blue number nine's bio


[NOTE: This was the final bio of the band in 2010]

This eclectic Jersey City based group is the brain child of lead singer and flutist Stefanie Seskin, a recipient of ASCAP's ASCAPLU$ songwriter award in the "Popular" category since 2001. blue number nine, formed at the end of 1995, is the largest project of this music maker since childhood, whose own blood-line of professional artists includes her grandfather, Fred Skerritt. Skerritt played with some of jazz's greats during his time with Machito's Afro Cuban Orchestra in the 1940's and his love of a strong rhythm layered with the melodic flavor of many cultures is a foundation strongly infused in his granddaughter.

Seskin's strong stage presence is due not only to years of playing music, but also to her dance training and natural athletic ability - and lest anyone think Stefanie is solely a creature of music and movement, she also holds a Master's Degree in Communications. This combination of the aesthetic and the intellectual makes her a dynamic songwriter, creating music that you can think about and dance to.

Marco Accattatis covers the bass guitar. Marco moved to the US from Italy to study music and has since performed on various projects covering a broad range of styles - jazz, fusion, funk, rock, dance, caribbean, r&b, soul, pop, and bluegrass. Marco is a former member of the Tony Trishka Band and appears on the group's album "Bend." Currently, he plays with several other groups, teaches private students and was also performer /composer in residence for the NYU New Music Ensemble at New York University.

Igor Fejzula recently filled the guitarist position in blue number nine. He grew up in Barcelona and has performed throughout Barcelona and the north Mediterranean coast in different pop, rock and soul bands, then moved to New York City in 2005 where he received a BFA degree in jazz performance from City College of New York. In addition to blue number nine, he has performed with many other bands of different styles. He also teaches private guitar lessons.

The final ingredient in the core of the rhythm section is Jack M. Gourdine II, a drummer since the age of 13. An army brat raised in Okinawa, Gourdine spent his teens playing NCO clubs - a tough proving-ground for a young musician. His professional experiences range from marching bands to orchestras to soul and R&B groups - his range provides the group with the rock-solid foundation that only a seasoned drummer can provide.

In the vocals department, blue number nine also boasts diverse and talented man and women who round off the group's sound with tight vocal harmonies. Current vocalists include Paul Munoz, Morgan Rose Fite, Nadina Mauri and Dara Seitzman.

When blue number nine brings in The Random Horns, the talent on stage sets the already-hot room on fire. Core members, who appear on the band's latest album, "let's find a way", are Lily White on sax, Rob Susman on trombone and Chuck MacKinnon on trumpet.
Jenny Hill (sax) and Pamela Fleming (trumpet) are also NYC regulars. When on tour, the band has been known to fearlessly pick up the local area's finest horn players.

blue number nine is a unique blend of musicians and musical styles, flavored with intelligence and expertise, given to aural flight but never far from the beat. Their high energy performances and fresh funk grooves draw an audience into a special musical world of sound, movement and joy.



2008 - "let's find a way", check other records

2005 - "Oasis Pop, Volume 5, Number 3 ", compilation by Oasis CD

2005 - "living it up in the new world ", check other records

2003 - "on a shoestring", check other music

2001 - "Saving Spot", check other music

2001 - "Long Island Music Coalition, Volume 2", compilation by the LIMC 2001

- "Around the World in 60 Minutes, Volume 2", compilation by House of Jordan

2000 - "Oasis Rock & Roots, Volume 13", compilation by Oasis CD

2000 - "blue number nine", Berger Platters Records



bn9 HISTORY: top

1995 - SEPTEMBER: Stefanie has a meeting with Minoru and Kim - she knew Minoru already from her religious organization, and met Kim at a wedding.
Stefanie places an ad for a bass player in the papers.
Every day she passes a guy giving out flyers and finds out he's a drummer (Valery, from Russia).
Stefanie meets Eric Smith, vocalist, at an open mic and Veronica at a Buddhist meeting.
NOVEMBER: Stefanie Seskin - lead vox & flute, Kim Preston - keys, Minoru Kikuchi - guitar, Lloyd Nilsen- bass, Valery (last name?) - drums, and Veronica Manning and Eric Smith - vocals - start rehearsing.
Jack Gourdine, who Stefanie already knew, replaces Valery because Valery doesn't own a drum kit.
Keisha, Veronica's friend, replaces Eric (he goes on to do his own thing and still is.)

1996 - MARCH: First gig!
Elisa Burgos, Lloyd's friend, replaces Kisha (where Kisha went, no one knows.)
Susan Augustus, who Stefanie met in school and bumped into at the band's rehearsal studio, replaces Veronica (Veronica has a baby!)

1997 - Everett Boyd, who Stefanie and Minoru already knew, replaces Lloyd (Lloyd goes on to become a keyboard player and stays in touch over the years.)
Natalie Pospolita reads an ad in the paper and replaces Elisa (Elisa left for personal reasons.)
JoAnn, a percussionist and singer, reads an ad on the internet and joins.

1998 - Jennifer Kelly reads an ad on the internet and replaces Susan (Susan decides to focus on what she went to school for - producing television!)

1999 - JoAnn leaves due to personal reasons. Not a nice breakup, but the band moves on.
The band begins recording it's first CD.
Diane Chiorello, who reads an ad on the internet, replaces Natalie (Nat has a baby!)
Marco Accattatis reads an ad in the paper and replaces Everett (Everett quit right after recording the first CD for personal reasons; he is still out there gigging with other bands.)
Joel Hirsch, percussionist and a colleague of Marco, becomes a regular.
Horns play with bn9.

2000 - The CD is released
Amanda Chiorello, Diane's sister, becomes back up to back up singers.
Kim leaves due to personal inter-band relationships and issues
Jennifer leaves, connected to Kim, and it's not a nice breakup.
Sheila Connors & Kristy Cates join, both after reading ads in the paper.
Diane leaves, also not a nice breakup.
George DeHoff, keyboards, joins. He read an ad on the internet.
Mandi leaves because she feels uncomfortable that Diane, her big sister, left
Camari Frame joins, also an ad in the paper.
Rob Susman, a trombonist and friend of a friend, & Ada Rovatti, a tenor sax player and Marco's friend, become regulars.

2001 - A gig becomes a live CD.
George leaves - the band didn't "make it" fast enough for him
Kristy leaves - she has conflict with another member, but mainly, she came to NYC to perform on Broadway. She reaches that goal only one year later and performs in WICKED.

2002 - SUMMER - the band plays out of the area (Buffalo, NY) for the first time. Lineup: Stefanie, Minoru, Marco, Jack, Camari & Sheila
special guests: Ada, Rob, Joel
also with: Heather Bennett - keyboards, Dara Sietzman - vocals, Chuck Basil - keyboards, Nabate Isles - trumpet, Lauren Sevian- baritone sax & Greg Eichelzer - vocals
The band records a third CD
Sheila moves back to Buffalo, NY, but continues as a regular member

2003 - The band plays Cleveland in June and gets anxious to tour more often!
Camari moves to Columbus, Ohio, but continues to perform with the band, just not regularly.
The band releases "on a shoestring", their third, CD produced and engineered by themselves.
CD release party: Stefanie, Minoru, Marco, Jack, Camari, Sheila, Joel and Jenny Hill on alto sax and Rob Susman on trombone.
Blackout day, August 14, 2003, Aaron Strebs does a behind the scenes video about blue number nine.
Amy Leeds sings backups w/bn9 for the first time in September.
In December, after 9 years, Minoru (the only original member other than Stefanie) and bn9 part ways. The other members felt that Minoru was dragging his feet about recording. It is an agonizing decision, but Minoru is replaced by Sal Carrubba.

2004 - The year starts with more gigs booked through summer than previous years
Ten excellent bookings in June, the most ever in one month
Things become almost too busy for a group of people with other jobs, but not busy or profitable enough for people not to need jobs - stress & tension fills the band and Stefanie considers quitting... several times! Tension continues all year and resentments build
Jeff Witt, an old friend of Stefanie's, joins the band on certain gigs playing keyboards
Amy Leeds resigns to work on her solo project (but is still a sub the band can rely on, and is still in touch)
The band starts recording a 4th CD
Lloyd Nilsen, bn9's original bassist, helps the band finish up the patch bays in Concussion Studios. He also lays down some keyboards for use on the next CD
Morgan Rose Fite auditions and joins as vocalists
First time playing New Year's Eve!

2005 - The year starts with the death of Marco's mother and major difficulties and delays getting the CD recorded, but Stefanie, Marco & Jack fight on
Sal Carrubba resigns in late January, but keeps all the music for future sub work; Sal & his family move to Florida in later in the year (December.)

The band asks Luca Tozzi to join the band as guitarist. He had previously recorded some tracks for the next CD because the band was trying to get things wrapped up and Sal was having time difficulties
The band continues auditioning singers
Marco & Stefanie book the band for an 11 day tour in June
"Living It Up In The New World" is released on June 1
The band has to turn down the New York Road Runner's Club mini marathon, after 4 years in a row of performing at it, due to the tour
Evie Nagy joins the band as back up vocalist
The band begins booking dates for 2006 in the summer of 2005 - the first time bookings occur so far in advance
A DVD is shot by Aaron Strebs in July; a DVD is shot for cable television's "Across the Hudson" in August
In the fall, Camari announces that she will be moving back to NYC in January
The band's last show of 2005 is October 29th, which just so happens to be Marco's birthday. The band decides to take a break for the winter
Luca gets a regular gig with another band on Tuesday nights, the band's usual rehearsal night; it becomes highly difficult to rehearse and the band rehearses less than ever before in its history
In December, Camari announces that she will not be moving back to NYC - a teaching job she was counting on for financial reason fell through; the next day, Jack announces that he has bought a used car and gotten rid of his van. His van had been bn9's tour vehicle for the past 8 years and he decided to get rid of it without discussing it with anyone in the band first. The year ends on a low note for blue number nine, with Stefanie in a bad mindset

2006 - Slow start gig-wise; bn9 does one show in February and Stefanie does a solo show in February
Marco works super hard to book a logical tour with good routing for 2006, but as of March, shows are all over the place.
Marco & Stefanie buy a 15 seat passenger van gearing up for an insane summer.
The band gets booked to play in new territory, including NC & SC.
The Ohio State Fair hires blue number nine
Singer/Songwriter Dana Shellmire signs on for some shows (so the backup singer army consists of Camari Frame, Morgan Fite, Evie Nagy, Dana Shellmire, Chris Vaindirlis & Amy Leeds).
Keyboard player Kim Preston returns to NYC... Stefanie calls him to be on a few bn9 shows, but he turns it down
Keyboardist Jeff Witt announces he can no longer commit to shows due to a new job that involves exensive travel (and really great money!)
Jill Shuler auditions as back up vocalist and joins as sub to singers
Lexington Market in MD books bn9 (first time in MD) and asks the band back immediately
Marco puts together a long tour for August, slowly but surely, and the band plays Boston, New Hampshire and Lincoln, MA - first shows in New England
Keyboardist Jim Kost is asked to join bn9 on a few gigs.
blue number nine is booked to open for the legendary Average White Band in CT. The show is a huge success and loads of fun
bn9 plays in Pine Plains NY and is asked to come back within the same month
July 2006 - very BUSY month; very BUSY summer! The band returns to Cleveland, finally, and catches up with fans who have become true friends
$500 gets thrown into the van already, after only owning it for a few months
The August tour goes well with new fans made all the way out to MN
Immediately after returning from the tour, the band's latest guitarist announces that he is quitting the band, so the search begins again
In September, the band breaks even and enters profit mode on the three blue number nine CD's

2007 - Marco quits blue number nine
The band's first show of the year is to a packed, enthusiastic audience in NYC
Marco returns to blue number nine in March
April 2007 - The band releases a DVD
Doreen Younglove returns to blue number nine; meanwhile Camari disappears, Chris Vaindirlis takes on a job that prohibits her from singing with bn9, Evie Nagy takes on a job that limits her ability to sing with blue number nine and vocalist Paul Munoz starts rehearsing with the band
Viola Karuri, vocalist, joins the band
Doreen leaves blue number nine again!
Morgan becomes very busy with her waitressing job and other activities which prohibit her from performing much with blue number nine but she signs on for several summer tourdates
Karyn gets promoted at her retail job and can no longer go on tour for the rest of the gigs booked. BD Lenz and Luca Tozzi pick up the slack
The band starts auditioning guitar players and finds a great guitarist named Igor Fejzula
Igor plays his first show with bn9 in August in NYC
Amy Leeds moves to Nebraska

2008 - the band continues recording a new CD started in late 2007
May 2008 - Nadina Mauri auditions for bn9
June 6, 2008 - CD release party and summer tour kickoff
The band does it's first summer tour with a stop in Milwaukee playing "Jazz in the Park" to an audience of 7,000 with Chris Kent on trombone and Chris Felts on sax
Viola Karuri moves back to Kenya and so can no longer perform with blue number nine
Igor Fejzula heads back to Spain for a few months. Luca Tozzi, BD Lenz and Minoru Kikuchi fill in dates on guitar

2009 - mostly local gigs booked this year
Stefanie decides to do a blue number nine podcast!
Igor stays in Spain. Minoru Kikuchi returns to bn9
Chris Vaindirlis subs for Paul while Morgan and Nadina are out of town (first time Chris and Dara sing together)

2010- hiatus... gigs booked are cancelled by the venue, specifically, Jersey City cancels the entire Journal Square Summer Concert Series due to lack of funds


jersey city, nj 07307

copyright 1996-2010
blue number nine™ is not affiliated with Number Nine Records
or any other band or entity with "blue" or "nine" in their name