Jeff Tkazyik changed is name to Jeff Tyzik in 1979.
Born in Hyde Park, New York, Jeff Tyzik first fell in love with music at the age of eight when he saw a drum and bugle corps march by in a local parade. "For my ninth birthday, I said, 'I want a bugle!'" recalled Tyzik. But when he opened the case, he was crushed. "It wasn't a bugle. It was a cornet!"
He quickly forgot his initial disappointment, however, and began studying cornet with a teacher who had performed in the Goldman Memorial Band in the 20's. He immediately excelled. "I was always extremely serious about music, even at a young age. I was frustrated with the other kids when they didn't take it as seriously as I did." recalled Tyzik, adding, "I've always given all of my energy to anything I'm passionate about."
Tyzik's teachers and friends began pushing him to audition for the Eastman School of Music. Tyzik recalls, "Eastman was a pivotal place in my development because I was exposed to legends there, like Ray Wright. When I was a kid, once in a while my mom would take me to Radio City Music Hall where Ray was the conductor of the Radio City Music Hall Orchestra. I met Ray years later when he was a professor of jazz studies at the Eastman School and I was a student. He became a mentor to me. He knew volumes about music and the music business. He treated all of his students as professionals. What I do today, I directly link to my studies with him."
At Eastman, Tyzik also met Chuck Mangione, the great band leader. Since Mangione was tough on him in college, Tyzik was happily surprised when Mangione offered him a job. Over the six years following, he worked under Mangione, soaking in every part of the music business.
"During my first performance at the Hollywood Bowl with Chuck, we were recording a live album. I was both performing on stage and co-producing the recording," Tyzik laughs. "Five minutes before the concert started, the power went out in the Hollywood Bowl and everything went dark. Live performance is always interesting!"
Performing in the 70's with Mangione's jazz orchestra for crowds ten and twenty thousand strong showed Tyzik that the possibilities for the orchestra beyond classical music were unlimited. "People came to see Chuck, but they also came for the music. So even though I was classically-trained, I went in a more jazz, pop, and rock direction for nearly twenty years, always trying to synthesize those musical elements for symphony orchestra."
Tyzik encountered the next great opportunity of his career when he met pops legend Doc Severinsen, then leader of the Tonight Show band. Tyzik and virtuoso trumpet player Allen Vizzutti collaborated on a trumpet concerto specifically for Doc to record. "Allen was on a world tour with Chick Corea and couldn't make the premiere of our piece, so I went to the first rehearsal alone," Tyzik recalls. "I was nervous (to say the least!) and was hiding in the back of the auditorium. Doc called me up to the stage and had me sit right next to him while they rehearsed the piece for the first time. Doc loved the concerto. That night, he and I spent hours talking about all of these things we'd like to do someday—and everything we talked about that night, we ended up doing." Some of the projects Tyzik has worked on with Doc include contributing arrangements for many of Doc's symphony programs, and most notably, producing the GRAMMY Award-winning album, The Tonight Show Band with Doc Severinsen, Vol. 1, recorded in 1986.
"Doc has been an inspiration to me. His energy and determination to continue to be a musician of excellence is awesome," said Tyzik, "My relationship with him is well beyond professional and deeper than I can explain."
- 1 Remix
- 19 Instruments & Performance
- 39 Writing & Arrangement
- 5 Conducting & Leading
- 42 Production
- 17 Technical
- 1 Acting, Literary & Spoken