Current appearances and short essays by jazz bassist Don Mopsick

Deborah Opie Quartet at Valenti’s Allegro Bistro in Venice Thursday Nights

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Billy Marcus, Don Mopsick, Stephen Bucholtz, Deborah Opie in 2015

Thursday nights in Venice, FL come alive with swinging jazz at Valenti’s Allegro Bistro located at 1740 E Venice Ave.

Singer Deborah Opie has been entertaining the crowds at the popular Venice restaurant/night spot for over 3 years. She’s backed up by a swinging modern jazz trio featuring Billy Marcus, piano; Don Mopsick, bass; and Stephen Bucholtz on drums.The band plays from 6-9 PM. Click here for more information and reservations.


Billy Marcus

Billy Marcus

Pianist Billy Marcus, who now lives in St. Petersburg, FL is the son of the great “stride” pianist, Marie Marcus. Billy began his professional career in 1968 in the Boston/Cape Cod area where he worked with the iconic cornetist Bobby Hackett. In 1974, Marcus moved to Miami where he formed his own quartets and quintets. He did regularly-scheduled live radio broadcasts on television and performed at all of Miami and South Florida’s major festivals. In 1982, Marcus was named Miami’s Best Musician by Miami/South Florida Magazine. Recently, Marcus was inducted into the South Florida Music Hall of Fame.

Marcus has played “residency” engagements in New York, Boston, France, Switzerland, and recently at the Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai, China and 18 months at the Grand Hyatt in Dubai U.A.E. He’s appeared at dozens of jazz festivals including: North Sea Jazz Festival Netherlands, Bern Jazz Festival Switzerland, Toronto Jazz Festival Canada, Monterey Jazz Festival California, New Orleans Jazz Festival Louisiana, Miami Jazz Festival Florida, Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival Washington.

Leading his own house band, he backed up Scott Hamilton, Al Grey, James Moody, Jack Sheldon, Pepper Adams, Mark Murphy, Eddie “Clean-head” Vinson, Kai Winding, Terry Gibbs, Richie Cole, Buddy DeFranco and many more.

Don Mopsick

Don Mopsick

Bassist Don Mopsick began his musical career as a teenager in his hometown of Linden, NJ, performing on trumpet and bass guitar for local ethnic dances. After High School, he attended Rutgers University and Berklee College of Music. His first professional gigs were with Rosemary Clooney around Boston.

Mopsick’s musical interests have always been eclectic and far-ranging. He was graduated from The Manhattan School of Music in 1977 with a degree in Tuba Performance. While in New York, he performed on tuba and bass with The Smith Street Society, Lee Castle (with the Jimmy Dorsey Orchestra), Jim Chapin, John Carisi, Benny Ventura, the Paul Jefferey Octet and others.

After a move to Ft. Myers FL in 1977, Mopsick began private study on double bass with Lucas Drew at the University of Miami. He moved to Orlando in 1983 and began work at Walt Disney World, Circus World, Rosie O’Grady’s, and as a free- lance bassist state-wide. From 1983-86 he performed nightly at the Empress Lilly at Lake Buena Vista with the Riverboat Rascals.

He played concert dates for, among others, The Jazz Club of Sarasota, The Treasure Coast Jazz Society (Vero Beach), The Gainesville Friends of Jazz, the Central Florida Jazz Society, and taught clinics at Valdosta (Georgia) State University.

Mopsick played Florida concert dates with Howard Alden, Mousey Alexander, Mose Allison, Bill Allred, Dan Barrett, John Bunch, Pete Christleib, Al Cohn, Richie Cole, Ike and Fred Cole, Kenny Davern, Buddy DeFranco, Allen Eager, Terry Gibbs, Scott Hamilton, Buddy Morrow (with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra), Ken Peplowski, Flip Phillips, Red Rodney, Bob Rosengarden, Ira Sullivan, Clark Terry, Warren Vaché Jr., Joe Wilder and many others.

Don joined the 7-piece Jim Cullum Jazz Band in San Antonio TX in 1991, where he played nightly at The Landing jazz club and toured with the band (including a 17-day tour of Russia and Siberia in 2007), and recorded hundreds of hours for the Riverwalk Jazz public radio series with guests such as Benny Carter, Clark Terry, Bob Wilber, Dick Hyman, Topsy Chapman, Kenny Davern, Milt Hinton, Nicholas Payton, Ralph Sutton, “Sweets” Edison, Harry Allen, Dan Barrett, Joe Williams, Rebecca Kilgore, Stephanie Nakasian, Linda Hopkins, Bob Barnard, Bucky and John Pizzarelli and many others. He left the band in March 2009.

From 1993 to 2005 he was on the faculty of the Stanford Summer Jazz Camp, teaching classes and giving private lessons to students between the ages of 12-17.

These days Mopsick plays modern bop-oriented jazz in several weekly west Florida gigs with pianists Billy Marcus and Joe Delaney, drummers Stephen Bucholtz, Patricia Dean and Tony Vigilante, trumpeter Dan Miller and tenor saxophonist Lew DelGatto.

Since his 2010 move back to SW Florida he has shared concert stages with Dick Hyman, Peter Appleyard, Bucky Pizzarelli, Aaron Weinstein, Giacomo Gates, Stephanie Nakasian and Hod O’Brien, Russell Malone, Ira Sullivan, Lanie Cook, Ralph Peterson Jr., Tedd Firth, Peter Zak, Dave Bennett, Wycliff Gordon and many others.

Stephen Bucholtz

Stephen Bucholtz

Experienced in both classical and jazz, drummer Stephen Bucholtz has performed on drum set for a variety of groups, ranging from trios to big bands. These groups have performed in clubs, festivals, theaters, and private functions throughout the country. Stephen has performed with artists such as Chuck Redd, Ken Peplowski, Harry Allen, Jon-Erik Kellso, Roni Ben-Hur, Buster Cooper, and John Lamb. He can currently be heard performing around the Tampa Bay area with a variety of artists.

Stephen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of South Florida. After receiving his degree, he continued his studies at the New England Conservatory of Music as a graduate student. While living in Boston, Stephen served as Principle Percussionist with the Newton Symphony Orchestra. Prior to joining the Newton Symphony, Stephen served as Principle Percussionist for the Brevard Symphony Orchestra in Melbourne, Florida. He has also performed with the Concord Orchestra, the Metropolitan Wind Symphony, the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Florida Orchestra.


Written by Don Mopsick

May 10, 2016 at 11:07 PM

One Response

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  1. I cherish the nights I was able to slip over to the Empress Lilly to hear YOU, Don. Thanks fer da Blo(b)g!

    James Morton

    May 11, 2016 at 7:11 AM

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