Introducing The Choper Jazz Project
Brian Choper – Drums – Band Manager
Drummer Brian Choper, is a versatile musician, experienced in rock, jazz, blues, swing, ragtime, etc. His music career began at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Maryland, in whose elite music program he performed with the jazz band, concert band and symphony orchestras. These ensembles traveled and won numerous awards in competition both domestically and abroad. In 1983, Brian won first prize at the Vienna International Music Festival Competition for classical timpani. While in college, he studied with Marshall Maley, renowned drummer/percussionist, head of the Percussive Arts Society. From 1983 to 1985 Brian studied with the late legendary drummer Buddy Rich.
In 1985, Brian began playing klezmer with a the group The Capital Klezmers, at the time one of the top three Folk bands in the country, where he participated in the International Music Festival in Safed, Israel. Upon leaving them in 1989, Brian joined the Machaya Klezmer Band, and in 1997 played in and produced the group’s second CD, “What A Machaya”. This recording became the number two selling Klezmer album for that year and was rated as such in the prestigious Moment Magazine (August 1997). In 1997 (while still with Machaya) he joined Nexus, a highly respected local DC based rock band. He left both Machaya and Nexus in 2001, and formed his own Klezmer band, The New Klezmer Quintet. With the Klezmer band and other projects moving forward, in 2006 Brian organized three other bands; The Choper Jazz Project (contemporary Jazz), The Jazz Connection (Swing Jazz) and Nexus, the band named after his 1990′s rock band. He spends most of his time managing and performing with these groups.
Robert – Saxophone
Born in Philadelphia, Pa, Robert began his studies at the prestigious Settlement music school. Drawing on the rich Philadelphia heritage, he eventually studied with John Coltrane’s mentor Dennis Sandole. After mastering the clarinet, he began a serious focus on the Alto and Tenor saxophone. Borrowing his sound concept from the warmer tenor sax, he developed a sound that was Warm, and yet penetrating. It is this sound which garnished him recordings and performances with Odean Pope, Wallace Roney, Teddy Pendergrass, Fiidla, Joey DeFrancesco, Christian McBride, and his current assignment as a multi reedsman for the Duke Ellington Orchestra.
Lou – Keyboard/Vocalist/Composer
Lou is a pianist/singer/songwriter who has been playing piano and composing for nearly 50 years. In short, he grew up in south New Jersey where he started playing at age 5, started writing as a teen, became serious about music and began composing and arranging. He attended Rowan University and earned 2 BA’s, one in music with a concentration in composition and arranging, and a second in history/political science, with a concentration in Middle East politics and religion.
After college he toured with various Pop groups, performing extensively in Atlantic City, where he played shows at the casino resorts. He opened the Mandarin Hotel in ’59 and ran a jazz trio, performing smooth jazz there for about 2 1/2 years. Lou ran his own show band in the seventies and eighties while at resorts and casinos. Then it got interesting.
Lou joined the army in 1986. In 1994 he auditioned and won a spot in the Washington Premier US Army Band, Washington DC, picked himself up and moved to Stafford, Virginia near DC. He settled, and has resided in the DC area ever since, working for the Army Band. This year will mark his 24th year with that band, where he is both pianist, writer and arranger.
Some career highlights:
One of his compositions was premiered at Carnegie Hall. Another was premiered at a Washington annual 1812 Concert on the Mall, where he was given the honor of singing the song for the first time in public.
Lou has played. For several presidents, vice presidents and foreign dignitaries. These include Nixon, Carter, Reagan, George H W Bush, Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama. He has also performed for several cabinet members and senators including Senator Ted Kennedy. Lou played exclusively for Colin Powell while he was Secretary of State, and has played for the King and Queen of Sweden. Lou was Al Gore’s personal pianist during the Clinton years. He also played for Dick Cheney.
Lou has performed with many well known musicians, including Clark Terry, Lew Soloff, Dennis DiBlasio (of the Maynard Ferguson Band), Dave Koz, Darryl Worley, Trisha Yearwood, Mark Wills, Craig Morgan, The Soul Survivors, Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes, Teddy Pendergast’, Billy Paul, Danny And The Juniors, The Crystals, the Ink Spots , Anna Marie, Alberghetti, Al Martin, Enzo Stuarti.
“Pershing’s Own” (The US Army Band) regularly performs numerous patriotic compositions written by Lou. Recordings include 4 CD’s of patriotic music featuring two of Lou’s scores the CD’s were named after. He also has a composition featured in the award winning documentary, “Why We Fight”. One of these CD’s won him a Grammy nomination.
Some of the compositions he wrote for the Army include The Flag Still Flies High, Here’s To America, The Homeland, America Means Everything to Me, An Affair of The Heart.
Bill has over 35 years experience on bass, beginning in the Toledo public schools. Currently, he is the Principal Bassist of the US Air Force Band’s Symphony and Chamber Orchestras, and is also with the Arlington Philharmonic. Previously he held principal positions with the Akron and Knoxville symphonies, and performed with the Detroit Symphony.
Bill earned Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Bowling Green State University and Akron University respectively. While at Bowling Green, he won Outstanding Bassist/Soloist awards at the Elmhurst, Ohio State University, and Mid-Am Conference jazz festivals. His teachers include Harold Robinson, Scott Haigh, Robert Gladstone, Paul Ellison and Richard Cioffari. He studies electric bass with Anthony Wellington, Victor Wooten’s backup player.
With a deep and abiding love for 60′s Rock, R&B, 70′s funk, Jazz and Swing, Bill is know for bringing a melodious, danceable groove to any music he plays.
Bill is currently on the faculty of The College of Southern Maryland, and previously served on the faculties of Shenandoah University, BGSU, and Montgomery College. He is a Waldorf resident, and is available for private instruction.
JRay began his career in entertainment in his teens, earning some success in print modeling and singing. He is a UNCG where he studies: Voice, Broadcasting/Journalism, Media Production and Acting. Next came radio and TV broadcasting, Media Market 48 in the country. He reached #1 in his AM on-air time slot, got noticed, and that got him into voice-over work. While trying to further his career in entertainment and broadcasting, he ventured into corporate sales to pay the bills, and has been doing that and voice-over work since.
Then, a friend suggested he audition as a singer for America’s Got Talent. He did and made it into the top pick of performers for the 5th season. He did not make it as a finalist, but was noticed by some of the decision makers on the show. They invited him to perform in their season finale All-Star segment.
Washington’s Entertainment Connection managers noticed JRay’s performance in that All Star show and signed him to the Agency in 2011 as a singer, MC and voice over artist. He is available for hire in all three categories. He presently performs as a regular singer and announcer with the Thunder and Lightning Rock Band as well as with The Choper Jazz Project. JRay is available to sing and MC for your event.
The Choper Jazz Project is also available as a trio or quartet.
Please contact us for more information.