Adrian Cunningham / Professor Cunningham and his Old School

The Rhythm Method is the second album from this NYC based Swing group. This latest release features a big horn sound, and also features some bluesy original tunes we hope you'll enjoy!

This band, is a result of the relationship that has developed between the band and the swing dance community of New York City. This music that we love has reached a deeper level of understanding and swing when put in the context of performing for dancers (as well as listeners). This group was formed in late 2012 and in that time has traveled the world, playing jazz venues, dance events and concerts. The visceral connection created between the music and dancing has deepened our understanding of this music. I wanted to make an album that you can enjoy listening to, but also makes you wanna move!

Recording a working band is such a simpler task than undertaking a “recording project”. Professor Cunningham and his Old School had already evolved a sound and repertoire of its own through performing and connecting with its audience. It was just a case of going into the studio and doing what we do!

This album was recorded at Bunker Studios, Brooklyn, with a very live feel. Rehearsal time was very limited, I wanted the music to have a raw, spontaneous feel to it, just like the great artists generations ago did.

This music for me personally is a coming home. Like the other guys in the band, we have a love and respect for the spectrum of Jazz history; from the early to the contemporary masters. To me, the language is the same. When you hear a great player of any era, you hear the history in their sound and phrasing. So rather than record old tunes in an old style, we really want to give this music a fresh perspective. I think we have achieved that!


Adrian Cunningham: Vocals, Tenor and Soprano Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute.
Adrian Cunningham, a New York Based musician originally hailing from Australia; is one of his home country's best jazz exports having performed locally with artists as diverse as Marcia Hines, Australian Idol Band, James Morrison, and Galapagos Duck as well as his own Quartet.

Since relocating to New York City in 2008 he has performed at some of the Big Apple's finest clubs- Smalls, Birdland, 55 Bar, Apollo Theatre, Fat Cat, Dizzy's Club (Lincoln Center) and even a private event at the hallowed Village Vanguard; with such luminaries as Lew Soloff, Wycliffe Gordon, George Coleman Jr and Bucky Pizzarelli, and Chris Potter.

Adrian is the saxophone leader of the Grammy award winning band “Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks.

Adrian is performing regularly in NYC and internationally with Wycliffe Gordon, which included a performance at the London Jazz festival and a recording in Abbey Road studios alongside Wess Anderson, Reginald Veal and Herlin Riley. He has appeared on Wycliffe’s last two albums- Dreams of New Orleans and Intimate Ellington.

Overseas Adrian has appeared twice at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, and toured Europe as well as Asia. In fact, Adrian has preformed on every continent on Earth (aside from Antarcitca!)

Charlie Caranicas- trumpet
Charlie is a consummate performer of traditional and main stream jazz and has graced the stages of many of the finest jazz venues in the world. Charlie co-led the house band at the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City and he was the trumpet soloist with the renowned Rainbow Room Orchestra.

Charlie has performed with bands as varied as Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks, the Independence Hall Jazz Band, the Onyx Club Sextet, the Karrin Allyson Group, the Kelly Friesen Quintet, the Chico O'Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, the Vanguard Orchestra and the Flying Neutrinos. Charlie has been in the pit and on stage for several Broadway shows. Charlie has also received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Matt Musselman- Trombone
Matt Musselman grew up in Maryland, picking trombone as his weapon of choice.  Since the beginning he was playing swing music, jazz standards, and classic tunes built for dancing.  He then moved to New York City to study at the Manhattan School of Music and went on to receive a masters degree from Julliard, all the while working alongside the top talent in the city's hot jazz music scene.  He worked on the HBO series "Boardwalk Empire" with Vince Giordano's Nighthawks, and also currently has his own band "Grandpa Musselman & His Syncopators" which he arranges for beautifully.  He was always tops when it came to choosing a trombonist for the Handsome Devils.  No one else around can blow so hard that steam comes out the bell and then play so sweetly it breaks your heart.  Matt, or "Muss" as we like to call him is without a doubt the mascot of the band.  The music and the vibe are always better with him around.

John Merrill- guitar
Guitarist John Merrill began his musical studies at a young age. He played clarinet, recorder, and drums but once he discovered the guitar he became determined to learn the instrument. His teacher, bassist David Stoltz, not only showed him the basics of guitar but also shared with John his passion for jazz music. He went on to attend The New School in Greenwich Village, New York, where he received a Bachelor Of Music. While at The New School, John had the opportunity to study with such luminaries as Junior Mance, Jim Hall, Arnie Lawrence, Gene Bertoncini, and many others. He was also very busy performing.

John performs regularly around New York City including a regular Smalls appearance with his quartet.

Dalton Ridenhour- piano
Dalton Ridenhour, a native of St. James, Missouri, began musical training at the age of eight. He quickly developed an interest in Ragtime and first performed at the Scott Joplin International Ragtime Festival at the age of nine. For the next eight years, he was a featured performer at many Ragtime festivals around the country.

Upon graduating high school in 2000, Dalton began furthering his education at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. At Berklee, Dalton was exposed to an abundance of new music, and he was given the opportunity to play on numerous recording sessions, concerts, and gigs that involved styles of music ranging from country and pop, to jazz. In 2003, he graduated from Berklee with a B.M. in Piano Performance.

Following studies at Berklee, Dalton completed a Master's Degree in Jazz and Contemporary Media at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where he studied privately with Harold Danko. He was the recipient of a graduate assistantship award that gave him the responsibility of teaching undergraduate courses at the Eastman School and the University of Rochester. While at Eastman, Dalton was also awarded a Downbeat Student Music Award for Oustanding Soloist in the college division, and Eastman's Shirmer Prize award for jazz performance.

Currently, Dalton resides in New York City where he performs regularly with numerous jazz, indie rock and funk bands. He has played at various clubs throughout the city, including Rockwood Music Hall, Spike Hill, The Bitter End, Fat Cat and Ars Nova. In addition, he has toured the US with the indie rock group, Goodbye Picasso.

Jim Robertson- Bass
Jim Robertson is one of NYC's most in demand bassist, both in the Jazz and Pop worlds. He plays regularly on both acoustic and electric basses, performing with many great artists, notably Japanese pop icon Senri Oe (touring Japan many times) and also Frankie J. Grande.

Paul Wells- Drums
Paul Wells began playing drums at the age of ten in his hometown of Pittsburgh, PA. He moved to the New York area to attend the renowned jazz studies program at William Paterson University, and has studied privately with John Riley, Kenny Washington, and Bill Stewart. Paul is currently touring internationally with Curtis Stigers, and is a member of Vince Giordano's Nighthawks. He has also performed with Deborah Harry, Joe Williams, The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra, The Duke Ellington Legacy, Mark Murphy, Nellie McKay, Marion Raven, Norman Simmons, and Houston Person. Paul is a contributing writer for Modern Drummer magazine and endorses Istanbul Agop Cymbals and Vic Firth drumsticks.



1. Joshua Fit The Battle at Jericho (3:17)
Composers- Traditional
This is a popular recorded traditional song in the gospel tradition. We wanted more of a big band approach to this song to give you a punchy intro to the album

2. Lesson in Groove (3:30)
Composer- Adrian Cunningham
This is a light hearted original tune in the New Orleans second line tradition, with a punchy horn section. We want this one to be a hand-clapper!

3. High Degree (3:04)
Composer- Adrian Cunningham
Another original tune in the New Orleans R&B tradition of the 50s, with a tip of the hat to the great Louis Jordan!

4. Chant in the Night (3:07)
Composers- Sidney Bechet
One of my favorite tunes by the great clarinet master Sidney Bechet, arranged especially for the band. I love the muted trumpet solo by Charlie Caranicas, and featuring the bass of Jim Robertson.

5. One Thing (2:28)
Composers- Adrian Cunningham
I wrote this song while walking around the streets of Copenhagen, Denmark. Don't ask me why; it just popped into my head. I find something very inspiring about traveling. This one is in the style of the great Fats Domino.

6. Down By the Riverside feat. Wycliffe Gordon (3:23)
Composer- Traditional
This one features my colleague and friend, Wycliffe Gordon. I have had the pleasure of playing in Wycliffe's band for a number of years now. This version was specially arranged to feature his vocals and trombone. I love the spirit of his performance on this track.

7. Black Coffee (4:39)
Composers- J.F. Bourke, P.F. Webster
I've always wanted to record this tune. I think the first version I heard was from Willie Bobo, and also I love Bobby Darin's version. I wanted this to have a slinky feel. And this features John Merrill on guitar.

8. So Nice feat. Tamar Korn (3:29)
Composers- Adrian Cunningham
This original tune features a wonderful NY vocalist and friend Tamar Korn, in a Traditional Jazz style. This one is a lot of fun, and she does an incredible job singing in a playful style.

9. You Shook Me All Night Long (3:39)
Composers- B. Johnson, M.M. Young, A. M. Young
I've always loved this tune, by the great rock band ACDC! Obviously this version is very different from the original, but the vocal lends itself to a swinging bluesy feel.

10. It Ain't Necessarily So (3:14)
Composer- Gershwin
This is one of my favorite Gershwin tunes, arranged for flute in a big band style. The band did a great job capturing the feel of this one.

11. Inside Out (3:48)
Composer- Adrian Cunningham
I wrote this one specifically with lyrics in mind, playing up to the language of opposites. (Don't get me wrong, I'm gonna treat you right...etc). I wanted to express how it feels to long for someone..I think we've all been there!

12. Ain't Gonna Bring Me Down (3:02)
Composer- Adrian Cunningham
This is a high energy song written about friends who are perhaps not the most loyal or thoughtful. It's kind of a combination of a few friendships I've had over the years. But it's still playful and light hearted and not to be taken too seriously!!

13. Amazing Grace (4:30)
Composer- Traditional
This is one of my all time favorite tunes, and wanted to end the album with a bang! We start out in a chorale style, but then the party begins! This features a great piano solo by Dalton Ridenhour.