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is an acoustic jazz quartet/quintet, who brings a crisp, new sound to classic
jazz favorites. They don't just "cover" tunes by jazz greats like
Django Reinhardt and Stephan Grappelli, they interpret them.
And that's what makes Stringzville as unique as the members themselves
(band bios) .
Although formed in 2005, Stringzville blends the talents of some of the most experienced and versatile musicians around: Bo Child: Mandolin; Mark Hill: Lead Guitar; Dennis O'Neal: Rhythm Guitar; Kathy Ridl: Acoustic Bass; and frequent guest Adam Krass: Violin.
Individually, Stringzville's members have their roots in musical genres ranging from everything from bluegrass, blues and folk, to rockabilly, rock and roll and classical. But all the members of Stringzville have one thing in common: they share a passion for acoustic jazz music.
"Kismet," is what they call their luck in finding one another and forming Stringzville. That happened one night when Bo Child and Mark Hill met Kathy Ridl at the 1860 House in Rocky Hill, NJ, where they performed together.
"There was an immediate joy in both the music and the company when we first played," says Kathy. "When I first heard Bo and Mark play, you could tell they'd played together for a long time, because their 'feel' was so great together." Indeed. The two have not only played in bands together, but they've been friends since high school.
"When Dennis O'Neal and Adam Krass were brought in," Kathy continues, "it added the 'musical icing to a great cake'." And they get more than their share of cake, since Stringzville rehearsals take place after hours at Bo and Karen's bakery in Lawrenceville, NJ.
The band is currently performing at private parties and weddings, but they hope to get into venues, Bo says, "where folks have come to hear the music."
(written by author Carol Barbieri)
photos by Jacqui Hall
Bo Child, Mandolin
Initially drawn to the mandolin because it was easy to carry, mandolinist Bo Child has been playing "the world's biggest little instrument" for nearly 30 years. Bo's mandolin journey took off through bluegrass music, but from there his musical tastes moved into other genres = folk, blues, and classical - before finally settling on jazz. Bo cites the late, great jazz mandolinist Kenneth "Jethro" Burns and contemporary mandolinists Don Stiernberg, Paul Glasse, and Barry Mitterhoff as his main influences. He began his mandolin studies with Dan Gelo and continued his studies with Barry Mitterhoff. Bo has also attended a number of classical mandolin workshops with renowned Italian mandolin virtuoso Carlo Aonzo. When not playing the mandolin at home in Princeton Junction, Bo can be found working with his wife, pastry chef Karen Child, at their bakery in Lawrenceville, NJ.
Guitarist Mark Hill began his foray into music as many youngsters have by learning guitar at an early age and forming numerous 'garage bands' to play rock-n-roll. Over the years he has come to appreciate and play a wide variety of music genres. However, after a long stint of playing blues his interests have come to rest on country and jazz. In addition to his work with Stringzville, he is an on-call sideman with Life's Other Side, a quartet of preachers and theologians who perform old-time country and gospel music throughout the U.S. Mark cites gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, swing guitarist Charlie Christian, Steely Dan's Walter Becker, and Danny Gatton -- the Master of the Telecaster -- as the main guitarists who have influenced his playing. When not scouting for a new fishing spot on the banks of the Delaware, Mark resides in Hopewell, NJ where he dreams of the one that got away.
O'Neal, Rhythm Guitar
Guitarist Dennis O'Neal comes from a musical family and has been playing guitar for over 30 years. His musical roots include country music, western swing, rock and jazz. Jazz guitarists who have influenced Dennis include Joe Pass, John Pisano, Pat Martino, and Bucky Pizzarelli, and he continues to expand his knowledge of jazz through studies with Dr. Charles Frantz of Lawrenceville, NJ. In addition to his work in Stringzville, Dennis' jazz guitar has been a core element of a local jazz-fusion band for the past five years. When not kayaking on the Delaware River, Dennis can be found enjoying the pleasures of the "empty nest" life with his wife at their home in Hopewell, NJ.
For over 20 years bassist Kathy Ridl has performed and recorded in a wide variety of musical settings including Latin, classical, folk, rockabilly, theatrical productions and free-improvisation. However, she is mostly known as a jazz bassist and cites Dave Holland and Charlie Haden among her major jazz bass influences. In addition to playing bass, Kathy is also a seasoned violist and keeps her viola bow moving in various chamber music settings. Kathy holds a BS degree in Music/Media from the University of Colorado at Denver, where she played viola with the Chinook String Trio and bass with the UCD Jazz Band. By day she is a graphic artist specializing in compact disc covers and promotional materials for musicians and arts-related organizations. Kathy resides in Weehawken, NJ (with a sliver of the Empire State Building viewable from the kitchen window), with her husband, jazz pianist Jim Ridl.
Adam Krass began playing the violin at age 17, inspired by blues violinist Pappa John Creach (Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna), bluegrass violinist Vassar Clements (Old And In The Way, Will The Circle Be Unbroken) and jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli. He enjoys playing a variety of genres, including jazz, bluegrass, western swing, country, blues, rock, klezmer, and classical. He has studied with Joseph Kovacs, Lew Gelfond, and Marty Laster. His latest CD (co-created with mandolinist Scott Elliott), entitled Back To The Mountain, is available on Reindeer Records. Despite noble efforts on the part of other members of Stringzville to lure him to the good life in Mercer County, Adam continues to live in Rutherford, NJ with his wife Laurie and their son Joel.