American Multiinstrumentalist (Piano, Guitar, Bass), Songwriter, Producer.
he has been a member of Van Morrison band, has played with Jerry Garcia (having worked with him since 1979), The Edge and with Craig Chaquico (since 1993).
Ozzie Ahlers was born June 3, 1946 in Summit, New Jersey. During his years in high school he had numerous bands including The Wizards and Oz, winning some local talent contests and playing in east coast colleges. Before he graduated from Summit High School he spent a summer on the road touring with The Shirelles. After graduation he attended Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, where he formed the University's most popular band of the 60's, The Oz and Ends, touring colleges for 6 years. As that band broke up, he formed Glory River and was signed by Jimi Hendrix's Electric Lady Productions to a recording contract in New York City.
In 1972 Ahlers moved to California where he toured with Van Morrison and recorded 3 albums with Jesse Colin Young on Warner Bros. Records. He also played keyboards in Peter Rowan's band Free Mexican Airforce during 1977 and 1978. During these years he also recorded with Gene Clark of The Byrds and rocker Greg Kihn. By 1978 he was involved with Rob Nillson's Cine Manifest and wrote the music for the film Northern Lights which won the Camera d’or at The Cannes Film Festival. In 1979 Ahlers joined the Jerry Garcia Band, both touring and recording with Jerry for the next 2 years. He played keyboards on the albums Garcia, After Midnight: Kean College 2/28/80 and Garcia Plays Dylan. By 1981 he became a founding member, songwriter and keyboard player in the rock-reggae band The Edge with bandmates Lorin Rowan and Jimmy Dillon. In 1990 Ahlers was hired by Gumby creator, Art Clokey to create the music for the cult classic Gumby: The Movie. He hired longtime friend, Craig Chaquico from The Jefferson Starship to play lead guitar on the musical Gumby selections.
By 1991 he and Chaquico joined forces and signed with Higher Octave Records. They recorded their first album, Acoustic Highway together. That album placed first in the Billboard Magazine charts as well as topped the charts in Radio & Records Magazine. For their next album, Acoustic Planet they were nominated for a Grammy Award as well as another No. 1 in Billboard. For 2 years in a row, they won the Bammie (Bay Area Music Award) for Best Independent Album. Ahlers continued playing keyboards, songwriting and producing all ten Craig Chaquico albums for 16 years, as well as being the musical director for his worldwide touring band. Ahlers also appeared as a solo artist on the Higher Octave Music label with his album Fingerpainting.
During these years he also co-wrote, produced and played keyboards for 4 albums by blues artist Jimmy Dillon: Bad and Blue, The Next Frame, Rituals and Everything. He is the musical director for the Blue Star Music Camps for Kids in the Bay Area, founded by guitarist Jimmy Dillon.
In 2011 Ahlers created the DVD piano lesson series Killer Keyboards Made Simple. They have been sold worldwide and continue to be one of the most successful online instructional keyboard series ever produced. He also maintains a website for the DVD series on which he has submitted tutorial videos.