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Thanks to all who made WesFest 11 the BIGGEST SUCCESS TO DATE!

The show is over but you can still donate to the scholarship!


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WesFest 11 2016


Featuring headliners…



also performing:

Steve Bailey


Derek Frank




Danny Mo and The Exciters
* featuring 2015 Wes Wehmiller Scholarship
Award Winner MADDIE JAY



Sunday, March 6, 2016
3787 Cahuenga Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604
Phone:  (818) 980-1615




Abraham Laboriel and Open Hands


Abraham LaborielFour world-renowned musicians have come together to form the group Open Hands. These refined performers are Abraham Laboriel, Justo Almario, Tim Carmon, and Bill Maxwell. This instrumental jazz band combines native South American rhythms, American jazz, along with rhythm and blues to create a unique and sophisticated sound.

Berklee alum Abraham Laboriel has been billed by Guitar Player Magazine as “the most widely used session bassist of our time” and has played on over 4,000 recordings and soundtracks. Originally a classically trained guitarist, he switched to bass guitar while studying at the Berklee School of Music. Henry Mancini encouraged Abraham to move to Los Angeles, California and pursue a recording career.

Since then, he has worked with artists as diverse as Donald Fagen, Stevie Wonder, Barbara Streisand, Al Jarreau, Dolly Parton, Elton John, Ray Charles, Madonna, Paul Simon, Andrae’ Crouch, Quincy Jones, Chris Isaak, and Michael Jackson.

In 2005, Abraham was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music by the Berklee College of Music.

Berklee alum Justo Almario is a multi-instrumentalist of the highest caliber, having mastered the soprano and tenor saxophones, clarinet and flute. Always in demand, Justo’s extensive list of credits and Grammy Award recordings include the Grammy Awards Orchestra, George Duke, Tito Puente, Queen Latifah, Charles Mingus, Chaka Kahn, Linda Rondstadt, Jennifer Lopez and Herb Alpert. Justo was also heard on the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning film Sideways. In addition, Justo is featured on Andy Garcia’s recent movie release The Lost City and on Romance and Cigarettes.

His latest CD, “Love Thy Neighbor,” features his quartet playing original compositions as well as rare standards.

Tim Carmon started playing piano in the fourth grade and by the age of 12 was organist for three different churches, including his father’s. Once he got to California, his musical versatility quickly placed him in great demand by artists in a variety of genres.

The roster of musicians with whom Carmon has partnered includes: Eric Clapton, Babyface, Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Queen Latifah, Bob Dylan, Gladys Knight, B.B. King, Jamie Foxx, Earth Wind and Fire and more. He provided arrangements, piano and keyboards for the film adaptation of Dreamgirls with R&B producers, The Underdogs and was also on the road with Clapton for the 2006 / 2007 World Tour as well as UK dates in 2009.

Bill Maxwell started playing drums professionally at the age of twelve . His career took him to Los Angeles in 1972 as a member of Andrae Crouch and the Disciples. He has produced 8 Grammy winning recordings for The Winans, Andrae Crouch and others. Maxwell also formed the band Koinonia with his dear friend Abraham Laboriel. Bill was the music director for the television shows The Jamie Foxx Show, Martin, Living Single, For Your Love, Amen, and many more.

Bill has recorded with T Bone Burnett, Ray Charles, Billy Preston, Quincy Jones, The Crusaders, The Nappy Roots, Freddie Hubbard, Anita Baker, Luther Vandross and many more. Bill worked as a music producer and musician with the Coen brothers on their films The Ladykillers and Romance and Cigarettes, and he worked as a featured musician on the film Walk The Line.

In October 2008, Bill was inducted into The Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, and he is a member of The Gospel Music Hall of Fame.


Derek Frank

Derek FrankBass player Derek Frank has been active as a touring and session player on the Los Angeles music scene since 1997. Currently holding down the bass position in country-pop superstar Shania Twain’s band, Derek spent most of 2015 touring arenas all over the US and Canada. He is also currently the bass player for Grammy-nominated saxophonist Mindi Abair and blues supergroup The Boneshakers. Artists he has previously toured with extensively include: Victoria Justice (2012-2013), Russian artist Roman Arkhipov aka “Troy Harley” (2012), David Pack (2011-2012), Jeff Golub (2011-2012), Mindi Abair (2010-present), Dancing With the Stars (2007-2009), Aly & AJ (2006-2008), and Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express (2002-present).

In 2009, Derek’s affinity for all that is low and funky manifested itself in the release of his long-awaited debut album, “Let the Games Begin…”. This mostly instrumental, bass-heavy funk record projects a sound and vibe that is old and familiar, yet somehow new and unique at the same time. Armed with his flatwound-equipped ’63 Fender Precision Bass (and a few other choice 4 and 5-stringed instruments), Derek takes us on a journey to the groovy side with music that rings of influences such as Soulive, Curtis Mayfield, Jamiroquai, Pleasure, Groove Collective, The Brand New Heavies, Tower of Power, Marcus Miller, and many others that listeners will simply have to name for themselves. Derek made his debut at WesFest in 2013, and is excited to bring his band back for this year’s event.

Check out more of Derek here!
Twitter/Instagram: @derekfrankbass

Danny Mo and The Exciters

Danny Mo Maddie Jay at the Danny Mo Family Reunion

An annual tradition at WesFest, Danny Mo & The Exciters is a group led by Wehmiller’s former bass professor and close friend DANNY MORRIS, and features the winner of last year’s Wehmiller Scholarship Award, MADDIE JAY on bass. Danny Morris says, “Maddie Jay, who is our 2015 recipient of the Wes Wehmiller Scholarship, joined me for a wonderful evening of music and family vibes on Monday Nov. 16th at Berklee’s David Friend Recital Hall on the Boston campus.

“Maddie Jay is a groove player! Wes loved bassists who could lay down a pocket of tight infectious foot tappin’ body swaggin’ R&B Funk Hip Hop and that’s what Maddie Jay and her band delivered this evening during their set! She not only plays bass, she composes and arranges, writes lyrics and vocalizes in her unique spoken word singing style. We are all looking forward to performing at Wesfest 11!”

— Also performing with Danny Mo & the Exciters

Steve Bailey

steve-bailey-warwick-660-80Steve Bailey, an influential six-string fretless bass pioneer, educator, and author, began his tenure as chair of Berklee’s Bass Department in 2012.

A partial list of Bailey’s extensive recording and performance credits include Dizzy Gillespie, Victor Wooten, Hank Jones, the Rippingtons, Jethro Tull, Jon Anderson, Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Mel Torme, and Johnny Witherspoon.

Bailey has over 25 years of teaching experience, with faculty appointments at Musicians Institute, UNC Wilmington, and Coastal Carolina University. He is the author of six books and instructional DVDs on bass performance, and is an in-demand clinician and performer. A mainstay in the bass community for decades, Bailey was twice recognized as runner-up Bass Player of the Year by Bass Player magazine and is cofounder of Bass Extremes, a collaboration with Victor Wooten.

We’re thrilled to have Steve join us again at WesFest 11!


John “JR” Robinson

JR RobinsonWe’re honored to welcome back Berklee alum JR Robinson.  Most known for his work with Quincy Jones, including Michael Jackson’s multiplatinum Off the Wall album and the charity single “We Are the World.”  Grammy winner Robinson has played on a number of motion pictures as well as with an enormous list of artist.  Check out his website HERE!






Kira Small

IMG_0603We also welcome back another WesFest/Berklee alum, Kira Small!  “Girl you sound like a neat glass of single malt in a world of Michelob Ultra.” – Grammy award winning songwriter Mike Reid (“I Can’t Make You Love Me”) Nashville recording artist and 2012 Independent Music Awards winner Kira Small’s albums Raise My Voice [2010 Offrow Records] and Love In A Dangerous World [2007 Offrow Records] were produced by Bruce Dees (James Brown, Ronnie Milsap) and feature many Muscle Shoals & Motown veterans. An accomplished pianist, songwriter and arranger, her impressive resume includes a stint on Berklee College of Music’s voice faculty, back-up vocalist for Martina McBride’s 2012 and 2013 Joy of Christmas Tour and work with with Peter Frampton, Garth Brooks, Wynonna Judd, Randy Travis, Ray Price and more. For more info visit




Marty Walsh

martyAnother artist we are thrilled to have returning for WesFest is guitarist Marty Walsh!

Marty Walsh is an assistant professor in the Ensemble and Music Production departments at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. A veteran of the LA studio music scene, he has worked as a guitarist with some of the biggest names in the business. The early 1980s found him on the hits “9 to 5” by Dolly Parton, “She Works Hard For The Money” by Donna Summer, and “Heartlight” by Neil Diamond, to name a few. He also recorded with John Denver, Eddie Money, Kenny Rogers, Sheena Easton, and Julio Iglesias, among others. In 1985, Marty played guitar on the Supertramp album ‘Brother Where You Bound’ and then toured with the band in 1985-86 and again in 1988 after playing on their 1988 release ‘Free As A Bird’. Continuing to do recording sessions into the 1990s, he also was a part of the live band on the Nickelodeon Television show ‘Roundhouse’ which was critically acclaimed and ran from 1992 through 1994. In the late 90’s early 2000’s  Marty played guitar on numerous Curb Records releases including three of Leann Rimes’ albums, ‘Sittin On Top Of The World’, ‘Leann Rimes’ and ‘I Need You’, whose title track set the record for weeks (54) in the top 40.  More recently, he can be heard on the Freddie Jackson single “Until The End Of Time”, which reached the number 1 spot on Billboard’s R&B charts and stayed on the charts for 26 weeks. And now much to the anticipation of guitarists and musicians everywhere, Marty has released his first instrumental solo album ‘The Total Plan’!

Check out his website HERE