Father Funk


Father Funk is a top notch five piece classic r&b and smooth jazz performing ensemble based in Central Jersey. They are guaranteed to bring the house down every time the lights go up. The group consists of Thomas Duffy on Keyboards, Matt Polashek on Saxophones, Joe Lisa on Guitar, Dale Graham on Bass, and Dan Zegart on Drums.  Although the styles Father Funk performs may include r&b, funk, soul, rock, latin, and jazz; the underlying element of "groove" remains constant throughout. The band's extensive and varied repertoire spans five decades of music and ranges in genre from the early r&b and soul pioneers like James Brown and Marvin Gaye to today's popular artists such as Norah Jones and Alicia Keys. This broad and diverse range of music is what makes Father Funk appealing to a capacious audience.

At the core of Father Funk is an ensemble without equal and the group often performs its musical selections without a vocalist. However, the group has the ability to add a vocalist if requested. The band is available for clubs, weddings, private parties, corporate events, and festivals.

Thomas Duffy:

Tom was born and raised in Northeastern PA. He began studying music at age 5. While in High School, he was voted "most musically talented" by his fellow classmates and started playing professionally with area bands. Tom graduated Cum Laude from Marywood University with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Performance. Upon graduating, he quickly began performing with the top acts in NEPA. Tom has performed with groups that have supported legendary acts such as Aretha Franklin, Average White Band, and The Spinners. One of the groups that Tom was a member of was a favorite of President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton, as they had been invited to play at both of President Clinton's Inaugural Celebrations and even a private party at the White House. He has also performed with Steve LaSpina (Bassist for Jim Hall) and Marko Marcinko (Drummer for Maynard Ferguson). When Tom left NEPA for Atlantic County NJ, it did not take him very long to have equal success there. Now living in Hamilton Twp NJ, he has recruited the area's finest musicians to form Father Funk. His style of playing is a "fusion" of the two styles of music he loves to play the most, jazz and funk. Tom's major influences include: Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Chick Corea, and Steely Dan keyboardist and co-founder Donald Fagan.

Matt Polashek:

Born in Waterloo IA, Matt is currently an Associate Editor for Silver Burdett Ginn's
music textbook series "Making Music" and is living in New Jersey. Having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music with an emphasis in Jazz Studies at the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay in 2001 where he studied under the tutelage of John Salerno and Lovell Ives, Matt launched his music career by playing in r&b and jazz bands throughout the Midwest. After working in the public school system as a K-12 vocal music teacher, many of Matt's song arrangements for various ensembles at the middle and high school level have been published and nationally distributed. Whether classical or funk, Matt has extensive experience playing all styles of music on a variety of instruments including saxophone, flute, and clarinet. Prior to his recent relocation from the Midwest, Matt was regularly playing with Big Pappa Boogie, Davenport, Clambake and the Mother Shucking Hornz, The Matt Golay Band, did the occasional jazz pick-up gig, and had students. Matt currently holds the baritone saxophone chair in the Raritan Valley Symphonic Band and plays with the Smooth Jazz group Father Funk. Matt has played with many ensembles including the Hanover Wind Symphony, The Groove Hogs, Aja, and he has played with internationally renowned artists including David Leibman, Bryan Lynch, Jose Lou, and Jimmy Crimminz. His New York City performance premier was at Lehman College in the Bronx.

Joe Lisa:

Joe is originally from Jersey City NJ, and is now living in Port Monmouth. He began studying guitar at age 6 and drums at age 9. In High School, he studied with both classical and jazz guitar instructors. Joe obtained his Bachelor of Music Degree in Classical Guitar Performance from Wilkes University. At Wilkes Joe continued to perform both classical and jazz; performing works of J.S. Bach, Villa-Lobos, Albeniz while also a member of the University Jazz Band.  Joe has over 15 years of professional experience. He has performed with musical theatre orchestras in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area and spent two years as a member of the house band at Split Rock in the Poconos. His credits also include performing at weddings as a classical guitar soloist, as part of a flute and guitar duo, as part of a jazz guitar duo, and with top 40 bands. In  addition, he has been a member of various rock and r&b bands, including his own original project Crazy Helen, and Triple Play which he has been performing with around the Jersey Shore. Joe sites an eclectic group of artists as his influences including: Robben Ford, Pat Metheny, Mike Stern, John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, Jimi Hendrix, and Eddie Van Halen.

Dale Graham:

Originally from Wisconsin, Dale now resides in Ewing NJ. Dale received his formal musical education at Music Tech of Minneapolis and studied privately with Chris Ray at College of Lake County. He currently studies with Jim Kelly, Music Department Coordinator of Mercer County Community College. Dale's professional experience is numerous and varied. In Canada he toured with the rock band Mask, playing large outdoor festivals with Canadian band Trouper in cities like Winnipeg, Brandon, and Ottawa. Dale performed throughout central Oklahoma with guitarist and songwriter Ben Blankenship. He also played on Blankenship's CD "Black Lipstick". For nearly three years Dale was a member of a house band aboard Carnival Cruise Lines. There he played six nights a week performing at a variety of functions. Before joining Father Funk, Dale had most recently been a member of the 7 piece funk group Mojo. In addition to being an accomplished musician, he is also a Certified Professional Trainer through the American Council on Exercise.

Dan Zegart:

Dan is originally from Nyack NY and now lives in Pennington NJ. He received his musical training at the Drummer's Collective in New York City. He has studied with Ed Blackwell (Drummer for Ornette Coleman) and Terry Silverlight (Drummer for Barry Miles). Dan has extensive recording and performing experience in the NYC and Philadelphia areas. He has performed at the New Music America Festival and toured nationally with the band Sono. Dan has recorded with Nenad Bach and Albert Bouchard and has performed with Max Romeo, Page Hamilton, Orleans, and the Bodeans. Some of the famous venues that Dan has performed at include: the Chestnut Caberet, CBGB's, Maxwell's, the Stone Pony, and the Peppermint Lounge. He lists Ed Blackwell, Omar Hakim, Steve Gadd, Tony Williams, and Frankie Mallabe among his influences.