitals at music stores, Christmas concerts at school and talent shows at school and at the synagogue for Chanukah.  I played in the elementary school orchestra and sang in chorus.  I took private lessons on cello, piano and guitar.  I started composing at or around age nine, and I conducted a local summer orchestra concert in the performance of an original orchestral suite when I was eleven.  I believe it was around that time that I made my rock-and-roll debut at a neighborhood sock hop in a friend's garage playing guitar and singing “Heartbreak Hotel.”  When I was fourteen, I started playing piano with a local combo that played big-band style music.  Later, in high school, I played keyboard in a rock band that appeared on Nick Clooney's “Teen Side of Town” television show while Mr. Clooney (Rosemary’s brother and George’s father) was still in Lexington.  I also played cello in the Central Kentucky Youth Orchestra.  The CKYO and the Henry Clay High School Orchestra performed my second original orchestral suite on spring concerts in 1967.

I attended Washington University as a freshman, where I played saxophone in marching, concert and jazz bands.  In addition, I took percussion lessons from the principal percussionist of the St. Louis Symphony, Rich O'Donnell.  I returned to Lexington and attended UK and played sax in band, percussion in orchestra and piano in jazz ensemble.  I studied piano privately at UK, majoring in music.  I did not graduate, but instead went on the road with a lounge and show group touring Florida, New England and New York.  I later started my own group and did a similar tour.  Finally, I settled in New York City--first in Brooklyn, then in Manhattan.  I finished school in an independent study program called Empire State College (a division of SUNY), where I received my undergraduate degree.  One of my independent study projects was a unit in acting that included observing Uta Hagen's master class at HB Studio.  During my stay in New York, I studied with--and attended workshops led by--world-famous jazz artists such as Mike Longo (Dizzy Gillespie's pianist and musical director), Bob Mintzer and Billy Taylor. My "New York Experience" also included playing at the re-opened Cotton Club, producing a jingle, managing both a health food store & a wine import office and enduring one semester at NYU's Graduate School of Business.

After another year on the road, I returned to Lexington in 1983.  For awhile, I played in country bands.  Then I took a job playing keyboard with a lounge band at a local hotel.  I left after a year and started my own group that included my future wife Marianne on bass.  We later started another group together, which lasted well into the 1990s and beyond.  Since my return to Lexington, I have played a wide array of events at numerous venues.  These include weddings, receptions, company parties, musical theater productions, outdoor concerts (including over a decade leading my own groups at the Ecton Park Big Band & Jazz Series), pageants and religious functions in different venues, which include hotels, restaurants, concert halls, local retirement homes and churches.  I have booked and rehearsed groups to play many of the events.

My formal education resumed in the early 1990s after auditioning on saxophone for the University of Kentucky Jazz Ensemble I, directed by Miles Osland.  The group had been invited to perform at the 1992 Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.  I passed the audition and started rehearsing with the UKJE for the upcoming trip.  However, Governor Wallace Wilkinson announced a drastic shortfall in the state budget.  The trip was cancelled, and state university budgets were slashed.  (In 2011, the Jazz Ensemble actually did play at Montreux as part of a European tour.)  However, I decided to continue at UK, switching to piano in the Jazz Ensemble in 1993.  In 1996, the UKJE performed at the International Association of Jazz Educators' annual convention in Atlanta.  Guest artist trumpeter Bobby Shew was featured on several numbers with us.  In 1999, I received my MM in Composition from the School of Music.  Since that time, I have had three interviews published in Saxophone Journal (Dorn Publications) and arrangements and original compositions published in the eJazzLines catalog.

In 1996, my wife and I went into business with sound and light engineer/installer Richard Jones.  Since then, Richard Jones Pro Sound & Lights has done major installations in the central Kentucky area, predominantly for churches and schools, including Transylvania and Asbury. The company has engineered sound for such diverse events and performers as:  The Lexington Shakespeare Festival (now Summerfest), the Miss Kentucky Pageant, John Michael Montgomery, T.S. Monk and Laura Bell Bundy.  I worked there fulltime until 2002, when I had to make my schedule more flexible to help look after my parents, after my father was diagnosed with dementia.  I do believe my experience with the sound company--along with many years of setting up P.A. systems for my own jobs--helped me to appreciate acoustics, as well as to effectively communicate with sound technicians in performance situations.

Past personnel in my various professional groups include former UK School of Music students who have since gone on to prestigious careers in performance and education. One such alumnus is Glenn Kotche, drummer for the rock band WILCO (and jazz and classical percussionist/composer in his own right). I have accompanied the following artists in live performances:  Greg Abate, Jamey Aebersold, Wanda Barnett, Walt Blanton, Randy Brecker, Graham Breedlove, Zach Brock, Laura Bell Bundy (who created the role of Elle Woods in the Broadway musical Legally Blonde and was nominated for a Tony for Best Actress in a Musical--now a signed Nashville recording artist), Catherine Bush (award-winning/commissioned playwright), Mark Channing, Tom Christensen, Jeff Coffin, Rebecca Covington, Nashville artist (& former Miss Louisville) Kata Rhe Crutcher, former Miss Kentucky Melinda Cumberledge, John Davidson, Miss Kentucky Clark Davis, Clifton Davis (accompanying him on his original song, Jackson 5 hit "Never Can Say Goodbye"), Denis DiBlasio (at 2012 JEN convention), Vince DiMartino, Chuck Findley, Stafford Hartman, Jason Heymann, Dave Hoffman, Ron Jones, Tim Lake, Bob Lark, Adrienne Locke (opening act for Adele Givens at the Lyric Theater), Duke Madison, Carl McDonald, J.C. Montgomery, saxophonist/vocalist Angie Ortega, Miles Osland, Marc Ribot, Bobby Shew, Jeromy Smith, Lyndy Franklin Smith, Clark Terry, Mike Titlebaum, Ellie Todd, Chris Vadala, Walker & Kays, Bill Watrous, Kyle Wayne, Gail Wynters, Sister Sledge member Debbie Young and my own sister Genie Walker (who has toured Europe and received favorable reviews in The New York Times, The Village Voice and Downbeat--featured on her CD, Not from Concentrate).

I am available to teach private music lessons on piano and saxophone.  My hours are flexible, so I can teach adults both mornings and afternoons.  I continue to play professional engagements as described above, which include those with The BATs, who presently have their own page in the Kentucky Arts Council Performing Arts Directory.  Regarding solo work, I particularly enjoy playing at the retirement homes, because the residents there appreciate the jazz standards.  But I have noticed that a lot of young people are taking an interest in jazz as well.  While President of the Lexington Jazz Arts Foundation, I was a supporter of the Youth Jazz Ensemble (now the CKYO Jazz Orchestra).  But I also enjoy the variety of the different styles of music that I play.  For more information, check out BuckMark, LLC on Facebook.