Peter Deneff


Excursion's music is a unique blend of Greek, Armenian and Latin with a progressive jazz attitude. Its members are as eclectic and progressive as the music they create. Together they weave a intoxicating matrix of vibrant rhythm, exotic harmony, and world class improvisation.

Peter Deneff grew up in a musical home, exposed to classical music, Greek songs, and the Beatles. After many years of classical piano lessons and playing Greek gigs, he began jazz studies with the world-renowned pianist Mike Garson, with whom he crafted his art through studying some of the great jazz improvisers such as Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, and Chick Corea. During this time he also studied many ethnic styles that eventually led to the development of his classical and jazz compositional style as well as the formation of his original ethno-European jazz group Excursion. He also studied music composition and film scoring at California State University Long Beach, where he earned his bachelors and masters degrees in music composition. While at CSULB, Deneff composed his Three Greek Dances for string quartet and Hellenic Village Suite for modified wind quintet. Peter has written several best-selling books for Hal Leonard Publishing including Jazz Hanon, Jazz Chord Hanon, and Salsa Hanon and has produced thousands of musical arrangements for Yamaha, Hal Leonard, and PianoDisc. He has also scored several feature length films, including "A Journey into the Holocaust " and "Jack London's Love of Life.".  His stylistic versatility on the keyboard has allowed him to perform with a diverse assortment of artists such as Tierra, Zappa alumnus Ike Willis, the Universal Studios Salsa Band, as well as many Greek and international recording artists like Enrico Macias, Ebi, Giorgos Margaritis and Rita Sakellariou. On the academic side, Peter has taught at Musician's Institute, Orange County High School of the Arts, Cypress College, and Fullerton College.

Vik Momjian is a master of the four, five, and six-string, fretted and fretless electric basses. While his musical roots started on the piano at age nine, Vik turned to the guitar at age fourteen and ultimately discovered his true voice through the electric bass at age fifteen. Having studied with many significant musicians, three of Vik's most influential instructors were Jim Lacefield, Steve Bailey, and John Pena.Vik is endorsed by many notable companies such as MTD ,Bartolini pickups and Electronics, Gallien-Krueger, La Bella, Bergantino, Walter Woods, and many more . Over the last 20 years, Vik has established himself as the first-call musician for many top Middle Eastern and ethno-European artists. When he's not touring the world with these artists, he spends his days in town doing sessions, teaching, and playing with Excursion. His soulful playing not only brings enormous heart to the project, but it is an integral part of the band's sound and energy.He has a brilliant sense of groove and is a unique improviser, with incredible dexterity and technique.

Dimitri Matsis has been playing drums since moving to the United States at age 14. He attended Cornish College of the Arts, Jazz Department. He has performed, and or toured with Yanni, (Virgin Records), George Dalaras (EMI), Excursion and various other ethnic acts. In addition to recording for various artists, groups, and TV shows, he has also appeared in "Full House", "NYPD Blue", and "Beverly Hills, 90210." His studies have included private sessions with Jerry Granelli, Dave Garibaldi, and Tom Brechtlein. He has worked as a Professional drummer and educator for over 20 years and has traveled the world playing drums. He has worked extensively in the Los Angeles and New York area for the past 16 years. He plays all styles of rock, jazz, hip-hop, R&B, and world music.

Saxophonist/Flutist/Composer Robert Kyle has become known for his unique warm sound, melodic style, and his ability to harmoniously cross musical borders. His lyricism and passion are evident in whatever situation he finds himself, and he is fluid in many styles including Jazz, Blues, Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, R & B and Classical.  His performance & recording credits include work with Gino Vannelli,  Cee Lo Green, Natalie Cole, Michael McDonald, Johnny Mathis, Jason Mraz, Chaka Khan, Michael Bolton, Linda Ronstadt, Carole King, Kenny Loggins, Brenda Russell, Lou Rawls, Seu Jorge, Googoosh, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, Pharrell, Blake Shelton, Babyface, Della Reese, Chaka Khan, Francisco Aguabella, Pete Escovedo, Jessica Simpson, Al McKibbon, Billy Mitchell, Roy “Guitar” Gaines and many others. As a 19 year member and musical director of blues diva Linda Hopkins band, he has made over fifty trips to Europe and Japan, performing internationally at many of the biggest Jazz festivals, theaters and clubs in the world. He is featured on Miss Hopkins’s recordings “Here’s the Kid” and “Wild Women Blues.”  He’s also served as musical director for salsa artist Leslie Paula & Jazz/Brazilian artist Carol Bach-y-Rita. He has played for the Academy awards, the Emmy awards, the Voice, The BET awards, The Nick & Jessica Variety Show, Lou Rawls cavalcade of stars, The NAS awards and many others.


The group's self titled cd EXCURSION is a colorful fusion of Middle Eastern and Latin jazz styles. It was recorded at Musician's Institute where Peter and Vik were instructors. The CD marks an important step in the development of the group's sound and is available right here and in most fine music stores.


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Excursion 2001

Vik Momjian