Band Bios


All of the players in Retro-Blue have extensive performing and recording credits and most still perform in multiple ensembles on a regular basis.  Here’s a little more about some of them.



Kelly Delaveris

Kelly Crum Delaveris has been a regular on the Central Ohio music scene since for years. Her early music education came from her father's record collection, containing Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Anita O' Day, and Carmen MacRae. An extraordinary singer, Kelly has performed with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, and as the opening act for Tony Bennett, Joan Rivers, Sarah Vaughan and Buddy DeFranco. Kelly performs regularly with her own group, Brasileira.







Andy Woodson

Andy Woodson is one of the most in-demand bass player in central Ohio. Andy began playing bass guitar at the age of 12 and later studied double bass at the Ohio State University, where he received his BM in Jazz Studies. Since then, Andy has performed and recorded with many local and nationally known musicians, including pianist DD Jackson, David Murry, Billy Hart, Jack Wilkins, Kim Pensyl, Bobby Floyd, Mark Flugge, Vince Andrews, Paul Brown and Pete Mills. In addition to his performance schedule, Andy is currently the Jazz Bass instructor at the Ohio State University.







Byron Rooker

Byron has played with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra since its foundation in 1973.  He also performs in a guitar/flute duo with Stan Smith, a rock ‘n’ roll band called the JuJu Bees, and a small jazz ensemble called Standard Time. Considered to be one of Columbus’ most accomplished musicians, he is a “super sub” filling in with numerous bands in all styles.


During the Vietnam War, Rooker was stationed in Berlin and played in the Army band.  Later he toured briefly with Paul Anka and Doc Severinsen.  Byron has a Bachelor of Music degree in Clarinet Performance from Capital University.







Chris Young

Chris Young has over thirty years experience as a musician and arranger. Chris excels on both trumpet and piano and is currently playing with the HooDoo Soul Band throughout the Midwest and on most Sunday nights at the Rumba Café in Columbus. He has also released CDs with the Chris Young Trio, the latest titled "Fiction".







Don Nichols

Don Nichols graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in jazz performance from The Ohio State University in 1979. He has performed on drums, vibes, and marimba with Marilyn Martin, and Frank Fontaine (Crazy Guggenheim), and has been the band leader for many music ensembles including The Big Gas Band, Project One, Murphy's Law, and the Don Nichols Jazz Ensemble among others. Don writes most of the material recorded by Retro-Blue.







Erin Gilliland

Erin is an associate violinist with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. She has also served as Principal Second Violin of the Sarasota Opera Orchestra and Assistant Concertmaster of the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra. Along with her duties as a Violin Instructor at Otterbein College, she serves as Concertmaster of the Westerville Symphony Orchestra, and has appeared as soloist in Vivaldi’s Winter, Bruch’s G minor Concerto, and Mark O’Connor’s Fiddle Concerto.


Erin completed her BM at the Ohio State University and her MM and DM studies at the Florida State University. She has toured with the Robert Shaw Choral Festival Orchestra in France, and with La Chapelle de Montréal under the baton of Yannick Nezet-Sequin in Canada.


Erin also enjoys performing with groups outside of the classical genre in styles such as Latin, Jazz, and Rock such as Madrugada, and Science Gravy Orchestra. Along with these pursuits, Erin served as Concertmaster for the First National Tour of the Broadway Show Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.








Jim Curlis

Jim Curlis taught Jazz Drum Set at Capital University and The Ohio State University for over a decade. Jim has performed with well-known entertainers such as Bob Hope, Perry Como, Red Skelton, Michel Legrand, and many nationally known Jazz artists including the Brecker Brothers, Sonny Stitt, Tom Scott, Bill Waltrous, Frank Foster, Marv Stamm, Roland Hanna, Oliver Nelson and internationally renowned vocalist, Joe Williams. At present Jim is the owner and engineer of Lake Hill Sound recording studio.








Kristopher Keith

For over two decades, Kris Keith has made a name for himself in the local music scene in Columbus, Ohio. His reputation as a strong woodwind doubler and his ability to perform a wide range of musical styles from jazz to classical, from Cuban to Brazilian, from rock to funk, has kept him in high demand as a sideman and session player.

Some of the Columbus groups he performs with regularly include the Paradise Island Band, HooDoo Soul Band, and the Columbus Jazz Orchestra. Since 1999 Kris has performed in the pit orchestra for over 20 Columbus Broadway Series performances at the Ohio Theater and the Palace Theater. He has worked with major artists including Billy Taylor, Lew Tabackin, Diane Schuur, Johnny Mathis, Rosemary Clooney, Aretha Franklin, John Clayton, Andrea Bocelli, Hubert Laws, Mark Levine, Rufus Reid, and Dr. John.


Kris has a Bachelor's degree in Flute Performance and Jazz Studies and a Master of Arts in Woodwind Pedagogy, both from The Ohio State University.








Luis Gabriel Biavi

Luis Biava is principal cello of Columbus Symphony Orchestra, artistic director of the Chamber Music Society of Dublin, conductor of Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra and Camarata and Music Director of the New Albany Symphony. He attended the University of Michigan, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Cello Performance. He also holds bachelor’s and master’s degree from the Juilliard School.

Luis has performed as recitalist on the east coast, Puerto Rico and Colombia, South America as well as many chamber music concerts with CMSD and Camarata, the High Street Four String Quartet and the Canaletto Ensemble. His recordings include the Fauré Elegy with CSO, works of Antonio Maria Valencia with the Biava-Uribe Trio and as principal cello of the Spoleto Festival orchestra the Grammy nominated opera by Samuel Barber, Antony and Cleopatra.


He has been awarded the Empleos and Employment Ohio Diversity award for Latinos making a difference. In conducting this year, Mr. Biava conducted Hilary Hahn in the Korngold Violin Concerto and was cover conductor for the Philadelphia Orchestra’s Tchaikovsky Spectacular concert in Saratoga Springs.








Michael Cox

Dr. Michael Cox is a tenured Professor of Saxophone and Jazz Studies at Capital University.  Michael currently performs in the Columbus Jazz Orchestra, and various other bands including Brasileira, Powerhouse Trio, Science Gravy Orchestra, Andy Woodson Band, Madrugada and the High Street Stompers. In 1999 Michael released the rare but highly acclaimed "Abstractions", "Dedications and Red Dirt" (CoJazz CJ-1007). It seems like Michael is always recording some new project, whether it’s a new jazz CD and or a CD of French classical chamber music, he’s always making great music.

Michael has a Doctor of Arts degree in Saxophone Performance and Jazz Pedagogy from the University of Northern Colorado, a Masters degree in Music Performance from Wichita State University, and a Bachelor's degree from Cameron University in his home town of Lawton, Oklahoma.








Tom Battenberg

Tom Battenberg was born in Dayton, Ohio and came to Columbus on a piano scholarship to pursue a music education degree at The Ohio State University. Once at Ohio State, he switched his major to trumpet and was playing in the Columbus Symphony Orchestra by his senior year. Following graduation, he moved on to Arizona State University, where he earned his masters of music degree in performance and played in the Phoenix Symphony. Following graduation at ASU he won the position of 2nd trumpet in the Dallas Symphony before moving back to Columbus to teach trumpet at his alma mater. For the next 26 years, Battenberg taught trumpet and performed at OSU. From 1970 to 1990, he was the director of the internationally acclaimed OSU Jazz Ensemble, recording 10 albums and winning many awards. He also founded the OSU Faculty Jazz Sextet and the High Street Stompers Faculty Dixieland Band.  Tom still performs with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra and the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus.














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