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Justin Schornstein

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

Welcome Justin Schornstein, 2009 recipient of the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship! I was introduced to Justin’s musicianship thru an essay he composed for my Survey of Bass Styles class. After being thoroughly intrigued by his thoughts on music, I invited Justin to play bass with me on Ellington’s “Come Sunday”. Justin immediately reminded me of all the precious qualities that Wes had on the instrument, music as conversation, sharing expressive thoughts thru sound.

Wes and I would listen and study music for countless hours at my house in Cambridge around the time he was a Berklee student. We used to listen to Aretha and marvel at her rhythm piano playing supported by the brevity and genius of Tommy Cogbill’s bass lines. We would listen to Monk and dissect the changes, the harmonic sophistication of his profound musical syntax.

Danny Mo writes, "Herbie Hancock told me he named his last CD "Possibilities" because that's what the future holds in store. This is the feeling I get when playing music with and listening to Justin Schornstein."

Justin has the same vibe, as he too is a true listener. As I dug into his residency as a Berklee student, a wealth of appreciation surfaced from many faculty and students who have already been graced with his bass playing contributions. Justin is extremely popular as one of Berklee’s in demand student bassists and is regularly featured around campus at student recitals and high profile Berklee Performance Center showcases.

When preparing for my annual March show in Boston formerly titled “Danny Mo’s Jam”, and this past year renamed by Bass Department Chairman Rich Appleman as “Danny Mo’s Family Reunion” I was impressed with Justin’s skills as an arranger, his leadership while rehearsing, and ultimately performing. Along with his large ensemble, Justin energized the capacity crowd with some of the heaviest Gospel infused grooves I have ever experienced around Berklee. Justin displays tremendous musicianship on both the bass and piano. As the fourth recipient of this distinguished scholarship, I am honored and pleased to welcome Justin into this growing family of talented musicians.

"It's beautiful to watch people grow," says Danny pictured here with the 2006 - 2009 Wes Wehmiller Scholars. "As I join arms with these four scholarship recipients, including drummer Gabe Jones, and remember where they were as freshman, I am overjoyed with their musical and personal contributions."

We will be performing together in Los Angles at Wesfest 5 in February 2010. On March 10, 2010 we will be at David Friend Recital Hall in Boston for “Danny Mo’s Family Reunion”. Hope to see many of you there as you are already on the guest list!

Peace and groove,

Danny Mo

See photos of Danny Mo’s 2009 Family Reunion.