Ozzie Ahlers

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Ozzie Ahlers
Birth name David Ozzie Ahlers
Born (1946-06-03) June 3, 1946 (age 69)
Summit, New Jersey, United States
Genres Rock, reggae, new age, smooth jazz, film soundtracks
Occupation(s) Instrumentalist, songwriter, music producer
Instruments Keyboards, guitar, bass

David Ozzie Ahlers (born June 3, 1946, Summit, New Jersey) is an American songwriter and music producer who plays the keyboard, guitar, and bass. In addition to a solo career, he has played with Van Morrison,[1] and Jerry Garcia (having worked with him since 1979),[2] as well as with The Edge and Craig Chaquico[3] (since 1993).[4]

Early life[edit]

Ozzie Ahlers was born June 3, 1946 in Summit, New Jersey. During high school he participated in 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. When the 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.

Career[edit]

In 1972, Ahlers moved to California, where he toured with Van Morrison and recorded three albums with Jesse Colin Young on Warner Bros. Records. He played the keyboard in Peter Rowan's band Free Mexican Airforce 1977-1978. During these years he also recorded with Gene Clark of The Byrds and rocker Greg Kihn. By 1978, he was involved with Rob Nilsson'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 Garcia for the next two 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, and hired longtime friend, Craig Chaquico from The Jefferson Starship, to play lead guitar.

By 1991, Ahlers and Chaquico joined forces and signed with Higher Octave Records. They recorded their first album, Acoustic Highway, which placed first on the Billboard Magazine charts and topped the charts in Radio & Records Magazine[when?]. For their next album, Acoustic Planet, they were nominated for a Grammy Award as well as another No. 1 position in Billboard.[5] For 2 years in a row, Ahlers and Chaquico won a Bay Area Music Award for Best Independent Album. Ahlers continued playing keyboards, songwriting, and producing all ten Craig Chaquico albums for another 16 years, as well as being the musical director for his own worldwide touring band. He 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 four 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.[6]

In 2011, Ahlers created the DVD piano lesson series Killer Keyboards Made Simple. They have been sold worldwide and continue to be a popular online instructional keyboard series. He also hosts a Webinar Series "The Keyboard Klub" as a streaming instructional group for musicians.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Morse, Steve (1999-06-23). "Craig Chaquico steals the show from the Rippingtons at the Roxy (payment required)". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  2. ^ "Jerry Garcia Bio". mtv.com. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  3. ^ Derrough, Leslie Michele (2013-01-28). "=Craig Chaquico". glidemagazine.com. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  4. ^ Boren, Ray (1993-11-26). "CURRENT STYLES, MANY CULTURES PERMEATE HIGHER OCTAVE SOUNDS". deseretnews.com. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  5. ^ "Biography". ozzieahlers.com. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  6. ^ Liberatore, Paul (2007-10-19). "Liberatore at Large: Blues Brothers (and Sisters)". marinij.com. Retrieved 2013-02-04. 
  7. ^ Huizenga, Beth (2011-08-25). "Novato's Wizard of Ozzie Helps Throw Free Downtown Party". novato.patch.com. Retrieved 2013-02-04.