The Queen’s Cartoonists perform music from cartoons! Pulling from over 100 years of animation from around the world, The Queen’s Cartoonists bring animated films to life, perfectly synchronizing their performances with the films projected on stage. The band matches the energy of the cartoons, leading the audience through a world of virtuosic musicianship, multi-instrumental mayhem, and comedy.
Projections of animated films dazzle the audience, while the band re-creates original soundtracks note-for-note, or writes their own fresh compositions to modern pieces, all the while breathing new life into two uniquely American forms of art: jazz and animation. Tying everything together is the TQC brand of comedy - anecdotes about the cartoons and their composers, stream-of-consciousness humor, and elements of a musical circus.
Watch your favorite classic cartoon characters interact with the musicians on stage, and expect the unexpected from the Golden Age of Animation, cult cartoon classics, and modern animated films. Inspired by the cross-roads of jazz, classical music, and cartoons, TQC features Jazz Age composers like Carl Stalling, Raymond Scott, and John Kirby, alongside classical giants Mozart, Rossini, and Strauss (to name just a few).
The six members of The Queen’s Cartoonists, all now residing in Queens, New York, originally hail from four continents. TQC has performed in wide variety of venues, including opening for the New York Philharmonic, selling out the Blue Note Jazz Club, a sold out residency at Konzerthaus Berlin, and an extended run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. They have been featured in over fifty publications, including The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The L.A. Times, The San Diego Tribune, The Houston Chronicle, NPR’s All Things Considered, Mashable, and on BBC Radio 3.
Joel “Sweet Sauce McKinley” Pierson
Piano & Intergalactic Relations
Joel Pierson has made a career out of music and mockery, or perhaps a mockery of his career in music. He has worked with artists of great repute (the New York Philharmonic, the Kronos Quartet), and artists of even greater ill-repute (Linkin Park, Ke$ha). Wayne Newton told Joel he loved him, and Paul McCartney gave him a shoulder massage. He has performed on all seven continents (yes, even Antarctica), and as a songwriter was signed to Warner Brothers Records. His music has been performed by major symphony orchestras including Atlanta, Houston, Toronto, Cleveland, & The Philly Pops. Joel wrote additional music for the 2013 film The Internship, and is the author of the books You Suck at Piano & 20 Piano Pieces for People with Emotional Problems. Joel exclusively plays Yamaha instruments. See and hear more on his website: www.therealjoelpierson.com
Rossen “Chock Full” Nedelchev
Percussion & Procurement of Agricultural Products
Rossen Nedelchev is a professional drummer, producer and educator in New York City.
He hails from Sofia, Bulgaria, and let me tell you, that’s a helluva cab fare. Get it? He hailed a cab from Europe? His jack-of-all-trades mentality extends to musical styles as well, being an in-demand session drummer in the worlds of pop, jazz, funk, jazz-funk, rhythm & blues, blues & rhythm, rhythm & rhythm, and bluesy jazz. Rossen is the band leader for the rhythm & rhythm band Alter View and he plays drums for the 8-time NAMMY award-winning, Grammy-nominated singer Jana Mashonee, the NYC pop/electronic band The Qualia and The Queen’s Cartoonists. He produces for a variety of artists and has a Graduate Diploma in jazz performance from the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. For more information visit www.rossennedelchev.com
Drew “Dranka” Pitcher
Woodwinds & Minister of Alcohol Preparedness
New York City based multi-multi-multi-instrumentalist Drew Pitcher was raised close to Michilimackinac, Michigan, which, by complete coincidence, is also his DJ name. After pounding the pavement with dope beats building his street cred, Drew dropped his true musical skill: being a world-class player of the tenor sax, alto sax, clarinet, bass clarinet, flute, and harmonica. Drew attended the University of North Texas where he performed and recorded with the Grammy nominated One O’Clock Lab Band. Dark economic times followed. Drew made ends meet by recording smooth jazz Christmas albums under the moniker “Montgomery Bruce”, traveling the world seeking gigs, and performing with artists such as The Coasters, The Drifters, The Platters, and sadly, Wayne Newton. Having survived these travels, Drew now resides in New York, where he ferments malted barley and hops in his apartment.
Greg “Eggs and” Hammontree
Brass & Machine-Building Enterprises
Greg Hammontree has been tinkering with music his entire life, sometimes at places like Radio City Music Ball, Symphonic Space, The Jazz Standards, Studio 55, Flushing Town Mall, The Bowery Bathroom, The Louis Armstrong Mouse Museum, and in Chinatown. No wait, I meant actual China. It’s real, people - Greg has been there and lived to tell the tale. Greg has a surprising number of dedicated fans in Italy, even though his Italian is “no es bueno.” He has a reputation of being a fearless cartoon trumpet master, meaning he will take on any challenge, no matter how fast, ridiculous, or potentially dangerous. Greg received his Master's in Jazz Performance from CUNY, Queens College and is now a professional freelance trumpet player in New York City, #unemployed #happyhour #blessed #hashtag
Mark “Dingo” Phillips
Woodwinds & Comptroller of Public Accounts
The descendent of a sheep-thief and a woman who baked her enemies into pies, Mark Phillips is the luckiest jazz immigrant in history. Upon deciding to move Up Over (what Australians call the US) to pursue great music and fewer deadlier creatures, Mark was told that in fact he was already a US citizen. The hard part being magically taken care of, Mark landed in Queens in 2011. His wacky musical journey started by studying classical saxophone, but has since morphed into being the best damn cartoon clarinetist on multiple continents. His instrumental accomplishments have not gone un-noticed, as he is now a Selmer Artist, ranking him among the best woodwind players in New York City. His bartending skills, while occasionally useful, have proven to be less distinguished, as Australians have a natural tendency to over-pour and under-care about their patrons. For more information visit his website www.mtpmusic.com
Malik “M” McLaurine
Malik “M” McLaurine makes the most of his modem and mojo, mashing a meticulously modern mask with his makeshift manifestation on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (season 3, episodes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10). Just not episode 7. Don’t watch episode 7 - Malik’s not in it, so why would you specifically put on THAT episode? What’s wrong with you? Malik’s a great bass player: he’s from Queens, he lives in Queens, he oozes Queens. He embodies Queens. Malik left New York for college, but then came straight back to Queens. And here we will stay.
Believe it or not, The Queen’s Cartoonists are not the only group out there making unusual, wacky, extreme music! Here is a list of some of the artists that inspire us.
Raymond Scott - www.raymondscott.net - The original inspirations for TQC, Raymond Scott led a wild swing band in the 1930s. Warner Brothers bought his entire recording catalog and used it extensively in the Loony Tunes and Merry Melodies cartoons.
John Kirby - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Kirby_(musician) - An under appreciated jazz artist, John Kirby arranged a lot of classical music for his super-group of swing musicians. If only we could swing as hard as they did!
Carl Stalling - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_W._Stalling - A genius arranger and orchestrator, Carl Stalling was the man behind countless early Disney and Warner Brothers cartoons. He meticulously composed and arranged music on extremely tight timelines to create the classic Looney Tunes soundtracks.
Spike Jones - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spike_Jones - Drummer, band leader, and TV personality Spike Jones added humor and theatrics to jazz and pop music for decades of silliness.
Famous Puppet Death Scenes - www.theoldtrouts.org - Absurdist puppetry. Puppets being slaughtered for the audience’s enjoyment. Perfection.
Bit Brigade - www.bitbrigade.com - Bit Brigade performs video game soundtracks while a member in the band plays the games live!
Mnozil Brass - http://mnozilbrass.at/en/ - The wackiest brass band on the planet! World class instrumentalists who sing, dance, and act like lunatics on stage.
Max Raabe - www.palast-orchester.de/en/ - A singer of Weimer-era cabaret music, Max Raabe brings the joy and pleasantness of 1930s Germany to the big stage with his dance band.
Duke Ellington - http://www.dukeellington.com - You know who he is. You better.
The Queen’s Cartoonists - www.thequeenscartoonists.com - Oh hey, that’s us! We just wanted to see us on this list, even if it’s at the bottom.