The group was assembled after countless late nights in Uptown, Pittsburgh. Open jam sessions allowed a free flow of musicians and ideas that eventually evolved into The Uptown Woods. The band members compose and write all original music that express their values and beliefs. This collective seeks to question society’s norms and find true meaning in living with purpose.
Jimmy Bucek, Emcee for The Uptown Woods, has always had a passion for storytelling. Stories possess wisdom about tradition and culture that is passed down through the generations. Jimmy’s stories are filled with lessons that engage the listener with life obstacles and often question society’s norm. He hopes to better the world with these conscious lyrics. Rooted in Pittsburgh, Jimmy met Garrett Shafer while attending Duquesne University. The band was formed after countless jam sessions as a vehicle to express complex emotions, ideas, and beliefs. Jimmy’s influences include: Common, Mos Def, Robert Glasper, Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Eryka Badu, 9th Wonder, The Pharcyde, The Jazz Messengers, Ella Fitzgerald, and many others.
Garrett Shafer, keyboardist for The Uptown Woods, is originally from New Jersey. Since a young age Garrett has been studying piano and has always had a passion for composing and producing music. Garrett met James Bucek at Duquesne University where they started making music together and eventually conceived the band. He is one of the founding members of the band as well as the main producer and composer of the group. His musical influences are J Dilla, Bill Evans, Robert Glasper, Biggie Smalls, and Kendrick Lamar.
Tyler Handyside has been a native to Pittsburgh his entire life, and currently lives in Plum Borough, PA. Tyler plays the saxophone, and his musical career has been highly influenced by Cannonball Adderley, Wayne Shorter, and John Coltrane. Tyler is currently a graduate student at Duquesne University, and is pursuing a career in music through sound recording, teaching, and performing. Tyler got his start with The Uptown Woods when trumpet player Austin Ostiguy was tasked with expanding the horn section in order to be as dynamic as possible.
Denzel Chismar-Oliver, the bassist for the Uptown Woods, is from right outside of Columbia, South Carolina. He is the newest member of The Woods, joining them in May of 2017. Denzel is currently studying Music Technology and Jazz Bass Performance at Duquesne University. Though bass is his primary instrument, he also plays many other instruments including piano, drums, saxophone, clarinet and flute. Denzel has been playing music since the age of five, starting on drums and moving to saxophone in middle and high school. He was raised in a very musical family; his mother, a singer and his dad, a very successful drummer who played with big acts such as The Moments, Sugar Hill Gang and Etta James. Denzel’s biggest influences are John Coltrane, Robert Glasper, Derrick Hodge, Thundercat, and J Dilla.
From the North Hills of Pittsburgh, Owen Dougan-Bacha has been with The Woods almost since their conception in 2015. He participated in jam sessions at 53 Van Braam in Uptown, which eventually turned into practices and led to gigs and a substantial presence in Pittsburgh. Owen is currently a student at Duquesne University, where he studies Music Technology with concentration in Jazz piano. He plays flute for the band, although he might fill in for Ross on drums from time to time. Major influences include Chick Corea, Bill Evans, Stevie Wonder, and vast others.
Originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, drummer Ross Antonich knew from a young age that he and music would always have a love affair. Upon attending school at Duquesne University, he met Garrett Schafer and James Bucek and joined The Uptown Woods. Ross is a lover and performer of all musics; his greatest musical influences draw upon many drumming styles such as: hip hop producers J Dilla and Madlib, jazz greats Art Blakey and Paul Motian, and avant garde earth shakers Jeff Ballard and Dave King.
Joe Van Dine
Joe Van Dine is originally from Perryopolis, PA. He has been playing trombone for about fifteen years. After a ten-year tenure in the United States Army Bands, Joe left the Army and attends Duquesne University for his Bachelors degree in Trombone Performance. Joe got started with The Uptown Woods through meeting the members at school. Joe and Garrett (keyboard) lived next to each other in 2016 and Joe was invited to play trombone with the group. Joe’s main influences are JJ Johnson, Michael Davis, Frank Rosolino, and Jeff Bush.
Trumpeter Austin Ostiguy grew up in North Kingstown, Rhode Island and ventured to Pittsburgh to study Music Production and Jazz Trumpet at Duquesne University. Since his graduation, Austin has settled into the Pittsburgh music scene as a tenacious producer, composer, and performer. He works with DIY rock band Distant Futures, country-pop artist Justin Fabus, and in 2016, he joined The Uptown Woods as a core member and arranger. Austin’s artistic influences include Andy Warhol, Richard Wagner, Lee Morgan, Dave Brubeck, and Olivier Messiaen.