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|The greatest names in the percussion world are equipped with
the greatest name in the hardware world -- Gibraltar. Fact is,
our endorsees use one or more of our products on the road and
in the studio.
|Pete Kuzma is a musician’s musician. He is the guy on stage that
makes every other instrument connoisseur sit up and pay attention and
every music lover sit back and become mesmerized by the fluidity of
this young piano player’s individuality and sonic sensitivity.
This is a sentiment also shared by Philly’s reigning queen of soul Jill
Scott. Kuzma has been Jill’s music director since she first stepped into
the limelight with her critically acclaimed debut album ‘Who Is Jill
Scott?: Words & Sounds Vol. 1’. Not only did he take this album on the
road with a sell-out world tour, interpreting every record in his own
inimitable style, the live recording of this show, ‘Experience: Jill Scott
826+’, went on to sell over 750,000 units and firmly placed Pete Kuzma
on the map as one of Philly’s finest.
This relationship continued to flourish when Jill embarked on her second recording project ‘Beautifully
Human: Words & Sounds Vol. 2’. Kuzma produced the tracks ‘Not Like Crazy’, ‘The Fact Is (I Need You)’
and ‘Still Here’, as well as delivering keys on the hit single ‘Golden’. This lead on to what was another
sell-out world tour, playing to thousands-strong crowds as the headline act and not forgetting tens of
thousands when opening for such musical royalty as Prince, Sting and Frankie Beverly & Maze. This
earned Kuzma critical acclaim for his dynamic musical arrangements that covered everything from rock
to jazz via the neo soul roots of his home town of Philadelphia.
But there were much more humble beginnings for this unlikely musician. Kuzma’s first foray into music
came at the age of 8 when he decided to ask his older sister to teach him a few notes following her piano
lessons. It wasn’t long before the tables had turned and his natural ability for music meant that he was
Although a career in the music industry was not a path that Pete had considered for himself until he was
offered a scholarship from Rowan University, New Jersey. Ironically, he only applied for their Bachelors
of Music degree as something to fill the final space on his college application form. After deciding that
spending four years experimenting with music was a much more interesting option than studying the
lackluster world of business, Kuzma, unknown to him, took his first step into what was to turn out to be a
very successful music career.
However, he was given a rude awakening when he realized that attaining the degree was not going to be
the walk in the park that he had expected. He spent the next four years practicing piano and gigging
relentlessly in an attempt to keep up with the demands of his music professors.
It was during this process that he stumbled upon an audition for a band made
up of the then unknown Andre Harris and Vidal Davis (Mary J. Blige, Usher,
Musiq). Once again, his natural ability got him the gig and Pete took center
stage as the band’s resident keyboardist.
It was with this same band that Pete secured a residency at Philly’s infamous
Willemina’s, playing for Erykah Badu, Musiq, Jill Scott, Common, Mos Def,
The Roots and Bilal as they all struggled to make a name for themselves at
the venues weekly open mic night.
During this time, Kuzma caught the attention of Jazzy Jeff who recruited him
as a core member of his production team at A Touch Of Jazz. This saw Pete
now recording on Jazzy Jeff’s first solo album ‘The Magnificent’ as well as on
tracks for some of the rising stars of the time, such as Musiq, Floetry, Glenn
Lewis, Kenny Latimore, and, of course, Jill Scott. And all this while he was still studying!
After graduating Pete went on to secure his first tour with Les Nubians, touring the US, Canada and
France. Describing it as “the most awesome experience of my life”, it was a truly defining moment in his
career, deciding that this was without a doubt his destined path in life.
Kuzma’s notoriety across Philly increased, which lead to a myriad of opportunities, including the position
of music director for Jaguar Wright as she toured the east coast before taking on the same role for Jill
By now, Kuzma was multi-faceted when it came to live and recorded music. He later saw himself touring
and performing with Heather Headley, Raheem DeVaughan, Vivian Green, Floetry, Musiq, and G
Love & Special Sauce; arranging Aretha Fanklin’s band and orchestra for the 2003 VH1 Divas
concert; musically directing Stevie Wonder and his band for his duo performance with Jill Scott,
performing at the Soul Train Awards and the Image Awards in LA, as well as TV appearances on The
Oprah Winfrey Show, The Late Night Show with David Letterman, numerous appearances on The
Tonight Show with Jay Leno; Last Call with Carson Daly, Soul Train, Conan O’Brian, Regis &
Kelly, The View, Ellen, The Chris Rock Show and many, many others as well as the DVD release of
Dave Chapelle’s Block Party.
Pete’s production credits also began to swell as he found himself in the studio with the likes of Boyz II
Men, Jewel, Bilal, Raheem DeVaughn, N’Dea Davenport, Dwele and Jeff Bradshaw as well as one of
Pete’s greatest inspirators; Herbie Hancock.
As well as Hancock, Pete cites a number of the music world’s greats as inspiration for his own music,
spanning everything from the jazz of Keith Jarrett, Clifford Brown, Larry Goldings, Branford
Marsalis, Chick Corea and Jimmy McGriff; to the funk of James Brown, Prince, Earth, Wind & Fire,
The Isley Brothers and The Meters; via the more modern day sound of The Neptunes. All of which
adds to what makes Pete’s interpretation of music as sensitive as it is raucous, as classic as it is
contemporary and as universal as it is unique.
And all this before he’s even reached 30! Something tells me there’s a lot more to come…
TOURED AND PERFORMED WITH:
Musiq, Jill Scott, The Isley Brothers, Raheem DeVaughan, Mos Def, The Roots,
DJ Jazzy Jeff, Les Nubians, Vivian Green, Floetry, Heather Headley,
G Love & Special Sauce, Gerald Veasley, Jeff Bradshaw, Ross Copperman, Nerina Pallot,
NE-YO, Fantasia, Mario Winans, Danity Kane, Brian McKnight, Cyndi Lauper, Akon
Kanye West- ‘Glow in the Dark’ Tour (2008-2010)
Lady GAGA- ‘Monster Ball’ Tour (2009-2010)
Mike Posner- ’31 Mins To Take Off’ Tour (2010-2011)
Demi Lovato- TV and Promo (2011-2012)