KAIT DUNTON is a Los Angeles based composer & pianist with an unconventional approach to composition and to the piano trio, best expressed by her genre-pushing super group, trioKAIT. Kait has produced and released three albums of original compositions, with a fourth featuring her equally out-of-the-box arranging style. Her third record, trioKAIT, made the Huffington Post’s list of “The Best Jazz for 2015” and was featured in Downbeat Magazine as well as on JAZZIZ Magazine’s 33⅓ Anniversary CD. Her second album, Mountain Suite, features master interpreters Peter Erskine, Bob Mintzer, John Daversa and Darek Oles.

Classically trained, Kait now works primarily in jazz and contemporary genres, maintaining a balanced career of performance, composition and education. Her enthusiasm and love for music radiates as much on the stage as in the classroom. A Pasadena native and an alum of Polytechnic School, Kait holds a Master of Music degree from the University of North Texas, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from USC’s Thornton School of Music.

Find Kait on:
Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | SoundCloud

BRYAN PEZZONE maintains an active freelance performing and recording career and has been based in the Los Angeles area since 1987.

He is well known as a versatile performer who is comfortable in classical, contemporary and improvisational styles (classical, jazz, 20th century, and integrative). From 1987-2000 he was the chair and founder of the multi-focused Keyboard program at the California Institute of the Arts. He has premiered and recorded innumerable works of new music. He performs with nearly every established orchestra such as the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the New West Symphony, the Pasadena Symphony, the Long Beach Symphony, Muse-Ique, the Los angles Master Chorale, and many others.

Bryan has been the principal pianist with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra from its inception in 1991 through 1999. He has recorded on hundreds of television and motion picture soundtracks. His on-screen credits include The Game, The Bucket List, The Kite Runner, Lars and the Real Girl, Flipped, City By the Sea, and most recently, Nebraska. He has been the pianist on virtually all of the cartoons released by Warner Brothers and Disney (Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, Goof Troop, Bonkers) from 1990-2002. Other recordings include many of the releases on the Cold Blue Label, chamber works of John Briggs, “Settings” by Mel Powell, works of John Harbison and John Cage as well as with oboe soloists Allan Vogel, trombonist William Booth and others.

He has performed with many major symphony orchestra associations and has toured widely with the jazz group Free Flight, and is known in the Los Angeles area as one of the primary free-lance pianists for film and television soundtrack recording, contemporary music premieres, and chamber music accompanying. As a soloist, Bryan has performed with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Pasadena Pops, California Philharmonic, Riverside Symphony, Santa Monica Symphony, San Antonio Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute Orchestra, United States International University Orchestra, U.C. Irvine Symphony Orchestra, Eastman Philharmonic and the Pacific Symphony.

He has also been invited to perform solo keyboard concerts that blend traditional concert repertoire, improvisations and original works using the Yamaha Midi Grand by Willamette University for it’s Distinguished Artist Series, the University of Miami, Rice University and in many current Southern California appearances.

His education includes receiving Bachelor of Music from the Eastman School of Music in 1984 in piano and composition, where he was awarded the Performers Certificate and won the concerto competition. He was invited to the Tanglewood Music Center for two successive summers as a full scholarship fellow in 1983 and 1984 where he received the C.D. Jackson Master Award.  He attended the Banff Centre during its winter term on scholarship from 1984 – 1985 as an alternative to graduate studies in order to have the necessary time to freely blend various aesthetics and diverse performance traditions into a unique approach.  This passion remains the focus of his work and continues to evolve in Bryan’s own live concerts and recordings.

Josh Nelson

Josh Nelson, born and raised in Southern California, maintains an active and creative schedule as a jazz pianist, composer, teacher, and recording artist. At 37 years old, he has already performed with some of the most respected names in jazz, including Natalie Cole, Anthony Wilson, George Mraz, Jeff Hamilton, Richard Galliano, Benny Golson, Sheila Jordan, Greg Hutchinson, John Clayton, Seamus Blake, Matt Wilson, Sara Gazarek, Dave Koz, Joe Chambers, Kurt Elling, John Pizzarelli, Lewis Nash, and Peter Erskine, to name a few.
In 2006, Josh was one of only twelve semi-finalists in the prestigious Thelonious Monk International Jazz Piano Competition.

Josh has recorded for countless albums, films, and TV shows, but also makes time for his own projects: Anticipation (2004) and Let it Go (2007, Native Language Music) both garnered international critical acclaim. Josh’s fourth album, I Hear a Rhapsody (2009), featured his original compositions, standard interpretations, and reinventions of rock tunes. Discoveries (2011), introduced a pairing of classic science fiction ephemera with new compositions for a brass and wind ensemble (featuring a live ongoing video projection and art installation component as well, called The Discovery Project). His new album Exploring Mars (2015) explores musical themes on the Red Planet, along with spectacular NASA/JPL Martian video footage. Original music and performances of Josh’s have appeared on various prime-time and cable shows and short films, including “Jack and Bobby”, “The Division”, and a national Johnson and Johnson commercial. He has also worked with film composer Michael Kamen, and actors Eric Idle, Clint Eastwood, and Jon Lovitz. Josh has earned many awards, scholarships, and accolades over the years, some of which include the Louis Armstrong Award and the John Philip Sousa Award.

Josh has collaborated with vocal talent Sara Gazarek for 10 years. He penned the title track of her debut record, “Yours” (among many others), and that album climbed to the Top 10 on the Billboard Jazz Charts in 2005. A forthcoming duo album from Sara and Josh will release in 2016. Josh toured with legendary vocalist Natalie Cole for 6 years. He continues to tour with artists Sara Gazarek, Richard Galliano, Tom Scott, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson and Christian Howes. He also teaches as Adjunct Faculty at Cal State University Northridge in Los Angeles.

“Josh is that rare young musician who has not only a wealth of study and experience under his belt (all but assuring him a prominent place in jazz music), but he also possesses those rarest of musical attributes: a touch, a tone, and a “sound” that are all identifiably his own.” – Peter Erskine, legendary drummer

“A definite fresh sound by a guy who should be in everyone’s iPod.” – George Harris, All About Jazz

“Nelson distinguishes himself as a first-rate player and composer with a fresh, wholly personal take on the music.” – Bill Milkowski, Jazz Times


Misty Boyce

Misty Boyce has one foot in two worlds—an indie singer-songwriter known for thought-provoking, soul-searing takes on love, life and loss; and a highly regarded touring musician performing with iconic artists like Sara Bareilles, Joy Williams (The Civil Wars), Ingrid Michaelson and currently, rising electro-pop-rocker BØRNS.

A New Mexico native, she began songwriting at a very young age. “I was drawn to the romance of a life as a musician and just wanted to write songs for Reba McEntire,” she says. She went on to study jazz piano at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, but came back to songwriting after graduation.Misty Boyce began her professional music career as the keyboardist for The Naked Brothers Band (Nickelodeon), marking her national television debut on The View and The Today Show in 2008. She signed with a small label briefly and released her self-titled debut full-length album in early 2010, citing influences ranging from Tori Amos to Radiohead to Miles Davis. The disc also features a duet with acclaimed singer-songwriter Ari Hest on the song “All You Need Is Here.” After a two-year break, during which she quit music, returned to music, ended a long-term relationship, and moved from New York City to Los Angeles, Boyce released her Tough Love EP in March of 2012.

Boyce spent most of 2013/14 on tour with Sara Bareilles, supporting her album The Blessed Unrest, nominated for Grammy Album of the Year. She accompanied Bareilles during her moving “Smile” tribute on the 2014 Emmy Awards broadcast, and opened for Bareilles’ Little Black Dress Tour at sold out shows in New Zealand, Japan and Singapore.
In 2013 she returned to the studio and started recording in Eastbourne, UK with producer Dave Izumi. She released her second full-length album, The Life in January 2015, earning high praise with Baeblemusic, Daytrotter, Paste, Music Times, Fourculture Magazine. Said The Huffington Post, “The Life is a powerful, exhilarating follow-up…. as a writer, Boyce aims for the dark and mysterious, but executes many of her songs in such an uplifting manner that you can’t help but embrace them.”

Tour dates followed in both the US and Germany and then it was back on the road with Joy Williams. After opening for Williams’ sold out Venus LP release at New York’s Gramercy Theater, Misty headed back to the place she loves most—her LA home studio, friends and her favorite coffee shops to write in. And then the phone rings, and once again she’s off to Europe, Australia, Russia, and appearances on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon with indie-pop sensation BØRNS; followed by festivals and prestigious opening slots for Mumford and Sons and The Lumineers.

While on the road, Boyce plans to continue writing and releasing new songs and videos with performances supported by fellow artists she adores, including a new track recorded with Dan Molad of LUCIUS.

PRESS CONTACT: Holly Garman//HMG Public Relations- [email protected] // 917.532.4551

Born in Brooklyn many moons ago, Mitchel began studying classical piano at age 7. Shortly after graduating from Manhattan School of Music, Mitch began touring and recording with Gerry Mulligan, playing in both his big band and quartet. Work with Stan Getz followed. In 1980 his solo career began with a piano performance at the Newport Jazz Festival. This recording became Mitch’s first album, “Live a  Newport”. The next few years brought new challenges with work on the road with Phil Woods, Carla Bley, Mel Torme, and Astrud Gilberto. He also recorded two solo piano albums for Soul Note and toured in Europe regularly. Mitch spent the early 80′s as one of the most sought after studio musicians in New York, working with a multitude of gifted artists (see discography) not the least of whom was guitarist John McLaughlin. Mitch joined McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra and spent a year and a half on the road with McLaughlin, recording and contributing to two of the band’s benchmark recordings – the seminal “Mahavishnu” and “Adventures in Radioland”. He then joined legendary ex-Weather Report saxophonist Wayne Shorter, touring, recording and contributing to Shorter’s “Phantom Navigator”. With all this world-class experience under his belt he naturally progressed to leading his own band and recorded his group debut for Windham Hill, “Train of Thought”. At the same time he continued to work with other luminaries like guitarist John Scofield (“Blue Matter”), Mike Stern (“Upside Downside”) Janis Siegal, Dave Samuels, Diane Schuur, Gary Burton (Reunion GRP), Pat Metheny, Wayne Shorter, Simon Phillips, Freddie Hubbard, Bill Evans, and Ricki Lee Jones.

Mitchel also is a composer of note, having scored two films and written numerous TV commercials. He currently writes for CBS television as a member of LA based Diamond Mine Productions. Mitch continues to record and play under his own name and has recently started his own record label, “Marsis Jazz”. His most recent releases have been “Puzzle” (reaching #27 on the US Airplay chart 09/15), “Sing Along With Mitch”, “Perspectives” “Mr. Clean” and “Patience”. He currently works with many jazz artists around LA. He is performing with his trio around Los Angeles at clubs such as Catalina Jazz, the Blue Whale, and the Baked Potato. Mitchel also records and produces for many artists around the LA community as well as playing on many European recordings. A partial list of his recorded workcan be found here. Please check out mitchelforman.com to hear some of his work.


A pianist and composer of formidable technical facilities . . . able to integrate poignantly introspective, impressionistic feelings into sophisticated structures that cohere so naturally it’s easy to overlook their inherent complexity and formal logic. Cliff Tinder – Musician Magazine

“Mitch Forman’s contributions … are not to be overlooked. He is one of the most important keyboard players in jazz in the last twenty years. Yet, he remains relatively unsung. His solo opportunities are full of invention” Walter Kolosky-All About Jazz

“The music and talent of Mitchel Forman does not transcend boundaries, it shatters them.” Critical Jazz.com Brent Black

Throughout his career, Gary Matsumoto has developed a reputation for being a first rate pianist, composer, arranger, and educator in Southern California. Matsumoto was born and raised in Los Angeles, where he still calls home. And while he can still be seen playing regularly in the greater LA area, he also performs throughout the year in venues across the U.S. as well as internationally.

Matsumoto started playing piano at the age of 6, but his interest in music began to peak while attending the University of California, Irvine. There, in addition to classical lessons with Dr. Lorna Griffith, Matsumoto studied with Miles Davis pianist Kei Akagi. In 1999, he graduated with a B.M. in music performance and in 2002 received his master’s degree in jazz studies from the California Institute of the Arts, where he studied with David Roistein. While in school, Matsumoto took every advantage to study and play with great musicians like Joe LaBarbera, Charlie Haden, Darek Oles, Larry Koonse, Wadada Leo Smith, and James Newton, among others.

Matsumoto has been a regular on the LA jazz scene for well over a decade. Playing and recording credits include Renee Olstead, George Benson, Henry Franklin, Bruce Foreman, Sara Gazarek, Jane Monheit, Azar Lawrence, Bobby Rodriguez, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Clayton Cameron, Ricky Woodard, Jeff Clayton, James Carter, Herman Riley, Sam Most, and Phil Ranelin and Dave Damiani. But the entirety of his career has seen him in a variety of settings. In addition to jazz, he has performed and recorded with rock, pop, country, and classical groups. Some of his earliest jobs were in musical theatre, where Matsumoto worked as a pianist and musical director.

In 2003, he went on tour with famed MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer, opening for Cheap Trick. Matsumoto has also worked with film composer Nathan Wang on various projects, including performing in concerts with international recording artists Coco Lee, JJ Lin, Vivian Hsu, and Jenny Tseng.

In 2008, SP records released The Matsumoto Trio – Days Ahead, his first as a leader. He has also been featured on over a dozen recordings by other artists, including Dave Damiani’s recent release Midlife Crisis on Hard Knocks Records.

Originally from South Florida, Carey Frank is now living in Los Angeles, CA. Carey has worked with the likes of Tedeschi Trucks Band, Susan Tedeschi, Derek Trucks, Hot Tuna, The Wood Brothers, Marty Morell, Ndugu Chancler, Marshall Tucker Band, Eric Marienthal, Jane Monheit, Munyungo Jackson, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Larry Goldings, Lenny Picket, T Lavitz, Martin Short, Dan Aykroyd, Josh Smith, Eric Gales, Drake Bell, and Bob Mintzer. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Carey had a residency with Walt Disney World theme parks in Orlando, FL.

Carey received his Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Piano Performance from the University of Central Florida and later received his Masters of Music in Jazz Studies at the University of Southern California, studying with Russell Ferrente (Yellowjackets), Alan Pasqua, and Peter Erskine. While completing the final semester of his Masters, Carey released his self-produced debut album, “Keep Smiling”, a #1 best seller on Amazon Music in Cool Jazz. In 2017 Carey subbed for Kofi Burbridge in the Tedeschi Trucks Band for their 2017 Wheels Of Soul tour followed by smaller tours for the remainder of the year until Kofi was able to return to the band. During this time, Carey released his 2nd solo album, “Something To Remember Him By” featuring guitarist, Bruce Forman.

Born and raised in the onion fields of Tolleson, AZ (20 miles west of Phoenix) this third generation Mexican-American cut his teeth on R&B, Jazz, Fusion, Mexican Heritage and Latin influenced pop of the late 60’s and 70’s. A few years removed from high school, Joey landed a major record deal with Island Records ~ Antilles New Direction (NY). The Album “On The Rocks”, was a melting pot of Funk, R&B and the fusion sounds of the mid 80’s. At 23, Joey Navarro was in on the birth of contemporary jazz. Concurrently, Joey toured with recording artists as a keyboardist and musical director. After years of honing his skills world-wide, Joey returned home to sabbatical with teacher “El Maestro” Ernesto Chavarria. While completing his 4 year tutelage under Chavarria, Joey found the road and stage calling him yet again.

In 2001, Joey Relocated to Los Angeles to seek opportunities as a premier keyboardist and producer. Since then, his list of musical credits include working with Tierra, El Chicano, East Bay Soul, Greg Adams, Pete Escovedo, Jeffrey Osborne, Tom Scott, Sister Sledge, Walfredo Reyes Jr, Paul Brown, Abraham Laboriel, Oscar Cartaya, Brandon Fields, Bonie James, Ersi Arvizu, Leland Sklar, Vinnie Colaiuta, Ronn Moss & Peter Beckette (from the group, “Player”), Dawn Robinson (En Vogue), Jennifer Paige, DW3, Brian Bromberg, Eric Marienthal,  and a long list of others.Joey got the opportunity of a lifetime to co-write the bulk of the tunes for Epitaph/ Anti recording artist, “Ersi Arvizu’s latest album entitled, “Friend for Life”. This is an autobiographical musical journey about her amazing life. It was produced by Ry Cooder. (Buena Vista Social Club). Worldwide release date was May 9th, 2008.

In 2014, Joey joined forces with Grammy winning producer, Paul Brown and recorded Grover Washington’s “Strawberry Moon”, The track was released on Woodward Avenue Records, 9 Mile Road with Joey on piano, Paul Brown on guitar, The late Ricky Lawson on drums, Lenny Castro on percussion, & Roberto Vally on bass.

Joey’s main goal in moving to L.A. was to create and perform music at the highest level possible. In 2010, he put his dream band together, “NAVARRO” which features Brandon Fields, Joey Heredia, Rene Camacho, Joey De Leon Jr. The group performs regularly at the World Famous Baked Potato and will be featured in the documentary, “iRide, A Musical Journey”, to be released early 2018.

LACM Departments

Click on a Department to read more about our faculty.