Matthew Fogg & Cheri Gaudet Grimmett
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Matthew Fogg & Cheri Gaudet Grimmett

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"The Music Still Plays"

Jazz Pianist Tommt Gallant is gone now, spirited away all too quickly in September, 1998, in his 63rd year of life. While the world of jazz in the Seacoast Region lives on, his absence is profoundly felt by the large circle of musicians, students, and fans who were central to his existence.

Gallant's family, friends, and admirers have established a scholarship fund at UNH to ensure Gallant's musical and educational legacy lives on by fostering future musicians. Through memorial contributions and the proceeds from a musical tribute to Gallant last spring, the endowed fund quickly grew to more than $50,000. Income from the fund will provide scholarships to students with financial need who demonstrate the values of jazz feeling, imagination, historical awareness, and commitment which were exemplified by Tommy Gallant.

Gallant, like many of his friends, lived to perpetuate the language of jazz. He was a great believer in the small jazz club, and along with the Tommy Gallant Trio and the Tommy Gallant All-Stars, was a regular performer at the Press Room and The Metro in Portsmouth, and at Saunder's in Rye Harbor. He also entertained at private parties in the Seacoast Region and donated time to play for nursing home residents and school children.

"He was completely unselfish. He played in any venue, and his music moved the average person as much as the jazz afficianado," says David Seiler, director of the UNH Jazz Band.

When the Portsmouth Jazz Festival floundered in 1996, Gallant and Seiler revived the tradition by establishing the summer Seacoast Jazz Festival in Prescott Park that same year, attracting New England's finest jazz artists and this past summer, the world-renowned trumpet player Bobby Shaw. The two also founded the annual Harry Jones, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund, an annual concert which raises money for music students.

The less visible but equally vibrant legacy of Tommy Gallant continues in the music of his many students, who remember him as an inspiring, gifted teacher who was generous with his time and talent. Gallant taught at the Berklee College of Music, at Phillips Exeter Academy, and at the University of New Hampshire, through courses, workshops, and informal music events.

The first Gallant Scholarship recipient, Matthew Fogg, a junior music education major from Biddeford, Maine, has a special connection to Gallant. When Fogg was a freshman in high school, Gallant visited the school to play for students. "He was absolutely the first jazz pianist I ever heard play; he was amazing. I was so impressed that I dropped the trombone, which I was lousy at anyway, and started taking piano lessons," Fogg says.

Today Fogg is an accomplished jazz pianist who would like to teach or go on to graduate school for music. He says the scholarship enables him to "work less and practice (the piano) more."

"I feel very honored to receive the scholarship. Not only was Tom a great piano player, he was a great guy and very open and receptive to helping students," Fogg says. "I'm especially honored because I'm the first recipient, and I knew Tom."

In the lives of young musicians like Matthew Fogg, and in the vibrant Seacoast jazz scene, the Gallant spirit lives on. - University of New Hampshire Foundation, Inc.

"Life In the Woodshed Well Spent"

Biddeford - Senior Matt Fogg had 18 minutes left. He glanced around the dimly lit stage at the Maine State Jazz Festival, at his band, at the kids who will be here after he's gone. He scanned the audience and the judges sitting behind the tables.

When you're 18 and a jazz musician, life is a single-lane road most of the time. Performances like the one at Bonny Eagle High School last weekend, or the festival at Berklee College of Music the weekend before, are like a highway where student musicians merge together, jam hard for a moment and disperse, each taking up one's solitary path again woodshedding - the jazz term for solo practicing.

"There's a lot of woodshedding," says Fogg, a pianist who leads Biddeford High's jazz combo. "A lot of nights where I'll play three or four hours at a time, until two in the morning."

It's not easy being a jazz musician in an out-of-the-way-burg where Coltrane, Davis or Monk are heard only on a FM radio station late Friday night. There are no jazz clubs here, no local jam sessions, no history of great performances. And yet somehow, Fogg, Sarah MacKenzie, Shawn Boissonneault and the rest of the combo have managed an amazing feat. At Berklee, they placed third among New England jazz combos.

Now they wanted to do it onemore time at Bonny Eage. If they did, credit would have to go to Fogg, the combo's only senior. He looks and talks like a jazz man. A wrinkled Oxford, a pencil stuck aggressively behind his ear, sleeves rolled above the elbow. He writes the arrangements and puts the combo through its paces in those too-rare rehearsals.

A former trumpet player, Fogg became a pianist as a freshman. Lessons with Portland jazz musicians improved his chops since then. While woodshedding is a necessary but insufficient cause, what's finally needed is desire - the dream of great things.

"I don't know how many times I'll wake up in the middle of the night with a riff in my head, and I have to write it down," Fogg says, giving one example. "Musicians are weird characters." Somehow, Fogg seemed anything but weird on stage Saturday afternoon. Minutes before the combo starts, Fogg huddled his musicians one last time. He shook hands with each of them, almost solemnly. They have 18 minutes left...

The first two tunes showcased the musicianship of the combo. They played "Del Sasser" with a barely restrained energy, while MacKenzie's sax reined in the tempo during the ballad "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning." Everything came together for the final number, "Manteca," driven by a frenetic Latin rhythm. Always verging on anarchy, the combo managed to stay together through shared energy and shouted encouragement.

That's when the audience disappeared and the kids took off on their own riff, suspended in an infinite wrinkle of time. Something ripped them away from the workaday life where music is an extra, where woodshedding comes only after dinner and after the garbage is taken out. The muic they were making was existential, the only thing that mattered.

After the festival, Fogg said he planned on a music education degree and a lifetime of performances. He was sure of it. But there seemed a piece of him afraid that when he left that stage Saturday, he would never have time to be so completely a musician again.

Jobs and families and responsibilities have a way of encroaching on time spent in the woodshed. - Portland Press Herald

"Creating Student Musicians - One Note At A Time"

Morse High School's two 20-something music teachers may have been untested rookies when they arrived, but the respect they've gained from the students, teachers and parents in their 18 months here is universal.

Both came to Morse in September 2001.

Anthony Marro, 25, the band director, runs efficient, methodical rehearsals that have his student-musicians sometimes playing just a few notes over and over again until they're perfect. By singing the notes - "da ba la la, da" for example - stomping his foot, snapping and clapping, Marro projects exactly the sound he wants. When the students succeed, he praises them. When they don't, he tells them so.

"He knows what he wants from us," said Celeste Bessey, a sophmore trombone player from Bath. "He's still learning things, but we like him. Hopefully, he'll have many years here."

Matthew Fogg, 24, the chorus director, is more prone to alternately sitting at the music room's grand piano - his forte, so to speak - and jumping up in front of a group of singers to help with pronunciation and phrasing. On a Bach piece during a recent rehearsal, Fogg spent several minutes teaching the students how to say the words correctly in German, breaking a one-syllable word into three sounds. Before the students begin, Fogg sings their notes for them - even though some of the parts, particularly the sopranos, are far out of his vocal range. To say Fogg is full of gusto is a half-truth, said his students.

"He's got incredible energy," said sophmore Shelby Kaplan of Woolwich. "I haven't had a chorus director like him before. He makes me look forward to chorus."

The student said both teachers are worthy replacements for their predecessors, David Aines in band and Wendy Ulmer in chorus. Aines, the 2001 recipient of the Dr. Patricia Ames Distinguished Teacher Award, moved away with his family, and Ulmer switched to teaching English at Morse.

Fogg and Marro have common goals for the music program, which start and end with giving the students the best music education possible. Along the way, they hope to expand the students' musical tastes across the genres, classical to contemporary.

Both lead musically active lives outside the classroom. Fogg moonlights as a jazz pianist, playing with a variety of ensembles, including full bands and sometimes solo vocalists. Marro, a woodwind player is a saxophonist for the Terry White Big Band among other groups, and also writes his own songs.

Marro, of Portland, attended South Portland High School before earning a music education degree from the University of Southern Maine. Fogg, who lives in Bath, attended Biddeford High School and earned his music education degree from the University of New Hampshire in Durham. Both were hired in Bath at a starting teacher's salary, about $25,000 a year. Both are still single, and they admit they're still adjusting to their new careers.

"You've got to earn their respect," Marro said of the students. "It can't be given. It has to be earned. They've learned that although they liked the way Mr. Aines did things, my ways work too."

Since they joined the school, the two new music teachers have started a music theory class and have plans to add a keyboard laboratory, but perhaps their biggest accomplishment was the formation of a new music booster group to help pay for what the department budget can't afford.

This is especially valuable now, said Morse Principal Paul Pendleton, because of the budget situation in the city, which last year forced all departments to cut spending proposals by hundreds of thousands of dollars. This year, all department heads were instructed to submit proposals with no increases, but Pendelton said that didn't dampen the spirits of Fogg or Marro to expand and enhance their programs.

"They both have a tremendous knowledge of music and they both work well with young people," said Pendleton. "They've got energy and a plan for where they want the program to go; they're not just going through the motions. They're both real favorites of the other faculty. They're very well liked and respected."

The students agree.

"He makes it exciting to be in chorus," said freshman Calista Young of Fogg. "He's great at teaching us how to do challenging stuff."

"Mr. Fogg won't let you just get by and sing mediocre," said Kaplan. "It shows maturity that we're performing things you don't hear a lot of other high school students singing."

Trombone player Petra Hamilton-Denison, a junior, says she has never had a band teacher like Marro. Much to her regret, Hamilton-Denison and her family moved last week to a town outside the reach of the Bath school department.

"Mr. Marro is very serious about music," she said. "He knows so much about music that he takes it apart in sections. It's not so easy but he makes it so you can learn the pieces and it's fun. It's the best class I have and I'll miss it."

Sally Davis of West Bath, who has two daughters in Bath schools and w - The Times Record

"He's Biddeford's Jazz Man"

Matthew Fogg was just 16 years old when he took a job as the piano player in a Top 40 band on weekends at the Red Jacket Inn in North Conway, N.H.

His parents gulped. But they bought him a car phone in case he had trouble driving home alone from the White Mountains.

"I was the youngest in the band," Fogg, now 21, recalls about the six-month gig. "The rest of the group were in their 40s. Ladies tried to pick me up... It was a baptism by fire."

Once, the band got a mid-week gig at The Big Easy blues club in Portland. He studied for a Spanish test at the bar during intermissions.

Now Fogg is in his thrid year in the Music Education Department at the University of New Hampshire. He is an accomplished jazz pianist who teaches elementary school students the basics of music, and still plays professional gigs.

He is also the first recipient of the Tommy Gallant Scholarship, established by Gallant's family to help young jazz musicians through school and keep alive the memory of Gallant, who taught at the Berklee College of Music, Phillips Exeter Academy and UNH. He died of cancer at age 63 in 1998.

The Tommy Gallant Trio and the Tommy Gallant All-Stars were regular performers at the Press Room and the Metro in Portsmouth, N.H., and at Saunders in Rye Harbor, N.H. When the Portsmouth Jazz Festival floundered in 1996, Gallant and another musician, David Seiler of the UNH Jazz Band, revived the tradition by establishing the summer Seacoast Jazz Festival in Portsmouth's Prescott Park.

When Fogg was a freshman at Biddeford High School, he had a chance to meet Gallant - an event that inspired the young musician - through the efforts of then band director Terry White.

"White took an interest in me and others, and invited us to a jam session at the Bridgeway Club in South Portland," Fogg says. "I was listening to Don Doane on trombone and Tommy Gallant on piano and others. I was totally amazed. I said, 'this guy is a pro.'

"It was great. When you see something that makes you so happy, you just smile and glow. I knew that was it. That was my life."

When he was very young, Fogg took basic piano lessons from his grandmother. But he put piano aside in fifth grade, when he took trumpet in the school band program, and played the horn until eighth grade.

"I was really bad at it," he says.

Fogg remembers auditioning on the trumpet at the Southern Maine Music Festival - "I didn't make it" - and passing by the room where the jazz auditions were taking place.

"I thought, wow - what is this all about, with the piano and everything. I was mesmerized," he says. "It was the kind of thing, you look at it and you know what you want to do."

He asked White to help him learn jazz piano, and was able to study with the Portland musician Alex Johns for four years. After looking ar a couple of colleges, he chose UNH for its music education program.

Fogg was home in Biddeford during the university's winter break, working for the city of Saco to help pay his college bills. For the past four summers he has been the pianist at Seascapes Restaurant in Cape Porpoise in the evening, and has worked as a landscaper during summer days.

Often, people don't listen when he's playing a restaurant engagement; it's the nature of the work. They're talking with their dinner companions, choosing from the menu.

"I used to be able to play for an hour before reaching my saturation point," he says. "If no one's listening, well, I go on auto pilot for a while and just play."

Lately he says, he's been trying to infuse some pop into jazz harmony.

"I love all kinds of music," Fogg says. "I let it come out in my playing."

Right now, he's focused on finishing his undergraduate degree.

"I like the idea of having a master's at 23 or 24," he says, "I ought to do it while I have the energy."

Then again, he went to a psychic to celebrate his 21st birthday. "She says within six months I would get an offer I couldn't refuse, really far away," Fogg says.

In the meantime, he's plugging away at school and teaching music courses in Durham, N.H. Teaching elementary school youngsters began as part of his UNH program, but Fogg liked it, so he signed on to teach again.

"I love it, I love little kids," he says.

The young ones have short attention spans, so his goal is mainly to have them keep the instrument playing as long as possible. With the other children, they can play and then you have a conversation, he says.

At the end of the classes, Fogg introduces students to constructive criticism.

"I want them to be specific, rather than just say it was good or bad," he says.

Fogg, who used to practice six hours a day, is trying to work his own practice time up to four hours a day - although it's tough during vacation when he's lucky to get one. Nonetheless, he's been doing some music arrangements and composing, writing his first voice arrangement and learning other instruments.

After a recent recording sessio - The Times Record

"Winter Heat Local Music Blowout"

State Theatre, Portland, ME
Sunday, February 18, 2001

“Road trip!” A sunny afternoon, a wicked bad case of cabin-fever and a chance to catch six local bands perform in a great venue for less than the cost of one movie ticket. Throw in a couple of music enthusiasts/friends willing to endure the three hour round-trip to Portland and I simply couldn’t pass up on yet another perfect opportunity to indulge in more live music. Arriving early enough to take a quick spin around town - it being Sunday and all - things seemed fairly quiet. Foot traffic in the Old Port was at a bare minimum and there was little problem finding parking anywhere you wanted. The show started an hour later than we’d planned for, so decided to grab a quick meal over at the Free Street Taverna (good food). We then walked back to the new and improved State Theatre, where a smattering of people were gathering in the foyer to buy tickets. Inside, I caught up on the latest scene gossip with good friend (and house soundman) Wally Wenzel, before settling myself into a comfortable spot to catch the show from. As the crowd grew larger with each passing minute, the first band on the nights’ bill, Now Is Now, took its place before us on the Theatres’ humongus stage. Singer/songwriter/guitarist Mitch Alden is a unique kind of performer. Traveling alone while working a regional circuit which regularly takes him to clubs in Boston, New York and Portland, Aldens’ NIN bandmates end up being local musicians in each city who simply await his arrival. Together, they then play Now Is Now gigs scheduled for that area (great concept - sure saves on band traveling expenses). Portland band-members Steve Hodgkins (drums) and Dan Paul (bass) sounded surprisingly well-rehearsed although not totally unexpected due to their individual talents as musicians. It was clear the guys enjoyed playing together, though, Alden glancing over at both Hodgkins and Paul with a pleased grin several times throughout their 40 minute set. With emphasis on the word power, this power pop trio rocked the State with plenty of tight, snappy drumwork, rugged chord-riding, two-part vocal harmonies which blended rather nicely, great use of guitar effects/tones and well-written lyrics delivered with intense passion. Their exciting performance made for a great first impression of Now Is Now and had the crowd roaring out their approval after each and every song. Another newcomer to the Portland scene is Tribe Describe. Trying to describe their eclectic approach to writing music probably explains how the band name came about - but nailing their particular style is next to impossible. Playing a solid set of material which grooved its way through funk, rock, blues and jazzy world beats, Tribe Describe quite easily kept the momentum going. The highlight of their set took place when percussionist Cheri Gaudet (snazzy red leather pants and plain white tee-shirt) took the mic at center stage and proceeded to wow the crowd with her smoky, mesmerizing vocals during one of the bands’ more laid-back blues number. Afterward, she acknowledged the tremendous round of applause with a shy curtsy and wave. Oh, and don’t be decieved by keyboardist Rhad Davis clean-cut, all-American good looks, either. The guy can rock it out and did so when he grabbed up an acoustic guitar and closed out the Tribe Describe set with a rockin’ ballad which practically left the house in an uproar. Two bands down. Third band on the bill was Frotus Caper. As the guys rushed out on-stage, I couldn’t help but notice an accordian perched next to the keyboards. Never having had the pleasure of hearing their music before, was slightly intrigued as to how they would incorporate it into their music. Admittedly, more of a studio project than a live working band, Frotus Caper still didn’t take long to warm up to all the bright lights. Even before they were through their very first song, the guys were boldly encouraging the crowd to clap along with their upbeat slant on melancholic pop-rock. “Lady Madonna” recieved special treatment from FC much to our delight. I even saw a few ladies singing along with a couple of the bands original songs, solid proof that Frotus Capers debut CD Lingo was definitely getting its fair share of attention. By now there were about three or four hundred people in the room and any applause was loud. Rightfully so, Frotus Caper ate it up and performed their music accordingly. But, with the reality of an early morning wake-up suddenly closing in and ruining my enjoyment, I realized it was time to hit the road for the long ride home. Thanks to the special efforts of owner Grant Wilson, the gang at State Theatre and Stone Coast Brewery (as well as various other clubs in town), local music is alive and doing just fine in Portland Maine. And with sincere apologies to Hawthorne, Petting Zoo and Author Unknown for having to miss their sets (although at least being familiar with the music - Steve Lea, Face Magazine (not published)


"The Nearness of You" (2003) Nicole Hajj with the Matt Fogg Quartet'; arrangements by Matthew Fogg; available at

"Live At the Azure Cafe" (2005) Matthew Fogg & Nicole Hajj; produced & arranged by Matthew Fogg; available at

"Benny's Yen" and "Blues For Steve" (2005) written, arranged & performed by Matthew Fogg; available at

"Wade In the Water" and "Bottle Down" (2005) written, arranged and performed by Cheri Gaudet Grimmett & Matthew Fogg; available at


Feeling a bit camera shy


Matthew Fogg’s musical journey began as a trumpet player. His interest in the piano didn’t develop until high school, when he began listening to greats such as Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, and Keith Jarret. These legendary jazz musicians, among others, helped Matt discover a new passion to pursue...jazz piano.

Matthew attended the University of New Hampshire, earning a degree in Music Education with an emphasis on piano (concentrating on jazz, as well as classical). He’s performed in university ensembles and had the opportunity to play with legendary jazz musicians like Clark Terry, Slide Hampton, Bud Shank, and Jimmy Heath.

Following graduation, Matthew embarked upon a career as an educator, working as the choral director at Morse High School in Bath, Maine. He also maintained a performing career, playing with his own Matt Fogg Quartet at respected clubs and upscale restaurants throughout New England.

Today, Matthew serves as the Spiritual Arts Coordinator at the United Church of Christ in Bath. He directs the choir, fosters musical education throughout the congregation, has organized an ongoing “coffeehouse”, and recently introduced Taize services to the community. His most recent jazz project, “Live at the Azure Café,” was just released in March, 2005. This CD has already resulted in two television appearances on the WCSH/NBC news magazine show “207” and an invitation from Maine Public Radio luminary Rich Tozier to perform a “live in the studio” concert on his Friday Night Jazz program.

Cheri Gaudet Grimmett has been singing and writing songs from a very young age, but preferred to keep those passions to herself for much of her youth. Instead, Cheri was a star trombonist in high school and college, taking home several state and regional awards and honors from festivals held everywhere from Caribou, Maine, to Boston, Massachusetts. In addition to performing in high school and college ensembles, Cheri has performed with legendary jazz trombonist Don Doane, and has been a member of the Maine-based Phil Rich Swing Band since her senior year of high school.

Cheri studied trombone at Middle Tennessee State University with David Loucky, a respected performer with the Nashville Symphony. She also attended the University of Southern Maine, and it was there that she rediscovered her passion for singing. After college, Cheri cut her teeth singing with Tribe Describe, an all-original jam rock band. She began listening to and watching as many great vocalists, songwriters and performers as she could, especially Carole King, Billy Joel, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin, a cappella pioneers Rockapella, and contemporary Christian pop stars, the Newsboys. Cheri also wrote, performed and recorded several of her own songs with Tribe Describe. Tribe Describe’s performances brought Cheri to venues such as Portland, Maine’s State Theater, Hempstock, and most of Portland’s night clubs and pubs.

The partnership between Cheri and Matthew began in earnest in 2002, when the pair formed Retrospecticus, a general business band covering disco, soul, rock and funk music from the 60s through the 80s. The same year, the duo entered and won local Christian radio station WMSJ’s WOW Us With Your Talent contest. The climax of the competition included opening for national Christian singer/songwriter, Chris Rice, at Portland, Maine’s Merrill Auditorium.

Cheri and Matthew’s most recent project, scheduled to be released near the end of 2005, is a collection of original music written over the span of their individual music careers. It is best described as a jazz-gospel-pop hybrid infused with a multi-faceted and embracing faith. Matthew’s exceptional harmonic ear and arranging expertise blend smoothly with Cheri’s vocal, melodic and lyrical talents resulting in a refreshingly unique musical statement.