Editor, Webmaster: Phil Cartwright Editor@earlyjas.org
|The Berridge Boys
The Next Generation
|for Jazz Advancement and Socialization
are a nuclear family in the scientific age. Between the four of them they have nine
college degrees. All are scientists or engineers but they all have a softer side: They
love music and much of it is the kind that we love too.
Let’s start with Marc (Papa Berr). He’s the guy in the middle above. (Kevin on the
left, Dennis on the right.) Marc is a Ph.D. scientist and left a cushy job as professor at
Case Western to start his own company. It was very successful and he ended up
running the company in Little Rock, AR. Prior to CWRU, Marc grew up in the San
Fernando valley in southern California. As many of us were, he was strongly
influenced by a music teacher. He insisted on rigorous classical training, much of
which Marc passed on to his two sons, Kevin and Dennis. Marc got a full ride to
Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. There he met Katie, a Carlow gal and they became an
item. After that, grad school in St. Louis, post doc in France, then Houston UT
Medical Center cyclotron and then he started the cyclotron facility at CWRU.
In his early years in Los Angeles Marc played in many bands and orchestras on the
same stage with Jimmy Durante, Ferde Grofe, and Meredith Wilson. Later, he played
Carnegie Hall with the Carnegie Mellon jazz and concert bands.
Marc marks his intro to traditional jazz with his involvement with the Hot Jazz 7.
Carl Lemponen, Brent Gardner, Bob Erdman, Jonathan Fairman and Phil Cartwright
encouraged him to be a part of the the trad jazz scene in NE Ohio. Marc listened to
tapes of Turk Murphy and Lu Watters’ Yerba Buena JB pretty much non-stop for the
first year or so he played with the HJ7. According to Marc, his constant playing of the
Murphy and Watters music “ . . . drove the family to distraction. Dennis, in particular,
about 10 years old, would run from the room screaming when I started playing the
tapes that Dick Houck provided. I discovered that this music is about the most fun
you can legally have with a trombone.”
Fortunately for us, Marc continues his interest in trad jazz and regularly commutes
from Little Rock to Cleveland where he makes big bucks playing at the Barking Spider
with the Hot Jazz 7.
Marc passed on to Kevin the same trombone training that he received originally. He
also started Dennis off with trumpet lessons. Both Dennis and Kevin played in all the
school musical groups. In 7th grade, Kevin started a Dixieland band, (the Solon
Saints) playing a lot of charts that Brent Gardner provided. They played at school and
even had some paying gigs. He played with the Cleveland Youth Wind Symphony in
high school. In college, Kevin played with the University of Dayton Jazz Ensemble
and won a jazz competition in Chicago.
Kevin is a Computer Science grad from the University of Dayton. He is now Manager
of Software Engineering at a software company. Kevin says his love of jazz can be
attributed to the open reel tapes his dad played at home. He was a bit reluctant at
first and sometimes rebelled at his dad’s complete, heads first, immersion into trad
jazz. Now, “ . . . My favorite music to play is, hands down, Traditional Jazz!”
Dennis rehearsed a few times with the Hot Jazz 7 and then, suddenly, he was pressed
into action as a high school student. There was a big gig lined up and Dennis played
2nd trumpet beside Brent Gardner. That was his baptism by fire and he continues to
step in whenever there is an opportunity. Unfortunately for us, Dennis had the right
priorities in mind when he went off to RPI for a degree in aeronautical engineering.
Now he is finishing a Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering at Purdue. He divides his time
between Purdue and an internship with NASA Langley in Hampton, VA. He does
experiments in hypersonic wind tunnels (Mach numbers greater than 5), relevant to
spacecraft and missiles. The wind tunnel experiences reveals why he can really blow
Now that Marc spends so much time in Arkansas, Kevin has emerged as the regular
trombone player with the Hot Jazz 7.
Turk Murphy is a hero among jazz fans. In the late 1940’s he wrote a tune called
“Trombone Rag”. It is a difficult tune, up tempo, in Db and a real challenge for
trombone players. We are blessed in NE Ohio: When Kevin and Marc are on the
bandstand together, they play a duet on “Trombone Rag” Superb!