Ping Tree Bonsai

Ping Tree Bonsai

From left: Jeff Swanson, Juan Pastor, Mike Bjella and Pat Brady

Ping Tree Bonsai, is playing at the College of Dupage on April 22nd at 6:30pm.


Jeff Swanson - electric guitar

Jeff Swanson grew up in quiet the comfort of the midwest. Born and raised in South Bend, Indiana, Jeff began studying classical guitar at the age of seven. Enjoying and taking influence from much more than just classical guitar, he was introduced to improvised music just before getting into high-school. From their he decided to take his studies further and attend a Berklee summer program. There his horizons were broadened by the likes of such guitarist as John Stowell, Rick Peckham, David Fiuczynski and David Tronzo.It was there he was also given the name of an acclaimed Chicago-guitarist and educator. As soon as he returned from the camp he got in contact and began studying with one Fareed Haque. Jeff now attends school at Northern Illinois University where he continues his studies with Fareed as well as Art Davis, Robert Chappell, Ron Carter and other Northern Jazz faculty.

Mike Bjella - tenor and alto saxophones

Michael Bjella, Saxophonist and composer, began studying saxophone with David Hastings as a seventh grader. Mike has won numerous outstanding soloist awards at the LaCrosse, Stevens Point, and Green Bay Jazz festivals. Bjella also preformed at the Stevens Point Jazz Festival with his quintet, opening for Dave Valentin and was featured on 90 FM’s Jazz Sides. Currently a senior jazz studies major at Northern Illinois University, Bjella studies jazz and classical saxophone with Steve Duke, and plays in many of the top NIU ensembles, appearing with artists such as Jimmy Heath, Wayne Bergeron, Liam Teague, and Stephen Anderson. Mike can be heard in the Chicago area with groups such as Afinc’au, the Mike Bjella Quartet, Rumba Azere, and the Grand Avenue Big Band. Also, Bjella is the founder of the creative new trio, the No Boundaries Proposal. Mike hopes to make an impact on the music scene as a versatile, open-minded and innovative musician.

Juan Pastor - Drums and percussion

Juan Pastor was born in March 3rd, 1986 in Lima Peru. He started his studies in Percussion with Hugo Alcazar. Later on He studied in the “National Conservatory of Music” where he studies with Alonzo Acosta and Juan Chavez. He started playing professional with the “Young Orchestra of New Music” where he had the opportunity to play in big stage in Lima Peru and around the world. Some of the Festivals that he had performed are “IAJE Jazz Festival 2001” (New York USA) “North Sea Jazz Festival 2004” (Amsterdam Holland) He was part of the project of Joscha Oetz (German Bass Player) call Urbanico. Currently Juan Pastor is living in Dekalb Illinois where he is playing with different musicians from Chicago; He is part of the Evolution Quartet with Darwin Noguera. Juan Pastor is studying right now at Northern Illinois University where he is studying for his bachelor’s degree in music with Robert Chappell, Greg Beyer and Rodrigo Villanueva. While he is attending NIU he is playing in tow of the top ensembles. The Wind Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Ronnie Wooten and the Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Ronald Carter.

Pat Brady

Pat studied Music and Astronomy at University of Illinois in Champaign. He was a student of classical piano from Krystyna Rola-Ryczysky. Pat also studied jazz piano from Steve Million in Chicago. Pat is founder of the Chidago Jazz group Ping Tree. Ping Tree is Pat’s first group as a leader and features his compositions. The group is composed of some of the best jazz musicians in Chicago. Ping Tree is a vehicle for expressing new music.