The Astronauts is a collective of musicians from all over the SF Bay. Our partnership with the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley, California allows us to provide opportunities to students who want to serve their communities through the gift of music.
Martín Blank, co-founder, saxophonist, pianist, music educator, founder and director of The Astronauts, has been studying music since the age of five. He has studied at the Jazzschool Institute in Berkeley. His passion is to play in non-traditional music venues, bring people together, and celebrate the healing power of music.
Eli Goldlink, co-founder, pianist and Keyboardist and co-founder of The Astronauts received a Bachelor of Music degree at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley. Besides his involvement in The Astronauts, he plays piano for Cha Ching, (one of the hottest dance bands in the Bay Area,) and for Eli Goldlink’s Flavor of the Month Club Band, (a personal project).
Paul’s music career started at age 5 with formal piano lessons. At age 15, he started playing bass guitar in a funk and rock band. He studied English Literature and Writing at the University of Alabama in his hometown of Tuscaloosa while continuing to play with and co-lead several bands. In 2006 he moved to San Francisco and found the afro-latin influenced Antioquia and toured the country for a few years playing hundreds of shows and releasing three albums of original material. He now plays bass in a variety of bands, recording, teaching, writing songs, teaching with Music Together, and learning North Indian Classical music and the sitar.
David Eagle is a Berkeley-born and raised percussionist who has honed his skills as a player in a myriad of different genres around the bay. David tours regularly and is an active part of the astronauts team. He takes pride in his gift and in his opportunity to share it with others.
Bil Hager has been playing both electric and upright bass since he was 14. These days, he can be found playing in as many as 9-10 bands either as the regular bassist or as a sub. His versatility allows him to play in a wide range of styles: from jazz, folk, R&B, reggae, Afro Cuban, Cumbia, Country, Nigerian Afrobeat, Afro Peruvian, Singer-songwriters, to the Eli Goldlink’s Flavor of the Month Club Band which defies categorization.
Guitarist extraordinaire, Tony Owen, has been leading and supporting bay area projects for the last decade. He has a Bachelor of Music degree from the California Jazz Conservatory.
Alex Shapiro-Romano got his first drum set when he was 10 years old.
He began playing jazz in middle school and was alex drums bio picaccepted to the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble as a sophomore. He played with the winning Big Band at the Monterey Jazz High School Competition in 2003 and the winning High School Combo in 2005. He was also a member of the Jazz School’s Advanced High School Jazz Workshop which won the Downbeat Award for Best High School Combo in 2005. He is currently enrolled at the Jazz School Institute working on his Bachelors Degree in Music. He has also been working on his skills as a producer, composer, and multi instrumentalist.
With a Bachelor in Music degree from The California Jazz Conservatory, Luis Salcedo is currently performing and teaching regularly
in and around the Bay Area. As a sideman, or leading his own groups,
Luis draws heavily on the long tradition of jazz guitar while
presenting many different styles music. All in the hope that music will continue to help others as it has helped him.
Rikki Gibson is a singer, guitarist and composer studying at the Jazzschool Institute. Although he is versed in a wide array of genres, his major influences are Queen, Prince, David Bowie and Chico Pinheiro. He takes great pleasure and pride in being able to provide this gift to the world.
Swen Hendrickson grew up in San Francisco, where he started playing electric and upright bass in school. Throughout high school and college, the ubiquitous demand for bass in all kinds of music allowed Swen to play in a wide variety of bands and ensembles, ranging from straight ahead jazz, to bluegrass, to rock, funk, hip hop, and reggae. Having graduated from Northwestern University in Illinois with a B.A. in Political Science and Jazz Studies, Swen now lives in Oakland and plays bass with a variety of groups around the Bay Area. Whether it be through performing, teaching, or his new found interest in music recording and production, Swen is constantly in pursuit of music’s ability to connect people and create powerful shared experiences.