Rob Shinno - Guitar, Keys, Vocals
Rob has been playing music since the age of seven, and was classically schooled on piano. Rob was an eager performer who excelled at recitals including performances at the Interlochen Center for the Arts. Playing in several bands in Michigan, Rob moved to San Diego, California in 1983 to form the bands New Continent and Uncommon Ground with drummer Mike McQuilken. Rob and Mike produced several albums together, with Rob on vocals, guitar and Mike’s drumming, percussion and sequencing skills. These included 'World One World', 'Structures' and 'Information Age' Soon after, Rob released his first CD, ‘River of Life’ which was received with good critical acclaim. ‘River of Life’ received radio air-play and was Gavin chart bound for 10 weeks. Rob was also nominated for ‘Best New Artist of the Year’ by the San Diego Music awards. With 'River of Life' Rob was also one of the first contemporary jazz artists to be openly out as a gay performer, appearing four times on San Diego Pride's Main Stage and multiple community benefits from 1994 on, as well as the San Diego Smooth Jazz festival, Newport Beach Jazz and other mainstream events.
Rob formed Hemisphere with sax player Don Bowman and released the CD ‘Blue Planet Dreams’ which also garnered critical acclaim and was nominated for ‘Best Album of the Year’ by the San Diego Music awards. ‘Blue’ also featured drummer Bill Ray, and bassist Tony Hill. Shows to support the album included a headlining performance at 4th&B, the KIFM Smooth Jazz Festival and an appearance at the Newport Beach Jazz Festival. After the release of ‘Blue’, Rob travelled the world and those influences were heard on the album ‘Destinations’, which also featured keyboardist Max Zape along with Don and Rob. ‘Destinations’ was featured on BET Jazz soon after its release, followed by many live shows in California.
Rob considers his style to be a mash-up of electronica, pop, new age, and jazz styles. Rob has also had a very visual component to his shows, with various multi-media productions to augment live music performances. Currently Rob is working with Mike McQuilken, Don Bowman, Richard Rose and Nathan Brown on new material to be released as American Dreams (dropping July 2020 world-wide. see us live at the album showcase in October 2020) to coincide with the 30 year anniversary of the ‘Information Age’ which will be reissued in 24-bit audio in 2021. Having graduated with honors from Michigan State with an engineering degree, Rob’s favorite guitarists are Brian May and Pat Metheny.
Don Bowman - Vocals, Sax, EWI, Keys
Born in San Diego, Don lived in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Paris by the time he was in his teens. Don began playing the saxophone during his sophomore year in high school. Already an accomplished player on the flute and piccolo, he pursued the sax eagerly, joining his high school stage band. After graduating from Berklee College of Music, he returned to San Diego and worked for many years in various bands of different styles, from Rock, Jazz, R'n'B, Pop, Be-bop. Don is also an accomplished vocalist who is performing lead vocals on American Dreams. Don has performed with the SD Opera Chorus and various vocal ensembles though out California. Thrilled to join Hemisphere, he contributed his sax and keyboard skills and co-wrote a number of the songs on both "Blue Planet Dreams" and on "Destinations," in which he sings a lead vocal track with Yo Lo Diga. Currently living in Northern California, Don continues to gig with local bands and is working on the new material for the 'American Dreams' album where he will showcase his vocals along with sax, and electronic reed instruments.
Michael McQuilken - Drums, Percussion
Michael McQuilken was born in San Diego, California. He began studying privately when he was 11 years old. His heroes in his youth were Ginger Baker, Bill Bruford, and Carl Palmer. He performed with all the school bands and orchestras and was a member of the San Diego Youth Symphony. His private teacher had him begin teaching his beginning students at age 14. From high school until 1984, he performed with various top-40 bands, blues bands, and jazz combos. Michael met Rob Shinno in 1984. This partnership created Thurston's Adventure in 1984 with Viki Tama, which evolved into Return to Zero bringing in Jef Kmak. In 1985 Rob and Michael formed Uncommon Ground with Guitarist Ken Oyer and bassist Michael Moore and released Structures. In 1987, Michael met a Senegalese drummer named Ibou M'Baye and studied African music with him. In 1988 Rob and Michael formed New Continent and released World One World followed by the 1990 release Information Age. In 1991, Michael met Ginger Baker and enjoyed the opportunity of studying with him. He took some master classes with Terry Bozzio and worked on ostinato interdependence techniques and integrating African music and other music from around the world into drum set arrangements. Michael then met Robert Sherwood (aka bob) and formed Fiction Damage with guitarist George Sanchez. This resulted in the 1995 release Heathen Stuff. In 1996 the band changed its name to Fiction and had TJ Brinjak on guitar. That same year Michael also formed the straight-ahead jazz ensemble So What with guitarist Doug Reese and bassist Ralph Schatz. In 1998 Fiction released This is Fiction, which experienced the song I Could Cry climbing to #38 on the Adult Contemporary charts. The band fell apart within a year of this success, and Michael returned to playing straight-ahead jazz and was performing weekly in the San Diego Gaslamp district. He also was studying Indian classical music and tabla with Miles Shrewsbery. During this time, he reconnected with Rob Shinno and realized how much he had missed producing music with him. This led to performing with Rob and Don in 2018 and he will be writing, recording, and performing with them in 2019 and beyond.
Max Zape - Keys and Sound Design
Max Zape is one of the busiest keyboardists in San Diego with over 30 years [starting at age 12] of gigging under his belt. His musicality comes naturally from his parents who sang to him as a child, as well as their friends who are singers and musicians [including trombonist Frank Rosolino, and singer Mavis Rivers]. A multi-instrumentalist, keyboards are just one facet of Max's music and he credits his childhood music teachers [Fredericka Pedersen, Agnes Ockert, Gary Withem, Delbert Bangle and Michael Luzak] for encouraging his musical pursuits. But most of all, he credits his late father for instilling the musical dream and telling him that there are only two kinds of music: good and bad ; )
Performing with such a dizzying array of artists and styles that encompass everything from acid jazz to rock, country, punk to world, show tunes to jingles, Max truly has become a world musician. Max was a major force on Hemisphere's Destinations album and we are glad he is back for more on American Dreams!
Nathan Brown - Bass and Groove Design
Nathan Brown is one of San Diego's most expressive bass guitarists (not to mention his smile). Originally from Detroit, MI., now based in Southern California. He currently tours and performs with blues rock artist Coco Montoya, is a long time member of the Scott Wilkie Band and serves as a bass player for The Rock Church in San Diego. He is working with Hemisphere on the American Dreams album and live shows planned for release in 2020, as well as a solo project in the works!
He has performed and/or recorded with Alexander Zonjic, The Boneshakers, Patrick Yandall, Brian Simpson, Kamau Kenyatta, Darryl Williams, Debora Galan, Burt Brion, Under The Lake and many others.