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Born in Toronto Canada, Joey Berkley moved to NYC in 1979 after graduating with honors from the Music Program at Humber College.

A jazz musician firmly rooted in the tradition of Coltrane, Miles, and Monk, Joey incorporated these influences to develop his sound.

Joey’s career as a tenor saxophonist and recording artist has evolved through a variety of stages: from in-demand sideman to the founder/leader and composer/arranger of various bands including The Joey Berkley Quartet, Funkasaurus Rex, Joey Berkley’s Bandits, The Joey Berkley Band, and more recently the single “Wired”.

In 2015 Joey Berkley became the director of The Westchester Center for Jazz and Contemporary Music.

An educator with over 35 years of experience, he developed a curriculum designed to challenge students with a commitment to excellence, focusing on the fundamentals of jazz and a commitment to artistic expression regardless of the playing level.

Before his role as director of the Center, he served over 15 years at Fox Lane MS/HS, Bedford, NY as their Woodwind Specialist, and directed both the Middle School and High School Jazz Ensembles.

2019 became a turning point in Joey’s life when he was forced to end a 40+ year career as a saxophonist due to a neurological movement disorder called Focal Dystonia in his left hand.

Unwilling to accept his fate, he found a solution at NIH in Bethesda MD in an experimental treatment for Dystonia.

On Friday, March 12, 2021, Joey became Patient #2 and underwent brain surgery to implant an electrode into his brain and connect it to a battery near his collarbone. Miraculously, this risky choice controlled the symptoms of Dystonia, allowing him to play again.

Joey was very public about his situation.

He is set to release “A Suite Life” on July 26, 2024. This cathartic release documents his experiences going through the life and career-changing brain surgery to regain his playing ability.

In this episode, we talked about:

🎷 The importance of the physical relationship to the instrument
🎷 One embouchure for your entire range
🎷 Joey’s encounter with comedian, Andy Kaufman
🎷 The 1 question Joey has lived his life by
🎷 Duke Ellington’s quote about music
🎷 And much more!


Here’s the Video:


Links and Resources:

1. Joey’s website –
2. Joey’s Facebook:
3. Joey’s Instagram:
4. Westchester Jazz Center –

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