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Beaufort, South Carolina, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015

Beaufort, South Carolina, United States
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Jazz




"Jim Bachety: Smooth Jazz Musician Extraordinaire and Mentor"

Jim Bachety is on a mission to preserve jazz as an original American musical art form. And he’s doing that by teaching a new generation of musicians how to play jazz—and training his young students to become professional musicians like himself.

Music wasn’t always a passion for Jim Bachety. Growing up in Levittown, New York, he was a typical boy who liked to play sports, particularly football. His mother, Paula, was the singer in a wedding band and wanted him to pursue music, so she gave Jim a guitar at the age of 12 and encouraged him to take lessons. Jim’s first foray into the world of music was short-lived; he decided he didn’t like playing the guitar, so for the next six years he put all of his energy into football. But when Jim was 18, he saw one of his friends playing guitar—that’s when he decided it was cool to play the guitar.

Although Jim took up the guitar much later than many professional musicians, he made up for lost time by immersing himself in learning to play. He enrolled in nearby Nassau Community College, studying with Stephen Leonard, the understudy to one of the greatest classical guitarists of all time, Andres Segovia. During this period, Jim holed up in his room 12-hours a day practicing the guitar to perfect his style. And it paid off. Through his community college, Jim had the opportunity to audition to perform with Paul Anka on his East Coast tour and played dozens of gigs with Anka.

Jim continued to seek opportunities to learn and grow in his art, studying with the top guitar players on Long Island—Howard Morgan, Joe Monk, Bob Homan and Frank Vignola. He enrolled in a summer music program at the University of Michigan and gigged extensively in the Michigan area for a year. When he returned to New York, Jim began playing with the regionally and nationally known Bob Homan group.

At just 23, along with some friends, Jim formed his own band, Natural Element, and he composed and produced all of the songs for the jazz group. Natural Element quickly became national recording artists and their music was played in all major jazz cities—Albany, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami—and the band did it without signing with a record label. The group recorded their album, The Nature of Things, at Doug Stegmeyer Studios (Stegmeyer was Billy Joel’s bass player and back-up vocalist). Natural Element’s music introduced Smooth Jazz as a genre.

While he was playing and touring with Natural Element, Jim also owned a music store in Bayshore, NY, called NuCreations and was its main music teacher for several years. Jim says that during this time, Natural Element served as the house band for Oheka Castle Hotel (the premier event venue in New York), playing for events attended by celebrities such as Montel Williams and the Jonas Brothers, and on the same play bills with musical acts like George Benson, Kenny G, Tony Bennett and the Theme of Cats.

Bringing Jazz to the Lowcountry

Jim took a few years off from music when he relocated to Beaufort in 2000 with his wife Julie, daughter Jessica and son James. They moved here to be close to Jim’s parents and his aunt, who lived in Spanish Point. Then through a mutual friend Bruno Rossi, Jim met Bill Verity who wanted his granddaughter to take music lessons. Verity suggested that Jim teach music at Beaufort Academy, which he did for two years. He also taught guitar courses part-time at Beaufort Middle School and Lady’s Island Elementary School. Teaching music again led Jim to open his successful music school, The Guitar Place (now known as Port Royal Music Academy), in 2003 in Port Royal, SC. “Without the help and support of both Bill Verity and Bruno Rossi, I’m not sure I would have gotten back into teaching music,” Jim says.

“The year after opening my music store in Port Royal, I was feeling the itch to play again, so I started a jazz duo called Breeze with Ben Langan, and we played every Friday at the Beaufort Inn and at restaurants and private parties on Saturdays and Sundays,” says Jim. In 2013 he started another smooth jazz group, Horizon, with three of his best music students—Elizabeth Mandell (rhythm guitar and vocals), Kyle Fabian (bass guitar), and Stefan Moser (drums). Jim plays lead guitar for the group. All three of these students are now in their early 20s, but have been taking music lessons from Jim for eight to 12 years. Jim emphasizes, “I put my own time and talent into getting these kids together as a group and getting them started as professional musicians here in Beaufort, because they are really talented! I want to saturate the Beaufort area with as much good music as I can.” Horizon plays regularly at local venues including downtown at Wined It Up and at Sweetgrass Restaurant and Bar at Dataw, as well as for special events, weddings and parties like Pat Conroy’s 70th Birthday Party at the Arsenal last October. The group also plays at the famed Oheka Castle in New York for some events. Jim explains, “I want Horizon to get to the next level—and that won’t happen unless they can make a living in their own town from playing live shows and then go on tour.”

“Jazz should be taught in our schools because it’s America’s only pure musical art form,” Jim says. He believes that jazz musicians should be able to make a living playing the music they love. Jim’s passion is teaching his students everything he knows about music. “I’ll always have a school and be teaching kids music here,” he proclaims. “I have about 40 students right now and I teach kids as young as seven years old and adults as old as 80.” And, he teaches both guitar and drums, saying that once you understand music theory you can apply it to teaching instruments other than the one you play yourself. Some of the adults he’s taught include local musicians Beekman Webb and Richard Darby, Liz Mandell’s mother, Melissa Mandell, and Mandy Barnes. Last summer at his urging, some of Jim’s best young students formed another band, Iridescent, and they are making a big impression around town playing rock, blues, indie, pop and jazz. Band members Wilson Storm Wallace (guitar, vocals) and Paul Gearhart (lead guitar) are just 17 years old. Keri Flora (bass guitar) and Stan Dobbs (drums) are in their early 20s. And these kids are amazingly talented. Iridescent plays live shows regularly at Wined It Up and plays at other venues like Brody’s Bar & Grill, AMVETs, and at weddings. Stay tuned—you’ll be hearing more about this band, they are that good!

A Lasting Musical Legacy

Proof of Jim’s impact on his students and their future as professional musicians was on display during the show Saturday Night Live on March 5th. A former guitar student Jim taught for several years in New York, Matt Spatalo, played with both the #1 hit-making rapper Future and the band Weekend on that late night show. After the show aired, Jim spoke with Spatalo who said, “Jim, thank you for planting the seed of music in me!” After studying with Jim, Spatalo went on to graduate in 2012 from Musicians Institute College of Contemporary Music in California, and has since performed with artists including Jackie Boyz, singer/comedian Wayne Brady, and Beaufort’s own American Idol winner, Candice Glover.

Jim Bachety is an extraordinary musician and music teacher who is emphatic about what he wants as his legacy. “Jazz is America’s music and unfortunately it is becoming a falling art. Before I pass on, I want to restore America’s own art form, jazz, to our kids who are the next generation of musicians. That’s why I teach music—I want my students to understand what music was like when I was a kid, and I want them to keep it alive in the future!” - Beaufort Lifestyle


Inner Circle - 2018



Horizon is a smooth jazz quartet based in Beaufort, SC, with a unique story that stands out in today's music world. After moving from New York, NY, guitarist and instructor Jim Bachety opened a music school to bring the New York music scene to the Lowcountry of South Carolina. In 2015 Jim teamed up with three of his most distinguished students to form Horizon and started recording and performing his original music. With smooth rhythms, ethereal harmonies, and a contemporary sound, this group of talented young musicians, lead by their seasoned guitarist and instructor, is making waves across the Lowcountry music scene. Whether your a fan of jazz or just a casual listener, Horizon is sure to make an impact on your musical tastes. With the 2018 release of their album Inner Circle, the group is looking to hit the road and share their music with the rest of the country.

Band Members