Band Bios

John Damberg Latin Jazz Quintet

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John Damberg is a master vibist, marimbist, percussionist, steel drummer, composer, and educator who has enjoyed a successful career in music spanning 40 years. John resides in Anchorage, Alaska where he is the leader of the John Damberg Latin Jazz Quintet, the Instructor of Percussion at the University of Alaska Anchorage, the President of the Alaska Jazz Workshop, a community arts and service organization promoting jazz education & performance opportunities, and the President of the Percussive Arts Society Alaska Chapter. John is an active performer on the Alaska and Pacific Northwest music scenes and he is an ardent promoter of jazz & percussion education. John was born in 1952 in Kittery, Maine and received his early music training in Detroit, Michigan. He holds BM and MM degrees in Percussion Performance, Jazz Studies and Ethnomusicology, and a BM degree in Music Education.

As a percussionist, John has performed in a wide variety of musical settings nationally and internationally including: original Latin and jazz ensembles, recording studio dates, with the Detroit, Seattle and Anchorage Symphony Orchestras and Broadway touring shows. John has performed with internationally acclaimed jazz artists including: Wynton Marsalis, Milt Jackson, Cedar Walton, Rebeca Mauleon, Michael Davis, Allison Miller, Bobby Shew, Mimi Fox, Denis Diblasio, Oscar Stagnaro, Valerie Naranjo, Peggy Stern; and with nationally renowned entertainers including: Harry Connick Jr., Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, the Temptations, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and Sammy Davis Jr., Steve Allen, Joel Gray, and Liberace.

As a composer, John writes music for his Latin Jazz Ensemble and for other creative projects including: movie sound tracks, travel videos/DVDs and children’s educational videos. John’s compositions have been featured on the 2005 CD release Azure, the 1998 CD release of Angie’s Samba by the John Damberg Latin Jazz Quintet, the 1993 release of Human Hands: a Composers and Improvisers Ensemble”, on his 1985 release of Soaring and on videos/DVD’s including Cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage and the award winning children’s video Monty the Moose.


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Laura Koenig-Flute: Laura is a master of many music styles ranging from Latin to jazz to Classical. Laura’s musical voice soars over the hot Latin rhythms generated by the rhythm section of the Quintet. Her sound is a great compliment to the lush harmonies created by John Damberg’s marimba, vibes and steel drum and Mark Manner’s guitar. Laura received her DMA in flute from the University of Iowa in 1995, writing her thesis on experimentation with quarter tones in eighteenth-century France. Laura’s skills in new music have generated numerous performances form Darmstadt, Germany to the National Flute Association’s Annual Convention. Before moving to Anchorage and joining the University of Alaska faculty in October 1998, Laura lived in Australia and England where she performed with ACME (an Australian new music ensemble), taught at the TAFE Institute of Music (Adelaide, South Australia), appeared on the Australian Broadcasting’s Young Artist Series, and conducted musicological research at Oxford University’s Bodleian Library. Laura was born in 1965 in Mountain view, California.
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Mark Manners-Guitar: Mark is one of Anchorage’s premier guitarists who is in high demand as a performer, composer, and as a music educator on the guitar and bass. Mark is an excellent composer having penned many of the ensemble’s original songs. He is a multifaceted musician who is equally at home performing music ranging from jazz to country and popular. His successful performance career has included appearances with internationally renowned jazz artists Denis Diblasio, Oscar Stagnaro, Michael Davis, Mimi Fox, Carl Saunders, with Anchorage’s premier dance band Mickey and the Mustangs, with the highly acclaimed Long Riders country rock group, Anchorage’s Soul Crackers R & B dance band, and with numerous opening acts for internationally acclaimed country artists in concerts at Anchorage’s Egan Center and the Sullivan Arena. Mark is a lifelong student of music who started playing guitar at the age of 12 and began studying jazz at age 15 with Los Angeles studio guitarist John Colins. Mark graduated from the Guitar Institute of Technology in Hollywood, CA in 1983 and began work in the music business in that area. One year later his band signed an eight week contract to play in Anchorage, AK, where he currently resides. Mark completed his Bachelors of Music Education Degree at the University of Alaska in 2006 and he maintains a full teaching studio of guitar and bass students.
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Bob Andrews-Bass: Bob is an accomplished and seasoned electric and upright bassist with over 25 years of professional performance experience who makes a great addition to the John Damberg Latin Jazz Quintet. Bob provides a solid harmonic foundation and he blends well with Cameron’s rhythmic pulse to synergize great grooves for the soloists to improvise on. Originally from Iowa, Bob has traveled throughout the United States and Canada, performing, studying and teaching in New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas and Los Angeles. His list of performing credits includes jazz combos and big bands; rock, country, funk, Latin and pop bands; symphonic, chamber ensembles, concert bands and wind ensembles; and television, radio and album recording sessions. Bob holds a BM degree in bass performance, composition and jazz studies from Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where he received numerous awards and citations. He has studied with jazz greats Jack DeJohnette, John Abercrombie, Chuck Deardorf, Anthony Braxton and L.A. studio keyboardist Mike Boddicker. Bob is currently in a first call bassist on the Anchorage music scene.
Cameron Cartland-Drum set/percussion: Cameron is the driving force behind the engine room of the John Damberg Latin Jazz Quintet. A talented and dedicated musician, Cameron has mastered many complex Latin, Afro Cuban, and Brazilian drumming styles. Cameron has attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston and holds a Bachelors Degree from the in Economics and Russian Studies from the University of Alaska Anchorage. Cameron has performed with the John Damberg Latin Jazz Ensemble for 8 years and is in high demand as a drummer on the Anchorage music scene currently performing with Pamyua, H3, and Superfrequency.