Band Central

We want to recognize our philanthropic musical partner, Band Central. 

Below are bios of BAND CENTRAL performers for 2019 Festival of Trees who performed 

courtesy of a grant from Fairfield County’s Foundation’s Band Central Fund:

Butch Taylor, Stephanie Harrison, Crispin Cioe, Thierry Arpino, Jeff Batter and Rob Fried


Butch Taylor is a published songwriter who has performed and recorded with many notable recording artists, both internationally and nationally. Butch has had the opportunity to perform top clubs and arenas such as the Starwood in L.A., the Boarding House in San Francisco, and the Bottom Line, the Felt Forum, and Carnegie Hall in New York City. Butch has toured and recorded with artist Vicki Sue Robinson for RCA records and appeared on major television shows such as Don Kirchner’s Rock Concert, the Midnight Special, Mike Douglas Show, and the Merv Griffin Show.

Butch has played backup guitar for such artists as James Ingram, Denice Williams, Patty Austin, Petula Clark, and Debra Cox. He has played and recorded with many notable musicians such as Larry Coryell, Anthony Jackson, David Sanborn, the Brecker Brothers, Bernard Purdie, and Alphonse Mouzon.

A graduate of Yale University, Butch has been a landmark in the local music scene for many years. He has a number of original music CDs to his credit as well as soundtracks for film and video.  Adapted from

Stephanie Harrison is a singer and  voice-over artist based in the New York metropolitan area.  She has been the voice of Lord and Taylor, Gillette, Shiseido and many other animated stories. She fronts for several of the tri-state area's most popular event bands as well as working regularly with A Nordic Sound. She is beginning to be known in Europe where she recently performed as a soloist with a jazz orchestra to standing ovation and 2 encores. 

Her influences include Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald and Tori Amos. 

Reprinted from


Crispin Cioe: A legendary saxman steeped in the traditions of R&B, Blues, and Rock ‘n’ Roll, Crispin Cioe is a renowned music director, saxophonist, composer, and songwriter who has played and recorded with James Brown, the Rolling Stones, Solomon Burke, Tom Waits, Ray Charles and the Ohio Players.

Crispin has played on more than 400 albums. As a co-founding member of the legendary horn section The Uptown Horns, Crispin Cioe has been inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in NYC.

Crispin Cioe has left an indelible imprint on American/ British roots and pop music, through his work as a soloist (viz. sax solos on James Brown’s “Living in America”, “Love & Money” by Bronski Beat, etc.), and the Uptown Horns. He has directed for TV (including “The Kennedy Center Mark Twain Prize for Humor” and “The Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Songwriting, Live from The White House”). He plays tenor and/or alto, baritone and soprano saxophone.  Read more at


Thierry Arpino: Born in Paris, Thierry Arpino stands atop a family drumming lineage which spans four generations. His father, the renowned Andre Arpino, introduced him to the drums at the age of three.

A musician’s musician, Thierry also studied classical percussion, piano and harmony. He is a graduate of the prestigious St. Maur National Music Academy in France. Thierry Arpino continued his musical education at Berklee College of Music in Boston MA, where he was invited to study with big band master Herb Pomeroy and master drums teacher Bob Kaufman.

Thierry's career has been punctuated by stints with such notables as Joe Beck, Larry Coryell, Jean-Luc Ponty, and Lisa Fisher. He has astounding ability to contribute with ownership in a variety of musical idioms such as jazz, rock, Latin jazz, African rhythm, world beat, funk, R&B and pop are why he remains one of the most sought-after drummers of his day. Adapted from


Jeff Batter Keyboards and vocals

Jeff’s early career ranged from appearances with the New Haven Symphony Orchestra at the age of 10 and 11, to joining the group Jasper Wrath, a major Northeast progressive rock band during the 70's, as well as Connecticut's favorites, "Eyes."

Jeff has worked with artists of many styles including Van Duren, Hilly Michaels, Vicki Sue Robinson, Sinead O'Connor, and many others.


Currently Jeff writes with, records and produces his wife Cheryl C. Batter, (Christian artist), and he performs with different groups as well as being involved in other session work, and jingle production. His own style ranges from classical to rock, gospel and country music.

Jeff has beautiful vocals, great vibes, and exhilarating keyboard style. Adapted from

Rob Fried: As an Electric/Acoustic bassist and vocalist, Rob Fried has performed at clubs and music festivals with renowned artists including Randy Brecker, Marion Meadows, Chris Parker and Joe Beck. In addition, Rob has performed as an opening act for Manhattan Transfer, Little Feat, Tower of Power, BB King, and YES.

Rob describes playing live: “When I see how people respond as I play jazz, rock and funk, it is a powerful thing. When people get up to dance, are smiling and the euphoria happens, it is almost like the audience becomes another member of the band. I try to feel what they are feeling and then take it higher. That is definitely a big part of the joy of being a musician.”

Rob Fried has produced two original albums, Wind Song and Water Rhapsody, to critical acclaim.  Rob’s musical style is varied, multi-textured, and includes a myriad of influences.  Rob started playing guitar at age 8 and bass at age 15. At age 13 he co-founded To The Max, a rock band that has performed in Connecticut for a generation. After a university education and a career in the asset management business, Rob studied world music, chord scale improvisation, theory, and composition with Tony Cimorosi in the 1990’s.

Rob Fried has been the driving force in establishing the Band Central Fund within Fairfield County’s Community Foundation for playing Music with Purpose to benefit Connecticut’s non-profit organizations. Adapted from

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