Bios

Steve Chernove
Keyboards & Band Leader

Steven Chernove, a Los Angeles native, began studying piano at age 9. Being the youngest in his family, Steve was often left home alone with the record albums of his older siblings. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, CSN&Y, Yes, Jethro Tull, and Led Zeppelin were among Steve’s earliest influences along with Burt Bacharach, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Count Basie, and various Broadway musicals. Steve’s life changed drastically when he heard a live Elton John radio broadcast in early 1971. He intensely studied the music of Elton John and within 2 years, “Elton” became his nickname. A couple years later, a friend played him Steely Dan’s “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”, and life for Steve significantly changed again. For the next 20 years, Steve would perfect and revisit Steely Dan’s material, creating new and different arrangements.

Upon entering college at U.C. Berkeley in 1979, Steve minored in music and studied African polyrhythms with a Rhodesian drum master. Steve has since incorporated these unique polyrhythmic styles in his approach to playing piano. In the 80’s, Steve delved into the complex harmonies and rhythms of Jazz, Jazz Fusion and Progressive Rock music. During this time Steve scored a documentary on the career of the Three Stooges, narrated by Steve Allen which enjoyed limited theatrical release. Steve has played keyboards in numerous bands that have performed in the Los Angeles area as well as being regularly called upon to record keyboard tracks in the studio. He has also produced and performed in cabaret acts with various artists and performed as a solo pianist at premier hotels and numerous private affairs. In late 2001, Steve and Warren Weinberg founded Pretzel Logic – A Steely Dan Revue. Steve is Pretzel Logic’s bandleader and musical director.

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Mark Wilson
Lead Vocalist

Mark comes from a musical family. His father is a jazz pianist, band leader and recording artist. Mark got into the profession early, recording his first lead vocal on a 45 single with his mother at the age of 13. He attended Jordan Conservatory and Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana where he also performed with the Indianapolis Opera Company. Mark attended and graduated from The Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA.

Some of Mark’s professional credits include being a member of the Grammy nominated Los Angeles Jazz Choir during which time he had performances with relative Rosemary Clooney and shared the stage with such greats as Ella Fitzgerald, Patti Austin, Stevie Wonder, Burt Bacharach, Barry Manilow, Dizzy Gilespie, and Ray Brown, and made vocal recordings for Hal Leonard. Mark has recorded many television and radio commercials for both the national and international markets, has recorded lead vocal work for various film soundtracks for HBO, Showtime, and Cinemax, and has recorded with members of Earth, Wind, & Fire, and The Gap Band. Other credits include singing with John Denver, and performing with Garth Brooks on the Tonight Show.

While living in Boston, Mark was featured vocalist with The Marsels, a prominent 10 piece New England Showband which was the opening act for Tina Turner on her “Private Dancer” Tour as well as opening for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. 20 years later, Mark would come full circle joining the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Frankie Valli as one of the Four Seasons, and sang lead vocal on Valli’s #1 hit “December 1963 (Oh What A Night)”.

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Felice Hernandez
Lead & Back up Vocalist
www.felicemusic.com

A Los Angeles native, Felice Hernandez began her music career in 1994. Her most notable performances include singing back up for Hilary Duff on her 2003 “Metamorphosis” tour. She has performed on MTV Total Request Live, The American Music Awards and “Hilary Duff’s 16th Birthday Island Bash” on FOX. Most recently, Felice toured as a back up singer for Kevin Spacey promoting his “Beyond the Sea” tour, where he paid tribute to the late Bobby Darin.

In the summer of 2000, Felice appeared in the United Artists film “Ghostworld”, starring Scarlett Johansson & Steve Buscemi. (She sings with her father, Ernie Hernandez, in the first 10 minutes of the film.) Other live credits include Cecilia Noel & the Wild Clams, Pete Escovedo Orchestra, Sheila E. and Ana Gasteyer. She has traveled throughout the U.S., Europe, Mexico and the Caribbean capturing the hearts of many audiences.

Felice was delighted to join Pretzel Logic in the spring of 2002 and is truly honored to be part of such a fantastic band. Check out her solo cd “Accidental Life” and don’t forget to ask her about Pretzel Logic t-shirts after the show!

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Mark “Vinnie” Vincent
Guitar
www.musicbydsign.com
MMMuzik@roadrunner.com

Mark Vincent is an entrepreneur in the field of music. Having been an accomplished studio guitarist for the past 18 years, Mark has recorded & performed with a wide variety of top artists such as Melissa Etheridge, Stanley Clarke, Randy Crawford, The 5th Dimension, Dionne Warwick, Michael Sembello, Wayne Newton, and Dianne Shuur. Though Mark has been called upon to play many different musical styles as a guitarist, his personal taste and playing style tends to lend itself perfectly to Steely Dan and their unique blend of Rock, Jazz, and R&B. Mark first fell in love with the music of Steely Dan in the late 70’s with the release of Aja, and then became a true fan of this seminal and slick jazz rock band. Mark has been influenced by many Steely Dan alumni such as Donald Fagen, Walter Becker, Larry Carlton, Lee Ritenour, Jay Graydon, Michael Brecker, Michael McDonald, Steve Gadd, and the list goes on.

As a Composer, Arranger & Producer, Mark has provided music for many television shows on NBC, ABC, CBS & Fox, as well as many major motion pictures. Some of Mark’s clients include top stars, such as Vin Diesel, Arnold Swarzenegger & Suzanne Summers, to name a few. In addition to his skills and credits, Mark is also a professional engineer, having recorded most of his projects in his fully loaded professional recording studio called Multi Media Music located in North Hollywood, CA.

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Dave Hill
Guitar
www.davehillmusic.com

A native of the northwest, Dave grew up in a small suburb of Seattle in a musical household. In the 3rd grade he was exposed to the guitar with after school lessons and it’s been his passion ever since.

Dave has been blessed with an absolute love of so many kinds of music. Wes Montgomery, Pat Metheny, Led Zeppelin, George Benson, Miles Davis, Eric Clapton, are a few of his favorite artists, Of course Steely Dan has been a major influence in his musical life as well.
After graduating from High School in 1981, he headed for Los Angeles to attend the world famous GIT, now known as Musicians Institute. The school was the by product of guitar legend Howard Roberts national seminars. Dave had many opportunities to see Steely Dans’ great session guitarist Larry Carlton at clubs in LA during this time.

For the last 20 years, as a full time working musician in Los Angeles, Dave has managed to grow as composer, producer, musician, and author while maintaining his passion and love of the guitar. He keeps a busy schedule of live performances through out the LA area. You’re likely to hear him on stage with Gregg Karukas, the original Rippingtons keyboard player, at the Famous La Va Lee in Studio City. Or perhaps one of his many shows at Kikuya or Spaghettinis with Orange County based Smooth Jazz piano player, Scott Wilkie. His talents are in demand for recording sessions as well. A recent example can be heard on Theo Bishop’s, Native Language release, “Newport Nights”. Check out his jazz stylings on Drummer Phil Maturano’s CD, “Changes” (http://www.eidens.de/phil/). As an author, he has been published by Hal Leonard with his popular Guitar Vocabulary book called “The Lictionary”. You may have seen many transcriptions bearing his name over the years as well, as he was a staff transcriber for REH Guitar Education . In Spring 2004 he released his first Solo CD, “Two Seasons” a contemporary Jazz effort. Look for his group playing around the Los Angeles area. And of course, catch up with him at a Pretzel Logic concert showing you his way around a Larry Carlton solo.

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Jake Feldman
Bass

Jake started playing bass at age 15. He studied music performance and composition at Dick Grove and BIT (Bass Institute of Technology). Jake is a true legacy in our band as his father Victor Feldman, among his many album credits including Miles Davis and Joni Mitchell, has played on every Steely Dan album from Can’t Buy A Thrill through Gaucho. Jake and his brother Trevor played in their father Victor Feldman’s Generation Band touring in Holland, England, and on the American West Coast.
After playing with the Generation Band Jake formed his own bands including Jazz Fusion and Progressive Rock bands. He has played with John Goodsall of Brand X and T. Lavitz of the Dixie Dregs. Jake has done extensive recording for many artists, and in 2002 has recorded and co-produced an entire album of songs with his Progressive Rock band Audiosynchrocy.

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Brian McGaffey
Alto Saxophone, Arranger

Brian McGaffey has two loving parents who encouraged him from birth to go and make something of himself. They did not realize how much this would cost. Two saxophones, a piano, a flute, a clarinet, tons of music lessons, and thousands of reeds later they found out that maybe he shouldn’t make so much. Nevertheless, Brian went to California State University Northridge where he recieved his Bachelors Degree in Music. Somewhere along his collegiate path he met Benny Golbin who regretfully inturn introduced him to Steve Chernove and the music of Steely Dan. The aforementioned three people set forth to disseminate the music of Steely Dan to the masses. Ever since Brian has not been the same. Some say it’s because he religiously practices Phil Woods’ solo to Dr.Wu. Others say its because he barely has enough brain cells to remember the endings of the songs and occasionally update this website. In any case he really hopes you come and have at much fun at the Pretzel Logic shows as he does.

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Benny Golbin
Tenor & Bari Saxophone, Arranger
www.bennygolbinmusic.com

Saxophonist, composer, and arranger, was born in Los Angeles, California in 1980. At the age of 3 his parents enrolled him in a Yamaha music class where it was discovered that he had good relative pitch. He played the piano by ear until he was twelve, when his father gave him a saxophone and he began studying jazz and blues. In junior high school, he was composing and arranging for the jazz band for which he won the PTA Reflections Contest for the Best Musical Composition in the State of California.

At the age of 17, Benny signed his first record Contract with RCA records where he was involved with a rock group currently known as “The Calling”.

After graduating from high school, Benny studied at California State University, Northridge where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies. At Northridge, Benny studied classical saxophone with Jerry Leudders and studied jazz with Matt Harris and Rob Lockart. It was during this time that Benny had the opportunity to play in China with the California State University, Northridge Jazz Ensemble. This ensemble also was invited to play at the IAJE International Convention in 2002.

After completing his Bachelor’s Degree, Benny continued his education at New England Conservatory of Music, where he received his Masters Degree in Jazz Studies. At New England, Benny studied jazz and improvisation with Jerry Bergonzi, Allan Chase, and George Garzone. Benny also had the oppertunity to work with Composers and Conductors such as Bob Brookmeyer, Ken Schaphorst, George Russel, and Gunther Schuller.

Benny has played in different venues throughout Southern California, including the Roxy, the Whiskey, the Troubadour, the Greek Theater, the Jazz Bakery, Catalina’s Bar and Grill, the Baked Potato and many others. He has played with several different kinds of groups ranging in styles such as Jazz, Blues, R&B, Pop, Fusion, Rock, Disco, Salsa and much more. He plays often with the blues band, “Jessie and the Raindogs”, “Pretzel Logic” (a Steely Dan Revue) and Saoco, which is a Salsa/Afro Cuban style group.

Benny’s music has also taken him outside the country several times. He has played in countries such as Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, Denmark, Wales, and China. Benny plays in Prague just about every summer with Emil Viklicky and his trio. He had the opportunity to record two of his own CD’s with the Emil Víklicky Trio at Czech Radio Studios: “American in Prague” and “A Summers End”. Both of these CDs are currently being played on various radio stations throughout Europe and the U.S.

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Boyd Nielson
Tenor Saxophone

I have played the tenor saxophone since the fifth grade. The selection of that particular instrument happened something like this:

“Dad, I need to pick an instrument for the school band.”
“All right, what do you want to play?”
“Piano.”
“We can’t afford it.”
“Oh, OK. Drums?”
“No way.”
“Come on.”
“You heard me, no way.”
“Man! Trumpet?”
“No, we’ve already got too many trumpet players in the family.”
“Jeeze. Saxophone?”
“OK.”
“Great! Alto saxophone.”
“Nope, tenor.”

As you can see, I was destined to play the tenor saxophone. It turns out my dad was right, although I do now play soprano saxophone and a little piano.

Born and pretty-much raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, I have always been attracted to music. As a four year old I would sing along with my parents’ albums, especially Elvis. I sang and played saxophone in school bands and extracurricular rock bands. In 1986 my family moved to Irvine, CA (Orange County) when I was fifteen. Again music, and bands of all kinds were a big part of my life, but after seeing Dexter Gordon in the film Round Midnight I became captivated with Jazz.

After high school I attended U.C. Berkeley to get a universally recommended fall-back degree, but, after graduating in 1993 I immediately began studying music seriously in the San Francisco bay area. The best music program in the bay area wasn’t very good, however, so for five years I played semi-professionally and worked as a paralegal to save up money for music school. I played all the major venues in San Francisco and played with such then-up-and-coming bands as No Doubt.

In 1997 I married my college sweetheart, and in 1998 we moved to New York so I could study jazz at the Mannes Jazz and Contemporary Music Program at the New School University. While there I studied saxophone with Chris Potter, current saxophone player with Steely Dan and The Dave Holland Quartet, as well as leading his own quartet. After completing my studies in 2000 my wife and I began a family. I am the primary caregiver for our wonderful daughter, and after settling into our new roles I had started working in New York when my wife’s company her office to Los Angeles. We moved here in June of 2001. L.A. has been very good to us so far and we plan to stay a while.

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Ric Craig
Drums

Ric, originally from Cleveland Ohio/Tampa Fl, is known as the “Wonder Bra of Drummers”, because of the supportive, yet uplifting, role that is expressed in his playing. He has toured and played with the following artists: Michael Crawford (1998 U.S. tour), Barry Manilow (1999), Alvorro Torres (Latin American international tour), Selena (Buenos Amigos video),Grammy nominated David Arkenstone and Larry Storch ( F Troop), to name a few.

Ric received his bachelors in Percussion from University of South Florida and then moved on to University of Miami for his Masters in Studio Music and jazz. Both degrees were put to good use as an Adjunct Professor at University of Redlands for 4 years.
He has performed in almost every situation imaginable: from playing with such jazz artists as Grammy Nominated Jazz vocal group, “Rare Silk” and Doc Severinson, to floating around on cruise ships, and eventually landing a gig with the prestigious Ringling Bros. and Barnum Bailey Circus. Here Ric learned the art of spitting llama sweater knitting.
Ric is presently freelancing as a musician in the Los Angeles area. Ric recommends the Passagna “Garys Vineyard” Pinot Noir, 2001.

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Nir Benjaminy
Sound Engineer
www.nirsound.com

Nir graduated from the Israeli Conservatoire as a Cello player. He served in the army as a bass player and parallel to that he studied electronics and audio engineering.
Today, Nir works as the representative of
Signal Audio Workshop in North America and manages a small web design business . In his spare time, Nir likes to fix Fender Rhodes Pianos and solve his neighbors cats behavioral issues.

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