One Planet Jazz was formed in 1992 after performing at the Bud Shank Jazz Workshop in Port Townsend. We've been together ever since.
Steve Marx (bass) was born in Beverly Hills, the grandson of songwriter Gus Kahn (“Makin’ Whoopee,” “It Had to be You”) and Groucho Marx (Duck Soup, Night At the Opera). He studied violin with studio musician Leonard Atkins. At age 16, he took up the 5-string banjo. His first professional song, a Kingston Trio parody, was performed on the New Steve Allen Show. In college he switched from violin to bass, under the tutelage of avant garde performer Bertram Turetsky and first-call L.A. studio player Peter Mercurio. He graduated from U.C. Santa Barbara with a degree in Music Composition mentored by department chairman Roger Chapman, a student of Walter Piston. Steve attended graduate school at U.C. San Diego’s New Music School, taught by Roger Reynolds, Robert Erickson, and Pauline Oliveros.
Moving to Seattle in 1976, Steve toured with a local bluegrass band and played in the Seattle and Bellevue Philharmonic orchestras. In the 80’s and 90’s he wrote musicals for Pioneer Square Theater, Intiman, Seattle Center Playhouse, Seattle Children’s Theater and Bainbridge Performing Arts. He began his serious study of jazz bass at this time, learning his craft from Doug Miller, John Clayton and Ray Brown. Steve performs on an 1835 Klotz double bass previously owned by Red Mitchell.
Miles Feinstein (piano) grew up in Englewood, NJ, across the Hudson River from New York City. Miles’ father Jerome played clarinet in a big band in the 1940s, and Miles grew up listening to the music of Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Fats Waller, Earl Hines, and many more. As a young man, Miles studied classical music in Manhattan with Rose Raymond, with whom the pianist/songwriter Burt Bacharach also studied. Miles went on to take tutelage with pianist George Cables and the trombonist Jiggs Whigham.
To write a song, Miles starts with either a musical phrase or some type of rhythmic groove. He builds around this to form the melody and harmony. Finally lyrics are added, once he fully understands the song's unique mood.
Ellen Marx (v0cals) was raised in California as a concert pianist, studying with Paul Hindemith's student, Miriam Fox Withrow. She pursued classical piano studies at UC Berkeley, then in a surprising shift, switched genres and took up the 5-string banjo. Earning a national reputation for her banjo playing, she worked, recorded and toured with many fine traditional musicians, including Mark O'Connor, Mike Seeger and John Burke. After settling down to raise a family, she turned to jazz, studying composition, piano and vocal jazz improvisation at Cornish College of the Arts, with Jay Clayton, Mark Murphy and Sheila Jordon. She has performed up and down the west coast in festivals and clubs, and on concert stages, TV and radio. Ellen's unique style resulting from her rich musical background as a jazz singer, songwriter, banjo player and classical pianist gives the eight original songs on this CD the sparkle and heart they deserve.