Lead Vocalist JT Alessi is one of the original members of Atlanta Brass Cats and was bitten by the music bug early in life. There are recordings of him singing "Rainbow Connection" at the ripe old age of 4. He got his first guitar on his 12th birthday from a friend of the familyand has been playing ever since. Truth be told, he started playing for the same reason most musicians start... Chicks dig it, man!
In school, JT studied under Dr. Susan Cotton in vocal performance and musical theory. He competed in state competitions in Barbershop Quartet winning 2nd place at the Mosaic competition. JT has also worked as a professional actor with The Atlanta Workshop Players and appeared in movies and commercials. His musical resume' includes tenures in a variety of Atlanta-based jazz, folk and rock bands. JT joined ABC because “These guys are fantastic!” and “Music makes people feel and who doesn’t want to make people feel?! Being surrounded with musicians of this caliber really allows me to focus on the feeling in the song I am singing."
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.”
Dr. Jim Bedrick is the bandleader and founder of the Atlanta Brass Cats. As a member of the band, he plays lead guitar and provides lead and 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 that experience.” Jim also enjoys playing guitar with the Georgia State University Perimeter College Jazz Ensemble and the Peachtree Jazz Edition.
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.
Lead Vocalist Tish Holley hails from Long Island, New York, but has called Atlanta home for the past 30 years. She holds a BA degree in Music, Voice performance from Ohio’s Wilberforce University, and has traveled extensively throughout the USA and Canada as a vocalist and as a performer in musical theatre. As the featured female vocalist in ABC, she provides incredible range and versatility to the band's perfomances. In addition to ABC, Tish enjoys singing with several jazz bands in the Atlanta area. Tish gives back to the community by teaching children at the Cultural Arts Council in Douglasville, Georgia.
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.”
Stephen Musker is a retired U.S. Army trumpet player of 20 years (service from 1978-1998). He has performed nationwide and overseas, including 30 concert tours across the U.S., performing for 5 U.S. Presidents & rock band tours to Guam and Saipan. Steve has been on the music scene in Atlanta since 1987, playing in various jazz, latin and rock bands. He holds a BA in music from Georgia State (2004) and taught general music and band from 2005 to 2010 in Fulton County. In 2010, he opened his own brass studio at Music & Arts music stores. He currently teaches over 1,300 brass lessons a year in Cobb & Fulton counties. Steve enjoys hiking, bicycling & traveling with his wife Gayle. As a child of the 70’s, Atlanta Brass Cats is his music!
Scott is a co-founder of Atlanta Brass Cats and holds the spot on keys. 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 others. 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.) 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.
Jim is originally from Baltimore, Maryland and is a graduate of the Peabody Conservatory of Music. After completing his degree, he lived in Rochester, New York for a time, working at the Eastman School of Music in their recording studios. Jim moved to Atlanta and eventually co-founded an audio / video company. Jim is very active in the Atlanta music community, playing in several big bands as well as orchestral and small ensembles. Jim says of playing with the Brass Cats, “I am so fortunate to get to play music I love with truly great friends and musicians.”
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.