The Hall Monitors

I’m beyond excited to present the Hall Monitors, a group of top-notch jazz musicians brought together through our love of playing, composing, arranging, AND teaching. We are all honored to be jazz coaches at the prestigious Hall High School in West Hartford CT, working with the Director of Jazz there, James Antonucci.

The group performs a variety of intense jazz styles and includes innovative originals in their programs along with original treatments of not-so-standard jazz classics. It features a classic piano-bass-drums rhythm section with two innovative and complementary saxophonists.

The group currently consists of me on bass, Jen Allen on piano, Matt Parker on saxes and flute, Nathan Edwards on saxes and Ben Bilello on drums.

Check out some recordings from our concert at the Blue Room, CitySpace, Easthampton, MA.

Jen Allen’s Blanket Statement

Blanket Statement by Jen Allen is an energetic tune with a strong rhythmic ostinato and minor-key harmonic motion underpinning a complex and scolding melody.

Hey Lock!

Hey Lock! is a hard swinging tenor tour-de-force from Johnny Griffin and Eddie Lockjaw Davis using the harmonic contrafact from Body and Soul.

Little Karin is a tune from legendary saxophonist Benny Golson that he released on his 1960 album Take a Number From 1 to 10. Here it is with tenor and flute instead of the trumpet and tenor voicings of the original release with Freddy Hubbard.

Mr Hall, by Matt Parker was originally composed for this group to play at a jam session at Black Eyed Sally’s in Hartford, CT. Everybody gets a chance to shine on this hard-swinging tune.

Queen of Hearts at the Dog Lane Cafe is an original tune by Steve Bulmer. The Dog Lane Cafe is a restaurant next door to the UConn Fine Arts building where Steve is an adjunct professor of bass and jazz. When ordering there, they give you a large playing card that identifies you with your order. This is a tribute to that cafe and the fact that Steve got the Queen of Hearts card a couple times in a row, becoming his muse for this tune.

A Brief History

In May of 2023, the opportunity to launch the group really came together after an invitation to perform at the Blue Room in CitySpace, Easthampton, MA for Carol’s Jazz Night concert series put on by empresario Carol Abbe Smith. The group presented a 90 minute set of 11 tunes, including 5 originals from 3 different band members. All we needed now was a name.

The group’s genesis happened at a special night for Hall High School Jazz Combos at the legendary Hartford nightspot, Black Eyed Sally’s. We coaches were invited to perform after the school combos. Matt Parker penned a particularly potent swinger titled Mr. Hall that brought the house to its feet at the conclusion. The smiles on our faces were sure signs that this could not be a one and done group.

After pushing many failed pun-names around trying to play on the word “Hall,” the Hall Monitors‘ moniker was adopted. (Some rejected names included Hall and Notes, and Jazz Fame of Hallers, thankfully!)