Under the direction of SMJ Artistic/Music Director, NILSON MATTA, our 2017 Bar Harbor faculty includes: 



Eric Alexander started piano lessons at the age of six. He took up the clarinet at nine and switched to alto sax three years later. The tenor sax became his obsession at Indiana University Bloomington (1986-87). After transferring to William Paterson College in New Jersey he studied with Harold Mabern, Joe Lovano, Rufus Reid, and others.  “The people I listened to in college are still the cats who are influencing me today,” Eric says. “The legacy left by Bird and all the bebop pioneers, that language and that feel—that’s the bread and butter of everything I do.” George Coleman is a big influence because of his very hip harmonic approach. And I’m still listening all the time to Coltrane because I feel that—even in the wildest moments of his mid- to late-60s solos—I can find these little kernels of melodic information and employ them in my own playing.”   Eric has appeared on record as a leader, sideman, producer, and composer, with over 60 recordings.  He has earned praise from critics and, even more important, established his own voice within the bebop tradition.  The Eric Alexander Quartet features the legendary pianist Harold Mabern, drummer Joe Farnsworth, and bassists John Webber and Nat Reeves. The quartet has toured extensively around the world and has released seven recordings on the Milestone and Alfa (Japan) label. Eric’s sextet One for All also includes Joe Farnsworth along with pianist David Hazeltine, trombonist Steve Davis, trumpeter Jim Rotondi, and bassist John Webber. One for All has recorded ten albums for various labels including Sharp 9, Criss Cross, and Venus (Japan).  Additionally, Eric plays frequently with Pat Martino and McCoy Tyner and is a member of Chasing the Trane, an all-star group made up of Bobby Watson, Curtis Fuller, Cedar Walton, Jimmy Cobb and Ray Drummond. 



Associate Professor of Jazz Arranging at Oberlin College, and five-time Grammy Award-winning producer Jay Ashby is the recipient of multiple nominations in categories including arranging and engineering. Ashby is also known for his performances with such music icons as Paquito D’Rivera and Paul Simon, making him an exceptional musician and one of the most highly regarded performers and arrangers working in the field today. Ashby has performed, toured, and recorded with some of the most renowned jazz artists in the industry for over 25 years. As a member of Dizzy Gillespie’s United Nation Orchestra and Dizzy’s Alumni All-Star Big Band, Ashby forged long lasting musical relationships with jazz greats including Jon Faddis, Monty Alexander, James Moody, Jimmy Heath, Randy Brecker, Slide Hampton, and Bennie Green, among many others. Through his association with trumpet master Claudio Roditi, Ashby developed a strong affinity for Brazilian Jazz, which led to a ten-year stint as soloist with Astrud Gilberto, as well as arrangements, tours, and recordings with numerous Brazilian artists including Tania Maria, Kenia, Ivan Lins, Trio Da Paz, and the fathers of Bossa Nova Joao Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim.




Eskenazi’s diverse musical background in jazz, world and orchestral music, along with a highly collaborative spirit and many years of experience as a performer has earned him a solid reputation as a creative film composer, arranger and producer.

Dario’s most recent original scores for film include the Argentine films “Vino Para Robar” and “Mi Primera Boda”, the American drama “The Last New Yorker” and the Spanish dark comedy “Que Parezca Un Accidente” starring Carmen Maura and Federico Luppi.  He composed additional music and orchestrated for “Un Cuento Chino” starring RicaFarrell rdo Darin and arranged and orchestrated the main title for the 2009 drama “Triage,” directed by Oscar-winner director Danis Tanoic and starring Colin Farrell and Paz Vega.  

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1962, Dario received an early classical musical training in his native country. He moved to the United States in 1985 to attend Berklee College of Music where he graduated with a major in Film Scoring.  In 1990 he established himself in NYC, where he begain playing and touring with many jazz, latin and brazilian artists.  In 1995 he joined the Paquito D’Rivera Quintet. During his eight year tenure with the Cuban saxophonist, he toured extensively around the world playing in the most important venues and festivals such as Montreux, Nice, Montreal, Northsea, JVC, etc.  Dario recorded several award-winning albums with Paquito among them “Live At The Blue Note” (2000) , winner of the 2001 Latin Grammy Award for Best Jazz Album.

Dario is a former member of the Caribbean Jazz Project led by vibraphonist Dave Samuels with whom he recorded 5 albums including “The Gathering”, Grammy Award Winner for Best Latin Jazz Album in 2003.  He also played, toured and recorded with such great artist as Andy Narell, Ruben Blades, Gato Barbieri, Hiram Bullock, Romero Lubambo, Mongo Santamaria, Jon Lucien, Dave Valentin, Tito Puente, Hendrik Meurkens, Rosa Passos, Leny Andrade, Dianne Schurr, Dori Caymmi, Joyce Moreno and Herbie Mann among others.   As an arranger and producer,  Dario has helped bring to life such diverse projects as Peruvian folk singer Carmina Cannavinno and Spanish pop star Olga Román.   Dario serves as Assistant Professor in the Film Scoring Department at Berklee College of Music. 



Fernando Saci


Fernando Saci is an accomplished percussionist, producer, arranger, composer, and educator based in New York City since 2011.   Throughout his career, he has performed and recorded with renowned artists including samba, bossa nova and jazz greats Dona Ivone Lara, Leci Brandão, Almir Guineto, Nilson Matta, Kenny Barron, Leny Andrade, Steve Wilson, Harry Allen, Grechen Porlato, Anat Cohen, Duduka Da Fonseca, Paul Lieberman, Mario Adnet, Moacir Santos, Mark Walker, Oscar Stagnaro, Alexei Tsignov, Fernando and Sergio Brandão, Alberto Netto and R&B singer Cherryl Pepsii Riley.  

Originally from Campinas, Sao Paulo, Saci demonstrated a passion and natural talent for all things percussion at a young age.  first learned to play various percussion rhythms from family and friends. At age 7, he began his formal studies at the community center Casa de Cultura Tainã. where he quickly mastered his craft and soon began teaching various percussion instruments.   In 2002, after playing professionally for several years, Saci was selected to study at one of the most respected musical conservatories in Brazil, Conservatório Dramático e Musical “Carlos de Campos” in Tatuí, São Paulo. Specializing in  jazz and MPB percussion and graduated in 2005, going on to explore many other genres of music.  

In 2011, Saci moved to the U.S., first settling in Somerville, MA.  After founding the first Maracatu group in the area, he was invited by Berklee College of Music professor Alberto Netto to participate in weekly workshops teaching Brazilian rhythms. He also met and collaborated and toured  with a range of respected jazz musicians at the top of their craft.





Whether you’ve heard guitarist Dave Stryker leading his own group (with 27 CD’s as a leader to date), co-leading The Stryker/Slagle Band, or as a featured sideman with Stanley Turrentine, Jack McDuff, and many others, you know why the Village Voice calls him “one of the most distinctive guitarists to come along in recent years.” He was recently voted once again into the 2016 Downbeat Readers and Critics Polls.

one of the most joyous feels around. –Pat Metheny

Dave’s new CD “Eight Track II” went to #2 on the JazzWeek Radio chart staying on the chart for 20 weeks and received 4 Stars in Downbeat. “Messin’ with Mister T”, available here, is a celebration of the man he worked with for over a decade — Stanley Turrentine, “Mister T” — with ten of the greatest tenor sax players on the scene today. It went to #1 on JazzWeek Radio and stayed in the Top 50 for 20 weeks and received great reviews including 4 1/2 stars in Downbeat magazine.

one of the most distinctive guitarists to come along in recent years. –Village Voice