Frank Potenza

Professor

Division: Contemporary Music
Program: Studio/Jazz Guitar
Chair, Department of Studio/Jazz Guitar

Instrument: Guitar
Phone: (213) 740-3096
Email: potenza@usc.edu
Office: LPB 131
Website: www.frankpotenza.com

Biography

“Joe Pass also speaks highly of a young protégé, Frank Potenza” – Leonard Feather, LOS ANGELES TIMES

“There is more than a hint of Joe Pass too, in Potenza’s sophisticated chord playing.” - Adrian Ingram, JUST JAZZ GUITAR MAGAZINE

“He’s one of those rare guitarists whose hands tell a story whenever they touch steel strings.” – CJ Bahnsen, OC WEEKLY

“Potenza seemed as if he could have gone on all night in a breathtaking solo that had the crowd whooping.” – Steve Eddy, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Capri recording artist Frank Potenza is a protégé of the legendary jazz guitarist Joe Pass. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island and has lived in Los Angeles since 1980. Frank holds a Bachelors degree from Boston’s Berklee College of Music and a Masters degree from California State University at Los Angeles. He is an active educator, composer, arranger, and performer with nine solo albums to his credit. In addition to his extensive solo and freelance recording careers, he has performed in concert with Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Pass, George Van Eps, Mundell Lowe, Terrell Stafford, Joe Diorio, John Clayton, Bud Shank, Mose Allison, James Moody, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Rob McConnell, Brother Jack McDuff, Jimmy Smith, Bill Watrous, Joe Sample, Rob McConnell, Ronnie Laws, Benny Green, Conti Candoli, Buddy Collette, Andy Simpkins, Ernie Andrews, Eddie Harris, Marvin “Smitty” Smith, Dr. Lonnie Smith and many other jazz luminaries.

From 1996 through 1999 Frank toured as a member of the Gene Harris Quartet, performing with the Grammy award-winning pianist at jazz festivals such as the Fujitsu Concord Jazz Festival and jazz clubs such as the Blue Note in New York, Jazz Showcase in Chicago, and Jazz Alley in Seattle. He is a featured soloist on Alley Cats, Harris’ final recording for Concord Records. Frank has performed with his own groups at venues such as the Orange County Performing Arts Center, KSDS Live in San Diego, the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts and Catalina Bar & Grill.

He tours in support of his current Capri Records Ltd release entitled For Joe, which is a tribute to his mentor and main influence, Joe Pass. His previous release on Capri is entitled Old, New, Borrowed & Blue. Earlier releases on Azica Records were First Takes, a duo project with pianist Shelly Berg and The Legacy, which is dedicated to the memory of the late pianist Gene Harris. It features pianist Larry Fuller (formerly of the Ray Brown Trio and currently with John Pizzarelli), bassist Luther Hughes and drummer Paul Kreibich, both former members of the Gene Harris Quartet. Frank is the author of several texts for the USC Thornton Guitar Instructional Series, which is published by Mel Bay Publications, the world’s largest publisher of guitar materials. He is also a Charter Member of the Jazz Education Network.


Professional experience

Current Professional Affiliation(s):

Recording Artist for Capri Records Ltd., Denver Colorado
Ask An Expert Team, Jazz Education Network

Career Highlights:

  • Released Old, New, Borrowed & Blue on Capri Records Ltd., 2009
  • Toured as a member of the Gene Harris Quartet, performing with the Grammy award-winning pianist at jazz festivals such as the Fujitsu Concord Jazz Festival and prestigious jazz clubs such as the Blue Note in New York and Jazz Showcase in Chicago. Featured soloist on Alley Cats, Harris’ final recording for Concord Records.
  • Concert Performances with Bill Watrous, Ernie Watts, Wilton Felder, Red Holloway, Bob Magnusson, Charlie Ventura, Jack Sheldon, Russell Ferrante, Red Callender, Steve Allen, Larry Graham, Ronnie Laws, Linda Hopkins, Buddy Greco, Vic Damone, Chuck Mangione, Patrice Rushen, John Pisano, Natalie Cole, Stevie Wonder, Josh Groban, Lou Rawls and many others
  • ASCAP Composer/Publisher

Honors, Awards & Competitions:

Elected to The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi Chapter 93, 1999 The Dean’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, presented at the 2009 Thornton School of Music Honors Convocation

Music Festivals:

Gene Harris Jazz Festival, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho Long Beach Jazz Festival, Long Beach, California Salt Lake City Jazz Festival, Salt Lake City, Utah Sarasota Jazz Festival, Sarasota, Florida Spoleto Festival USA, Charleston, South Carolina

Recordings:

  • Old, New, Borrowed & Blue, Frank Potenza, Capri Records Ltd., 2009
  • First Takes, Frank Potenza/Shelly Berg Duo, Azica Records, 2005
  • The Legacy, Frank Potenza Quartet, Azica Records, 2003
  • In My Dreams, Frank Potenza, Azica Records, 1999

Compositions:

Jacaranda (ASCAP) 2008

Publications:

Fingerboard Mastery: Scales and Arpeggios, Book One (with Nick Stoubis) – USC Thornton Guitar Instructional Series, Mel Bay Publications Inc. Fingerboard Mastery: Scales and Arpeggios, Book Two (with Nick Stoubis) – USC Thornton Guitar Instructional Series, Mel Bay Publications Inc. (for June 2012 release)


Academic degrees

  • MA, California State University, Los Angeles, 2000
  • BM, Berklee College of Music, Boston, Massachusetts, 1972

Studied with:

Guitar – Mick Goodrick and Joe Pass
Classical Guitar – Andrew Caponegro
Arranging – Phil Wilson, Herb Pomeroy and Ted Pease
Improvisation – John La Porta
Orchestration – John Bavicchi