Capital District Jazz, Ltd. (“CDJ”) was formed by musicians and fans who love jazz music, are inspired by its rich history, impressed and motivated by its technical complexity, and moved by its emotional depth.  Although uniquely American in origin, jazz reaches, and draws from, millions of performers and listeners around the globe.  The members of CDJ care deeply about this art form and want to share their excitement with current and potential performers and enthusiasts throughout the “Capital District” of New York State  and beyond.  CDJ’s mission is:

• to build and serve a wider audience for jazz through education
• to create performance opportunities for jazz musicians in the region
• to develop venues for these pursuits

Past and Present Activities. CDJ is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, formed in January 2008. In 2013 the organization ran a successful year of its Youth Brass Band Mentorship Program. Present activities include fundraising and planning concert events.

Future Activities.   To accomplish its mission, CDJ plans to promote performances by both nationally renowned and local jazz musicians, to expand the audience for jazz and to sponsor and participate in events coordinated with, and partly to benefit, other not-for-profit organizations.  CDJ seeks to be an integral participant and sponsor of the arts in all areas of the Capital District, especially those areas that are traditionally under-served. CDJ, whose members include many jazz educators, also intends to conduct educational workshops for aspiring jazz musicians of all ages, at various locations throughout the Capital District.  CDJ also hopes to develop one or more venues to serve as places where students and professionals can perform, educate and appreciate jazz.


Mark Chaires is a former law enforcement executive with over three decades of military and civilian policing experience. In December of 2012, he stepped down from his last assignment, Police Chief of the Schenectady NY Police Department. Since that time, he has completed requirements for his Ph.D. in Criminal Justice at the University of Albany. His love of jazz began early in life, undoubtedly inspired by his Late Grandfather, Lee Milledge, a jazz guitarist. During and after his law enforcement career, he has worked hard to provide arts and educational enrichment opportunities for at risk youth. Towards that end, he served for one year as the Executive Director of the Hamilton Hill Arts Center in Schenectady NY, donating his salary back into the HHAC coffers.

Dr. Arthur Falbush
is currently a lecturer at the State University of New York, Oneonta where he leads the school's jazz ensemble, is founder and director of the Oneonta Jazz Festival and teaches music theory and piano. He is the Co- Director of the Proctor's Summer Jazz Institute, one of New York State's largest summer jazz programs and has presented master classes in the U.S., Canada, Taiwan, Italy and New Zealand. Previous teaching positions include Ferris State University and Christchurch Polytechnic (New Zealand). He has been a freelance trumpet player in New York City for many years and has performed with Tom Harrell, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Mercer Ellington and Billy Taylor.

Mark Kleinhut
has managed dual careers of guitarist and banker for the past 35 years. He has been a Senior Vice President with Key Bank for the last 27 years where he is East Regional Manager of the firm’s Specialized Finance group. In the music world, he has released 6 CDs of his compositions, including collaborations with renowned saxophonist Bobby Watson and trumpeter Tiger Okoshi. Since relocating to the Capital District in 2011, Mark has integrated into the community, playing with many players in the region as a sideman and leading his own quartet featuring his compositions. Mark uses his financial and business acumen to help support the jazz community; is a director of A Place for Jazz and formerly served the Maine Jazz Alliance as President and Director, was Director of Maine Jazz Camp, Maine Jazz Festival and the University of Southern Maine advisory board.

Trumpeter Steve Lambert currently plays with the Empire Jazz Orchestra, the Big Soul Ensemble, the Tim Olsen Band and City Rhythm as well leading small group jazz projects under his own name. He has performed on stage with Curtis Fuller, Claudio Roditi, Ray Vega, Fathead Newman, Aretha Franklin, Gladys Knight, Johnny Mathis, Franki Valli, Kristen Chenoweth as well as the Temptations and Four Tops. He holds a BSME from Columbia University.

Brian Patneaude
 is a professional musician and educator living in New York's Capital District. In addition to leading his own quartet (with five critically acclaimed releases to their credit) the saxophonist maintains an active performance schedule with a number of area ensembles including The Empire Jazz Orchestra, Michael Benedict & Bopitude and Keith Pray's Big Soul Ensemble. He is an adjunct saxophone instructor at The College of Saint Rose and Schenectady County Community College where he also directs the communiy college's Jazz Combo.

Keith Pray is a professional composer, performer, arranger and teacher who has performed throughout the United States and in Europe with world-renowned performers including Paul Anka, Benny Golson, The Temptations, Ray Vega, Mark Vinci and Jerry Weldon. He currently leads several ensembles and teaches at, among other places, the Schenectady City School District.

Bill Schilling
is a retiree from a career as a reference librarian that included long stints at both Albany Public Library and the New York State Library.  Before that he worked in the retail and wholesale record business.  A lifelong jazz fan, he was active in the 1970’s promoting concerts, running a not-for-profit record store and publishing a monthly newsletter for the now defunct Capital District Jazz Society.


D. Scott Bassinson has practiced law for more than 25 years, specializing in complex state and federal litigation, and currently serves as Hearings Counsel and Administrative Law Judge with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. In addition, he is a pianist and multi-keyboardist who has performed throughout the northeastern United States as a soloist and as a member of various ensembles.

Tom Jung is an architect with 30+ years of experience in the planning, design, and construction of health care facilities across the state of New York. He is currently CEO of the Facility Guidelines Institute, which develops and publishes the Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities, utilized by more than 40 states in their regulation of health care.  Tom is a casual but ardent listener and supporter of jazz.

Michael Lategano is a General Manager for a national company Blumberg Excelsior, Inc, that distributes and manufactures products for the legal market. He has held various executive positions in management for almost 28 years, and plays jazz saxophone.

Donald Nania has more than 25 years experience with the NYS Office of Mental Health, currently serving as the Director of the Bureau of State Facilities Costing, Rate Setting and Revenue Management, with responsibility for managing an annual revenue target of approximately $700 million and overseeing the preparation of Federal cost reports for 28 State operated psychiatric hospitals.  Don also plays trumpet, has performed with Delmar Community Orchestra, for which he also served as Recording Secretary for 3 years and President for 4 years, and has also performed with the Nisky Dixie Cats, an 8 piece Dixieland ensemble.

© 2018 Capital District Jazz Ltd.