Phil DeGreg Trio

The Phil DeGreg Trio has been a recognized performing group in southern Ohio since 1988. They are currently in residence at the Dee Felice Café in Covington, Kentucky every Sunday night. For 13 years the Phil DeGreg Trio accompanied many national and international jazz artists in at Cincinnati’s famous Blue Wisp Jazz Club, and received two of the Cincinnati Enquirer’s prestigious “Cammy” Awards and five CityBeat Cincinnati Entertainment Award nominations in the jazz category.

The trio performs in many styles ranging from jazz and Brazilian classics, to contemporary remakes of Beatles and Stevie Wonder music. In the Greater Cincinnati area, the Phil DeGreg Trio has performed in countless jazz concerts at Xavier University, CCM, the Public Library, on Fountain Square, and many churches, retirement communities and other venues. You can hear their recording of Harold Arlen’s “Come Rain or Come Shine ” as the theme music for WVXU’s “Around Cincinnati” program every Sunday night.The trio includes bassist Aaron Jacobs and drummer John Taylor, both highly in-demand players and on the faculty of CCM.

Aaron Jacobs is a busy and in demand upright and electric bassist in Cincinnati, OH. He studied classical and jazz performance at College Conservatory of Music (CCM), finishing with degree in jazz performance. He plays all over the city in styles ranging from jazz, rock, latin, funk, classical, and hip hop. At present, Aaron freelances and plays in various bands around the city, including Phil DeGreg and Brasilia, the John Zappa Trio, Eclipse Movement (hip hop), and the Rick VanMatre Quintet.

John Taylor is a freelance drummer, composer, arranger, and educator based in Dayton, Ohio. In addition to drums and percussion, he also plays piano, guitar, and electric bass. A remarkably versatile player, John maintains a busy performance calendar playing a wide variety of Jazz, Pop, and World styles. He performs regularly with Brasilia, Puzzle of Light, and as leader of the John Taylor Trio. John studied at Berklee College of Music and later earned a B.A. in Music Education from Wright State University. He arranges for competitive high school marching bands and percussion groups throughout the Midwest.

Jazz@First Concert Series

Phil founded the Jazz@First Concert series in 2016, under the umbrella of the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra, a 501(C3) educational organization. The concerts feature thematic/educational presentations by Phil and mostly Cincinnati musicians, in addition to frequent visiting artists. The concerts always occur on Sunday afternoons from 2-4 at the First Unitarian Church, Linton and Reading in Cincinnati. The space is intimate and sounds marvelous. All concerts are acoustic (no microphones) and the admission price includes wine and cheese snacks during the intermission, along with social mixing.

Jazz@First Concerts in the last three years have featured thematically fresh renditions of music associated with these artists:

  • Dave Brubeck
  • The Beatles
  • Bill Evans
  • Cole Porter
  • Jelly Roll Morton
  • Thelonious Monk
  • Horace Silver
  • Chick Corea,
  • Benny Goodman,
  • Antonio Carlos Jobim,
  • Nat King Cole
  • Cannonball Adderley

Visiting guest artists have included:

  • Conrad Herwig,
  • Alan Barnes
  • Harry Allen
  • Bruno Mangueira,
  • Paul Keller
  • Scott Robinson
  • Andy Brown
  • Paul Keller
  • Charlie Young

Look here to see the upcoming schedule and information about The Jazz@First Series and the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra


Joe Lukasik and Phil DeGreg Vintage Jazz Duo

Phil and virtuoso jazz clarinetist Joe Lukasik have enjoyed performing Traditional jazz music together as a duo for many years. Their music ranges from New Orleans classics of Jellyroll Morton to the swing era gems of Benny Goodman to Brazilian traditional choro repertoire.

Joe, a long time veteran of the legendary Horace Henderson band, is a mainstay of the Cincinnati jazz scene. He is the clarinetist with the Buffalo Ridge Jazz Band led by his wife trumpeter Sally Lukasik, and performs frequently with the highly acclaimed Faux Frenchman. Phil also performs often with the Buffalo Ridge band, and Sally often joins Joe and Phil to create a small Dixieland trio.

Here are some sound files of Phil and Joe together:

China Boy



Phil DeGreg is a Christian believer, and enjoys performing in church services on Sundays and in other related activities. Hymnprovisation is a collection of jazz arrangements of hymns and praise songs, which he plays in a solo, trio, or quartet format. The CD and track samples are available at CD Baby.


Brasilia performs regularly in Cincinnati and around the Midwest. The band includes pianist Phil DeGreg, trumpeter Kim Pensyl, and vibraphonist Rusty Burge, and bassist Aaron Jacobs who are all professors at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Drummer John Taylor from Dayton, OH is a very busy freelance musician in southern Ohio.

Brasilia was formed in 2008 following Phil’s four-month Fulbright Fellowship residency at the University of Campinas, near Sao Paulo Brazil. The group performs classic popular Brazilian repertoire and original music with plenty of room for improvisation. Their repertoire includes songs in samba, bossa-nova, choro, baião, and frevo styles, including works by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Edu Lobo, João Donato, Hermeto Pascoal, and others. They have recently performed for the Jazz Educator’s Network Convention, the Paramount Theatre in Huntington West Virginia, the University of Evansville, The Xavier University Master’s of Swing Series concert series, the Louisville Jazz Society, Cincinnati’s Blue Wisp Jazz Club, the 5/3 Commonly Jazz Series in Eden Park, The Thompson House, and in concert at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music.

Phil DeGreg toured with Woody Herman and has accompanied a great variety of leading jazz artists, ranging from Dave Liebman to J.J. Johnson to Scott Hamilton. He has made ten CDs as a leader, and is a frequent visitor to Brazil, where he recorded two CDs with leading Brazilian players. Kim Pensyl is a prolific jazz recording artist, composer and arranger who has twice been named one of Billboard’s Top-20 Contemporary Jazz Artists of the Year. Vibraphonist Rusty Burge is a virtuoso performer, who is equally comfortable in both the jazz and classical worlds, and has performed extensively throughout North America, Europe, and Asia.

Their newest CD is entitled “Brazilian People” (2014). It includes two tracks with guest Brazilian guitarist Bruno Mangueira, a top tier player from Sao Paulo.