Reviews & Opinions

Tony Alford Still Loves the Bass
JazzErie Scholarship Recipient Makes Music in Florida

Tony AlfordTony Alford was a 19 year old bass student of Harry Jacobson (NYU – Fredonia) when he received a JazzErie Scholarship to pursue his education in music nearly 20 years ago.  He used the scholarship to enroll at the University of Miami (FL), then switched to the less expensive Florida International University, which also had a strong music program.  He has pursued a lifelong career in music.

“I’m  a much stronger player now than when I lived in the Erie area.  As word got around, I was exposed to a lot of artists and got an opportunity to be heard.  Jazz fusion and straight ahead jazz (Tony plays both electric and upright bass) are my main interests.”  Tony’s fusion band, The Inner Courts,” has played for the Riverwalk Concert Series, and at local clubs and concerts, including as a warm-up band on June 23-24 for Alan Holdsworth.  Tony also backs local vocalists on the food & wine circuit.

For a while, Tony was able to support himself through teaching and gigging, though more recently, as performance opportunities have dried up in the area, he has had to add a day job.  “It’s tough to find this kind of work in South Florida now.  Even people like Arturo Sandoval are struggling there.  It’s very political.  I find most of my opportunities now in the Ft. Lauderdale area.

Tony Alford Scholarship 1985“I’m working on updating my website – I’ll let you know when it’s there,” he says.  Meanwhile, you can check out his work at a 2010 Riverwalk Jazz concert.  The band, The Inner Courts, plays Chick Corea’s “Windows,” Mike Stern’s “Mood Swings,” and Freddy Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower”– on a dock, under a tent by the ocean.  (Why would anyone go to Florida???) 


Tony can be contacted at his email address:  Tony’s mom still lives in the Buffalo area, and he hopes to visit Erie again, perhaps pick up on an opportunity to play here.





Want a sense of Tony's current style? Here are a few videos from his band, The Innercourt, playing the 2010 Riverwalk Jazz Concert in southern Florida. The band includes Tony on bass, Camilo Velandia on guitar, Paul Banman on Keys and Leonardi Guzman on drums.

The first cut is Little Sunflower, with Tony's solo at 6:00.


The second is Chick Corea composition, Windows, with Tony's solo at 5:45.


And the final song is Mood swings by Mike Stern.

By Dick Thompson
November 1, 2011