He's worked with jazz legends like Wayne Shorter and Pharaoh Sanders, and spent nearly 40 years as the keyboardist and musical director for the famed vocal group The Manhattan Transfer. Get to know Yaron Gershovsky, our TALENT SCOUT Artist of the Week.
NAME: Yaron Gershovsky
HOMETOWN: I was born in Tel Aviv, Israel. In 1974, I came to the Berklee College of Music in Boston to further my musical studies. Since graduating in 1977, I've lived in Fresh Meadows, NY.
MUSICAL TRAINING: At the age of 6, I started studying classical piano privately in Israel. Later at the age of 14, I began studying jazz piano as well as composition and arranging. In 1974, I enrolled at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, from where I graduated Summa Cum Laude in 1977. While in Boston, I also studied piano privately with the legendary teacher Madame Schaloff, as well as Charlie Banacos.
FIRST GIGS: At the age of 16, I was the house pianist on a weekly variety show in Tel Aviv, Israel, accompanying top Israeli artists. While I was at Berklee, I played in a duo with a guitar player in a bar/lounge in the famed Combat Zone area, as well as jazz gigs in various clubs. In New York. I also played various club dates, and I played keyboards in trumpeter Danny Stiles’ big band at the Office Club in Nyack NJ.( I played Fender Rhodes, ARP 2600, and a Hohner D6 Clavinet)!
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: My musical taste is very eclectic, and I really enjoy playing a variety of musical styles. Chopin, Vladimir Horowitz, Oscar Peterson, Les McCan, Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Dr. John are definitely very influential on me.
WHAT AM I LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW: Revisiting The Herbie Hancock Trio with Ron Carter and Tony Williams.
MY BIG BREAK: A short while after graduating Berklee College of Music and moving to NY, I had the opportunity to audition for the great saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders, and I was lucky enough to get the gig and tour with him. In 1979, I became the keyboardist and musical director for The Manhattan Transfer, a position I am honored to still be holding today! I'd be remiss if I didn't mention also the call from Wayne Shorter to play piano on his album Atlantis.
LATEST PROJECTS: I'm continuing to record and tour with The Manhattan Transfer, as well as producing, arranging and playing on a variety of projects when I am off the road.
FAVORITE KEYBOARDS AND WHY: The Korg Kronos X is my favorite keyboard by far. It has great sounds, a wonderful touch, and is a very user friendly instrument! Going back in time, I loved the Prophet 5 and the Minimoog!
WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU: I'm working on my next CD, that will follow my previously released CDs Personal Notes and State Of Mind. Plus more touring with The Manhattan Transfer and various other projects.
ADVICE TO THE NEXT GENERATION: Be open-minded (musically and otherwise). Be prepared for the opportunity that may come at any time. Be humble, and always remember how special you are!
Find out more at www.yaronmusic.com