Dr. Jim Bedrick is the founder and bandleader of the Atlanta Brass Cats. As a member of the band, he plays lead guitar and provides backup vocals. Jim has over 50 years of professional musical experience and thrives on the energy of The Atlanta Brass Cats. “This is the rocking horn band I have always dreamed to be a part of. The fantastic repertoire, musicianship, professionalism, enthusiasm, mutual respect and comradery are second to none. Everyone gives 110%. We always have a blast when we get together and our audience becomes an important part of the experience.” When not playing with ABC, Jim performs advanced technology cataract surgery and teaches medical students at the Emory Eye Center.
Scott Ritshie holds the spot on keys for the Atlanta Brass Cats. Originally from upstate New York, Scott received a BA in Jazz Piano Performance from SUNY New Paltz in 1993. He studied with pianists Vinnie Martucci (The Dolphins with Dan Brubeck) and Warren Bernhardt (toured with Steely Dan in ’93) and took master classes with Bernard Purdy, Bob Dorough (creator of Schoolhouse Rock), and others. Scott has shared stages and recorded with many of Atlanta's greatest musicians and bands, such as Bumpin' the Mango, Yacht Rock, Mike Veal Band and many more. His styles include jazz, funk, latin, R&B and most anything 70's/80's rock, and he loves to fuse them together in as much as the situations allows. Scott has hosted several jazz jams since 2012 and is also an award-winning Web site designer and developer. (One of his creations is this Website... we hope you dig it!) His favorite musical moment happened in 1996 when, for about 20 minutes, he jammed on the tune "Spain" with its composer and legendary jazz pianist, Chick Corea.
Kristin began singing from the age of four years old, but decided to pursue athletics instead. While in between high school seasons, she participated in the Junior Olympic Volleyball program. Good fortune would come her way and hard work would pay off when in her senior year, Kristin received a volleyball scholarship to Valdosta State University. In July, 2002, she enrolled in Georgia Southern University for two years, during which time she began studying and playing the guitar. Feeling a shift toward a career in music, Kristin decided to move back to Atlanta and started playing at local open mic venues, which was followed by regular offers for shows. In 2005, she played her first solo show and has been a full time musician since. Kristin has the voice, the attitude, the passion and most certainly the talent to lead the Atlanta Brass Cats into a broad direction of musical styles!
Vocalist and guitarist Matthew Smith hails from Doraville, Georgia. Growing up in a family of musicians and music lovers, he too was drawn to music at a very young age. He studied saxophone and piano before deciding on guitar as his primary instrument. A love of folk music helped him establish himself as a singer and songwriter early in his career. Since then, he has built a solid reputation for being a consistent and dynamic performer, both solo and as a sideman for bands and artists across many genres. A musician about town, Matthew can often be seen playing solo or with his many projects at various Atlanta venues.
Alex has been playing trumpet and entertaining people since he was 11 years old. He grew up loving and playing baseball, but he found that his true talents were in music and live performance. He has a Bachelor of Music Performance from Vanderbilt University and a Master of Music from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Currently based in Atlanta, Georgia, Alex is the band / spiritual leader, trumpeter, singer, arranger and contractor of FunkCake, a group of Atlanta’s top call freelance musicians. In 2018, he also joined the faculty of the University of North Georgia as their new trumpet professor. He can be seen movin’ and groovin’ with the Mercury Orkestar, Atlanta’s premier Balkan Brass party band. You can also catch him bustin’ a move with Bumpin’ the Mango, Zangaro, The Big Beyond, A-Town A-List, the Party Up Band, The Whiskey Gentry, Beltline Brass Quintet, Georgia Brass Band and the Douglas Cameron Big Band. He enjoys being in the Atlanta Brass Cats - what an amazing opportunity to play some of the best horn music on the planet!
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, and raised in Birmingham Alabama, Dr. Jones has played jazz saxophone from an early age, progressing to playing in the Jazz Ensemble and rock bands while at UGA. Retired from his practice as an orthopedic and hand surgeon, he is a full-time musician. He has played in several big bands around Atlanta as well as small groups in the US and on several European tours. Saunders is most enthusiastic about playing with ABC: "I grew up with the music. It has a big emotional hook with me.”
Jim describes himself as an “American”, having been born and raised on the West Coast, lived in the Midwest for 13 years, and now residing in Sugar Hill GA for the last seven years. Jim graduated from CSUH in the Bay Area with a Music Performance degree on Trombone, which, of course, prepared him for a career in Sales…Having played everything from Jazz, Big Band, Classical Music, Americana Rock, and Traditional Jazz, Jim’s influences range from JJ Johnson, James Pankow, and Carl Fontana to Eric Clapton and Count Basie. Jim currently plays with a number of bands in the Atlanta Area, including Big Band Contractors, Douglas Cameron Big Band, Cherry Cherry, and Capitol City Xpress, as well as Andrew Landers and Mainstream Struggleville out of Olympia WA. Jim’s motto is, “If it isn’t fun, why are you playing?”
On bass for the Atlanta Brass Cats is Mike Ciarochi. Originally from the Great State of Alaska, Mike grew up on a riverboat/bar/restaurant where his dad was the proprietor and spent his evenings playing at the piano bar. Mike would occasionally sit in playing guitar or trumpet. He went on to study trumpet performance at the University of Alaska School of Music, and paid his way through music school playing bass in combos and rock bands around town. When Mike has time off from performing with ABC, he can also be found laying down the bass lines with the Modernaires Big Band, or you might also be able to catch him at one of the various jazz jam sessions around town.
Atlanta Brass Cats' drummer, Ben Bailey, began his musical journey at a young age on the local Atlanta music scene. Eventually, his musical quest took him to The Berklee College of Music (1985-87). While at Berklee, he was the drum chair on the Spirit of Boston Cruise Lines. After leaving school, Ben became an active freelance drummer in New York City. He has performed and recorded with artists such as Earl Klugh, David Hungate, Duffy Jackson, Houston Person, The Four Freshmen, Freddie Hubbard, Francine Reed, Joe Gransden, and Big Mike Geier. Ben released his debut album, “A Bird in the Hand,” with the Nashville Big Band, which charted at #62 in 2014, was featured in Downbeat magazine, and has been heard around the world.
Ben loves to perform with the Atlanta Brass Cats. “The soul, energy, passion, and enthusiasm for this repertoire of music is infectious! I love the friendships and mutual music respect we all have for each other in this great band.”
James Burr is an Atlanta percussionist with over three decades of experience playing live music. James started listening to music as a hobby at a young age and comes from a family of musicians and songwriters. He specializes in Latin and African Percussion as it applies to rock and roll, jazz and fusion music. James is heavily influenced by Conga Master Giovanni Hildalgo, the late Santana conga player Raul Rekow and his partner Karl Perazzo on timbales. James is a proficient player of over 40 different percussive instruments including: Congas, Bongos, Timbales, Maracas, Tambourine, Djembe, Talking Drum and Cajon.